Why Are Gulf Nations Not Receiving Syrian Refugees?

According to this piece titled The nations that sent the most arms to Syria have accepted the fewest refugees, the US is of course the country that has contributed the most to the militarization of Syria because weapons are unfortunately one of the few things that the US still produces. According to the article,

The US bears a special responsibility for the devastation in Syria — and by extension its refugee crisis. ISIS, which is an outgrowth of Al Qaeda in Iraq, would not exist today if George W. Bush hadn’t invaded Iraq in March of 2003.

That does not shock anyone. The US has a long history of military intervention and profiteering from war, frequently leaving things in the Middle East and Latin America worse than before. We saw it in Syria, in Iraq, in Chile, and in many other places. It’s a legacy, and a foreign policy, that we should make every effort to put behind us immediately. Another country that has armed Syria but has done little to take in refugees is Russia:

An estimated 10% of Russia exported weapons are sent to Syria …. Despite the very direct role Russia has played in the Syrian war, the country has currently only accepted 1,395 Syrian refugees on temporary asylum.

But one thing that should shock people is that four of the countries that have armed Syria and who HAVE NOT ACCEPTED, AND ARE NOT ACCEPTING REFUGEES are officially Islamic: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait.

These countries are also great superpowers: they are among the wealthiest nations on Earth with not only vast resources to aid ailing Syrians, but also nations that speak a similar language and practice a similar religion as the refugees. According to a WP article,

Moreover, these countries aren’t totally innocent bystanders. To varying degrees, elements within Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the U.A.E. and Kuwait have invested in the Syrian conflict, playing a conspicuous role in funding and arming a constellation of rebel and Islamist factions fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Ummah, in Islamic tradition and law, is the community of Muslim believers (as opposed to, of course, infidels). Devout Muslims pray daily for Allah to bless and protect their ummah, but according to this Washington Post article, it’s clear that hands that work are by far superior over lips that pray: some of the wealthiest countries on Earth are Arabic countries in the vecinity of Syria. Although these oil-rich nations have vastly more resources to help the Syrians than, say, Greece–which is going through severe financial difficulties–and although they are culturally similar and presumably it would be easier to assimilate these refugees into their culture, the wealthiest members of the ummah are doing next to nothing for Syrian refugees. The countries that are taking most refugees in (Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan) are certainly not the ones with the best resources, and they’re also mostly not among the nations that armed Syrians in the first place.

The hypocrisy of these deeply religious Muslim nations–and in the case of Saudi Arabia, paranoically religious–must be highlighted. The rhetoric of false piety should be deconstructed and confronted and exposed passionately by both religious and secular commentators.

But the lack of involvement of wealthy Islamic countries is interesting for another reason. It shows that the wealthiest (both in the Muslim and non-Muslim world) tend to have much in common with each other, that they exhibit a higher tendency to be part of the problem than of the solution. It’s difficult to ascertain to what extent war profiteering might be fueling this, but insofar as it’s factored in, we are seeing one of the most obscene cases of privatized military profits and socialized expenses on a global scale.

Further Reading:

The Arab world’s wealthiest nations are doing next to nothing for Syria’s refugees

The nations that sent the most arms to Syria have accepted the fewest refugees


About hiramcrespo

Hiram Crespo is the author of 'Tending the Epicurean Garden' and founder of societyofepicurus.com. He's also written for The Humanist, Eidolon, Occupy, The New Humanism, The Secular Web, Europa Laica, AteístasPR, and many other outlets.
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