The following article is the first in a week-long series on the Migrant Crisis.
Europe and the Western world are in crisis due to the human tsunami of refugees from Syria flooding into Europe. Concerns as to whether they are all true refugees and actually from Syria; whether the refugees are able to integrate into Western culture in Europe and elsewhere; and the possible security implications for the West in a post-9/11 world where possible terrorist sleeper agents might slip into the West under the cover of genuine aid for those needing assistance, have shaken the foundations of the European Shengen Agreement, alienated EU partners and are testing the fabric of Western society.
The September 2, 2015, photo of a Turkish police officer cradling the lifeless Aylan – now Alan – Kurdi  focussed the world’s attention on the mass human migration from the war-torn areas of the Middle East, as well as sub-Saharan Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan. As Joseph Stalin reportedly said, “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.” This latest wave of refugees/migrants include those who respectively seek a country for safety and security, while migrants seek a better economic future and have infiltrated this humanitarian wave to take advantage of the refugee/social services provided by many European nations. Initially, this wave of humanity was met with open arms; however, the welcome soon gave way to concerns from countries that were particularly attractive to those seeking refuge, particularly Sweden, Finland, Germany and Great Britain. Serious concerns have been raised regarding the housing costs, the logistical issues related to processing and caring for these refugees/migrants –estimated to £24,000  a year per adult in Britain–not to mention the very real risks to national security by allowing thousands of unknown/unvetted refugees into various EU countries. These issues were further complicated by the numerous reports of violence breaking out between different nationalities and religions in refugee centres, but authorities have reportedly downplayed the violence perpetrated by young men, including numerous sexual assaults, over fears that it could provoke further violence against those seeking refuge.
The selective targeting of specific countries by refugees is based upon perceived or known entitled benefits including generous social and welfare services. Many European nations are justifiably concerned as to how they may be able to integrate and assimilate people who are culturally and religiously divergent from a Western Christian history and culture. The human onslaught in September quickly brought about a security crackdown on the various borders being transited. Denmark suspended ferries to Sweden as “refugees refused to register with Dutch authorities, which would mean having to apply for asylum in Denmark or returning to Germany, preferring instead to seek asylum in Sweden, where asylum conditions are more generous.” It was said that many of the refugees remain reluctant to register and reside in Denmark given that the centre-right government has cut refugee benefits. In response to existing migration struggles, the British government had announced in August that failed asylum seekers would be stripped of benefits in the hopes of sending a message to the migrants in the Calais area that Britain was not a “land of milk and honey.”
The Wave has turned into a Human Tsunami
Observers and analysts have been predicting a major influx of refugees from North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, as well as Southwest Asia. The reasons behind this mass human migration to Europe in this summer of 2015 and now into the fall, is complex and predicated upon a spectrum of issues. Firstly, the war in Syria, ongoing now for four years, will likely continue to grind on, now with the support of Russia. Conflicts in Niger, Somalia, Eritrea, Iraq and Afghanistan also contribute to the flow of those migrating toward Europe.
Secondly, there is easier access to Europe than the previous routing from North Africa. Those fleeing to Europe are now using the less dangerous but more complicated route from Turkey to Greece to the Balkans to Europe. While more direct, the hazards of the trip from North Africa to Italy, across the Mediterranean in less than seaworthy boats, is pushing refugees towards the safer land route. In the wake of Macedonia lifting its measures preventing refugees from entering the country in June, the route through the Balkans became preferable. Moreover, the transportation of refugees and migrants to Greece and Turkey takes less than an hour and is cheaper, as there is no requirement to pay human smugglers to infiltrate the borders of the Balkan countries. Therefore, more refugees can afford to take the journey to Europe.
When German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany would give temporary residence to those arriving in Germany, known for its generous social benefits to refugees, the so-called race for Germany sparked many refugees to head there. Sweden, also known for its open and generous society, was also a destination for the wave of refugees.
Two other important reasons for the September influx is weather, as many were trying to make the journey into Europe before winter sets in. Furthermore, as the war in Syria continues, the demand has increased for manpower in the fight against the rebellion and Syrian President Bashar Assad continues to conscript citizens who remain in government-held areas. Many of the Syrians fleeing these government-dominated areas are seeking refuge from forced conscription and to improve economically and benefit by garnering work or, in some cases, accessing the generous social benefits of the European Union (EU).
Open Arms Transforms into Securing National Borders
The initial wave of humanity was greeted, particularly by Germany, with “starry-eyed optimism.”
Within a short time, however, many EU members began to resent the tsunami wave of humanity passing through their respective nations under the Schengen Agreement. Although Merkel expounded upon the economic advantage of the migration to address the aging European populations, she accepts that migration on such a scale is a test of European values. Some German politicians argue that their country is composed of an immigration-Einwanderungsland[xviii]18] — a concept of everyone being an immigrant that is rejected in a number of areas in Germany. This is despite the showing that some 20% of Germans have a migrant background and have either been born abroad or have an immigrant parent.
This German-immigrant demographic has not assuaged the concerns of conservative and far-right, anti-immigrant elements as epitomized by the Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West movement (PEGIDA). German calls for compulsory quotas to be allocated within the countries of the EU, “were rebuffed by nations in the East […] with Slovakia’s foreign minister saying that ‘migrants don’t want to stay’ there,” contrasting sharply with the open welcome that refugees received initially in Western European countries, especially Germany. However, in Central and Eastern European countries, the reception was not the same. The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban rolled out barb wire and erected walls to stem the flow. In the Czech Republic, 71% of the population opposed taking any refugees and Slovakia made it quite clear that if they had to accept refugees, they would rather not have Muslims. This reflected the sentiment of right-wing politicians across the continent who argued that Europe was not capable of assimilating Muslims.
As the number of migrants swelled on the road to Germany, the estimates of 800,000 refugees was pushed up towards 1 million. The ability logistically to support the housing and feeding of such refugee numbers was of notable concern, as was public safety and security in Bavaria and elsewhere. Predicated upon the concerns voiced within Germany and from other EU members, Germany’s Merkel called upon her interior minister to announce a new border policy, underlining the reality that “even wealthy Germany could not shoulder the burden of accommodating up to 800,000 migrants this year.”
Austria’s interior minister, Johanna Mikl-Leitner, vented Austria’s frustration, as well as that of other EU partners when she, “effectively blamed Germany for touching off the migrant chaos. After the international media reported in late August that Germany was offering asylum to any Syrian-which Berlin insists is not true-‘thousands of people set off, even more strongly,’ she said. That helped power the wave of thousands of migrants who got stuck in a Hungary very early this month and essentially force the opening of the borders on September 5.” She further noted, “The warm reception for those migrants in Austria and Germany in turn spurred more to set out from Turkey via Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary toward Western Europe.”
Bitter opposition continues to the EU’s call for compulsory quotas. The Visegrad Group, composed of the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, has an opposing view in regard to the Brussels-imposed quotas for refugees. These countries have pointed out that “Eastern Europe is neither financially nor culturally suited to large migrant influxes.” Poland’s foreign minister, Grzegorz
Schetyna, stated that “Each country must be able to decide how many migrants it can receive. Sweden, Germany and Austria have experience receiving migrants while our countries and the Baltic states do not.”
Other EU nations announced the reintroduction of border controls on September 15. Slovakia announced the reintroduction of passport checks at its border with Hungary, while the Czech Republic was looking to reintroducing frontier controls. Finland stepped up controls at its border with Sweden. Meanwhile, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz requested stronger border controls as Austria was faced with, “the total invasion of our country in a few days’ time.” Cultural and religious concerns were raised by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban who told 860 police officers assigned to the Serbian border that they were going to “protect our way of life.” Orban further noted, “Hungary is a country with thousand-year-old Christian culture. We Hungarians do not want the worldwide movement of people to change Hungary.” Orban reportedly delivered a passionate defence of his controversial refugee policy “casting the debate as a clash of cultures that threatens to undo Europe.” His determined stance underscores the contrasting views between Western and Eastern Europe regarding the refugee issue. “Germany and other countries believe Europe has a moral obligation to help the refugees,” a position that Orban firmly rejects.
Horst Seehofer, the Bavarian state governor and head of the Christian Social Union (CSU), who are Merkel’s conservative allies, stated that, “There is an urgent political duty to draw attention to the limited possibilities for taking in (refugees).” Seehofer further posited, “We politicians are not exempt from the question of even thinking about the consequences of our actions.” It would appear that there is a political, economic and social limit as to what Germany can do to facilitate the ingress and settling of refugees within that country as it resources are being stretched beyond the limit.
Domestic German and European Union Backlash
Overwhelmed by a mass of humanity, now estimated to be as high as 1.5 million refugees, Germany reintroduced ‘temporary’ controls along its border with Austria. This was seen as an attempt, albeit a desperate one, to defuse a crisis that was seriously testing European values and solidarity. This act “effectively suspended the EU’s open borders treaty, which many view as the embodiment of European integration.” The reintroduction of German border controls, risked serious economic repercussions, while underlining the stark realization that Germany, the economic powerhouse of Europe, has strained its ability and resources to a greater degree and can no longer cope with the present situation. Some politicians and political observers have said that Merkel has “’lost control’ of the situation.”
Others, such as Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer, criticized Merkel for enabling the flood of refugees to enter Germany, stating that she had “made ‘a mistake that will keep us busy for a long time.’” This situation was further compounded when former German interior minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich called the situation, “completely irresponsible that untold thousands are streaming into the country uncontrolled and without registration.” He further pointed to a security concern that many government leaders and media observers have downplayed or ignored: “There is no way to reliably determine how many of them are Islamic State fighters or Islamic sleepers.” This situation was further exacerbated when journalists began reporting that substantial numbers of the purported refugees were falsely claiming Syrian nationality. Media reported that the German government “estimates that 30% of incoming migrants claiming to be citizens of war-torn Syria are in fact from other countries.”
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report “Refugees/migrants emergency response-Mediterranean, ” the top 10 nationalities of Mediterranean sea arrivals consisted of 54% Syrian Arab Republic, 13% Afghanistan, 7% Eritrean, 3% Nigerian, 3% Iraq, 3% Pakistan, 2% Somalia, 2% Sudan, 1% Gambia and 1% from Bangladesh. The UNHCR report provided the demographic breakdown as 18% children, 13% women and 69% men. A September 7, 2015 report from the controversial Refugee Resettlement Watch (RRW), updated the UNHCR information as being 13% children, 12% women and 75% men Only 51% were reported to be Syrians while the rest are from other countries in the Middle East and Africa. In confirmation of the RRW figures, videos portraying the arrival into Europe of the purported refugees showed predominantly fit young men between the ages of 17 and 40, and very few women or children.
The refugee crisis has surfaced a number of national divisions amongst EU countries, specifically between Western and former communist eastern states, as well as former Yugoslav nations whose diplomatic relations remain fragile.] This situation became further exacerbated when EU nations erected borders and checkpoints, putting Germany at odds with many of its European partners, reminiscent of the recent Euro zone crisis, where Merkel’s government demanded stringent conditions upon mainly southern European countries in return for bailing out their respective banking systems. In the refugee crisis, the German government “succeeded in imposing new quotas for asylum seekers on the rest of the EU, with the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia vainly voting against the plan.” For the former Soviet-bloc countries that still struggle economically, this move does not sit well.
A Failure Of Western Policy and Leadership
According to renowned author and commentator Niall Ferguson, the refugee crisis has been
“…in large measure a consequence of western foreign policy blunders, of which too-little-too-late intervention in Syria was only one. The fact is that from the moment the misnamed Arab Spring began at the end of 2010, the United States and Europe have been at sixes and sevens. Traumatized by their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, our leaders thought they could confine their interventions to airstrikes, preferably unmanned, plus occasional hashtags. Over-optimistic about the revolution, they failed to see that Islamists, not secular democrats, would be the beneficiaries. And, ignorant of history, they overlooked the possibility that the states their ancestors created from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire might simply fall apart.”
Interestingly, the late president of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, warned in March 2011, “that without a unified and stable Libya there would be no one to control countless migrants from Africa and the Middle East from fleeing to Europe. Unlike Western leaders, he apparently understood that millions, not thousands will come, should Tripoli fall.” Gaddafi‘s comment that, “The Mediterranean will become a sea of chaos” was prescient. He advised the Italian newspaper II Giornale that his government was a bulwark against Islamic extremism, which when released will exacerbate the unrest in the region. Gaddafi reportedly stated that, “If, instead of a stable government which guarantees security, these bandits linked to Bin Laden take control, the Africans will move en masse towards Europe and the Mediterranean will become a sea of chaos.” Apparently, no one in the West appreciated his foresight regarding Libya’s role in containing the migrant tide.
European Concerns Over This Latest Wave Of Refugees
Europeans concerned about the latest wave of Muslim migration are not demonstrating “unsophisticated Islamophobia.” Rather, they are realizing that European nations have a less-than-stellar record when it comes to assimilating non-European migrants. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reports “the unemployment rate for foreign-born workers is at least double that of native-born workers in Belgium, Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands and Denmark. It is at least 70 per cent higher in Finland, France and Germany. (Note that in Britain, it is only 18% higher and in the United States, there is no difference at all.) Muslims granted asylum in northern Europe fair, especially badly in this regard.” Merkel stated in October 2010 her “country’s attempts to create a multicultural society have ‘utterly failed.’” In addressing young members of her Christian Democratic Union party, Merkel stated that, “the idea of people from different cultural backgrounds living happily ‘side-by-side’ did not work. She said the onus was on immigrants to do more to integrate into German society. ‘This multicultural approach has failed, utterly failed.’”
Europe will soon face a hard reality– to stabilize and integrate this migrant population who will face substantial language and cultural barriers and who may be lacking in necessary education or certifications to seek meaningful employment. This in itself is problematic for such anticipated numbers.
Although this paper could not ascertain costs of maintaining a refugee family of four in Germany the cost in Canada is reported to be $40,000(Cdn). ] A British Freedom of Information Request “revealed that taxpayers are paying over one million dollars (£726,000) a day to house and feed asylum seekers.” The article states that “the cost of housing asylum seekers, with other basic expenses for 2013-2014 was £265 million, which equates to more than £700,000 per day.”  This economic burden will likely increase by the costs relating to deporting those found to be not bona fide refugees. The British Home Secretary Theresa May believes that the UK is paying a high price for mass immigration that is putting intense pressure on schools and housing with little economic benefit.  Not to mention the public purse.
The Political Impact Upon Merkel – Reality Bites Back
When Merkel offered to assist the thousands of immigrants being held in Hungary in August, the polls showed that the German population supported her initiative. However, when the forecast surfaced that Germany could be hosting up to one million refugees, the openly hospitable mood shifted. Merkel faced growing criticism in Europe, not only from Hungarian Prime Minister Orban, but also from political allies. Donald Tusk, the Pole who chairs EU summits, commented in the wake of his visit to Turkey, Jordan and Egypt that, “It is likely that more refugees towards Europe will flow through their countries, not less. Especially since almost all of them feel invited to Europe, he said, in a diplomatic dig at Germany. ”
Merkel’s statement “that no Syrian would be kicked out of Germany if they made it across the border” is a dramatic repudiation of EU rules which state that asylum must be claimed in the first country reached. Some German MPs argue angrily that if the Dublin rules were strictly applied, only 3,000 of this year’s asylum seekers would have the legal right to remain in Germany.” It was reported that Merkel was under substantial political pressure when she agreed to institute border controls in order to constrain the rush of immigrants when the Christian Social Union (CSU) hardened their position and threatened to leave her governing coalition. 
Germany’s open-hearted welcome to refugees had hit a reality wall. The German infrastructure to support the refugee system, as well as those of other EU nations, had been overwhelmed. As one commentator noted, “The moral high ground cannot bear too much reality. Moral shaming will not fix this. Appeals to burden-sharing will not fix this. Arguments that immigrants are essential to boost Europe’s sluggish economies will not fix this. Even earnest editorials in The New York Times won’t fix this. The only fix is for the EU to regain control of its external borders, so that they can manage the influx.”
The Quota System
The idea of instituting a quota system was rejected by a number of EU members; moreover many EU members were resentful of being lectured to by wealthier Western EU counterparts. The economic conditions and social benefits vary substantially from country to country. In Estonia, refugees receive €90 per month, while in Denmark they receive €797  until the recent government cutback. Refugees who settle in less wealthy EU countries will likely migrate to those nations who can provide more generous benefits.
Also of concern is that the UN doctrine of asylum considers it an “absolute human right, unconditionally available to all qualified applicants regardless of practical or political considerations. In other words, if you show up they have to take you in. This may be the law, but it’s politically unenforceable.” This raises the concern as to whether Merkel and her German government have really understood the economic implications, considering that many EU nations are experiencing sluggish economies. Furthermore, they have serious issues with youth unemployment, as well as political, social and economic concerns to assimilate an influx of immigrants, many of whom may not or will not integrate into the host nation and its society, as Sweden, France, Germany, as well as others have experienced. The EU, under the umbrella of German generosity, reinforced the wrong policy response to this human tsunami which has now given the incentive to desperate Syrians, as well as hundreds of thousands of others, to take the arduous journey to Europe.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, the Commissioner in charge of the European response to the migrant situation, dismissed the idea that there could be a backlash by EU members in regard to EU’s handling of the crisis. Particularly contentious is that the European Commission has focused on the migration quota rather than securing the borders and insuring that first stop countries, such as Italy and Greece, register, photograph and fingerprint all refugees, as required by the EU. More than 80% of migrants entering the EU via Italy or Greece do so without registering, in direct contravention of the European Commission rules.
Avramopoulos stated that, “The commission does not take the blame because it does not care about the political cost.” He reinforced his unapologetic stance further by stating that, “The commission is here for five years to do its job and we did it with vision, responsibility and commitment. Because what is driving us is not to be re-elected. That is why for us the political cost means nothing… This is the message I would send all around Europe; stop thinking about the so-called political cost.” This attitude contrasts with the concerns of politicians who “warned that Europe needed to seal its borders or expect the collapse of the passport-free Schengen travel zone-or even the end of the union itself.” Europe cannot operate on an open door policy, as this is neither the first nor the last refugee crisis of the 21st century.
To address this continuing crisis, the West must ultimately reduce the number of migrants crossing into Europe from Africa and elsewhere. Many of these are economic migrants who see Europe as an opportunity for economic advancement and financial gain. Unfortunately, the streets of Warsaw, Berlin, London, Paris, Brussels, Oslo, Budapest, amongst others, are not paved with gold and their respective treasuries are not overflowing. Notwithstanding, the West has a moral obligation to help develop those countries requiring economic and social developmental assistance so that their populations want to stay. As well, the West must address illegal migration by returning those not assessed as bona fide refugees to their home countries in an expeditious manner. Police and intelligence organizations must pursue the criminal elements that encourage vulnerable populations to make this journey. This will require close international cooperation amongst intelligence, police and security forces to tackle people smugglers who profit out of misery. It is incumbent upon governments, the UN, the EU and non-governmental organizations to better target foreign aid and increase investment in these areas.
Nations have the moral imperative to protect those who are genuinely escaping conflict or political, religious or cultural persecution. However, those who are essentially entering countries under the false flag of being a refugee, but who are in reality an economic migrant, must be expeditiously identified and returned to their country of origin. Germany is already confronting this situation as it struggles with an endless wave of asylum seekers. One report noted that Germany has deported 11,522  rejected asylum seekers while a further 21,000  have left voluntarily. “But newly released official figures show 193,500(rejected asylum seekers) are still in the country despite having their applications for asylum rejected.” Hence Merkel’s government is in intense negotiations aimed at repatriating these large number of failed asylum seekers to their respective home countries or nearest safe area.
The Mood Changes – Germany Rolls Up the Red Carpet
The mood in Germany is rapidly changing. One report noted that, “there is now deepening disquiet in this Christian country, dotted with churches, that it is being overwhelmed by people of a different religion and culture.” A letter authored by social workers and women’s groups in the town of Giessen to the local state parliament claimed “rape and child abuse were rife in the refugee camp. The allegations were corroborated by one male migrant who noted, “The camp is dangerous […] Men of different nationalities fight and women are attacked.
The controversial letter further stated that the refugee camp near Giessen was not a peaceful haven for migrants fleeing conflict. In contrast, it was the site of a “dangerous melting pot” where numerous rapes and sexual assaults against women and children, as well as forced prostitution. The letter reportedly broaches the politically uncomfortable issue of social, cultural and religious perceptions, “’that in the migrant culture, women are viewed differently ‘it is a fact that women and children are unprotected. This situation is opportune for those men who already regard women as their inferiors and treat unaccompanied women as ‘fair game.’”
While this could be considered “xenophobic scaremongering,” it cannot be ignored that Germany and other EU members are grappling with a major cultural clash given the numbers of migrants pouring into their countries. The situation is exacerbated by reports that 80% of the migrant population are Muslim, single and male. Security issues came to the fore when it was discovered that private security company guards hired by the German government for the former United States (US) military base that houses 2,000 migrants in Bayernkaserne, near Munich were selling guns, knives and trafficking drugs, while turning a blind eye to the prostitution in the camp.
In the Bavarian town of Mering where a teenage girl was reportedly raped, police authorities have advised parents not to allow their children to go out unaccompanied. Meanwhile girls and women “have been told not to walk home alone from the railway station, because it is near a migrant center were the rapist may live.” In Pocking, another Bavarian town, “the headmaster of the grammar school wrote to parents telling them not to let their daughters wear skimpy clothing. This was to avoid ‘misunderstandings’ with 200 migrants who were put up in the school’s gymnasium over the summer, before being moved on.”
Reports that police authorities are not reporting or have been ordered not to report migrant criminal activity is disconcerting. In Detmold, in central Germany, a young Muslim girl was reportedly sexually assaulted by a fellow migrant in June 2015. The daughter, accompanied by her mother, was said to be escaping her own country due to the ‘culture of sexual violence.’ Apparently police authorities kept silent about the assault, which was revealed in September after a local newspaper detailed what had happened, claiming that German police authorities were not going to go public about migrant- orchestrated crimes. According to one report, “German authorities are not ‘going public’ about crimes involving migrants because they don’t want to ‘give legitimacy’ to critics of mass migration.”
Such incidents, combined with the continued flow of migrants, play into the hands of the neo-Nazis according to Germany’s domestic intelligence service. According to reports, “Germany is experiencing greater radicalisation, with increased activity from far-right groups, a responding rise in far-left activism and clashes between groups of immigrants.” In one case, the German state of Thuringia had to separate migrants by nationality in the wake of riots between Afghans and Syrians in the town of Suhl. In Calden, in the state of Hesse, 14 were injured in clashes between Afghan and Pakistan migrants.
To further exacerbate the now tense situation, Germany has begun to evict German citizens residing in municipality-owned apartments in order to make housing available to the migrants. Gabrielle Keller, a rent-paying resident of 23 years, must find new accommodations by the end of year to make way for asylum-seekers. Keller is one of a number of German citizens experiencing eviction. Another, Bettina Halbey, a nurse, is reportedly also being evicted from her home of 16 years in the town of Nieheim as cityand town authorities are scrambling to meet the growing need of accommodating the tens of thousands of refugees streaming into the country.
Media Reporting Misrepresenting the ‘Ground Truth’
The media is skewering impressions of the mass migration. In a confrontation with Hungarian border guards and refugees, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) showed young men throwing stones. One report noted that “The rioting, fit young men were of course described as ‘hungry’, ‘desperate’ and ‘defensive,’ but at least the images were shown.” It appears that this is not the case on German TV as media outlet Frankfurter Allgemenie reported, “the most dramatic pictures could not be seen-instead, women and children, fleeing the tear gas by security forces (was shown) […] German television suggesting disproportionate action by Hungary; however, the BBC reported on the ‘defense of the borders.’” It was also reported, “Other images show the men using the small number of children present as a human shield for the cameras.” The Frankfurter Allgemenie report continues, “After reading the British media-