The refugee crisis: conspiracy theories and real causes

Before I tackle the subject of conspiracy theories, here’s a news item that should not be overlooked. On October 8 Pablo Gorondi of the Associated Press reported from Budapest that “troops from the European Union or NATO will be allowed to help defend Hungary’s borders due to the migrant crisis.” According to the decree that appeared in Magyar Közlöny, the Hungarian government will allow as many as 1,000 troops from EU or NATO countries to take part in a border defense operation called “Common Will.”

What on earth, I thought, is going on? Are there any plans on the part of NATO or the European Union to defend Hungarian borders as an expression of common will? Well, that is highly unlikely. No, this is a unilateral move on the part of the Orbán government after it managed to convince two of the Visegrád4 countries–the Czech Republic and Slovakia–to send a few policemen and soldiers to join the close to 5,000 Hungarian soldiers and thousands of policemen who currently patrol the borders with Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia. Slovakia will send 50 policemen and the Czech Republic 25 soldiers. So, before anyone falls for Viktor Orbán’s latest trick, this is the “common will” of only three recalcitrant East European countries: Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, countries that belong to the European Union and that are members of NATO but that do not act or speak in the name of either the European Union or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Conspiracy theories

Ever since the influx of asylum seekers Hungarians, and I think not only Hungarians, have tried to find reasons for the sudden upsurge. Hungarian public officials quite openly expressed their doubts that such an unexpected migration of so many people could happen without some central direction. There are several candidates, from the United States to ISIS.

The United States

Of course, the first suspect is the United States. The American government is pouring huge amounts of money into the project of moving millions of would-be refugees to Europe. Specifically to Hungary. The Americans, according to one theory, want to weaken the European Union, though up to now I haven’t heard one half-intelligent explanation of why the United States would want to destroy the European Union economically and politically. As for the United States in some mysterious way directing the migrant traffic to Hungary, the simple explanation is that “they hate us.” That is, Washington doesn’t like Viktor Orbán’s Christian, national government.

Israel

Lately the Hungarian extreme right’s pro-Palestinian rhetoric has subsided somewhat in light of the arrival of large numbers of Muslims who, in their opinion, threaten Christian Europe. Those who believe that Israel with the help of its powerful ally in Europe, Germany, is behind the refugee crisis maintain that it is to Israel’s advantage to get rid of as many Muslims from the area as possible. The greatest Hungarian proponent of this theory is István Lovas, who is convinced that Merkel, because of German remorse, is “overcompensating” in favor of Israel. In order to lighten the Muslim burden on Israel, Merkel is ready to take a few million Arabs from the region.

Russia

Putin is behind the migrant crisis because it is in his interest to create chaos in Europe and split the Union’s 28 member states over the issue. That’s why he has been supplying the Syrian government forces with weapons and is now intervening militarily in the Syrian conflict. As a footnote, I might add that just today the Czech minister of defense in an interview with Mladá Fronta Dnes revealed that his Hungarian counterpart, István Simicskó, told him that it is likely that Russia is underwriting part of Serbia’s expenses in connection with the migrant crisis. Russian-paid buses have delivered almost half a million refugees to the Schengen borders. The Hungarian ministry of defense, responding to the revelation, is “certain that the Czech politician misunderstood Simicskó’s words” at the meeting of EU ministers of defense on October 8.

Turkey, Iran, Arab states, ISIS

All of the above are accused by the conspiracy theorists of selfish designs. The Turks want to get rid of some of the millions of refugees residing in refugee camps in their country. Iran might be behind the exodus because the refugees are mostly Sunnis. The rich Arab states want to send the refugees to Europe in order to spread Islam. And of course, ISIS should have no objection to the migration of Muslims to Europe since it is expected that they will eventually return to fight for the cause. In addition, of course, ISIS is sending terrorists to Europe hidden among the refugees.

refugee child

The more likely causes

Back in September Liz Sly wrote a cogent summary in The Washington Post of the likely causes for the sudden upsurge of so many people leaving Syria and Turkey to find asylum in the European Union. As she put it, it is “a complicated mix of war, weather and logistical considerations [that] lies behind the extraordinary influx of refugees and migrants into Europe this summer.”

One of the main causes of this influx of refugees is the escalating war in Syria. Without the Syrians, Liz Sly claims, the number of refugees would not exceed last year’s figures. In her opinion, half of those who are coming now are Syrians. Of course, one could argue that there is nothing new in that, but we must not forget that lately the Assad regime has been suffering from a serious shortage of manpower. Therefore, since the beginning of the year, the government has embarked on a drive to enlist reservists to serve in the army. Many of the young Syrian men fleeing to Europe come from government-held areas and say that they were escaping forced conscription.

Another reason for the sudden surge is Macedonia’s decision in June to lift harsh measures aimed at preventing refugees from entering the country. As a result, a safer and cheaper route from Turkey to Greece and from there through the Balkan countries to Hungary became attractive. Earlier the refugees had to take the dangerous route from Libya to Italy. With the changing route the trip itself became a great deal less expensive. From Turkey to one of the Greek islands is only a 20-minute trip. Now $2,000-$3,000 will suffice as opposed to the trip to Libya and from there to Italy, which cost between $5,000 and $6,000. So, more people can afford the trip. In addition, the refugees are taking advantage of the clement weather of the summer months.

Interestingly, while the Assad regime has been forcing young men under the age of 30 to enlist in the army, it has at the same time been making it quite easy for young men who want to avoid military service to leave the country. “This has confirmed the suspicions of many Syria watchers that Assad has deliberately encouraged the refugee flow … as part of a strategy to empty the country of potential opponents.”

Another reason for many to start their long journey to Europe is the miserable situation in which they are forced to live in Turkey. They are denied work and most of the children cannot attend school. Many of the refugees say that the main reason for heading to Europe is their children’s future.

Last but not least, there is no denying that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s announcement that Germany would offer temporary residence to all the refugees added impetus to the exodus. Some of the people who recently left Turkey told reporters that they saw TV footage of Germans welcoming the refugees.

So, forget about conspiracy theories. In the next few months we will see whether the exodus from the Middle East will slow or not. One thing is certain: it will not be Hungary’s fence that will stop it.

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Reality Check
Guest
Guest

‘The Hungarian ministry of defense, responding to the revelation, is “certain that the Czech politician misunderstood Simicskó’s words” at the meeting of EU ministers of defense on October 8.’

Since Orbán and his spokesmen seem to be “misunderstood” on so many occassions, I would like to offer a helpful suggestion-

Why don’t all the members of the Fidesz government, from the top down, enroll in some Communications Skills workshops, so that when they do make announcements to the world about their brilliant strategies, there will be no room for “misunderstanding”.

At the moment, their countless unprofessional and childish statements are an invitation for an equally childish but more straight-forward response such as “liar, liar, pants on fire”.

Guest

Re: Hungarian ‘misunderstanding’

Not too sure the word ‘disambiguation’ is in the Hungarian dictionary today with pronouncements usually couched in ambiguity and sleight of hand.

Arguably Hungary today is a haven for verbal magicians who get alot of practice in making (adjusting?) ‘law’. And no doubt they saw how well it worked when it came to ‘certain’ troops not in and never were in Ukraine. These kinds of things always contribute to dirty windows. So how do those Parliament windows look?

Nádas
Guest

One reason given by Syrians for their flight from home is their belief that the situation there is so bad that it cannot possibly recover even in the next 20 or 25 years. Interestingly, many Kosovars have given the same reason for leaving their country. In other words, they see no future for either themselves or their children in their home countries. Whether they will have a successful future in Europe remains to be seen, even if they are allowed to stay.

Dr. Balogh, if you find the time and are ready for a brief change of subject, how about the “földmutyi”?

cylee
Guest

Control of the media works.

It works in Russia and it works in Hungary too.

The tax-payer financed state TV in Hungary in its morning news show runs a 5-minute report based on an op-ed published by 888.hu (a partizan fidesznik internet news site) which says that George Soros [ie. the billionaire Jew, and Liberal, which is actually the same] “finances illegal immigration” in other words it’s the Jews (as usual) who are behind Islamic immigration. In connection with that Fidesz agrees and also says that George Soros supports illegal immigration financially. Moreover we get to know that poor Donald Trump is being unfairly attacked by people financed by – gasp – George Soros.

That’s on state TV and in a report that is nothing really special. The new normal. No wonder that Orban is more popular than ever and the leftists are goners.

http://martonbede.tumblr.com/post/130972715464/lastdaysm1hirado-belen%C3%A9ztem-d%C3%A9lben-a-h%C3%ADrad%C3%B3ba

Tyrker
Guest

“Jew, and Liberal, which is actually the same”

Why do you equate Jews with Liberals?

cylee
Guest

Sarcasm. In the Hungarian right-wing political discourse the two terms are for all practical purposes interchangeable.

A Jewish Hungarian is assumed to be “liberal” (whatever that means).

And any liberal (if not overtly Jewish then) is assumed to be secretly Jewish, though it is acknowledged that there are “minor exceptions” to this “rule” like Arpad Göncz (but that act of categorization is “very important”).

This is also why politically it’s great for Orban to be friends with right-wing orthodox conservative Jews like the Chabadnik. It gives the impression that secular Jews, hitherto “godless liberals”, also got to love Orban (given his presumed “irresistable charms” and “political genius”). Orban indeed can fool a lot of people, though.

cserhalmi janos
Guest

This is a great interview.

Jozsef Tobias the party chairman of MSZP (ie. the Socialist party, the most popular leftist party) refuses to say whether MSZP is planning/preparing for a government change, whether the good old “szoci”s would like ever to govern.

Yes, this is “an opposition party”, the current hope of “the Left”.

I always wondered how the Hungarian leftists could be that empty, corrupt and clueless?

What is it that attracts the most vapid people to the Hungarian left?

http://digidugi.tumblr.com/post/130749962940/t%C3%B3bi%C3%A1s-j%C3%B3zsef-nem-%C3%A1rulja-el-hogy-korm%C3%A1nyra

Koriand
Guest

What about the interferences and destabilizations of the Middle East countries by the “West” ? No, nothing ?

“Without the Syrians, Liz Sly claims, the number of refugees would not exceed last year’s figures. In her opinion, half of those who are coming now are Syrians. ”
In Hungary : 300 000 / 2 = 150 000 = 3 times more than the year before, when most of the migrants were from Kosovo, not pakistan, not afghanistan, etc.
Her opinion may be interresting, but we have precise figures about the different nationalities of the migrants crossing hungary. Until september, Syrians represented only one third of all the migrants. (according the datas from the HU gov).

Tyrker
Guest

Sly’s numbers are nothing but an uneducated guess.

tappanch
Guest

Orban spoke in confidential circles, spring 2015.

He was very close, “within 5 or 6 hours” to be ousted at the end of 2011 for the collapsing finances.

He and Matolcsy then announced that they would ask money from the IMF. They never intended to follow through with this, but the financial pressured eased by their announcement.

This and much more:

http://444.hu/2015/10/12/orban-korulirta-az-utodjat

nuncius
Guest

This is a joke, a “parasztvakítás”. Orban was never close to being ousted.

The rest of the story is useful though — Orban always fooled its adversaries and used out the idiotic foreigners with success (like the IMF and the EU). He is much smarter than the clueless and pathologically conformist Socialists or the naive Western politicians.

And as we know between the corrupt and the dumb (and corrupt), voters always choose the smart corrupt one.

Webber
Guest

Don’t be silly. He didn’t fool the IMF. The IMF couldn’t care less what sort of government any country has. All they want is to get their money back, and set fairly tough requirements for that. They also didn’t mind negotiating for nothing, other than creating the impression of stability. They do it all the time, and they specifically said this was all perfectly normal after it became clear that no loan was actually needed by Hungary.

As to the EU – I get the impression they don’t care much, either. If the Greek or Hungarian government want to embezzle money and impoverish their citizens, and those citizens keep electing them to office – that’s their problem, not the EU’s.

nuncius
Guest
“They also didn’t mind negotiating for nothing”. You bet. As long as the IMF officials can say to their superiors that they are “negotiating” they have a job. It’s still “an assignment”. It’s still a “potential deal in the pipeline”. The IMF officials duly played the part Orban assigned to them. That these IMF clowns do it all the time is really just a testament to the hopelessly bureaucratic operations of the IMF on which a smart politician can always count. Not the conformist leftists, though, who shit into their pants when they see a foreigner from the west. And of course why would the EU, a self-proclaimed political actor, care about looking (and being) totally impotent? By among others financing a corrupt tyrant who is undermining it totally, working for realizing the goals of Russia, why? Orban is a corrupt tyrant, but it always takes two to tango. The EU and the IMF etc. always, very dependably willing to participate in any corrupt scheme because such participation, acting, is what actually constitutes an organization, because such engagement prolongs its existence and the jobs of its employees. Moreover such engagements succeed (at least the bureaucrats think) to cover up the… Read more »
tappanch
Guest

The German authorities now expect 1.5 million refugees, including 0.9 million in the last quarter. This number stood at 0.45 million in early August, 0.8 million since August 19.

All right, the source is the “Bild”, so “cum grano salis”.

http://www.bild.de/bild-plus/politik/inland/fluechtlingskrise/1-5-millionen-fluechtlinge-erwartet-42887972

Istvan
Guest

Eva I see the small NATO deployment in Hungary as being related to this story http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/09/world/europe/russia-syria-intervention-nato.html?_r=0 Orban’s media people gave border defense the slant they wanted to. I could be wrong but that is how I see it.

spectator
Guest
It would even have been funny. If it wasn’t tragic! According to my estimation Orbán was quite a few times near enough to fell, but it never happened, au contraire! Somehow the so called ‘opposition’ never managed to recognise the opportunity and give the final push what needed. And they were even aware of it, but still, they just couldn’t gather their courage to do it! I even have the uncomfortable feeling that it all happened because of insecurity. Think about it – if Orbán toppled, someone else must take over. Who? If Fidesz totally went out of fashion and lost the leading political role, someone else should take the part. Just who’s that gonna be? In my opinion only a political gathering driving a DK-like integrity would ever have a chance, but there is no chance on Earth that it’s ever going to happen. Why? Enviousness, narrow-mindedness, preconceptions and personal greed, which usually managed to override the common interest during the whole modern time history as it happens. In this respect Hungary and the Hungarians might hold their head high, rightfully, because a very few nation can beat such stupidity at all, and none of them European. Yeah. I’m… Read more »
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