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When the Purpose of War is to Create Refugees

March 30, 2015
Plain English Version
Refugees of the Yazidi sect fleeing Islamic state terrorists in Syria.

Refugees of the Yazidi sect fleeing Islamic state terrorists in Syria.

People are leaving their countries in vast numbers. More are leaving than any time since World War II. Most are moving from the Middle East, North Africa and Central America. They are moving to get to safety, and they are moving on to richer countries where they hope to find housing, schools and jobs.

It is commonly thought that people are fleeing because of war and danger.

Syria and Iraq are battlefields.  Violence from religious differences is taking place in countries such as Angola, Somali and Nigeria.

Another view is that migration is the outcome of deliberate acts by governments to move unwanted groups out of their country.

Palestinians are a well-known example of political refugees. Experts are finding many more examples.

What is happening in Syria and Iraq is a form of politics called “ethnic cleansing.” It is a phrase made popular during the Balkan Wars in the 1990s. The dictator, Tito, held Yugoslavia together. When he died, the nation split into ethnic factions. Refugees were created not just by violence, but also by efforts to drive them out of their hometowns.

Sunni and Shite forces are fighting to get rid of each other in Syria and Iraq. War is the way they drive out unwanted people. Turkey is another example. The military is driving out the Kurdish population.

Saddam Hussein displaced ethnic communities by force. So has Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Recently, the Egyptian military began evicting Sinai residents to create a buffer zone with the Gaza Strip.

Experts say the violence is the reason people leave an area. They point out that sometimes the purpose of the violence is to make them move.

Source: The Washington Post March 4, 2015

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