What we have done for refugees is enough — PM | Jordan Times


AMMAN — Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour on Saturday said that it is impossible for the national economy to cope with the sharp increase in population by three million as a result of the refugee influx.

The premier’s remarks to journalists came following a visit he made to the Azraq Refugee Camp ahead of the London refugee donors’ conference next week, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Azraq camp, some 100km east of Amman and 20km west of the town of Azraq in Zarqa Governorate, is currently home to 29,992 Syrian refugees, according to the UNHCR’s latest available figures. It is the second such makeshift city after the Zaatari camp, where around 80,000 refugees take shelter. The rest of the 1.265 million Syrians live in host communities, constituting in all 13.2 per cent of the overall population of around 9.5 million, according to the results of the national census announced Saturday.

“His Majesty King Abdullah will make it very clear during the conference that the Syria crisis is no longer a refugee concern only but a security burden, an issue of sleeper cells, illicit drugs trafficking, terror and radicalism,” Ensour said.

“It is true that supporting the Syrian refugees is our duty but we are doing this on behalf of the world, especially Europe.”

Ensour said that the Syrian refugees would have headed to Europe if Jordan had closed its borders and provided them with no decent living, Petra said.

“We are not begging the world for help but we are carrying out our moral and humanitarian duties,” Ensour said, adding: “Jordan’s response to the crisis of the Syrian refugees has been marked with generosity, responsibility, wisdom, sound planning and management, if compared to that of other hosting countries.”

Referring the national consensus results, Ensour said Syrians in Jordan are “our guests and brothers. However, the Kingdom is not an oil-rich country but a rather a state of a modest economy not exceeding in size JD40 billion and is incapable of absorbing the sharp increase of population”.

Jordan has never changed its open-border policy when it come to the Syrian refugees, Ensour stressed, adding that the world is required to support the economy of the refugee-burdened Kingdom to create job opportunities for Jordanians and refugees as well. “If this happens, then we can keep our borders open and, if not, then how can Jordan, in light of its troubled budget, be able to serve them [refugees]?” 

“We want the world to shoulder its responsibilities and, if it chooses not to, we will say that what we have done is enough.”

On the Syrians now living across the Jordanian-Syrian border, Ensour said that they are offered heated shelters, food and medication by Jordan.

“Why has this number been the world’s focus at the time Jordan has received and is still receiving refugees?” Ensour said, adding, “The problem with this group of Syrians is that they have come from Syria’s Raqqa and Qameshli in the northeast and not from the regions bordering Jordan. We have the right to ensure that there is no security threat from this group because it came from this place [a Daesh  stronghold].”

Ensour also said Jordan has ambitions that the London conference  would see a change in the world’s way of handling of the Syrian crisis, from a matter of emergency and relief assistance to an approach entailing development goals concerning the economies of host countries. 

– See more at: http://www.jordantimes.com/news/local/what-we-have-done-refugees-enough-%E2%80%94-pm#sthash.5CKkoXGv.dpuf

Source: What we have done for refugees is enough — PM | Jordan Times


Many in Calais Jungle AREN’T refugees and ARE after benefits, judge says | Daily Mail Online

Mr Justice McCloskey also said many in the Calais camp, pictured, have ‘no real basis’ to be there and will decline asylum in France in favour of Britain because of ‘perceived advantages’.

Many migrants living in the ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais are ‘probably not’ genuine refugees who flock there just to get to the UK, a senior immigration judge said today.

Mr Justice McCloskey also said many have ‘no real basis’ to be there and will decline to claim asylum in France in favour of Britain because of ‘perceived advantages’.

He also said there was no reason for many in the squalid camp to remain there.

His warning came in a landmark ruling allowing three teenagers and a disabled man from Syria to come to Britain from Calais because their siblings are already here.

Campaigners claim the case could clear the way for hundreds more to come from the Calais camp

Justice McCloskey said their case was ‘special’ but admitted that it could lead to hundreds more similar asylum applications.

His full judgment, issued today said: ‘It seems likely that there is no real basis for many of its occupants remaining indefinitely in The Jungle and enduring the conditions that obtain there.

‘Many are probably not refugees in any general sense or any sense entitled to recognition.

‘Rather, they are migrant nationals of a number of countries outside the European Union, who, while intending to make a claim for refugee status, decline to make the claim in France due to perceived advantages, correct or otherwise, of doing so in the United Kingdom.

‘In general terms there is no basis at all for thinking that a person who claims asylum in France will not be treated properly and will not have the benefit of the reception and other facilities which those duties entail.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3422995/Many-migrants-Calais-Jungle-aren-t-actually-refugees-choose-Britain-advantages-leading-immigration-judges-rule.html#ixzz3ypkqaPPV
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Source: Many in Calais Jungle AREN’T refugees and ARE after benefits, judge says | Daily Mail Online

Germany tightens refugee policy as Finland joins Sweden in deportations | World news | The Guardian

1029294421Germany has moved to toughen its asylum policies as Finland and Sweden announced plans to deport tens of thousands of people in a bid to contain the migrant crisis.Sigmar Gabriel, the vice chancellor, announced that Germany would place Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia on a list of “safe countries of origin” – meaning that migrants from those countries would have little chance of winning asylum.

Some migrants would also be blocked from bringing their families to join them in Germany for two years, Gabriel said.

The tougher rules come after Germany, the European Union’s powerhouse economy, took in some 1.1 million migrants in 2015 – many of them refugees fleeing conflict in Syria.

German chancellor Angela Merkel has come under fierce pressure in recent months to reverse her open-arms policy to those fleeing war and persecution, including opposition from within her own conservative camp.

Finland meanwhile joined Sweden on Thursday in announcing plans to deport tens of thousands of refused asylum seekers.

The two Nordic countries are both struggling to cope with an influx of refugees and migrants fleeing misery in the Middle East and elsewhere – receiving amongst the highest numbers of arrivals per capita in the EU.

The Finnish government expects to deport around two thirds of the 32,000 asylum seekers that arrived in 2015, Päivi Nerg, administrative director of the interior ministry, told AFP.

Source: Germany tightens refugee policy as Finland joins Sweden in deportations | World news | The Guardian

Wanted: a grand bargain to rescue EU from ‘polycrisis’ | Reuters

BRUSSELS – The European Union needs an ambitious grand bargain at its next summit to rescue itself from an accumulation of crises that threaten to blow apart its model of integration.

Like children at a birthday party, each leader has to get a going-home present. And as with many children’s parties,  there may be a tantrum along the way.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is at risk at home from a backlash against a mass influx of Syrian refugees. British Prime Minister David Cameron is trying to win a referendum on staying in the EU and cannot help her due to public hostility to immigration. Nor can French President Francois Hollande, who is struggling for re-election in a country transfixed by the threat from Islamist militants.

Berlin, the EU’s pivotal power, sees controlling migration as the central priority as it tries to cope with one million asylum seekers who have arrived in the last year.

Ideally, EU leaders need to forge a deal on Feb. 18-19 that encompasses effective action to strengthen Europe’s external borders and share the refugee burden, and a mutually acceptable solution to Britain’s demands to change its membership terms.

A comprehensive package would also need to address Italy’s political and economic frustrations with the EU, Greece’s quest for substantial debt relief, and Poland’s wish to see NATO raise its military presence in eastern Europe to deter Russia.

“These deals are only possible when countries are in a state of symmetrical despair,” said Laszlo Andor, a professor at Brussels’ ULB University and former Hungarian EU commissioner.

Source: Wanted: a grand bargain to rescue EU from ‘polycrisis’ | Reuters

FBI negotiates with defiant Oregon refuge holdouts | Reuters

The FBI negotiated with four armed occupants at a remote federal wildlife refuge in Oregon on Saturday while the holdouts in a video posted online expressed their mistrust of the government and reluctance to leave.

One of the four protesters remaining at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge said in a darkly lit video posted on Friday that he wanted to be assured he would not be arrested if he left. Others with him expressed similar sentiments.

Tensions in the standoff remained high four days after Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, 54, a spokesman for the group that seized buildings at the refuge on Jan. 2, was killed by police during the arrests of occupation leader Ammon Bundy and several other protesters as they traveled on a highway.

Supporters staged a rally in the nearby ranching community of Burns on Saturday night. About 30 pick-up trucks and other vehicles honked horns and waved flags – U.S., Confederate and Gadsden – as they drove. Passing the courthouse, protesters yelled “murderer” and “FBI go home.”

B.J. Soper, a founding member of the Pacific Patriots Network, said: “It came from the locals, who asked up to help out and organize this driving rally and show support for the community.”

But Mayor Craig LaFollette said the protesters were mostly outsiders who had disrupted the community, adding: “We don’t want them here.”

Soper countered that rally footage showed “about 70 percent of the vehicles were actually locals.”

The FBI said Finicum reached for a gun during the confrontation, which was recorded on grainy video. His family disputes that.


Source: FBI negotiates with defiant Oregon refuge holdouts | Reuters

Germany’s Merkel says refugees must return home once war is over | Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel tried on Saturday to placate the increasingly vocal critics of her open-door policy for refugees by insisting that most refugees from Syria and Iraq would go home once the conflicts there had ended.

Despite appearing increasingly isolated, Merkel has resisted pressure from some conservatives to cap the influx of refugees, or to close Germany’s borders.

Support for her conservative bloc has slipped as concerns mount about how Germany will integrate the 1.1 million migrants who arrived last year, while crime and security are also in the spotlight after a wave of assaults on women in Cologne at New Year by men of north African and Arab appearance.

The influx has played into the hands of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), whose support is now in the double digits, and whose leader was quoted on Saturday saying that migrants entering illegally should, if necessary, be shot.

Merkel said it was important to stress that most refugees had only been allowed to stay for a limited period.

“We need … to say to people that this is a temporary residential status and we expect that, once there is peace in Syria again, once IS has been defeated in Iraq, that you go back to your home country with the knowledge that you have gained,” she told a regional meeting of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Merkel said 70 percent of the refugees who fled to Germany from former Yugoslavia in the 1990s had returned.

Horst Seehofer, leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, has threatened to take the government to court if the flow of asylum seekers is not cut.

Merkel urged other European countries to offer more help “because the numbers need to be reduced even further and must not start to rise again, especially in spring”.


Fabrice Leggeri, the head of the European Union’s border agency Frontex, said a U.N. estimate that up to a million migrants could try to come to Europe via the eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans next year was realistic.

“It would be a big achievement if we could keep the number … stable,” he told the magazine Der Spiegel.

Merkel said all EU states should have an interest in protecting the bloc’s external borders, and all would suffer if the internal passport-free Schengen zone collapsed and national borders were closed.

AfD leader Frauke Petry told the Mannheimer Morgen newspaper that Germany needed to reduce the influx through agreements with neighboring Austria and a reinforcement of the EU’s external borders.

But she also said it should not be shy about turning people back and creating “border protection installations” – and that border guards should, if necessary, shoot at migrants trying to enter illegally.

No police officer wanted to shoot at a migrant, Petry said, adding “I don’t want that either but, ultimately, deterrence includes the use of armed force”.

Such comments evoke memories of Germany’s Cold War division, when guards in the communist East, led by Erich Honecker, were under orders to shoot people attempting to cross the heavily fortified border into the West.

“The last German politician who let refugees be shot at was Erich Honecker,” said Thomas Oppermann, a senior member of the Social Democrats.

(Additional reporting and writing by Michelle Martin in Berlin; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Source: Germany’s Merkel says refugees must return home once war is over | Reuters

Half the Foreign Policy Experts Signing Clinton’s Anti-Sanders Letter Have Ties to Military Contractors


The letter’s writers feel that Sanders has “not thought through … crucial national security issues that can have profound consequences for our security.”

The missive from the Clinton campaign was covered widely in the press, but what wasn’t disclosed in the coverage is that fully half of the former State Department officials and ambassadors who signed the letter, and who are now backing Clinton, are now enmeshed in the military contracting establishment, which has benefited tremendously from escalating violence around the world, particularly in the Middle East.

Here are some of the letter signatories’ current employment positions that were not disclosed in the reporting of the letter:

  • Former Assistant Defense Secretary Derek Chollet, former Pentagon and CIA Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash, and former Deputy National Security Adviser Julianne Smith are now employed by the consulting firm Beacon Global Strategies, a firm we profiled last year. Beacon Global Strategies’ staff advises both Clinton and Republican candidates for president, including Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. The firm makes money by providing advice to a clientele that is primarily military contractors.
    • Beacon Global Strategies, however, has refused to disclose the identity of its clients.
    • Former Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns is a senior counselor at the Cohen Group, a consulting firm founded by former Defense Secretary William Cohen. The firm “assists aerospace and defense firms on policy, business development, and transactions,” including deals in the U.S., Turkey, Israel, and the Middle East.
    • Former Undersecretary of Defense Jim Miller is an advisory boardmember to Endgame Systems, a start-up that has been called the “Blackwater of Hacking.” Miller is also on the board of BEI Precision Systems & Space, a military contractor.

Source: Half the Foreign Policy Experts Signing Clinton’s Anti-Sanders Letter Have Ties to Military Contractors

ISIS Has Whole Fake Passport ‘Industry,’ Official Says | Restoring Liberty


By Brian Ross, Michele McPhee and Lee Ferran. The terror group ISIS has created a whole “industry” out of the production of fake passports, a high-level French official said today.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters that through ISIS’s operations in Syria, Iraq and Libya, the group has acquired blank passports and has now set up a “real fake document industry.” Cazeneuve made the statement following a meeting with top European officials where he proposed setting up a new task force to help nab people attempting to come into the European Union with fake papers.

Last month ABC News reported that U.S. intelligence suspected ISIS had acquired thousands of blank Syrian passports and at least one passport printing machine after taking over government offices in Syria. Officials from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) said in a 17-page report that the terror group has likely been able to print legitimate-looking Syrian passports since at least last summer – and raised the possibility that people using the forged documents have snuck into America.

“Since more than 17 months [have] passed since Raqqa and Deir ez-Zour fell to ISIS, it is possible that individuals from Syria with passports ‘issued’ in these ISIS-controlled cities or who had passport blanks, may have traveled to the U.S.,” the HSI report says. (Read more from “ISIS Has Whole Fake Passport ‘Industry,’ Official Says” HERE)

Islamic State Plans Attacks From Camps in Europe, Europol Says

By James G. Neuger. Islamic State has set up a special operations command to mastermind more terrorist attacks on “soft targets” in Europe, drawing on training camps on European soil and with France as the most at-risk country, the European Union’s crime-fighting agency said.

The model is the simultaneous shootings at several locations in Paris in November which killed 130, with most of the bloodshed at a concert hall in eastern Paris, said the agency, known as Europol.

It is possible that similar operations “are currently being planned and prepared,” Europol said in a report released on Monday during a meeting of EU interior ministers in Amsterdam. “The wide range of possible targets in combination with an opportunistic approach of locally based groups creates a huge variety of possible scenarios for future terrorist events.” (Read more from “Islamic State Plans Attacks From Camps in Europe, Europol Says” HERE)

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Source: ISIS Has Whole Fake Passport ‘Industry,’ Official Says | Restoring Liberty

Russia to overcome corruption slowly but surely – Putin — RT Russian politics

Fighting corruption is an extremely complicated task that requires time, but society must gradually fulfill it or face even bigger problems, President Vladimir Putin told officials on Tuesday.

The question is not in achieving some brilliant victories in this sphere today or tomorrow, this is a very difficult task. But if we stop now, things will only get worse. We must move only forward,” Putin said at the session of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Council.

READ MORE: Putin urges zero tolerance to corruption

The president urged the officials to be more active and use various legal mechanisms to confiscate the illegally-acquired property and return it to the state.

According to statistics, of 15.5 billion rubles ($194 million) to be returned by court orders after corruption trials we have so far managed to return only 588 million rubles (over $7 million),” Putin said.

The Russian leader emphasized that this should be also done at an international level.

We must return the assets that have been illegally or unlawfully transferred under different jurisdictions,” he said. “Any attempts of bribery of Russian or foreign civil servants by commercial structures committed on the territory of foreign states must be cut short.”

At the same time, the president noted that the Russian anti-corruption laws were matching the international standards and Russian state structures already had special mechanisms allowing them to uncover corruption at all levels.

Source: Russia to overcome corruption slowly but surely – Putin — RT Russian politics