A lesson from Brexit: Stop ignoring Syria

Joyce Karam writes: The political earthquake that Great Britain witnessed last Thursday with the victory for the Brexit camp setting the stage to the UK’s exit from the EU, is not only a product of David Cameron’s mistakes and Europe’s struggle with its own demons, but has its roots 2,000 miles away in the raging war, the counterterrorism nightmare and the humanitarian disaster called Syria.

The Syrian war is the elephant in the room when it comes to the rise of identity-politics, and the protectionist wave across Europe and in the United States. The unprecedented refugee influx, the largest since World War II coming primarily from Syria, and the country’s transformation into a hub for every Jihadist group and extremist recruitment machinery, has sent shockwaves through Europe and is feeding a political rhetoric of hate and racism across the continent.

This rhetoric won’t necessarily go away if Syria is resolved, but it will only grow if the conflict is left to spread and fester. [Continue reading…]

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2 thoughts on “A lesson from Brexit: Stop ignoring Syria

  1. Óscar Palacios

    However, I’m afraid that exactly the opposite will occur. Far from becoming more relevant, Syria has now been effectively eclipsed by Brexit. And to no-one’s amazement; the apparent implosion of the West is a far more breath taking event than the Syrian tragedy that most of the world has already become used to. I dislike Marine Le Pen but she’s right when she compares Brexit to the fall of the Berlin Wall. European disunion brings to mind the first half of the twentieth century.

  2. Paul Woodward

    In the short-term, I completely agree. Beyond that, where the focus remains depends on how negotiations with the EU unfold and to what degree a domino effect ripples across Europe. An additional external factor will be the outcome of the US presidential election. If Trump wins we have indeed returned to the 1930s (or even worse). Even if he doesn’t win, the picture in Europe looks bleak.

    As someone who has always supported the principle of political devolution in the UK, I find myself in the strange position of feeling that it is more important than ever that the UK becomes united — of course I can’t say “remain” united because it’s current fracturing is far too obvious.

    One of the few rays of light right now is coming from Scotland. If a Scottish coup could somehow be engineered and Nicola Sturgeon became a national unity prime minister in London, I’d gladly say: We’re all Scots now!

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