In a historic referendum, millions of British citizens voted Thursday, June 23, to leave the European Union after 43 years by a margin of 52 to 48 percent. Many were undoubtedly moved into approving this pivotal step by three seismic world events:
1. The mass migration flowing into Europe from the Middle East and Africa under the EU aegis. Forebodings in the UK were fueled by figures released a week before the referendum showing an influx of 330,000 migrants to Britain in 2015.
2. The war on the Islamic State which poses a peril which most Western governments avoid addressing by name as World War III in the making.
3. The inability of those governments, beyond empty words, to grapple with the war on ISIS or cope with the mass of migrants expected to beat on the gates of Western societies for many more hard years.
Many Americans and Europeans are dissatisfied and resentful of President Barack Obama’s approach to the war on ISIS, which is to dismiss the enemy as a minor band of fanatics and thus, rather than a war against Islam. Neither do they accept German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s magnanimous invitation to take refugees in – 1.5 million in two years – as her country’s moral responsibility.
This popular disgruntlement has thrown up such antiestablishment figures as Donald Trump in the US and Boris Johnson in Britain and contributes to the rise of far right-wing movements and extremist violence on both continents.
Those two leaders, though different in most other ways, owe much of their popularity to the pervasive fear in their countries that surging immigration will forever alter the fabric of their societies.
Such social upheaval is the result of a trap deliberately set for the West by two Muslim leaders: ISIS “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and Turkish President Tayyip Reccep Erdogan.
Al-Baghdadi conceived the idea of flooding the western world with waves of immigrants from Africa and the Middle East as a way to achieve three targets:
a) To change the composition of the population of Western countries by expanding the Muslim increment.
b) To plant networks of ISIS terrorists in the West.
c) To boost ISIS Middle Eastern arms, people and drugs smuggling networks as the organization’s main source of income. Migrants are willing to pay an average of between 5,000 and 10,000 dollars to reach the West even though they know that many never make it alive.
Al Baghdadi made up for the revenue shortfall caused by the US bombing of ISIS-held oil fields and money reserves by pushing over a new wave of immigrants.
President Erdogan’s motives are quite different.
He allowed the waves of immigrants to pass through Turkey on their way to the US and Europe – just as for years, he allowed Western jihadists joining ISIS to reach Siria via Turkey – because he was consumed with the desire to punish the US, namely, the Obama administration, for refusing to back up his hegemonic aspirations in the Middle East; Europe was punished for denying Turkey EU membership year after year.
The victory of Boris Johnson’s “leave” campaign – in the face of Obama’s personal championship of Prime Minister David Cameron’s bid to keep his country in, supported by the Democratic presumptive nominee Hilary Clinton – was a loud and clear signal for politicians running in future elections in the West, including the US presidential vote in November.
Republican candidate Donald Trump’s call to stop Muslim immigration into the US until proper screening measures are in place may sound like an unformed idea, but no other US politician has dared put it on the table, or directly challenge the hollow words and self-righteous hypocrisy of Obama and Clinton on the issues of terror, wars in the Middle East and mass immigration. This alone gives Trump a popular edge in widening circles in the USA over his rival.
Trump is not likely to lose votes either by his pledge to rebuild NATO for leading the West in the war against Islamic terror.
During the five months up until the US presidential election, the West can expect more large-scale ISIS terror coupled with dramatic events in the wars raging in at least seven countries – Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Libya and Afghanistan. Refugees in vast numbers will continue to batter down the doors of countries that are increasingly unable and unwilling to accept them.
Wars in general and religious wars in particular, have throughout history thrown up massive shifts of population displaced by violence, plague, falling regimes, famine and economic hardship.
The year 2016 will go down as the year in which Middle East crises spilled over into the west, bringing social change and far-reaching political turmoil in their wake.
And this is only the beginning.