Amnesty International has recently released a report on the Syrian refugee conflict that highlights how little the Gulf States have done to aid the Syrian refugees in one of the most tragic humanitarian crises of our time.
According to the report, “Gulf countries including Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain have offered zero resettlement places to Syrian refugees.”
Considering Qatar and Saudi Arabia escalated the crisis by pedaling oil money to rebels; it is not so ridiculous to assume these countries should help out their Muslim brothers and sisters that are in desperate need of refuge.
They certainly have the means to accommodate these refugees as the city of Mina in Saudi Arabia, hosts 100,000 air-conditioned tents that can provide housing for up to 3 million refugees. Currently, they are used only 5 days a year to host Hajj pilgrims; and the rest of the year they are left empty.
Allegedly, the KSA has issued residency permits to 100,000 Syrians in total; however, they have not officially taken in anyone classified as a refugee, and have not set up any refugee camps. Qatar has also taken in no Syrian refugees all the while allocating $200 billion on hosting the World Cup of soccer.
The Saudi’s (and Qatari’s) have funneled millions into extremist groups like Al-Nusra, the FSA and even ISIS in their failed attempts to overthrow Assad. They are one of the primary causes of the refugee crisis, and more pressure should be placed on the KSA and other wealthy Gulf States to help mitigate the issue.
Being that the Saudi’s are predominantly Sunni, whereas the Syrians are mostly Shiite, one can say this is a big reason they have not taken in as many refugees as they could. It could arguably, cause tension between the populace. However, ideological differences aside, Sunni’s and Shiite’s live a relatively similar lifestyle, as opposed to the clashing ideologies of Syrian migrants and those living in Western countries.
More pressure should be applied on these Gulf states to take in these refugees, as not only is it a closer distance to travel, but it is also easier for Syrians to assimilate and the Saudi’s are highly responsible for the deaths and displacement of thousands of innocents.
The international community should insist that these Gulf states do more to help rectify the situation; however, it seems that oil and the almighty dollar has left mostly everybody silent.