Migrant crisis funder billionaire George Soros has written for the Guardian newspaper this morning claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a bigger threat to Europe’s existence than the Islamic State.
The opinion piece from the U.S.-based Hungarian billionaire comes on the back of claims by Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban that Mr. Soros, using his cash-rich “Open Society Foundations” fuels the migrant crisis in a bid to encourage open borders and mass migration. The end goal? Cheap, migrant labour for Mr. Soros’s big business, interests, claim his critics.
Despite Mr. Soros’s organisation funding the “pull factors” of the migrant crisis – namely the talking heads and reports that encourage open borders – the billionaire alleges that it is Mr Putin’s actions in Syria that are causing millions of people to migrate to Europe.
Mr. Soros writes:
The leaders of the US and the EU are making a grievous error in thinking that president Vladimir Putin’s Russia is a potential ally in the fight against Islamic State. The evidence contradicts them. Putin’s aim is to foster the EU’s disintegration, and the best way to do so is to flood Europe with Syrian refugees.
Russian planes have been bombing the civilian population in southern Syria forcing them to flee to Jordan and Lebanon. There are now 20,000 Syrian refugees camped out in the desert awaiting admission to Jordan. A smaller number are waiting to enter Lebanon. Both groups are growing.
Russia has also launched a large-scale air attack against civilians in northern Syria. This was followed by a ground assault by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s army against Aleppo, a city that used to have 2 million inhabitants. The barrel bombs caused 70,000 civilians to flee to Turkey; the ground offensive could uproot many more.
The families on the move may not stop in Turkey. German chancellor Angela Merkel flew to Ankara this week to make last-minute arrangements with the Turkish government to induce the refugees already in Turkey to prolong their stay there. She offered to airlift 200,000-300,000 Syrian refugees annually directly to Europe on the condition that Turkey will prevent them from going to Greece and will accept them back if they do so.
Putin is a gifted tactician, but not a strategic thinker. There is no reason to believe he intervened in Syria in order to aggravate the European refugee crisis. Indeed, his intervention was a strategic blunder because it embroiled him in a conflict with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which has hurt the interests of both.
But once Putin saw the opportunity to hasten the EU’s disintegration, he seized it. He has obfuscated his actions by talking of cooperating against a common enemy, Isis. He has followed a similar approach in Ukraine, signing the Minsk agreement but failing to carry out its provisions.