Sending Syrian refugees to Gulf states a misguided solution
Mostafa Minawi, Cornell University assistant professor of history and director of the university’s Ottoman and Turkish Studies
Initiative says sending Syrian refugees to other Gulf countries because it is where they’d have a more ‘natural’ home
makes the false assumption that that race or ethnicity is more important than nationalisms.
Minawi is co-organizer of an upcoming international conference titled “Beyond Survival: Livelihood Strategies for
Refugees in the Middle East.”
“It’s been suggested that Syrian refugees should go to other Gulf countries where they’d have a more ‘natural’ home than
Europe or North America. But even if the overland passage were open – which it’s not because of the Islamic State in the
Syrian Desert – the idea that ‘Arabs’ should go to other ‘Arabs’ is misguided.
“It assumes that race or ethnicity, as defined by the West, is more important than nationalisms. It is like saying
Mexicans should go to Spain before they come to the U.S. The reality is that these are independent countries that do not
even get along in times of peace.”