Belarus accused of using migrants to flood Poland and EU

Poland warns of an “armed escalation” as a new kind of “gray zone war” threatens to destabilize an entire continent.

In 2011, months before his death, Muammar Gaddafi was plotting his final revenge.

Brutal dictator, attacked by NATO forces supporting Libyan rebels Promised to flood Europe with immigrants in retaliation.

Gaddafi had long used harsh measures against human traffickers to stop the flow of African refugees to the Mediterranean in exchange for large sums of cash from European governments.

The fall of Gaddafi’s regime later that year, Causing the 2015 migrant crisisMore than a million refugees from the Middle East and Africa have sought asylum in Europe, mainly via the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece, and also via the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy.

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Western governments today accuse Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko of fomenting a new migrant crisis in Europe, and Poland claims it engages in “state terrorism” after its neighbor pushed hundreds of migrants back across its border Wednesday.

Poland sent 15,000 soldiers, along with police and border guards, and Warns of ‘armed climbing’The US and the European Union are urging Minsk to stop what they describe as a planned influx.

“What we are facing here, we must be clear, is a manifestation of state terrorism,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters at a news conference in Warsaw with visiting EU president Charles Michel.

Close ally with Russia, Lukashenko openly threatened to arm migrants against the EU in retaliation for international sanctions. after last year’s controversial election.

“We were stopping immigrants and drugs, now you’re going to catch them and eat them yourself,” said Lukashenko. Belarusian parliament in May.

‘The gray zone war’

Elisabeth Braw, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, says Belarus’ arming of immigrants is a classic case of “gray zone warfare.”

“Lukashenko will succeed in his plan to harm the EU by using the people as a weapon of callousness,” he said. He wrote Defense One.

But since no troops cross the EU or NATO border, neither the EU nor NATO has a strategy for how to lessen the blow of aggression, let alone punish it.”

Braw, author The Defender’s Dilemma: Identifying and Deterring Gray Zone Aggression, said that this is just the beginning and that Belarus plans to increase the number of airline flights from Middle Eastern cities to Minsk sharply to 55 per week during the winter.

“This is where Lukashenko’s sinister game gets even smarter,” he wrote.

“The ruler of Belarus knows that immigration is an extremely divisive issue within the European Union and within individual EU member states. Poland’s strategy of pushing immigrants back to Belarus has already caused friction with Brussels, thus exacerbating Poland’s already strained relations with EU headquarters.”

He noted that thousands of immigrants had already arrived in Germany via Poland and Belarus, causing German far-right activists to go to the border.

“This will probably drive far-left activists to the limit,” he wrote.

“This migrant crisis created by Belarus can lead not only to conflicts between far-right and far-left activists, but also to a deterioration in relations between Poland and the EU, and unhappiness in Latvia and Lithuania due to insufficient EU support,” he said.

Braw warned that Belarus’ “brazenly embracing gray zone aggression” has paved the way for other regimes “to dig deeper into similarly devious ingenuity to find ways to harm the west.”

“While Western countries should continue to support a rules-based international order, Lukashenko’s gray zone aggression shows that rules mean nothing,” he wrote.

“Human trafficking is illegal, but what to do when a regime is involved in it? If a Latin American government decides to weaponize immigration, consider the consequences for the United States.”

Braw said every NATO member state “should pay attention and consider how to protect themselves if they are the next target”.

“This is how a country, or even a continent, is destabilized,” he wrote.

‘State terrorism’

In recent months, thousands of migrants have crossed or tried to cross from Belarus to the eastern EU member states Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, but the crisis reached a new level on Monday as hundreds of people were pushed back and made a concerted effort to cross into Poland. .

Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller blamed “persons connected with the Belarusian special services” for organizing the breach and said that between 3,000 and 4,000 more migrants had gathered near the border.

Concerns are mounting for migrants stranded at the border – particularly Kurds from the Middle East – as the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on the issue on Thursday.

According to the Polish newspaper, at least 10 people died on the Polish-Belarusian border, seven of which were on the Polish side of the border. Gazeta Wyborcza.

Immigrants say the Belarusian side refuses to allow them to return to Minsk and fly home, while Poland does not allow them to pass and seek asylum.

Michel said that new sanctions against Belarus are on the table. Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission, said she expects “expansion of sanctions” early next week.

“This is an attempt by an authoritarian regime to destabilize its democratic neighbors. This will not be successful,” he said after his meeting with US President Joe Biden in Washington.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Lukashenko’s main backer, Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Wednesday, asking her to use her influence over Minsk, to stop what she calls the “inhumane” instrumentalization of immigrants.

But Belarus and Moscow said the West should deal with the flows of migrants caused by their military interventions in the Middle East.

The Kremlin said it was “irresponsible” for Poland to hold Putin responsible for the crisis, while Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said the crisis was caused because the EU wanted a reason to impose new sanctions.

“The EU itself and the states bordering Belarus have provoked the migrant crisis,” Makei said during a visit to Moscow to meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.

— with AFP