Some European countries have been criticized for offering sanctuary only to as small number of refugees, or for discriminating between Muslims and Christians. There's also been a good deal of continental hand-wringing over the general dysfunction of Europe's systems for migration and asylum. Less ire, though, has been directed at another set of stakeholders who almost certainly should be doing more: Saudi Arabia and the wealthy Arab states along the Persian Gulf. As Amnesty International recently pointed out, the "six Gulf countries — Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain — have offered zero resettlement places to Syrian refugees."The article includes a map showing the contrast between the Gulf states and other countries in the region.
That's a shocking figure, given these countries' relative proximity to Syria, as well as the incredible resources at their disposal. As Sultan Sooud al-Qassemi, a Dubai-based political commentator, observes, these countries include some of the Arab world's largest military budgets, its highest standards of living, as well as a lengthy history — especially in the case of the United Arab Emirates — of welcoming immigrants from other Arab nations and turning them into citizens.And here's a good point:
Moreover, these countries aren't totally innocent bystanders. To varying degrees, elements within Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the U.A.E. and Kuwait have invested in the Syrian conflict, playing a conspicuous role in funding and arming a constellation of rebel and Islamist factions fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.Well, BBC writer Amira Fathalla both answers and answers this question in Migrant crisis: Why Syrians do not flee to Gulf states (By Amira Fathalla, BBC, Sep. 2, 2015):
Well, they're getting deep in Europe, so why couldn't they get to the Gulf?It turns out that there are legal obstacles.
As the crisis brews over Syrian refugees trying to enter European countries, questions have been raised over why they are not heading to wealthy Gulf states closer to home. Although those fleeing the Syrian crisis have for several years been crossing into Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey in huge numbers, entering other Arab states - especially in the Gulf - is far less straightforward.Officially, Syrians can apply for a tourist visa or work permit in order to enter a Gulf state. But the process is costly, and there is a widespread perception that many Gulf states have unwritten restrictions in place that make it hard for Syrians to be granted a visa in practice. Most successful cases are Syrians already in Gulf states extending their stays, or those entering because they have family there.For those with limited means, there is the added matter of the sheer physical distance between Syria and the Gulf.
This comes as part of wider obstacles facing Syrians, who are required to obtain rarely granted visas to enter almost all Arab countries. Without a visa, Syrians are not currently allowed to enter Arab countries except for Algeria, Mauritania, Sudan and Yemen.Of course, the Mainstream Western Media has an agenda of transforming the West through multiculturalism, so they present Europeans who question mass immigration as being bad. But it's interesting that even in the Arab World, some have been noticing the disconnect and pointing out that these Gulf States aren't taking in large amounts of refugees.
The relative wealth and proximity to Syria of the states has led many - in both social and as well as traditional media - to question whether these states have more of a duty than Europe towards Syrians suffering from over four years of conflict and the emergence of jihadist groups in the country.The Arabic hashtag #Welcoming_Syria's_refugees_is_a_Gulf_duty has been used more than 33,000 times on Twitter in the past week. Users have posted powerful images to illustrate the plight of Syrian refugees, with photos of people drowned at sea, children being carried over barbed wire, or families sleeping rough.A Facebook page called The Syrian Community in Denmark has shared a video showing migrants being allowed to enter Austria from Hungary, prompting one user to ask: "How did we flee from the region of our Muslim brethren, which should take more responsibility for us than a country they describe as infidels?" Another user replied: "I swear to the Almighty God, it's the Arabs who are the infidels."The Saudi daily Makkah Newspaper published a cartoon [Above] - widely shared on social media - that showed a man in traditional Gulf clothing looking out of a door with barbed wire around it and pointing at door with the EU flag on it. "Why don't you let them in, you discourteous people?!" he says [to the European Union].The commander of the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA), Riyad al-Asaad, retweeted an image of refugees posted by a former Kuwaiti MP, Faisal al-Muslim, who had added the comment: "Oh countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, these are innocent people and I swear they are most deserving of billions in aid and donations."So there has been some talk about this in the Arab world. Nevertheless...
... despite the appeals from social media, Gulf states' position seems unlikely to shift in favour of Syrian refugees.In other words, the Gulf Arabs don't want to take these people in. That's the bottom line.
In terms of employment, the trend in most Gulf states, such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE is towards relying on migrant workers from South-East Asia and the Indian subcontinent, particularly for unskilled labour.I remember when I was in Kuwait a decade ago, seeing all the subcontinental laborers.
While non-Gulf Arabs do occupy positions in skilled mid-ranking jobs, for example in education and health, they are up against a "nationalisation" drive whereby the Saudi and Kuwaiti governments in particular are seeking to prioritise the employment of locals. Non-native residents may also struggle to create stable lives in these countries as it is near impossible to gain nationality. In 2012, Kuwait even announced an official strategy to reduce the number of foreign workers in the emirate by a million over 10 years.