Can an Egyptian telecommunication billionaire’s proposal provide an effective solution to Syria’s and Iraq’s war refugee crisis?
By: Ringo Bones
Ever since the Arab Spring in Syria got heavily suppressed by strongman Bashar Al Assad in 2011 and the sectarian conflict in Iraq which eventually gave rise to the so-called Islamic State or Daesh that resulted in the 21st Century’s largest refugee crisis that overwhelmed neighboring countries like Turkey and Lebanon, the affluent Western countries are at odds in finding an effective long-term solution. Apart from starting yet another bloody war to initiate a “regime change” in Syria and a ground war against Islamic State / Daesh that would result in casualties of American and NATO coalition troops that could number in the thousands, it seems that this refugee crisis does not yet have a viable long-term solution that the international community can easily live with. But could a proposal offered by an Egyptian telecommunications billionaire be that solution?
Egyptian telecommunications billionaire Naguib Sawiris - which according to Forbes magazine is Egypt’s third richest man - already has plans to buy a Greek or an Italian island for the purposes of settling in 100,000 or more war refugees fleeing from the ongoing conflict in Iraq and Syria. As far back as 2014, Sawiris has been in contact with Greece’s and Italy’s prime ministers to purchase an island - a "refugee island" if you will - to house the refugees fleeing the conflict from Syria and Iraq. Greece already has a long-list of islands being offered for sale for those fortunate enough to afford to buy one given they are usually priced in the millions of dollars, but Sawiris wants to make his refugee housing scheme legally binding with the pertinent territories after he purchases the island. If the Greek and Italian governments agree with Sawiris’ refugee housing scheme, he will do the rest given that he already has millions already set aside to fund his humanitarian scheme. Sawiris is an Egyptian Coptic Christian and plans to establish his refugee island before the winter of 2015 sets in. And “conservatives” (The U.S. Republican Party?) the world over will love Sawiris’ refugee housing scheme because any refugees of working age will be gainfully employed by him as opposed to just getting a free ride.