American and European politicians are wasting time trying to keep Syrian refugees out of their countries instead of focusing on the real problem, ISIS, says former Clinton administration official Amed Khan.
Khan, now president of New York-based private investment company Paradigm Global Group, is a seasoned veteran of refugee crises. A former official at the Peace Corps, he was Chief Administrator for the International Rescue Committee relief efforts for Rwandan and Burundi refugees in Tanzania.
Khan is spearheading efforts to raise funds through his private foundation to build a reception center on the Greek island of Lesbos near the Turkish border. The operation would provide a range of vital services for Syrians fleeing their war-torn country, including transporting them to the capital city of Mytilini for processing. Khan says that currently, there's no official assistance offered.
"Aside from a group of dedicated volunteers, there's nothing," he said.
Khan told Newsmax that he first visited Lesbos, a major transit point of refugees seeking to enter Europe, in August. At the time, he says as many as 6,000 refugees per day were arriving from Syria.
Speaking from Lesbos last week, Khan noted that at least 4,000 refugees came to the island on Thursday alone.
"The stories that you get from individuals, they boggle the mind," Khan said. "A woman, whose two adult sons were killed by ISIS, told me yesterday that she was in her kitchen frying something — and she said ISIS, when they get bored, they just start firing."
"She got hit in the hip by a bullet. So, she picked up her granddaughter and said: 'You know, we have been in this for four years. We have lost everything, let's get out of here.'"
About 50 percent of the refugees he's seen have been women and children, Khan said, and most don't want to come to the United States.
They do, however, want the U.S. and its allies to destroy ISIS and "finish the war" that started in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq.
"I don't know how many hundreds of refugees I've talked to and they say: 'Look, you started this war. Go back and finish it. Wipe out ISIS — and I want to go back home.'"
Khan said that while the recent Paris attacks are awful, the world should not be surprised given that ISIS has been carrying out these types of attacks in Iraq and Syria for years. "It is inexplicable that our politicians assume ISIS wouldn't look to expand its terror outside the region," he said.
Khan is, however, perplexed by the "lack of will on the part of our politicians to do something about it."
The investor also said efforts in Congress to stymie the refugee flow into the U.S. are misguided. Their focus, he argues, should be to eliminate ISIS instead.
Khan doubts ISIS can be contained by simple bombing raids, proposed by presidential candidate Donald Trump and others.
"We bomb them, they grow out of the weeds again. They are not going to go away until they are just completely wiped out from the face of the Earth — and I mean doing everything," he said.
"There's an evil threat. It is growing. It needs to be dealt with at the highest level," Khan added.
Until that happens, Khan is pushing for private and public efforts to coordinate the response to the refugee crisis.
"I keep asking myself how is it possible in a world of such great wealth, that we allow our fellow humans to suffer in such inhumane conditions and not even attempt to keep them safe and secure."
"The volunteers managing this effort are doing heroic work, but the greatest refugee crisis of our lifetime cannot be solved by volunteers alone. The international community needs to step up immediately."
© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.