Since the beginning of 2021, thousands of migrants have tried to cross the border from Belarus into Lithuania, which is part of the European Union. European authorities say this isn’t an accident. They believe that Belarus is retaliating against E.U. sanctions by weaponizing migration.
Normally, roughly 70 people are apprehended annually aiming to enter Lithuania. This year, Lithuania detained more than 4,000. The E.U. has described this as “an aggressive act from the Lukashenko regime [in Belarus] designed to provoke.” Lithuanian officials are setting up razor wire along the border after declaring a state of emergency and accusing Belarus of “weaponizing” irregular migration.… Seguir leyendo »
As the number of refugees globally reaches records, states are developing diverse yet similar strategies of linking their management of forced displacement to foreign policy goals. In May, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araghchi, said that if crude exports continue to decrease in light of American sanctions, “it is possible that we ask our Afghan brothers and sisters to leave Iran.” In September, Turkey threatened to open the border with Syria and allow internally displaced Syrians into its territory if President Bashar al-Assad’s regime launched its “massive offensive against Idlib.”
The manipulation of forced migration as a political strategy is evident across a growing number of countries.… Seguir leyendo »
In early June, Austria shut down seven mosques and began to review the visa status of dozens of imams for potentially violating a law banning foreign-funded institutions. In recent years, Turkey has been actively sending religious scholars abroad to exert its influence. This is one of the many new ways authoritarian regimes have been using migration as a noncoercive foreign policy tool. From Latin America to the Middle East, these policies have played a key role as authoritarian regimes seek greater influence in regional and global affairs.
Building on existing literature about how one country can persuade others to do what it wants without the use of force, my recently published research illuminates how autocracies employ cross-border mobility as a “soft power” strategy.… Seguir leyendo »