Category Archives: Migration

Ian Black: Saudi Arabian Trilogy

As noted on our Pakistan Horizon Blog, the Guardian’s Ian Black is among the world’s elite Middle East correspondents. And over the past three days he has published a brilliant trilogy of articles on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (or KSA as the Saudis are otherwise known). The three articles are (1) Saudi king’s son drives reforms and war in a year of anxiety and change (2) Saudi Arabia and Isis: Riyadh keen to show it is tackling terror threat and (3) Austerity, Saudi-style: cheap oil nudges Riyadh toward economic reform (see also Saudi Arabia v Iran: Riyadh defiant and angry after turbulent week and John Kerry reassures Gulf states over US relationship with Iran.) As noted in our event with Ambassador Ghori, Pakistan’s economy is inextricably linked to Saudi Arabia’s as 1.5 million of our country’s workers are employed there and send home remittances. According to Black, Khaled, a taxi driver touting for custom at Riyadh’s international airport, manages to keep his family comfortable with the help of an army pension, but he worries what will happen when all subsidies end in five years. Mohammed, a fifty-something from Medina who has 10 children, moonlights on top of his undemanding government job, and his wife also works in an effort make ends meet. “Look,” he says. “There’s a war in Yemen. Of course it causes economic problems, but it’s not so bad.” Continue reading

Migration: Saharan Smuggling Route

As noted in our event on the migration crisis in Europe, political leaders are preparing to meet in Malta in order to discuss measures to curtail the influx of migrants and refugees from Africa to Europe. In this fantastic article, entitled On the road in Agadez: desperation and death along a Saharan smuggling route Patrick Kingsley meets the smugglers and the smuggled on a route through the desert from Niger. As written by Patrick Kingsley: The going rate between Agadez and Libya is thought to be about 150,000 West African francs (CFA), or £166. But one traveller said he paid as much as €500 (£363), while Mahamadou claims he charges each of his 30 passengers as little as 50,000 CFA (£55). Even this amount is more than many in west Africa earn in one month, and perhaps counter-intuitively, that is why people are paying it. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), most of those who pass through Agadez are not fleeing wars or political repression (unlike the vast majority of those reaching Europe from other routes, who are mostly refugees). Instead, they are largely trying to find a way out of grinding poverty. The international community does not deem this a legitimate reason to seek a new life in Europe. But the people passing through Agadez do, otherwise they wouldn’t risk death in trying it. Continue reading