Friday 10 July 2015

The case for (some) walls

The BBC and the Times make a good case for WALLS.

Tunisia has announced plans to build a wall along its border with Libya to counter the threat from jihadist militants.It would stretch 160km (100 miles) inland from the coast, and be completed by the end of 2015, Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid told state TV.The gunman who killed 38 people in an attack on a beach resort is believed to have received training in Libya.Tunisia declared a state of emergency following the attack last month.The Tunisian army would build the wall, which would have surveillance centres at certain points along it, Mr Essid said.Authorities had already tightened security following the Sousse attack, in which 30 Britons were killed, deploying more than 1,400 armed officers at hotels and beaches.Last week, Mr Essid told the BBC that the gunman, Seifeddine Rezgui, had probably trained with the Ansar al-Sharia group in Libya, though Islamic State (IS) earlier said it was behind the attack.The BBC's Rana Jawad in the capital, Tunis, says Tunisians do not need a visa to travel to Libya.Over the last year, IS has set up bases in the east and west of the Libya, which shares a 459km border with Tunisia, she says.However, Tunisia's longest land border is with Algeria and militants have also reportedly been crossing there in recent years, our reporter says.Eight people have been arrested on suspicion of collaborating with Rezgui, who was killed after his shooting spree, and the government says it has uncovered the network behind the Sousse attack.In the coming weeks officials are expected to pass a counter-terrorism bill that has been in parliament since early 2014.The Sousse attack represented the second blow in three months to Tunisia's tourism industry, an important sector for the country.In March, two gunmen killed 22 people at the renowned Bardo museum in Tunis.

"We may not like fenced frontiers, but they keep danger at bay"

The collapse of communist regimes 25 years ago spawned the idea that political walls, like the ugly concrete barrier in Berlin, were destined to tumble. Globalisation made the fall of the Berlin Wall seem like a model for the future, part of a natural progression in which formal frontiers eventually become irrelevant.
Now walls are back. Tunisia, unnerved by the slaughter of beachside tourists plan to build a 168 kilometer wall along a stretch of its porous border with Libya to block the passage of Jihadists. Hungary, too, has announced that it is constructing a high fence along its 175-kilometer frontier with serbia. Some 54,000 migrants have infiltrated the country so far this year. 
Saudi Arabia is working on a wall and trenches along its border with Iraq to fend off the Islamic State extremists who have threatened to attack Mecca. 
The building boom is driven by two factors; the huge destabilising pressure of migration flows that are overwhelming countries, and the need to shield societies from political infection. Such walls can only be first aid, not a substitute for policy.  Perhaps the saddest of physical barriers are those, such as the one that splits Cyprus, 40 years after Turks and Greeks went to war. Such walls are a curse; they freeze conflicts and offer no incentive for a solution. They become monuments to the failure of the political class. In these troubled times, however, walls protect and reassure. They have their role to play in guaranteeing the most fundamental human right, the right to security. Jihadists seek to build a caliphate that has no respect for nation states. The collapse of statehood in the Middle East has opened the the gates to Europe for hundreds of thousands of desperate migrants. Keeping these forces at bay means resorting to old-fashioned barriers on the borders and vigilance at home. 

All walls are equal but some walls are more equal than others

1 comment:

  1. Classic. Presumably Jon Donnison is on his way over right now to inform the world of this atrocity.


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