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Old 10-30-2009   #1
davidbfpo
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Default Kith & Kin: a recurrent issue

Amidst all the issues we look at here I know the odd comment is made on expatriate communities in "new" states, e.g. Russian speakers in the baltic States; the conflicts which can occur when communal tensions explode i.e. Bosnia and Georgia. Plus immigration and related issues e.g. Muslim populations in Western Europe. The emergency evacuations of the 'international community' over the beach examples Beirut and Liberia and at airfields e.g. missionaries plus from Rwanda.

Decades ago it was called 'kith & kin'; e.g. notably in Rhodesian UDI in 1965 and whether the UK could / would use military force.

Have we thought about the sizeable populations from Western countries living abroad? Particularly in countries that could quickly or slowly become 'Chaos Country'.

I can recall the small, mainly US medical student presence in Grenada being used to justify or re-inforce US military intervention.

The catalyst for this was finding a Canadian paper on 2.8m nationals living abroad, equivalent to 8% of the population and larger than some provinces: http://www.asiapacific.ca/en/canadia...publications#5 Part of a larger website: http://www.asiapacific.ca/canadiansabroad

Time to stop.

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Old 11-01-2009   #2
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Default some precisions please

David,

What are you saying:
- expatriates population from western countries is too big in failed countries? As far as I remember, no one had seen the problem come in Lebanon in 2006. And in Liberia, we were a short number of NGO workers. And the problem was long time prepared as we received visit from the french RIMA from Ivory coast nearly 1 year before the events. (that made several though that the offensive against Taylor was a no suprise).

or

- western populations should stay in West and let the "local" take care of their chaotique neibourghs?
Like in South Sudan were I never saw so many ugandese and kenyan expatriates. So they will allow West to looks cleaner and less as post colonisation powers?

or something completely different that I did not get?
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Old 11-01-2009   #3
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Default David explains

MA-L,

Neither point.

I think it is an issue that disappears from view and then pops up. Not just Westerners either, I recall a comment that China had hundreds of thousands of citizens in Africa now; in Grenada there is a sizeable contingent of construction workers who show no sign of leaving.

It is not just in a crisis that the issue applies. How will these expatriate communities influence decisions and even more so when the links are historical? Ivory Coast is one example, with a large French military presence.

Tom has written on the interventions in Congo forty plus years ago.

Bob's World has asked about strategic intelligence and warning in another thread; this is one issue we need to watch.

Incidentally evacuation of Western and other nationals from 'Chaos Country' is not always easy, especially if there is no coastline.

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Old 11-01-2009   #4
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Default

I recall the first uprisings in Zaire and the Belgian response with troops across the river in waiting while the French jumped right on in. At that point, most of the American expats and dependents were long gone. Seems we've been learning from our painful lessons. I'd have to wonder what would have happened if the US had as many expats there as the Belg.

On the other hand, we have all the makings of a political and forceful intervention on our border here. between 200 and 300,000 Russian citizens (3,700 more granted Russian citizenship this year) openly wait for President Medvedev and PM Putin to demonstrate another Georgian War. As one ethnic Russian said “Who will stop them?”
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Old 11-01-2009   #5
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Default

I may have sound agressive,, but I have your point.

The Liberia evacuation was one of the most chaotic I can remember. Lebanon was quite well handled and also facilitated by the parties to the conflict. Which is one of the main points I believe. It is not because Hezbollah is a militia that they act as a crazy un-managed group of drugged armed men.

That would be one of the main factors I would say, but is not new.

Also, during Lebanon, private companies hired private security to extract expatriates from inland locations (at least one french company did it). I believe this comes with the liberalisation of war by Western states.

That would be one main new factor to include in the equation.

Concerning the Chinese - well from what I understood from the Chinese I met in Goma, DRC during the evacuation of the city, it was simple: 'You are on your own guys'. The same for the Indians. If there is something in Katanga they are prety much left to the responsability to the UN. In otherwords: no one.

This might be different in other parts of the world.

In South Sudan, the impact of the Kenyan community, at least in the part I am, is much more tangible. Somehow we are witnessing an economical colonisation of the place. That could be just the top of the iceberg as Uganda has strong involvement in the security (cf LRA). There again, I am afraid, we fall in a neo-colonial or post/neo/whatever/colonial debate. Just like in the Ivory Coast.

LRA is a problem for Uganda as South Sudan is mainly supported through UK and US funding. Just like Uganda. I will not talk about the US and UK or French policy with Khartoum. There, we are pretty much stuck in an old debate. Except if you look at it from the domestic influence that such groups may have in one external country to push for military intervention.

Are you afraid of a Russian invasion of UK?

Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-01-2009 at 08:24 PM. Reason: English improved and spacing.
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Old 11-01-2009   #6
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Default Hi Stan

Are the 200-300K Russian citizens pretty well spread out in Estonia, or are they in enclaves similar to the situation in Georgia ?

Also is there enough honey for the Bear to risk a destabliization in the Baltic region - and perhaps some kind of Great Northern War ?

Regards

Mike
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Old 11-01-2009   #7
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Are the 200-300K Russian citizens pretty well spread out in Estonia, or are they in enclaves similar to the situation in Georgia ?

Also is there enough honey for the Bear to risk a destabliization in the Baltic region - and perhaps some kind of Great Northern War ?

Regards

Mike
Hey Mike,

Not much like Georgia in one sense. There's approx. 84,000 in Tallinn and remainder in the east. Over 80% of the population in Narva are ethnic Russians (where they continue to hope for some similar recognition by the Kremlin as an independent State).

I personally don't see a Northern War but have to wonder about destabilization efforts and interesting "assistance" in places like Moldova. Estonia doesn't seemed concerned about the financial ramifications of pissing off the bear - I hope that's an educated guess.

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Old 11-13-2009   #8
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Default Angolan 'mafia targets Chinese'

On the theme by the BBC:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/8358919.stm

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The Chinese embassy in Angola has advised its nationals not to go out alone at night after a spate of violent attacks on Chinese expatriates.
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Old 04-19-2012   #9
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Default Where the 'Diggers' go

I'd not considered this before as an issue for Small Wars, but reading this Australian article led to a moment of reflection.

Link:http://www.petermartin.com.au/2012/0...referring.html

Where do people travel to? From the SWC angle travellers turn up in the oddest of places, get into trouble and for example are kidnapped by insurgents, by a group like AQIM and can die. Secondly in crisis an evacuation is required, no longer just white faces leaving a non-white location.

There's also the unexpected political impact, as discussed or referred to here, with Canada-Haiti links for example. Some nations travel far more than others, although established patterns are changing rapidly, as the article shows with the numbers of Chinese visitors to Australia.

Opportunities exist too, in the SWC context gaining access to information gained via travel. Not just to the tourists "traps". but the minority interests such as the "Hippy Trail" through South Asia into Afghanistan in the late 1970's.

Not that 'Diggers' are unique, but for our American "cousins" you have not travelled for leisure in large numbers abroad for a long time. I exclude going to Canada and Mexico.
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Old 04-19-2012   #10
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Default True. We have not...

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... for our American "cousins" you have not travelled for leisure in large numbers abroad for a long time. I exclude going to Canada and Mexico.
Not since Bill Clinton bombed four sovereign nations for no particular reason. That put a big dent in US 'popularity' and people in other nations who disliked brash, loud, gauche Americans but accepted them due to politeness and the money they brought stopped being so welcoming.

Been steadily downhill since...
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Old 04-19-2012   #11
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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
Have we thought about the sizeable populations from Western countries living abroad? Particularly in countries that could quickly or slowly become 'Chaos Country'.
I've always figured we're pretty much on our own...
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Old 04-19-2012   #12
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I've always figured we're pretty much on our own...
Most still do think so. But (a big but), half of the problems with expats is their status at the embassy in question and their (the expats) lack of desire to get engaged with the embassy counselor's service section (dedicated to assisting and keeping expats informed). Can't maintain contact with the unwilling How quickly they come a runnin' though

We performed a massive evacuation in the 90s due in no small part to being engaged with our expat community. The missionaries are a tough bunch, but still managed to help and also got out while the getting was good. Coordinating an airlift in a war zone is no fun and having some ungrateful expat makes it just more fun.

Now that I've been on the other side of the fence for 18 years, I've encouraged expats to assist and maintain contact. The embassy can't help you if they can't contact you. Seems simple enough !

Yeah, half the emails are bogus and a PITA to delete and the invitations every year for the 4th are just a pathetic attempt to show you "they" care, but, without some input and occasional assistance from expats, the embassy is doomed to fail.

Some folks need a reality check and some are just too difficult to even save.
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Old 04-19-2012   #13
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Most still do think so. But (a big but), half of the problems with expats is their status at the embassy in question and their (the expats) lack of desire to get engaged with the embassy counselor's service section (dedicated to assisting and keeping expats informed). Can't maintain contact with the unwilling How quickly they come a runnin' though

We performed a massive evacuation in the 90s due in no small part to being engaged with our expat community. The missionaries are a tough bunch, but still managed to help and also got out while the getting was good. Coordinating an airlift in a war zone is no fun and having some ungrateful expat makes it just more fun.

Now that I've been on the other side of the fence for 18 years, I've encouraged expats to assist and maintain contact. The embassy can't help you if they can't contact you. Seems simple enough !

Yeah, half the emails are bogus and a PITA to delete and the invitations every year for the 4th are just a pathetic attempt to show you "they" care, but, without some input and occasional assistance from expats, the embassy is doomed to fail.

Some folks need a reality check and some are just too difficult to even save.
Some folks in the embassy need a reality check at times.... the ones here seem generally to inhabit a different universe.

I confess, I've never bothered to engage with the embassy. I also confess that I've no objection to being on my own. In the unlikely event that I need them, I'll go to them, with low expectations.

The embassy here admittedly has a fair bit on its plate; there are a lot of American expats here and a lot of them are obnoxious, demanding, and ignorant. On the rare occasions when I've been in the consular services section (usually for a US notary stamp or some such) there always seem to be some buffoon making a scene; I don't envy those who work there. Their communications and (I assume) their plans seem calibrated to the average, which is understandable, and are fairly irrelevant to me personally. I certainly don't think they'd be coming up here to give me a hand, in the unlikely event that it was needed!

My guess is that if you called them up and told them you were dying, they'd e-mail you a list of embassy-approved funeral parlors, but that is perhaps unkind
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Old 04-21-2012   #14
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Some folks in the embassy need a reality check at times.... the ones here seem generally to inhabit a different universe.

I confess, I've never bothered to engage with the embassy. I also confess that I've no objection to being on my own. In the unlikely event that I need them, I'll go to them, with low expectations.
Yep, there are some strange folk at the fish bowl (embassy), and some do need a wake up call. I used to think State forced most to have multiple lobotomies as I had no other explanations when queried

We were affectionately referred to as "other than State" when it came to decisions and finance. So it comes as no surprise to hear expats talk of the embassy personnel being from another planet !

Many of the reasons the embassy is incapable is due to a lack of knowledge of the country they occupy and call home for a scant 2 years. The expats fill that gap - assuming the embassy personnel realize they are not the center of the universe and that the expats are in fact humans.

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The embassy here admittedly has a fair bit on its plate; there are a lot of American expats here and a lot of them are obnoxious, demanding, and ignorant. On the rare occasions when I've been in the consular services section (usually for a US notary stamp or some such) there always seem to be some buffoon making a scene; I don't envy those who work there. Their communications and (I assume) their plans seem calibrated to the average, which is understandable, and are fairly irrelevant to me personally. I certainly don't think they'd be coming up here to give me a hand, in the unlikely event that it was needed!

My guess is that if you called them up and told them you were dying, they'd e-mail you a list of embassy-approved funeral parlors, but that is perhaps unkind
ROTFLMAO !

No excuse, but, the counselor is the lowest denomination and youngest FSO at post with the greatest amount of Bravo Sierra one could expect on a first tour abroad. He/She should, and normally does, have a few locals to bridge the gaps. The embassy local staff generally have the greatest amount of experience and get to deal with all the disgruntled locals and Americans while the US staff barely figure out how to get home each evening before their tour is up.

In short, without people like you and I, the embassy can't help the rest. I just drove someone to the emergency room the other day - about 120 meters across the street from the embassy, held that person's hand and returned same to the embassy. I probably had at least a thousand other things to do that day too. Nobody else cared and nobody else could have negotiated the labyrinth of local bureaucracy to be seen within one hour on any typical day.

I doubt the embassy in the PI could even give you a list of local funeral parlors Not sure about your situation, but if I was dying I would drive myself to the graveyard - it would be faster !
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Old 04-22-2012   #15
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Yep, there are some strange folk at the fish bowl (embassy), and some do need a wake up call. I used to think State forced most to have multiple lobotomies as I had no other explanations when queried
Lobotomies were probably not necessary, they simply imposed an incomprehensible labyrinth of restrictive and contradictory rules governing every aspect of what anyone is allowed to do or say, which has the same effect. The embassy here is not at all like a fishbowl. You can look into a fishbowl.

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Many of the reasons the embassy is incapable is due to a lack of knowledge of the country they occupy and call home for a scant 2 years. The expats fill that gap - assuming the embassy personnel realize they are not the center of the universe and that the expats are in fact humans.
I've never heard of anyone from the embassy here asking an expat for information or an opinion. Certainly nobody has ever asked me, though I might conceivably be useful. Maybe they talk to the expats who frequent their (very limited) social circles, who of course are the ones least likely to be able to tell them anything useful.

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The embassy local staff generally have the greatest amount of experience and get to deal with all the disgruntled locals and Americans while the US staff barely figure out how to get home each evening before their tour is up.
Disgruntled locals don't get in the door here. The numerous disgruntled Americans are dealt with by a corps of unreasonably pretty local girls, which I guess is suppose to defuse the disgruntled. We have large numbers of retirees here, mostly male, perennially disgruntled, and often with serious alcohol problems... that's a stereotype of course, but it is not without basis. Of course those who meet that stereotype are the ones most likely to have problems and least likely to be able to solve them on their own! There always seems to be some old geezer in there shouting about how he built a house for some girl he picked up in a bar and she threw him out of it and gawdemmit the US guvvermint oughta do something about it!

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In short, without people like you and I, the embassy can't help the rest.
Here they're so isolated that I can't imagine how I'd help them, or even offer to. They aren't even allowed to reveal their names, for security reasons.

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I doubt the embassy in the PI could even give you a list of local funeral parlors Not sure about your situation, but if I was dying I would drive myself to the graveyard - it would be faster !
I know they have lists of approved doctors they give to people who are sick, and lists of approved lawyers they give to people who have gotten into legal issues. There's a possibly apocryphal tale of someone who called a lawyer on the list and discovered he'd been dead for some time. A funeral parlor list wouldn't half surprise me.

I don't fully blame them for the distance and the mess over there; it really is an awkward job. I know they are constantly inundated with requests to locate Americans who have gone AWOL and immersed themselves in a sea of booze and hookers, with families imagining kidnapping or worse. Then there's the mail-order bride seekers, the pedophiles, the crooks on the lam, and other assorted dregs. Good reason to stay away from the expat scene, for those who can.

They have a system here for reducing traffic in the offices. There's a deal with FedEx where you send docs in, they process and send back by FedEx. I had a phone conversation once with someone who absolutely refused to believe that FedEx does not deliver to the place where I live, in fact that they'd have to deliver c/o someone else 120km away, who would then send stuff up on a local bus. She kept telling me that "FedEx delivers everywhere".

It's not just the US embassy, of course. Some years back an Irish fellow went in the caves here (where I live) without a light or a guide, fell down a shaft, died. The local guides retrieved the remains and set up a proper drunken Igorot wake. The embassy was notified. No reply was received. Eventually he started to stink, so they buried him in the local cemetery. Nothing was ever heard from the embassy. Months later some family members showed up, decided he was ok where he was, and left. Sic transit gloria mundi...
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Old 04-22-2012   #16
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I'm darn glad I served in places where most of the people you have don't want to go

We will have to get together, and over several brews recant our stories !

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Eventually he started to stink, so they buried him in the local cemetery. Nothing was ever heard from the embassy. Months later some family members showed up, decided he was ok where he was, and left. Sic transit gloria mundi...
That's priceless !
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Old 04-22-2012   #17
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Some years back an Irish fellow went in the caves here (where I live) without a light or a guide, fell down a shaft, died. The local guides retrieved the remains and set up a proper drunken Igorot wake. The embassy was notified. No reply was received. Eventually he started to stink, so they buried him in the local cemetery.
If I were to see the end of my days in Igorot country I would much prefer my remains get the hanging coffin treatment. Though what with the caving and all I would guess this fellow is happily spending eternity beneath the ground.
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Old 04-29-2012   #18
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I'm darn glad I served in places where most of the people you have don't want to go
I don't have to deal with them either, luckily... they rarely come up to where I am, and if any stray in they generally leave quickly. Lived in the Subic area for a while, and that was strange. That place has more than its share of the moldy expat community.

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We will have to get together, and over several brews recant our stories
Stop by if you're in this hemisphere. That would be a lot of stories, I suspect!

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If I were to see the end of my days in Igorot country I would much prefer my remains get the hanging coffin treatment. Though what with the caving and all I would guess this fellow is happily spending eternity beneath the ground.
Cliff burials are actually unique to our town, never heard of them elsewhere in the area. You have to be a respected elder to get one, though, and falling down a hole doesn't earn one much respect here. Another odd part of that story is that the relatives who came over said the guy's father had died in a fall on a construction site. Apparently the family had some issues with gravity.
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Old 04-30-2012   #19
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[T]he relatives who came over said the guy's father had died in a fall on a construction site. Apparently the family had some issues with gravity.
They fought the law. And the law won.
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Old 12-28-2012   #20
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Default The Yemeni Revolution & the British Yemeni Diaspora

A short article by a British Yemeni student, which opens with:
Quote:
The Yemeni diaspora in the UK, which has taken an active role in co-ordinating international action, encapsulates this phenomenon. The Yemeni diaspora has historically reflected divisions and phenomena present in Yemen, including the tension between North and South Yemen and the lack of women in community leadership roles. The Yemeni revolution challenged many of these deeply engrained norms and customs, and has, in turn, impacted the diaspora. All in all, the Yemeni revolution has been a positive force in the Yemeni diaspora, uniting, empowering and mobilizing the community to engage with policy makers and high-level UK government officials to voice its concerns and opinions about UK-Yemen relations.
Link:http://muftah.org/the-yemeni-revolut...SGAmCE.twitter

The author contends that the Yemeni community is uniting, as an observer this was sometimes hard to discern, even when meeting with the UK Ambassador to Yemen - who was on a tour of the communities in the UK.
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