View Full Version : Iraq: A Displacement Crisis

Merv Benson
04-30-2006, 01:22 PM
From PrariePundit (http://prairiepundit.blogspot.com/2006/04/overstating-movement-of-iraqis-for.html):

The NY Times and other sources are quoting Adel Abdul Mahdi, a Shiite leader selected as one of two vice presidents, who says that 100,000 families have been displaced. I think this is at best a WAG.

Multi-National Forces-Iraq tracks those numbers and has a much lower estimate. Maj. Gen Rick Lynch said just this week:


Another indicator for civil war would be forced population movements. And we are extremely sensitive to that. We see reports of tens of thousands of families displaced here in Iraq, and we chase down each and every one of those reports. And I'll show you detail in a minute. But we have seen some displacement, pockets of families moving, but not in large numbers....


And this is very important. We have not been asked for any assistance for displaced civilians. The provincial government has not asked, the local governments have not asked, the national government has not asked. So if there are indeed 36,000-plus families that have been displaced, we're not seeing it. We indeed move to check every report of displaced civilians. And we were told about displaced civilian camps, and of the 16 that we were told about, we can only confirm the location of four -- one in Fallujah, one in Baghdad, one in al Kut, and one down in Basra. And then when we got the report of 500 families displaced in Basra, we went to confirm, and all we could find was 43 families. So there is indeed indications of displaced persons inside of Iraq. Some of them truly are moving because they're concerned about their own personal security or their family's security, I'm sure of that. Some of them are moving for economic reasons. Some of them are moving to be with their families. But we're not seeing internally displaced persons at the rate which causes us alarm.


This is from the weekly press briefing this week and was available before the 100,000 estimate was published. More than likely the NY Times and the AP had people at the briefing. They also can get the transcript off the internet. It is too bad their political agenda led them to publish their reports without checking readily available data.

12-22-2006, 03:02 PM
...as of 3 Dec 06, reporting on numbers since 22 Feb 06, this report states that there are 40,896 families displaced. That's less than half the number Merv referred to in his post debunking the scale of IDPs back in April, but still a significant number. The file at the link breaks the numbers down by origin and location to which displaced, and also notes whether the IDPs are primarily Sunni or Shi'a. There is also a narrative summary of situation by governorate:

Emergency Assessment: Displacement Due to Recent Violence Central and Southern 15 Governorates (http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWFiles2006.nsf/FilesByRWDocUnidFilename/0DFE4F16EEA15853C125724200492AAC-Full_Report.pdf/$File/Full_Report.pdf)

04-04-2007, 01:39 AM
Report from Norwegian NGO Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004CE90B/(httpCountrySummaries)/B3642D7A2DAB6488C12572AB004EB6FA?OpenDocument&count=10000)estimates 1.9m Iraqi internal refugees and 2m Iraqi refugees outside of Iraq, thus marking the largest movement of Middle Eastern population since the Israeli expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948.

The Iraqi cabinet voted (http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=71167)on 29 March to move Shia Arabs out of Kirkuk to make way for a returning Kurdish population. Can't imagine this will help either the displaced-persons problem or the small civil war problem Iraq is having at the moment.

Via Iraqslogger (http://iraqslogger.com/).

04-04-2007, 02:22 PM
If I was Jordan, I would be very concerned about who was crossing the border other than real refugees.

04-04-2007, 02:26 PM
If UN figures on refugee flows in Jordan are correct, Iraqi refugees now make up nearly 12% of the population.

Yeah, I'd say they have a slight problem. So do the Syrians, who have taken even more.

Also both have recently begun shutting the door. I think this has resulted in the recent phenomenon of some Iraqis attempting to return to cleansed neighborhoods.

04-13-2007, 01:51 PM
CRS Report, 23 Mar 07: Iraqi Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons: A Deepening Humanitarian Crisis? (http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/82978.pdf)

The humanitarian crisis many feared would take place in March 2003 as a result of the war in Iraq appears to be unfolding. It is estimated that in total (including those displaced prior to the war) there may be two million Iraqi refugees who have fled to Jordan, Syria, and other neighboring states, and approximately two million Iraqis who have been displaced within Iraq itself.

Throughout areas in western and central Iraq, the security situation is deteriorating, and many of Iraq’s neighbors fear that they are being overwhelmed by refugees fleeing over Iraq’s borders. There are now heightened concerns about the absorptive capacity of neighboring countries, whether they can provide adequately for the populations moving across borders, and the impact of refugee flows on stability in general. Some experts think that the Iraq situation could well begin to outpace other refugee crises worldwide....

04-17-2007, 03:26 PM
WINEP, Apr 07: Iraqi Refugees in Jordan: Cause for Concern in a Pivotal State (http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/download.php?file=ResearchNote13.pdf)

Of the 2 million Iraqi refugees, it is estimated that at least 700,000 are in Jordan, an enormous figure for a country of less than 6 million. Officials from the Jordanian Ministry of the Interior put the number around 500,000 but point out that it can fluctuate in either direction because of the large number of Iraqis who move in and out of Iraq conducting business. Aid officials, however, give estimates as high as 1 million. Most Iraqis in Jordan live in urban centers rather than in rural areas or refugee camps, but despite having been moderately integrated into Jordanian society, their lives are diverse and increasingly complicated. For Jordan, their arrival has magnified internal security concerns, strained social services, and aggravated economic and environmental problems....
HRW, Nov 06: The Silent Treatment: Fleeing Iraq, Surviving in Jordan (http://www.hrw.org/reports/2006/jordan1106/jordan1106webwcover.pdf)

There are more than 500,000 Iraqis in Jordan, representing all walks of life and diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds. Whether fleeing generalized violence or targeted persecution, the vast majority of Iraqis in Jordan are refugees fleeing for their lives.

Based on in-depth, personal interviews with Iraqis living in Jordan, the report describes how the Jordanian government turns a blind eye to people who would qualify as refugees, refusing to grant them asylum or to agree to abide by a call from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to provide them temporary protection. Consequently, many are denied any legal status and are forced to live illegally.

The report documents the daily threat of arrest, fines, and deportation faced by hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in Jordan who lack residency permits. These Iraqis also lack access to many public services, such as education and health care. The report also details their perilous journey fromIraq to Jordan and the increasing number of rejections at the border. Jordan often denies entry to Iraqis as well as Palestinian refugees and Iranian Kurds and returns them to Iraq, where they face the persecution and violence that led them to flee in the first place.

The situation described in the report is not restricted to Jordan; throughout the region, Iraqi refugees are facing similar challenges. Human RightsWatch urges the Jordanian government, as well as other governments in the region and the wider international community, to take immediate steps to protect Iraqi refugees by at least providing them temporary protection.

05-14-2007, 08:32 AM
Outstanding article by Nir Rosen on the Iraqi refugee exodus (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/13/magazine/13refugees-t.html?ref=magazine&pagewanted=print), estimated at about 2m externally and 1.9m internally, or 15% of the population. Good reflections on how Syria, Jordan, and other countries relate to the Iraqis in their midst and how the refugee exodus may spawn sectarianism throughout the region.

06-12-2007, 04:41 PM
Brookings Institution, 11 Jun 07:

Iraqi Refugees in the Syrian Arab Republic: A Field-Based Snapshot (http://www3.brookings.edu/fp/projects/idp/200706iraq.pdf)

In the past four years, the number of Iraqis who have been displaced by violence, both within Iraq’s borders and in neighboring countries, has increased drastically. Of the estimated two million Iraqis who have sought protection in neighboring countries, at least 1.2 million to 1.5 million are presently in Syria. This study, part of a project funded by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that will assess patterns of Iraqi displacement inside Iraq and throughout the region, focuses on Iraqis who have come to Syria since 2003. Subsequent research will examine internal displacement in Iraq and the situation of Iraqis in other countries of the region. The research was carried out by a team of international and Iraqi researchers in March-April 2007 and is based on several hundred interviews with Iraqis living in Syria, as well as with Syrians, Palestinians and international officials....

06-19-2007, 01:23 PM
Excerpt from the UNHCR 2006 Global Trends: Refugees, Asylum-seekers, Returnees, Internally Displaced and Stateless Persons (http://www.unhcr.org/statistics/STATISTICS/4676a71d4.pdf):

Explanation of main changes in UNHCR's Total population of concern from end-2005 to end-2006

Iraq Refugees +1.2 million (Inclusion of 1.2 million refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic at end-2006)

Iraq IDPs +660,000 New displacement during the year.

08-24-2007, 09:19 AM
More Iraqis Said to Flee Since Troop Rise (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/24/world/middleeast/24displaced.html?_r=2&hp=&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print)- NYTIMES, 24 Aug.

The number of Iraqis fleeing their homes has soared since the American troop increase began in February, according to data from two humanitarian groups, accelerating the partition of the country into sectarian enclaves.

Despite some evidence that the troop buildup has improved security in certain areas, sectarian violence continues and American-led operations have brought new fighting, driving fearful Iraqis from their homes at much higher rates than before the tens of thousands of additional troops arrived, the studies show.

The data track what are known as internally displaced Iraqis: those who have been driven from their neighborhoods and seek refuge elsewhere in the country rather than fleeing across the border. The effect of this vast migration is to drain religiously mixed areas in the center of Iraq (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/iraq/index.html?inline=nyt-geo), sending Shiite refugees toward the overwhelmingly Shiite areas to the south and Sunnis toward majority Sunni regions to the west and north ...

08-24-2007, 02:52 PM
There is also an impact here at home:

El Paso Times, 22 Aug 07: More Iraqis Cross Southwest Border Seeking Asylum (http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_6684100)

The number of Iraqis seeking asylum as they enter the United States over the nation's Southwest border has nearly tripled this year compared with last, and the year isn't even over, said Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, a member of the president's Cabinet who oversees the nation's 16 intelligence agencies....

08-24-2007, 03:13 PM
Part of the illegal flow is likely due to the atrociously low number of Iraqi refugees admitted to the U.S. --- even for those who have assisted the occupation, as Amb. Crocker has highlighted (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/21/AR2007072101359_pf.html). Even Sweden has taken more.

... But State and DHS are unlikely to admit more than 2,000 Iraqi refugees by October, U.S. officials said. Since 2003, the year of the U.S. invasion, the United States has admitted 825 Iraqi refugees, many of them backlogged applicants from the time when Saddam Hussein (http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Saddam+Hussein?tid=informline) was in power. By comparison, the United States has accepted 3,498 Iranians in the past nine months ...

Merv Benson
08-24-2007, 03:21 PM
I think most of them are Christians fleeing persecution by the terrorist in Iraq. The San Antonio Express News has done a series of articles on the Iraqis coming across the southern border. I will try to find the link and post it.

08-24-2007, 04:18 PM
Part of the illegal flow is likely due to the atrociously low number of Iraqi refugees admitted to the U.S. --- even for those who have assisted the occupation, as Amb. Crocker has highlighted (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/21/AR2007072101359_pf.html). Even Sweden has taken more.

I'm working to get a translator visa for my OIF 1 terp. He (a young sunni teacher of Comp Sci) was threated and expelled from his SE Baghdad neighborhood by Mehidi Army in 2006, fled to UAE where he has been working as a programmer. He's about to lose that visa and has nowhere to go - his family (who he is supporting financially) is displaced in Syria.

He did a lot for us, and I feel obligated to help him. Unfortunately, the translator visa program is very bureaucratic and cumbersome.

Ken White
08-24-2007, 06:18 PM

"But State and DHS are unlikely to admit more than 2,000 Iraqi refugees by October, U.S. officials said. Since 2003, the year of the U.S. invasion, the United States has admitted 825 Iraqi refugees, many of them backlogged applicants from the time when Saddam Hussein was in power. By comparison, the United States has accepted 3,498 Iranians in the past nine months."

Proves that DoD is not the only bureaucracy still fighting the last war. Sad. Hopefully we'll get it fixed before it's too late.

Hope you get your terp accepted...

08-24-2007, 07:37 PM
Christians fleeing Iraq.
Mosul Christians find faith tested (http://news.bostonherald.com/editorial/view.bg?articleid=1018006)

Minority religions under attack in Iraq (http://www.mercurynews.com/nationworld/ci_6631136)

Although I totally lack any experience or education, as a Christian this is something I am very much paying attention to...and not just the Christians. This whole humantarian crisis is disturbing, to say the least.

If anyone works at a interfaith-based NGO, please remember my name. After I get my degree, those will be the first places I will be applying for a job.

08-25-2007, 04:41 AM
George Packer of the NEW YORKER on Iraqi translators (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/03/26/070326fa_fact_packer?printable=true).

08-25-2007, 10:31 AM
U.S. commission hears testimony on Christians in Iraq (http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0704276.htm)

More than 1.5 million refugees have fled religious persecution in Iraq since 2003, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Although Christians account for only 3 percent of the total Iraqi population, they make up 40 percent of the refugees now living in nearby countries, including Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Iran. Another 2 million people, many living in the northern Nineveh plain, are internally displaced.

Another witness, Pascale Warda, former minister of migration and displacement in Iraq and a Chaldean-Assyrian Catholic, delivered her statement through an interpreter. She said Christians in Iraq are targeted by violence because "they are identified as American allies and infidels, for the simple reason that they share a common faith with those in the Western world.

09-03-2007, 05:24 PM
Syria severely restricts Iraqi refugee influx (http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSL0362348320070903?=undefined&src=090307_1241_TOPSTORY_bush_in_iraq&sp=true)- Reuters, 3 Sep.

Syria has imposed strict visa requirements on Iraqi nationals, officials said on Monday, cutting the only accessible escape route for thousands of refugees fleeing the upheaval in Iraq.

A government decree that takes effect on September 10 bars Iraqi passport holders from entering Syria except for businessmen and academics, a small minority of the 3,000-5,000 refugees who currently cross the border every day.

Jordan, the other main goal of Iraqi refugees, imposed its own visa requirements some two years ago.

"Syria has already received more than 1.5 million refugees and there could be no end in sight to what the Americans unleashed there. We simply can't cope any more," a Syrian official told Reuters.

The official gave no indication that Syria could force refugees already in the country to leave ...

09-10-2007, 02:15 PM
RFE/RL, 7 Sep 07: Plight of Displaced Worsens (http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2007/09/7c905996-6dfb-4cac-a409-fa3fae5b1b17.html)

....Syria is currently hosting 1.5 million Iraqi refugees and the Syrian government has indicated that between 30,000-60,000 Iraqis enter Syria every month. The sheer number of Iraqis has become a huge burden on the country's economy and infrastructure. Damascus has estimated that the refugees are costing the state approximately $1 billion a year.

This strain, coupled with the international community's failure to provide adequate financial assistance to Syria, has forced Damascus to take stringent measures to curtail the number of Iraqis pouring into the country. Currently, the country technically has an "open-door" policy that allows most Iraqis to easily enter Syria. Iraqis are initially granted a three-month visa that is easily renewable.

However, starting on September 10 a new visa system will be implemented that will grant visas only to Iraqis involved in the economic, commercial, and scientific sectors. These restrictions will almost certainly limit the number of Iraqis allowed in. Furthermore, the new documents will only be single-entry visas valid for three months and qualified Iraqis must obtain them from the Syrian Embassy in Baghdad.....

09-19-2007, 08:24 AM
Migration reshapes Iraq's Sectarian Landscape (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/19/world/middleeast/19displaced.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print)- NYTIMES, 18 Sep.

A vast internal migration is radically reshaping Iraq (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/iraq/index.html?inline=nyt-geo)’s ethnic and sectarian landscape, according to new data collected by thousands of relief workers, but displacement in the most populous and mixed areas is surprisingly complex, suggesting that partitioning the country into semiautonomous Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish enclaves would not be easy.

The migration data, which are expected to be released this week by the Iraqi Red Crescent Organization but were given in advance to The New York Times, indicate that in Baghdad alone there are now nearly 170,000 families, accounting for almost a million people, that have fled their homes in search of security, shelter, water, electricity, functioning schools or jobs to support their families.

The figures show that many families move twice, three times or more, first fleeing immediate danger and then making more considered calculations based on the availability of city services or schools for their children. Finding neighbors of their own sect is just one of those considerations.
Over all, the patterns suggest that despite the ethnic and sectarian animosity that has gripped the country, at least some Iraqis would rather continue to live in mixed communities ...

09-19-2007, 12:21 PM
Good post tequila. On another thread we had a discussion about metrics in COIN ops and how well you are doing. Displacement of people is a very good measure of EFFECT on the population. Time to activate plan TROUFION :wry:

10-10-2007, 02:13 PM
BBC, 10 Oct 07: Doors Closing on Iraqi Displaced (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7036949.stm)

A growing number of Iraqi provinces are refusing entry to internal refugees, the UN refugee agency has warned.

The head of the UNHCR Iraq (http://www.unhcr.org/iraq.html) Support Unit told the BBC up to 11 governors were restricting access because they lacked resources to look after the refugees.

Andrew Harper warned that, with no imminent end to the displacement, Iraq was becoming a "pressure cooker".....

10-12-2007, 07:04 PM
Chatham House, Oct 07: Iraq-The Refugees: The Other Surge (http://www.chathamhouse.org.uk/publications/twt/download/-/id/1550)

....It seems ironic that the countries which most clearly opposed the United States invasion, like Jordan and Syria, are the ones that are accepting and paying for the consequences, while Kuwait, which was the only Arab state openly to support Washington, has done very little and will only give selected Iraqis temporary visas at considerable cost. Other Gulf states have received two-hundred thousand refugees and Egypt one-hundred thousand.

Peering inside Iraq we can see the desperate state of the displaced as well as the refugees. Estimates nearly all suggest that over two million souls are migrating from their homes because of violence or intimidation. And of course this is heaped on a legacy of refugee problems dating from the last century: the Ahwazis, the Palestinians, the Turkish Kurds, the Iranian Kurds, the Mujahideen el Khalq, the Sudanese. Indeed population movement in Iraq is not a new phenomenon. What has changed is the scale and the seemingly indiscriminate nature of targeting certain communities.....

11-27-2007, 09:07 AM
Pressure for Results: The Politics of Tallying the Number of Iraqis Who Return Home (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/26/world/middleeast/26iraq.html?ei=5088&en=82a218392f4c5bb2&ex=1353733200&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&pagewanted=print) - NYTIMES, 25 Nov.

At a row of travel agencies near the highway to Syria, the tide of migration has reversed: the buses and GMC Suburban vans filled with people heading to Damascus run infrequently, while those coming from the border appear every day.

By all accounts, Iraqi families who fled their homes in the past two years are returning to Baghdad.

The description of the scope of the return, however, appears to have been massaged by politics. Returnees have essentially become a currency of progress.


On Nov. 7, Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, the Iraqi spokesman for the American-Iraqi effort to pacify Baghdad, said that 46,030 people returned to Iraq from abroad in October because of the “improving security situation.”


But in interviews, officials from the ministry acknowledged that the count covered all Iraqis crossing the border, not just returnees. “We didn’t ask them if they were displaced and neither did the Interior Ministry,” said Sattar Nowruz, a spokesman for the Ministry of Displacement and Migration.

As a result, the tally included Iraqi employees of The New York Times who had visited relatives in Syria but were not among the roughly two million Iraqis who have fled the country.


A half-dozen owners of Iraqi travel agencies and drivers who regularly travel to Syria agreed that the numbers misrepresented reality.

They said that the flow of returnees peaked last month, with more than 50 families arriving daily from Syria at Baghdad’s main drop-off point. Since Nov. 1, they said, the numbers have declined, and on Sunday morning, during a period when several buses used to appear, only one came.


A United Nations (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/u/united_nations/index.html?inline=nyt-org) survey released last week, of 110 Iraqi families leaving Syria, also seemed to dispute the contentions of officials in Iraq that people are returning primarily because they feel safer.

The survey found that 46 percent were leaving because they could not afford to stay; 25 percent said they fell victim to a stricter Syrian visa policy; and only 14 percent said they were returning because they had heard about improved security.

Underscoring a widely held sense of hesitation, many of those who come back to Iraq do not return to their homes ...

11-27-2007, 01:41 PM
Nice Post, Tequila !

Joyous photos of Iraqi refugees returning to Baghdad (http://www.cfr.org/publication/14817/refugees_return_but_concerns_linger.html)

...in recent weeks have become something of a rallying cry for U.S. and Iraqi officials. Security is on such an upswing, leaders say, families are doing the once unthinkable: they’re coming home.

Definitely good news and a reason to be optimistic; while I would also argue that not all of the folks are returning because they feel the security situation has drastically improved, I would point out that the statistics reflect that people are no longer fleeing Iraq. Often relief agency’s numbers are easily skewed by not calculating that others continue to/or are no longer departing. CNN recently reported that 46,000 have retuned in October, and 10,000 of those to Baghdad. The same reports covered market activity and nightlife returning to the capital.

This U.N. September 2007 report (http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home/opendoc.pdf?tbl=SUBSITES&id=470387fc2) however indicates that an estimated 60,000 Iraqis were still being forced from their homes each month due to violence.

12-07-2007, 01:48 AM
The UNHCR (not UN) report quoted previously is not accurate regarding the rate of newly displaced Iraqis. The UNHCR does not have any active nationwide systematic monitoring of IDPs ongoing within Iraq. The now defunct UN Cluster F report that is often mislabeled as a UNHCR report relies on data collected by the MoDM, KRG and IOM and has been for some time considered the definitive source of information on Iraqi displacement. The last Cluster F report seems to indicate an ever growing number of IDPs, a theme that is also repeated in their latest funding appeal.

The rate of newly displaced Iraqis is now actually so low in Baghdad that the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration (MoDM) has stopped registering new applications for IDP status in order to catch up with many applications still in the pipeline. The way an Iraqi is registered as an IDP (and becomes eligible for a monthly support grant) is that local, district and then provincial councils have to validate the applicant before MoDM registers the person or family. All the other components of the system are ongoing as the MoDM catches up.

The simple reason for the apparent rise in the total number of Iraqi displaced is that collection efficiencies, the monetary incentives now being offered to register, fewer mixed urban neighborhoods and vastly increased security have generated a frenzy among poor Iraqis to get registered. The MoDM recently issued a clarification that their numbers only reflect the date a person becomes registered as an IDP with the Iraqi government, not the date or rate of displacement.

As for the Iraqi Red Crescent, it has never revealed its methodology regarding how or who they count as IDPs so are not considered as credible by serious humanitarian organizations working in Iraq.

The only organization that actively monitors when an Iraqi becomes displaced, their sectarian affiliation, where they came from and why they fled in the first place is the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Every two weeks they update the data on their web site. IOM does not count every displaced Iraqi nor is that their goal. This organization seeks out the most vulnerable Iraqi IDPs and conducts a monitoring and needs assessment when they find them so they can design and implement a life sustaining intervention, if needed, until the host community or the Government of Iraq can provide the sustainable support. These most vulnerable displaced Iraqis are the ones everyone should be most concerned with not the middle class Iraqis who fled abroad.

The key to understanding the relevance of displacement trends in the current counter-insurgency strategy is that most people will not come back to a place that is not perceived to be secure regardless of any economic or government incentives, and absent extreme coercive methods displacement and returns should be considered as a key indicator of success or failure in any security operation.

12-07-2007, 11:37 AM
FAFO did a study with the Jordanian government in April 2007 on the number and characteristics of the Iraqi refugee population in Jordan. Haven't had a chance to really look at the report or the sampling data, but it's here (http://www.fafo.no/ais/middeast/jordan/IJ.pdf)and here (http://www.fafo.no/ais/middeast/jordan/IJ_Sampling.pdf).

12-07-2007, 03:16 PM

We can all note that the IDP and Refugee issue in Iraq is huge, it is at present a destabilizing factor in the region, yet if handled properly it could be a significant advantage.

But I have already stated my crazy ideas on another thread, what I'd like to hear is what else could be done. First and foremost we (US) need to stop saying that refugees and IDP are a UN issue. We cannot and should not pass the buck. If a concerted effort was made by the US and I mean -DOD-DOS in conjunction with the Iraqi military and Gov't this problem could be reduced if not solved.

One of the big problems is that the returnees tend to run into squatters, and that is just bad. The other issue is that the returnees tend to be brought to cities Bagdahd in particular. These places are over crowded, and already violent, why put more unemployed into an already weak zone.

Relocation of the displaced has worked in the past and if modified to fit 'modern sensibilities' it can become palatable and managable.

Bottom line, we only need to look at the Palestinian camps to see the dangers of prolonged displacement in foriegn countries. The first goal should be to bring the people back into Iraq, and into safe areas that have ready made job opportunites and a higher standard of living. The cost is negliible in comparison to leaving at it is now.


12-19-2007, 09:38 PM
HRW, dated Nov 07, but published on-line 4 Dec 07:

Rot Here or Die There: Bleak Choices for Iraqi Refugees in Lebanon (http://www.hrw.org/reports/2007/lebanon1207/lebanon1207webwcover.pdf)

Compared to Syria and Jordan, Lebanon hosts a relatively small number of Iraqi refugees, estimated at around 50,000. But Lebanon, with a population of only four million people, already shoulders a significant burden by hosting 250,000 to 300,000 Palestinian refugees. Political instability and crisis also make many Lebanese wary of hosting another refugee population whose prospects of returning to their home country in the short term are remote. The situation is further complicated because many Lebanese perceive that the sectarian tensions that plague Iraqi society might feed into, and amplify, the sectarian tensions that are ever present in Lebanon itself.

Iraqi refugees in Lebanon currently enjoy only very limited protection. Since January 2007, UNHCR grants refugee status on a prima facie basis to all Iraqi nationals from central and southern Iraq who have sought asylum in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, and Lebanon. However, Lebanon, like some of its neighbors, does not give legal effect to UNHCR’s recognition of Iraqi refugees. Lebanon is not a party to the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention (http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/o_c_ref.htm)) or to the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/o_p_ref.htm). It has no domestic refugee law. Instead, people who enter Lebanon illegally for the purpose of seeking refuge from persecution, or who enter legally but then overstay their visas for the same purpose, are treated as illegal immigrants and are subject to arrest, imprisonment, fines, and deportation.

The Lebanese authorities have in many ways shown a remarkable tolerance for the Iraqi presence in Lebanon. The police and the Internal Security Forces (ISF (http://www.isf.gov.lb/English/Header/Home+Page/Homepage.htm)) do not systematically arrest Iraqi refugees who do not have valid visas or residence permits, but sufficiently large numbers of Iraqis are arrested and detained to ensure that the risk of arrest is constantly on their minds. The number of Iraqi refugees arrested increases in direct proportion to the number of checkpoints in Lebanon. While in March 2007 there were fewer than 100 Iraqi refugees in detention in Lebanon, by August 2007 this number had increased dramatically to 480 as a direct result of the proliferation of checkpoints due to the worsening security situation. As this paper goes to press, in November 2007, about 580 Iraqi refugees are in detention in Lebanon. This means that most Iraqis do not leave their homes unless absolutely necessary, and often do not approach UNHCR or the authorities for fear of exposing themselves to arrest. Their lack of legal status in Lebanon also means that they are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation by employers and others who know that the Iraqis have no recourse to the Lebanese authorities.....
Complete 70 page report at the link.

04-17-2008, 01:55 PM
Refugees International, Apr 08: Uprooted and Unstable: Meeting Urgent Humanitarian Needs in Iraq (http://www.refintl.org/files/10570_file_UprootedandUnstable.pdf)

....As a result of the vacuum created by the failure of both the Iraqi Government and the international community to act in a timely and adequate manner, non-state actors play a major role in providing assistance to vulnerable Iraqis. Militias of all denominations are improving their local base of support by providing social services in the neighborhoods and towns they control. Through a “Hezbollah-like” scheme, the Shiite Sadrist movement has established itself as the main service provider in the country. Similarly, other Shiite and Sunni groups are gaining ground and support through the delivery of food, oil, electricity, clothes and money to the civilians living in their fiefdoms. Not only do these militias now have a quasi-monopoly in the large-scale provision of assistance in Iraq, they are also recruiting an increasing number of civilians to their militias - including displaced Iraqis.....
Complete 28 page paper at the link.

06-19-2008, 03:17 AM
From their web page:

IOM is conducting on-going, in-depth assessments of recently displaced persons throughout Iraq. Monitors use Rapid Assessment questionnaires to gather information from IDP families, the Ministry of Displacement and Migration (MoDM), IDP tribal and community leaders, local NGOs, and local government bodies. Based on a database of this information, IOM disseminates bi-weekly, bi-annual, and annual reports containing updates, statistics, and analysis on displacement.This information assists IOM and other organizations in prioritizing areas of operation, planning emergency responses and designing long-term programs.

June 2008 updates and much more solid information can be found here http://www.iom-iraq.net/library.html#IDP


07-11-2008, 03:25 PM
ICG, 10 Jul 08: Failed Responsibility: Iraqi Refugees in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon (http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/getfile.cfm?id=3510&tid=5563&type=pdf&l=1)

.....The refugee crisis has presented a test that virtually all involved are failing. The three neighbouring host countries have performed best. There is much in their attitude toward Iraqis that is open to question and, as time elapsed, they unfortunately have hardened their policies. Still, Syria and Jordan in particular opened their borders and provided sanctuary at significant cost to their already fragile socio-economic fabric. Nothing of the sort can be said of the Iraqi government or of those in the international community primarily responsible for the refugees’ plight. The Iraqi government, neighbouring host countries, the U.S. and EU have a joint obligation to do more for the refugees’ welfare.

Today, as some relatively hopeful signs emanate from Iraq, there is a temptation to downplay the problem and bank on large-scale returns. Yet, although the refugee flow has begun to taper off as a result of decreasing levels of violence, relatively few of the displaced have felt confident enough to return; those who have tend to be IDPs rather than refugees (who fear they will not be allowed to re-enter their safe havens should violence once again pick up), and those refugees who have returned have often resettled in other than their original places of residence, because they found their own homes damaged, located in hostile areas or occupied by IDPs.

There also is a real risk that such progress as there has been will prove fleeting. The surge in troop presence has contributed to the relative calm, but those numbers are expected to decrease; more importantly, the shift in Iraq is largely due to other factors, principally a decision by key military actors either to lie low as long as U.S. forces remain in the country – the Sadrists and their Mahdi Army militias – or, in the case of Sunni tribes, to tactically ally themselves with the U.S. to fight a common enemy, al-Qaeda in Iraq. Underlying political conflicts have yet to be resolved and could reignite a bloody civil war. In other words, the world must be prepared for a possible second refugee wave.

Whether neighbouring states would be able to absorb that wave is doubtful. At that point, Western nations would face their second, arguably more critical test: to help neighbouring countries care for these refugees and accept greater numbers of them for resettlement or to see states, including important allies such as Jordan or critical regional actors such as Syria, buckle under the strain of a burden that far exceeds their limited resources.
Complete 47 page report at the link.

07-29-2008, 03:33 PM
Middle East Institute, Jul 08: Iraq's Refugee and IDP Crisis: Human Toll and Implications (http://www.mideasti.org/files/iraqs-refugee-and-IDP-crisis.pdf)

Iraq's Refugee and IDP Crisis: Human Toll and Implications is a wide-ranging collection of essays that explore the challenges facing Iraq, the international community, and the refugees themselves. Fifteen leading experts and practitioners from around the world provide thought-provoking commentaries on a wide range of issues, including the factors that triggered the refugee flow; the response of the US, Iraq, and the international community; the prospects for the refugees' return; the impact on Iraq's neighbors, and much more. This special edition of MEI's prestigious Viewpoints series also includes maps and statistics about the state of Iraq’s millions of refugees and IDPs as well as a comprehensive bibliography and the testimonies of refugees themselves.

08-05-2008, 12:12 PM
ISN Security Watch, 5 Aug 08: Letters from Jordan: Iraqi Refugees in Limbo (http://www.isn.ethz.ch/news/sw/details.cfm?id=19270)

....Jordan, which has issued legal residence permits to 60,000 Iraqi refugees, announced on 15 July that it would no longer grant residency to Iraqis. For the rest, staying in Jordan until a country grants them formal political asylum means submitting to a legal limbo and financial hardships in a place that is losing patience and growing increasingly inhospitable toward them.

Iraqi refugees now comprise more than 10 percent of Jordan's population, which has swelled from 5.2 million people before the war began to nearly 6 million people in just five years. The influx of refugees, along with the growing price of oil in a nation that has few natural resources of its own, has doubled the cost of food, transportation, public services and gas, according to a UNHCR (http://www.unhcr.org/country/irq.html) report. Rent prices in some areas have nearly quadrupled. Many Jordanians blame Iraqis for the skyrocketing prices......

04-11-2009, 01:05 PM
USIP, Apr 09: Land, Property, and the Challenge of Return for Iraq’s Displaced (http://library.usip.org/articles/1012167.1075/1.PDF)

Iraq has experienced several waves of mass displacement over the last forty years that have left complex land and property crises in their wake. As security has improved and some of the nearly five million displaced Iraqis have begun to come home, resolution of these issues are at the fore of sustainable return.
The land and property challenges faced by returnees include claims of ownership and usage rights by the current occupants of their homes, destroyed and damaged property, business infrastructure that has fallen into disrepair, and a general lack of affordable housing units.
Such land and property challenges are made all the more complex by the combination of short- and long-term displacement within the country and by the multiple causes of property loss, including expropriation by the Ba’ath regime, terrorism, sectarian violence, military operations, economic hardship, and a general climate of fear.
Iraqi government property-recovery policies make a distinction between those who were displaced in the Ba’ath period (pre–March 2003) and those who were displaced in the post-Ba’ath period (post–March 2003).
The Commission on the Resolution of Real Property Disputes provides recourse to victims of the Ba’ath regime through a quasijudicial process, and the Council of Ministers Decree 262 and Prime Minister Order 101 facilitate property recovery through an interagency administrative process for those who were displaced in 2006 and 2007.
Although Decree 262 and Order 101 represent, in principle, a pragmatic and efficient process for property recovery, the process should be made accessible to a broader section of the displaced by expanding its temporal scope and allowing alternative means of proving one’s displacement and property rights. Implementation of Decree 262 and Order 101 should also be improved by clarifying the roles of the various agencies involved in the process and by providing a dedicated capacity for administration and oversight.
Ultimately, the Iraqi government needs to adopt a holistic strategy that goes beyond property recovery and the limited categories of displaced targeted today. It will need to grapple with the aftermath of sectarian cleansing and the fact that many displaced will choose not to go home. Its policies must also reflect the realities of the housing shortage, the humanitarian needs of returnees, the changing security conditions, and the economic crisis affecting all Iraqis.
Complete 20-page paper at the link.

04-27-2009, 12:43 PM
GAO, 21 Apr 09: Iraqi Refugee Assistance: Improvements Needed in Measuring Progress, Assessing Needs, Tracking Funds, and Developing an International Strategic Plan (http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d09120.pdf)

Iraqi refugees are one of the largest urban populations the UN has been called on to assist. The UN reports government estimates of up to 4.8 million Iraqis displaced within the last 5 years, with 2 million fleeing, primarily to Syria and Jordan.

GAO examined challenges in (1) measuring and monitoring progress in achieving U.S. goals for assisting Iraqi refugees, (2) providing humanitarian assistance to Iraqi refugees, (3) offering solutions for Iraqi refugees, and (4) developing an international strategic plan to address the Iraqi refugee situation.....

06-04-2009, 02:24 PM
IOM, May 09: Assessment of Iraqi Return (http://wwww.reliefweb.int/rw/RWFiles2009.nsf/FilesByRWDocUnidFilename/EDIS-7S9T8M-full_report.pdf/$File/full_report.pdf)

As displacement in Iraq has slowed to a trickle of isolated incidents, the focus turns to how best to assist the nearly 1.6 million internally displaced (IDP) families in the country, whether they wish to return, integrate into the place of displacement, or go elsewhere. While IOM assessments show that approximately 61% of interviewed post-2006 IDPs wish to return, another 39% of those interviewed wish to integrate permanently into their places of displacement or move to a third location.

Whether it is a matter of transport home, rebuilding property and livelihood or starting a permanent life in a different location, IDP and returnee families remain one of the most vulnerable populations in Iraq and are in urgent need of assistance to make their choices sustainable......

12-10-2009, 04:06 PM
Refugee Studies Centre, 9 Dec 09: Iraq's Refugees: Beyond "Tolerance" (http://www.humansecuritygateway.com/documents/RSC_IraqsRefugees_BeyondTolerance.pdf)

This brief report identifies key principles for consideration by policy makers – in government, in migration agencies and in the humanitarian networks. It does not promote policy in detail, for this requires careful elaboration in each state in which Iraqis have sought security. It suggests, however, that unless certain principles underpin policy in general, governments and agencies will shortly be confronted with new and unwelcome emergencies.

1. It is essential to recognise formally the scale and seriousness of displacement within and from Iraq, and the possibility of further mass movements related to profound problems of insecurity, especially in the country’s northern regions.

2. False expectations of return may induce IDPs and refugees to make impractical or even dangerous journeys to inhospitable locations. There must be no attempts at forced repatriation.

3. Any realistic prospect of mass return can only be associated with sustained efforts by the government in Iraq to support displaced people – by tackling problems of access to land and property, employment, income and general welfare.

4. Robust arrangements for protection of Iraqis in exile are essential: local ‘tolerance’ is at best a short-term measure. Relevant agencies should consider how to liaise with governments of the Middle East to produce an integrated approach.

5. Notwithstanding the reluctance of some states to accept Iraqis, resettlement programmes are essential if refugees are not to be isolated and marginalised in the Middle East, leading more to enter irregular migration networks, with all their associated dangers.

Much more research is needed to discover the scale of current displacement, the changing circumstances and patterns of movement of Iraqis, and the implications for governments and NGOs within and beyond the Middle East. This should address current realities with full seriousness, avoiding partial or partisan approaches and the temptation to ‘distort’ or to ignore unwelcome realities.

Steve the Planner
12-10-2009, 04:17 PM

Really great work on this thread.

And people think that KRG is the only big issue remaining in Iraq?


01-18-2010, 08:33 PM
RAND, 14 Jan 09: The Impact of U.S. Military Drawdown in Iraq on Displaced and Other Vulnerable Populations: Analysis and Recommendations (http://www.rand.org/pubs/occasional_papers/2010/RAND_OP272.pdf)

Groups at particular risk as U.S. forces depart Iraq include:

tens of thousands of Iraqis and their families who are affiliated with the United States in any of a variety of ways
smaller minorities among Iraq’s permanent citizens who have relied on U.S. forces for
Palestinians who took refuge in Iraq under the Saddam Hussein government
other refugee groups from outside Iraq who have taken shelter in that country over the years
the Mujeheddin e-Khalq (MEK), a cult-like dissident group from Iran that received sanctuary in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 1991 and whose members have since lived in their own enclave, from 2003 to early 2009 under the protection of U.S. forces
contractors from around the world who work for U.S., other coalition, and Iraqi companies in construction, food services, and myriad other jobs and who may lack documentation.