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  1. #1
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    Default Iraq: A Displacement Crisis

    From PrariePundit:

    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.

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    ...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

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default Iraq: A Displacement Crisis

    Report from Norwegian NGO Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre 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 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.

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    If I was Jordan, I would be very concerned about who was crossing the border other than real refugees.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    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.

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    CRS Report, 23 Mar 07: Iraqi Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons: A Deepening Humanitarian Crisis?
    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....

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    WINEP, Apr 07: Iraqi Refugees in Jordan: Cause for Concern in a Pivotal State
    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
    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.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 01-10-2009 at 02:13 AM.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Outstanding article by Nir Rosen on the Iraqi refugee exodus, 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.
    Last edited by tequila; 05-14-2007 at 08:35 AM.

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    Brookings Institution, 11 Jun 07:

    Iraqi Refugees in the Syrian Arab Republic: A Field-Based Snapshot
    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....

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    Excerpt from the UNHCR 2006 Global Trends: Refugees, Asylum-seekers, Returnees, Internally Displaced and Stateless Persons:
    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.

  11. #11
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default More Iraqis Said to Flee Since Troop Rise

    More Iraqis Said to Flee Since Troop Rise - 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, sending Shiite refugees toward the overwhelmingly Shiite areas to the south and Sunnis toward majority Sunni regions to the west and north ...

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    There is also an impact here at home:

    El Paso Times, 22 Aug 07: More Iraqis Cross Southwest Border Seeking Asylum
    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....

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    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. 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 was in power. By comparison, the United States has accepted 3,498 Iranians in the past nine months ...

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    Default Iraqis crossing US border

    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    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. 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.
    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
    Who is Cavguy?

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Sickeningly familiar. Criminally worng. Again...

    This:

    "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...

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