2006 June 16 Friday
Iraq Refugee Surge Reported

Iraq has reversed a worldwide trend toward lower numbers of refugees.

"The increase is largely due to 650,000 more Iraqi refugees who have fled to Jordan and Syria," said USCRI's president, Lavinia Limon. "Although some Iraqis may be fleeing generalised violence, individuals and groups are targeted on the basis of political affiliation, professions, ethnic, or religious differences -- the definition of a refugee."

Moreover, she said that protections for fleeing Iraqis appear to be deteriorating, as Syria has begun to require residency permits, forcing many refugees to live underground, while Jordan has failed to so far to grant refugee status to Iraqis and is turning many back at the border.

At this rate soon more than half of all Iraqi professions will have left.

WASHINGTON -- More than 650,000 Iraqis fled their homeland for Jordan and Syria since the beginning of 2005, according to a refugee survey released on Wednesday.

The violence has forced over 40 percent of Iraqi professionals to leave, according to the survey, published by the Washington-based U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.

Two and a half percent of the population has left.

The figure, provided by the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, a nongovernmental group based in Washington, is equal to about 2.5 percent of Iraq's population, and substantiates the overwhelming evidence of an exodus that has been accumulating in Iraqi passport offices and airline waiting rooms in recent months.

It was part of a survey of refugees around the world that was conducted by the committee and was scheduled for release on Wednesday. The number includes Iraqis who have been in Syria and Jordan since the invasion in 2003 but had not previously been counted as refugees, and those who arrived over the course of 2005.

The committee has counted Iraqi refugees in the past, but the most recent figure is by far the largest to date — more than triple the 213,000 recorded in 2004 — and the first big surge since the American invasion. At first, Iraqis living abroad began returning home. But as the war became increasingly deadly, more Iraqis chose to leave.

In all, as of the end of 2005, 889,000 Iraqis have moved abroad as refugees since 2003, according to the group's tally, more than double the 366,000 counted at the end of 2004.

Keep in mind that not everyone who wants to leave can leave. Probably far more want to leave than can manage to do so.

So hundreds of thousands are leaving per year. But with Jordan and Syria making it tough perhaps the outflux will slow.

Fighting in Ramadi is the latest cause of the exodus.

Residents of the city of Ramadi are fleeing to escape a worsening security situation as the United States military steps up operations against insurgents there.

People in Ramadi, capital of the western Iraqi province of Anbar, estimate that about 70 per cent of the city’s population have fled in the last week, many of them holding white flags for fear of being shot at by Marine snipers.

Residents reported that US troops blasted messages through loudspeakers on June 13, telling them to leave and warning of house-to-house searches for weapons and militants.

The ongoing violence between US Marines and the insurgents, air strikes, and outages in the water, electricity and phone networks have already made life untenable. Ramadi residents say US troops regularly take over houses to fight the insurgents, and combatants on both sides have been seen using rooftops as sniper positions.

Bush and the neocons want to spread democracy to the Middle East. Well, the Iraqis are voting with their feet. They are voting for authoritarian governments that maintain order.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 June 16 06:07 AM  Mideast Iraq Exodus


Comments
Mark said at June 16, 2006 9:28 PM:

Now we get to nation building. Bush said he was against it when I voted for him, then.... he goes off and tries to build a first world nation with a bunch of idiotic third world stupid fools.

Seems like Bush is getting dumber as he gets older.

At this point I am confused if I am a conservative or a liberal. While I liked Bush at first, well..., that fool is a fool. If being a conservative means supporting that fool, then, I guess I am a liberal.

Now, lets build that wall.

Kenelm Digby said at June 17, 2006 4:28 AM:

Of course, eventually they all will end up in the USA, Canada and Europe.
And then they will bring their old folk, cousins and relatives etc, with them ad infinitum....
- A certain poetic justice, perhaps?

Randall Parker said at June 17, 2006 7:35 AM:

Mark,

Bush is a liberal hawk. He's not a conservative.

Neoconservatism is misnamed. It is a branch of liberalism. It holds liberal assumptions about human nature.

Big Bill said at June 17, 2006 7:23 PM:

God help us, the NEocons and their missionary activities are going to get us buried in wacko Muslims.

I knew when they started this f*ckup that the final chapter was going to be bringing in 300,000 to 500,000 of them to the USA and making them instant citizens for free.

The goal is to destroy America by importing every incompatible nutcase from around the world. Now we have the ADL.

In a few more years we are going to have a monster Muslim equivalent. It is going to make CAIR look like pattycake.

What have we ever done to them to deserve this? We rescued them from the countries they f*cked up in Europe: Poland, Germany, Russia, and in return the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society buries us in African and Hispanic immigrants and (God help us) their neocon kin start a war in Iraq and now we have half a million Iraqi refugees headed our way.

Stephen said at June 21, 2006 7:50 PM:

Randall, I'm confused, in what way can a fundamentalist bible basher be described as a liberal??

Randall Parker said at June 21, 2006 9:18 PM:

Stephen,

You mean you've never met fundamentalist Christian liberals? They do exist.

I think Bush has capitalized on the confusion between being a conservative and being a Christian in order to build a political coalition. No, he's no where near as conservative as he pretends to be.

Classical liberalism had its origins in Christianity. John Locke argued for a religious origin of liberty since we all have spirits and are equal in the eyes of God. Never mind that from a biological perspective we are not all equal and that natural selection produced psychopaths, violent people, placid people, and assorted other types of people. The Christian view is that we all have free will and consciences and all have the attributes needed to make us members of a rights-respecting society.

Now, I reject as erroneous that Christian view and the liberal view of humanity that it spawned. But Bush embraces the Christian view and a decent chunk of the liberal view that sprung from it.

Sure, you can find left wing liberals who are relatively more socialist than Bush. But he believes in a view of human nature that is closer to theirs than to those of a Burkean conservative or an evolutionary conservative.


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