Iraq Refugee Crisis

There are approximately 2 million Iraqi refugees in the Middle East, mainly in Syria but with another big population in Amman. Their money is running out. NGOs have fewer resources for them over time, and visa restrictions are increasing in severity. Many are traumatized and were personally threatened by the militias that took over (and still control) their old neighborhoods. Some are ethnically or religiously mixed families that no longer fit into ethnically cleansed and homogenized neighborhoods. Many lack patronage links to ruling parties and so have no prospect of employment on returning to Iraq. Few Western countries are taking them in. Sweden is the most exemplary, with 40,000. The US has done very little but now says it will take 12,000 asylees this year. A few tens of thousands have returned to Iraq–very, very few, though the al-Maliki government is now offering relocation grants to those who are willing to do so.

Paul Eedle’s important film, The Hard Way Home, commissioned by the Arabic service of the BBC, lays out the issues.

Here is part 1 on Youtube.

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