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'The worst is coming.' - The Flight from Iraq

by the stormy present Tue May 15th, 2007 at 03:38:09 AM EST

Nir Rosen has a long, detailed and exceedingly bleak assessment of Iraq's refugee crisis -- and the way the "international community" and especially the United States are failing to cope with it -- in today's New York Times Magazine.

He writes that the outflow of refugees from Iraq has now reached up to 50,000 people a month:

At a meeting in mid-April in Geneva, held by António Guterres, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, the numbers presented confirmed what had long been suspected: the collapse of Iraq had created a refugee crisis, and that crisis was threatening to precipitate the collapse of the region. The numbers dwarfed anything that the Middle East had seen since the dislocations brought on by the establishment of Israel in 1948. In Syria, there were estimated to be 1.2 million Iraqi refugees. There were another 750,000 in Jordan, 100,000 in Egypt, 54,000 in Iran, 40,000 in Lebanon and 10,000 in Turkey. The overall estimate for the number of Iraqis who had fled Iraq was put at two million by Guterres. The number of displaced Iraqis still inside Iraq's borders was given as 1.9 million. This would mean about 15 percent of Iraqis have left their homes.

Much more after the jump.

Front-paged on DKos, time it was front-paged here! - afew


Leaving aside, for the moment, the question of why it would have taken the UNHCR until April to realize this, Rosen's piece raises important points and is well worth the read.

Many of Iraq's neighbors initially welcomed the refugees. These countries were motivated by self-interest as well as by generosity. Certain political refugees, like Baathist officials, who were among the first to leave Iraq, had a political use in negotiations with the American-led occupation and the Iraqi government that succeeded it. And the well-to-do early refugees -- those who could meet Jordan's requirement of $100,000 in the bank to qualify for a residency permit, for example -- brought much-needed capital.

This is depressingly familiar.  From Palestine to Rwanda, refugees and exiles have been too often treated more like political pawns than people.  We shall return to this theme in a moment.

But the numbers and the welcome became unsustainable: Jordan and Egypt have made it very difficult for Iraqis to enter, and even Syria, with a long history of welcoming refugees, has passed regulations, like restrictions on the purchase of property and on access to free health care, that are intended to ensure that Iraqi refugees are only temporary residents. Iraq's neighbors take the position that Iraqi refugees are not in fact refugees at all, because refugee status enables refugees to make claims on the host country. Iraq's government has itself taken roughly the same position, because it cannot afford to acquiesce in the loss of its population or acknowledge its own failure to provide security. The United States and Great Britain, as the principal authors of the current war, have been urged by rights activists to shoulder responsibility for the war's refugees -- a responsibility they have so far evaded.  The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the principal international body for refugee issues, succeeded in finding new homes for just 404 refugees in the first nine months of 2006 and says it hopes to resettle 20,000 by the end of 2007. That would be 1 percent of the current total. The agency's fund-raising mark for 2007 is $60 million -- for humanitarian relief rather than resettlement -- of which it has so far raised only half. As with the war itself, the situation of the war's refugees is at once dire and full of dangers for the region and the world -- and no one seems to know how to resolve it.

What follows is a series of snapshots, scenes from countries where Iraqi refugees have settle.  

In Egypt, where restaurants in some Cairo neighborhoods now bear names like "Baghdad Nights," this city of some 18 million has been able to absorb a hundred thousand new residents without too much trouble.  (I know some of them.)  But Cairo is an uncomfortable place for Shi'ites; many of the Iraqi refugees have brought their sectarian differences with them and continue to suffer from the patterns of Sunni-Shia hostility, a divide tacitly encouraged by the Shia-phobic Egyptian president. (OK, maybe I'm editorializing here a little, but only a little.)

Syria, on the other hand, has thus far managed to tamp down those tensions, allowing Sunnis, Shia and Christians to live side-by-side.  Syria is itself far more multi-confessional and multi-ethnic than Egypt, and its government is the most resolutely secular in the Middle East.  A Sunni barber from Baghdad told Rosen, "Praise God, thanks to the Syrian government we have no problems. If anything happens, they deal with it when it happens. As shop owners we are not allowed to talk about sectarianism. Word spread to all business owners: You live in a different country, not your country; you have to respect their rules."  (Editorializing again, I will note that in addition to being more secular, Syria is also a more effective police state able to exert more control over its residents than Egypt... although Egypt is apparently working on catching up.)

And then there are the Iraqi Palestinians, the "double refugees," consigned to a grim existence in no-man's-land tent camps along the border:  "My grandfather was my age when he was expelled," a teenager named Ayman told Rosen.  "Now, it wasn't Jews who expelled us, it was Arabs."

And then we come back to the politics:

As in the Palestinian case, solidarity with Iraqi refugees runs up against the competitive self-interests of states. The governments that are sheltering Iraqi refugees are extracting whatever political utility they can from their guests, mainly by using them as pawns in the game of Iraqi power. Nearly every Iraqi political movement has representation in Syria.

And with politics comes manipulation.  And with manipulation comes vulnerability, and danger.

"The temptation is there," a top official at the U.N. refugee agency told me, referring to the possibility of bringing the refugees into the civil war. "The money from Bin Laden is there. If the international community doesn't help, then the other groups will, and all hell will break loose. Iraqis are sitting in Syria and Jordan where the Baathists and Wahhabis are strongest. If 1 percent of the two million can be bought, then that is very dangerous." He noted that money came from Saudi Arabia to Jordan and was disbursed there. "This problem will be with us for a long time," he said, shaking his head in frustration.

And then there are the insurgents, or their backers, those who support what they call al-muqawama al-sharifa, "the honorable resistance."

In this self-serving op-ed in today's Washington Post, L. Paul Bremer, the former American czar of the CPA, tries in vain to defend his legacy.  He repeats that old Bush Administration canard about Baath party "dead-enders" collaborating with Al-Qaida:  "They're fighting because they want to topple a democratically elected government and reestablish a Baathist dictatorship. The true responsibility for today's bloodshed rests with these people and their al-Qaeda collaborators."

But Rosen makes it clear that, whatever collaboration might have happened in the past (and he doesn't really delve into that much), it appears to be over now:

What's most striking about these men is the sense that they have become trapped -- militarily, at least -- between Al Qaeda and its ilk, on one side, and the Americans on the other, with a dangerous Shiite-dominated, Green Zone-based government to the east and an irritable, secessionist Kurdish region to the north.

And so we return to the issue we laid aside at the beginning -- why the UN (and the "international community" as a whole) has been so woefully tardy and insufficient in its response to the refugee crisis.

"It's the fastest-growing refugee population in the world," said Kenneth Bacon, president of Refugees International and assistant secretary of defense for public affairs from 1994 to 2001. "It's a crisis in response to an American action. This is a refugee crisis that we triggered and aren't doing enough to deal with.

"What I find most disturbing," Bacon went on to say, "is that there seems to be no recognition of the problem by the president or top White House officials."

And now, gentle readers, if you aren't sitting down, perhaps you should.  Do not attempt to eat or drink while reading this next section, because you're likely to choke.  In fact, I can feel my lunch struggling to return as I type this.

But John Bolton, who was undersecretary of state for arms control and international security in the Bush administration, and later ambassador to the United Nations, offers one explanation for this lack of recognition: it is not a crisis, and it was not triggered by American action. The refugees, he said, have "absolutely nothing to do with our overthrow of Saddam.

"Our obligation," he told me this month at his office in the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, "was to give them new institutions and provide security. We have fulfilled that obligation. I don't think we have an obligation to compensate for the hardships of war." Bolton likewise did not share the concerns of Bacon and others that the refugees would become impoverished and serve as a recruiting pool for militant organizations in the future. "I don't buy the argument that Islamic extremism comes from poverty," he said. "Bin Laden is rich." Nor did he think American aid could alleviate potential anger: "Helping the refugees flies in the face of received logic. You don't want to encourage the refugees to stay. You want them to go home. The governments don't want them to stay."

<speechless>

But only speechless for a moment.  I have cringed at many outrageous things that John Bolton has said in the past, but this ranks right up there with the most outrageous.  Can somebody please book Mr. Bolton a nice cell in the Hague?

Since 2003, the United States has accepted only 701 Iraqi refugees. In the first four months of 2007, it took in 69 Iraqi refugees, fewer than the number it accepted in the same period in 2006.

The United States is really just beginning to grapple with the question of Iraqi refugees, in part because the flight from Iraq is so entwined with the vexed question of blame.

Well, that's been the issue since the refugees first started fleeing Iraq.  The Bushistas have never wanted to call them refugees, because they keep trying to pretend they've done something good for Iraq, and good things don't produce refugees, right?

"What that has mostly meant," Rosen writes, "is that the Bush administration has left the task of dealing with Iraqi refugees to Iraq's neighbors."  (With the exception of one category of Iraqi refugees -- those who have worked for the Americans.)

What?  The Bush Administration passing the buck?  Sloughing off the responsibility for its own mistakes onto someone else?  Surely not.

That will leave everyone else to fend pretty much for themselves and depend on the kindness of Iraq's neighbors. Barbara Bodine, a longtime U.S. diplomat in the region who was brought in to be the temporary "mayor" of Baghdad in 2003, told me there was a simple reason for the White House's denial of a refugee crisis: "When you affirm you have refugees and I.D.P.'s" -- internally displaced persons -- "you are admitting that the average Iraqi has little or no expectation that Bush's surge can reverse a security situation that has spun utterly out of control. This is not a loss of faith in Iraq, per se, but in the current governments of Iraq and Washington."

Rosen's story, as I mentioned (and as should be clear from the length of this diary!) is quite long, and filled with details.  I have dealt with only a fraction of it here, and if you can stomach the depression, I recomend reading it in its entirety.

Display:
Everyone else is using their Sunday to write about fun stuff like the Eurovision song contest, and here I am bringing everyone down....

I wanted to include one more Rosen excerpt, which didn't really fit into my diary but I think is a very astute observation:

In some ways, despite the ethnic and religious motives of most of the Iraqi factions, the Iraqi civil war resembles internal conflicts in revolutionary China or Cambodia: there is a cleansing of the intelligentsia and of anyone else who stands out from the mass. The small Iraqi minorities -- Christians and such sects as the Mandeans -- are mostly gone. The intellectuals and artists are gone.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 09:15:47 AM EST
Not to worry, I've been deconstructing "free trade™" in the Alþing thread.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 09:24:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe you should post this also on dKos - haven't seen the topic there yet.
by Fran on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 10:04:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a very good idea.

This is easily front page material.

Whether or not it makes any material difference is a different issue, but some of the people who read dKos might be able to get the issue some wider attention.

Bolton of course is just a wanker - another delusional idiot riding along on the covered wagon of fools that passes for an administration in the US.

I long ago gave up expecting anything that might pass for sanity or compassion from them.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 10:46:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Done..

Also found this Kos diary by a US congressman about this....

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 11:40:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Everything I do at Kos just sinks like a stone.  Nobody loves me....
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 11:57:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I gave you some love over there. :-)
by Fran on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 12:09:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks! :-)
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 12:19:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe you should change the word 'flight' in the titel into 'exodus' - maybe that will catch some attention on dKos.
by Fran on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 12:52:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Me too. No need for thanks!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 01:12:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There was no explicit and exclamation marks in the title. Perhaps you should've tried: Bolton: "F- you, Iraqi refugees" or the like...
by Nomad on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 12:09:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, exclamation points.  Clearly preferable to substance ;-)
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 12:18:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is intensely dissapointing, the diary does deserve far more notice. How can you call yourselfe progressive if you aren't going to support people in this much trouble?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 12:27:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if it's any consolation, Rosen's original article in the NYT Magazine will certainly be read widely.  I'm honestly surprised that the NYT site hasn't placed it more prominently, though.

I think what distresses me more than my diary being ignored is the Congressman's diary being ignored.  This is a guy who appears to really want to try to do something, and he deserves all kinds of support and encouragement in that.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 12:41:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your FP now. Congrats.
by det on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 02:54:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am?
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 02:55:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Holy crap!  I hope I don't have to stay up all night answering comments.  I've never gotten the slightest bit of notice at dkos before.  I'm not sure how this works.

Thanks for the heads-up.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 02:57:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Time to update your diary to say that this was initially written for the European Tribune...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 03:09:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a crossposting note already, with a link to this diary...
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 03:10:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is well written, and a credit to Dkos that is is noticed. Congratulations! Let's see what you experience!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 03:17:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... have to stay up all night answering comments

Punishment for your sins :).

by det on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 03:29:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Punishment for all of my sins would likely involve having to stay up considerably longer than one night....
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 03:33:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Congratulation - you diary really deserves it.
by Fran on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 03:43:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's really not me, it's all Nir Rosen.  I just summarized.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 04:13:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well deserved, stormy! Congrats!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 04:45:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been grubbing through spreadsheets of unemployment data, lovely way to spend a Sunday!

Bolton sits in his AEI office and rolls out the creative destruction stuff. Those who think the neocons are idealists... Well, I suppose we'll be told Bolton isn't a true neocon. Whatever.

The worse it is, the more it gives the entire region a taste of what America can do. This is the underlying reason why the Bush administration has screwed up in Iraq: not so much incompetence as not giving a damn.

Destruction and fear are the object of the exercise. Why bother with the frills?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 11:43:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, this is not the first time this topic came up on ET . I had links to it in the Salon a few times - so it is not a unknown topic. The only amazing thing is, as you write, why has it taken the UN this long to speak out.

For me there is only one question - when will the war criminal tribunal start. Not only for Bolton, but the whole US-Gang including Bliar and maybe even Aznar and other colaborators. Though for they moment my hope is not very high, to many of the Europeans in high positions seem to have collaborated.

by Fran on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 09:58:30 AM EST
I have been saying for several years, that possibly the only way the  US will be able to rebuild its international credibility will be to sign up to the ICC after withdrawing from Iraq, and sending a bunch of people to the Hague.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 10:44:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And considering the hawkish statements from Obama and Clinton, and the only slightly less hawkish position that Edwards seems to be staking out, obviously that's not going to happen.

I've said before that the US doesn't do foreign policy. Sometimes it does domestic policy abroad, which is easily confused with foreign policy by those who aren't thinking straight.

But genuine foreign policy would mean granting the rest of the world an existence independent of US interests. And that seems to be a step too far, even for many on the so-called Left.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 10:51:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did wonder at the "Britain is a special place" bit on the end of the Blair retirement speach. I did wonder if it was a pitch for a similar status to the US in relation to the ICC.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 11:07:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think they're going to have to lose a world war first. Luckily Cheney seems to be hard at work starting one.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 11:22:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stormy, you are such a party pooper < /a sad snark >.

Actually, this is a great article...one that made me say "ugh" and gave me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach...as it really is an unbelievably bad situation. And it won't get better while the Bush mafia is in power.

I have an ongoing email conversation with a fellow researcher in one of the largest international children's organizations, and our last conversation was something like, "hey, haven't heard from you in awhile, what have you been up to?" "Uh, trying to figure out what to do with over a million Iraqi children refugees..."   What do you say to that?

Curious, are there any estimates as to how many of the refugees are women and children?

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 10:50:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a good question, Bob, and I have no idea.  I'll poke around with the UNHCR and UNICEF and see what I can find out.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 11:58:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's a link I put up in the Salon a month ago, to an Asia Times article by Pepe Escobar, that is not without interest.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 12:01:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been thinking about this part quite a bit since posting the diary:

"What that has mostly meant," Rosen writes, "is that the Bush administration has left the task of dealing with Iraqi refugees to Iraq's neighbors."

And that, shamefully, is also far too often the case in refugee crises.  The neighboring countries are also often (as in this case) those with the fewest resources to deal with the influx, and those with the most to lose from an expansion of the chaos that led to the refugee crisis in the first place.  In other words, they're the most vulnerable to fallout, and the least equipped to prevent it.

And the people who caused this sit there blithely denying that they bear any responsibility.

"Our obligation," [Bolton] told me this month at his office in the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, "was to give them new institutions and provide security. We have fulfilled that obligation. I don't think we have an obligation to compensate for the hardships of war."

New institutions?  Never mind institutions that actually work, that treat all citizens equally regardless of sect.  Security?  Are you high?!  What security?

"Helping the refugees flies in the face of received logic. You don't want to encourage the refugees to stay. You want them to go home. The governments don't want them to stay."

"So, Mr. Refugee, you have two choices.  You can stay here and slowly starve and/or die of exposure because nobody will feed you, give you decent shelter or help you find work.  OR you can go back home and die in one of a variety of ways, including car bombing, torture by electric drill bit, or just being shot 22 times at close range while driving your car.  Your choice.  You can die slowly as a refugee, or relatively quickly at home."

Mr. Bolton, you are a savage.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 12:17:00 PM EST
I'm sure, but the other weird thing is that being "an internally displaced person (IDP)" is NOT considered being a refugee...and so have no rights as a refugee. And IDPs don't get added into the overall refugee numbers (which at this point is something close to 50 million worldwide, if I recall it correctly).

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 01:39:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant to say "I'm not sure" and was referring to IDPs. I am sure Bolton is an asshat...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 01:40:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a solution to the refugee problem. Let's define "Earth" as the unit. Then, everyone is "internally displaced" and the refugee problem vanishes.

I'm sure this idea will earn me a lectureship at Georgetown or something.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 01:46:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More like Johns Hopkins.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 02:29:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thoughts like that could get you the presidency of the world bank.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 03:06:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To put this in perspective...Switzerland has about 7 million people...so the approximate number of 3.9 million total refugees and IDPs would be more than half of the people in Switzerland fleeing their homes!!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 03:43:47 PM EST
Hey, you have to do it proportionally.

This would be comparable to 44 million Americans being displaced, with 13.6 million in Mexico, 8.5 million in Canada, 1.1 million in England, 600 thousand in Australia, 450 thousand in New Zealand and 120 thousand in Spain.

Another 21.4 million would be displaced within the USA.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 03:11:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if you do other things proportionally then you would calculate that every 285 casualties in Iraq is for them equivalent to 9/11.

so from the rate of casualties worked out from jhe Johns Hopkins figures that's more than  a 9/11 a day for them, every day, for four years.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 08:39:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a 2003 article in the lancet (registration required) which covers the requirements that were thought about before the war stared

If war breaks out in Iraq 1·45 million people will leave for neighbouring countries, 900 000 people will be displaced within Iraq, and 4·9 million people will need food and aid supplies, according to the latest estimates from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

the most interesting quote in the article is this

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said that most of the 1·45 million refugees created by a war will not be able to get asylum. Iraq's neighbours, Jordan, Iran, and Turkey, all opened their borders to Iraq's refugees during the 1991 Gulf war and all three countries still have sizeable refugee populations from this period.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 04:00:20 PM EST
<gape>

It doesn't matter how well I know that the people who wrought this war were deliberately sidelining and ignoring anyone who tried to counter their rosy predictions with realism, but every new example of it still makes me blanch anew.

They knew.  They were told.  And they didn't just refuse to listen, they acted in wilful disregard of the best advice offered.

<burys face in hands>

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 04:12:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I went looking for the actual date of the Lancets casualty  study so only to come across the report on refugees.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 04:32:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember that. The warbots in internet forums tried to dismiss it loudly, and after the initial phase of the war, loudly proclaimed that it was unrealistic.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 06:09:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe needs to act on this.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 07:26:30 PM EST
You mean, with the new star Sarko who, during the presidential debate, when the subject of Darfur came up, directly cut to "400 million poor Africans want to join, we can't let them in" ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 09:03:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With Sarkozy too, yes. Hey, at least he's not the only star on the firmament.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 02:41:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whaa..?!

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 02:55:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Swedish pm Reinfeldt is in USA right now, and among the topics are the problems with refugees arriving to europe (in particular Sweden) from Iraq.

So Europe is acting on it, but it does not look like it is acting the right way.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 04:52:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, now, is Reinfeldt going to be able to use the political capital Sweden has amassed with the Bush administration through their participation in the Afghanistan Punitive Expedition?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 05:01:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ha! Don't you know? Bush doesn't do this stuff. How do you call it? Re-ci-pro-ci-ty. Too many syllables. Waaay too many syllables. Must be a bad idea.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 05:48:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tit for tat. Even Bush can say that.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 05:53:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tit for tat has a negative connotation. The phrase I was looking for was quid pro quo. As No Right Turn said ages ago, Bush doesn't do quid pro quo.

Must be that Latin...

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 07:14:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
he does 'quid', just no 'quo'. Or is it the other way round?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 07:17:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess that 'pro' stands for 'for', so it would be 'quo'.

That he does do.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 07:47:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Forget the Latin. The only quid pro quo Bush does involves a bone and occasional shouts of 'Walkies!'

And the bone usually turns out to be optional.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 06:26:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I went looking for some stats from Sweden on the Iraqi migrant situation.

Initially, in 2003 - 2005 there were fewer arrivals than during Sadam's rule.
Then an up-tick in 2006. The Migration Department in Sweden is projecting 20000 Iraqi arrivals for 2007. (Close to the total number of arrivals from all countries last year, for comparison)

Something happened in 2005. The number of Iraqis changing their citizenships to Swedish doubled, with a further small increase in 2006.

What's at work here? More optimism right after the invasion, leading to a larger 'temporary' refugee stream to nearby countries, but less to places far away? (People who expect to return home soon, and thus don't have much incentive to go further away.) More difficulty leaving after the invasion? (It should be noted that transport to Sweden (smuggling...) is not cheap or easy, only wealthy refugees with stealth skills need apply...) And, this up-tick in citizenships? People giving up on the situation improving in Iraq, and deciding to stay for good? Or unrelated, as in, people arrived earlier who are now eligible, but weren't before, driven by earlier events more than recent ones?

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 09:35:23 AM EST
In the eighties, when Sweden had full employment and stuff and boosted with a liberal policy towards refugees and immigrants quite a lot of people fled the Iraq-Iran war and ended up in Sweden. Some of them might have given up hope about returning in 2005. I do not think that any particular time limit was passed in 2005 regarding their eligability since that would place the arrivals in 99-2000 (its 4-5 years before you can apply).

In a short intervue with Reinfeldt this morning it was mentioned that half of the iraqi refugees arriving to EU comes to Sweden. Large diaspora to connect to perhaps?

According to some quick googling, getting smuggled from Iran to Sweden by Amir Heidari - Swedens most famous in the trade - runs according to the prosecution around 5 000 euros, half fee for children and with the option of working off part off the debt in the smuggling organisation. Now the prosecution was trying to show that Heidari did this for profit so it is the upper limit of the cost. How possible it is to raise these money for most iraqis I do not know.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 12:54:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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