Not all Iraqi refugees get to cities. These are picking up water aid in desert camps. Photo: Marko Georgiev for The New York Times
When I was part of a delegation to the region in the summer of 2006, the obvious reality, visible on the streets of Amman in Jordan and Damascus in Syria, was a massive presence of Iraqis, refugees from a country falling apart in the wake of the U.S. invasion. In those days, it was hard to get anyone to think about the regional effects of the enormous refugee flow (roughly 2 million out of Iraq and 2 million displaced within.) Now every day there is a new article about their plight -- though not nearly enough action on their behalf from the instigators of their misery.
Nir Rosen, probably the U.S. journalist who has gotten most deeply inside the Iraqi situation, has new, long article in the Boston Review that reports on refugee lives in Egypt, Syria and Jordan, as well as his attempts revisit long time acquaintances inside Iraq. He opines dismally on the likely future:
Do read it all.
Then, if you are not depressed enough, go read Barbara F. Walter's oped about the history of the trajectories of civil wars in the last 60 years. The money quotes:
Get the U.S. forces out of there now. The Iraqis are going to have find their own equilibrium. We broke it and we are not fixing it -- and can't. Hard for the U.S. to admit, but simply true.