This weekend, the Washington Post reported on the ever-worsening refugee crisis in Iraq. Through the profile of a once-famous singer from Baghdad, the story of nearly 2 million refugees is told. Saad Ali, who has to disguise his Iraqi accent with a Jordanian dialect while living in Jordan’s shadows, “teeters on the fringes of life.” I have written on this crisis many times before. One of the biggest issues facing Iraqi refugees is the dearth of safe havens. Jordan and Syria have handled a disproportionate amount of this exodus, but after the 2005 bombing in Amman, Jordan essentially shut its borders and increased its surveillance of its Iraqi refugees, hence Sali’s life in the shadows. Right now, the Bush administration only allows 500 Iraqi refugees to enter the country. Yup, just 500. So, really that just leaves Syria. Hence the Post’s narrative:
“On Jan. 13, knots of Iraqis waited to board 14 buses to Syria…Humfash (the travel agent) makes all his passengers sign waiver forms that read: ‘I am traveling on my own responsibility and God is the only one that protects us.'”
As the United Nations tries to determine what can be done, and the United States dutifully ignores the thousands of Iraqis banging down its door, Sali and his fellows Iraqi citizens are left with little hope. The U.S. can hardly get a handle on Iraq’s security. The Bush administration is hoping that Petraeus will be a quick fix or an easy out, at the very least. So, if the administration can’t even put in the effort, time or resources into staving off a potential proxy war or complete chaos in the Middle East (which would really be in its best interest), I highly doubt that it has any intention of saving refugees. Not to mention the political repercussions. Because if you let Iraqi refugees into our country in droves, then you are admitting their country is not safe for them. If their country isn’t safe, then I think it is safe to say, we failed our mission. And this is an even more dire situation for the Shi’ites who face the most persecution in Syria and Jordan, which are both predominantly Sunni and you can be sure they’d be the very last to be granted asylum here.