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Refugees again

January 10th, 2007

Pamela Hartman of LA has another piece (over the fold) on the experiences of Iraqi refugees and the virtual impossibility of gaining refugee status in the US. She asks if anyone has any information on possibilities for refugees seeking to come to Australia. If anyone can help, they could get in touch with her at Pamela Hartman .

It’s obvious that neither the US nor Australian governments has any plan to do anything for the refugees (now numbering up to a million outside Iraq and an equal or larger number displaced internally)) their war has created. But at the very least, they are surely obliged to offer asylum to those whose lives are in great danger because they were unwise or desperate enough to work with the Coalition forces. Leaving these people in the lurch (as was done with the Shiites after the last war) will ensure that even those who were willing to be our friends will end up as our enemies

Iraq Refugees - Daily Journal Article

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  1. observa
    January 10th, 2007 at 16:20 | #1

    “Leaving these people in the lurch (as was done with the Shiites after the last war)..”
    Precisely how were ‘we’ not to leave the Shiites ‘in the lurch’ as you put it then John? You’re not suggesting we should have gone all the way to Baghdad on their behalf way back in GW1 are you?

  2. rabee
    January 10th, 2007 at 18:44 | #2

    It’s likely that we will see many more Iraqi refugees.
    This is because it seems to me that the US’s strategy may evolve into ethnic cleansing Baghdad of its Sunni inhabitants.
    It is a strategy that is likely to achieve some sort of victory.

  3. January 10th, 2007 at 20:24 | #3

    Obliged to offer asylum? I wish! The only obligation that GWB and JWH seem to feel is to make money and pander to the plutocracy.

    I imagine they’d say “you can’t make an omelette without cracking some eggs” … if they bothered to say anything at all.

  4. wbb
    January 10th, 2007 at 21:55 | #4

    John, I’ve got a part share in a 50hp speed-boat. But I’d need your word that I’d not be breaking any laws by helping out first.

  5. January 10th, 2007 at 21:58 | #5

    “But at the very least, they are surely obliged to offer asylum to those whose lives are in great danger because they were unwise or desperate enough to work with the Coalition forces.”- JQ

    Does anyone really think that even such a tiny gesture as this, is going to happen?

  6. wbb
    January 10th, 2007 at 23:03 | #6

    No. But it’s worth putting on the record.

  7. James Farrell
    January 10th, 2007 at 23:54 | #7

    Observa, the Shia rebellion was centred in Basra, Amara, Al Hillah and so on. Protecting the people there would not have required a march on Baghdad, any more than protecting the Kurds did.

  8. wbb
    January 11th, 2007 at 00:27 | #8

    Yes James, and today we’d have not only the de facto independent Kurdistan but also Basra’stan as well.

    Half of the present morass would have been avoided.

  9. brian
    January 11th, 2007 at 00:57 | #9

    The BBC today is reporting a terrible problem for Iraqi refugees in Jordon and Syria,

    Now, due to US concerns about the “security”of Iraqi passports,the Iraqi government(hiding in the Green Zone) has virtually invalidated ALL existing Iraqi pasport,and Iraqi people in Jordon…many in tears found …themselves standed, with invalid passports.
    They were told to go back to Baghdad to get new passports.!!!.but to expect a wait of months !
    Even Iraqi refugees with US entry visas have been told by the US that they are now invalid!
    With US friends like this…who needs enemies!!

  10. conrad
    January 11th, 2007 at 05:46 | #10

    At least from the perspective of enemy creation (versus moral reasons) I think that based on the not dissimilar French Algerian experience, many people would rather have enemies abroad than “friends” within.

    Also, at least for Australia, I’m not sure how strong the moral line is. The majority of people didn’t want to go to war in Iraq, and Australia’s contribution was pretty minimal. Based on other issues, I don’t think the average Australian feels responsible for stupid things the government does, and for that matter, nor do many other people around the, even when the majority of the population did support the action at the time (Japan and WWII is a good example; blacks in Australia is another)

  11. January 11th, 2007 at 07:17 | #11

    “Not dissimiliar” Conrad??

    Surely you jest?

  12. conrad
    January 11th, 2007 at 08:35 | #12

    Not dissimilar in that the French had piles of foreign forces (including indigenous groups to Algeria) fighting for them that would have been killed (or experienced a pretty bad run) when they pulled out if they had not fled — not unlike the US does in Iraq, many of whom presumably will share the same fate when the US pulls out and the current Iraq government falls over.

  13. January 11th, 2007 at 17:00 | #13

    I think there are significant differences.

    Many of the ‘local’ fighters were French settlers and their descendents who considered themselves to be French living in that part of France called Algeria. When Algeria was no longer France, it was quite natural for them to go France rather than stay in Algeria, where having fought on the side of France, they were probably right to anticipate negative consequences.

    I think it’s clear that both Sunni and Shia see the Americans as foreign invaders and I’m sure that no Iraqis consider Iraq to be part of the US.

  14. observa
    January 11th, 2007 at 22:08 | #14

    All the way to Basra and Kirkuk only then James?

  15. January 13th, 2007 at 16:48 | #15

    Michael, the French in Algeria didn’t do most of the fighting that was done by locally raised units (their contribution was indirect, by maintaining their place as civilians or as recruits in the ordinary way, who could end up anywhere).

    The local units did give rise to refugees, the Harkis. Many of them are still in camps to this day. And something similar happened to locals who supported the Dutch in the East Indies.

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