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The Exodus: 1.6m Iraqis have fled their country since the war [View All]

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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-22-06 10:25 PM
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The Exodus: 1.6m Iraqis have fled their country since the war
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http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article...


The Exodus: 1.6m Iraqis have fled their country since the war
By Patrick Cockburn
Published: 23 October 2006

Iraq is in flight. Everywhere inside and outside the country, Iraqis who once lived in their own houses cower for safety six or seven to a room in hovels.

Many go after they have been threatened. Often they leave after receiving an envelope with a bullet inside and a scrawled note telling them to get out immediately. Others flee after a relative has been killed, believing they will be next.

Out of the population of 26 million, 1.6 million Iraqis have fled the country and a further 1.5 million are displaced within Iraq, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. In Jordan alone there are 500,000 Iraqi refugees and a further 450,000 in Syria. In Syria alone they are arriving at the rate of 40,000 a month.

It is one of the largest long-term population movements in the Middle East since Israel expelled Palestinians in the 1940s. Few of the Iraqis taking flight now show any desire to return to their homes. The numbers compelled to take to the roads have risen dramatically this year with 365,000 new refugees since the bombing of the Shia shrine in Samara in February.

Rich and poor, both are vulnerable. "I'll need more than five bodyguards if I am to live in Baghdad," said one political leader who has left Iraq. "The police came to my antiques shop and drove me around Baghdad," said an antique dealer from the formerly well-off district of Mansur. "They wanted money or they'd charge me with illegal traffic in antiques. I gave them $5,000 <2,650> in cash, closed my shop and went with my brother to Jordan the same night. I haven't been back."

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