Iraq doesn’t exist anymore

August 22, 2007 | By | 2 Replies More

That is the opinion of Nir Rosen, independent journalist and the author of “In the Belly of the Green Bird: The Triumph of the Martyrs in Iraq.”  In this interview with Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow.org Rosen comments that Iraq is still losing 50,000 people per month. 

Where are these refugees going?  To many other countries.

Syria is the most open and generous of all the countries in the region. They basically take anybody who comes in. And for a long time, they were giving them free healthcare, and they still provide free education. Well, they’ve been — they are being overburdened, as well, because the Syrian government subsidizes things such as bread. So every loaf of bread an Iraqi buys is actually being paid for in part by the Syrian government. As a result, they’re finding it more and more difficult to bear the cost.

The Jordanians basically closed their borders by the end of 2005, in part because they were being overburdened, and they also have demographic issues to worry about. Half of the small Jordanian population are Palestinian, and now you’ve introduced another million Iraqis. And this is a very fragile regime in the first place, the Jordanian dictatorship.

AMY GOODMAN: What does each country gain by letting in Iraqi refugees?

NIR ROSEN: Well, Jordan took in initially many of the wealthier ones, as did Egypt, and so they certainly gained a great deal of money and investment, and they required for residency a certain amount of money in the bank. But Jordan was a less friendly environment for Shias. Syria, again, is the most friendly environment for really any Iraqi; Shias, Sunnis, Christians each find welcoming neighborhoods there. Lebanon, very difficult to get to, and there’s a likelihood of being expelled by the Lebanese government, but Christian Iraqis have found that the Christians of Lebanon have been generous in protecting them. Shia Iraqis have tended to go into the Shia neighborhoods of Beirut. Egypt closed its borders more or less after about 150,000 Iraqis came in, mostly Sunni. The majority of the Iraqi Arab refugees are Sunnis, despite the fact that Sunnis are a minority in Iraq. And Sweden has taken in, I think, 40,000 or 50,000, as well. They’ve been quite generous. As you’ve said, we took in about 700, which is a laughable amount.

The interview eventually turned to Iran.  Why is the Bush administration obsessed about attacking Iran?

NIR ROSEN: Well, I think we’re dealing with a mentality on the part of our administration that nobody else is going to have the guts to take on Iran in the future, the next president, so if we don’t do it, who’s going to do it, and we’ll be vindicated in the future just like Reagan was vindicated, allegedly, for bringing down the Soviet Union. So they have this long-term view of how history will treat them, and if they don’t take down Iran, nobody else will, which is probably the case, although they can’t take down Iran, either.

Iran is not Iraq. You can bomb it, but I think you’d only basically strengthen the support for the government, as always happens when you bomb a country. We saw this in Yugoslavia and elsewhere. And they’ve been blaming Iran for everything under the sun lately, for supporting Sunni radicals in Iraq or attacking the Iranian-backed leadership in Iraq, for attacking — and then they blame Iran for supporting the Taliban, who, of course, were bitter enemies of Iran. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

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Category: Iraq, Politics, The Middle East, War

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    "America is fighting this war for your freedom and safety. Also, we're drawing all the world's worst terrorists into your backyard so they blow up your markets and police stations, and steer clear of ours." http://www.reason.com/blog/show/122127.html

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    The number of Iraqis who have fled their homes under threat of sectarian violence has more than doubled since the start of the year, despite the increase in American troops that began in February, a humanitarian organization said.

    The number of displaced Iraqis shot upward from 447,337 on Jan. 1 to 1.14 million on July 31, the Iraqi Red Crescent Organization said Saturday.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20070826

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