Sunday, April 08, 2007

Little Iraqs in Syria and Jordan

Pepe Escobar delivers a report from the centers of Iraqi refugee emigration in Syria and Jordan, places that now support at least 2 million Iraqi refugees. In it, Escobar details the stark contrast of the treatment Iraqi refugees are receiving from a "state sponsor of terrorism" and the US-friendly kingdom.
Now every Iraqi showing up at the Syrian border automatically gets a one-month visa; they then apply for a three-month resident visa. Visa runs are common. Unlike in "liberated" Iraq, in Syria there's virtually no unemployment for Iraqis. Overqualified, young, educated Iraqis at least survive with dignity as Internet-cafe managers or restaurant waiters. Iraqis are admitted to Syrian schools and universities with no special prerequisites. The Syrian state pays half of their medical bills.
In Jordan, treatment of Iraqis is markedly different.
US-backed Jordan now is not exactly exhibiting its welcoming face. Iraqis in Syria swear that only the sick and the elderly are allowed to cross the border into Jordan. Soon Iraqis may be barred from buying property. Collective-taxi drivers plying the infested-with-bandits Amman-Baghdad highway say that Jordanian police constantly repatriates busloads of Iraqi refugees to the border: they are in fact treated as illegal immigrants. Unlike in Syria, they don't have the right to work, have no discount on medical expenses, and can't even put their kids in school.
This will also be yet another report indicating that Iraqis themselves do not believe in the Sunni/Shiite "civil war," but that the appearance of sectarian conflict is being provoked by the US/UK and their proxies in Iraq.


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