US Occupation Turns 3.7 Million Iraqis Into Refugees By James Cogan
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported this month that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq has forced one out of every eight Iraqis to flee their homes—more than 3.7 million people. The agency described the refugee crisis caused by the Iraq war as the worst in the Middle East since the ethnic cleansing that accompanied the creation of Israel in 1948. The Zionist military and paramilitary death squads drove an estimated 711,000 Palestinian Arabs from their land.
UNHCR estimates that two million Iraqis are now living outside the country—including those who left before 2003 but have failed to return due to the country’s catastrophic situation. Some 50,000 Iraqi émigrés returned in 2005, but just 1,000 came back last year. Another 1.7 million Iraqis have been internally displaced. At least 500,000 people fled their homes in 2006 as a result of US military repression and the dramatic rise in sectarian violence between rival Shiite and Sunni militias in the wake of the destruction of a prominent Shiite mosque in Samarra last February. It is thought that 80,000 to 100,000 people are joining the ranks of internal and external refugees each month.(Click here to read more)