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Iraqi Refugee Crisis
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The four-year war in Iraq has failed to deliver peace and prosperity to the country and the Arab world. It has resulted instead in a humanitarian disaster.

It has caused the largest refugee crisis in the Middle East since the mass exodus of Palestinians that resulted from the war surrounding the creation of Israel in 1948.

Since the Samarra bombing in February 2006, about 750,000 people are estimated to have fled their homes, with up to 50,000 more being displaced every month.

These refugees are scattered in Iraq's neighbors, especially Jordan and Syria. These countries are bearing most of the burden of hosting Iraqi refugees.

The ensuing chaos that has gripped Iraq over the past four years has driven Iraqis to flee. Iraqis have been continuing to mount resistance to the US-led coalition forces, and ethno-sectarians carry out daily acts of violence targeted at each other.

The United Nations refugee agency, which brought some 60 nations together this week to solicit support, sounded a loud alarm on the consequences of the refugee crisis for Iraq and the rest of the Middle East.

Things are getting worse as Iraq's neighboring countries have slammed their doors shut to more refugees. These people have placed great demands on the host countries' economic and other resources. As a result, signs of a growing anti-Iraqi mood among the local population are appearing, at least in Jordan.

Britain and the United States are responsible for the pressing task of bringing peace and stability to Iraq, though this is a mission impossible in the short term.

Their inability to stop the ethno-sectarian cleansing has held back the reconstruction of Iraq.

The international community's failure to help this violence-stricken country and its refugees is a disgrace. But it is unfair for countries other than those who opened this Pandora's box to foot the bill for this house cleaning.

The US$9 billion from the US, which goes to military operations every month, cannot result in tangible successes in the reconstruction efforts.

The humanitarian problems reflect the need for a political solution inside Iraq.

(China Daily April 21, 2007)

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