February 9, 2007
Noah Merrill is in Amman researching the refugee problem. For more on Iraqi refugees, see his report on a press conference held earlier this week by UN High Commissioner on Refugees Antonio Guterres. For a more intimate look at the problem, see David Smith-Ferri’s recent eIraq op-ed.
A press release by the State Department dated February 6 describes the creation of a new task force on Iraqi refugees created by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.
In a friendly sort of way, this piece highlights the good intentions of the US government, describing new steps to be taken, from “emergency cash assistance” to counseling by social workers to “small infrastructure projects” to aid provided to “education and vocational training.” The message from the State Department paints a picture that is filled with the positivity of good works being carried out in the name of America.
From Jordan the view is different. Here, close to a million Iraqis, forced to flee violence in their neighborhoods and throughout their country, try to keep a low profile and scratch out an existence in a climate that is neither welcoming nor supportive. As more and more Iraqis are displaced inside and outside Iraq, the attitudes of host governments are becoming more and more hostile.