May 1st, 2013
Displacement in Iraq
According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there were 9.8 million refugees and 12.8 million internally displaced persons worldwide reported in 2006 (Lischer 98). While we live in a life of peace and security – a normal life under the govern of a stable nation state that enables us to chase after our individual goals, there are a large amount of population in the globe that are being forced into exiles to flee their homes and countries to escape violence and persecution. In the midst of this desperate circumstance, forced migration and internal displacement in Iraq had a big contribution to those astonishing numbers. The mass displacement in Iraq led by the Anglo-American invasion and the fall of the Ba’athist regime in 2003 was designated as an “unprecedented refugee crisis of huge proportions” with “figures as high as 2.2 million refugees along with another 2.2 million displaced individuals inside Iraq in the year of 2007” (Riera and Harper 13). This paper discusses the correlations between violent conflicts and refugee migration as well as internal displacement in Iraq with references to the gendered-specific effects of war and political strife on women refugees. Despite a lot of works and analyses have been done to address the Iraqi plight as a result of the incessant violence, the large political and security risks posed by the crisis were often dismissed and ignored. My research will converge attentions to the hidden security threat brought by the massive displacement crisis within the Iraq border and in neighboring states. My analysis will be geared towards answering the question of how were female refugees and internally displaced persons affected within the context of war and conflicts in Iraq; how they in turn have challenged the international community to sustain and support this humanitarian crisis while facing potential threats of a worsening situation of uprooted populations in Iraq. Historical background
Iraq has gone through a lot of internal conflicts and wars in the last two decades. The mass displacement of Iraqi has its roots in the history of the economic sanctions that was posed on Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and the conflicts, clashes, and tensions followed thereafter with Iran, the Gulf War, the 2003 war and continuous attacks and violence within the border (Sirkeci 199). The UN took immediate action in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and imposed a “complete ban on trade to and from Iraq” (Al-Jawaheri 2). The economy of Iraq was deeply influenced and paralyzed because of the sanction. Following the sanction, the Gulf War took place aiming to inflict severe damage on Iraq’s civilian infrastructure to aggravate the impact of the economic sanctions (Al-Jawaheri 4). With the pre-exiting impact of sanctions on Iraq’s economy and people, Iraq was devastated by the war and all the conflicts functioned as fuels for people in Iraq to leave their home for security, more stable economic condition and a better life in general. “According to accounts from humanitarian and refugee organizations during the 1990-1 Gulf War, 1 million Iraqis and foreigners working in Iraq crossed into Jordan over a period of two months. Successive groups of Iraq individuals kept arriving in Jordan in the following years” and Jordan is the only neighboring country of Iraq whose border remained open between 1990 and 2003 when wealthy nations adopted non-entry policies toward Iraqis refugees (Chatelard 28). Initially, the displaced Iraqis received a sympathetic reception in new locations: “The Syrian Arab Republic, Jordan and other neighboring states have demonstrated generosity and solidarity in hosting large numbers of Iraqis” (Riera and Harper 10). But over the years, the presences of these refugees have heavily strained states’ infrastructures, economies and basic...