This is an attempt to respond to the reactions to my brief comment from a few days ago.
“[Ricks and DeYoung]’s article nowhere mentions the plight of the over 2 million internal refugees in Iraq”.
I agree. If both kinds of refugees, 4m of them in total, start going back home, though, I am less worried that the US commanders. They will do this only once they ascertain that security is reasonably back and that their neighbors calmed down. House ownership in Iraq is still valid and most of the refugees took with them the title deeds (Qushans, Tabus) so at least legal problems like in Kirkuk, where Saddam rounded up people and drove them out, will not represent a major issue. Judging by similar experiences in Kosovo and Serbia, the returnees also are very likely to support each other, Sunnis, Shiis, Kurds, Christians (if the latter go back at all) because they will have a common cause. And the government, frail as it is, will try to help as well. So it will not be easy, but I don’t see another humanitarian catastrophe. Incidentally, the Catholic St John’s Church in Baghdad’s al-Dura neighborhood reopened a couple of days ago. This is a very positive sign of life returning to a more normal existence. However, there are around 50,000 Iraqis who will never be able to go home. These are the educated – in large part professional – Iraqis who collaborated with the US armed forces and US-sponsored contractors either as interpreters or as professional aids. Most of them are in Amman now. When they go back they will be killed by the Sunni and Shii militias. Their savings are running out. There were three attempts already on the life of a good friend of mine, an Iraqi American engineer who has spent the last four years in Basra, working with British military engineers on the barely-existing infrastructure there. He will leave with the British. He has a place to go, but those stuck in Jordan are stranded. Amatzia Baram”