Juan Cole this morning lists the Top Ten Middle East Policy Challenges for the US in 2008. Worth a read. Here’s the third one:
3. The US Congress must allocate substantial funds, on the order of $1 billion or more, for Iraqi refugee relief in Syria and Jordan. UNO relief funds are running out. Iraqis’ own savings are running out. Children are not in school and are going hungry. People are being exploited, including young girls forced into prostitution. A majority of the 1.5 million Iraqis in Syria went there in 2007, nd almost all of them have been forced out of Baghdad and other areas because of the political instability that the United States unleashed in their country. The surge is being touted as a victory in the US press, but it seems to have displaced 700,000 Iraqi civilians! The US is spending $15 billion a month on the Iraqi and Afghanistan Wars. It can afford $1 billion a year for refugee relief. This is our responsibility. How future generations of Iraqis view the United States will in part depend on whether we do this. I ask all Americans to write your congressional representatives and press them on this humanitarian issue.
How long will it take congress to act on this? Will it act? Will Bush and the republicans block it if enacted? Answers: Who knows?, Maybe, Yes.