This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Iraq Resists Syrian Refugees

In a new complication to the Middle East situation, the New York Times reports that Iraq has turned a very cold shoulder to Syrians fleeing the violence in their country.
Alone among Syria’s Muslim neighbors, Iraq is resisting receiving refugees from the conflict, and is making those who do arrive anything but comfortable. Baghdad is worried about the fighters of a newly resurgent Al Qaeda flowing both ways across the border, and about the Sunni opponents of the two governments making common cause.
This is a very different story from the warm reception that Iraqi refugees received in Syria when they fled violence in their country.

The differences have everything to do with the changing fortunes of the two neighbors. In the height of the Iraq war, Mr. Assad had firm control of his country, and an interest in destabilizing Iraq and undercutting its American allies. Syria routinely helped Al Qaeda to infiltrate fighters and suicide bombers into Iraq. Now, American troops have left Iraq, and Al Qaeda has switched sides, taking up arms against the Assad government.

For the moment, Jordan has taken in the largest number of Syrian refugees, followed by Turkey and Lebanon.

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