Thursday, June 11, 2009

Intentions Of Iraq's Displaced

On June 1, 2009 the International Organization for Migration (IOM) released a report on the intentions of Iraq's internal refugees. The IOM is the main non-governmental organization working with Iraq's displaced. They work as partners with the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration, and have done extensive polling of Iraqis. Their main focus is upon the estimated 1.6 million people who lost their homes after the February 2006 Samarra bombing, which set off the sectarian war. While this report finds that the majority of Iraqis wish to return to their homes, they are finding problems doing so.

The majority of displacement in Iraq happened after February 2006. Of those surveyed, only 4.5% said they had lost their homes before 2006. In contrast, 67.8% were displaced in 2006, followed by 25.6% in 2007. Only 2.0% reported that they were displaced in 2008. Sulaymaniya and Tamim were the only two provinces that broke that pattern with the 49% or more being displaced in 2007 instead of 2006.

Date of Displacement

Province

Before 2006

2006

2007

2008

Iraq

4.5%

67.8%

25.6%

2.0%

Anbar

0.5%

87.2%

9.9%

1.9%

Babil

7.4%

85.0%

7.3%

0.3%

Baghdad

1.4%

75.4%

22.5%

0.7%

Basra

1.1%

70.9%

27.9%

0.0%

Diyala

1.9%

54.1%

42.7%

1.1%

Dohuk

5.5%

53.5%

35.4%

5.7%

Dhi Qar

2.1%

90.6%

6.7%

0.1%

Irbil

9.3%

49.0%

39.8%

1.3%

Karbala

0%

85.2%

14.5%

0.0%

Maysan

1.0%

94.8%

4.0%

0.1%

Muthanna

19.5%

46.3%

33.8%

0.1%

Najaf

23.0%

63.1%

13.9%

0%

Ninewa

1.0%

67.5%

23.7%

7.7%

Qadisiyah

1.6%

92.9%

5.6%

0%

Salahaddin

18.2%

56.0%

25.6%

0.1%

Sulaymaniya

4.5%

41.7%

50.1%

3.2%

Tamim

8.6%

22.9%

49.3%

19.2%

Wasit

1.3%

50.5%

48.1%

0.1%

63.2% of the internal refugees came from Baghdad, which was ground zero for the sectarian war. Central, western, and northern Iraq were the other violent areas where people were forced to leave. Southern Iraq was a distant third since it was mostly Shiite. The fighting there largely revolved around disputes between Shiite militias, such as the Badr Brigade and the Mahdi Army.

Origins of Displacement By Province

Baghdad

63.2%

Diyala

18.7%

Ninewa

6.0%

Salahaddin

3.3%

Tamim

3.0%

Anbar

2.6%

Basra

1.6%

Babil

1.0%

Irbil

0.2%

Wasit

0.2%

Dhi Qar

0.1%

Ethnicity/Religion of Displaced

Shiite Arab

56.8%

Sunni Arab

30.8%

Sunni Kurd

4.1%

Assyrian Christian

2.9%

Chaldean Christian

1.8%

Shiite Turkmen

1.2%

Sunni Turkmen

0.9%

Shiite Kurd

0.6%

Armenian Christian

0.1%

Arab Yazidi

0.1%

Kurd Yazidi

0.1%

Displacement in Iraq followed a broad pattern. 56.8% of Iraq's internal refugees are Shiite. The majority of them were displaced either within Baghdad or moved south to Babil, Basra, Karbala, Maysan, Muthanna, Najaf, Qadisiya, Dhi Qar, or Wasit. 34.9% of the displaced are Sunni, either Arab or Kurd. They tended to move west to Anbar or north to Irbil, Salahaddin, Sulaymaniya, or Tamim. Finally, the northern provinces of Diyala, Dohuk, and Ninewa have a mixed population of Iraqi refugees. In Diyala, the majority, 57.9%, are Sunni Arabs, but almost a third of the rest, 31.7% are Shiite Arabs. 50% of Dohuk's displaced are either Sunni Kurds, 39.3%, or Chaldean Christians, 30.6%. Finally Ninewa was one of only two provinces where the largest displaced group was not Arab. There 40.4% were Assyrian Christians, followed by Sunni Arabs, 24.4%, Sunni Turkmen, 12.3%, and Chaldean Christians, 11.2%. That province is known for its large minority population.

Provinces With Predominately Displaced Shiites

Babil

94.8% Shiite Arab, 81.5% from Baghdad

Baghdad

72.4% Shiite Arab, 83.2% from Baghdad

Basra

99.7% Shiite Arab, 52.4% from Baghdad, 26.0% from Salahaddin

Dhi Qar

99.5% Shiite Arab, 65.5% from Baghdad, 14.0% from Salahaddin

Karbala

98.5% Shiite Arab, 57.0% from Baghdad, 27.6% from Diyala

Maysan

99.9% Shiite Arab, 83.4% from Baghdad

Muthanna

99.5% Shiite Arab, 69.6% from Baghdad, 13.6% from Diyala

Najaf

97.8% Shiite Arab, 84.1% from Baghdad

Qadisiyah

99.6% Shiite Arab, 77.7% from Baghdad

Wasit

98.3% Shiite Arab, 66.8% from Baghdad


Provinces With Predominately Displaced Sunnis

Anbar

98.4% Sunni Arab, 74.9% from Baghdad

Irbil

39.4% Sunni Kurd, 34.4% Sunni Arab, 15.3% Chaldean Christian, 50.3% from Baghdad, 43.1% from Ninewa

Salahaddin

96.7% Sunni Arab, 50.1% from Baghdad, 14.6% from Tamim, 11.9% from Basra, 10.6% from Diyala

Sulaymaniya

60.1% Sunni Arab, 24.7% Sunni Kurd, 46.9% from Baghdad, 44.9% from Diyala

Tamim

53.5% Sunni Arab, 19.5% Sunni Kurd, 16.0% Shiite Turkmen, 24.4% from Diyala, 23.7% from Tamim, 15.8% from Salahaddin, 15.4% from Ninewa, 14.8% from Baghdad

Provinces With Mixed Displaced Populations

Diyala

57.9% Sunni Arab, 31.7% Shiite Arab, 92.8% form Diyala, 16.1% from Baghdad

Dohuk

39.3% Sunni Kurd, 30.6% Chaldean Christian, 52.5% from Baghdad, 46.0% from Ninewa

Ninewa

40.4% Assyrian Christian, 24.4% Sunni Arab, 12.3% Sunni Turkmen, 11.2% Chaldean Christian, 47.5% from Baghdad, 42.5% from Ninewa

The major point of the June 2009 IOM report was to note the intentions of Iraq's displaced. 58.0% said they wanted to return to their place of origin. 21.4% said they wanted to stay where they were, 19.1% wanted to settle in some new location, either within Iraq or in another country, while 1.4% said they didn't know yet. This varied across the country however. Najaf, 94.1%, Diyala, 81.7%, and Anbar 81.3%, had the most responses for people that wanted to go back to their homes. Basra, 5.5%, and Wasit, 5.8%, had the least. 82.9% of the displaced in Basra said they wanted to stay there, while only 2.3% of the people in Anbar wanted to do so.

Intentions Of The Displaced

Province

Integrate into Location of Displacement

Settle in New Location

Return to Place of Origin

Waiting to Make Decision

Iraq

21.4%

19.1%

58.0%

1.4%

Anbar

2.3%

13.8%

81.3%

2.0%

Babil

26.2%

28.6%

44.5%

0.6%

Baghdad

8.2%

11.3%

79.1%

1.2%

Basra

82.9%

11.1%

5.5%

0.3%

Dhi Qar

57.6%

11.3%

30.7%

0.2%

Diyala

7.3%

10.9%

81.7%

0.0%

Dohuk

57.0%

23.1%

19.7%

0.2%

Irbil

18.3%

13.5%

67.4%

0.1%

Karbala

26.3%

26.6%

46.4%

0.6%

Maysan

28.1%

28.0%

40.7%

3.1%

Muthanna

34.8%

18.1%

45.1%

1.9%

Najaf

4.5%

0.1%

94.1%

1.0%

Ninewa

7.0%

33.0%

59.2%

0.7%

Qadisiyah

40.9%

35.3%

23.7%

0.1%

Salahaddin

12.5%

39.0%

43.5%

4.7%

Sulaymaniya

27.1%

8.3%

64.4%

0.2%

Tamim

22.2%

3.5%

71.3%

3.0%

Wasit

54.4%

37.8%

5.8%

2.0%

While 58.0% of displaced Iraqis want to return to their homes, the previous May 2009 report by the IOM worried that many of them may never have this opportunity. According to the United Nations' latest estimates, only 600,830 displaced Iraqis have gone back so far from 2003 to 2008. Almost 200,000 of these were Iraqis that had lost their homes during Saddam, the U.S. invasion, or subsequent fighting in places like Fallujah. That would mean only about 400,000 of the 1.6 million that lost their homes after the Samarra bombing have returned so far. The plight of the displaced in Iraq is an important indicator of the general situation within the country. So few displaced coming back, shows that Iraq is still an unstable country. There is still violence, although at much lower levels than before. The 2009 Iraqi elections did not settle much politically, but instead marked a new struggle for power between Maliki, his former allies, and independents. The government is still unable to provide many basic services, and the economy is especially bad for young people and women. All together this has given only a small fraction of Iraq's displaced a reason to go back home, even though a majority want to. The IOM and other groups are increasingly fearful that Iraq's refugees may become a permanent class of displaced people if things do not progress inside Iraq.

SOURCES

International Organization for Migration, "IOM Emergency Needs Assessments Post February 2006 Displacement In Iraq 1 June 2009 Monthly Report," 6/1/09

- "IOM Monitoring And Needs Assessments of Iraqi Return, May 2009," May 2009

United Nations High Commission for Refugees, "UNHCR Iraq Operation Monthly Statistical Update on Return – March 2009," UNHCR, March 2009

1 comment:

Unknown said...

We'll see what happens at the end of June. It will be interesting. I have friends from Iraq and they all view the war from a very different perspective!

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