Obama Administration Announces Coordinators for Iraqi Refugees:
The Obama Administration announced the appointment of two senior government officials to coordinate Iraqi refugee efforts on August 14th. Samantha Power, Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the National Security Council will coordinate efforts of the U.S. government on Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons. Mark Storella, a Senior Foreign Service officer, will be the Senior Coordinator for Iraqi refugees and displaced persons in Baghdad.
The List Project welcomes the appointments of Ms. Power and Mr. Storella. In the action plan ‘Operation Safe Haven Iraq 2009’, released in January 2009, the List Project joined the Center for American Progress in calling for the appointment of a White House Coordinator as the first step in developing a policy to address the needs of Iraqi refugees.
Escalating Violence in Iraq:
Violence has escalated in the weeks since the U.S. military withdrew from major cities in Iraq, causing concern worldwide. In and around the cities of Baghdad and Mosul, hundreds have been killed and thousands wounded in the months of July and August. Perhaps the worst attack yet occurred this week with massive bombings around Baghdad, the two deadliest bombs targeted the finance and foreign ministry buildings. With over 500 wounded and at least 95 dead, according to the New York Times, these attacks exposed vulnerability. U.S. officials claim that there is little that they can do, according to the Washington Post, besides call on Prime Minister al-Maliki to increase security.
The List Project’s trip to Iraq last week confirmed the consequences of the U.S military drawdown, our Iraqi allies’ fears are being realized and they now feel that their protectors are leaving without them. Please read more about the trip next week in our August E-brief.