State Department officials described the Iraqi refugee situation this week as a “looming problem” for the Middle East, while also acknowledging what has become tragically apparent: the U.S. may fall short of its pledge to admit 12,000 Iraqis between October 2007 and September 2008 (Fiscal Year 2008). As detailed in a Washington Post article on Tuesday, only around 10% of the goal has been fulfilled through four months.
This week a diverse group of prominent figures were in the news calling attention to the Iraqi refugee crisis. U.S. Representatives John Dingell and Alcee Hastings wrote a letter to Condoleeza Rice asking for increased government involvement:
“In addition to the moral and humanitarian elements of this problem, the lack of resources being provided to refugees and displaced persons from the United States and the international community is creating a potential security crisis, as the most vulnerable Iraqis are turning to extremist elements for assistance.”
To read the full text of the letter, go to Congressman Dingell’s website.
In her capacity as a goodwill representative for UNHCR, Angelina Jolie visited Iraq and met with aid organizations and high level Iraqi and US officials including General David Petraeus. Click on this AFP article to read more about the visit and issues being discussed.
Finally, a new play by George Packer on the plight of Iraqis who risked their lives to help the U.S. opened in New York. “Betrayed” is adapted from Packer’s March 2007 New Yorker story of the same title.
Charles Isherwood discusses the play in a New York Times theater review.