Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Why no Iraqi refugees in Iran?

Are you the sort of person who's occasionally driven crazy by nagging questions? And I'm not talking about earth shattering questions like why is there air, but things like, yeah you remember, that guy, you know, the one that was in that movie with the thing? What's his name?

That sort of question.

Me too.

So one of the things I love most about the web is the ability to get immediate answers to almost any questions one can dream up.

And even if you can't find the answer already published, thanks to blogs you can usually find someone who not only knows the answer, but is interested enough in their subject to be happy to respond to your interest.

I've said before, and I'll say again that Juan Cole's Informed Consent website is a must stop on the information superhighway for unfiltered news on the middle east.

So when I had a question about some recent coverage about the Iraqi refugee situation Professor Cole was the first person I thought of.

My email:

I have a question. I've recently read several reports on the increasingly dire Iraqi refugee situation. My question is this, why is Iran never mentioned in these stories? Are there no Iraqi refugees in Iran? Are statistics simply not available? If not (to either question) why not? Are Iraqi Arab Shi'a just not welcomed by their Persian brothers?

It just struck me as odd.

To my delight he was kind enough to respond:

Most of the refugees are from the roiled Sunni Arab areas, and Sunnis don't go to Iran. Arab Shiites prefer Syria, as well, an Arabic speaking country that is now open to them.

There were 400,000 Iraqi Shiites in Iran under Saddam, but they have mostly come back. Now the shoe is on the other foot.

cheers Juan

Thanks Prof. Cole

Dontcha just love the internets?

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