"As violence dropped in the final months of 2007, thousands of people who'd fled their homes returned, especially in Baghdad. Statistics about how many have come home vary, but Iraq's Ministry of Displacement and Migration estimated in early December that 30,000 had returned from other countries, along with 10,000 who'd gone home from other parts of Iraq.Abdul Samad Rahman Sultan, Iraq's migration minister, said the government would need help from other countries and aid organizations to make it possible for people to return. He said the government hoped to resettle people in the neighborhoods they'd left......Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said that goal would be difficult to meet, and he predicted violence as homeowners and squatters battle over property. Petraeus warned that some people will have to resign themselves to never being able to reclaim their homes."That is not ideal, not right, not legal, not a lot of things, but it is reality," (emphasis added) he said last week."This is just going to remain a very, very tough issue for some time." Coalition forces will offer some aid, but Petraeus said he didn't have ground forces capable of organizing returns, settling property debates and maintaining safety. Those solutions will have to come from Iraqis, he said."Returning Iraqis face lack of services, property disputes January 2, 2008Reminds you of the Red Indians, dosen't it?From an email from K K Al-Tawil
(January 3, 2008):"The problem is that the government of PM Nuri al-Maliki is a Shiite government, and Sunni Arabs, at least, think it is complicit in the ethnic cleansing of Sunnis from the capital.
How likely is it that al-Maliki's security forces are going to bring Sunnis in large numbers back into, say, Shaab district, which used to be mixed?
I hear something ominous in Gen. Petraeus's resignation here.
A future ethnic war that the US might not be able to stop.
I can't imagine the Sunni Arabs, whether Iraqis or their coreligionists in the region, giving up on Baghdad and ceding it to the Shiites.
So they are likely to organize over time to try to take it back.
The US troop escalation had the accidental side effect of worsening the position of the Sunni Arabs for now, so that Baghdad must be 80% or so Shiite (way up from about 50/50 in 2003).
As the US troops are drawn back down, the Sunni Arabs will come back.
(Although the Iraqi government makes a big deal out of the returnees, in fact only a tiny number of people have come back, and some people are still leaving)."
Updates:Clarification - from an email by Buthaina Al-Nasiri
(January 4, 2008):
"It is not a question of sunnis allowing Baghdad to be a shiite city or not. Many people do not think in this way. What about christians, kurds, turkmens etc. living in Baghdad? The grave matter is how to leave one's home and neighbourhood in which one has had a life's time memories and change to new homes. Most of our homes are owned property, they are not rented houses, so it is difficult to give away what you have built with your own hands to someone else. It is a kind of a state of staying a refugee for ever in your own country."
.Comment by MadAsHell
(January 4, 2008):
"Americans will just shrug their shoulders and say [just like they did to the Nicaraguans, and the Guatemalans (shattered economies and political systems), or the Vietnamese (Agent Orange, a moonscape where the rice paddies used to be, etc.)], "it's your problem, now... we disclaim all responsibility". America never has any responsibility to repair the damage that it does around the world, didn't you know that?
In a way, I don't blame them for this policy. Any honest accounting of the outright damage that they have done to the rest of the world, let alone to include the indirect damage of their rigging of the international trade system (sugar tariffs or simple defiance of GATT rules, anyone?) would involve reparations on so high a magnitude as to bankrupt the U.S. Treasury, were they ever to have to repay it.
You can see some of this concept having played out in the furious reaction of the U.S. ruling classes a few years ago to the idea of "reparations to black Americans for years of slavery" -- recall that much of the economy of the southern U.S. was essentially built by unpaid labor on the part of Negro slaves. When they added up the bill for what this would have cost to repay, even using extremely conservative estimates of back wages, the bill would have come to trillions of dollars. So, in typical American fashion, they simply "stonewalled" (just like Israelis are emotionally unwilling to face up to what it would realistically cost to repay Palestinians for the property that was illegally confiscated from them in 1948), vehemently insisting "the subject is closed for discussion, don't even raise it, we're unwilling to even start talking about it". Of course, such a strategy is limited to the side that has superior military, police and economic power. I suspect that the discussion would sound considerably different, if American blacks, or Palestinians, had a few more guns or a few more billions.
Stop to think: If the black people (theoretically U.S. citizens) can't come back to their homes in New Orleans because the districts in which they used to live have been "renewed" (e.g. reserved for white folk with buckets of money for swank new condos being erected where the tenements used to be), what do you think the chances are of anyone in Iraq being able to go back home? (To say nothing of the Palestinians trying to go back to the houses they owned in Israel in 1948, until they were forced out at the point of a gun by massacres and ethnic cleansing.)
Oh, and I forgot to add -- just like how America's victims in the S.E. Asian and Central American fiascoes were forced into usurious loans by American banks (via the IMF, World Bank, etc.) for the "privilege" of financing the effort to repair the destruction imposed upon them by America (just like Iraq is going to be reduced to permanent indebtedness, hence servitude, for the "privilege" of selling off all of its assets to Americans in no-bid, fire-sale deals), black Americans from New Orleans are finding out the hard way that all those insurance policies they bought are (unlike the ones for the white folk in the recent California fires) worthless... so, they'll have to take loans at exorbitant interest rates (gotta pay for all our losses in that little ol' subprime mess there, boy!) from, you guessed it, Wall Street bankers, so they can rebuild their shacks. That is, if the private, uniformed security guards now at the gates to the neighborhoods where they used to live (remind you of, say, Blackwater?) even let them in, in the first place. "You say y'all live here, boy? Prove it!" smiles the man, from underneath his sunglasses, as he totes his assault rifle.
Moral of the Story: If you want your country, or your 'hood, not to be devastated by America's neocon ruling class, who have a grand old time slaughtering you and leaving everything in ruins, then charging you for the "privilege" of cleaning up the mess that they created, pick up your gun and kill the American before he gets a toehold wherever you live. You must use violence to defend yourself from much greater violence being inflicted on you, by America's cruel, transient armies of plunder and exploitation. Words don't count. Neither do treaties, or insurance policies.
Those who run America understand one language, and one language only: the dialog of force."