More on the Surge – Evidence That Things are Improving

Reader Formerly Anonymous tells us the Surge is working. As evidence, he points to this article and provides this excerpt:

The number of Iraqis returning to their country after fleeing abroad is growing, with more than 46,000 people coming home last month, an Iraqi government spokesman said Wednesday.

Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, the Iraqi spokesman for a U.S.-Iraqi military push to pacify Baghdad, said border crossings recorded 46,030 people returning to Iraq in October alone. He attributed the large number to the “improving security situation.”

He ignores the caption on the photo in the article:

Iraqi refugees living in Syria head back to their country at the al-Tanaf border crossing between Syria and Iraq, in Syria, in this Sept. 20, 2007 file photo. A growing wave of Iraqis are returning home from Syria, not because they are confident of their nation’s future, but because they have run out of money.

And this from the article:

But the rise also came as Iraq’s neighbors, particularly Syria and Jordan, have tightened their borders to Iraqis fleeing the turmoil in their own country. Syria is home to at least 1.2 million Iraqi refugees, and Jordan has about 750,000.

Many of those Iraqis are living in limbo, unable to work and running out of whatever money they were able to bring out of Iraq.

Both countries are struggling to provide services to incoming Iraqis, and began requiring visas for them starting this past summer. Most applications are denied.

Those who fled to Syria or Jordan before the new rules took effect must leave when their three-month permits expire, unless they have been officially recognized by the United Nations as refugees – a process that can take months.

That leaves many people with the choice of returning to Iraq or risking deportation anyway. And with the improving security situation, it appears many Iraqis are opting to return home.

I imagine that in 1939, someone like Formerly Anonymous would have pointed to the fact that most of the passengers of the St. Louis returned to Europe as a sure sign that anti-Semitism was on the decline in Germany.

There’s more:

According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, some 2 million Iraqis have fled their country. Besides Syria and Jordan, Egypt has absorbed 100,000. Some 54,000 Iraqis are in Iran, 40,000 in Lebanon, 10,000 in Turkey and 200,000 in various Persian Gulf countries.

The U.S. admitted only 1,608 Iraqi refugees this past fiscal year. Sweden has admitted more than 18,000 since 2006, the highest number in any European country, but now says it too is tightening asylum rules.

On Monday, the Iraqi Red Crescent issued a report saying nearly 2.3 million Iraqis – the vast majority of them women and children – have fled their homes but remain inside the country’s borders.

The number of internally displaced people, or IDPs, in Iraq grew by 16 percent in September – to 2,299,425, the Red Crescent said. That figure has skyrocketed since the beginning of 2007, when less than half a million people were listed as displaced.

And then there’s this:

Al-Moussawi questioned those figures in a news conference on Wednesday, publicly asking the Red Crescent to “give reasons behind this high number.”

“The increase announced by the Red Crescent is not logical, because now we are living a stable security situation and many families have returned to their original places,” al-Moussawi said.

If only the Red Crescent would talk about the school houses being painted…