Letters to the Editor
Readers write about Iraq refugees in Jordan, religion in politics, and America's image in the world.
How Jordan is really coping with so many Iraqi refugees
In response to the July 2 article, "In Jordan, aid for Iraqi refugees is often redirected": The article grossly misrepresents the impact of the influx of Iraqis into Jordan on the local economy and society. Jordan regards this issue as a critical concern and has addressed it accordingly with utmost seriousness and diligence.
The study conducted by the Norwegian nongovernmental organization, Fafo, concluded that there are 450,000 to 500,000 Iraqis in Jordan, and not 161,000 as the article inaccurately suggests. Only 20 percent of Iraqis in Jordan have requested to be repatriated to a third country, and a smaller percentage have sought humanitarian asylum, thus the government's reference to them as "guests" rather than "refugees."
The article ignores the breadth of the burden on Jordan's infrastructure and chooses to focus on partial costs endured by the government related only to education and health. In fact, the study demonstrates that the Iraqis are concentrated in main cities, thereby straining various other sectors – particularly energy, water, and security. Moreover, the government has issued visa fine waivers for Iraqis at an estimated cost of $273 million. These estimates cannot be omitted from the overall assessment, especially given the magnitude of challenges facing our own economy.
Despite these difficulties, our government is committed to continue to do all it can to ease the hardship of Iraqis in Jordan.
Editor's note: The Monitor got the figure of an estimated 161,000 Iraqis who remain in Jordan from a recent survey by the Jordanian Department of Statistics and the Norwegian organization Fafo. Based on other evidence, the article accurately depicts the refugee situation in Jordan – and the conflicting estimates of Iraqis there.
A proper place for religion in politics