tisdag 31 juli 2007

Ignorerandet av den Irakiska humanitära katastrofen fortsätter

En Reuters-artikel skriver idag om den tragiska situationen för flyktingarna i Irak. Återigen, det är så intressant att se prioriteringarna. Vapen kommer gå före humanitär hjälp. USAs "vapenpaket" till mellanöstern är det som är i fokus just nu, inte de Irakiska flyktingarna. Flyktingarna är fast i ett politiskt spel, där pengar till ökad humanitär hjälp vore att erkänna att Bush strategi med ytterligare trupper till Irak har misslyckats, enligt artikelns avslutande citat från en anonym hjälparbetare.

The numbers have no precedent in the Middle East. They dwarf the great population dislocations prompted by the creation of Israel in 1948, when an estimated 750,000 Palestinians fled.

But the response to appeals for help for displaced Iraqis has been lukewarm at best. Earlier this month, the UNHCR doubled its appeal for Iraq funds this year to $123 million.

A few days later, the Iraq Chief of Mission of the IOM said "only a fraction" of internally displaced Iraqis were getting basic assistance.

"It is difficult to understand or to explain why there is so little response to requests for funds to help people in need of the most basic humanitarian assistance," said Rafiq Tschannen.

Compared with the cost of running the war, the funds requested by such organizations as the IOM and UNHCR are miniscule. According to the Congressional Research Service, a bipartisan agency of the U.S. Congress, the war in Iraq now costs the United States $10 billion a month.

That translates into roughly $333 million a day, $14 million an hour, $231,000 a minute and $3,850 a second.

The United States has contributed $17 million to the UNHCR this year and pledged another $19 million. The total, $36 million, equals less than three hours of war cost, according to the Congressional Research Service. The IOM's cold-shouldered $85 million request is the equivalent of six hours of war cost.

One international aid worker, who did not want to be named, had a simple answer to the question why there have been such meager contributions, particularly from the United States, to alleviate the plight of Iraqis driven from their homes.

"These people are fleeing because there is no security. They fear for their lives. The U.S. sent additional troops this year to bring security. Paying attention to the refugees would mean admitting the U.S. strategy failed."

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