The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) -- your tax dollars at work -- conducted an survey of Iraqi refugees and approximately one-half of the ones living in Syria are reluctant to permanently return to their home, citing political uncertainty, unstable security conditions, poor educational opportunities and housing shortages. The numbers are about the same for Iraq refugees in Jordan. I have no information of those brought to the United States, but I bet they want to stay here.
Syria is home to the largest number of Iraqi refugees in the region, with the UNHCR office in the country having registered more than 290,000 Iraqis since the start of the war in their country.
According to Government figures, there are more than 1 million Iraqi refugees in Syria, with some 130,000 regularly receiving help from UNHCR and the UN World Food Programme (WFP).
Some of the refugees have officially been resettled and others have departed to third countries by other means. Some have returned to Iraq, in a few cases with limited UNHCR assistance. (more)
From the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services website, concerning Iraqi refugees brought to the U.S.:
As a result of this collaboration, the USRAP admitted more than 13,800 Iraqi refugees in fiscal year 2008. Not only did this admission level exceed the U.S. government's goals to resettle 12,000 Iraqis, but it reflects a significant increase over the approximately 1,600 Iraqis admitted the prior fiscal year.
Since the inception of the program in 2007, 58,243 Iraqi nationals have been referred for resettlement to the USRAP. USCIS has interviewed 35,764 Iraqi refugee applicants; approved 27,119 for resettlement and 19,910 Iraqi refugees have arrived in the U.S. as of Feb. 4, 2009.
And what about that Iraqi oil that the George W. Bush haters said was the reason we went to war? Seems that China is the big winner. China has three of eleven offered contracts, have finished drilling five wells and partially completed three others. Russians, the Malaysians and Angolans were given contracts with American participation in a couple of relatively minor deals.
Iraq says it expects to raise oil production to 4 million barrels per day in 2013, up from 2.35 million now, in its drive to rival Saudi Arabia as the world's top producer.
But that will depend greatly on the government's ability to protect the oil industry which will become more vulnerable as international oil giants move in to upgrade the long-neglected infrastructure and open new fields. [snip]
U.S., British and Australian forces have made a major effort to build up a special 7,000-strong Iraqi force dedicated to protecting an industry that provides 96 percent of the country's revenues and which will bankroll a major reconstruction program as it drives to boost production to as much as 12 million bpd in the next six years. [snip]
Tribal militias hired by Baghdad to protect the pipelines have frequently bombed the pipelines themselves to force the government to pay them more.
Just guarding the highly vulnerable pipelines is a major task for the special oil protection force established by the Americans. The network stretches 5,400 miles, including 3,380 miles for oil and 1,086 miles for natural gas. (more)
From December 2009:
...About half of Iraq’s oil is located in the south and southeast of Iraq, in the Shiite areas such as Rumalia, Majnoon,and Halfaya, and the other half is in Kurdistan in the north. The southern fields, because they are in Shiite territory, have never been the prize for Americans; it is the Kurdish fields that American oil companies and the government have coveted. The contracts were let on almost exclusively Shiite fields in the south and southeast where the American claim is weakest, as is likely American influence after we leave. The down side is that this is the oil easiest to access and get to market, whereas Kurdish oil is more remote and has less infrastructure supporting it. Kurdistan, however, is the part of Iraq where American interest and prestige is highest . [snip]
... One scenario to watch involves the letting of Kurdish oil fields somewhere down the road.
Meanwhile, as Americans continue to be on the frontline of protecting everything in Iraq, including it's oil and gas, the political situation is still not secure.
At the moment, his most likely partners are the Kurds, who control an enclave in the north. The Kurds are taking their time, however, and it's unclear when they will make their political intentions known.
They want firm guarantees in exchange for their support, including a referendum to decide control of the oil-rich region around Kirkuk. The area lies just outside the Kurds' semiautonomous zone, but they are part of a three-way contest for influence along with ethnic Turks and central authorities in Baghdad. (more)
We have more to worry about than what the Kurds think, everyone in the region wants a say in who leads Iraq and what the government will do and how it will relate to it's neighbors, including Iran, Turkey, Qatar and Kuwait. The U.S. is worried that al-Maliki's partnership with the hard-line Shiite faction led by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr would open the door for direct Iranian influence in Iraqi affairs and derail pro-Western security and commercial policies. No kidding.
Sadr has been a thorn in America's side throughout this war. The fact that the U.S. was able to shuffle him off to Iran and get him out of the daily battles in Iraq is yet to be determined a good thing or simply delaying the inevitable.