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Fri Aug 30, 2013, 08:36 AM

Food, water, shelter and sanitation for refugees is nowhere near as sexy as war...

Food, water, shelter and sanitation for refugees is nowhere near as sexy as war, so this is getting little attention. If, as Juan Cole recommends, Obama decides to pivot and move to diplomacy after losing British support, focusing on the plight of refugees and using our airlift to send them aid would be smart politics as well as good policy.

Life for the 40,000 people who crossed the border from Syria into northern Iraq over the past two weeks will be extremely difficult.

After being closed for three months, the Peshkhabour crossing between Syria and Iraq reopened on 15 August. Tens of thousands of fleeing Syrians who had been stuck on the border were finally able to reach safety, with more continuing to cross each day.

Unfortunately, these new arrivals will feel the ill-effects of the lack of funding for refugee aid in northern Iraq. Before the reopening of the crossing, Iraq was home to 9% of the Syrian refugee population yet had received only 6% of the funding, according to the UN. Without urgent assistance from governments around the world, a dire situation will become far worse.


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