I don’t see the significance of this, but I’m reporting it in case it shines a light on something I learn later on. According to Gulf News,
A dispute is raging between the United Nations and the Iraqi government on the number of Iraqi refugees living abroad – particularly in Jordan, Syria and Egypt – who have returned to Iraq.
While the UN report said that the number of returning refugees is less than the number of those departing, Major General Abdul Karim Khalaf, director of the operations at the Interior Ministry, denied this.
Khalaf told Gulf News the UN’s figures were inaccurate and that returning Iraqi refugees vastly outnumber those leaving.
He said the UN was not aware that the improving security situation prompted many Iraqis to return, but UN sources considered their departure as final.
The article is remarkable for its lack of any actual numbers. The government spokesman just said that more refugees returned in July, August and September this year than the same months last year. I get the sense that the Iraqi government is embarrassed that it can’t get many of its refugees to come home and it’s trying various things, including opening offices in countries where the refugees are living. And this…
“Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki and Minister of Finance Baqer Al Zubaidi plan to raise the salaries of university professors, doctors and engineers with more than 500 per cent in order to encourage the return of the refugees and to prevent some of them to emigrate to the United States,” sources in the Iraqi Cabinet Office said.