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ii Acknowledgements I w ould like to thank my committee: Dr. Uzi Baram, my thesis sponsor, for listening to me and being so supportive even during moments of unnecessary a nxiety; Dr. Erin Dean, for all your exceptional classes and kindness ; an d Dr. Nat Collett a, without whose help I would have possibly never gone to Jordan (or met Mona and Richard Grieser, whose hospitality and incredible generosity I will never forget). In addition, I would like to thank my family, especially my mother, stepdad, and my baby brother, Christopher, who have supported me as a commuter student since the beginning of my time at New College. A special thank you to my grandmother, Nelly Cspedes, whose support during my time in Amman (and all the time ) was invaluable. More generally, a t oda mi familia -los amo muchsimo! For putting me in touch with Jesuit Refugee Services and just generally for being so kind and helpful to an awkward intern, I want to thank Alys Brown, who helped make sure I was never lonely or homesick in a new place. Of all my Amman buddies, I also want to thank Zhenni (Apple) Wang for being hilarious and generous with your time and your tofu. A dditiona lly, I would like to thank all the a nthro kids who have commiserated with me over my time at New College. Special thanks to Renee Foss and Nancy Shipley every friendship in its time :)
iii Table of Contents Acknowledgements ii Table of Contents iii List of Figures iv Abstract v Chapter One: Introduction 1 Chapter Two: Anthropological Works on Jordan, Gender, and Refugees 4 Anthropology of Jordan 4 Anthropology of Gender in the Middle East 8 Anthropology and Forced Migration 12 Chapter Three: The Jordanian Context, Iraq Jordan Relations, and the International Refugee Regime 16 Historical Background 16 Amman 20 Jordan's First Refugees: The Palestinians 23 The Arrival of the Iraqis 27 The Inter national Refugee Regime's Options for Refugees 32 Chapter Four: Ethnographic Details and Specific Issues 35 Refugee Agencies and Services 35 Women 38 Class 42 Analysis 46 Chapter Five: Conclusion 49 Bibliography 53
iv List of Tables and Figures Table 1: Number of Palestinian Refugees in Jordan Following Regional Crises 7 Map 1 Jordan and Iraq 17 Map 2 Amman 21
v Abstract This thesis analyzes t he situation of Iraqi refugees in Amman, Jordan. Participant observation research illuminates a distinct refugee community and its experience in a host nation, as well as analyzes the historical and political context that forces the Iraqi refugee community in Jordan into poverty, psychological and material discomfort, and keeps them in limbo, neither able to integrate into the host country nor move to third countries for permanent settlement. The thesis outlines the region's history and Jordan's experience with refugees to explore the politics due to the sensitive issue of Palestinian refugees and accompanying resentment by Jordan's native tribal population. Additionally, the thesis explains the different experiences faced by Iraqis across the economic class spectrum and gender, where wealthier Iraqis are able to purchase residency permits while middle and lower class Iraqis are forced into a downward spiral into poverty due to their inability to work legally or seek temporary residency. ___________ ______________ Uzi Baram Division of Social Sciences
1 Chapter One: Introduction The United Nations currently estimates that there are 15.3 million refugees globally (UNHCR 2012). The word refugee' brings to mind certain preconceived images: a person living in poor conditions, potentially in makeshift housing in an overcrowded, unhyg ienic camp situated in a distant, rural location, and most likely uneducated and desperately poor. This thesis seeks to problematize this static and inaccurate narrative of the refugee experience via an anthropological study of the Iraqi refugee community in Amman, Jordan. This project is the result of a combination of longstanding interests and good fortune. My initial interest in migration and mobility issues is grounded in my own experiences of frequent moving as a Foreign Service Officer's stepdaughter, which ended in 2004, when my family was evacuated from Saudi Arabia due to the ongoing security threat posed by the invasion of Iraq. Work in Dr. Uzi Baram's course, Race and Ethnicity in Global Perspective, helped me refine this interest to a specific ca se study: the refugee population in Jordan. Guided by this interest, I was an intern at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (abbreviated to UNRWA, whose involvement across the Middle East and its ongoing refugee crisis is ad dressed in this thesis), at its headquarters in Amman, Jordan, during the spring semester of 2012. While interning, I became slightly frustrated with the lack of direct contact with the community being served. A colleague, who had shared similar frustratio ns when interning herself, put me in touch with an organization called Jesuit Refugee Service, which in Amman is based out of the Jesuit Center.
2 In line with the Jesuit order's commitment to education, JRS provides informal education programs to help fill some of the gaps experienced by refugees. Besides providing basic education for child and adolescent refugees, it provides continuing education for adults, including computer literacy and language courses. Most of the courses are taught by other members of the Iraqi community, with the exception of an English conversation course that is instructed by native English speaking foreign volunteers, which is how I became involved in the informal school. Once a week, I would leave my internship early, hailing a ta xi from the street facing the UNRWA headquarters in near the eighth circle and crossing town to the Jesuit center. From there, it was a ride in a JRS funded bus across downtown Amman (Wasat al Balad) to reach the actual location of the informal school, a G reek Orthodox school in Jebel Al Ashrafiyeh, the first hill of East Amman (these divisions of Amman will be covered in chapter 3). The majority of the population served by the school is Iraqi, although at the time that I left there were increasing numbers of Syrian refugees. JRS also assists the Somali and Sudanese populations, and small numbers of Palestinians. The Iraqi population is a blend of faiths and origins, with about an equal mix of Muslims and Christians, as well as a small number of Mandeans. T hey were overwhelmingly Arab, with a small number of Kurds. The composition of the school's population was fascinating to me, but at the same time it posed some problems for ethnographic research. While the Iraqis I spoke with were generally open about the ir experiences and even their religious and political opinions, the official policy of the program was that political and religious discussions were discouraged to prevent any kind of personal conflict, which made me feel uncomfortable asking potentially s ensitive questions.
3 It was through teaching this course that I was able to get to know Iraqis, and to see the poorer, underdeveloped corners of Amman that I had previously been shielded from while residing in Amman's highly Westernized and wealthy neighbo rhoods. My initial interest when I arrived in Jordan was the Palestinian refugee community, but as I continued to spend time at the Iraqi school and getting to know people within that community, my focus shifted to the Iraqi experience in Jordan and the on going struggles faced by that community. That focus center this thesis. The second chapter is the literature review, covering three different anthropological contributions that helped ground this work: the anthropological study of gender in the Middle E ast, anthropology's role in forced migration studies, and anthropological studies of Jordan. The third chapter lays out the historical background and the contemporary context that foreground the Iraqi refugee crisis in the Middle East, both in terms of th e physical backdrop of Amman as well as the socio political context within Jordan and the international development regime. The fourth chapter builds on the issues laid out in the third chapter and grounds them in both my own and other researchers' ethnogr aphic data. Finally, the fifth chapter is the conclusion, which returns to the general issues involved in the anthropology of refugees.
4 Chapter Two: Anthropological Works on Jordan, Gender, and Refugees In studying Jordan, Benedict Anderson's (200 6: 6) definition of a nation as "an imagined political community and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign" is pertinent. Jordan's history epitomizes the concept of an imagined community': much of its cultural heritage was constructed by the British colonial power, yet it is now mired in ethnic tensions not only with the Iraqi refugee but with its own citizenry. Anthropology of Jordan This thesis focuses on refugees in Jordan, a small country on which little anthropological work has been f ocused. Today known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the country was created as Transjordan and has been commonly known as Jordan since the late 1940s. Two major anthropological texts that focus on Jordan are Joseph Andoni Massad's (2001) Colonial Effe cts and Andrew Shryock's (1997) Nationalism and the Genealogical Imagination: Oral History and Textual Authority in Tribal Jordan. Both studies discuss the creation of Jordanian national identity. Massad's analysis examines on the military and the system o f law during the initial British creation of a kingdom on the east side of the Jordan River. Shryock concentrates on the oral history of Jordanian tribes in the Balqa (the area surrounding Jordan's capital city, Amman) and the way that these oral histories are contested due to their personal and political implications, especially in the process of being written down. Both Shryock (1997) and Massad (2001) are primarily focused on the male population of Jordan, highlighting the need for gendered ethnographic work in the region, which is discussed below. Massad (2001) analyzes how Jordan and Jordanian ethnicity was, to a large extent, a mid 20th century British imperialist project. A distinct Jordanian nationalism was
5 created through the incorporation and co op tation of the natives' tribal structure into the state. A major figure, for Massad, is Lieutenant General John Bagot Glubb, who was responsible for the incorporation of the nomadic Bedouins into the military apparatus of the territory. Glubb, known as Glub b Pasha in Jordan, was fascinated by Bedouins and Bedouin culture. He considered the Bedouin to be more "racially pure" than other Arabs, and saw in their culture many shared traits with the British. His belief that the Bedouins should be recruited for the Arab Legion, creating wholly Bedouin sections in the military, was vital to the integration of the tribes into what was to become the Jordanian nation. It ensured that "their group loyalty would be transferred to the nation state, guaranteeing that the Be douins would protect that state against all threats" (Massad 2001: 111). By incorporating the tribes into the defenses of the nation, they ensured they would become part of the state itself. Glubb also implemented policies that lead to the sedentarization of their culture, effectively destroying traditional ways of life in favor of a lifestyle more suited to Glubb's imperialist project. Glubb's Orientalist fascination with the Bedouins had a tremendous impact in the creation of a distinct Transjordanian ide ntity that continued into post colonial Jordan. His insistence on a particular form of Bedouin life, imparted via military training and military schools, was effectively a means of Bedoun izing' the rising national identity. His policies extended to alter ations in the nomads' dietary habits, such that foods now thought to be traditional to Jordan were introduced only in the colonial period (Massad 2001: 159). Mansaf, Jordan's national dish, is an excellent example of the constructed aspects of Jordanian id entity and its incorporation of foreign elements. Originally composed solely of meat, meat broth, and bread, it is now made with white rice, introduced to the
6 central region of Jordan in the 1920s (Massad 2001: 158). The other primary ingredient of the dis h now is jameed, a type of sour goat's milk yogurt that gives mansaf a distinctive flavor. Although jameed was known and eaten by Jordanian Bedouins before the colonial period, it was rarely used and never with mansaf. Glubb promoted a 'friendlier' version of the Bedouins, sanitizing the identity for a safe Bedounization of the entire society: "Glubb's ingenuity lies in his putting in motion a whole cultural production that came to de Bedouinize Jordan's Bedouins while redefining all that he introduc ed as 'Bedouin.' This was carried out through a Bedouinization policy that all Jordanians...were to undergo, wherein the entire country...was Bedouinized [while] the Bedouins themselves were being properly (de)Bedouinized" (Massad: 149). Anti colonial sent iments began to rise when the military under Glubb refused to promote Arab graduates of the military schools into higher ranks. This became unacceptable in the rising Jordanian nationalism, where the military was a central aspect of the state and had to be nationalized in order to truly serve towards Jordanian self defense and self determination. Over time Jordanian national identity was set in opposition to the colonial empire itself. In March of 1956 the kingdom's second monarch, King Hussein officially e xpelled Glubb from Jordan, beginning a process of nationalization of the military and an anti colonial fervor within Jordan. This Jordanian nationalism was set against the influx of Palestinian refugees that began in 1948. The number of refugees increased with each conflict, with the Palestinian population becoming the majority in Jordan around 1967 (see Table 1). This created a new set of challenges but a further cementing of Jordanian identity, which felt threatened in the face of rising Palestinian mili tancy and of commentary from surrounding nations
7 wondering if Jordan could become the new Palestinian homeland. After the civil war in 1970, Jordanian national identity became increasingly exclusivist, seeking to repress Palestinian identity even as many P alestinians in Jordan simultaneously saw themselves as both Palestinian and Jordanian, with many even adopting some Jordanian tribal practices: "[Palestinian Jordanians] use aspects of tribal law to resolve many social disputes...and to inaugurate importan t social occasions" (Massad 2001: 264). This dual self identification as both Palestinian and Jordanian was in conflict with exclusivist Jordanian nationalists who saw and continue to envision Jordanian identity as being in opposition to Palestinians. Mass ad ends his study of Jordanian national identity by noting the colonial paradox involved in the creation of Jordan, where a fictive and sanitized tradition is the center of an invented Jordanian identity. 1950 1967 Present 506,200 625,857 2,110,114 (338,000 in camps) Table 1: Number of Palestinian Refugees in Jordan Following Regional Crises (source: UNRWA, 2009) Shryock (1997) focuses on Jordanian tribes' oral histories in the creation of Jordanian nationalism. Although the Bedouin tribes were incorporated into the state and the tribal heritage of Jordan has been emphasized by the monarchy, tribalism beyond its co optation by the state is not really respected or seen as desirable. The genealogical histories' discussed by Shryock's informants reject the majority of the Jordanian population from what they perceive as Jordan'. To begin with, emphasizing tribal links
8 leaves out the Palestinian population that now makes up the majority of Jordan. The Palestinians' origins as peasants' essentializes them as dishonorable and inferior to Bedouin origin Jordanians: local tribespeople are apt to cultivate a forthright disdain for the Palestinian nature', which derives...from their mixed genealogical origins and peasant blood. [They] are no t true Arabs; they are not sons of the great Bedouin tribes of Arabia. They are peasants (Shryock 1997: 74). Since their presence in the kingdom of Jordan cannot be erased or denied, linking national identity to tribal identity helps nationalist Jordania ns excise them from the country without requiring their physical removal. Shryock, like Massad, notes the contradictions and paradoxes inherent in the creation of a national identity within Jordan. The tradition of oral history renders a single cohesive n arrative essentially impossible. Shryock's informants are attempting to fit an expansive tradition into a colonial mold of what a nation state is. However the history and the genealogy are so contested and elastic that they cannot be reduced to a unified h istory, much less one that is inclusive of the various identities present in Jordan. Anthropology of Gender in the Middle East The Middle East is a deeply patriarchal place. Patriarchal emphasis on honor and shame, especially women's purity representing familial or tribal honor, curtails women's opportunities and can lead to violence against them. The last several decades of relig ious fundamentalism and political upheaval further marginalize women and silence their voices. Anthropologists' work on gender in the Middle East helps bring women's distinct experiences into the study of the region.
9 Three useful ethnographic texts that discuss gender in the Middle East are Rhoda Ann Kanaaneh's (2002) Birthing the Nation ; Julie M. Peteet's (1991) Gender in Crisis ; and Nadje Sadig Al Ali's (2007) Iraqi Women: Untold Stories from 1948 to the Present. These three were selected because of their engagement with women of displaced or occupied communities. Both Kanaaneh and Peteet's ethnographic research takes place among Palestinian communities, the former in the Galilee under Israeli control and the latt er in Lebanese Palestinian refugee camps. Al Ali's work looks at women in the Iraqi diaspora. Kanaaneh's (2002) ethnography among Palestinians in the Galilee focuses on reproductive discourse and the politicization of women's reproductive capabilities and decisions. Women's bodies and rights are a target of nationalist anxiety for both the Palestinians and the Israelis, who interpret Palestinians' reproductive choices in very different ways. The book explores how women's bodies become the center of myriad politics, which move from individual concerns about appropriate reproductive technologies to the broader social dilemmas of women's role in society. Israeli discourse about the higher Arab birthrates situates their birthrates as a problem while Palestinian political movements interpret higher Arab birthrates as a cause for celebration and an act of defiance against the occupier. Kanaaneh notes the differences among Palestinians of different classes and regions in their attitudes towards family size, especia lly as it relates to modernity versus backwardness'. Reproduction in this context is far from a private discussion. Rather it enters the public discourse as a contested and nationalist issue for both communities.
10 Julie M. Peteet (1991) also focuses on Pa lestinian women, although her informants are part of the Palestinian diaspora in Lebanon. The majority of Palestinians in Lebanon, both during Peteet's fieldwork and up to the present day, reside in refugee camps. Most have been denied citizenship, educati on in state schools and higher education, and access to high prestige jobs. Gender in Crisis looks at the early period of the Lebanese Civil War (1975 90), a time of active resistance and militancy by Palestinian organizations such as the Palestinian Liber ation Organization (PLO) and its offshoots. Peteet's informants have become politicized due to their ethnic affiliation with a displaced community as well as their gender. As one woman notes, "Our society almost imposes political activity on us. If I live here I must be involved there is no escaping it" (Peteet 1991: 125). Even those who were not direct activists attempted to claim a space within the Palestinian struggle, especially through a politicization of domestic labor and motherhood which resonated d ue to the intimate link between motherhood and male martyrdom. However, women are prevented from fully participating due to the vagueness of policies related to their activism; familial disapproval; societal ridicule; and the additional burdens placed on w omen, including the "double shift" of housework on top of any outside labor or activism. Unable to participate fully in the resistance, the women began to build solidarity amongst themselves in order to promote their rights within the broader liberation st ruggle, but are left in an uncertain position within their households and the community. The uncertainty is exacerbated by the primacy of the Palestinian liberation struggle in the community, which subsumes and subordinates all other political
11 movements. W omen's liberation becomes a secondary struggle, leading to ambiguous policies towards women's rights and roles by the militant organizations. The obstacles faced by women are also heavily class dependent, despite the overall perception of collective strugg le and several Palestinian organizations' own class focused ideology. For poorer women, activism was often tied to basic survival, and as the suffering was more direct and visible poorer women's families were often reluctant to reject their activism. To do so could be perceived as placing one's own family above the rest of the Palestinian population, an unacceptable position to hold within the context of communal suffering. Shared suffering also contributed to a more egalitarian view of women by lower class camp bound Palestinian men, who saw the women around them doing harsh labor as much as the men. Al Ali (2007) reconstructs Iraqi history in the twentieth century through ethnographic work with women of the Iraqi diaspora communities in Amman, London, De troit, and San Diego. Her focus is the ways that the various Iraqi regimes have utilized women to further their own agendas, as well as the contradictory expectations that are placed on women during times of conflict. As with the Palestinian women in Leban on, Iraqi women's liberation was selectively promoted by the Baathist regime in order to widen its political base. After the tremendous loss of male life in the Iran Iraq War of the 1980s, Saddam Hussein's regime began appealing to nationalist and religiou s politics that shifted the depiction of women to a less egalitarian image even as women were increasingly burdened with contradictory expectations of themselves as both laborers and as reproducers for the state. Ruinous sanctions and a succession of confl icts further altered Iraqi gender relations and changed women's relationship to the state, which
12 restricted women's mobility and rights as a response to skyrocketing rates of prostitution and violence against women. The three anthropologists' work provi des insights into the construction and performance of gender in the Middle East. All three work with populations living in exile as well as under conflict -both of these conditions have dramatic effects on women, whose rights and struggle for liberation ar e selectively appropriated or restricted depending on the political benefit to the regime in power. Women's bodies and labor are politicized by many different parties. Under occupation, women's reproductive capabilities are derided by the dominant group, w hile community leaders promote high levels of reproduction as a strategy to defy and deluge the occupation. Under all situations of conflict with high mortality rates, whether due to direct military action or to martyrdom, women are pushed to reproduce in order to replace the dead. Conflicts can also have a liberating effect, as women take over men's roles in their absence and begin seeing themselves as activists as well. However, this is countered by the rise of nationalist ideology which is entirely focus ed on men as protectors and guardians of the vulnerable state. Outside of the issues of conflict and displacement, the region's broader struggles with modernization and globalization affect women, who see themselves simultaneously pressured by revitalized expectations of honor and domesticity as well as the societal longing for economic prosperity and status. Anthropology and Forced Migration Anthropology has been involved in the study of refugees since the foundation of an official refugee studies' fiel d in the early 1980s. Although the concept and definition of a refugee' rose from post World War II European displacement, it was not until the
13 1980s and the establishment of a formal refugee studies program at Oxford University that this field was consol idated and academically legitimated (Harrell Bond and Voutira 1992: 6; Colson 2003: 13). Forced migration studies incorporates both an academic perspective and a view from the field, and looks at displacement caused not only by conflict but also environme ntal or man made disasters as well as by other situations (development projects that forced populations off land, for example). It is interdisciplinary and not tied to any one discipline or method, although it is a field of study to which anthropology can make a significant contribution, rooted in anthropologists' understandings of power and power relations globally. Anthropologists' insights into power are not unique to the anthropological study of refugees and migration. Anthropologists such as Nancy Sche per Hughes (1995) and Paul Farmer (2005) write about the intersection of global power relations and individual lives, arguing that global inequities promoted by neo colonial structures and economic disparities are at the root of why certain regions of the world are unstable and plagued by conflict while other regions and nations are rarely subject to violence. As Farmer (2005: 7) argues about human rights violations, "human rights violations are not accidents; they are...symptoms of deeper pathologies of po wer and are linked intimately to the social conditions that so often determine who will suffer abuse and who will be shielded from harm. If assaults on dignity are anything but random in distribution or course, whose interests are served by the suggestion that they are haphazard?" Both Farmer and Scheper Hughes promote a role for anthropology that goes beyond academic discourse and is engaged, taking a more into an active role as a witness to structural violence and global injustice. Scheper Hughes' discuss ion of engaged
14 anthropology ties to forced migration studies, as she asks "what anthropology might become if it existed on two fronts: as a field of knowledge (as a "discipline") and as a field of action, a force field, or a site of struggle. Anthropologic al writing can be a site of resistance" (1995: 419 20). Anthropology can challenge problematic aspects of the international refugee regime and its paradigm, including the definition of displacement as a development and humanitarian issue, rather than an i nherently political issue grounded in colonialism and historical injustice. Refugees and displacement are detached from the conflicts that provoked the initial flight: as Malkki (1995: 504) quotes, ...it is the era of the refugee as very few states today encourage anything but marginal immigration and then exclusively in the interest...of the state. The overwhelming majority of the refugees originate in the Third World. The direct causes of their flight are conflicts kept alive mostly by superpower politic s and by weapons forged and manufactured at bargain prices in the rich countries, who export death and destruction, and import the natural and partly processed products of the poor countries. At the same time they refuse to a great extent to receive the re fugees who try to escape the suffering and the sorrow generated by superpower politics. The historical and structural causes for why it is people in the developing world who are forced out of their nations are left out of the discourse. Erasing these cau ses depoliticizes the event, leaving agencies to manage' refugee crises via humanitarian response after the displacement rather than question the necessity of displacement provoking conflict. Continued conflicts and successive displacement means that anth ropology has to engage with displaced peoples and refugees. Anthropology's interest in the diversity of people and their adaptations for survival makes it particularly relevant in researching forced migration. The need to study refugees goes beyond the sta ndard answer of needing
15 information to better inform policy: as Colson (2003: 4) argues in Forced Migration and the Anthropological Response, if the present century is even remotely similar to the previous one in the number of wars and acts of violence, it might well be that "since anyone, including social scientists, may be uprooted, we want to know what to expect and how one learns to live with the uncertainties, the loss of trust, and the indignities that [a refugee] experienc[es] and surviv[es]...This i ncludes understanding how countries of asylum and international agencies will relate to us when we too are in need." Reinforcing the points made regarding refugees as a development issue, it is necessary to challenge ideas of displacement as unique or temp orary events, which essentialize refugee experiences' and construct an idea of refugee ness' that fits into the international refugee regime but may not necessarily reflect the lived experience of actual refugees. Finally, refugees themselves contribute to anthropology by enriching the study of survival and adaptation. Work in forced migration blurs the lines between theory and application, and forces anthropology to wrestle with violence and suffering. Anthropology needs to integrate "the anthropology o f 'maintenance', that is the 'comfortable' anthropology which studies social structure and documents social organization, and the anthropology of 'repair', concerned with issues of policy and intervention" (Harrell Bond and Voutira 1992: 9). The next chap ter presents the Jordanian context for Iraqi refugees.
16 Chapter Three: The Jordanian Context, Iraq Jordan Relations, and the International Refugee Regime The current population of Iraqis in Jordan is largely the result of the Iraqi displacement crisis that has been ongoing since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. UNHCR's statistics stand at approximately 4.2 million Iraqis displaced in total, with that number almos t evenly split between internally displaced persons (IDPs) and Iraqis who are externally displaced refugees. Iraqis have been displaced into several neighboring countries, especially Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. This chapter will situate the Iraqi refugee cr isis in Jordan, especially the intersection of Jordanian and Iraqi history, as well as other regional refugee crises. It will also situate the Iraqi refugees' plight within international discourse and practice regarding refugees, focusing on gaps that ser ve to leave Middle Eastern refugees in limbo. Historical Background The Republic of Iraq and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan have a shared historical origin and have been intimately connected throughout their existence, physically through their 181 kil ometer border (see map 1) as well as politically. Following the fall of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the Arab territories of the former empire were placed under European control, for the purpose of managing and administering the Middle East until the y were able to administer and govern themselves on their own. The Sykes Picot Agreement, reached in secret by the French and British empires, divided the Arab territories of the Levant into separate spheres of European influence via mandates approved by th e League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations. The territory which became Jordan came under the British Mandate of Palestine,
17 while Iraq was initially under the British Mandate of Mesopotamia. In 1921, the British colonial administration imposed monarchies on both territories, turning the territories into the Kingdom of Iraq and the Emirate of Transjordan. Both of the monarchs, Faisal in Iraq and Abdullah in Transjordan, were members of the Hashemite clan ( banu Hashim ), who claim descent from the great grandfather of the prophet Muhammad. Map 1. Jordan and Iraq. Source: Human Rights Watch, 2006. Iraq gained independence from the British empire in 1932, and Transjordan followed fourteen years later in 1946, and then became known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Jordan has remained a Hashemite monarchy since independence, while Iraq ceased to be a kingdom following a coup in 1958 which came to be known as the 14 July Revolution. It was perpetrated by a group of pan Arabists known as the Free Officers,' under the command of Abdul Karim Qasim, an Iraqi general who became prime minister upon the exe cution of Faisal II and his family.
18 The coup marks the beginning of political refugees fleeing from Iraq to Jordan. A number of monarchists and elites connected with the regime fled to Jordan, fearing for their lives following the pan Arabist takeover. Transnational movement continued due to Iraq's continuously tumultuous twentieth century history. The establishment of the Republic of Iraq in 1958 was followed by another coup in 1963, which put a different revolutionary, Abdul Salam Arif, in power. In 1 968, Arif's brother (who had come into power following Abdul Salam's death in a helicopter crash) was overthrown by members of the Iraqi branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, a pan Arabist socialist political party with origins in Syria. The Ba'ath we re initially lead by Ahmed Hassan Al Bakr, but by the mid 1970s, Al Bakr's relative Saddam Hussein had unofficially taken control of the government. In 1979, Hussein took over completely, initiating more than two decades of a dictatorship marked by brutal violence against dissenters and genocidal policies towards cultural and linguistic minorities. Under his leadership, Iraq saw eight years of war with Iran, the Iran Iraq War (1980 1988), which it affected the Shia and Kurdish communities in disproportionat ely brutal ways. The Iran Iraq War inflamed internal tensions between the Ba'ath and these minority communities, with the most brutal result being the Al Anfal (spoils') Campaign against the Kurdish population, through which the government "reached a leve l of brutality and killing so high and wreaked such devastation on settled life, even for a regime widely known for its brutality, that it finally resulted in international outrage and charges of genocide" (Marr 2011: 198). The conflict became internationa lly notorious for its use of chemical weapons against civilian populations. In 1990, only two years after the ceasefire with Iran, Saddam Hussein launched an invasion of neighboring Kuwait, which the international community under
19 the US military quickly ov erturned. This invasion further debilitated Iraq and exposed the country to international opprobrium in the form of United Nations sanctions, a period that lasted from the end of the Persian Gulf War to 2003. A United States led invasion of Iraq in 2003 ov erthrew Saddam Hussein. The invasion subsequently became an occupation, which officially ended in late 2011. The invasion provoked insurgency against the foreign occupiers and inflamed sectarian conflict, leading to large scale internal and external displa cement. For Jordan, one result of the invasion has been the arrival of approximately 750,000 Iraqis over the past decade, seeking escape from persecution as well as from harsh, violent conditions which have made it nearly impossible for most Iraqi citizens to live in anything resembling peace or stability. Continued movement from Iraq to Jordan has historically been accepted to due the influence of pan Arabist ideology and cultural expectations of hospitality (Mason 2011: 356). Interest in pan Arabism, an i deology that promotes unity and solidarity throughout the Arabic speaking world, declined steeply in the second half of the twentieth century. Nonetheless political decisions such as the previously open border with Iraq and hospitality towards exiles are l inked to the idea of Arab unity. Cultural expectations of hospitality and being a good host have an impact on the political choices made towards refugee communities. Although this idea of pan Arab connections allows for some mobility across the Arab world for holders of Arab citizenship, it is a very limited and, for the state, self serving motivation for hospitality. Mason (2011: 359) notes the hostility implied within a state's hospitality, where the limited opening of borders simply helps the state furth er restrict and define who is allowed to enter and in what
20 capacity: "Hospitality is invoked precisely as a way of curtailing...hospitableness. Strangers' are welcomed' through a power structure that privileges the host and sets clear boundaries for the guest'". Pan Arabism is also involved in the shift of responsibility to the international refugee regime: a context where most refugees arriving in Arab nations are nationals of other Arab states "poses a political problem for host governments that do not want to a ccuse fellow Arab states of persecution. It is politically expedient to leave this task to UNHCR, and to portray the refugees' presence as temporary" (Kagan 2011: 12). The Iraqi refugee population is unusual among refugee populations around the world due to its economic and class demographics. Continuing a trend of middle and upper class Iraqis escaping their nation, the majority of post 2003 refugees are highly educated, many possessing advanced degrees and having held prestigious positions. Many arrived moderately wealthy (Mason 2011: 361). Iraqi refugees do not reside in refugee camps. Instead they are spread across urban areas, with the majority residing in the capital city of Amman. This is a significant distinction from the emblematic Middle Eastern refugee experience of the Palestinians, a traditionally peasant population that found itself forced into tightly contained camps after their displacement. There are both benefits and drawbacks to urban residence, which will be discussed in chapter four. Amman Amman is a cosmopolitan, visibly economically stratified city with over two million inhabitants across its metropolitan area, making it by far the largest city in Jordan, which has a total population of 6.5 million. Established as the capital of Tra nsjordan in
21 1921, it has expanded and developed dramatically in less than a century. Massive rural to urban migration, as well as the displacement of Palestinians into Amman area camps, has changed Amman's 1921 geographic span of 6 square kilometers to its present 1700 square kilometer span (Parker 2009: 111). Amman is split into two major areas, a west and an east half. West Amman is more developed and caters to the large Western expatriate population that resides there (see map 2). It has developed around eight different traffic circles, with First Circle marking the border with East Amman and the eighth nearing the end of the city. West Amman is the location of regional headquarters for numerous major international organizations, and particularly over the past decade has seen the establishment of half a dozen shopping malls, as well as many bars, restaurants, hotels, and even a handful of nightclubs. Map 2: Amman (source: Royal Jordanian Geographic Center, 2010)
22 The Westernized sheen of West Amman stand s in contrast to East Amman, which remains much more culturally conservative and economically poor. Virtually no Westerners live in East Amman, and living in West Amman is a mark of wealth for the Jordanian population. Driving from West to East Amman, the division between the two areas is noticeable in the sudden lack of English language labelling on restaurants and stores. It is also visually poorer and less developed than the western half of the city. East Amman is also home to a refugee camp, known as A mman New Camp or Wihdat, that was established in 1955 and still houses more than 51,000 registered Palestinian refugees (UNRWA: 2013). Wihdat blurs the line between dwelling in refugee camp and residing in a city, as it largely blends into the East Amman l andscape. Most of its upkeep and infrastructure is provided by UNRWA, as it is not maintained by the city of Amman itself, a funding gap that is noticeable in the poor condition of the roads and the cramped habitation. Although Wihdat, as with other Palest inian camps in Jordan, is not a completely temporary' refugee camp in that it has concrete structures and paved roads instead of tents and dirt paths (as with the Syrian refugee camps in north Jordan), it is still noticeably poor and underdeveloped, lacki ng solid infrastructure. Although Wihdat and the other camps near Amman (Baqa'a and Jerash camp) mostly blend into the urban landscape, they are still visibly more cramped and confined than the city of Amman itself. A significant portion of Iraqis have se ttled in West Amman, despite the higher rent for housing. This has lead to a stereotype among the Jordanian population that sees the typical Iraqi refugee as considerably wealthier than the average Jordanian. The image of the comfortable Iraqi has lead to resentment on the part of Jordanians, who complain
23 that the deluge of Iraqis has raised the price of rents and other commodities (Chatelard 2010: 11). Over the last decade, the Jordanian population has indeed seen a sharp increase in the cost of basic nece ssities and a rise in unemployment, as the global financial crisis has taken a toll on Jordan, a nation that is already no stranger to economic recessions and crises (Robins 2004: 166). Iraqis have been an easy scapegoat, especially as middle and upper cl ass Iraqi nationals have been over represented in the waves of emigration from Iraq to Jordan. Initially this was due to the number of elite political figures escaping the numerous revolts and coups. The pattern continued under Saddam Hussein, whose polici es made emigration and border crossing a harsh and expensive affair that "had a selective effect on migrants, allowing out only those who could mobilise enough financial capital and/or social relations" (Chatelard 2010: 5). However, the emphasis on wealthy Iraqis ignores the reality of many Iraqis living in Jordan, who lose their wealth and are reduced to living on UNHCR benefits following years of waiting for resettlement to a third nation. The scapegoating of Iraqi refugees shifts attention away from othe r causes of economic pressure, which include the loss of trade with Iraq after 2003 and the programs of structural adjustment and stabilization imposed by the IMF, which has overseen cuts in subsidies for basic commodities. Jordan's First Refugees: the P alestinians Jordan is not a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which outlines signatory states' obligations to asylum seekers and defines a refugee as a person who "owing to a well founded fear of being pers ecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political
24 opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that cou ntry." Jordan has no domestic refugee policy, instead relying on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other parts of the international refugee regime for the registration, protection, and support of its refugee population. There a re historical reasons for this void. Jordan is essentially a refugee nation, with "the highest ratio of refugees to indigenous population of any country" (Chatelard 2010: 3). Nearly half of its population consists of registered Palestinian refugees and the ir descendants, and its involvement with the Palestinian issue is crucial in understanding its lack of response to the other refugee communities crossing its borders. In 1948, the establishment of the state of Israel led to the exodus of approximately 700, 000 Palestinians. Neighboring Jordan became a major recipient of the exiled population. Palestinian refugees are unique among refugee populations in that they have inheritable refugee status, and they are the only refugees globally who are not served by UN HCR (Kagan 2009: 420). Rather, they are registered with, and served by, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), established in 1948 to assist the first wave of Palestinian exiles. The initial wave was followed almost twen ty years later by another 300,000 Palestinians fleeing after the Arab defeat in the 1967 Six Day War. The war also cost Jordan the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which it had annexed in 1948. The Six Day War had major repercussions for Jordan's fragile ethn ic relations. Regional enthusiasm for pan Arabism came to a halt as Arab forces returned home crushed. In Jordan, Palestinian frustration with the Arab world's failed attempts at
25 recapturing Palestine led to a resurgence of Palestinian nationalism. Palesti nians joined activist organizations and guerrilla groups, actions that were initially tolerated by the Jordanian regime out of sympathy for the Palestinians' plight. Foremost among the Palestinian groups was the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), h eaded by Yasser Arafat. As the PLO gained influence in the refugee camps, it increasingly rejected Jordanian control and began to build a parallel state structure. Tensions between the Jordanian government and the PLO resulted in a year long civil war (kno wn as Black September), which broke out in 1970 after PLO fedayeen (militants) hijacked several United States bound airplanes. Several thousand Palestinians were killed during Black September, which finally ended after the fedayeen were expelled to Lebanon Black September and its aftermath had a profound effect on Palestinian Jordanian relations and on Jordan's attitudes towards its resident refugees. The regime strictly curtailed freedom of expression and political organization, fearing further political upheaval or challenges to its control over the state. Even more Palestinians settled in Jordan after 1991, following the First Gulf War. Shortly after Iraq's invasion, Kuwait expelled its 450,000 Palestinians for being sympathetic to Saddam Hussein. Most o f those expelled had Jordanian citizenship and were repatriated' there, though many had not lived in Jordan for decades if at all. Much like the Iraqis, the Kuwaiti Palestinians initially had a positive effect on Jordan's economy, being highly educated an d considerably wealthy, but came to be resented and blamed for the economic slump Jordan hit soon after their arrival which was more likely due to the structural adjustment that Jordan was going under IMF guidance.
26 The relationship between UNRWA, its bene ficiaries, and the Arab host nations it serves in is complicated. Since the establishment of UNRWA, Jordan and the other Arab states have shifted the responsibility of caring for Palestinian refugees to the Agency, which has helped them avoid the sensitive politics behind the entire situation. Since Al Nakba (the 1948 49 exodus), the Arab nations have promoted the idea that the only viable solution for the Palestinian situation is creation of a Palestinian state, but lacking the power to push Israel to that goal or the international community into supporting full repatriation of the refugees, it has been easier to leave the Palestinians in varying degrees of limbo and under the responsibility of an international organization rather than the state. The combin ation of the Palestinians' anomalous legal position and the contentiousness of hosting Arabs in other Arab nations has resulted in UNRWA's involvement setting a precedent where "the general pattern of state to UN responsibility shift is the common foundati on of refugee policy for both Palestinian and non Palestinian refugees in Arab host states" (Kagan 2011: 12). Jordan has granted the majority of its Palestinian refugees citizenship. The descendants of the 1948 and 1967 refugees have blended into Jordanian society, although they are politically marginalized and subject to random revocations of citizenship by the Jordanian government (Human Rights Watch 2010: 1). Discrimination against Palestinian descended Jordanians is driven by the nationalist anxiety of the Transjordanian descended population, who fear the idea that Jordan could become Palestine. By preventing Palestinians from becoming full citizens of their adoptive country, Jordan believes that Israel and the international community will be forced to
27 a ccept the creation of a separate Palestinian state and return of the refugees and their descendants. Nationalist fears and the ongoing conflict surrounding the establishment of a Palestinian state inform Jordan's policies towards the displaced Iraqis. Fea ring that accepting Iraqis as full residents or offering them a path to legal status would set a precedent for permanent settlement by refugees (the Palestinians being first and foremost), the Jordanian government has avoided establishing any form of offic ial refugee protection policy. Jordanian policy treats Iraqis and other refugees solely as guests ( dhuyuf) arguing that most Iraqis do not fit the UNHCR definition of a refugee as many are fleeing the general violence of their nation but are not being per secuted as individuals. The complicated dynamics observed in Jordan's treatment of the Palestinian population form the context for the arrival of the recent Iraqi refugees, who pose further nationalist concerns and political and social complications for t he Jordanian state, whose policy of treating them as guests' in order to prevent becoming a permanent nation of residence for another refugee community leaves them in an ambiguous legal position. The Arrival of the Iraqis Jordan had an almost open bor der with Iraq throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Jordan's port in Aqaba essentially became Iraq's only channel with the outside world during the period of United Nations sanctions. The sanctions, imposed in 1991 after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and kept in pla ce until the 2003 invasion, cut the Iraqi population off from virtually all trade and goods, with minimal exceptions made for food
28 aid and medicine. Sanctions were particularly severe from 1991 until 1996, when Iraq accepted a United Nations resolution (Re solution 986, known as "Oil for Food") that allowed it to import basic goods. Although the sanctions were ostensibly meant to punish the regime and reduce Iraq's military strength and weaponry, the sanctions took an enormous toll on Iraq's population which was already fatigued from the 1980 88 Iran Iraq War. Rates of malnutrition, infant and child mortality, and disease increased dramatically, as access to food, medical supplies and potable water was reduced. Iraq's economy languished and its infrastructure slowly collapsed. A previously modern nation with considerable oil wealth and a stable middle class, Iraq was in shambles by the end of the twentieth century. Approximately 300,000 Iraqis settled in Jordan during this era, many of them professionals who e ither obtained or purchased work permits (Robins 2004: 180). The presence of Iraqis throughout this period was based on both an ongoing, if superficial, commitment to pan Arabism, as well as the close political relationship between Jordan and Iraq under th e leadership of Saddam Hussein and King Hussein. Their working relationship dated to the beginning of Saddam's official reign, when the rise in Iraqi oil manufacturing made it an appealing ally to resource poor Jordan. Jordan's dependency on Iraqi oil was acknowledged even during the sanctions period, when Iraqi oil exports to Jordan were exempted. It was during the period of the first Gulf War that UNHCR first established itself in Jordan, opening its regional office in late 1990 in anticipation of massive displacement. Despite refusing to become a signatory to the 1951 convention, Jordan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UNHCR in 1998. The MOU essentially
29 functions as the 1951 agreement in that it binds Jordan to international policies relate d to nonrefoulement (non return of asylum seekers to their countries of origin), and outlined a general policy for dealing with refugees, including granting six months for resettlement to a third nation to each refugee recognized as such by UNHCR. The MOU explicitly lays out that Jordan is solely a transit country, with no plans to offer permanent stay to refugees entering its borders. Even after the invasion, Jordan maintained its open border stance and rarely expelled or deported Iraqis from its territory In 2003, UNHCR established a Temporary Protection Regime (TPR), which essentially declares all Iraqi nationals entering Jordanian territory refugees regardless of whether or not they officially register. This was supposed to protect all Iraqis from refou lement or deportation, although Jordan insisted after the fact that the TPR was only supposed to cover people living in Al Ruwaished refugee camp near the border with Iraq. Overall it is only a small percentage of the suspected total Iraqi population that has registered with UNHCR. The period of Jordanian tolerance came to a halt in 2005. In November 2005, three Iraqi nationals perpetrated suicide bombings in three major hotels in Amman, killing sixty people (mostly Jordanian nationals) and wounding at least a hundred more. Although the bombers were not asylum seekers, as they had only crossed in order to commit the terrorist attacks, the widespread internal condemnation of the attacks prompted Jordan to respond harshly towards the refugees. It imposed visa restrictions, beginning in 2006 and 2007, that stopped many Iraqis from being able to cross the border. Deportations of Iraqi nationals, previously uncommon in the kingdom, began occurring with greater frequency. The combination of visa policies and expulsions impeded flexible
30 mobil ity between Iraq and Jordan: prior to the restrictions, many Iraqis had gone back and forth from Amman to Iraq in order to check up on remaining family members, sell property in order to continue financing their exile, or generally to monitor the condition s in the country. After the bombings, many Iraqis who had overstayed tourist visas and remained in Jordan illegally were afraid to leave in case they were forbidden from returning (Jordanian border guards occasionally stamping passports with marks forbiddi ng entry for a period of several years). The post 2005 restrictions coincided with a surge of displacement following the 2006 bombing of the Al Askari mosque in the city of Samarra, one of the holiest sites in Shi'a Islam, leading to massive internal disp lacement within Iraq as the country plunged into sectarian conflict. However, Jordan's restrictions still made exemptions for particular categories of Iraqis, including businessmen and investors, who maintain a high degree of mobility between the two natio ns (a sign of how Jordan's policies themselves help create the stereotype of the wealthy Iraqi). Uncertain legal status leads to the catastrophic economic downward spiral faced by many Iraqi families. Although most arrive with savings, their inability to w ork legally leaves many impoverished. Without an employment contract or social connections, the only option for obtaining legal documentation is to purchase a residence permit ( iqama) which have become more difficult to obtain after 2005 and, regardless, are exorbitantly expensive, requiring investment of US$20,000 in Jordanian real estate or a national bank (Mason 2011: 361). The absence of legal protections for Iraqis puts them at risk of exploitation. Jordanian employers have been known to threaten arre st in order to force Iraqis to work
31 for reduced pay, or to withhold pay altogether. One in five Iraqi households is female headed, largely due to the high rates of widowhood in Iraq (Lacroix and Al Qdah 2011: 5). The dearth of employment opportunities for women has pushed many Iraqi women into prostitution, a particularly painful issue in a community that places high value on a woman's sexual purity (Al Ali 2007: 201). Employment pressures combined with wartime traumas also drive high rates of domestic viol ence and abuse among Iraqis. In addition, lack of education and limited access to health services take their toll. Until 2008, Iraqi children were not allowed to enroll in Jordanian schools unless their parents had established legal residency. Although that has since changed and Iraqi s are permitted to enroll in public schools, enrollment by Iraqis stayed low due to fear of being caught overstaying a visa as well as the need for child labor to assist parents living in poverty. Health access for Iraqis is equally precarious. In recent y ears Iraqis have been able to utilize the public health system available to Jordanians. However, very few are able to afford government or private health insurance, and as such the cost of medical care at public hospitals remains unaffordable. A small numb er of non governmental organizations and charitable organizations provide medical assistance for Iraqis, although major gaps remain. Iraqis are not allowed to establish charities or organize politically, two prohibitions that are not unusual in light of Jo rdan's anxieties regarding the creation of parallel structures and strong political organizations. The multi confessional nature of the Iraqi population also drives Jordanian fears. Jordan's population is predominantly Sunni Muslim, with a small Christian minority. Iraq's population, however, is more religiously, linguistically, and culturally diverse.
32 Iraqis are primarily Shi'a Muslim, with large Sunni, Christian, and Mandean contingents. Although only seventeen percent of the Iraqis that have arrived in J ordan are Shi'a (International Crisis Group 2008: 11), their presence in the Kingdom in a regional context where Shi'a militancy has gained power in neighboring nations exacerbates fears of a Shi'a takeover. Jordan's response has been to limit freedom of r eligion for Shias, prohibiting them from building houses of prayers; visiting shrines; and holding people with supposedly Shi'a names for questioning at the border. The International Refugee Regime's Options for Refugees There are generally three durable solutions for refugee crises. The first is repatriation and return to the home country, ideally after the establishment of political stability and safe conditions on the ground. The second is resettlement to a third nation in the developed global north'. The third option is long term integration into the host country, which is usually a nation in the global south' (a developing nation). Jordan's policies eliminate the possibility of integration and permanent settlement, preferring to remain solely a tran sit country for refugees awaiting resettlement to a developed nation. Iraqis themselves generally prefer resettlement, seeing both residence in Jordan and return to Iraq as an impossibility due to discrimination in the former and continued insecurity in th e latter. Resettlement is also preferred by the many Iraqis that now have relatives residing outside of the Middle East. However the number of refugees seeking resettlement is overwhelmingly higher than any country is willing to take. Refugees entering in to the system in the present are doing so at a time when they are globally perceived as a burden. Middle Eastern refugees in particular are additionally seen as a security threat to the global north: "the burden borne by Western liberal
33 democracies represe nts but a small share of the world's total displaced population, yet flows into the West are considered disproportionately threatening relative to their size" (Greenhill 2011: 42). At the start of the 2003 occupation of Iraq, countries such as Australia, S weden, and Canada were accepting refugees. By 2011, with the occupation ending and the situation inside Iraq entering a protracted stage, very few countries remained open for resettlement. Despite the general conditions of violence and insecurity, most nat ions have shut their doors to Iraqi refugees. Most refugees as of 2012 were being resettled to the United States, which has a slow and frustrating process and admits smaller numbers of refugees compared to the nations that had previously opened their gates to Iraqis. Western pressure to reduce the numbers of refugees seeking asylum exerts pressure on nations like Jordan to impose restrictions and tougher policies towards refugees, "thus reducing the already limited rights of refugees and asylum seekers" (Za iotti 2006: 345 46). Reductions in economic rights and spatial mobility worsen Iraqis' chances of stability in their host nation and leave them in limbo. On the other hand, Jordan has utilized its large refugee burden to claim benefits from the inter national community. The Jordanian government did not acknowledge the Iraqi refugee situation until 2007, when Jordanian representatives publicly recognized the presence of Iraqi refugees in its territory during a United Nations conference (Chatelard 2010: 14). By selectively concealing and revealing the extent of its Iraqi refugee burden, Jordan exerts pressure on the international community for assistance and economic support at the same time that Western nations pressure it to reduce their own responsibil ity for the displaced.
34 The following chapter will build on the context laid out in this chapter and give ethnographic insights into the lives of Iraqi refugees residing in Amman.
35 Chapter Four: Ethnographic Details and Specific Issues The previous chapter contextualized the Iraqi refugee situation within the history of both Iraq and Jordan, in addition to situating the crisis within the current legal regime for refugees in the Midd le East and the discourse surrounding refugees and displacement globally. This chapter will continue the discussion of the refugee situation by focusing on the effects that displacement and refugee status has on specific groups or with regards to specific social conditions. It will use ethnographic insights to illustrate the conditions of Iraqis in Jordan and to analyze the gaps present in the relief and aid system serving the Iraqi community in Amman. Refugee Agencies and Services The primary agency invo lved in the registration, protection, and resettlement of Iraqi refugees is the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, abbreviated UNHCR. UNHCR is the mandated agency for refugees globally, in charge of identifying and executing durable solutions f or refugee crises. In the context of the post 2003 Iraqi refugee crisis, where Iraqi refugees arriving after 2003 are rarely granted legal status or allowed permanent residence in their initial host countries and where the security situation in Iraq contin ues to make repatriation an impossibility, UNHCR's primary solution is third country resettlement. The process of seeking resettlement to a third country is lengthy, frequently emotionally and materially challenging, with much uncertainty along the way. Th e process begins through formal registration with UNHCR. In smaller cases globally, UNHCR has to make a refugee status determination based upon each individual case. The general standard for declaring a displaced person a refugee is based on the 1951
36 Conve ntion definition of an individually persecuted person. In the case of Iraqis in Jordan, due to the catastrophic levels of internal and external displacement, UNHCR has defined all Iraqis who present themselves to the Agency as refugees and issues asylum se eker cards for those who register. As Jordan is not a signatory to the 1951 Convention and refuses to grant Iraqis permanent asylum, the cards' usefulness is limited, although it prevents Jordan from detaining and deporting Iraqis without UNHCR notificatio n (Olwan 2009: 6). As of January 2013, the number of Iraqi refugees receiving UNHCR assistance is 29,000, while the number of Iraqis estimated in the country is 450,500 (UNHCR 2013). UNHCR registration is necessary for resettlement. Once an Iraqi is regist ered, they are additionally eligible for some social services, including psychosocial counseling, legal counseling, small monetary allowances, and referrals to external service providers for medical and other needs. The resettlement process continues with a security clearance. For most refugees, this is the lengthiest, least transparent, and most unpleasant process. Families and individuals can wait years for the security portion of the process to be completed before being rejected or approved for resettlem ent. In some cases, the results are unexpected. One married woman I met had been waiting in Amman with her husband and disabled adult daughter for years, even though her young adult sons had been approved and resettled to the United States. The result ran contrary to what either she or myself would have expected, given the paranoia surrounding young Muslim men both in the United States and in Jordan (in the latter country, mostly surrounding Shia men). During any part of this process, acceptance to the U. S. is far from guaranteed. The number of people seeking resettlement to the United States is many times greater than the
37 number of places available on a yearly basis, and "according to [the Department of] State, historically, less than 1 percent of registe red refugees are resettled in third countries. Of the Iraqis resettling in third countries in 2009, UNHCR referred 75 percent (about 62,000) for resettlement in the United States" (Christoff 2010: 4). Conditions in the countries of resettlement can also af fect refugees' chances. The economic downturn that began in the United States in 2008 reduced the number of spaces available due to a dearth of the kinds of low level entry jobs previously available to Iraqis and other incoming refugees. Outside of UNHCR, numerous non governmental and charitable organizations provide service to the Iraqi community. Most of these serve Iraqis based on need and do not require registration with UNHCR. Most of the medical and psychiatric care received by Iraqis comes from these organizations, which include agencies such as Caritas, an international Catholic charity, as well as the Jordanian Red Crescent and International Relief and Development. Other agencies, such as Jesuit Refugee Service, provide informal education and commu nity centers that serve as social outlets for both Iraqi children and adults. Chatelard (2010: 14) notes that international donors "allocated budgets to over twenty international and local NGOs that started operating programmes for Iraqi refugees in most large cities in Jordan...NGOs, together with some Churches, provide social support and financial help...Several community centers in various neighborhoods on Amman and secondary cities welcome those Iraqis who lack other spaces to socialise or exchange the ir experiences of violence in Iraq and exile in Jordan." These operate in areas and neighborhoods where Iraqis commonly reside in West Amman as well as in places central to both east and west Amman.
38 Women Iraqi women in Jordan face additional difficult c onditions, beginning with the traumas and additional responsibilities that many bring with them from Iraq. Under Saddam Hussein's regime, the numerous conflicts and the subsequent sanctions regime, women's role in society took on even more importance due t o male deaths and social upheaval. Simultaneously, the conflicts have caused an increase in religious conservatism across the various sects present in Iraq. Rising religious fervor threatens women's rights, which under previous regimes had been legally pro tected by a strong Personal Status Law, originally enacted in 1958 after the overthrow of the monarchy. Although in practice the legal protections were not perfect and women remained marginalized in the political sphere, the 2003 invasion in many ways wors ened the marginalization of women's interests. Al Ali and Pratt (2009: 120) quote an Iraqi feminist activist who worked with Iraqi women's rights during the early years of the invasion, A lot of talk in U.S. government circles is that we gave Iraqi women a platform. What the Iraqi women do with it is up to them.' Actually, what the U.S. did is dig a grave for Iraqi women and now they have to lie in it. The Personal Status law was replaced by constitutional articles that declare Islam the official faith o f Iraq and shari'a law as the guiding source of legislation. The 2003 invasion, and the sectarian conflict it provoked, has intensified religious fervor and fundamentalism across the many sects that make up Iraqi society. Women's rights, women's mobili ty, and women's public presence are a pivotal point of contention for the religious fundamentalists who have come to fill the power vacuum left after the virtual demolishing of the Iraqi state structure. Similar to Kanaaneh's (2002) insights on Palestinian women in Israel, whose reproductive capabilities are targeted for control by
39 both the occupying state and Palestinian nationalists, women's bodies in Iraq have become a primary target for sectarian militias who see control and destruction of the enemy's r eproduction as way to destroy enemy sects. An increase in violence against women during times of conflict is consistent with "the now widespread recognition of the ways that women's symbolic and social roles, which acquire increased political significance during armed conflict, make them vulnerable to particular kinds of persecution" (Wankel 2010: 28). The sectarian war that continues to rage in Iraq has brought with it escalating rates of rape, torture and murder of women. In Iraq, rapes and murders of wom en are frequently perpetrated by members of opposing sects, seeking revenge for their own murdered community members or simply to further the destruction and displacement of those seen as antithetical to the perpetrator's vision of a future Iraq. Religious fundamentalism further exposes women to violence. Both Sunni and Shia Muslim fundamentalists have taken advantage of the lack of rule of law in post 2003 Iraq to persecute women who violate the extremely rigid code of conduct they impose upon women. Women who do not hijab (veil their hair and wear modest clothing) have been targeted for sexual violence and murder. This occurs regardless of the victim's sect, forcing Christian and other non Muslim minority women to cover their hair or face violent reprisals (Al Ali 2007: 240 41). Even outside of the public sphere, conflict takes its toll on women within the family unit. Domestic violence rates in Iraq skyrocketed following the 2003 invasion, with an accompanying increase in deadly incidents of domestic viole nce, partially due to "the failure of the United States to keep track of hundreds of thousands of guns that have been shipped to Iraq [which] has resulted in nearly every Iraqi family owning
40 weapons...increasing the risk that domestic violence will become fatal" (Wankel 2010: 31). The security situation in Iraq has critical effects on the Iraqi population in displacement. Besides the reality that a large percentage of Iraqis arrive in Jordan with the crippling effects of post traumatic stress disorder and d epression, as well as just general psychological malaise, domestic violence and gender inequality persist into displacement. "Separation, divorce or widowhood affected almost exclusively women, and particularly those older than 45 years" (Salem Pickartz 20 09: 38). Women are doubly burdened by their own trauma and by having to support surviving family members through their own mental disturbances. As within the conflict itself, women's domestic and supportive roles become even more critical to the family uni t. In female headed households, women are frequently forced to become primary breadwinners in cultures where women have a difficult time finding employment at the same level of pay that a man would earn, a task made even more difficult without legal status The high rates of widowhood and the overall breakdown of family units in Iraq created high rates of prostitution, an unfortunate statistic that followed Iraqi women into Jordan, where their presence on the street as prostitutes is notorious. Complaints fro m the Jordanian government regarding the number of Iraqi prostitutes lead to "the imposition by the [Iraqi] government of the mahram [male guardians for female travelers] for females leaving Iraq did not succeed in stopping this trend. This law does not al low women under 45 to leave the country unless they are accompanied by a male first of kin" (Al Ali 2005: 753). Laws such as these further restrict women's mobility and prevent women from escaping the country if needed, especially if they are lacking male kin due
41 to war related losses or because they are fleeing from their families for reasons such as abuse or to escape an honor crime. Sexism is also present in defining refugee status and in deciding whose asylum claim is valid. Asylum seekers must generall y be able to prove that they are in individual danger of persecution or violence. Despite the incredibly high rates of sexual violence perpetrated against Iraqi women by militias, virtually no women have been able to claim a need to asylum due to gender ba sed issues. Only secular or minority women or women targeted for culturally specific violence, such as honor crimes, are seen as eligible, while the claims of religious women or those who are subjects to domestic or other sexual violence are rejected. As forms of violence against women ostensibly related to cultural practices in Muslim countries have become a defining element in the human rights rhetoric used to justify military intervention, it is not surprising that they have also become the central focu s of policies for determining gender based refugee claims, while other forms of violence that can be linked only to the unceasing sectarian conflict and public security vacuum have gone virtually unacknowledged" (Wankel 2010: 32). Accepting certain women f its into a narrative that justifies Western intervention into Middle Eastern countries, while accepting others, for example domestic violence survivors, risks either being hypocritical (since domestic and sexual violence is very much prevalent across Weste rn societies) or, at worst, drawing attention to the negative consequences of military intervention, such as familial collapse and increased exploitation of women. The lack of recourse for women fleeing gender based violence poses a challenge to the 1951 C onvention's definition, which does not affect Jordan as it
42 is not a party to the 1951 Convention, but is relevant to the Western nations that have taken in Iraqi refugees as they are all signatories. Class Issues A major identifier of the Iraqi community in Jordan is their wealth, relative to the Jordanian population. As covered in the previous chapter, since before the first Gulf War in 1991 and its subsequent displacement the typical Iraqi seeking refuge in neighboring nations has been middle to upper c lass, highly educated, with significant savings upon arrival to Jordan. Iraqis overwhelmingly reside in the urban center of Jordan, Amman, many in the wealthy neighborhoods of West Amman. They largely blend in with the population, although there are distin ct cultural markers present that distinguish Iraqis from the Jordanian population. Most obvious is the difference in the spoken Arabic dialects used by the two populations, which are mutually intelligible but have significant vocabulary and pronunciation d ifferences. Iraqis' presence in the urban center of Jordan makes them starkly different from the more traditional image of refugee populations constrained into camps, a difference that has both negative and positive aspects. For the refugees themselves, be ing in urban areas provides the advantages of easier access to UNHCR and other organizations' services, as well as Amman's modern infrastructure. On the other hand, being surrounded by Jordanians and residing in mixed communities can make it more challengi ng to maintain a community. Fragmentation within the Iraqi population also occurs due to the class and religious differences present within the population itself. Upper class Iraqis and those with strong personal connections to pre 2003 exiles have the res ources to obtain permits and find jobs utilizing their connections, while those with "less social or
43 professional capital to negotiate in Jordan...[do] not form a cohesive group. Such factors have left many Iraqis feeling very vulnerable, to the extent tha t they often avoid contact even with other Iraqis, including within their own ethnic/ religious/political groupings" (Mason 2011: 365). Additionally, living in an urban environment makes refugees harder to count, which can cause misleading statistics. Unc lear numbers can make it harder to allocate resources or gain an accurate picture of the community, which can end up being rendered almost invisible by the overpopulation already present in Amman. The inability to fully control a population blended into th e urban landscape has also been used by the Jordanian state to declare the Iraqi population a security threat and further reduce their rights and prevent their full integration. The downward mobility that many Iraqis face during years of waiting for resett lement is the major cause of Iraqis' suffering. Already traumatized by the violence that forced them out of Iraq, the fall in income and class standing adds further insult to already grievous injury. Although waiting for resettlement and being unable to wo rk or provide for one's family would be traumatic for anyone, the high levels of education and the prestigious careers previously held by members of the Iraqi community make it an even harsher fall. When many middle aged heads of household would be reachin g the apex of their careers, they are instead relegated to menial labor or dependence on welfare and remittances from more fortunate family members residing abroad. This leads to many Iraqis feeling constrained, trapped, and in limbo. Unable to work legall y without purchasing an expensive work permit, Iraqis are left vulnerable to exploitation by Jordanian employers, as their lack of a work permit
44 forces many to enter informal labor markets. Besides the danger that this poses, even when they do find work it is at a level that is far beneath their training and education. Jordan provides limited mobility, work, and resources to the refugees, who feel that they are wasting time when many of them are highly educated and highly qualified for much higher level wor k than what is available to them. As Hajar, a medical professional, said, "I look through newspapers, advertisements, etc., but the work available is not what I would like to take." Both she and her husband are university trained medical professionals, bu t she is unemployed and her husband and young adult son work in a bakery in West Amman. The lengthy waiting period and the decreasing number of nations open to Iraqi refugees further demoralizes the community, which in the longer term could further affect their ability to adjust to a resettlement nation. When asked what they expected from the resettlement country, the refugees I spoke with resoundingly said "nothing". In previous years, Iraqis were able to settle in a number of different countries, includin g Australia, Sweden, and Canada, which despite their much less significant involvement in the Iraqi debacle (compared to the United States and the United Kingdom) were nonetheless major destinations in the immediate aftermath of the war and host large Ira qi communities. Those countries have since closed their gates and the United States is now the only country that is currently accepting Iraqi refugees, and it is not at all most of the refugees' country of choice. Many Iraqis prefer European nations, Austr alia, and Canada both for their highly developed social welfare systems as well as for reunification purposes, as many have relatives, friends, and other acquaintances residing in these countries already.
45 These poor expectations of their country of resettl ement are shaped by their contact with refugee agencies, most prominently UNHCR. Several refugees reported being told by UNHCR to take whatever job is offered when resettled, leaving little expectation that their professions could be continued or that the life goals they aspired to in pre conflict Iraq could be accomplished. This fits with the priorities of UNHCR and resettlement programs, and partially explains why "Iraqi refugees, in particular, have faced difficulties finding work despite their relativel y high levels of education...the U.S. resettlement program does not take into account refugees' prior work experience and education in job placements. Rather, the focus of the program is on securing early employment for refugees" (Christoff 2010: 12). Their contact with UNHCR is not exactly supportive or affirming in most instances, leaving them expecting the bare minimum -some kind of work, preferably related to their education and training. Despite low or nonexistent expectations, resettlement is stil l the top choice for the overwhelming majority of Iraqis, a finding confirmed by other research. Lacroix and Al Qdah (2011: 8) found that "the overwhelming majority of Iraqis surveyed stated that they had applied for resettlement (94%)...Iraqis, when asked were very open about not returning to Iraq and not remaining in Jordan, even if conditions permitted." Trauma from Iraq is compounded by discrimination in Jordan, including in employment and in the cost of living. Human Rights Watch (2006: 65) quotes an Iraqi woman on an expired visa, "They make the rent prices higher and higher for Iraqis. They use us to make the prices higher than they deserve." Even for Iraqis with the resources and means to establish a more permanent life in Jordan, discrimination is present. A good friend of mine, Aziz, described the difficulty
46 Iraqis have obtaining employment when they have a work permit, like him. Even with a permit Iraqis are rarely hired, employers preferring to hire Jordanians above an Iraqi regardless of qualifi cations or prior experience. Unable to return to Iraq or make a life in Jordan make resettlement the only viable option for many, despite the United States being far from the optimal choice. As one woman said to me, the US "is better than nothing" -a teac her by training, she has been unable to practice her profession for the eight years she has been stuck in Amman. Analysis There are two levels of the refugee experience that deserve analysis. On the level of refugee agencies, the process of establishing refugee status, and seeking a durable solution, the system itself needs to be reworked for different crises. Not all refugee communities are the same, and universalizing the refugee experience does a disservice to the populations being served by UNHCR. The process, especially the security clearance portion, needs to be more transparent. It is inhumane to ask people to wait for years to find out whether they secured the security clearance or not. For many Iraqis, this part of the process leads to financial r uination, which further deteriorates their ability to live in host countries and impedes their adjustment even in countries of permanent resettlement. It is essentially a waste of human capital, not only for the Iraqi state but for Jordan and for potentia l host countries to have a copious number of well educated and highly trained workers left unable to practice their professions. While in Jordan, I met Iraqi refugees with doctorates and professional degrees who had been sitting in Amman for several years.
47 Among these were people like Sahar, who had been a human rights lawyer in Baghdad before being forced to leave due to the persecution she faced as both a Christian and a professional. She had been in Jordan for two years, unable to work and waiting for r esettlement to the United States, a process that had been further complicated by her giving birth to a child in Jordan. The years of productivity lost due to displacement and uncertain legal status is a loss to Iraq, Jordan, and to the United States itself where she is not guaranteed full credential transfer or a similar career path, despite her level of expertise. The refugee assistance system's structure, and the potential for refugees following resettlem ent, must be adapted for highly educated refugees like her, whose experiences, expectations, and needs necessarily differ from poorer communities. The nations responsible for the massive displacement need to take responsibility for their actions, not only through economic assistance or humanitarian relie f but on the vital level of accepting and resettling a higher number of Iraqi refugees. The international refugee regime is founded on the principle of burden sharing, where countries are expected to accept a fair proportion of the global refugee populatio n in order to reduce the burden on other nations. In practice this continues to be an almost impossible proposition, and most refugees remain in developing nations with limited resources and political and economic instability of their own, as with Jordan. More fundamentally, there is a need to eliminate the human made causes of displacement. Although humanitarian concern was not one of the major reasons given for the 2003 invasion, there were nonetheless passing appeals made to the welfare of the oppressed Iraqi people in the build up to military intervention. This appeal was mainly seen in the Bush administration's rationale "that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant who
48 deserved to be overthrown an argument of humanitarian intervention...this rationale [is] not simply as a side bene t of the war but also prime justi cation for it" (Roth 2005: 144). After ten years of unceasing violence, any illusions of improvement to the lives of the Iraqi people have been shattered. The invasion only provided a catalyst for se ctarian bloodshed, compounded by the violence of the occupation forces themselves and the religious fundamentalism and anti Western sentiment that has arisen in the years since the beginning of the conflict. With the Iraqi people traumatized, internally an d externally displaced, and in many cases forced into a state of limbo with regards to their legal status, the human cost of the war is too high.
49 Chapter Five: Conclusion The refugee experience' is significantly more varied and diverse than the mainstream depiction of a refugee. In Jordan, many Iraqi refugees arrive in a privileged class position, only to slowly see their finances dwindle and economic stability crumble as time passes by without a durable solution to their situation. It is in stu dying and understanding the diversity of displacement and other socio political crises that anthropology's value becomes clear, as it grounds crises in the lived experiences of the people affected and provides a more bottom up view of the situation. Moreo ver, anthropology helps highlight the power relations that lie at the foundation of individuals' suffering, including in the case of the Iraqi crisis where people suffer due to the combination of Western produced forced migration, lack of compassionate gov ernment policy when residing in a temporary host country, and the inefficiencies of humanitarian agencies which serve to enforce policy that benefits Western nations primarily to the detriment of both developing country host nations such as Jordan and the displaced populations residing within them. A potential solution to the economic problems faced by Iraqis in Jordan is to institute a temporary residency category that would allow Iraqis to reside in Jordan without fear of deportation, and grant them the ability to move back and forth from between I raq and Jordan. Temporary residency "would enable circular mobilities to resume, which would help Iraqis survive and also help them prepare for a possible return to Iraq" (Mason 2011: 363). There is a possibility that such permits would have the potential to be abused, and would need to be tied to the state and not an employer to avoid situations where legal status could be held over a worker's head in an abusive work
50 situation. Nonetheless, the temporary residency scheme would help alleviate the lack of m obility felt by Iraqis and acknowledges the complexity of Iraqi mobility patterns, which "has not taken place in one or two main waves, but has happened over time, with periods of exile punctuated for some people with short returns visits, and only eventua lly final departures...many Iraqis, among those who have sought refuge from violence or economic insecurity by settling in Syria or Jordan, are regularly visiting Iraq, or would like to be able to take such visits" (Chatelard 2010: 1). Fundamentally, the way refugees and migrants are treated in the international system of nation states is reprehensible. Rather than being viewed as a humanitarian issue, frequently the fault of developed nations' excursions into developing countries for resource gain, migran ts are viewed as a security threat. Their numbers and the risk they pose to national stability and cultural identity are exaggerated or emphasized. This is especially problematic in the context of a developed nation that refuses to accept a fair refugee b urden' or that promotes xenophobic policies against communities whose misery it is directly responsible for. Although Jordan and the rest of the Middle East undoubtedly have problems in their policies and laws towards the migrant populations residing withi n their borders, it is also not just to expect a developing nation like Jordan to host a large refugee burden whose displacement it is not at all responsible for. Although Jordan could institute policies such as temporary residency to allow Iraqis or other refugees to work and avoid financial devastation, it is not fair to expect a resource poor and economically marginalized nation to host large displaced communities without stress on its resources and administrative capacity.
51 Moreover, once people are dis placed and labeled as refugees', their identities are subsumed by that label and the distinct experiences of different groups labeled "refugee" are frequently erased. Systems and service provision needs to be adjusted for different groups of people, not a "one size fits all" approach but one that takes different communities' needs and life experiences into account. Crises are managed as short term, acute situations and interest in them falls once a different crisis arises or when, as in the Iraqi crisis, a conflict enters the protracted stage or is seen as resolved' when it in reality the situation is far from being resolved. Insiders' view of a crisis are needed to notice the longer term build up of an emergency and the prior vulnerabilities and structur al inequalities that left a community exposed to violence and instability. Treating only immediate emergencies and de contextualizing them, not noticing the historical process behind a crisis, is counterproductive in preventing further crisis scenarios. Jo rdan, where international aid has not resolved the ongoing Palestinian and Iraqi issues, is presently being confronted with a massive influx of Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war, which will likely add even more instability as money and resources are fu nneled to the Syrian refugees. In 2003, the humanitarian angle, as mentioned earlier in the thesis, was not considered prior to the invasion. As Roth (2005: 151) argues, had "invading forces...been determined to maximize the humanitarian impact of an intervention, they would have been better prepared to ll the security vacuum that predictably was created by the toppling of the Iraqi government. It was entirely foreseeable that Saddam Hussein's downfall would lead to civil disorder." The lack of concer n for post invasion human suffering and the use of humanitarian justification to give the invasion a thin veneer of
52 necessity and humanity potentially undermines future military intervention in places where it is actually needed, and casts further suspicio n upon the motives of the United States and other Western actors when they take measures to intervene in humanitarian crises.
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