A wave of Iraqis seeking to leave the country has been mounting in the last two months. It is estimated that almost 700,000 Iraqis are now in Jordan and another 1,400,000 are in Syria. They are being joined by 2,000 to 3,000 persons per day. For the most part, the Kurds, the Shia, and the Sunnis of Anbar Province have stayed put. Those seeking to leave have been Sunni Muslims from Baghdad and Arab Christians from across the country.
The exodus has been ignited by the increasing violence, a pervasive view that the Iraqi government will not do anything to stem the violence, and the US Congressional election results. It is impossible to know for certain which of these factors is the most important, but given that the first two were in place before November, it seems likely that the Democrat electoral victory has sent a strong signal that the US is losing its resolve and may well pull out as it did in Vietnam, leaving those who supported it at the mercy of the “victors.” Democrats told the country in the mid-1970s that there would be no “domino effect.” 2,000,000 people subsequently perished in Cambodia and tens of thousands in Vietnam. Iraqi Christians and Sunni Muslims believe the same will happen this time, and they are registering that belief with their feet.