The news today presents an article entitled “Labor Iraq Policy at risk as US considers downsizing Jordan base”. The meat of the article is says US training bases in Jordan could be downsized or closed, endangering the Labor party’s plan to pull Australian forced out of Iraq and send them to training Iraqi security forces in Jordan instead.
Unfortunately there are many complications in this policy anyway. Travelling to Jordan from Iraq is not as easy as it sounds with new Visa restrictions – even if it is to train to become a security guard More importantly there are already several hundred thousands Iraqi’s displaced in Jordan; many of whom are there under expired visas.
I have a suggestion for Mr Rudd and I say this not as an opponent to his policy but merely as someone who truly wishes for a successful policy for easing the strain on the already stressed Middle East. Especially the Iraqis.
I believe some Australian forces should pull out in exchange for a humanitarian mission like those we have sent to our own neighbours, like Indonesia after the Tsunami for instance. But even these shouldn’t go to to Iraq. They should go to Jordan to process and transfer displaced Iraqi’s into secure living circumstances, where THEY can plan how to bring some political solutions to Iraq’s problems.
This would also bring some relief to Jordan’s over-worked immigration and policing ministries and to the dedicated UNHCR staff there. The mission could quite easily obtain UN approval and as such possibly get emergency workers for UNHCR brought to Jordan.
On the other hand the Australian troops could be placed along the Jordanian border, where they could build high-quality temporary accommodation to host those refugee’s who are refused entry, or deported from Jordan (they could possibly set a few of these up at other borders too?)
There are many low-risk jobs that need to be done. What we need is for the international community to step up and start taking responsibility for not preventing the US invasion in the first place, and the only way to do that is to become part of the solution to this huge problem.