Overstating the movement of Iraqis for sectarian reasons

The NY Times and other sources are quoting Adel Abdul Mahdi, a Shiite leader selected as one of two vice presidents, who says that 100,000 families have been displaced. I think this is at best a WAG.

Multi-National Forces-Iraq tracks those numbers and has a much lower estimate. Maj. Gen Rick Lynch said just this week:


Another indicator for civil war would be forced population movements. And we are extremely sensitive to that. We see reports of tens of thousands of families displaced here in Iraq, and we chase down each and every one of those reports. And I'll show you detail in a minute. But we have seen some displacement, pockets of families moving, but not in large numbers....


And this is very important. We have not been asked for any assistance for displaced civilians. The provincial government has not asked, the local governments have not asked, the national government has not asked. So if there are indeed 36,000-plus families that have been displaced, we're not seeing it. We indeed move to check every report of displaced civilians. And we were told about displaced civilian camps, and of the 16 that we were told about, we can only confirm the location of four -- one in Fallujah, one in Baghdad, one in al Kut, and one down in Basra. And then when we got the report of 500 families displaced in Basra, we went to confirm, and all we could find was 43 families. So there is indeed indications of displaced persons inside of Iraq. Some of them truly are moving because they're concerned about their own personal security or their family's security, I'm sure of that. Some of them are moving for economic reasons. Some of them are moving to be with their families. But we're not seeing internally displaced persons at the rate which causes us alarm.

This is from the weekly press briefing this week and was available before the 100,000 estimate was published. More than likely the NY Times and the AP had people at the briefing. They also can get the transcript off the internet. It is too bad their political agenda led them to publish their reports without checking readily available data.


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