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Iraqi refugees' assisted and spontaneous return from Syria and Jordan

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posted on 2023-06-08, 15:23 authored by Vanessa Iaria
The thesis investigates the causes and nature of return in the context of the Iraqis displaced to Syria and Jordan after the 2003 US-led war in Iraq. It combines critical International Relations theories with transnational approaches in Migration Studies to investigate: (1) how regional and international geopolitics have shaped asylum and migration regimes in the Middle East; (2) how Iraqi forced migrants have interacted with such regimes in order to reach safety, sustainable livelihoods and personal development opportunities and; (3) the decision-making processes and transnational migration practices of Iraqi individuals and families. It finds that Iraqis’ returns result from the uneasy interaction between international and national asylum and migration regimes and the lack of agreement on a common legal framework for durable solutions to the Iraqi displacement. The presence and mobility of the Iraqis in Syria and Jordan are regulated within national immigration systems. The immigration and residency policies of the home and host governments confirm the historical importance of voluntary and involuntary population movements as a nation-building and governance tool in the Middle East. Regional governments and international agencies manage the Iraqi displaced and steer their return through the provision, or the lack thereof, of assistance and information. The Iraqis respond to the limited institutional assistance and information by developing independent coping strategies and informal information and communication systems based on the use of information and communication technologies and on their transnational mobility and social networks. Transnational mobility and livelihoods therefore constitute a precondition for Iraqis’ sustainable return and reintegration in home societies undergoing political and socio-economic transition. In this context, return is a complex process that takes time and entails various degrees and modalities of transnational mobility, social networks and livelihoods connecting host and home societies.


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