Ever since the intervention in Iraq by the coalition led by the United States, begun in 2003 and continuing today, Iraq has been the scene of terrible conflict. The fighting between coalition forces and the army of Saddam Hussein has been followed by civil war, the rivalries being in some cases religious (Sunni versus Shia), in others ethnic (Kurd versus Arab), with in addition violence of various kinds against the occupying forces. In August 2007, the number of civilian Iraqis killed since the start of the intervention is estimated as somewhere between 70,000 and 76,000 (according to Iraq Body Count).
Faced with this situation, increasing numbers of Iraqis are fleeing their country and seeking refuge in neighbouring states. François de Jouvenel examines where matters now stand with regard to the population movements and the problems they raise - not just humanitarian but also social and political - in the receiving countries (Syria and Jordan in particular), and highlights the geopolitical risks that result from them for the region as a whole.