Matthew Hay Brown, for the Pulitzer Center
In the two and a half years since the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samara inspired whole new levels of sectarian violence across Iraq, hundreds of thousands have fled their homeland. More than 2 million now have settled in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and other countries, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. That's nearly one in 10 Iraqis.
I leave today for the Middle East to begin reporting on the Iraqi refugee crisis. In the coming weeks, I will travel in Jordan and Syria, the countries that have taken in the largest numbers, to meet with government officials, aid workers, ordinary Jordanians and Syrians, and, of course, the refugees themselves. I'll be exploring the ways in which the exodus is reshaping the region.
The United States has come under criticism for what refugee advocates say has been a failure to respond adequately to a crisis that came as a result of the U.S.-led invastion of Iraq. I'll be exploring those criticisms, too.