Syria: A pariah becomes the Arab world's lifeboat

A pariah becomes the Arab world's lifeboat

What happens to a country when its population grows by more than 10% in three years? In Syria, which has absorbed more than a million Iraqi refugees, you can see cosmetic transformations. Iraqi-accented Arabic is heard constantly in the caf├ęs and streets of Damascus. Real estate prices have skyrocketed. Food prices are rising. There's even a neighborhood in the capital called Fallujah that's popular with Iraqis.

The Iraqi-refugee issue is also changing Syria in deeper ways, altering the country's image in the Middle East--and bolstering its leverage with the U.S. While the Bush Administration has accused it of supporting terrorism in...

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