The Fleeting Success of the Surge

Thousands of Iraqi refugees who fled last year's violence are returning, but many more are staying away. Here are four reasons why it's too early to proclaim the end of the civil war

Wathiq Khuzaie / Getty

Iraqi refugees hug their relatives after returning from Syria. Thousands have returned to Iraq after a relative improvement in the security situation.

Reports of Iraqi refugees returning to Baghdad fill Adnan and Noora Awadi with envy and nostalgia. The young couple--whose names have been changed, since they fear reprisals if quoted in the media--fled to the Jordanian capital, Amman, in the summer of 2006 and are yearning to go back to their leafy street in al-Yarmouk, a middle-class neighborhood in Baghdad. Noora, 28, misses their modest one-story home so much, she is sentimental even about its defects. "The sink in the kitchen is cracked, there are termites everywhere, and sometimes in the summer we can smell our neighbor's toilet from our living room--but...

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