Iraq steps up in the Belarus crisis

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Having experienced four wars over four decades, Iraqis know a thing or two about people fleeing woe and trouble. With its democracy now more firmly in place, Iraq joined a new United Nations program earlier this year that assists countries in dealing with all aspects of migration, from root causes to protecting migrants. And just in time. The tense crisis in Europe along the border with Belarus involves mostly Iraqi migrants.

Thousands of them were lured to Belarus earlier this year by strongman Alexander Lukashenko and then used as human weapons to cross into Poland and Lithuania in retaliation for European Union sanctions on his anti-democratic regime. By July, the EU asked Iraq to clamp down on human trafficking and, without too much prodding, the government went into action.

Flights carrying migrants from Baghdad to Minsk were canceled. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi set up a special team to discourage the migration….

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