February 11, 1952 Arab Refugees


The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development which reported that Iraq possesses enormous potentials for economic development supported the view from the President’s International Development Advisory Board on March 7, 1951.  It said:

“[Iraq] is sparsely populated in relation to its resources… Much of its soil is inherently fertile, and with ample water, land, power and implements, the area under cultivation might be almost tripled.”

Moreover said the report:

“In oil Iraq possesses not only a source of foreign exchange, but also a chief source of power and raw materials essential to the development of industry, agriculture and transportation; and it may have other mineral resources susceptible to commercial exploitation.”

In the view of the Bank:

“There is little doubt that the country can ultimately maintain a much larger population on a considerably higher standard of living.”

Thus it confirmed the views of Iraqi leaders, one of whom said in 1949 that Iraq could absorb 3,500,000 persons.  So reported Dr. Vake J. Sevian, head of the Hydraulic Section, Director General of Irrigation in Baghdad to the U.N. Scientific Conference on the Conservation and Utilization of Resources.  He said:

“On the basis of the minimum density of 35-40 inhabitants per square kilometer of agricultural land (90 to 100 per square mile) the full development of Iraq could absorb about 3,500,000 inhabitants … Activities in other fields will also need additional hands.”

Source:  73

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