A former Iraqi cabinet member and St. Cloud State University professor predicts big problems for Iraq as thousands of refugees begin streaming back into that country.
Abbas Mehdi, who just returned from Iraq, told an audience at the University of Minnesota Friday that the refugees are encouraged by a reduction in violence and so are beginning to return home.
But Mehdi said the U.S. and Iraqi governments have not put the infrastructure in place to provide services to the people already living in the country.
"You need a system. A system that delivers service. Systems maintain order. Systems move the economy. We don't have this in Iraq now. There is nothing like that in Iraq," said Mehdi.
Mehdi said Iraq is facing big challenges as it tries to rebuild a civil society.
"The most dynamic segment of Iraq is missing -- the middle class. Those who are well-educated, well-trained and historically engaged in the re-building of the society are missing," Mehdi said. "You have about four million people who left the country. They are working in Jordan and Dubai and so forth."
Mehdi spoke to students and staff Friday at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute. He said there are still problems with ensuring stable electrical and water services.