KARAMA BORDER CROSSING, Jordan_Somali workers have fled. So have some Egyptians and Sudanese nationals.

But rare among the hundreds taking refuge from bombings and war are Iraqis. Outside of the 13 who trickled into a refugee camp in Syria on Sunday, Iraqis so far have remained in their homeland despite the dangers, international monitors say.

UN-sponsored camps surrounding Iraqi borders, like one outfitted near this normally busy crossing, are ready to receive Iraqi refugees. But they remain mostly empty, save for idle doctors and social workers.

"The Iraqis are simply not coming," said Peter Kessler, spokesman for UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency. "They have more reasons to stay put right now than to leave."

Before the U.S. invasion last week, aid agencies were braced for at least 600,000 Iraqi refugees.

So far, though, a pattern is emerging of Iraqis hunkering down and trying to stay safe even as U.S. bombs drop in cities and along roads. Inside Iraq, some 300,000 Iraqis have moved mostly from urban areas to the countryside for protection from aerial assaults.

But more than a dozen years of sanctions has left many Iraqis too poor to flee abroad and afford, for example, the $300-and-up 12-hour taxi ride from Baghdad to Amman, aid officials say.

Four months of food rations given to Iraqis before war on orders of President Saddam Hussein have made Iraqis reluctant to endure the hardship of fleeing abroad and more inclined to ride out the war at home.

Iraqis have been warned too by their government to remain indoors during the war and ruling Hussein loyalists are reportedly enforcing the orders with the help of neighborhood captains

Iraqis have endured three major Allied bombings since 1991, and many believe they will make it through this phase. And besides, the Iraqi government gives few exit visas to Iraqis wanting to travel outside Iraq.

"It's so difficult for Iraqis to leave," said Chris Lom, spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, which is handling non-Iraqis who cross into Jordan. "And if you do leave, you run the risk of looting and finding everything gone when you return."

Despite spending $29 million in six bordering nations to erect tents, truck in food and provide water and sanitation, UN officials say they are not surprised by the absence of an Iraqi exodus.

In the 1991 Persian Gulf war, the huge number of 1.8 million refugees came only after Iraq surrendered and after civil unrest broke out among Hussein loyalists and his opponents.

International aid agencies are closely monitoring the war's daily developments for changes that could trigger chaos.

Urban warfare in the streets of Baghdad, massive citizen casualties, widespread government persecution, chemical attacks and food shortages are scenarios that may cause panic and flight, they said.

"The situation could change at any moment," Kessler said.

So far, Jordanian officials appear relieved. Jordan took in an estimated 100,000 refugees during the gulf war and has been struggling with the fallout of illegal Iraqis ever since.

Late last year, Jordanian police began cracking down on Iraqis by raiding factories, shops and neighborhoods. They ordered thousands of illegals out of the country. They got tough at the border entrance, turning away thousands of Iraqis on technicalities.

After negotiations with aid agencies, Jordan agreed to take in as many as 35,000 Iraqi war refugees and house them in a tent city. But so far, not one Iraqi has arrived while dozens of Iraqis have returned home to fight in the war or join their families.

Meanwhile, Jordan became the first Arab state to expel Iraqi diplomats Sunday saying that some actions of five envoys were "incompatible" with diplomatic duties. Jordanian officials say the men were engaging in "espionage" and declined to go into details.

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