Massacre in Iraq 328

Did Iran order a massacre in Iraq, and did America let it happen?

Earlier this month, on April 8, Iraqi forces raided an Iranian refugee camp. Thirty-four Iranians were killed and some 325 were wounded.

It was done under orders from Prime Minister Maliki.

Prime Minister Maliki was acting under orders from the Iranian regime.

And it looks as if the US government was complicit in the atrocity.

But surely not! Let’s recall what Obama said at a joint press conference with Maliki in the Rose Garden on July 22, 2009:

Prime Minister Maliki and I have no doubt that there will be some tough days ahead. There will be attacks on Iraqi security forces and the American troops supporting them. There are still those in Iraq who would murder innocent men, women and children…. But make no mistake: Those efforts will fail.

American troops have the capability, the support and flexibility they need to stand with our Iraqi partners on behalf of a sovereign, secure, and self-reliant Iraq. Because we believe that the future does not belong to those who would destroy — it belongs to those who would build.

What happened at Camp Ashraf?

The April 8 raid targeted the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, which seeks to overthrow Iran’s clerical leaders. The group won refuge at Camp Ashraf years ago during the regime of Saddam Hussein, who saw them as a convenient ally against Iran. But since then, the exiles have become an irritant to Iraq’s new Shiite-led government, which is trying to bolster ties with Iran. …

A team of U.N. observers saw 28 bodies still at the camp during a Wednesday visit to the compound in eastern Diyala province. Most of the bodies appeared to have been shot and some were women, he said. Three of the bodies appeared to have been crushed to death, a Western diplomat in Baghdad said — likely from being run over by a car. …

After Saddam fell, U.S. troops took control of Camp Ashraf, disarmed its fighters and confined the resident to their 30-square-mile camp. In return, the military signed an agreement with the camp’s 3,400 residents giving them protected status under the Geneva Conventions. …

Where was the US military while the massacre was being perpetrated?

The U.S. military says Ashraf residents’ protected status expired in late 2008 when Baghdad and Washington signed a security agreement that limited U.S. authority in Iraq.

The Ashraf residents and their lawyers in Washington dispute that, and demand that the American military continue to protect them and intervene on their behalf with the Iraqi government.

What about other protections for refugees under the Geneva Conventions? Has the Red Cross anything to say about the massacre?

The International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, which oversees whether nations are complying with the Geneva treaties, has declined to make a public pronouncement on the issue.

Melanie Phillips writes at the Spectator:

According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the Iraqi Army used 2,500 troops equipped with armoured vehicles to attack Ashraf in tandem with the feared al Qods force of Iran.  … The terrorist Qods Force … was involved at its highest level in the planning and the execution of this assault. In particular, Brigadier General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Qods Force, personally supervised the planning of this attack on Ashraf…. Some of the officers of the Qods Force were present at the scene of the attack in Ashraf and took part in the killing of Ashraf residents. …

There are strong fears that the Iraqis are preparing to inflict further violence on the residents of Ashraf — and no less disturbing, claims that both the Iraqis and the Americans have been either actively preventing or doing nothing to provide medical aid for those injured in the attack.

The actions of Nouri Al-Maliki, who has long made clear his allegiances to Iran’s theocratic leadership, should have surprised few. What is so shocking is the relative silence of the US government. It is hard to believe that they did not know what was about to happen at Ashraf. They did nothing to try to stop it happening. Worst of all, their silence and inaction has made it almost certain that it will happen again. It can be no coincidence that US forces stationed within the Camp withdrew just hours before the Iraqi onslaught began.

Furthermore, top US government official Robert Gates was in Baghdad and met Al-Maliki hours before the attack began, just as he was in Iraq in July 2009 when the other major offensive was conducted against Ashraf by the Iraqi forces. Mr Gates should be brought to account, and tell us what his knowledge was of the recent outrage, and how he proposes to deal with what occurred.

In addition, he should give a truthful account of why US medical aid, which was readily available, was not in Ashraf within minutes of the Iraqi attack, despite requests.

Simply put, the US forces if they so wished and were so ordered to do from their command in Washington and Baghdad could at the flick of a switch airlift all the wounded to the US military hospital situated in the vicinity of the Camp. This now is the minimum that the US authorities must do. However, such assistance will not suffice in circumstances where the Iraqi authorities have made clear their intention to destroy the Camp and if necessary kill all the residents.

There has been no official condemnation of the raid from either the British or American Governments. Melanie Phillips asks:

Could this be because the last thing the British and Americans want to acknowledge is that the Iraqi government of Nuri al Maliki – the country in which so much British and American blood and treasure has been so painfully spent in the cause of making it safe for the West — has merely become a puppet of the Iranians, the West’s most lethal foe?

We were for the war on Iraq, though we never thought that Iraq or any Arab state could be transformed into a true democracy.

But who could have foretold such an outcome of the intervention as an Iraq subservient to the evil Iranian regime?

If that is how it is, it means that Americans fought and died only to extend the power of their worst enemy.