January 24, 2018

‘Democracy’ in Iraq a win for Iran

Orange County Register

The war in Iraq has been over for years, but its unintended consequences continue to linger – indeed, fester might be a better word.

Yes, Saddam is gone and the weapons of mass destruction never were found. But while Iraq now ostensibly is a democracy, the real winner – sad to say – is Iran.

This has been evident for months, but if any more proof is needed, consider the appalling situation at Camp Ashraf, home to some 3,500 members of the main opposition group to the Iranian mullahs who clearly are giving the orders to Iraqi forces.

Ashraf, located 60 miles north of Baghdad, has been the sanctuary for the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) since the Iran-Iraq war. Following the U.S.-led invasion, coalition forces protected these unarmed civilians under the Geneva Convention, whose strictures still apply.

On April 8, the forces of Iraqi leader Nouri al-Maliki, who supposedly was going to bring democracy back to Iraq, have been brutally attacking these helpless refuges. Dozens of Ashraf residents have been killed and hundreds injured. Indeed, perhaps 10 percent of the population has been killed or wounded. The Iraqi forces did not even let the injured be taken for medical treatment.

The other day, the UN confirmed that 34 defenseless residents of Ashraf, several of them women were killed, mostly by gunfire.

This action is all at the behest of Tehran, which fears any opposition group and especially the MEK. And Iran doesn’t even have to be involved – it has Maliki to do the dirty work. Thousands of young American lives were laid down in the calls for freedom to give Nouri Al Maliki a tour of the Iranian mullahs to slaughter and kill residents of Camp Ashraf? No way.

Reaction around the world has been unanimous: the attacks must cease and the residents of Ashraf must be left to live in peace. From the United Nations to Amnesty International, to dozens of members of Congress, the call has been loud and clear to Maliki: Cease and desist.

The U.S. State Department stated: “The U.S. Government is deeply troubled by reports of deaths and injuries resulting from this morning’s clash at Camp Ashraf… [T]his crisis and the loss of life was initiated by the government of Iraq and the Iraqi military.”

California Democrat, Howard Berman, the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, joined the committee chair, Florida Republican Ileana Ros-Letinen, condemning the Iraqi forces deadly attack on Ashraf.