February 19, 2018

Kurdistan’s president strikes a positive note in Brussels

www.struanstevenson.com Struan Stevenson, MEP, the President of the Delegation for Relations with Iraq in the European Parliament described the visit by H.E. Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq's Kurdistan Region as constructive for EU strategic relations with Iraq, and particularly Iraqi Kurdistan and looked forward to these relations being expanded in future. Struan Stevenson commended the political and economic progress of Iraqi Kurdistan under President Massoud Barzani’s leadership and asked for an expansion of economic and political cooperation of the EU and its Member States with Iraqi Kurdistan. In a meeting with President Barzani and leading members of the KRG, a common desire … [Read more...]

Iraq Wants Ashraf Residents Relocated by End of Year

THE EPOCH TIMES UN envoy appointed to mediate dispute over Camp Ashraf Iraq has declared that it will close Camp Ashraf by Dec. 31 and relocate—using force if necessary—the approximately 3,400 Iranian refugees who live there. Camp residents say they are willing to relocate to other countries but don’t want to be relocated within Iraq, claiming that the Iraqi government has become increasingly hostile. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) has received refugee applications from the exiles, but processing the claims and moving so many people will take time. An extension to the deadline has been requested. The camp’s residents fear they will be persecuted if they remain … [Read more...]

IAEA report on Iran poses challenges for United States

UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency released Tuesday provided the strongest evidence yet that Iran is close to developing nuclear weapons, including clandestine procurement of equipment and design information needed to make nuclear arms, high explosives testing and detonator development to set off a nuclear charge, computer modeling of a core of a nuclear warhead, and preparatory work for a nuclear weapons test -- powerful evidence that refutes the regime's specious claims that its nuclear program is peaceful. Speaking on ABC's "This Week," former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States should … [Read more...]

Iraqi Deputy PM criticizes al-Maliki on deadline for closure of Camp Ashraf

An Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Saleh al-Motlaq, warned Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki about another attack against Camp Ashraf by the Iraqi Forces and criticized him for setting a deadline for closure of Camp Ashraf, home to some 3400 Iranian dissidents in Iraq. Mr. Motlaq who is also a leader of al-Iraqiya, the largest bloc in the Iraqi parliament,   said in an interview with Iraqi TV al-Sharqiya on Sunday (6 Nov. 2011) : "If Mr. Nouri al-Maliki once again attack Camp Ashraf and once again kill its residents, not only it will be committing an shameful act against the Iraqi people but it will cause a rift between us and the rest of the world." "Setting a deadline and saying that … [Read more...]

Rehearsal for a Bloodbath

THE HUFFINGTON POST It was at 11 pm on Halloween, 31 October, that Iraqi security forces made their latest menacing incursion into Camp Ashraf. Thirty military vehicles accompanied by 10 police cars entered the camp northeast of Baghdad where 3,400 Iranian dissidents live, intimidating residents with glaring lights and deafening noise and conducting exercises around their homes. Simultaneously, the 300 loudspeakers placed around Ashraf to pile on the psychological pressure stepped up their barrage of threats and insults. This bullying show of force followed a press conference in Baghdad earlier in the day at which Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq's foreign minister, promised his visiting Iranian … [Read more...]

Isolation not Invasion

THE HUFFINGTON POST A pre-emptive attack by Israel or coalition forces against Iran's nuclear facilities would prove disastrous to the interests of the West. Although just rumour and rhetoric at present, if such thoughts were to become a reality they would represent a major set back for the democratic ambitions of an Iranian population determined to bring about change without international intervention. Equally importantly they could impact massively on those democrats in the Arab Spring countries working to establish democratic regimes through the ballot box. Let us put such thoughts into context. For too long the West has tiptoed around Tehran's nuclear ambitions, closing its eyes to … [Read more...]

U.N. envoy offers to mediate dispute over Camp Ashraf

THE WASHINGTON TIMES Displaced Iranians face Dec. 31 to close their camp  A U.N. envoy on Thursday offered to broker the peaceful closing of a camp for Iranian exiles in Iraq where residents and U.S. lawmakers say an Iraqi military crackdown may be imminent. An aide to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who calls the residents of Camp Ashraf “terrorists,” said Iraq's Cabinet will consider extending its deadline for closing the compound beyond Dec. 31. U.N. envoy Martin Kobler offered to mediate between camp residents and Mr. Maliki's government at a news conference in Baghdad. “There [are] a number of problems that still have to be solved. This needs time, this needs space,” he … [Read more...]

After US departure, a bloodbath in Iraq?

REUTERS WASHINGTON, Nov 3 (Reuters) - As the clock ticks towards the end of America’s military presence in Iraq, there are increasingly dire warnings of a humanitarian disaster unless steps are taken to protect more than 3,000 Iranian dissidents living in a camp in Iraq. How closely is Washington listening? Gloomy forecasts for the fate of the exiles at Camp Ashraf, north of Baghdad near the border with Iran, have come from Amnesty International, a long string of prominent former U.S. government officials, retired generals, and members of the European Parliament. One of them, Struan Stevenson, predicts "a Srebrenica-style massacre," a reference to the 1995 killing of more than 8,000 … [Read more...]

UN to broker deal between Iraq, Iranian exiles

ASSOCIATED PRESS BAGHDAD (AP) — In a last-ditch attempt to head off a confrontation, the top U.N. envoy to Iraq on Thursday offered to broker the peaceful closing of a camp of Iranian exiles before the government in Baghdad forces its residents out at the end of the year. An aide to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Iraq's Cabinet would consider easing its deadline if a solution can be agreed on quickly. At issue is a group of about 3,300 exiles at the remote Camp Ashraf in Iraq's eastern Diyala province who seek the overthrow of Tehran's clerical rulers. Members of the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, they won refuge at Ashraf decades ago during the regime of Saddam Hussein, … [Read more...]

Iraq’s looming massacre

 THE WASHINGTON TIMES Obama’s abandoning of Camp Ashraf to its fate would breach U.S. honor It was the “mission accomplished” moment that millions of Americans had been waiting for and many of us considered long overdue: the official end to the war in Iraq and the return of all U.S. troops. Whether you believe the operation in Iraq was a noble cause or pure folly, President Obama’s announcement last month that fighting men and women would be coming home to their families in time for the holidays was cause for celebration. It also should raise an alarm. The withdrawal is widely perceived throughout the region as a victory for Iran. Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, called it a … [Read more...]