The Monday Line: 19 Days to Genocide in Camp Ashraf

Iraqi police suppression forces surround Camp Ashraf (source: PMOI)

Ironic that Egypt’s pro-democracy demonstrators fought and freed a nation from a brutal dictator in 18 Days, yet in just 1 more day’s length 3,400 people in Camp Ashraf may be condemned to die in the middle of the Iraqi desert because of apathy and inaction.

These 3,400 have been the subject of multiple European Parliament, UK Parliament, US joint Congressional and UN resolutions. Indeed there has been a global outcry for their recognition as a refugee camp subject to the Geneva Convention demands that the host nation protect them, yet, ironically, they will likely finally get the media coverage they have lacked because of genocide.

Located 60-miles inside the Iraqi border with Iran and 60-miles NW of Baghdad, the camp has long been an expensive inconvenience to the cash-strapped regime of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. In an effort to suppress an internal uprising of those loyal to Iran’s Shiite mullahs, Maliki has gotten into bed with the Iranian regime to close the camp and eliminate Iranian opposition. In return Iran will help Maliki stay in power and prevent civil war between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in Iraq.

Despite multiple vicious Iranian sponsored cross-border attacks of the Camp leaving tens dead and hundreds injured, the UN Security Council is just now meeting to discuss Camp Ashraf? Why are there not blue helmeted, UN peace-keeping troops there ringing and protecting the residents of this camp? Why are Iraqi and Iranian police forces allowed to menacingly encircle a refugee camp?

And why is it only within the last 60-days have there been serious negotiations about extending the Maliki government’s 31 December deadline for camp closure (in violation of international law)? Where were they during this past year when numerous UN and Parliamentary committees met to demand that Camp Ashraf and its residents be protected?

Because it all was a series of empty, meaningless words.

Iraq police vehicle outside Camp Ashraf (source: PMOI)

Because the Camp is home to residents loyal to the MEK/PMOI it has been a political football through four US Administrations. The US refuses to remove the MEK/PMOI from their terror watch list despite UK and EU list removal years earlier. They were placed on the list in ’97 under questionable circumstances by then US President Bill Clinton. His Administration was so eager to have better relations with the Iranian regime, he traded the Camp’s residents’ lives for better relations with an incoming regime sending ‘moderate’ signals (whilst pursuing a secret nuclear weapons programme…). With his wife as President Obama’s Secretary of State, a promised decision on removal due last September, remains unfulfilled. Now, by doing nothing and letting the clock run out, the Camp and the terrorist branding issue will simply disappear and no decision will be needed.

And it works because media attention is always focused elsewhere. Even with furious activity due to the desperation of the situation, no one has the political will to face the situation head-on because of the region’s delicate diplomacy.

President Barack Obama is a poker player. He has shoved US chips all-in on hopes the previous Administration’s Status of Forces Agreement (SoFA) and faith in Maliki (with whom he meets later today in the White House), will keep Iraq free of its covetous, radical neighbour.

If it all goes horribly wrong, Obama can blame the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and be the hero because he brought 100,000+ US troops home for the holidays. Yet it is precisely those US troops who protected the Camp until January 1st of this year when the Bush SoFA ordered them back to their bases. Shortly thereafter, vicious attacks by Iraqi troops backed by Iranian Q’od forces led to injuries and death, restrictions on medical treatment, the installation of 200 loudspeaker towers bombarding the camp with propaganda messages and further isolation of a group of refugees living there for more than two decades.

Iraq police forces outside Camp Ashraf (Source: PMOI)

In the US’ race to move military personnel and equipment out of Iraq, the camp will not receive protection from them. So despite repeated assurances by Administration officials they will be protected, it seems the equally grim choices are they will either die on the spot or be removed and ‘disappeared.’

This (and previous) Administrations view them as acceptable collateral damage. Lives will continue to be lost in Iraq as a result of sectarian violence and, as the photos accompanying this article show, Iraqi and Iranian forces are already amassed on the boundaries of Camp Ashraf. So they are content to run out the clock.

Letter to President Obama from 14 yr old Ashraf girl

And their covering story? Those in the Camp were terrorists, the ultimate US Right Wing nut job talking point, especially in an election year! And FOX News, The Times and Wall Street Journal will all gladly amplify that line and diminish the needless loss of life or imprisonment of camp residents as justified.

After covering this story for three years… the people of Camp Ashraf like 14-yr-old Shaghayegh (pictured at right), regardless of their politics, are sitting ducks. People of conscience could, if they chose to, do something about this, but they all have other priorities.

And that kinda sucks.

Denis G Campbell View more

Denis G Campbell
Denis G. Campbell is founder and editor of UK Progressive magazine and co-host of The Three Muckrakers podcast. He is the author of 7 books and provides Americas, EU and Middle Eastern commentary to the BBC, itv, Al Jazeera English, CNN, CRI, MSNBC and others. He is CEO of Monknash Media and a principal with B2E Consulting in London. You can follow him on Twitter @UKProgressive and on Facebook.


  1. What an enlightenig article. As stated last Friday by the Representative Dana Rohrabacher, Republican of California, doing nothing by Obama and his State Department to prevent the massacre of Camp Ashraf residents on 31 December means “the blood in the sand will stain the Gucci shoes of those in the State Department.”
    The media has a vital role to play over Camp Ashraf. The dirty policy of appeasing Iran has its dark shadow on the media who continue to be silent on this humanitarian tragedy. Wake up before it’s too late.

  2. This is nonsense and propaganda. MEK is an American proxy for our war against Iran, whose recent activities include assassinating scientists. I don’t know where this PR effort is coming from, but I don’t like.

  3. And the Iranian propaganda machine weighs in again! This is about 3.400 people about to be exterminated.

    A pox on everybody’s house who tries to politicise this imminent genocide in the desert.

    No one on any side of this (and there about six) is an eagle scout. I have but one priority, ensuring the innocents stop being used as pawns by ALL sides Al.

  4. Well done Mr Campbell.
    Today was a shameful day for America. One that will be remembered in history like 30 September 1938, “peace in our time”. Obama met with a war criminal who is wanted for questioning in Spain for crime against humanity he committed in Ashraf in July 2009 and then again in April 2011. One of the people accompanying this war criminal was Hadi al-Ameri, a Quds force commander with serious links to killing Americans. He was recently photographed kissing the hand of Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.

  5. Jafar Sibilkoloft

    I support the dec. 31 deadline. These terrorists have to be flushed out so there will be free Iraq. The residents of Ashraf should be given money and residency, and re-located to somewhere in Israel for thier protection.

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