By Shahriar Kia – 09/17/14 08:05 PM EDT
The Sept. 1, 2013, massacre of Iranian refugees in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, was without a doubt one of the more heinous crimes of the Iraqi government during Nouri al-Maliki’s eight-year tenure as prime minister.
Now marking its first anniversary, the incident has once again become the focus of attention among human rights groups and activists. A professional and independent report published recently by the London-based Human Security Center (HSC) think tank and the Ashraf Campaign, a human rights organization dedicated to defending the rights of Iranian refugees in Iraq, shed light on the history and perpetrators of the Sept. 1 massacre at Camp Ashraf, located 60 miles north of Baghdad,. Continue reading →
Disturbing images and accounts of the Islamic State’s brutal onslaught in Iraq have become the source of outrage and concern worldwide, and states are frantically searching for a strategy to resolve the crisis caused by the rise of the extremist group.
President Barack Obama, who previously dismissed the group’s advances by comparing it to a JV team, has gone out of his way toauthorize airstrikes against the group in Iraq. He recently affirmedexpanding the offensive to Syria, and is seeking support from Congress and allies in NATO and the Middle-East region to fight the Islamic State. Continue reading →
I remember how in the mid-summer season of 2012, following attacks and raids carried out by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s special forces against Camp Ashraf (former home to around 3,000 Iranian refugees in Iraq) at the behest of the Iranian regime, lead to the vicious massacre of 36 of these refugees and hundreds of others being injured. Of course, all of the camp residents were recognized as ‘protected persons’ by the United States. Following this horrific crime, a quadrilateral agreement signed by the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Iraq, US and the Iraqi governments, along with the residents’ representative, all Ashraf residents – who had lived in our traditional home in Ashraf for 25 years – relocated to Camp Liberty in Baghdad based on our trust in the United Nations as the highest international organization safeguarding human rights and international laws, and also the United States, who had both assumed responsibility regarding our safety and security. We were promised this camp would be a safe and temporary location for our resettlement to third countries to be safe from deadly attacks. However, it didn’t take long that in the winter of 2012, in the early morning hours of February 9th when we were asleep, all of a sudden and out of nowhere came a horrific missile attack resulting in 8 of our dearest friends losing their lives and dozens of other injured and wounded. Continue reading →
In an unprecedented move, U.S. President Barack Obama chose in previous weeks to help the Yazidi and Turkmen communities in northern Iraq, who were besieged by the Islamic State (IS). The measures undertaken included humanitarian-aid drops as well as military support aimed at protecting the beleaguered communities and providing them with life-saving assistance. Following the U.S. intervention, other countries, including Britain, France and Germany contributed to the effort.
The decision, which some refer to a turning point in Obama’s foreign policy, is a testament to the fact that the international community can and must do more to prevent humanitarian crises across the globe.
In contrast, there are glaring instances of other catastrophes that could have been prevented with much less effort, but were abandoned and allowed to develop at the cost of many innocent lives. Continue reading →
In the case of the somewhat more publicly visible negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations, there remains a common thread of optimism in public statements, but this stands in contrast to others indicating that compromise will not be forthcoming from the Iranian side. According to the AFP, Iranian officials still claim to be committed to securing a final agreement before the extended November 24 deadline. But those same officials are unwilling to review their negotiating position, or depending on how one interprets their comments, they may be unwilling to make any concessions whatsoever.
“We are entering with goodwill into further negotiations with the P5+1 group and we want to reach an agreement… but we are not willing to pay any price,” said Iranian negotiator Majid Takht Ravanchi. Continue reading →
In an interview with the state-run ISNA news agency on August 15, Alaadin Boroujerdi, head of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, described the issues of Iran’s nuclear program negotiations, homeland security, and security interventions in Iraq and Syria.
On the nuclear issue and ongoing negotiations with 5+1, Boroujerdi said the decision making body is the Supreme National Security Council and the Foreign Ministry is just a “moderator” in the nuclear negotiations. “On the nuclear issue, the Supreme National Security Council makes the decisions and effectively formulates guidelines for the negotiation team,” Boroujerdi said and emphasized, “This means that the decisions are transferred to the Foreign Ministry and the negotiating team is a moderator for the decisions in the diplomatic arena in the nuclear negotiations.” Continue reading →
Although the Iranian position in the nuclear talks has made the prospects of an agreement very doubtful, the ideal outcome for Iran is certainly one in which the talks are successful despite the Islamic Republic’s unwillingness to compromise on key points. Doing so would allow Iran to get out from under Western sanctions that have had a highly significant effect on the nation’s economy. That is not to say, however, that the ideal outcome is the only one that Iran considers favorable. The regime has experience using international partnerships to defy Western sanctions, and it will likely do this to greater effect now that it has already gained access to billions of additional dollars of capital, simply by virtue of keeping the nuclear talks going. Continue reading →
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