USCCAR calls on U.S. to hold Iraq accountable for Sept 1 massacre at Camp Ashraf

The US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR) has issued a statement, expressing its outrage at the White House’s failure in holding Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki accountable for the September 1 massacre of 52 defenseless residents of Camp Ashraf.

The full text follows.

victims of massacre at camp Ashraf, September 1, 2013
victims of massacre at camp Ashraf, September 1, 2013

The US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR) deplores the failure by the White House to hold the Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki accountable for the September 1 massacre of 52 defenseless residents of Camp Ashraf, members of principal opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

The State Department has maintained that it ‘has no credible information indicating that the Government of Iraq was or is involved with any activities regarding the abduction or detention’ of the seven residents of Camp Ashraf during the massacre. The facts suggest otherwise.

Hours after the massacre, CNN quoted ‘Two officials with Iraq’s Interior Ministry’ that ‘security forces raided Camp Ashraf’ and Reuters, quoting ‘two Iraqi security sources,’ added that ‘the army and special forces had opened fire on residents.’ Photos and video clips of the scenes of massacre also confirm these reports.

Dr. Tahar Boumedra, former chief of the UNAMI’s human rights office in Baghdad, testified after the attack that ‘[Camp] Ashraf is a highly fortified camp where nobody could penetrate into the camp without the active preparation and support of the Iraqi Police and Army.’

In a September 24 letter to the Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), the Armed Services Committee Chair, called for US action to secure the release of the abducted residents. Senator Levin cited a September 19 letter by Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, in which she acknowledged, contrary to the State Department’s assertion, the Iraqi government was holding the abducted residents. Baroness Ashton stated ‘We have reason to believe that up to seven camp residents are being held in captivity near Baghdad, and that there is a significant risk that they could be sent to Iran.’

During an October 3, 2013 hearing, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ), made it palpably clear to the State Department that US military and security assistance to Iraq would be in jeopardy if the Iraqi government brings any further harm to the 3,000 residents at Camp Liberty or refuses to release the seven hostages, about whose whereabouts it is aware.

While the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman acknowledged the US needs to get the residents ‘out of the harm’s way,’ in order ‘to make good on the word we gave to the MEK,’ the administration still refuses to take the necessary actions to secure release of the hostages and ensure protection of the residents at Camp Liberty.

The flip side of the reluctance to hold Iraq accountable is the administration’s inexplicably enthusiastic outreach to Maliki’s closest ally, the Iranian regime, whose officials have declared in no uncertain terms that their objective is to eradicate the MEK, which poses an existential threat to the ruling theocracy in Iran.

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