President Obama, Stay True to Your Word

By Majeed Mohades, Camp Liberty

broken-promise

The humanitarian crisis surrounding the dangerous and critical situation of residents of Camp Liberty continues, with hundreds of them being on hunger strike since September 1st.

The upcoming visit of Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, from Washington, DC, and his meeting with President Obama scheduled for November 1 only aggravates the situation.

Nearly two months have passed from the day the Iraqi forces attacked Camp Ashraf. On September 1st, they savagely murdered 52 of the defenseless residents of the camp. In the course of the same attack, the assailants abducted seven of the camp’s residents – including six women. Reliable documents and accounts given by eyewitnesses at the scene indicate that the attack was conducted by Iraqi forces who were acting upon the orders of the Iraqi Prime Minister and at the behest of the Iranian regime.

Documents obtained from inside Iran clearly prove that the seven hostages are in Iraq, in prisons controlled by Nouri al-Maliki. The Iraqi government is constantly denying the facts and has deceived the international community – particularly the United States and United Nations, who are responsible for the protection of the residents of the camp and especially the seven hostages.

On October 10, the European Parliament passed a resolution about “Recent Violence in Iraq”, in which it strongly condemned the September 1st attack on Ashraf. According to Ms. Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union, there is reason to believe that the seven hostages are being kept in Baghdad and the parliament calls for their immediate and unconditional release.

Of the assurances and guarantees given by the United States officials and the United Nations regarding the protection of the residents, none have been fulfilled to date.

In protest, since September 1st, hundreds of Camp Liberty residents are on hunger strike, demanding the immediate release of the seven hostages and the provision of Camp Liberty’s security by UN Blue Helmets. The second month of their hunger strike is coming to a close and their health conditions are deteriorating at an accelerating pace.

The issue is not solely a humanitarian one. Senator Robert Menendez, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. Senate told Under Secretary of State Ms. Wendy Sherman, who had been attending a Senate hearing on October 3, that if the security of Camp Liberty residents isn’t provided and the hostages are not released, the Senate will be reconsidering its aid to the Iraqi government. There have been similar calls by European Parliament in a recent resolution.

The residents of Liberty on hunger strike call on President Obama to stay true to his word and fulfill the promises of protection. They believe that Obama must put pressure on the Iraqi government for the freedom of the seven hostages before allowing Maliki to step foot inside the White House.

 

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