While recent developments in Iraq have worried the Iranian regime, Tehran is moving fast and frantically to avoid losing its sway over the Iraqi government and territory. Recent reports and finding on the involvement of Iranian forces and Iran-backed militias in clashes across Iraq are testament to the fact.
Of particular interest to the Iranian regime is the situation of thousands of PMOI opposition members residing in Camp Liberty, in the vicinity of Baghdad International Airport, who have been living in prison-like conditions under the control of the Iran-aligned government of Nouri al-Maliki. The Iranian regime has been taking advantage of the unrest in Iraq and the current power vacuum to strike at its most-feared opponents and possibly eliminate them as a threat.
On July 26, the Iranian resistance unveiled information about unofficial meetings between top Iranian officials, including terrorist Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani, and Iraqi National Security Advisor Faleh Fayyadh, in which the Iranians required of Iraqi authorities to increase pressure against Iranian refugees in Camp Liberty.
To this end, the Iraqi Prime Ministry’s committee for the suppression of Camp Liberty residents, which is run by Fayyadh and whose operatives are in control of Camp Liberty, has resorted to new illegal and inhumane measures in order to suppress and torment the defenseless refugees. The latest of such measures is the blockade on the residents’ fuel.
Since August 13, Iraqi forces have placed a total blockade on Camp Liberty’s fuel, which in effect will bring life in the camp to a state of total paralysis. Under the scorching summer heat in Iraq, where temperatures rise over 50°C, such an action equates to sentencing the residents to a slow and painful death. Without fuel, the residents won’t be able to operate the power generators that are the only source of electricity in the camp, and therefore must endure the intolerable conditions that have been imposed by the Iraqi government.
Now on its sixth day, the blockade has pushed the situation in Camp Liberty on the cusp of a humanitarian crisis, and the lives of the residents are in grave danger.
This isn’t the first time that the Iraqi government is resorting to suppressive measures against PMOI members in Iraq. Since 2009, when U.S. government transferred its responsibility for protecting these Iranian dissidents to the government of Iraq, Iraqi forces have incurred a notorious record for cracking down on them and murdering them at the behest of the Iranian regime. Last year, on September 1, Iraqi Special Forces staged a massive raid in Camp Ashraf – another compound belonging to PMOI members – in which they brutally murdered 52 residents and abducted seven others.
The United Nations and the United States government, both morally and legally responsible for the safety and well-being of the residents, have yet to deliver on their obligations toward the residents.
Any hope for a stable Iraq would require the complete eviction of the Iranian regime from Iraq, which would manifest itself in the humane treatment of the Iranian refugees in Camp Liberty and respect for their most basic rights.