The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has approved a bill on the issue of protection of thousands of members of the main Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) living in Camp Liberty, Iraq.
At the behest of the Iranian regime a committee, headed by the Iraqi National Security Advisor Faleh Fayaz, has brought the camp under a medical and logistical siege. Since moving from Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty, near Baghdad International Airport, in 2012, the PMOI members have come under three deadly rocket attacks by the Iranian regime’s terrorist proxy groups. No effort has been made by the Iraqi government to apprehend the terrorists responsible for those crimes.
Prior to voting to approve the bill at a Foreign Relations hearing in the US Senate on June 25, 2015, Democratic Senator Bob Menendez said:
“Mr. Chairman, this is something I have pursued for quite some time, and it is important in the context of whether the United States, when it goes into a country and says that it is going to do certain things, actually follows through, because then the message globally is, in this case, the residents now at Camp Liberty were told, ‘Give up your weapons, and we will protect you by our military.’ And they were given a document to that effect. And then, of course, they did that.
They, actually, had provided us with information about the hearing that you are about to have on Iran on one of the facilities we did not know about.
And at the end of the day, then we left them on their own, and many of them were killed. That is just fundamentally wrong.
So while I would have preferred seeing the certification, because we need to be serious about our commitment to individuals, so that when we go into another conflict or another place in the world, people will actually give up their arms or, in the case of Ukraine, give up their nuclear weapons, and then ultimately believe that we are going to do what we say we are going to do.
So I support the resolution. I think it is incredibly important, and I look forward to an opportunity in which the United States shows leadership on this by accepting some of the residents of Camp Liberty as well, as we try to resettle them so that they can safely be out of Iraq once and for all.”
The Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Bob Corker (Republican) said:
“I could not agree more. I have met with many of the families affected, and I think when we send signals like this where we do not follow through on commitments that have been made, and I could list a series of those in recent times, it does harm us. It, certainly, harms the people that we have made commitments to. And with many of the complexities that we already have in the world, it makes them even more difficult to resolve.
So I thank you for bringing continual attention to this as chairman and as ranking member, and, certainly, I support this very strongly.”
The transcript of the committee meeting can be found here.
The text of the bill adopted at the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations reads:
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
To require a report on actions to secure the safety and security of dissidents housed at Camp Liberty, Iraq.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Ensuring the Safety and Security of Iranian Dissidents in Iraq Act of 2015’’.
SEC. 2. REPORT ON ACTIONS TO SECURE THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF DISSIDENTS HOUSED AT CAMP LIBERTY, IRAQ.
Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives a written report setting forth an assessment of whether the Central Government of Iraq is taking appropriate and sufficient actions to ensure the safety and security of dissidents housed at Camp Liberty, Iraq.