By: Ibrahim Seyedi
We are a volunteer group of members of the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran who exited our country back in the 1980s due to the harsh repression and crackdown imposed by the regime’s leader Khomeini against us. We entered Iraq through legal means as political refugees and stationed in a camp called Ashraf, located 90 kilometers north of Baghdad. Our objective was to continue our struggle against the Iranian regime’s warmongering, export of terrorism and fundamentalism in our homeland and the entire Middle East. For around a quarter of a century we lived in our traditional home in Ashraf and enjoyed adequate recreational accommodations, service facilities and infrastructure. Ashraf met all standards of a relatively modern city along with a university and schools, summer pools, asphalt roads, kitchens, a bakery, a food storage complex, restaurant, shopping mall, sports centers, religious sites, city parks, small orchards, a central library with books and novels written by famous writers from across the globe, a hospital equipped with medical supplies along with hi-tech scanners, strong shelters that protected us against bombing threats, and last but not least, a number of 1 MW power generators that made us independent from Iraq’s nationwide power grid.
This continued until 2009 when U.S. forces handed over the responsibility of our protection to Iraq, and leaving the government of Nouri Maliki – being at full service to Iran – in charge of our security. Despite our strongest of protests and emphasizing that one can never trust Maliki at all, this development continued and the U.S. practically relieved itself of any responsibility over our security until the final disposition. Maliki used the opportunity of such an approach – considering it as a green light – and launched bloody ground attacks against us in July 2009 and again in April 2011, leaving dozens murdered and hundreds of our friends and loved ones in Ashraf wounded. Of course, despite the fact that U.S. forces were present just meters away and witnessed the scenes of us being murdered, no serious action was taken to prevent the bloodbaths.
Through the signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations and the Iraqi government, under direct U.S. supervision, we were transferred to Camp Liberty, a site enforced upon us as a “temporary transit location”. We were pledged this camp would be a safe location to provide our transfer to third countries, and we never imagined Liberty would one day become the slaughterhouse where once in a while we would be the target of the strongest and most ruthless rocket barrages, using massive 122mm and 240mm rockets. This camp even lacks adequate infrastructure and international standards recognized for refugees. Liberty has now truly turned into a lawless land controlled by murderers who have all been accomplice in our murder and crimes against the residents in previous attacks. What is strange to us is that in contrast to international laws and customs on providing support to a suffering population anywhere in the world, the Iraqi government has actually banned the delivery of food stuffs, fuel medicine, hygiene and construction supplies following the October 29th rocket attack against the camp. These inhumane conditions remind us of Hitler’s Auschwitz concentration camp, where we have to sit and wait for a catastrophic death that may come at any moment!! Such a tragedy has been repeated for us four times in Liberty and three times back in Ashraf. The latest such attack left 24 residents killed and hundreds of others wounded.
Truly, which official and what organ is responsible for such atrocious and deadly conditions imposed upon us?
Silence in the face of rights violations against refugees in Camp Liberty, and the Iraqi and U.S. governments, along with the UN refusing to take serious practical measures, in addition to legal and judicial consequences for the perpetrators, has most definitely paved the path to continue such killing sprees and massacres. The Iraqi government, U.S. and UN are the main parties of the agreement signed guaranteeing our safety and security in Liberty.
Therefore, we hold the U.S. and UN as the main parties responsible for such scenes of destruction, killings and blockades. Not only have they refused to live up to their own promises to us, in fact they have abandoned us in the middle of a waterfall of death and destruction.
As President Maryam Rajavi of the Iranian Resistance emphasized in her call, what is currently needed is to bring an end to the irresponsible approach adopted by the U.S. and UN, and living up to their commitments on providing security for Liberty residents in order to prevent another killing spree and bloodbath. This is especially needed since despite our countless warnings, after four years Camp Liberty remains under the control of the same murderers and elements linked to the Iranian regime that killed Ashraf residents, and there is no guarantee that such massacres will not be repeated against us in the near or distant future.