FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Continuing Story of Camp Ashraf

According to multiple news sources and Iranian exiles with contacts in the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI) camp in Iraq known as Camp Ashraf, the camp was attacked by Iraqi forces on July 28 and 28, 2009.  At least eleven camp residents were killed.  Also, according to these same sources, the attack was witnessed by US forces who sat by and did nothing, despite pleas from wounded Iranians.  It is believed that the reason for the attack was a promise made by the al-Maliki government in Baghdad to Tehran that they would close the camp down.  Iraqi officials have denied this, saying simply that they wished to establish a police post there.  Meanwhile, the camp residents have asked for US protection.

The PMOI and the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI) are the modern day representatives of an Iranian resistance group that goes back to the days of the Shah.  Their beginnings are in the student movement that rose up against the Shah and US imperialism, ultimately throwing the Shah out of the country.  The group itself has undergone several ideological changes since its inception and is currently best typified as a secular organization opposed to the social conservatism of the theocratic government in Tehran.  To go beyond this general description requires considerably more space than is available here.

Unfortunately for the PMOI, it was categorized as a terrorist organization by the Bill Clinton administration.  It continues to carry this designation in the US, although the designation was removed by the European Union earlier in 2009.  On top of this label, which has certainly isolated the NCRI and PMOI from potential support among certain elements of the US power structure, the PMOI and NCRI have found their friendliest allies in the US amongst the pro-Zionist wing of the neoconservative movement.  Although one can conceive of this support as simply a cynical move by the neocons to gain Iranian intelligence available to the NCRI in their neverending drumbeat towards an attack on Iran, the other side of the coin is that the NCRI and PMOI have curried this favor.  This fact alone has made it next to impossible for the members of these groups to get any positive press or support from the US left and antiwar movement.  Indeed, this coziness was enough to convince this writer to view these organizations with considerable caution, despite professing guarded support for them in the past.  After all, in the US, it does matter who one shares their political bed with.

This attack and its aftermath is not about the PMOI’s all too apparent coziness with elements of the neoconservative establishment in the United States.  It is about a human rights violation by Washington’s client government in Iraq.  This is also not the recent elections in Iran and whether or not they were fair.  It is about a group of dissidents who appear to be somewhat isolated from their natural constituency while also being surrounded by well-armed US and Iraqi military with instructions to keep them penned where they are.

It is wrong that the members of the PMOI were attacked by forces of the Maliki government  in Baghdad on July 28 and 29, 2009 while US forces looked on.  It is the right thing to expose this action and to ask that it not be repeated.  The attack exists as a human rights violation in a country that is a vast ocean of human rights violations, many of them the result of the US invasion.  It should be condemned.  Yet, for some reason, the PMOI is asking one of the greatest human rights violators in Iraq and elsewhere around the world–the US government–to protect them.

RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs’ essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch’s collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. His first novel, Short Order Frame Up, is published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached at: rjacobs3625@charter.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

April 19, 2018
Ramzy Baroud
Media Cover-up: Shielding Israel is a Matter of Policy
Vijay Prashad
Undermining Brazilian Democracy: the Curious Saga of Lula
Steve Fraser
Class Dismissed: Class Conflict in Red State America
John W. Whitehead
Crimes of a Monster: Your Tax Dollars at Work
Kenn Orphan
Whistling Past the Graveyard
Karl Grossman TJ Coles
Opening Pandora’s Box: Karl Grossman on Trump and the Weaponization of Space
Colin Todhunter
Behind Theresa May’s ‘Humanitarian Hysterics’: The Ideology of Empire and Conquest
Jesse Jackson
Syrian Strikes is One More step Toward a Lawless Presidency
Michael Welton
Confronting Militarism is Early Twentieth Century Canada: the Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Alycee Lane
On David S. Buckel and Setting Ourselves on Fire
Jennifer Matsui
Our Overlords Reveal Their Top ‘To Do’s: Are YOU Next On Their Kill List?
George Ochenski
Jive Talkin’: On the Campaign Trail With Montana Republicans
Kary Love
Is It Time for A Nice, “Little” Nuclear War?
April 18, 2018
Alan Nasser
Could Student Loans Lead to Debt Prison? The Handwriting on the Wall
Susan Roberts
Uses for the Poor
Alvaro Huerta
I Am Not Your “Wetback”
Jonah Raskin
Napa County, California: the Clash of Oligarchy & Democracy
Robert Hunziker
America’s Dystopian Future
Geoffrey McDonald
“America First!” as Economic War
Jonathan Cook
Robert Fisk’s Douma Report Rips Away Excuses for Air Strike on Syria
Jeff Berg
WW III This Ain’t
Binoy Kampmark
Macron’s Syria Game
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
Katie Fite
Chaos in Urban Canyons – Air Force Efforts to Carve a Civilian Population War Game Range across Southern Idaho
Robby Sherwin
Facebook: This Is Where I Leave You
April 17, 2018
Paul Street
Eight Takeaways on Boss Tweet’s Latest Syrian Missile Spasm
Robert Fisk
The Search for the Truth in Douma
Eric Mann
The Historic 1968 Struggle Against Columbia University
Roy Eidelson
The 1%’s Mind Games: Psychology Gone Bad
John Steppling
The Sleep of Civilization
Patrick Cockburn
Syria Bombing Reveals Weakness of Theresa May
Dave Lindorff
No Indication in the US That the Country is at War Again
W. T. Whitney
Colombia and Cuba:  a Tale of Two Countries
Dean Baker
Why Isn’t the Median Wage for Black Workers Rising?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
C. L. Cook
Man in the Glass
Kary Love
“The Mob Boss Orders a Hit and a Pardon”
Lawrence Wittner
Which Nations Are the Happiest―and Why
Dr. Hakim
Where on Earth is the Just Economy that Works for All, Including Afghan Children?
April 16, 2018
Dave Lindorff
President Trump’s War Crime is Worse than the One He Accuses Assad of
Ron Jacobs
War is Just F**kin’ Wrong
John Laforge
Nuclear Keeps on Polluting, Long After Shutdown
Norman Solomon
Missile Attack on Syria Is a Salute to “Russiagate” Enthusiasts, Whether They Like It or Not
Uri Avnery
Eyeless in Gaza   
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Then, Syria Now
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail