A deadly rocket attack against Camp Liberty, Baghdad, today left at least two Iranian dissidents dead and at least 50 injured.
The United Nations has a mandate to protect the residents, but the inept UN Special Representative, Martin Kobler, left in place by the unconcerned UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, has been setting the stage for such attacks for years.
This is not the first attack on the Iranians in Iraq, and the UN and US government have apparently washed their hands of these people.
The terrorist attack on the Iranian refugees was in the ironically named ex-US Camp Liberty, renamed to Camp Hurriya, possibly in an attempt to distance themselves from it. The camp is supposedly “under the protection” of the United Nations, but they have never protected it in any way. In fact, it has been left to its own devices without any protection or monitoring at all.
Monitoring of Camp Liberty cannot be carried out with an occasional ad-hoc visit, but that is what the UN does, leaving the residents wide open to abuse for extended periods.
The residents and others concerned about them have been hammering the UN and US on this point for years, but both the UN and US ignored those calls, leaving residents in the hands of an inept caretaker, who appears to be the lap-dog of Iraq and Iran.
The attack on this camp was carried out on Saturday, probably at the behest of the Iranian regime, just as the sham election in Iran takes place – an election facing international criticism.
As usual, there were no United Nations personnel present in the camp when the attack started at 13.15 local time.
This is the third terrorist rocket attack on Camp Liberty in 2013. A similar attack on 9 February this year left eight residents dead and 100 injured.
All of the Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty residents are “protected persons” under the 4th Geneva Convention. The United Nations has abrogated its responsibility to these people multiple times and made a mockery of the phrase “international protection.”
The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF), which has been advocating for the residents, but has no direct power, condemned the attack in the strongest terms.
“This is an outrage against international law. Mr Kobler and the UN should speak out, and the Iraq Government should be called to account. Iraq Ambassadors should be called in by the US, UK, French and German Governments to explain these terrible events,” Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, said.
The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom also noted:
“In a calculated move to deny the residents protection from missile attacks, the government of Iraq has removed 17,500 T-walls which previously protected the trailers in which the residents live. Iraq has for more than a year prevented the residents from transferring their protective helmets, safety vests and medical facilities from Camp Ashraf, their original home in Iraq.
The British Parliamentary Committee’s press release issued today, said:
UNAMI chief Martin Kobler, who forced the 3,200 members of the main Iranian opposition group PMOI to transfer from Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty in 2012, had promised that the camp would be safeguarded from attacks and that residents would quickly be able to leave once they had been interviewed by the UN. However, after more than 2,000 interviews in the past 18 months, less than three percent of the camp population have been resettled and there is no prospect of any quick resettlement. UNAMI has ignored hundreds of calls by British and European Parliamentarians to relocate the residents from Camp Liberty.
The BPCIF demands that the UN urgently relocate the residents back to Camp Ashraf which is 80 times bigger and where their security can be better guaranteed. We urge the Foreign Office to condemn the latest attack and actively press for an impartial international investigation into the attacks on Camp Liberty.
In Washington D.C., The United States strongly condemned what they termed the “brutal, senseless, and utterly unacceptable rocket attack on Camp Hurriya that killed and injured camp residents.”
The cavalry is a day late, as usual, and these platitudes are weak, at best. The vulnerability of the people in Camp Liberty has been obvious and well known since they first moved there.
At the highest levels, we have personally urged the Government of Iraq to render all possible medical assistance to the victims and ensure the safety of the camp’s residents, consistent with its commitments and obligations. We’ve also called on the Government of Iraq to investigate this attack and bring the terrorists responsible to justice.
We are consulting with the Government of Iraq and the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) to ascertain the full extent of this unprovoked terrorist attack.
No matter the circumstances, on this point we remain absolute: the United States remains committed to assisting the Government of Iraq and UNAMI in implementing the December 25, 2011 agreement to quickly relocate the residents of Camp Hurriya outside Iraq. We must find a permanent and long term solution that ensures their safety.
– US Department of State
This is the same United States of America that is about to send weapons to the unknown Sunni groups in Syria, so they can continue to fight against the Syrian government, but they are incapable of protecting a group of ageing, unarmed “protected persons” who are constantly under attack. Could that be because it is easier to make a lot of noise, and make “a difficult decision” while people are looking, than to do what is right and what was promised, because the big media spotlights aren’t pointing in that direction?
With friends like the United Nations and the government of the United States of America “protecting” them, what hope do the Ashraf residents have?