Delisting of MEK avoids another disaster in Camp Ashraf

Published: Tue 23 Aug 2011 04:20 PM
Delisting of MEK avoids another Srebrenica style disaster in Camp Ashraf
Elizabeth Carter
August 19, 2011
In the beautiful Nations Square in Geneva, in front of the imposing United Nations Headquarters located on the Avenue of Peace, there is a stone memorial commemorating the 8,000 Bosnians who were massacred in Srebrenica in July 1995.
In 2005, at a tenth anniversary commemoration of that genocide, the UN Secretary-General noted that, “while blame lay first and foremost with those who planned and carried out the massacre, great nations had failed to respond adequately, the UN itself had made serious errors of judgement and the tragedy of Srebrenica would haunt the UN’s history forever”.
So why, in 2011, are great nations, especially the United States, and the United Nations, allowing another dark stain to seep across their histories by failing in their obligations towards the 3,400 members of the Mojaheddin-e-Khalq (MEK)/ Peoples Mojaheddin of Iran (PMOI), an Iranian opposition group in exile who have been living in Camp Ashraf, Northern Iraq, for the last 25 years?
The lethal 8th April 2011 attack on Ashraf by 2,500 Iraqi government forces, under the command of the Prime Minister, Nouri Al-Maliki, in which 34 died, 8 of them women, and 350 injured, was the latest and most blatant attempt to carry out the wishes of the Iranian regime that the inhabitants be eliminated and Ashraf, beacon of hope for the Iranian people, wiped from the map.
SIege conditions imposed in January 2009, soon after responsibility for Ashraf protection was passed to the Iraqi government by the US, is causing unspeakable hardship and suffering to all the residents and now, especially, those injured in the April attack.
1,500 Iraqi forces still occupy the Northern third of Ashraf territory and are poised to launch another, almost certainly more devastating, attack. The Iranian regime has issued an ultimatum to Al-Maliki that Ashraf must be closed, by whatever means, by the end of this year, coinciding with the planned final withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.
Good men and women are not standing by doing nothing and letting evil flourish. Since the first lethal attack on Ashraf in July 2009 when 11 were killed and 500 injured, the support from the International Community and their unified and concerted action on behalf of the besieged residents has been strengthening apace.
There are now over 4,000 parliamentarians, which includes the all party majorities in the UK and 27other European countries, the bipartisan majority in the US Congress, thousands of lawyers, 5,000 French mayors, 1,500 Italian mayors, many senior US officials from the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, eminent churchmen and humanitarians worldwide, among the growing “army” who have pledged support for the people of Ashraf and are doing all they can to pressure the UN and the US and EU governments to take positive action to resolve this intolerable situation.
Among many other initiatives, over a dozen major conferences have been held since April, in Paris, London, Washington, Brussels, Italy and, most recently, on August 10th, in Geneva, calling on world leaders to take action to avoid another Srebrenica style disaster.
So why no action?
Western governments seem frozen in their policy of appeasement towards the Iranian regime in spite of all the evidence of it’s appalling human rights record, nuclear weapons ambitions and clear intention to spread Islamic fundamentalism throughout the Middle East.
One of the most damaging aspects of this appeasement policy has been the continued listing of the MEK on the US Foreign Terrorists Organisations list (FTO) where they were placed in 1997 in what has now become very clear was a move to placate the Mullahs in order to attempt to open meaningful dialogue with the Iranian regime.
Similarly politically motivated designations in the UK and the EU in 2002 were challenged through the courts which ruled that there was no credible evidence to support the listing. The final UK appeal court stated that the Government was being “perverse” in continuing to appeal the judgment. The PMOI were removed from the UK list in 2008 and the EU in 2009.
In July 2010 the US court of DC also ruled that there was no evidence to support the FTO listing of the MEK and ordered the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to urgently review the listing and to remove them unless any additional evidence could be produced.
The deadline for new evidence has now passed and Hillary Clinton is under intense pressure to complete her review which she has indicated could be by the end of this month.
The Iranian regime’s desperation to retain this last obstacle to the MEK/PMOI ability to act as a legitimate opposition is abundantly clear, not least from the number of articles that have been appearing in the on-line media, regurgitating all the old mistruths and discredited allegations against the MEK, and besmirching the integrity of their many US supporters.
Make no mistake. This designation in the US is being used by the Iranian regime and Al-Maliki to justify their inhumane treatment of the people of Ashraf which the International Community is calling blatant and persistent Crimes against Humanity.
This is a worse situation than Sbrenica where the UN and great nations did nothing to relieve the critical situation and the protecting forces failed to protect. With Ashraf, in addition, the continuing FTO listing is actively condoning and legitimising the actions of the Iraqi government in massacring these innocent people.
I know I am not alone in no longer being prepared to inhabit a world where history is punctuated by a series of commemorative stones laid amid recriminations and apologies for what should never have been allowed to happen. Rwanda, Darfour, Pol Pot’s murderous regime, Srebrenica, the list is endless. Enough is enough. Do not even think of replacing the 3,400 of Ashraf with a stone!
Ignore the garbage peddled by the Iranian regime and its proxies. Consign it all to the incinerator where it belongs. Listen to the tens of thousands of good men and women who are standing shoulder to shoulder with the courageous people of Ashraf in the name of justice and humanity.
The US must de-list the MEK now, before there is any more loss of life , and take all necessary steps to protect and support the courageous residents of Ashraf and the MEK/PMOI in their noble struggle for freedom and democracy for Iran, which in its turn will help to bring peace and stability to the Middle East and the wider world.
Elizabeth Carter is a British writer and women and human rights activist.

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