Human Events – By Rep. Tom Tancredo 12/22/2011
If you are having trouble understanding Obama’s Iran policy, you are not alone. But for the 3,400 Iranian dissidents living at Camp Ashraf, Obama’s Iran policy is more than confounding, it is a death sentence.
Obama’s Iran policies are leading to a highly preventable holocaust for the residents of Camp Ashraf, located just North of Baghdad in Northern Iraq. The Iranian dissidents living in the camp face imminent attack and a death march to an Iranian prison. Now that the U. S. has ended its active military presence in Iraq, the fate of these unarmed dissidents will be in the hands of the Iraqi government, which wants only to appease its dangerous neighbor to the East.
These dissidents cannot be admitted to the U.S. as refugees because Obama’s State Department insists on labeling them “terrorists.” Meanwhile, the real terrorists running the government in Tehran laugh at our inept attempts to persuade them to abandon their nuclear weapons program.
The State Department’s indifference to the fate of these Iranian dissidents precedes the Obama administration. It is rooted in the State Department’s 30-year courtship of non-existent “moderates” in the Iranian government, the same phantom moderates who have failed to influence the government to abandon the quest for nuclear weapons–and missiles that can deliver those weapons anywhere in the world.
The unarmed Iranian dissidents in Camp Ashraf, have not had the protection of the U.S. Army since January of 2009, and now, even the potential of U.S. Army intervention will be missing.
The threat of violence against the camp is not hypothetical. Over the past three years, Iranian forces have twice attacked the camp, killing many and wounding hundreds, including women and children. The jihadist mullahs running the totalitarian regime in Iran demand the camp be closed and the dissidents returned to Iran, where they face certain imprisonment, torture and death.
Why are the dissidents not allowed to leave the camp and be welcomed as refugees in the United States? Because our State Department will not remove their parent organization, the M.E.K., from its list of terrorist organizations. The M.E.K. was put on the list as part of a “deal,” a precondition demanded by Iran in order for the U.S. to maintain unofficial but open channels of diplomacy with the mullahs. To put it charitably, the deal has not exactly worked out to U.S, advantage. Yet, the State Department obstinately refuses to admit the mistake or to change its policy toward the M. E. K.
Both the UK and the European Union have dropped the terrorist label for the M. E. K. Recently, a U.S. Court of Appeals heard all the evidence presented by the State Department for the terrorist designation and rejected that determination. The court said, in effect, unless you have better evidence, there is no basis for the continued listing of the M. E. K. as a terrorist group. Thus far, the State Department has ignored the court’s admonition.
Even the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq has criticized the Iraqi treatment of the dissidents at Camp Ashraf and has asked the Iraqi government to “show flexibility” and cooperate with the resettlement of the dissidents in a safe manner. Yet, the government in Baghdad continues to make threats and refuses to guarantee the safety of the camp’s residents—residents who gave up all of their arms in 2003 in exchange for the U.S. promise of protection.
The failure of the US State Department to resolve the Camp Ashraf matter in a humane manner as part of the disengagement agreement with Iraq, borders on criminal negligence. But it is worse than negligence: The neglect of the issue has been a matter of policy.
By sitting on its hands and clinging to the outdated and nonsensical “terrorist” designation for the M. E. K., Obama and Secretary of State Clinton are tacitly signing a death warrant for the 3,400 unarmed civilians–Iranian dissidents who would support democratic reform in Iran if given the opportunity.
This lack of commitment to the safety of the residents of Camp Ashraf is evidence not of incompetence, nor of indifference. It is further evidence of Obama’s policy of appeasement. To make a fuss about these 3,400 refugees might anger the mullahs and hence disrupt our “constructive dialogue.”
There is no doubt that the tyrants in Tehran are laughing at our stupidity. They see no reason to interrupt their plans for the expanded persecution of all dissidents once they have demonstrated to the world the complete impotence of American policy in the region.
The grim truth of the matter is that if the dissidents in Camp Ashraf are allowed to fall into the hands of the Iranian regime, their blood is on our hands. And by “our hands,” I mean not only those of Obama and Clinton and their State Department minions. Their blood will also be on the hands of the U.S. Congress and all leaders who stood by and watched this tragedy unfold
The taste of blood from Camp Ashraf will further embolden the Tehran tyrants, and will bring the next holocaust one step closer to our shores.
Mr. Tancredo represented Colorado’s 6th Congressional District from 1999 until 2009 where he chaired the 100+ member bipartisan Immigration Reform Caucus. He currently serves as co-chairman of Team America PAC and president of the Rocky Mountain Foundation. He authored In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America’s Border and Security.