Canal Plus, the Morning 28 April, 2011
Host: Let’s talk this morning about something a little complicated but we’ll have to take the time to understand it because it’s important. We return to a massacre that took place in Iraq. Little has been said about it, yet the incident speaks volumes about the new ruling power that is in place in Baghdad.
Gilles Delafon: The question is simple: Is Iraq today doing the dirty work of Ahmadinejad’s Iran? The images you see are particularly difficult to watch. They show what took place on April 8 at Camp Ashraf, a stronghold in Iraq of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). The 3500 residents are members of the PMOI, the Iranian opposition to the regime in Tehran, and are based in Iraq. So they are refugees in Iraq.
It was Saddam Hussein who protected them before the U.S. invasion. Since then, the Iraqi army has demanded the departure of these Iranian dissidents. The army entered the camp and systematically opened fire, driving over people in tanks. As you can see, the people who were in the camp are disarmed. The result: 34 dead and over 300 wounded. I remind you that this happened on April 8. The Iraqi government has claimed that there were 3 dead. But soon after the attack, the UN confirmed in a report that there 34 had died.
Why has there been silence over this case? Because these are members of the PMOI, a controversial organization that was somewhat radical and was for some time considered a terrorist organization for its attacks in Iran. It used to be regarded as a terrorist organization in France where it was also investigated, but all this was at the request of the Tehran regime.
Now non-government organizations are protesting [the April 8 attack], with the United Nations calling for an investigation, and Washington, London and Brussels joining to condemn it. As far as I know Paris, still hasn’t protested.
Some are warning about more attacks now, because there are 3500 people in this camp. 34 were killed and there are many who fear that it might happen again. Importantly, among them is former security adviser to President Obama, General James Jones, who was also the commander of NATO. He was in Paris yesterday and met Barbara Steck.
James Jones: We should have been able to dissuade the government from conducting an attack like that. I certainly hope that the authorities of other countries who have seen this tragic event are making a lot of efforts to ensure that Prime Minister Maliki will not attempt to conduct another operation like that. It is an immediate problem because the Prime Minister has said that before the end of the year, he wants people in the camp to leave Iraq. So this is an international problem.
Journalist: So, Gilles, the question remains, is Iraq doing the bidding of Iran?
Gilles Delafon: There is no doubt about it. On Monday, the Iraqi Minister of Justice was in Tehran and he reiterated that these opponents will leave Iraq. His Iranian counterpart was delighted and praised him for the operation against the “hypocrites”. The important thing, and what I want to stress, which is a fundamental point, is that since the last democratic elections in Iraq, Tehran’s allies have occupied positions of power in Baghdad. Why? Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki secured his premiership with the help of Shiite factions that are backed by Iran. There was another man, Iyad Allawi, who actually won the election. He is a secular and not an extremist Shiite. But he could not form a government and did not muster enough political weight. So finally, Nouri Al Maliki, who comes from a Shiite faction with close ties to Tehran, succeeded, thanks to pressures from Tehran on its allies in Iraq to “join this man” in a coalition. Now he is the man in power.
And on April 8, Nouri Al Maliki paid his debt to Iran. He ordered his forces into the camp of the Iranian opposition. The result: 34 dead.
The conclusion of this case is that almost 8 years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Americans have achieved one thing and that is the installation of a pro-Iranian figure in power in Baghdad.