Scoop top Scoops -Article: Kambiz Assai :Irony to Retort: US State Department Sides by Mullahs Ignoring Basic Humanitarian Requirements for Iranian Dissidents
Tehran’s government-run web-sites as well as papers run by the mullahs in Iran lost no time to express support and cheer underling the comments made by Ambassador Daniel Fried and Ambassador Daniel Benjamin in their press conference, held on July 6.
The issue is not a complicated one. The fact is that the civilian dissidents in Camp Ashraf cannot be tolerated by the mullahs in Iran. The rule in Tehran is today too weak to be able to even accept its armless opponents in a remote camp in another country. This was shown too clearly in the event of two massacres carried out in 2011, and 2009 against 3400 armless Iranian dissidents in camp Ashraf. In both cases, the Iraqi army attacked the camp with its tanks and machine guns, showing no mercy for the men, women or the young who have been living in the camp for more than 25 years. The killings were of course widely reported, but only after the massacres took place.
The biting wit is that the attacks were well forecasted and seen before they took place. Moreover, the United Nations as well as the US army present in place were fully informed days before the event. It is certainly good and highly appreciated to know that the massacre was not left to be unheard of. But that was no good for the ones who lost their lives or became handicapped as a result. No one doubts that the two cases of crime against humanity in 2009 and in 2011 could well have been avoided, and yet they were not.
Personally, I was stunned by the arguments made by Mr Fried and Mr Benjamin. I could not help recalling hundreds of remarks, made by many of the best-known American leaders in the past.
As for Ambassador Daniel Benjamin and Ambassador Daniel Fried, it would be good to listen at what John Adams had to say when he wanted to assure everyone that the truth cannot and will not be hidden for long:
“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
Thomas Jefferson simplified the issue when he said quite plainly that:
“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
The State Department officials, while criticizing the stall in relocation of Ashraf residents to Liberty, failed to clearly state the reason behind it, namely the lack of minimum humanitarian life support requirements and the Iraqi government’s obstructions in provisioning such needs. Instead, the officials blamed the residents.
The fact is that 2000 residents have to date accepted to leave their home where they had lived for 25 years, only to show good faith to promises given to them by the UN officials as well as the US government. No one can possibly doubt that this was a very difficult decision and sacrifice to make, but the residents in camp Ashraf accepted it relying on the promises made by the UN. Still, the dissidents soon found that they were misled by the Iraqi government. Even worse was the fact that they found that the UN special envoy was not helpful either.
The fact is that the Iraqi government, clearly at the behest of the Iranian regime, is preventing any basic items to be moved to Camp Liberty or facilities be established there, even though the residents’ families and friends have accepted to pay the expenses. Why? Water, electricity, proper sanitation, and cooling systems in a 130F (55°C) heat, while you are willing to pay for it yourself, is not too much to ask for and is certainly not maximalist.
Lord Carlisle was very explicit on the matter: “The US State Department should feel ashamed of itself. Rather than stand up for the humanitarian rights of defenseless refugees, State Department officials have decided to side with the murderous Iraqi regime. ”
The truth of the matter is that the humanitarian situation at Camp Liberty by no means meets international standards. Today, 2000 residents of Camp Ashraf have already moved to camp Liberty, and the camp can no longer accept more residents due to lack of basic living needs such as water, electricity and sewage system and etc… Camp Liberty resembles a concentration camp and not even a prison, and this has to be stopped. Likewise, even the handicapped are not allowed to benefit from using their own belongings.
The Department of State should stop threatening and pressuring the already under pressure and defenseless residents of Camp Ashraf, to give up basic human rights and surrender to a forcible move to camp Liberty. Instead, it is expected from the US State Department and the UN to press the government of Iraq to respect the human rights of the civilian Iranian dissidents and allow them access to basic needs that they will acquire at their own expense, thus, facilitating further move of the remaining residents to camp Liberty. Anything less than this minimum will undoubtedly mount to a disgrace for the US government and the UN, which will no doubt remain in history.