April 2011 Massacre at Camp Ashraf

Camp Ashraf Massacre and Secretary Gate’s Visit to Iraq

On April 6, 2011, early in the morning, the military forces of Iraqi government, about 2500 of them, stormed the campground of the main Iranian opposition movement, the Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK). They killed over 30 people and wounded many others. Among the fatalities were many women.

In a similar aggression, back in 2009 on July 28, the forces of Nuri al-Maliki  attacked the camp killing a dozen and injuring 500.

The two incidents have obvious similarities.  They were both premeditated attacks with the intention of massacring the unarmed residents of the camp.  The armed forces involved in the attack were taking orders from al-Maliki himself.

But there is one more, not so obvious similarity, between the two incidents.  They both occurred when the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, was in Baghdad.  In fact the attacks both happened only hours after a meeting between Nuri al-Maliki and Secretary Gates.

Although, Secretary Gates may not have had any knowledge of what was in the making by al-Maliki, this can hardly be a coincidence. There are not so many options: either Nuri al-Maliki has received some kind of green light from the Secretary Gates or he wanted to demonstrate that he carries some sort of pre-arrangement with the U.S.; or he is contemptuous of U.S. opinion.

Some internal sources within the Iranian regime have revealed that commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds forces, have suggested that al-Maliki received an “implicit agreement” from Robert Gates during their meeting on April 7th – a day before the massacre.

What is more than curious is that Al-Maliki’s forces begin to move into position five days in advance, with armoured vehicles and other military equipment.  Normally, the United States keeps a minimum presence at Camp Ashraf to guard against mishaps.  But suddenly on Thursday evening of April 6th at 7 P.M. that small unit moved out.

The scene was so strangely ready for a massacre that any observer could see the danger.  Also, the United States was informed of the build up of a potentially dangerous situation – yet the only possible protection for camp residents, the small American army unit, had been removed. If it had remained, none of this would have happened. Why was the protection unit removed just before the Iraqi forces began their aggression?

Now this is not a conspiracy theory article.

We are dealing with the loss of many human lives here.  We leave the possibility open that Secretary Gates did not have the slightest idea of what was about to occur. Or maybe, once again, the Iraqis had provided assurances that they would behave humanely when they entered the Camp!! Hard to believe, of course, given the past record of  Nuri al-Maliki.  Secretary Gates certainly has a hard job to explain this coincidence. In any event – if culpability is to be excluded, further explanation  is most certainly needed.

President Obama has only one option: to protect residents of Ashraf.   The U.S. has responsibility for the protection of Ashraf. If Nuri al-Maliki is determined to do the bidding of the Iranian regime and continues to permit the execution of heinous crimes, then he should expect a tough response from the international community. He cannot continue under the pretext of “sovereignty”. He should also be reminded how he obtained his power.

Camp Ashraf is about 100 Kilometres from the Iran-Iraq border.  As far as the Iranian mullahs are concerned, that is too close for comfort.  Iranian Ayatollahs have repeatedly asked the al-Maliki Government to remove the camp residents and, sadly,  Al-Maliki has repeatedly shown his willingness to do anything to please the mullahs.

The MEK is outlawed in Iran and supporters of the organization face torture or death if they are identified and arrested there.  While the Iranian regime tries very hard to downplay the organization’s influence, as a small, unpopular group, the size of their activities and achievements suggests otherwise. In fact, they are gaining more and more ground in the West, wining majority support in major parliaments of Europe including the European Parliament.

Internally, in the aftermath of the Iranian uprising, supporters of the Ayatollahs continue to blame the unrest on the MEK, accusing captive protesters to be a “Mohareb” which is enough to receive a death sentence.

Meanwhile, Nuri al-Maliki, being a puppet of the mullahs in Iraq, dances to the tune of Iran’s Ayatollahs.  And he likes to do that very much when others pay the price.

It is time he listened to the Iraqi people and to the voices of those Iranians who want fundamental change rather than the fundamentalism of Tehran.

8 thoughts on “April 2011 Massacre at Camp Ashraf

  1. Great article Lord Alton. The massacre of defenceless residents of Camp Ashraf who are refugees and have been granted protected persons status under the fourth Geneva Convention and according to International Laws is a clear crime against humanity and the Iraqi Prime Minster and all thoes involved in this callous massacre should be brought to justice and punished for their brutal crimes. It is absolutely right Lord Alton that the US and President Obama have responsibility to protect Ashraf residents because they had signed individual agreements with every person inside the camp to protect them and this is a breach of all their promises.

  2. Lord Alton, thank you for drawing much needed attention to this horrific incident. I am absolutely appalled at the deplorable use of force by Iraqi security forces, who at the behest of the Iranian regime attacked unarmed and defenceless men and women at a refugee camp. There can be no clearer indication of the regimes demise than this attack on its main opposition. Iraq’s puppet Prime Minister and the perpetrators of this crime must be brought to justice.

  3. Hello,
    I just read your article on Camp Ashraf. I fully agree with you that the US has a responsibility towards Ashraf. Nuri al-Maliki committed a crime against humanity. I hope good people like you will spread the word and tell the world of this great tragedy. You should know that Ashraf people are continuing their struggle for freedom for Iran. Thanks once again.

  4. Thank you Lord Alton for backing the courageous Iranians for so many years. You are already part of our history; the history of brave Iranians who never gave in to the atrocious torture and massacre and challenged the brutal ayatollahs head on.

    To add to your article, many friends of Ashraf who have been in contact with American embassies were confronted with one excuse, Iraq has a ‘sovereign’ government and we cannot interfere. Is that so? I asked. Why the same international law that justified bombing Libya, a much more ‘sovereign’ state that Iraq’s Nuri al-Maleki who was put in place by America, could not be used to protect Ashraf by raising just a finger? Certainly the Nobel peace laureate President Obama has a lot to answer to the world for this complicity in an act of crime against humanity.

  5. This is indeed a massacre! It is a disgrace that the US has just stood by and watched.

    We DEMAND that the wounded are transferred to the American Military Hospital near Ashraf. The Iraqi army MUST leave the camp and UNAMI and the US must establish a presence in the camp.

    Mr Obama, what happened to your promises just before you were elected? What happened to human rights and human dignity? Please act immediately.

  6. I agree with everything in this article. Lord Alton is absolutely right. The attack happened only few hours after Robert Gates met with the new Iraqi dictator, Nouri al-Maliki. . The camp’s residents have the status of “Protected People” under the 4th Geneva Convention.
    The US forces have a duty under the International Law, International Humanitarian Law and 4th Geneva Convention to protect the unarmed civilians of Camp Ashraf. In fact, they signed an agreement with each and every member in the Camp promising to do so. Well all I have to say is shame on you USA, Obama, Shame on you!
    What has happened in Iraq is “War Crime” and “Crime against Humanity”. See it for yourself here:




  7. This was a wonderful article. It gives a clear understanding of the situation in camp Ashraf to the readers. No questions asked that unfortunately the crime against humanity happens everyday, and we can not keep up with everything. But, the importance and urgency of this case is when the United Nation, and the U.S had a knowledge of the attack before hand and yet they turned their back. Violating the forth Geneva convention is a serious offense, and if we do not take responsibility of our actions, we are setting an standard for all criminals to continue genocide and harming defenseless people.
    The first serious action is to treat the wounded, and provide adequate medical attention to the camp, and provide security by United Nations, and the United States(since they had a prior commitment to defend the Iranian descendants ) for the Camp Ashraf residents.

  8. supporter of people of Camp Ashraf.
    Dear Sir/Madam
    We would like to ask you to persuade American government and United Nation to take over the camp and to drive out the Iraqi military and security forces. As you know, our wounded and injured are suffering from the lack of medical attention and medical supplies, and everyday as the hour goes by, we are loosing more lives. Please do whatever is in your power to get our wounded adequate medical attention.

    Respectfully Yours,
    Ray Safar

Comments are closed.