From Camp Ashraf to Camp Nowhere


From Camp Ashraf to Camp Nowhere
by Paymaneh Amiri

Outside their group of followers worldwide, the People's Mojahedeen Organization members inside Iraq is a doomed group these days.  Many Iranians disdain the group for its perceived collaboration with Iraqi government against Iran during the Iran-Iraq War.  Many others hold this group responsible for the emergence and success of the Islamic Revolution.  Yet some others scrutinize and dislike the group for its militant and Islamic ideology, believing that if ever in power, they would do a lot worse to Iranian people than the IRI has.

Just the same, a group of the organization's followers have been living in Iraq inside what is known as Camp Ashraf, trying to keep up appearances of bravado and legitimacy.  The truth is that since the US military turned the Camp's protection to Iraqi officials, the group has been a sitting duck in the fire range of Iranian government who of all its opposition groups, hates and fears none more than the MKO.  IRI has repeatedly asked the Iraqi government to turn the remaining Camp Ashraf residents over to Iran. 

An Associated Press report released just now says: 

"Iraq plans to move members of an Iranian opposition group from a camp north of Baghdad to remote areas elsewhere as it steps up efforts to rid itself of a major source of tension with Tehran, a top government official said Friday.  Iraq's Shiite-led government has long sought to get rid of the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, which fought alongside Saddam Hussein's forces during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war and is considered a terrorist organization by the United States as well as Tehran.  But the efforts have taken on new urgency as the U.S. military has turned over responsibility for the camp's security to the Iraqis, raising concern about the residents' welfare.  National Security Adviser Mouwaffak al-Rubaie gave no timeframe for the move and reiterated government promises not to deport or forcibly expel the exiles. But he warned that they must leave the country.  "The residents should understand ... that their days in Iraq are numbered and we are literally counting down," he told reporters at a news conference.  "We will not use force until, unless the residents use force against the Iraqi security forces," he said. "This whole process will be pain free if they cooperate."

Yes, people, we can continue to ignore a group of by now middle-aged Iranian men and women who seem to have no country, wanted only by their enemy, and who are about to be "released" from the only home they have known since 1986, Camp Ashraf, further losing any protection of their very lives.

But can we please also remember that they are human beings, too?  Can they not be saved and salvaged?  Do they not deserve to live the rest of their lives in a safe environment where they can be integrated into real communities of the world, able to work and conduct ordinary lives?  What do you think should be done with PMOI members left in Iraq?


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YES they are controversial and hated by many (i love to see the shahollaheez AND hezbeez gather on this one every time!), but they are human. Some of them are there against their own will. They will meet an uncertain, awful fate if they are not looked after better AND the USA shuld not be losing allies. As awful as they are, don't encourage them to help insurgents and give another demerit to the USA on handling this disasterous war. 

If this was a war of liberation, I don't think helping to harm these people is in accordance with that mission.