News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqThe news from Iraq: all quiet on the northern...

The news from Iraq: all quiet on the northern front

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ImageSunday Telegraph: Last week Iraqi government forces stormed a refugee camp, bulldozing buildings, shooting and beating the inhabitants with nailed clubs and axes, leaving at least 12 dead and 400 injured, says Christopher Booker.

The Sunday Telegraph

Last week Iraqi government forces stormed a refugee camp, bulldozing buildings, shooting and beating the inhabitants with nailed clubs and axes, leaving at least 12 dead and 400 injured, says Christopher Booker.
 

By Christopher Booker

ImageIn the week when the last British troops were ignominiously ordered out of the country by the Iraqi parliament, remarkably little attention was paid to the very nasty scenes unfolding further north. Iraqi government forces launched a brutal assault on thousands of unarmed civilians in Camp Ashfraf, a "safe haven" for 23 years to thousands of Iranian refugees belonging to the People's Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI), part of the main Iranian opposition in exile, the National Council of Resistance in Iran.

In 2003, the PMOI handed over all weapons they had retained for self-defence, in return for a guarantee of their safety by US forces. In 2004 the 3,400 exiles were each individually made Protected Persons under the 4th Geneva Convention.

Since 2006 I have regularly reported the bizarre story of how, to appease the Iranian dictatorship, the British and EU governments agreed to outlaw the PMOI as a terrorist organisation: a ban they were finally forced last year to lift by their courts because they could produce no evidence to justify it. Having lost that round, last February Tehran did a deal with the Iraqi government to close Ashraf and hand over its inhabitants to Iran, where they face imprisonment or even execution.

Last week Iraqi government forces stormed the camp, bulldozing buildings, shooting and beating the inhabitants with nailed clubs and axes, leaving at least 12 dead and 400 injured. Despite outcries from the European Parliament and an all-party group of MPs and peers at Westminster, not a squeak of protest has been heard from the British Foreign Office, Brussels or Washington at this flagrant breach of the Geneva Convention.

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