OpinionIran in the World PressAmerica's broken Middle East promise

America’s broken Middle East promise

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Detroit News: Presently, hundreds of other Camp Liberty residents, including myself, are on a hunger strike, demanding the immediate release of the seven Camp Ashraf hostages in the Iraqi government’s custody, as well as the deployment of a UN Blue Helmet contingent for the protection of the 3,000 residents of Camp Liberty.

The Detroit News

Mohammad Mohaddes

Presently, hundreds of other Camp Liberty residents, including myself, are on a hunger strike, demanding the immediate release of the seven Camp Ashraf hostages in the Iraqi government’s custody, as well as the deployment of a UN Blue Helmet contingent for the protection of the 3,000 residents of Camp Liberty. We are nearing the 60th day of our hunger strike. Hunger strikers have lost an average of 10 kilograms, and every day several of them are taken to the hospital.

After such a long period, the health of the hunger strikers is in a critical state, and some of the damages they’ve sustained are irreversible.

As all this has been taking place, Nouri Al-Maliki, prime minister of Iraq, paid a visit to President Barack Obama on Nov. 1 and shook his hand in the White House. Maliki is responsible for the murder of 52 Ashraf residents and the abduction of seven others – including six women – on Sept. 1. This crime against humanity was so horrendous that Maliki is futilely trying to convince the world that it wasn’t his doing.

We acknowledge that the hunger strike puts our lives at risk, but the truth is that we’ve been left with no other choice for bringing attention to this injustice.

We have lost all faith in the promises and guarantees of the United States government and the United Nations. We would prefer to willfully die of hunger, rather than to be handcuffed and murdered by Maliki’s forces, like our friends in Ashraf, while the U.S. and UN stand by and watch.

The U.S. government had given a document to each and every resident of Ashraf, promising them protection until their final disposition. But it failed to deliver on that promise, and in three massacres that have taken place in Ashraf since 2009, the U.S. has stood aside and done nothing more than impotently condemn the attacks.

The United Nations had promised protection as well, but despite the countless international appeals for a clear and independent investigation into the Camp Ashraf massacre, it has asked the Iraqi government – the main perpetrator of the crime – to conduct the probe. This is analogous to asking Hitler to investigate the Holocaust, or asking the British to find the criminals who burned American churches during the War of American Independence.

When Camp Liberty is besieged by wave after wave of the Iraqi government’s forces – which in turn, carry out the orders of the Iranian regime; when, in contrast to all its commitments and pledges, the U.S. government abandons us at the mercy of Maliki’s murderers; when the United Nations sits by and shrugs off its responsibilities by simply counseling the murderers; then what option do we, the residents of Liberty, have other than to go on hunger strike to protect ourselves and the seven hostages who are, at this very moment, suffering at the hands of the Iraqi government?

President Obama must know that the history and the Constitution of the United States, and its commitments to the international community, have been founded on human rights, and anything that opposes it is betrayal to the goals of democracy.

Failure to protect the residents of Ashraf is an evident breach of commitments and a disgrace to the history of the American people’s struggle for independence and freedom. At the same time that the seven hostages have not been released and no impartial investigation has been made into the Sept. 1 massacre, the act of welcoming Maliki to the White House has only legitimized the continuation of Camp Liberty residents’ persecution and murder.

As an assistant professor at Michigan State University from 1975 to 1986, I admired the United States’ commitment to human rights and human values.

In the ’80s, more than 300 members of the U.S. Congress supported the Iranian Resistance’s struggle for freedom in Iran, against Khomeini’s regime.

It is time for President Obama to heed the call by the distinguished Sen. Carl Levin, who called for accountability from Iraq as it relates to the Sept. 1 attack on Ashraf and the fate of the seven abducted residents. Now that Maliki has freely entered and left the White House, his hostages must be released and afforded at least a fraction of that same freedom.

Mohammad Mohaddes is a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. He earned Ph.D. in chemistry from Michigan State University and was an assistant professor at MSU.

 

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