Rohrabacher: Iraqi PM Maliki Must be Held Accountable for Iranian Refugee Deaths; Demands Refugees Not be Returned to Iran
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats, today called on the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to take all steps necessary to stop the ongoing violence, including murder, directed against unarmed civilian Iranian refugees.
He also demanded that the Iraqi prime minister assure that the seven Camp Ashraf refugees taken hostage during a Sept. 1 raid by Iraqi forces not be returned to Iran. The hostages, according to reports, are being held near the Baghdad airport facing forced repatriation.
“These hostages, who tried to flee the Islamist tyranny across the border, face almost certain death if they are forced back to their hostile homeland,” said Rohrabacher. “We must not stand by, to quote Secretary of State John Kerry’s words with regard to the gassed Syrian rebels, as ‘silent spectators to the slaughter’ of these freedom seekers.” The Congressman is on record as opposing Kerry’s case for intervening in Syria.
The Congressman’s call followed reports of systematic killing of residents at Camp Ashraf near the Iranian border. According to the reports, 52 unarmed civilians were murdered and at least 14 others were taken from the camp, their fate unknown. At least five such attacks have been reported.
“The Camp Ashraf refugees have suffered and been at risk since the American liberation of Iraq in 2003,” said Rep. Rohrabacher. “They were part of a resistance movement opposing the mullah regime in Iran. In 2004 the residents of the camp disarmed and left themselves totally at the mercy of the U.S. Government as part of an agreement to afford them protection. Shortly afterward, the Iranian dictatorship targeted the 3,000 residents of Camp Ashraf. Most have been transferred to Camp Liberty elsewhere in Iraq.
“The Iraqi military is murdering unarmed refugees, and there is every reason to believe Prime Minister Maliki, at the behest of Iran’s mullahs, ordered these criminal acts. Come what may, Maliki will be held responsible for this reprehensible slaughter of civilians in his own country. It is unfortunate that America’s foreign policy establishment hasn’t taken steps to prevent this atrocity.”
Rep. Rohrabacher recommended halting all aid to Iraq until the refugee matter has been settled. “The refugees disarmed themselves with faith in U.S. Government guarantees of their safety,” he said. “If we fail them, nobody will believe us again.”
Rep. Rohrabacher is Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats.