The Iranian regime has been conspicuously furthering its agendas in Iraq while a U.S.-led coalition is fast busy countering the mounting threat of the Islamic State, an extremist group that has occupied large swaths of Iraq and Syria in past months.
Included among Tehran’s strategic goals in Iraq are the empowerment of its proxy Shiite militia forces and the further suppression of Iranian dissidents residing in Camp Liberty. Unless Washington takes the correct measures and counters Iran’s advances, further disasters will occur.
In Iraq, Iran-backed militia groups have gained considerable strength by taking advantage of the Iraqi army’s collapse in facing the Islamic State (otherwise known as ISIS or ISIL), and they are now controlling security throughout much of Iraq, including Baghdad, the country’s capital.
These forces, directly affiliated with the Iranian regime and its renowned front organizations in Baghdad, are responsible for serious human rights violations and crimes committed mainly against the Sunni community, carried out against the backdrop of fighting the Islamic State.
The militia groups, which became integrated into Iraq’s political and military structure during the rule of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, are receiving full support from Iraq’s official security forces, which is also widely influenced by the Iranian regime.
The Iranian regime thus aims avoid losing clout as the role played by the U.S.-led coalition becomes more prominent in both Iraq and Syria.
In tandem with the increase of its violent activities in Iraq, the Iranian regime has also increased the pace of its perpetual campaign of persecution and harassment against members of the opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, residing in Camp Liberty, Iraq.
The PMOI is the main opposition group to the Iranian regime and has for decades been aiming at dislodging the ruling mullahs and establishing a secular and democratic government. The PMOI is the party that first unveiled Iran’s illicit nuclear program and has published valuable documents pertaining to the meddling of the Iranian regime in Iraq.
After having failed to obliterate the group through several brutal military raids carried out through Iraqi security forces, the Iranian regime has decided to notch up the pressure against the Iranian dissidents through a comprehensive medical siege.
Iraqi forces loyal to the Iranian regime controlling the camp prevent the residents from receiving proper medical care in order to either torment them to death or force them to repent their ideals and surrender themselves to the Iranian regime.
The measures carried out the residents of Camp Liberty, all recognized as Protected Persons by the United States and as “Persons of Concern in need of international protection” by the UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency), include denying access to medical services and intentional delays in the treatment of patients. The repressive measures have especially affected residents suffering from terminal illnesses and have so far caused the death of 21 residents.
The blockade against Camp Liberty has been widely condemned in Iraq and across the world, including in a recent statement published by more than 2,000 Iraq physicians and medical staff, in which the signatories have called the medical siege a crime against humanity and have demanded its immediate removal.
The Iranian regime considers the PMOI as its main ideological and existential threat, and has always gone to great lengths to strike against its members and eliminate it as a threat, especially during times of internal, regional and international crises.
Sadly, the U.S. and UN’s disregard and inaction towards the Iran’s violent role in Iraq and threats against the residents of Camp Liberty have acted as major enablers for the Iranian regime’s illegal and destructive venturing. The United States and the United Nations have explicit moral and legal responsibilities in this regard, including the well-being and safety of Camp Liberty residents.
Unless concrete and immediate measures are not adopted to lift the medical siege against Camp Liberty and to rein-in Iran’s nefarious activities in Iraq, more horrendous disasters will be looming on the horizon.