An act of cowardice

Iran Focus


The senseless terrorist attack against defenceless Iranian exiles at Camp Liberty, in Iraq, is another example of the Iranian regime's weakness, the failure of the UN mission in Iraq, and the abandoned responsibilities of the U.S. government.

Early Saturday morning, six Iranian dissidents, including a woman, were brutally murdered and more than a hundred were injured when Camp Liberty, home to members of the main opposition Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), was attacked by a barrage of mortars and rockets.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees called it a "despicable act of violence," reiterating that the residents are asylum seekers and subject to international protections. The U.S. State Department described it as a "vicious and senseless terrorist attack." And the UN Secretary General strongly condemned it.

But no one should expect the Iraqi Government or the head of the UN mission in Iraq, Martin Kobler, to be part of the solution. Despite the fact that the Iraqi government had murdered nearly 50 residents, in December 2011, Mr. Kobler clearly colluded with the Iran-backed Baghdad government to force the exiles to leave their home of 26 years in Camp Ashraf and to relocate to Liberty ostensibly to be resettled in third countries.

Not only have the residents not been resettled, they are extremely susceptible to deadly terrorist attacks by the Iranian regime.

Hours after Saturday's attack, at a convention of over 1,500 Iranian-Americans from 37 states in Washington, former top U.S. officials denounced the State Department, the UN mission in Iraq and Baghdad for failing to protect the unarmed dissidents.

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani called for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to fire Mr. Kobler, a sound advice if Mr. Ban is serious about protecting his organization from Mr. Kobler's disastrous decisions.

The U.S. must also intervene immediately by backing the residents' demands to return to Ashraf, where they would be safer.

Saturday's terrorist attack also points to the Iranian regime's dire situation. Faced with internal feuding, an economy in free fall, a falling regime in Syria, and tightening international sanctions, the ruling clerics are desperate and seek to set the balance of power in their favor by attacking the opposition.

This should sound alarm bells in Washington and Brussels. Tehran may be testing the waters before nuclear negotiations at the end of this month. Inaction will only embolden it.