As the smolder still cools following the bombings in Baghdad, an Iranian dissent group living in a de facto refugee camp has come under fire from rockets. While the rest of Iraq is worrying about the Islamic State, however, the residents of Camp Liberty, a former U.S. military base, are claiming that forces linked to the Iranian government are responsible for the attack.
The Iranian dissidents belong to the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK), or People's Mujahideen of Iran. In the years immediately leading up to and after the Iranian Revolution, the MEK were the primary challengers to the Islamic clerics who eventually seized control of the government. Facing prosecution, in which thousands of MEK members are believed to have been arrested and killed, the dissidents first fled to France, and than Iraq.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard behind attack?
An Iraqi security spokesperson has acknowledged the rocket attack, noting that “a number” of rockets fell upon the camp. It is believed that roughly twenty rockets were fired from a truck west of the camp. More than 40 residents of the camp were injured, however, no one was killed. A rocket attack last October, however, claimed the lives of 26 people. During the most recent attack, some of the rockets fell short, injuring Iraqi civilians.
The rockets originated in an area where Shia militias supported by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard operate. The residents of the camp blame the militias and the Iranian government, which they have opposed for decades, for staging the attack.
Perilous history in Iraq
For many years, the MEK dissidents lived in Camp Ashraf, a well-fortified, supplied, and relatively comfortable military base north of Baghdad that was under their control. After the fall of Saddam Hussein, the residents of Camp Ashraf cooperated with the United States military, and disarmed in exchange for the promise of protection.
Eventually, the residents were located to Camp Liberty, near the Baghdad airport. Supposedly, the residents would be protected by the Iraqi government, however as Iranian influence over the largely Shia government of Iraq grew, the residents have repeatedly found themselves under fire. #Middle East #Terrorism