Friday, Mar. 19, 2010

July 2009
Iraq and Iran

"We have had promises from the government of Iraq that they would deal with the MEK in a humane fashion ... Using non-lethal force is a good sign."

Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, saying the Iraqi government did not inform him in advance of its plans to raid Camp Ashraf.

"They sprayed the residents with hot water and beat them with batons."

Safa Mohammed, a Camp Ashraf resident, on the deadly raid by Iraqi troops.

Conflict breaks out north of Baghdad after the Iraqi Army storms a camp of Iranian exiles on July 28. The raid of Camp Ashraf comes after residents refuse to allow Iraqi forces to establish a police station on the site. Until January, U.S. forces had been protecting the camp, which houses more than 3,000 members of the Iranian opposition group MEK. The group has been disarmed since 2003 and reportedly provided information to the U.S. about Iran's nuclear program. Iraqi forces reportedly kill 11 and wound 500 after opening fire and running over dissidents with military Humvees. The raid was the largest independent operation conducted by Iraqi forces since the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq's cities in June. Worldwide hunger strikes and protests follow for months after the initial clash, as Iraq continues efforts to close the camp.