Sunday, 6 March 2016
An article written by former Algerian Prime Minister Mr. Sid Ahmed Ghozali, current President of the Arab-Islamic Committee in Defense of Ashraf Residents
Buotros Ghali passed away recently at the age of 93 in a hospital in Cairo. There is no need for me to say he was a very experienced diplomat. He was the only Arab to be appointed as the senior official in the United Nations, being the Secretary-General for five years. Considering the fact that I was a longtime friend with this incomparable individual, a relationship that had reached the likes of family links, I would like to attest to the fact that he enjoyed a deep humane love. He was amongst the few individuals who due to his understanding, competence and hard work was able to for decades rise in the ranks of fame for his political, social, humanitarian and educational work.
As the U.N. Secretary-General he worked tirelessly on the focal issue of the Arab world, being the cause of Palestine, and this very stance was the reason why, in contrast to other secretary-generals, he was actually not elected for a second term.
I can write a book about the amazing work and virtue of my great friend, Buotros Ghali. However, in this piece I would like to mention one specific subject, being his stance against cruelty and oppression imposed on Iranian refugees in Camp Ashraf, home to members of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK) [in Iraq].
It is crystal clear that in 2009 following the transfer of Ashraf’s protection by the Americans to the Iraqi government under Nouri al-Maliki at the time, pressures on the residents increased and Iraqi forces – under orders from the mullahs’ regime – launched a vicious raid against Ashraf residents in July 2009. Afterwards on 8 April 2011 the Iraqi forces staged yet another attack using all their troops and assets to take control over Ashraf, kill all the residents and/or force them to surrender. However, the men and women in Ashraf, with their bodies and bare hands, and of course their will, recorded in history a case of unprecedented perseverance and heroic resistance, and in the end forcing the murderers to retreat. Of course, this came after more than 30 martyrs and over 300 others being injured.
As President of the Arab-Islamic Committee in Defense of Ashraf Residents I rushed to see my friend, Buotros Ghali and asked him to intervene, especially since another horrific massacre was on the horizon.
After I explained to him the entire ordeal with documents and evidence, he didn’t waste any time and wrote a letter for his successor in the UN, Ban Ki-moon, in which he described the righteousness in the Iranian opposition’s cause and the despicable and inhumane methods of the “Iranian regime’s agents”, warning of another massacre in Ashraf, as the Iranian regime actually intended to massacre all members and supporters of the PMOI / MEK.
I believe this letter is a historical testimony to the personality of Buotros Ghali and his humanitarian and political nobility, and the cruelty imposed on the Iranian Resistance during these years. At a time when none of the officials raised their voice to condemn this crime against the guests of an Arabic country, we see this Arab dignitary, unprecedented at his stature, rising to defend Ashraf residents. This defense is an act in defense of all of us Arabs because the PMOI / MEK have a justified cause, are pioneers of peace and equality, and flag bearers of true Islam against the mammoth known as fundamentalism, demagoguery and terrorism under the banner of Islam.
Here is text of the letter by Mr. Buotros Ghali on 9 July 2011 to Ban Ki-moon:
Dear Mr. Secretary-General,
Camp Ashraf, home to 3,400 members of the Iranian opposition, the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK), was the subject of a deadly attack in April 2011 where dozens were killed and hundreds more were wounded (The UN has confirmed 34 dead following a visit to the Camp, but since then two more have died as a result of their injuries). In a previous incident in July 2009 eleven people were killed and 500 injured.
Several governments, including US, UK, Norway as well as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, have condemned the raid on Ashraf. Mrs. Pillay in a statement emphasized, “There must be an independent enquiry” and Baroness Ashton on behalf of the EU also called for an inquiry.
Since protection of Ashraf was transferred to Iraqi authorities in 2009, the Camp has been under siege. All indications point out that another attack is on the horizon. The Iraqi government has announced that Camp Ashraf will be closed by the end of the year, making the residents more vulnerable.
The Iranian regime officials, including the foreign and intelligence ministers, have praised the attack and called on the Iraqi government to launch another attack to wipe out the camp and its residents.
The international community cannot let another Srebrenica occur before its eyes. The world has been fully informed of the threat of another humanitarian catastrophe in much larger scale.
The suggestion of displacement within Iraq is totally illogical and does not resolve the problem. Indeed, forcible displacement of the residents is not only illegal but also a prelude to another massacre of the residents. It is a gift to the Iranian regime and its proxies in Iraq to realize their objective of eliminating the Ashraf residents.
Based on my experience of the region and given the risk of another imminent human tragedy, the current situation of Ashraf requires immediate action. In this context and due to the US Administration’s role in the Iraqi process since 2003, also given the obligations that are subsequent to such a role at the legal, political and moral levels, I would consider relocation of all 3,400 residents of Ashraf to US territories as the most appropriate transitional and reliable way to ensure the protection of the Ashraf population.
With my best regards,
Buotros Buotros Ghali
Here I can only express hope that Buotros Ghali becomes a role model for all politicians in Arab and Islamic countries.