WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At a briefing in the US Senate, entitled "US Troop Drawdown in Iraq: 50 Days to Impending Humanitarian Catastrophe at Camp Ashraf," Professor Ruth Wedgwood, Director of the International Law and Organizations Program of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University; Professor Raymond Tanter, former Senior Staff on the National Security Council and President of Iran Policy Committee; Bruce McColm, former Executive Director of the Freedom House; and Colonel Wesley Martin, USA (Ret.), former senior anti-terrorism/force-protection officer for Coalition forces in Iraq and Commandant of Camp Ashraf, outlined specific actions the US Congress should take before the Iraqi government's December 31 deadline to close down Camp Ashraf to prevent another massacre and facilitate the residents' re-settlement to third countries.
Describing the prospect of large-scale slaughter in Camp Ashraf by the Iraqi forces with the departure of US forces as "Srebrenica part 2," Prof. Wedgwood said, "We don't like leaving the Marines behind and we shouldn't leave behind people to whom we promised protection when they disarmed themselves… So I think if anybody in the White House were listening… or Hillary Clinton… They can't just walk away from a promise like that without some significant disgrace."
In regards to resettling Ashraf residents, Prof. Wedgwood added, "If we don't lead nobody will. And if we conspicuously stand down from leadership everybody uses that as a safe pass to avoid going to jail… When adversary senses weakness they act on it. And it takes that kind of American fortitude which I think Barack Obama has… and I think Secretary Clinton would not want to be passive in the face of, any repetition of the Srebrenica."
Referring to the statement by Senator John Kerry, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair, who described the April 8th attack on Ashraf a "massacre," Prof. Tanter stressed, "This kind of public statement is precisely what is necessary in order to raise this issue to the top of the radar screen of American politics, of American international politics."
Mr. McColm remarked that "the United States the European Union, the UN and the residents of Camp Ashraf agreed that the UNHCR should register and interview each resident in the Camp so that they could be repatriated as refugees to third countries… The problem is that Prime Minister Maliki wants to close Camp Ashraf by the end of December. They want to disperse the residents inside Iraq and even want to return some to Iran which is against international law."
Col. Martin dismissed the "hollow assurances" Prime Minister Maliki has given the United States to treat Ashraf residents humanely. "We need the State Department held accountable…The deadline needs to be extended with the United Nations' Blue Helmets on the ground," he emphasized.
SOURCE Iranian-American Community of Northern California