Saturday, January 08, 2011

Iraq and Iran

AFP is reporting that there are claims that Camp Ashraf was attacked again on Friday. According to National Council of Resistance of Iran's president Maryam Rajavi, 176 Camp Ashraf residents were injured. BBC News reports that Camp Ashraf supporters in London have protested outside the embassy today stating the attack took place adding, "The committee's chairman, Lord Corbett of Castle Vale, called on American troops and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq to intervene." Llong before the start of the Iraq War, Iranian dissidents have lived in Iraq. Following the US invasion, the US made these MEK residents of Camp Ashraf -- Iranian refuees who had been in Iraq for decades -- surrender weapons and also put them under US protection. They also extracted a 'promise' from Nouri that he would not move against them. July 28th the world saw what Nouri's 'promises' were actually worth. Since that Nouri-ordered assault in which at least 11 residents died, he's continued to bully the residents. As the BBC notes, "They have 'protected persons' status under the Geneva Convention."

Rumors of the alleged attack come as the governments of Iraq and Iran strengthen ties. The Tehran Times reports Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi is praising three new joint-committees the two countries are establishing, "In this visit, we frankly talked about issues . . . and subsequently made some decisions, like the establishment of a joint supreme economic committee, a joint political committee, and a supreme committee on border issues to examine the two countries' border issues and problems." And this takes place as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is calling for actions in support of Iraq and in objection to Iran. Lachlan Carmichael (AFP) reports, "US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was to leave Saturday for a tour of Gulf Arab allies in a bid to tighten sanctions against Iran and win greater support for Iraq's new government, officials said." Jill Dougherty (CNN) quotes an unnamed State Dept official stating, "What we're really hoping to do is elicit more expressions of support for the Iraqi government. We now have a government on the ground in Iraq after a very long and somewhat tortuous process. It is important for the region to step up and provide them support. It is important for Iraq, frankly, to be reintegrated back in the region."

The following community sites -- plus Green Change, Military Families Speak Out, Cindy Sheehan and Jane Fonda-- updated last night and today:

We're closing with this statement US Vice President Joe Biden issued today:

The horrific attack in Tucson, Arizona, this morning has taken the lives of at least five people, including a federal judge and a young girl, and left many others wounded, among them a dear friend, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Gabby is one of the finest members of Congress I know. She is a principled leader and a consensus-builder. She has spent her time in office working her heart out to improve the lives of the people she represents. And she loves her husband and family above all else. On this tragic day, Jill and I are praying for Gabby’s recovery, and we hold her family in our hearts.

Chief Judge John Roll was a dedicated jurist whose death is a terrible loss to Arizona and to the country.

We do not yet know the motivation behind these shootings. But what we do know is that there is simply no justification, no rationale for such senseless and appalling violence in our society.

Please join Jill and me in praying for each of today’s victims and for their families and loved ones.

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