Camp Ashraf Bloodshed Remains a Thorn in US-Iraq Transition’s Side

US Soldiers Stood By While Iraqi Soldiers Killed Exiles

Over a month after the initial Iraqi attack on Camp Ashraf, a camp occupied by the Iranian rebels the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK), which wounded hundreds of occupants and killed several others, the incident remains a subject of considerable debate and has left questions about the US attempt to transition into a support role as Iraqi forces take a more active role.

A close ally of Saddam Hussein’s government and a foreign terrorist organization according to the US State Department, the group surrendered quickly after the US invasion of 2003 and has since been declared “protected persons” under the Geneva Convention.

The US transferred control of the camp over to Iraq on January 1, and had assurances that force would not be used against its inhabitants. During the July 28 attack, US troops who remained as observers at the camp were ordered not to intervene, and stood by while the clashes went on.

The crackdown against the camp is seen by many as an attempt of the Maliki government to establish independence from the US. Yet the US has also been scrutinized for its lack of response in the situation, and was harshly critical afterwards. It will likely leave the US looking to curb such actions in the future, which itself will probably only lead to more attempts to act independently by Iraq’s government.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of