Camp Ashraf: What should/could happen

The only government that is able to solve the Camp Ashraf crisis is the United States. Without pressure — real pressure and effort — by the Americans, the Iraqi government is going to mow down the camp, possibly killing hundreds.

The signs are ominous. The Americans have much bigger problems on their hands than dealing with a bunch of radicals no one wants to touch. Take a look at just a few the things the U.S. is preoccupied with in the region:

— Ongoing war in Afghanistan with decreasing chance of being able to make good on the promise to withdraw forces. The situation there is deteriorating, perhaps out of control.

— The extraordinary mess that is Pakistan. There are more radical Islamists there than all other countries combined, I bet. And they are ten times worse than those in Iran in every respect. By the way that’s the country that has a nuclear arsenal.

— Massive, complicated, confusing changes that have swept North Africa, especially Egypt. Add Bahrain. Yemen. Syria. Imagine Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria next. The situation is so bad that they’re not even worried about Lebanon as much. Lebanon!

— Palestine!

So, realistically, Camp Ashraf is not going to make this screaming crisis list.

From a purely humanitarian standpoint, the Americans must get involved to make sure the camp is dismantled in a bloodless, fair and orderly manner under UN supervision. It must ensure current and ex-Mojahedin members can take refuge in other countries. Cold political realities, however, will keep American involvement to a minimum — not enough to prevent a tragedy.

What’s more likely to happen?

The Iraqi army will carry out its threat to get rid of the camp by the end of the year or soon after. It has tried before. This time it’s serious. And it has proven to be merciless, with no qualms about killing a few hundred if necessary. The Iraqis see no benefit in allowing Ashraf’s existence on its soil. Iran has more influence on the Iraqi government than the U.S. at this point and can’t be happier about the imminent disappearance of this thorn in its side.

It’s a bad situation. Real bad.

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