There is a growing outcry for President Barack Obama to help the 2,500 Iranian exiles stranded in Iraq inside a former U.S. military air base that could become their graveyard if the White House doesn't act, retired U.S. Army Col. Wes Martin said Tuesday on Newsmax TV's
The base, Camp Liberty, is "an extermination camp in waiting" where Iranian dissidents who once helped the U.S. military and were promised protection languish in cramped conditions without medical care and under threat of Iraqi rocket attacks, said Iraq war veteran Martin.
But the U.S. is leaving them in limbo, said Martin, who as commander of a forward operating base in Iraq worked with U.S.-aligned Iranian dissidents known as the Mojahedin.
"Every time something bad happens to Camp Liberty, the first thing the State Department says [is], there is no evidence the Iraqi government was involved," said Martin, an advocate for the Camp Liberty residents whose plight has drawn the attention of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
With Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Washington
on Tuesday to meet with Obama and ask for billions in foreign aid, the administration should be pressuring him to safeguard the Iranians at Camp Liberty, said Martin.
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"Thirty-four American dignitaries have put together a letter and sent it to Prime Minister al-Abadi, and copied [Deputy Secretary of State] Tony Blinken … and numerous other people that we want to have certain issues addressed," Martin said.
"We're hoping President Obama will do the harder right over the easier wrong and start addressing these people," he said. "Unfortunately, it was President Obama's administration that revoked their protected person's status back in 2009."
In a later appearance Tuesday on Newsmax TV's "MidPoint," Martin criticized the Obama administration's entire Middle East policy.
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"Everywhere you look it's been a disaster," he said.
In light of the multiple failures, Congress should demand a role in the U.S.-brokered agreement to rein in Iran's nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions.
"I would feel much more comfortable if men like [Sens.] John McCain and Bob Menendez were able to take a look and examine this and make sure it is sound," he said.
"This administration has not missed a chance to make a mistake."
Obama on Tuesday reversed course
and agreed to sign a bipartisan bill requiring congressional review of any finalized deal.
But while Iran prolongs nuclear talks, its militias destabilize Yemen, form Shiite death squads in Iraq, and support the regime in Syria, said Martin.
"It's a never-ending story and this administration just plays right into [Iran's] hands," he said.
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