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US President’s Special Envoy to the Global Coalition against ISIS blasts the so-called “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria

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Washington DC: US President’s Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Brett McGurk said here on Friday (4 August 2017) that in part of Syria and Iraq, ISIS has been kicked out of key terrain that they had held.

Brett McGurk

At a special briefing, McGurk said: “When ISIS really arrived on the international scene back in 2014, there were 40,000 foreign fighters from 110 countries around the world pouring into Syria and Iraq. They controlled what was effectively a quasi-state. They were able to mass and maneuver force all around Iraq and Syria, taking entire cities, controlling millions of people under their domain.”

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Since that time, McGurk pointed out that the ISIS has lost about 70,000 square kilometers of territory in Iraq and Syria. About 78 percent of the territory they used to hold in Iraq, they can no longer operate in, and about 58 percent of the territory they used to hold in Syria, they can no longer operate in because when the global coalition supports elements on the ground to retake territory from ISIS, they have never been able to reclaim that territory.

McGurk further said:

Almost 5 million people who had been living under ISIS have been liberated by coalition-enabled operations on the ground and are no longer living under ISIS.

A few years ago, migrants and refugees were pouring out of this part of the world. That flow has now been reversed. In Iraq alone, about 2 million people have returned to their homes in areas that have been cleared from ISIS.

Iraqi Security Forces

The coalition against ISIS has trained 100,000 members of the Iraqi Security Forces. They have never lost a battle.

This was an Iraqi Security Force that had almost collapsed. Those forces, those units that we have trained as a coalition have never lost a battle.

In Syria, when it comes to the campaign against ISIS, the coalition against ISIS is working primarily with the Syrian Democratic Forces. That’s a force of now about 50,000 – it’s about half Arab, half Kurd.

Particularly among the Arab – Sunni Arab population, the coalition training classes are full because these people want to get back to their homes and kick ISIS out of their areas.

In a part of Syria, supported by the Turkish forces an area known as the Euphrates Shield zone, the ISIS has been kicked out of key terrain that they had held.

Nearly 30 percent of all the territory that has been retaken from ISIS – about 20,000 square kilometers – has actually happened in the last six months.

Mosul and Raqqa

The campaign against Mosul is now finished and in Raqqa, about 45 percent of it is now cleared.

Initiatives from President Trump

The delegation of tactical authority from the White House, from Washington, down through the chain of command to the commanders on the ground has made a fairly tremendous difference in the ability to actually seize opportunities from ISIS.

Before a military operation, the strategy is to surround the enemy so that foreign fighters in particular cannot escape. Every foreign fighter that made its way into Syria and Iraq, the goal is to make sure that they can never make their way out of Syria and Iraq.

The coalition against ISIS now has 73 members, 69 countries, four international organizations -it is one of the largest coalitions in history. All the members came together in March to talk about the next accelerated phase of the campaign. In that session alone about $2 billion were raised, which really came in critical needs, particularly for the post-Mosul phase and the humanitarian aspect of taking care of the Internally displaced people (IDPs) from Mosul.

There are about 2,000 ISIS fighters left in Raqqa. UN estimates now – there’s about 25,000 civilians on the ground in Raqqa. What’s really happening in Raqqa is similar to what happened in Mosul but on a smaller scale. The ISIS fighters on the ground in Raqqa are using the civilians as their own shields, as their own hostages. They are using snipers to kill civilians who are trying to escape. They’re trying to put suicide bombers in columns of displaced people as they try to get out – the similar tactics seen from this barbaric terrorist organization in other cities.

Ayn Issa

In the town of Ayn Issa, just north of Raqqa, some of the local commanders who were sensing what was happening with ISIS, told the US military commander, General Steve Townsend, in March that they sense there’s an opportunity to catch ISIS by surprise in the city of Tabqa and at the Tabqa Dam, and there’s an airfield there called the Tabqa Airport. And they said, all we need is we need you to help us get across this body of water – it’s about an 8-kilometer body of water – at night, drop us behind ISIS lines, and then we can take it from there, basically catching ISIS by surprise and seizing these three very strategic areas.

This was very important to close the noose on ISIS because ISIS was using this area to get personnel and equipment in and out of Raqqa. It was pretty audacious. It required us to put these fighters on helicopters, crossing about eight kilometers of water at night. These fighters are incredibly brave. Most of them have never been on a helicopter. It was also very complicated because it was hard to tell exactly what was on the other side of the water because we had never really been that far south.

General Townsend and the commanders approved this operation really within a period of days. It took about six weeks to finish, but the forces that we were talking about it were right. They actually know the local area. They caught ISIS by surprise. They were able to cease Tabqa, Tabqa Dam, and the airport, and we really saw ISIS go into a bit of a reeling effect after that. We saw a lot of their fighters trying to flee and their defenses in Raqqa begin to degrade a little bit. So it was a really critical operation, and it was done because authority’s been delegated down to seize opportunities like that. It was a really important moment in this overall campaign.

TABQA

Despite all of the tensions between the coalition and Russia, an effort was made to find areas where they could find a way to work together, and Syria has exemplified that. This has been particularly true in Tabqa because regime forces – Syrian regime forces are very close to the area that the coalition forces are operating in. There wasan incident on 18 June in which the coalition forces shot down a Syrian jet that violated an agreement that we had on the ground of where they could go and where they could not go.

A number of schools in Tabqa are actually wired to explode, so deminers are being called into the area to clear those schools. About five have already been finished. And everything possible is being done to have as many schools ready in Tabqa for the opening of the school year on 15 September. In terms of school curriculums, teachers, all this, this is the responsibility of the Syrians on the ground and the Iraqis on the ground.

In Raqqa there are about 400 of these critical infrastructure sites that have been identified for immediate demining. About 100 of these sites are really the priorities.

Middle Euphrates Valley

In the Middle Euphrates Valley, some ISIS leaders, as they saw the writing on the wall in Raqqa, tried to flee before the noose was tightened, and they fled to some very small dusty towns in the area of the Euphrates River. A town called Mayadin is one of them and some other very small areas in this – an area called the Middle Euphrates Valley.

When they’re living in small towns and dusty villages, not only is it very different for them – this is not the glamorous, so-called caliphate they expected to find – it’s also a lot easier for the coalition forces to find them. So in the last six weeks alone, about 13 key ISIS leaders and associates have been targeted and eliminated in this area, and that is only going to continue.

Tanf
A force from the Middle Euphrates Valley is being trained in the little garrison known as Tanf to fight ISIS in the Middle Euphrates Valley. It is a very important mission in terms of our overall counter-ISIS campaign.

The Southwest

Here a little separate from the counter-ISIS campaign, is an ISIS cell. They’re known as the Jaysh Khalid bin Al-Walid. They are an ISIS affiliate. When they move into an area and capture a village, which they did there a few months ago, they do what ISIS does: they capture locals, they do gruesome beheadings, and terrorize the local population. The coalition against ISIS is determined to remove that cell from the southwest.

In the southwest there is a political agreement about a ceasefire, and with that agreement is not just a econfliction line with a ceasefire between the two sides, it also talks about political arrangements in the area, making sure opposition arrangements can actually remain intact. Here there is an actual ceasefire arrangement with the Russians.

The Jordanians are also a critical driver of the process. A ceasefire in the southwest with Jordan and Russia was concluded on 9 July. It was finalized in Hamburg between the US President Trump and Russian President Putin, and it went into effect on 11 July. The results of this have been quite promising thus far and the fighting has largely stopped.

In the last six months of 2017, about 440,000 IDPs in Syria have actually returned to their homes. And 31,000 Syrian refugees, meaning Syrians who fled outside of Syria, have also now returned to their homes.

Tal Afar

When it comes to the next phase of the ISIS campaign in Tal Afar, that will probably be the next battle. It’ll happen at a time of the choosing of the Government of Iraq. It is estimated there’s about 1,000 ISIS fighters or so in Tal Afar among 20 to 40,000 civilians. So somewhat similar to Raqqa; a little bit smaller, but it’ll be very difficult. This has been a hub for ISIS for three years, it has been the home for many of their leaders, it has been a place where terrible atrocities were committed against not only Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims, Yezidis. In this terrible fulcrum of ISIS atrocities, many of them happened in Tal Afar. The Iraqis are committed to liberating the people of Tal Afar, and the US and the Coalition is committed to supporting them at a time of their choosing.

Hawija

There are about 1,000 ISIS fighters in Hawija. About 50,000 or so civilians in that pocket of territory – 50 to 80,000 if you kind of look at the environs. This will also be a very complex operation and this – similar to Mosul, this will have to involve cooperation between the Kurdish Peshmerga, Iraqi Security Forces, and forces local to the area.

al-Qaim

That has also been a heartland of ISIS. The US and the coalition against ISIS will support the Iraqi Security Forces as they clear that and restore sovereignty to their border with legitimate Iraqi Security Forces.

What comes after ISIS?

Also in focus is the main border crossing between Iraq and Jordan. It’s about a billion dollars a month commerce route – very important for Jordan and of course very important for Iraq, the Government of Iraq, and also the Anbar province.

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Arar border crossing with Saudi Arabia

This is a border crossing that has been closed since 1990. Multiple U.S. administrations have encouraged an opening between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Those doors have remained closed for decades, but a breakthrough has now been achieved. The Iraqis and the Saudis, an initiative that they really launched on their own, a breakthrough between Baghdad and Riyadh, which has now led to an – not only exchanges of visits, but exchanges of key ministers and talking now about opening that key border crossing for the first time since 1990. Again a critical commerce route, and that’s how the post-ISIS situation can come into shape.

ISIS has not retaken a single square kilometer freed in coalition-enabled operations

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Washington: The Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS had a series of meetings hosted by Brett McGurk, the US President’s special envoy to the Coalition, in Washington this week.

Briefing media-persons here on Thursday, on the latest in the campaign to defeat ISIS, Brett McGurk said the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, which welcomed Ethiopia as a new member is one of the largest coalitions in history. Besides Ethiopia, there were countries from the Lake Chad Basin in a very special session to talk about the unique aspects of counter-ISIS and counter-extremism in West Africa.

The sessions during the series of meeting in Washington this week were also focused on the recent events in Iraq and Syria. There was a very detailed discussion Thursday morning (US time) about Mosul and what comes after Mosul

McGurk told journalists that this has been a year long campaign in Mosul; it kind of culminated just over the last few days. In Syria, the Raqqa campaign now gets underway. Raqqa and Syria is much more complicated than Iraq, but fairly similar model. There the coalition is working by and preparing the ground for basic humanitarian and stabilization relief efforts.
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Brett McGurk went on to underscore:

Iraq

Almost 2 million Iraqis – 1.9 million Iraqis to be more precise – most of these Sunni Arabs – have returned to their home after ISIS was pushed out of their communities. Reconciliation from the bottom up is whats now happening and whats critical is that people are returning home.

On Return of ISIS

In terms of the return of ISIS, there will be political difficulties in Iraq for the rest of our lifetimes. That’s something that they will deal with through their political system. Very important meetings have been there with the Kurds over the past couple days. There has also been an important ministerial delegation from Baghdad that went to Erbil earlier this week to discuss issues of oil, electricity, bank exchanges – all sort of things.

What fueled ISIS

What really fueled ISIS and fueled the rise of ISIS were 40,000 foreign fighters poured into Syria over the course of about four years. These are the foreign fighters, the hardcore terrorists, the suicide bombers. And so you had in Iraq a situation in which 2010, ’11, ’12, about five to ten suicide bombers a month, which still – I mean, that’s kind of extraordinary to think about. That went up last year almost to a hundred suicide bombers a month, and even in 2014, it went up to 60, 70 a month. Any country, if you have all these people coming from all around the world to blow themselves up in mosques, ice cream parlors, killing children, killing children in soccer games – this is what was happening in Iraq. So long as you have that going on, from all these people from all around the world, it’s very difficult to talk about political progress, quite frankly.

We defeated ISIS on the ground and we pushed them out of their territory, we have also worked to shut down the flow of those foreign fighters. And the foreign fighters are not coming into Syria anymore, and those who are already in Iraq and Syria we’ve been working very hard to make sure that they can never get out.

Mosul

Mosul is a huge city of 1.5 million people. The ambassador of Iraq to the United States, Fareed Yasseen, Ambassador Yasseen spoke addressed a session. His father is from Mosul, where the ISIS blew up the Grand Nuri mosque which stood there for 700 years. He said it would be like in France if terrorists took down the Eiffel Tower or here if they took down the Washington Monument, trying to put ourselves in the shoes of what that is like, and you can compare it to the Twin Towers on 9/11, waking up – anyone who lived in New York, you wake up every day and the towers are no longer there. That’s what’s happening in Mosul right now, so a tremendously traumatic experience for 1.5 million people who lived under these terrorists, and the city and its landscape changed forever.

East side of the city, where the battle ended about five months ago – and I discussed this today – we have 220,000 people are back in their homes. We have over 300,000 children that were living under ISIS are back in schools.

Mosul Campaign

The Mosul campaign, this was one of the most difficult military operations since World War II. This was a campaign in a city of one and a half million people with an enemy that has barricaded themselves amongst the population. In the Old City of Mosul, in these final weeks of the battle, we had hundreds of foreign fighters from all around the world. I mentioned in my comments this morning we heard on the radios ISIS talking, speaking Chinese, French, Arabic with non-Iraqi dialects, Dutch, Russian – barricaded, killing civilians, in high-rise buildings.

Throughout the campaign in Mosul, we have seen – and our people have been on the ground advising Iraqi forces – we have seen them put protection of civilians at the top of their campaign plan, and Iraqi soldiers have died because of that focus on protecting civilians.

65,000 square kilometers have been cleared of ISIS. Four million people have been freed from ISIS. In Iraq alone, 1.9 million people back in their homes. We have never seen anything like that in a post-conflict environment.

Nadia

The liberation of Nadia was delayed for a couple days as the ISIS terrorists were holed up in a building, and they had a number of civilians trapped in the basement. The Iraqi Security Forces could drop a bomb on that building, and it decided to work methodically to try to root out the terrorists from that building to save the civilians.

Anbar Province

Anbar province was a major war zone a year ago but now a million people are back in their homes. There is a ton of problems in Iraq and Syria, but the record where the coalition is operating by with and through local partners, not only ISIS has been defeated, but they are not able to come back, and people are returning to their communities to restore their life..

Tabqa

In Tabqa, a town liberated two weeks ago, the landmines have been cleared from the roads only days earlier. There we have a devastated community where people had been living under ISIS for over three years. They talk about the children and the brainwashing and all that has to happen for these communities to recover. There’s a very long way to go, but there is this global coalition to do all it can to help.

End of the road for ISIS

ISIS has not retaken a single square kilometer that has been freed in coalition-enabled operations. This is not a situation in which we have a military campaign, we’re going to clear territory, and then it can’t be held. Every single speck of land that has been retaken in coalition-enabled operations has held. ISIS has not retaken any of it. Other extremist groups have not come back to retake any of it.

Syria

The objective is to preserve the territorial integrity of Syria under Security Council Resolutions 2254. But you cannot take Syria as just one problem set, because there are different problems in different areas. So if you take the southwest, what we did there – and I think quite successfully – is a very painstaking negotiation with Jordan and with Russia and with us trilaterally to map out a very detailed – we call it a line of contact – between opposition and regime forces. And everybody agreed on that line of contact, and that is the ceasefire line.

Ceasefire line

The Russians have made clear they are very serious about this and willing to put some of their people on the ground to help monitor from the regime side. They do not want the regime violating this ceasefire, and President Putin and President Trump in Hamburg had a very important meeting to kind of lock all this down. So what has been done in the southwest is different than what has been tried in other areas.

Shooting down of Syrian plane

Since the shooting down of that Syrian plane, by necessity given what that plane was doing, there have been constructive military-to-military discussions – with the Russians about de-confliction arrangements.

Southwest Syria

There is an ISIS presence in the southwest. It’s right in the corner called the tri-border. It is – it’s an extremist group called Jaysh Khalid bin Walid and they have moved into part of this area, some months ago, and committed terrible atrocities, which ISIS does. There is need for a ceasefire in the southwest to root out those extremist remnants.

Syria is far more complicated than Iraq. There the US does not have a government to work with and that’s not going to change anytime soon. What the global coalition is trying to do vis-a-vis Syria is make sure that in areas in which it is operating and working with democratic forces, there are de-confliction arrangements in place so that there’s a clear delineation of territory to avoid incidents like the recent shooting down of a Syrian plane. The coalition is working hard with the Russians on those types of arrangements. It is also working with the Syrian Democratic Forces, to ensure people start returning to their communities and the forces continue to hold areas they have taken from ISIS.

The goal is to defeat ISIS and de-escalate the overall civil war. And that’s through arrangements of ceasefires, of de-confliction areas, so you can then begin a real, credible process to actually have a political settlement. So this will not happen in the immediate term, but that’s kind of the phased approach being taking.

 

GCC and coalition against ISIS

In terms of the situation within the GCC, there has been no impact on the counter-ISIS campaign. When it comes to professional military relationships within the GCC, there has been no impact. On political disagreements that are ongoing there, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is now working on that.

Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Shabaab and their connections to ISIS

As a military coalition, the focus is in Iraq and Syria. The Interpol is also there, as one of the newest members of the coalition. They’ve built a database now of 19,000 names. When a foreign terrorist fighter and his phone on the battlefield is found, there is a whole system to analyze that, confirm the names, share them with host – with coalition partner nations. A database for these people is being built. So any of these guys that came into Syria and slipped out before the noose was really tightened, all efforts are there to make sure that not only now but in the years ahead they can be tracked; they can be stopped at border posts; they could be stopped on a routine traffic stop.

Coalition session on Libya

A little bit of focus is also on West Africa. There were coalition sessions focused on Libya. In Libya there was kind of this hockey-stick-like growth of ISIS in Libya. The coalition has helped root out those areas and would continue to work with the Libyans on that.

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The Mosul campaign against ISIS will culminate soon

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It is our mission to ensure that any foreign fighter that joins this organization in Iraq and Syria dies in Iraq and Syria. We are not just going to push them from one area to another.

-Brett McGurk

Special Envoy of the US President for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS

Brett McGurk

Baghdad: The Iraqi forces, backed by the US and the global coalition to counter ISIS, are in the final stages of the Mosul campaign.

“About 250 meters or so are now left in Mosul against a suicidal enemy that is barricaded with civilians in buildings.”

This is how Brett McGurk, Special Envoy of the US President for the Global Coalition to counter ISIS described in a nutshell how the ISIS fighters now holed up in Mosul at a press conference here on Saturday (8 July 2017).

McGurk said almost every ISIS fighter we are finding now has a suicide vest on. They are killing civilians to defend themselves. This has been ongoing for months. So even 250 meters will remain difficult, but this will culminate soon.

Here in Iraq, we are in the final phase of the Mosul campaign, so that’s the immediate focus. But this campaign against ISIS is global, McGurk pointed out. The objective is not just about defeating ISIS. It’s about defeating the ideology that ISIS represents, it’s about liberating the population, and it’s about working with local actors to return people to their homes after ISIS. Restoring these communities, reconstructing these communities, is something that will take many years, he observed.

Even after Mosul, McGurk said, the fight against Daesh will not be over. It is the mission of the Government of Iraq to restore all of its sovereign territory, and reclaim all of its sovereign territory from Daesh. We are committed to helping Iraq reclaim all of its sovereign space. So we will help the Iraqi Security Forces in future operations. There is Tal Afar, there is al-Qaim, there is Western Anbar, where ISIS still retains a presence, and there is Hawija. So the one thing I will guarantee — and I think our record now speaks to this — ISIS will lose. Any territory they are still holding they will lose.

Describing the hurdles being encountered in the Mosul campaign, McGurk said the fighters in Mosul — almost all of them in ISIS — are wearing suicide vests. There is a large concentration of foreign fighters: Chechens, Uighurs, others from all around the world that came to Iraq to terrorize the Iraqi people are now holed up in this last section of Mosul. They are using civilians as human shields.

Further, McGurk explained, what mainly fueled ISIS, particularly in Iraq, was the injection of foreign fighters. Almost 40,000 foreign fighters from all around the world came into Syria. Many of them came into Iraq. These are mostly the suicide bombers, the snipers, the very hardened kind of units that we see on the battlefield. Many of these are foreign fighters. We have largely stopped the flow of foreign fighters flowing into Syria, and Turkey has been quite instrumental in that. And we continue to work very closely with them.

The effective tactics against Daesh require intelligence, local knowledge, a very good military plan on the ground to root them out. You don’t fight this enemy with ballistic missiles, the prsidential envoy observed.

In McGurk’s words: “The Mosul campaign has been a political campaign, a military campaign, a humanitarian campaign, and a stabilization campaign. The military campaign, I think at this point, speaks for itself. This has been a year-long campaign. It really started when the Iraqi Security Forces recaptured the Qayyarah West Air Base south of Mosul. That was about a year ago, and that has proceeded almost precisely on the plan that the Iraqi commanders and Prime Minister Abadi laid out, and laid out for our generals. And we have been very proud to help them. Step by step, this has proceeded almost according to plan.”

The Iraqi military has put civilian protection at the top of its campaign plan. This is one of the most difficult urban battles—and I defer to my military experts, many of whom are combat-hardened veterans. One of the most difficult urban campaign battles we have seen since World War II, particularly in the western side of the city, in these last phases of the campaign. Many of my military colleagues were recounting last night they have never seen anything like it. The heroism of the Iraqi Security Forces, which are fighting to liberate people in Mosul, taking casualties to liberate their citizens, and continuing to advance, has been remarkable and heroic, and we are proud to work with them.

McGurk spoke about the global coalition, almost 73 members, scheduled to gather in Washington, D.C. this week, with a focus on continuing to support the Government of Iraq in this very difficult effort. He also disclosed that he held discussions with the Prime Minister on Tuesday night on “their Vision 2030” about economic reform, about critical reconstruction needs. The US is working under the Strategic Framework Agreement that it has with Iraq to support those efforts, he added.

In Syria, McGurk said, the campaign to liberate Raqqa is now underway. Syrian Democratic Forces have penetrated into the old City of Raqqa. Similar to Mosul, step by step, block by block, ISIS is being defeated and is now totally isolated and surrounded in Raqqa.

On engagement with Russia on Syria, McGurk said this is something that nearly all of the coalition partners in the region have encouraged. Hence that engagement will continue. The US has worked out de-confliction arrangements with the Russian Federation, which is helping to enable and speed up the overall campaign against ISIS, and that is going fairly well. After the very important meeting between President Trump and President Putin in Hamburg, an arrangement for a ceasefire in Southwest Syria has been concluded, together with close partner Jordan,. This is the first step in a process for a more durable arrangement in Southwest Syria.

Inside Syria, McGurk said, it is our mission to ensure that any foreign fighter, anyone that came around the world thinking they would be able to sit here in Iraq or in Syria and terrorize the Iraqi people or the Syrian people, or plan and plot attacks against the United States, against our partners, against concert-goers in Manchester, against people trying to take a train, against people eating ice cream here in Baghdad, if they thought they were going to come here and then be able to go back to their home and live a safe life, they are mistaken.

On referendum, McGurk said the US has made its opposition to holding this referendum on September 25th quite clear. We have called on the Kurdistan Regional Government to reconsider the decision. And we urge on the pursuit of dialogue with the Central Government on the basis of the Iraqi constitution. All eyes right now must remain fixed on the enemy of Daesh, which is not defeated.

 

 

 

 

 

US House Foreign Affairs Committee backs Camp Liberty residents

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Camp libertyWashington DC: In a Markup hearing on Wednesday, the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs unanimously approved and referred to the House Floor, H.Res.650 titled, “Providing for the safety and security of the Iranian dissidents living in Camp Liberty/Hurriya in Iraq and awaiting resettlement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and permitting use of their own assets to assist in their resettlement.”

The Resolution calls on the United States to work with the Government of Iraq (GOI) to make sure personnel responsible for providing security for Camp Liberty are vetted and are not affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Qods Force or its surrogates.  The bill also calls on the U.S. and GOI, in coordination with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), help the residents sell their property and assets at Camps Ashraf and Liberty, which in turn can facilitate their resettlement.  The bill urges the above noted stakeholders to expedite the residents resettlement “according to the terms of the December 2011 MOU.”

“My goal is to get this quickly to the Floor of House of Representatives,” Committee Chairman, Ed Royce (R-CA) said after the hearing.  The Committee’s Ranking Member, Eliot Engel (D-NY) noted, “The residents of Camp Liberty deserve to live in dignity and without fear of violence,” calling last October’s rocket attacks on unarmed resident of the camp by Iranian government affiliated militia, “the height of cowardice.”

Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC-US) lauds Committee’s leadership on this initiative, and in particular appreciates the efforts of Congressmen Ted Poe (R-TX), for introducing the resolution. Our community is indebted also to the dozens of bi-partisan house members who with their time and efforts have helped ensure better security for the residents and further improved the prospective of safe resettlement for Camp Liberty residents.

The Committee’s expression of solidarity with the Iranian people is in direct contrast to the near record rise in the number of executions in Iran under Rouhani.  Despite the nuclear accord’s promises, deterioration of human rights in Iran since, speaks volumes of the fallacy of Iranian government moderation. The unanimous adoption of H.Res.650 on the other hand, is a strong signal that the United States Congress stands with the Iranian people.