FOB Grizzly is a military base that is part of Camp Ashraf in Iraq. It is also known by its former names Spartan, Red Lion or Barbarian. It is only 20 km away from the borders with Iran and 60 km from Baghdad. The name is given after the calling sign of one of the hosting units, who used to refer to a grizzly due to the bear from the Californian flag. On the other hand, Camp Ashraf was named after a popular political prisoner who was slaughtered by the Iranians. She became a martyr then. These days, the camp is a refugee camp in Iraq, hosting Iranian refugees.
Camp Ashraf currently hosts the largest oppositional group against the Iranian government – MEK. The group is placed on the list of terrorist organizations by the United States of America government, although the Americans don’t realize that its actions revealed the nuclear activity of Iran. As a matter of fact, when invading Iraq, the American troops even attacked some of the MEK bases. The MEK bases in Iraq were built as Saddam Hussein decided to provide the Iranian fighters with some headquarters and a few bases. He allowed the troops to raise six such bases on the Iraqi territories. They were equipped with tanks and heavy artillery and gunnery weapons. Most of them were taken from the Iranians during the conflict between these two countries. They were also allowed to conduct special operations against the Iranian government from Iraq.
In 2003, the Americans invaded Iraq. FOB Grizzly was among the first targets, as well as the entire Camp Ashraf. Although they didn’t have any reason at all for these attacks, they launched multiple air strikes. No actions were taken against the abusive actions, especially since the MEK community was protected by a Geneva act. After negotiating a cease fire agreement with the Americans, the MEK troops were secretly invaded again and all their weapons were taken away, while the ammunition was destroyed. During this entire conflict, no MEK bullet ever aimed an American soldier. More than 4000 members were targeted as terrorists, placing MEK on the FTO list right away.
Modern age abuses
The Americans consolidated the camp and built a few forward operating bases around it to maintain the control. FOB Grizzly was just one of them. In the first day of 2009, the US forces allowed the new Iraqi government to take over Camp Ashraf. With all these, they are still anxious about leaving the site. With the pretext that they want to make sure the MEK population is treated accordingly, they decided to leave a few troops behind for peace operations.
However, since the new Iraqi government was actually placed up there by the Americans, the abusive actions over FOB Grizzly didn’t stop. In 2009, the Iraqi forces tried to establish a police station on site without letting the MEK troops know about it. As they disagreed, the Iraqi police raided the camp a few times, resulting in killing many of the opponents.