Should Washington Embrace the Mojahedin khalq
(MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult)?
The Iraqi Government: Iranian Satrap or American Puppet?
(Rajavi a bargaining chip in Iraq)
... if Iran's grip were as powerful as Fisk claims, the MEK would have been completely removed from Camp Ashraf years ago. Yet the MEK still has its base there: Iraq's politicians are divided as to what should be the Iraqi government's stance towards the MEK. Although many Shi'a and Kurdish politicians want to remove the MEK, their reason for doing so is not to placate Iran. Rather, the desire to get rid of the MEK is rooted in the fact that the group is strongly disliked by many Iraqis for its alleged role in the Baathist suppression of the Shi'i and Kurdish uprisings during and after the First Gulf War ...
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, Hudson New York, July 10, 2011
When it comes to internal Iraqi politics, there is an alluring tendency to analyze events in terms of foreign forces at work in the country. For example, the Independent's Beirut-based columnist Robert Fisk disparages the Iraqi government as a "satrap of Iran," while on the other side, Daniel Pipes refers to officials like Jalal Talabani and Hoshyar Zebari as "America's kept politicians." Is either of these views correct? It can be tempting -- and in some ways useful -- to explain political turmoil within Iraq in terms of interference by neighboring countries and other foreign powers, and I admit to having done just that in "Iraq and the Middle Eastern Cold War," which examined how Iran and Saudi Arabia have been increasingly jostling for influence in Iraq since the beginning of the drawdown of U.S. troops in August of last year.
The hypotheses of both Fisk and Pipes, however, present problems. The Supreme Islamic Council – probably Iran's staunchest ally in Iraq -- only won 20 seats out of 325 in Iraq's parliament during the elections of March 2010. This result represents a significant drop in power and influence since the 2005 elections, when it emerged as the largest single political bloc. A key factor behind this development has been a perception among the Iraqi people -- including substantial parts of the Shi'a community -- that it is an agent working for Tehran, an allegation exploited by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in the 2008 provincial elections. Back then, al-Maliki urged Iraqis to vote only for candidates "who are loyal to Iraq" (al-Zaman, January 25, 2009). Such a tactic worked successfully in securing far more votes for his State of Law bloc than for the Supreme Islamic Council.
More recently, Iraqi security forces have commenced a military offensive with 2000 soldiers and police officers to launch a crackdown -- primarily in the southern province of Maysan -- on Iranian-backed Shi'i militias such as the "Hezbollah Brigades," which have been responsible for an ongoing surge in attacks on U.S. troops. With fourteen American soldiers killed in June, the U.S. armed forces have witnessed their bloodiest month in Iraq in three years. It would appear that the Iranian-backed militias are trying to claim credit for an impending pullout of U.S. troops as the Iraqi government continues to debate whether it should extend the 31 December 2011 withdrawal deadline stipulated by the Status of Forces Agreement.
Besides the offensive in Maysan -- soon to be extended to Basra -- the Iraqi security forces have increased their efforts to arrest militants and carry out patrols to prevent rocket and mortar attacks on American bases. This initiative has helped allay fears that al-Maliki would not act against the pro-Iranian militants, as some have ties with the Sadrists who run certain government ministries. The Sadrist governor of Maysan, Hakim al-Zamili, has criticized the administration in Baghdad for the offensive in Baghdad, arguing that the focus should be on Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad Al-Rafidayn (al-Qa'ida in Iraq). If the Iraqi government were really a satrap of Iran, it would surely be trying to devise excuses for not acting against the Hezbollah Brigades, and urging the Americans to hasten their withdrawal of troops from the country.
Some prefer to point to the actions of the Iraqi security forces against the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK—an Iranian exile group opposed to the Islamic Republic and based at Camp Ashraf, which is around 120 km west of the Iranian border) as evidence for strong Iranian influence on the Iraqi government, but in reality, the picture is much more complex. Undoubtedly, Iran desires a crackdown on the MEK, yet if Iran's grip were as powerful as Fisk claims, the MEK would have been completely removed from Camp Ashraf years ago. Yet the MEK still has its base there: Iraq's politicians are divided as to what should be the Iraqi government's stance towards the MEK. Although many Shi'a and Kurdish politicians want to remove the MEK, their reason for doing so is not to placate Iran. Rather, the desire to get rid of the MEK is rooted in the fact that the group is strongly disliked by many Iraqis for its alleged role in the Baathist suppression of the Shi'i and Kurdish uprisings during and after the First Gulf War. Other Iraqi political elites are either apathetic or prefer to leave the MEK alone. Figures in Ayad Allawi's opposition bloc, for instance, have asked the UN Security Council to protect the Iranian exiles in Camp Ashraf.
Also, trying to understand Iraq's internal dynamics in terms of the division between the "resistance" bloc led by Iran and Turkey and the "status-quo" bloc led by Saudi Arabia ultimately does not work. In particular, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Syria have always backed Ayad Allawi for the position of Prime Minister, whereas Iran and the United States supported al-Maliki in his eventually successful efforts to run for a second term as PM. Turkey's main concern has been to assert its own interests in Iraq, rather than accomplish shared objectives with Iran. Most notably, Turkey has constructed many dams along the Euphrates, reducing the river's water level in Iraq, thereby causing great problems for Iraqis dwelling near this vital water source. By building these dams, Turkey unfortunately has the potential to create future "oil-for-water" trade schemes with Iraq.
In a similar vein, while it is true that some Iraqi political figures such as Jalal Talabani have welcomed the pointlessly gargantuan U.S. embassy complex in Baghdad, there is no good evidence to support the accusation that Iraq's politicians are on Washington's payroll. Although the American embassy creates an unnecessary impression of a raw assertion of U.S. power, how does one explain why there has not yet been an agreement to extend the U.S. troop-presence as senior American military officials would like to see, assuming that Iraq's government consists of kept politicians? Further, it should be noted how the present Iraqi government has been formed. It has not been forged on Washington's terms. Instead, the compromise was settled by Massoud Barazani, who convened a meeting in Arbil last December of the factions that had hitherto been unable to reach an agreement since the March elections. Above all, the compromise has stressed notions of "national partnership" or "power sharing," such that political positions have been awarded on a strictly personal basis: Jalal Talabani is to remain president of Iraq for a second term; Nouri al-Maliki secured a place as prime minister, also for a second term. In the meantime, ministerial portfolios were given to respective partners of the two men -- but an office known as the "Supreme Council for Strategic Policies" was created, designed to placate Ayad Allawi and the al-Iraqiya bloc.
Make no mistake: the emphasis is on the personal level, as analysts such as Joel Wing of the blog Musings on Iraq* have pointed out. Political developments need to be understood in light of the personal power struggles and rivalries -- some of which go back decades -- within the ruling elite. This tendency explains why problems such as corruption and poor provision of public services have become so deeply entrenched within Iraqi society. Preoccupied with their own desires for political power, government officials have been reluctant to tackle the broader socio-economic challenges facing the nation. This indifference has, in turn, sparked off the protests that began at the very end of January and have generally received a lack of coverage in the Western media.
The Iraqi government is, therefore, neither a satrap of Iran nor a puppet for the United States, despite significant diplomatic and economic ties to Tehran and Washington. In short, it is evident that Baghdad is now doing whatever it wants, and we should not expect foreign pressures to change this course anytime soon.
* For the record, Joel Wing is one of the most informed commentators on developments in Iraq. His indefatigable ability to gather reports and news sources on the latest happenings -- as well as his willingness to answer queries -- has been of great value in pieces I have written here and here. Check out his blog.
Should Washington Embrace the MEK?
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, Hudson New York, April 19, 2011
What should be U.S. policy towards an Iranian opposition group known as the MEK, or, correctly, the Mujahideen-e-Khalq?
The issue has become relevant in light of recent developments: a raid by Iraqi security forces on the MEK's headquarters in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, has led to widespread concern that the Iraqi government under Nouri Al-Maliki is merely serving Iranian interests: the Iranian government had commended Iraq's prime minister for launching the assault on Camp Ashraf that cracked down on the Iranian opposition group, but with no U.S. intervention to avert what has been described as a "crime against humanity." With 33 residents of the camp reportedly killed and some 300 wounded, Iraq's leading opposition bloc -- the "Iraqiya" bloc of Ayad Allawi -- has asked the UN Security Council to help protect the exiles.
The question of support for the MEK was also highlighted by commentators such as Hussein Ibish, in the controversy over the Peter King hearings on radicalization among American Muslims. Specifically, Ibish argued that the hearings would be undermined and open to accusations of hypocrisy, as prominent advocates of the hearings such as Rudy Giuliani and Francis Townsend have been supporters or defenders of the MEK and have sought to remove the group's name from the State Department's list of designated terrorist organizations.
Ibish's point is valid; the MEK should not be declassified as a terrorist group, or for that matter receive any U.S. backing, for several reasons.
First, the group's claims to espouse secular liberal-democracy are little more than a farce. Its underlying ideology is an amalgam of Marxism and Islamism, resulting in what is essentially a totalitarian cult. As Human Rights Watch documented through interviews with former MEK members in 2005, dissent in the movement is not tolerated. Those in the group who criticize the leadership face solitary confinement and torture in secret MEK prisons for years on end. As is often true in that region, the MEK's actions speak louder than its rhetoric-to-Westerners. If one wants to believe that the MEK has reformed, one might as well trust Hamas's occasional declarations to the Western media that it is willing to recognize Israel's existence according to the pre-1967 borders, although it is a hostile belligerence, rather than a willingness t compromise, that characterizes Hamas's policies..
In keeping with its revolutionary ideological roots, the MEK has a long history of terrorism, notably in its support for the seizure of the U.S. embassy in 1979 by followers of Ayatollah Khomeini in the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution. The organization's subsequent falling out with the new Iranian regime in 1981 had nothing to do with ideological differences, but rather power politics. Upon seeing its influence marginalized by Khomeini, the group launched a series of terrorist attacks on clerics, ministers and civilians within Iran. Later, the MEK was granted a base in Iraq by Saddam Hussein, and there is strong evidence that the MEK assisted the Baathist regime in brutally suppressing the Kurdish uprisings in the north and the Shi'a revolt in the south after the First Gulf War. The only reason the MEK has not carried out any terrorist attacks in recent years is that it was disarmed in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Unsurprisingly, leaders and representatives of the opposition "Green" movement in Iran have explicitly expressed a desire to keep their distance from the MEK. Mohsen Kadivar and Ahmad Sadri recently wrote that if the U.S. were to remove the MEK from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, it would be a "disaster for the pro-democracy movement in Iran." It is not often that one hears the Green movement comment on aspects of U.S. policy towards Iran -- an indication of how serious the issue of the MEK is for the Iranian domestic opposition.
The other major problem is the question of practicality. Those who argue for backing the MEK because it would allegedly help destabilize the regime in Tehran give no specific recommendations, meanwhile affirming that they do not endorse the MEK as future rulers of Iran. Supporting the MEK, however, would presumably entail some form of rearmament.
The MEK has so far done little more for the U.S. than providing allegedly reliable intelligence on Iran's nuclear program. But has this impeded the regime's efforts to develop nuclear weapons? Suppose, however, that Washington does work with the MEK, which makes a claim to being the largest single Iranian opposition group; and that consequently the regime in Tehran is destabilized: Is there reason to think that the MEK would not seize power in the ensuing vacuum as their rightful reward? In such an event, from the perspective of U.S. interests, we would be back at square one. The MEK's ideological principles, hardly different from those of the current regime, dictate a policy of striving for regional hegemony. Why, for example, would the MEK, after coming to power, wish to discontinue the nuclear program?
Although the U.S. government should urge the Iraqi government to treat MEK members humanely, it must not remove the group from the list of terrorist organizations, or work with it in any way. Instead, we should welcome the UN Human Rights Council's (UNHRC) announcement last week that it will send a special investigator to monitor human rights in Iran. At least the US could put pressure on the UNHRC to send a special investigator to monitor and report on human rights in Iran.
This might at least start to vindicate the Obama administration's decision to rejoin the UNHRC, and would represent a victory over the Iranian government's relentless lobbying against the UNHRC's decision to send in a special investigator to monitor and report on human rights in Iran.
Iran might fear that such an investigation would destabilize its regime through international condemnation and isolation. As Patrick Clawson noted in a conference call with the Middle East Forum in November 2009, the regime's top concern is actually silencing the domestic opposition. The Iranian government worries that if the UN sends in a special investigator to monitor and report human rights in Iran, then what amounts to international condemnation and isolation will embolden the Green movement.
Both domestic opposition and the Stuxnet virus have impeded the progress of the nuclear program. Incidentally, I am not discounting a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities as a last resort; but in the end only regime change can put an end to Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons for the forseeable future -- far more than the MEK.
Mojahedin a bargaining chip in Iran - US negotiations
The transcribed version of BBC 2- News Night program on MKO
Mojahedin a bargaining chip in
Iran - US negotiations
(Video file, 23 MB)
(BBC TV, Newsnight, January 17 2007)
Mojahedin a bargaining chip in Iran - US negotiations
The transcribed version of BBC 2- News Night program on MKO
* * *
Mojahedin a bargaining chip in Iran - US negotiations
The transcribed version of BBC 2- News Night program on MKO
For two decades it was one of the oddest armies on the earth.
Prevailed to overthrow the ayatollahs in Iran, The widow Maryam Rajavi stuck amongst fanatical devotion. She is accused by some of running a crew, a manipulative cult.
The America which protects the now-disarmed fighters in Iraq can’t decide what to do about them, it runs the people Mujahedin, also known as MEK or MKO as terrorists but according to some politicians it is still a potential ally.
Bob Filner (Democrat):
I know the MEK supports a secular democratic, non nuclear Iran. What's there to oppose them? We should be a help to them in any way we can.
The Mujahedin's position in Iraq now is a desperate uncomfortable one. Just north of Baqdad you find Ashraf in a vast desert. This land was given to them by Saddam Hussein but the new Iraqi government wants them out. And even though President Bush has so far rejected propose to talk to Iran. American policy makers believe the Mujahedin would actually have to be scarified for better relations with Iran.
Iran and the US need to work together to stabilize Iraq which will be disastrous for both countries if it's led to civil war. We also have the nuclear negotiations which are very very delicate and we don’t want the MKO to make muddy those already troubled waters. The other matter is that the US does need to take charges against the MKO that is a terrorist organization.
We are in a house in the suburb of Leeds.
Ann Singleton and her husband Masud also are ex-Mujahedin activists who now campaign against the movement that commanded them absolute loyalty for twenty years. She joined MKO when she was a student in Manchester University in the late 1970's when the students believed that they can change the world.
Ann Singleton :
The only organization which I had access to directly and that would actually going out to doing something was the Mujahedin. They would ask for donations of course and that is how they recruited the crew I guess. The process started with me. They would ask for money and I would give them more than that they asked for to show them my commitment.
Mujahedin began as a guerrilla group fighting the shah of Iran. Along side the followers of Ayatollah Khomeini, they succeeded to overthrow the Pahlavies in 1979.
But afterwards ayatollah Khomeini was not willing to share the power with them. Mujahedin rose to debate him but they were defeated.
From then on the organization was bored with the Islamic Republic. Hundred of Iranian officials were killed or wounded by Mujahedin's bombs. In one attack the country's current supreme leader Ayatollah Khameneiee lost his right arm.
In several times in the 1980's these fighters invaded Iran from Iraq. Meanwhile thousands of Mujahedin members were executed in Iranian jails. The leader of the organization and many supporters fled to the West.
Ali Safavi who works for Muajhedin's umbrella organization, NCRI, he has convinced many politicians that this movement which has left violence is a democratic alternative to the Islamic Republic:" All accusations against them" he says " are organized by Iran".
"they view the people 's Mujahedin as an existential threat because they know that the Mujahedin has a large support among the Iranian people and that is why they have spent no effort in fight to illegalize the Mujahedin by engaging in a massive expensive propaganda Campaign to demonize the Muajhedin.
But there is no evidence that Abbas Sadeqinejad relates to Iranian intelligence. This former Mujahedin member who now lives in Germany with his family that he thought he had lost for ever when he fled Iran. The years when he stayed in Camp Ashraf he believed what the Mujahedin had told him that his wife and his new born daughter were dead.
"they told me that they set two people to find my wife and one of them was killed by the Regime but they said that they persued my case with a second and they found out that my wife had died when giving birth to my daughter . That’s how they cut my ties with my family. Same time, they told my wife that I was killed by the Regime as I was leaving the country.
"Psychological manipulation" as described to Newsnight by many interviewed former members. This part of the system of control by Masud Rajavi and his new wife Maryam was established in Iraq in the 80's and 90's. They launched what they called "Ideological Revolution". The women got key jobs. The announcement of sexual feelings became forbidden and divorce became obligatory.
they decreed that every member should divorce. All your thought and feeling and energy, your whole being have to be devoted to the Rajavis. That was a forced system of reporting, any erotic fantasy they had for example they have aroused by sister so so or by what's his name brother. They were expected to tell everything totally open, any thing was in your mind or you feel with your heart.
Reporter: were all members forced to divorce?
Safavi: No, every individual member of the Mojahedin decided on his own to forget family life, those who were married of course.
Reporter: all of them?
Safavi: yes. Yes. All of them.
- So every single married member in Ashraf at that time made the voluntary decision to divorce or forget the family life?
-How many people where there?
-I don’t exactly know what the number was but hundreds people ,yes every member of the hundreds.
- Hundreds. Every single one voluntarily to divorce!
- Isn't it implausible to see that hundreds of members, all voluntarily take a decision to divorce?
-Not at all.
The level of devotion expended to the members' squirm of suicide feared European citizens in 2003. To protest the temporary arrest of Maryam Rajavi
. The Newsnight has serious accounts that in the 1990's those who seemed less reliable were tortured in the confinement of the organization's Camp in Iraq.
Sadeqi: they hit my knees so hard…. He pulled my hair and said that he would teach me a lesson I would never get. He put handcuff on me and hung me from my right hand…. I shouted why you are hitting a member of the organization. But they hung me like that for twenty minutes. …
Mujahedin were the guests for Saddam Hussein in 1980's when he was the ally in war with Iran of the West. He offered them the most convenient bases. It was certain that their association with the Iraqi traitor would become their big terrible trouble. In the 1990's after the Iraq invaded Kuwait, Saddam became the West's enemy. Meanwhile in 1997,when the new reformist president Muhammad Khatami was elected in Tehran, in that year America listed the Mujahedin as terrorists, something that weakened their abilities to work on fund raising in West. Some believe that the move was a coquetry just to appease Iran.
There was definitely a debate within the US government. As to whether or not the MKO should be added to the list but the ultimate decision that was made was that the US needs to be consistent at the application of its standards. That no country would take the US seriously if the only groups that are put on the list of terrorists were the groups who are at war with the US and its allies.
In 2001, the US attacked Afghanistan. Both America and Iran after the remove of Taliban had a reason to talk. One of the deals the officials looked around was that the US and Iran talk about the existence of Mujahedin.
Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson:
We had some intelligence, indicated that some key senior officials of AlQaida might have gone to Iran. Just casual conversations suggested that Iran should be willing to turn over those AlQaida figures and we had to give them a probe and whenever speaking of the pre-proposed proba MEK was there. It happened around discussions almost all the time because it was clear that Iran is very concerned about the MEK.
Laurence Wilkerson and his boss Collin Powell weren’t sure how high in the Iranian government the approach came from. They didn’t listen to the offer but a year and a half later there was a better chance to deal.
After the US-led invasion of Iraq, Iran sent Washington a secret letter proposing talks.
Here, we have a copy of the letter; it's not signed but the State Department understood that it came with the approval of the highest authorities in Tehran and that offers exactly what many in Washington, believe America should have been seeking from Iran.
Tehran offered to use its influence to support stabilization in Iraq and to have full transparency on its nuclear programme and remarkably end the military support to the militant Lebanese group Hezbollah and aid to the Palestinian Hamas. In return it wanted t US to halt hostile behavior, abolition of all sanctions and specifically pursuit of the Mujahedin and repatriation of their members.
Wilkerson: and we thought, it was precious moment to do that. I think the Secretary of State and Deputy of the Secretary of State just thought at the same time but when it got to the White House and to the Vice-President's Office, the old mantra that we don’t talk to the evils which includes the guy of Pyongyang, North Korea and includes the guy of Tehran, Iran. Reasserted itself and to our embarrassment, State as far as I'm concerned the cable that I saw go back to the Swiss, ashly upbraided the Swiss to being so bold and audacious to present such a proposal to us on behalf of Iran.
It was the Zenith of American strength in the region, a natural time for republicans of the White House to wonder if the regime change in Iraq could be followed by the regime change in Iran
Mujahedin obvious allies in a research campaign have been bombed by the US during the invasion in Iraq and afterwards the State Department ordered Them to be disarmed but the especial Pentagon forces sent to perform that task found out so instantly how useful the exiled fighters could be.
Military Lawyer (Vivian Gembara): they were a formidable fighting force there, I mean but it was not the best equipped force that we have ever seen. A Force which is led by women. It's such a unique: I mean it sounds like almost fiction.
And the US army's instant infatuation with Muajhedin fully were recruited a very pragmatic force that was so loyal to Saddam, now apparently wanted to serve America in any way it could.
Military lawyer: we wanted to disband them essentially and that was what we had a problem with because they still wanted to work with us.
Back in Washington the state of Department wasn’t interested…
Wilkerson: everyday from Monday to Friday we had meetings at the State Department from 8:30 and one of the questions that came up almost everyday was what we have to do with the MEK, the MEK were still wondering around Iraq, still they had their arms .they are still a cohesive body of people saying what's happening? They're a terrorist organization we declare them ourselves. The President, himself does agree that we should do something about the MEK but nothing is happening. The Defense Department doesn’t do any thing. By their actions, I must say that Secretary of Defense and his underlings and the Vice President's Office must have thought that the MEK might prove the fruitful instrument in the future and therefore they don’t want to take any drastic action against the MEK.
President Bush has now relinquished the services of the former Defense Secretary Donald Ramsfeld but Newsnight understands that still the strong pro-Mujahedin lobby within the administration, one of the possibilities ,apparently have been concerning is to use the group as a go-between to help American forces reach outs to Sunni insurgence.
Meanwhile in Europe the charismatic leader of the Iranian resistance Maryam Rajavi has been rallying among her supporters with talking of victory. The Mujahedin have just wanted the Judgment of European court of justice on freezing their assets that they believe it’s the first step to removing the terrorist tag, that still haunts them. Though their last attack was in 1999 and they have since renounced any military role.
Ali Safavi: Instead of tying engaged with Mullahs in Tehran the international community has to reach out to the democratic opposition and the very opposition which by the key reveal allegations on the Iran's nuclear weapons program. In some sense really the international community and the Western countries owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Mujahedin.
In fact there's no more much sign of support for the Mujahedin in Iran. Since they moved to Iraq they've been widely regarded as traitors. The disbanding of the group plays as the key goal for Tehran. In the short term chances of the US-Iranian relations is very little. President Ahmadinejad and President Bush both talk with the language of confrontation but many in Washington regret that.
Wilkerson: I think the failure of the US to make some sort of meaningful overtures to Tehran has been a terrible mistake that has put Iran in a strategic position in the Middle East that she couldn’t have gained by her own magi. We have through our inaptitude and our refusal of the talk, it is certainly giving Iran the cat-bird seat in the region.
Published by the Mujahedin's latest promotional material, the 3500 remaining residents of Ashraf deprived of their military role enjoy a cultural life in the middle of the Iraqi desert. They even revived their own form of dance.
The organization believe that they can survive here under the protection of Geneva and again one day play a big role in the Iranian political scene but as Tehran strengthens its influence in Iraq and the US runs an eventual plan the Mujahedin's time must have been running out.
Mojahedin a bargaining chip in
Iran - US negotiations
(Video file, 23 MB)
(BBC TV, Newsnight, January 17 2007)
New U.S. approach to Mojahedin-e Khalq (MKO, MEK) in Camp Ashraf overlooks the victims’ human rights
... The problem is not the name of Camp Ashraf or the name MEK. The Rajavi’s cannot simply re-name, re-brand or even relocate their group for political expediency and expect the ‘members’ to continue as their slaves. To solve this problem (before the question of whether they want to work for or against anyone) the residents must be given access to the outside world, to their families, to media, communications, get paid for their work and have access to the post office, cinema, marriage registry, birth registry, police station, legal aid, courts and legal bodies of the country they are living in etc. Nine years after the fall of Saddam ...
Attitudes are slowly crystallising and shifting over what should be done about the MEK, with the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey introducing a new and positive approach in U.S. dealings with the group in Iraq. But the July 4 Miami Herald article ‘Iranian dissidents in Iraq want refuge in 3rd country’ , also highlights the danger that various elements are still trying to derive their own benefits from the MEK even though the demise of Camp Ashraf has become inevitable. Of course you would need to ask those involved what they each hope to get out of such a defunct group.
Ambassador James Jeffrey, addressing only MEK leaders, has urged them to “‘dissolve’ their paramilitary organization and become refugees someplace else in Iraq”. In its turn the MEK itself has already threatened to massacre its own members if any external body interferes in the camp. Jeffrey added that the group "really believe that the U.N. and the United States will protect them forever." Well, they have good reason to believe that to be so.
Trita Parsi’s timely article Washington's Favorite Terrorists exposed U.S. hypocrisy in dealing with the MEK in Washington. But we may very well see a similar level of support continuing in Iraq. The obvious way this would manifest would be for the MEK to be taken (en masse) inside a U.S. military base and held there until further notice. This would protect the group from Iraqi attempts to expel them from the country, and also obviate the need for the U.N. to enter Camp Ashraf and rescue the individual residents from their enforced imprisonment by the MEK leadership.
The wholesale transfer of the residents of Camp Ashraf would truly be a human rights disaster. The sooner it is acknowledged that Rajavi is nobody’s representative but his own, the sooner the victims of the MEK will be helped.
From the hardliners in Iran who want to keep their dangerous foreign backed enemy, to the neoconservatives in the U.S. who want to keep the hatred between Iran and the west (as the neocon version of Holocaust denial, the fact that the MEK has killed so many Iranians is what feeds this hatred), to Iraqi internal factions which want to use the MEK for attacking other factions, to Europeans who still believe the MEK are a useful bargaining chip with Iran or can be used to influence the internal affairs of Iraq. All these have an interest in keeping the MEK intact. None wants the dissolution of the camp or the organisation. They all want to stop the camp being disbanded because they are using the MEK for their own various agendas.
The problem is that without taking the necessary action to access the individual residents of the camp they are essentially being left in the ownership of the Rajavis and their backers. In this respect where are the human rights organisations which should be directly involved in helping these victims? What attempts have the U.N. made to actually get inside the camp and have free access to the residents? Human Rights Watch published its ‘No Exit’ report in 2005 which was laudable, but what have they done since then? Amnesty International still prefers to think of the MEK as an entity and ignore the existence of the individuals in the camp. What has AI said about the internal problems of the residents; the daily violations and abuses of their basic human rights?
The problem is not the name of Camp Ashraf or the name MEK. The Rajavi’s cannot simply re-name, re-brand or even relocate their group for political expediency and expect the ‘members’ to continue as their slaves. To solve this problem (before the question of whether they want to work for or against anyone) the residents must be given access to the outside world, to their families, to media, communications, get paid for their work and have access to the post office, cinema, marriage registry, birth registry, police station, legal aid, courts and legal bodies of the country they are living in etc.
Nine years after the fall of Saddam and the disappearance of the cult leader it is not acceptable for a U.S. official to simply try to move the group from one part of the world to the other part without the slightest concern about the human rights of the captives there.
Camp Ashraf and the Mojahedin Khalq
Iran Interlink Third Report from Baghdad
... Iran-Interlink representative Anne Singleton travelled to Iraq mid April at the invitation of the Baghdad based human rights NGO Baladiyeh Foundation, officials of the Government of Iraq and other NGOs involved in the Camp Ashraf problem. The Baladiyeh Foundation, headed by Mrs Ahlam al-Maliki, provides humanitarian assistance to a wide range of deprived sectors of Iraqi society arising directly from the invasion and occupation of Iraq by allied forces in 2003. Baladiyeh Foundation is concerned by the humanitarian crisis at Camp Ashraf caused by the group’s leaders who are refusing to allow access to human rights organisations to verify the wellbeing of all of the camp’s residents ...
Iran Interlink, April 2011
Further information can be found at www.camp-ashraf.com .
Jalal Talibani: Committee formed to shut Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult) Ashraf camp
... Iraq's President Jalal Talabani says a committee has been formed to shut down a camp belonging to the anti-Iran terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO). “The government of Iraq will do all it can to prevent terrorism. We should attempt to close down MKO terrorists' Ashraf Camp and we shall remove all those people. Those who are willing will go back to Iran. Others will go wherever they want to,” Talabani said in a speech during an anti-terrorism conference in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Saturday. Talabani pointed out that the committee was formed by Iran, Iraq and the International Red Cross, reiterating that the camp would be closed by the end of 2011 ...
Press TV, Tehran, June 25, 2011
Iraq's President Jalal Talabani, file photo
Iraq's President Jalal Talabani says a committee has been formed to shut down a camp belonging to the anti-Iran terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO).
“The government of Iraq will do all it can to prevent terrorism. We should attempt to close down MKO terrorists' Ashraf Camp and we shall remove all those people. Those who are willing will go back to Iran. Others will go wherever they want to,” Talabani said in a speech during an anti-terrorism conference in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Saturday.
“A committee has been formed to shut down Camp Ashraf in order to help establish security for our neighbors,” he went on to say.
Talabani pointed out that the committee was formed by Iran, Iraq and the International Red Cross, reiterating that the camp would be closed by the end of 2011.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari also said during a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi earlier that the camp would be shut down and its members would leave Iraq by the end of 2011.
The MKO is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community and is responsible for numerous acts of terror and violence against Iranian civilians and government officials.
The group fled to Iraq in 1986, where it enjoyed the support of Iraq's executed dictator Saddam Hussein and set up Camp Ashraf near the Iranian border.
The organization is also known to have cooperated with Saddam in suppressing the 1991 uprisings in southern Iraq and the massacre of Iraqi Kurds.
Iran has repeatedly called on the Iraqi government to expel the group, but the US has been blocking the expulsion by pressuring the Iraqi government.
Iran is among the victims of terrorism as more than 17,000 Iranians, including senior officials, have lost their lives in various terror attacks since the victory of the Islamic Revolution some thirty years ago.
Out of the 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist attack, 12,000 of them have fallen victim to acts of terror carried out by the MKO.
Iraq - France relations strained over Washington backed terrorist group event in Paris
(aka;Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult)
... The Iraqi government summoned the French ambassador to Baghdad to protest at Paris for hosting a conference of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) where the terrorist group raised unfounded allegations against Baghdad. "To affect the international community and attract international support, the MKO has claimed that the Iraqi government has killed 35 members of the group and injured 350 others," the Iraqi government said on Monday. "But, this is a sheer lie and Baghdad has not carried out such an action," the statement added. The Iraqi people have announced their opposition to the presence of the MKO members ...
(Cult leader Massoud Rajavi)
Nakhel News, Baghdad, June 20, 2011
Translated by Fars News
link to the original report (Arabic)
Iraqi Gov't Summons French Envoy over MKO Accusations
The Iraqi government summoned the French ambassador to Baghdad to protest at Paris for hosting a conference of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) where the terrorist group raised unfounded allegations against Baghdad.
"To affect the international community and attract international support, the MKO has claimed that the Iraqi government has killed 35 members of the group and injured 350 others," the Iraqi government said on Monday.
"But, this is a sheer lie and Baghdad has not carried out such an action," the statement added.
The Iraqi people have announced their opposition to the presence of the MKO members in their country and have long staged protest rallies in front of the MKO's main training camp in the Northern Diyala province to condemn the US-backed presence of the terrorist group in their country.
In a most recent case, a group of Iraqi people gathered outside Camp Ashraf in May, and called for the expulsion of the terrorist group from the country's soil.
The Baghdad government has assured the Iraqi people that it is determined to expel the MKO from Iraq by the end of 2011.
The family members and relatives of the members of the MKO have also gathered outside the terrorist group's main training camp in Iraq for more than a year now.
The MKO ringleaders have already adopted numerous measures to confront those relatives who have camped outside the Camp of New Iraq (formerly known as Camp Ashraf) in Iraq's Northern province of Diyala.
The MKO ringleaders have not allowed a visit between the group's members and their families.
After MKO ringleaders saw the number of defectors were increasing, they resorted to harsher measures and tried to haunt down fugitives in violation of their agreement with the Baghdad government which bans any activity or trafficking of the group members beyond the camp boundaries.
And after the Baghdad government failed to persuade the terrorist group to respect the agreement terms, it ordered the Iraqi Army to tighten control on the camp to prevent any illegal trafficking or infiltration, but the MKO attacked the Iraqi guards and killed and wounded many of them.
An Iraqi commander who was present on the scene of clashes in early April revealed later that the MKO sparked the armed conflict with the Iraqi security forces responsible for guarding the camp in a move to kill its dissident members during the clashes.
According to a report published by the website of the Habilian association in mid April - a human rights group formed of the family members and relatives of the Iranian victims of terrorism - the Iraqi commander, who was speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the move by the MKO was not unprecedented since the group had previously forced its dissident members to start armed clashes with the Iraqi forces.
"The MKO's foremost front was formed of the dissident members of the group during the recent clash. They were forced to be there and be killed," the Iraqi commander reiterated.
But, in an astonishing move which substantiated the West's double-standard policies on human rights and terrorism, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called on Iraq to ignore the illegal activities of the MKO, including its armed clashes with the Iraqi soldiers.
The European Union has lately changed approach towards the terrorist MKO in a move to pressurize Iran to stop its progress in the civilian nuclear technology.
Some ranking members of the MKO who have had a role in the assassination of a large number of Iranian citizens and officials are currently living in France.
Before an overture by the EU, the MKO was on the European Union's list of terrorist organizations subject to an EU-wide assets freeze. Yet, the MKO puppet leader, Maryam Rajavi, who has residency in France, regularly visited Brussels and despite the ban enjoyed full freedom in Europe.
The MKO is behind a slew of assassinations and bombings inside Iran, a number of EU parliamentarians said in a recent letter in which they slammed a British court decision to remove the MKO from the British terror list. The EU officials also added that the group has no public support within Iran because of their role in helping Saddam Hussein in the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-1988).
Many of the MKO members abandoned the terrorist organization while most of those still remaining in the camp are said to be willing to quit but are under pressure and torture not to do so.
Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult) Violence against members' families
... The images you see below show the eastern part of Ashraf Cultic garrison. Every day at this part, some of the brainwashed members of the “ destructive mind-control Cult of Rajavi”, covering their faces ; target the suffering families -who are awaiting their beloved ones’ visit eagerly – by strings and catapults. On these photos one can see the families trying to invite the brainwashed elements to talk friendly instead of throwing stones. Although the only way the MKO cultic system is acquainted with is: “violence” no matter against whom. It is said that some of these people are Iraqi mercenaries who are stationed inside the camp through ...
Sahar Family Foundation, June 09, 2011
Translated by Nejat Society
Link to the original report (Persian)
The images you see below show the eastern part of Ashraf Cultic garrison.
Every day at this part, some of the brainwashed members of the “ destructive mind-control Cult of Rajavi”, covering their faces ; target the suffering families -who are awaiting their beloved ones’ visit eagerly – by strings and catapults.
On these photos one can see the families trying to invite the brainwashed elements to talk friendly instead of throwing stones.
Although the only way the MKO cultic system is acquainted with is: “violence” no matter against whom.
It is said that some of these people are Iraqi mercenaries who are stationed inside the camp through whom the organization puts forward its sabotage and crisis mongering operations inside Iraq.
Families have lodged a complaint along with strong documents against the leadership of the MKO to the judiciary system of Iraq; although it may be blocked by US agents and other related elements, the same as other complaints and documents.