Executive Intelligence Review (EIR), January 04 2018:… Al Arabiya, the Saudi-owned news network, has a suggestion: the National Council For the Resistance In Iran, the political front for the terrorist Mujahadeen e-Khalq Organization (MeK or MKO). The MeK was on the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations from 1997 to 2012 because of its decades- long history of violence and terrorism …
Saudis Back Terrorist MeK as ‘Alternative’ in Iran
(aka Maryam Rajavi cult, MKO, Saddam’s private army …)
Jan. 3, 2018 (EIRNS)—One of the striking characteristics of the past week of protests in Iran is the apparent lack of a leadership organization behind them. The Green Movement that lead the protests against the tainted presidential election of 2009, mostly made up of the reformist faction, has remained absent this time around, with the reformist leaders mostly distancing themselves from the protesters. There doesn’t appear to be a government-in-waiting that those who dream of “regime-change” in Tehran can install in place of the ayatollahs. However, Al Arabiya, the Saudi-owned news network, has a suggestion: the National Council For the Resistance In Iran, the political front for the terrorist Mujahadeen e-Khalq Organization (MeK or MKO). The MeK was on the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations from 1997 to 2012 because of its decades- long history of violence and terrorism, including against Americans in the 1970’s.
This history apparently is no obstacle to Saudi support of the MeK as an alternative political leadership for Iran, however.
“The ongoing protests in different cities against the regime reveal the explosive state of Iranian society and the people’s desire for regime change,” Al Arabiya quotes NCRI president Maryam Rajavi as saying. Rajavi added that the
“Iranian people demand the overthrow of the ruling religious dictatorship. It is their right to topple this repressive regime. And I emphasize: Regime change in Iran is within reach.”
Al Arabiya gushes that Rajavi’s ten-point plan for Iran
“is a clear blueprint for a free and democratic Iran void of nuclear weapons; in peace and harmony with its neighbors and the rest of the world; upholds women’s rights and the rights of ethnic and religious minorities in the country and many more progressive plans for Iran.”
Al Arabiya further reports that the MeK
“has put to use its widespread network inside Iran and its satellite TV Simay-Azadi’s citizen reporters are sending their video and internet messages of Iran’s cities to the world 24/7.”
In the United States, the neo-conservatives have long seen the MeK as a tool for overthrowing the government of Iran and the religious clerics who dominate it. They waged a long campaign for the delisting of the MeK as a terrorist group, which finally succeed in 2012 when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement claiming that they had renounced violence. The neo-cons’ relationship with the MeK continues to this day, as was shown in August when three senior Republican members of the U.S. Senate—Roy Blunt (Mo.), John Cornyn (Tex.), and Thom Tillis (N.C.)—met with Rajavi in Tirana, Albania, in August of 2017.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani raised the issue of the MeK in a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron, yesterday. Rouhani bluntly told Macron that the MeK, which has maintained its headquarters in Paris for decades, must be shut down.
“We expect the French government to take its legal responsibility to combat terrorism and violence,” said Rouhani, criticizing the allowance of a terrorist group maintaining a base in Paris, operating against the Iranian people, and provoking and persuading people to take violent actions in Iran, according to Tasnim.
Salman meets al-Sadr (After supporting Mojahedin Khalq, against Iran and Fethullah Gulen against Turkey)
Madawi Al-Rasheed, Middle East Eye, August 06 2017:… Mohammed bin Salman’s strategy to reach out to opposition groups in Iraq may echo his bid to support multiple opposition movements to his rivals. After supporting the Iranian Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and more recently reaching out to Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen in Pennsylvana, the crown prince’s strategy may backfire. His rivals in Iran, Turkey and even Iraq have at …
Salman meets al-Sadr: Saudi Arabia in search of an Iraqi Shia nationalist
By seeking to court the leading Shia politician, the Saudi crown prince is stirring up conflict within Iraq’s Shia factions but he could be playing with fire
On 30 July Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomed controversial Iraqi Shia leaderMuqtada al-Sadr.
This is not Sadr’s first visit since the 2003 American occupation. He arrived in Riyadh in 2006 at the height of the Iraqi resistance to the occupation and the Iraqi civil war. But the visit was unsuccessful then. It yielded little benefits to either side. Like other aspiring clerics turned politicians, Sadr entered Iraqi politics with his own Jaysh al-Mahdi militia that later changed its name to the Peace Brigades.
Mohammed bin Salman is building on a new strategy to lure the controversial but famous and influential Shia cleric into Riyadh’s orbit
Saudi Arabia grew very frustrated over the Iranian expansion in Iraq after 2003 and found itself constantly backing losing Iraqi horses. From patronising Sunni tribal chiefs in 2005 as part of al-Tawafuq electoral list to backing the Iraqi Sunni-Shia coalitions under Iyad Allawi in 2010, Saudi efforts to find an entry into post-Saddam Iraqi politics led to further frustration amounting to hostility on several occasions.
Saudi relations with Iraq deteriorated so much during Nouri al-Maliki’s premiership with Iraq bluntly accusing Saudi Arabia of sponsoring terrorism and precipitating a sectarian war in Iraq as a result of its Wahhabi ideology and the Saudi jihadis found in Iraq. Only in 2015 did a Saudi ambassador return to Iraq after almost 25 years of absence.
Sadr’s recent visit to Jeddah is a break from past Saudi practices and strategies. Mohammed bin Salman and his Trump administration backers want to limit Iranian expansion in the Arab world without outright military confrontation with Iran or its various militia that operate in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.
An ally against Iran
Consequently bin Salman is building on a new strategy to lure the controversial but famous and influential Shia cleric into Riyadh’s orbit. If he decides not to boycott the 2018 Iraqi elections, Sadr and his Sadrist movement, popular among the poor of Baghdad’s Madinat al-Sadr and the south, will need all the support he can summon against his Shia rivals, for example the Dawa Party and other weaker Iraqi secularists, both appealing to the aspiring Iraqi middle classes.
Sadr’s relations with Iran have always been tense and he never enjoyed the full support of either Iranian officials or the grand ayatollahs of Qum. The first despised his Arabness and erratic politics while the latter resented his unwillingness to endorse the theory of Wilayat al-Faqih, or rule of the jurists, which is at the heart of the establishment of the Islamic republic.
Although he descends from a family of Shia religious scholars, Sadr is not an established theologian and has no high training that would allow him to become an ayatollah one day.
Mohammed bin Salman and his Washington advisers may have reached the conclusion that a Shia-Shia civil war in Iraq is the only way to roll back Iranian influence
Saudi Arabia is desperate to find an Iraqi Shia Arab nationalist. Mohammed bin Salman is counting on Sadr, who is known for propagating Arabness together with his anchorage in Shiism.
Sadr is the son of the famous Arab Shia grand ayatollah, Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, who was assassinated in 1999. He is the son-in-law of another grand ayatollah, Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr. While the Sadr family has its origins in Lebanon, they had been in Najaf in Iraq for a very long time. They were at the centre of religious learning in the hawza (study circles) of Najaf, which had been the main centre of Shia theologians before Qum in Iran.
Mohammed bin Salman and his Washington advisers may have reached the conclusion that a Shia-Shia civil war in Iraq is the only way to roll back Iranian influence and wean Iraqis off the unprecedented support that Iran had lent the government in its fight against al-Qaeda and later the Islamic state.
With the fall of Mosul, most of the credit has gone to Iran and its sponsored militia on the ground in Iraq. Its role is destined to grow further rather than shrink, unless a new Shia civil war materialises and splits Iraqis along fault lines that had tormented them throughout their history in the 20th century.
The fault lines amount to a form of schizophrenia, as Iraqis have yet to reconcile their Shiism with their Arabism. According to Loulouwa al-Rachid, Iraqi specialist at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, Arabism and Shiism are in Iraqi blood – Saddam Hussein didn’t invent this split identity and it will keep dividing the Iraqi body politic.
In the post-1958 revolution era, it had other labels: Arabist vs Iraqist/communists. Today, the outcome of this struggle depends on whom or which region in Iraq controls the post-Baathist state.
Patronising Muqtada al-Sadr is part of a plan to divide the Shia zones of Iraq between those which are allies of Iran and those which resent its takeover of their country in the last 14 years
If it’s the deeply tribal and underdeveloped Shia south, Iraq will definitely tilt toward Arabism. There they hate Iran, and memories of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s are still very strong since their sons were killed by Khomeinists and Iraqi exiles. If the balance tilts toward the Shia Islamist Hizb al-Dawa, the current ruling party, Iraqi politics will cultivate some Iraqi distinctiveness and a sense of superiority vis-a-vis what they call the “badu (Bedouin) of central Arabia and the Gulf”.
Now Saudi Arabia is desperate to see the departure of those who are driven by a strong sense of Iraqi superiority and Shiism such as the successive Iraqi governments that were led by the Dawa party, especially under prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. It seeks to normalise relations with Iraq to pursue the strategy of shrinking Iran’s influence.
In this project, patronising Muqtada al-Sadr is part of a plan to divide the Shia zones of Iraq between those which are allies of Iran and those which resent its takeover of their country in the last 14 years.
Will Mohammed bin Salman be successful in precipitating a Shia-Shia split and perhaps a civil war? This all depends on the response of Iran, which has proved itself more resilient and savvy than its Saudi arch-rival. Without the colossal spending on military equipment that would match that of Saudi Arabia, Iran managed to create loyal militia across the region.
Saudi Arabia also creates militias but they seem to be less reliable than those created by Iran. In fact, those Saudi-sponsored militia tend to occasionally challenge Saudi Arabia and bite the hand that feeds them. We still remember how Osama bin Laden and his Afghan Arabs enjoyed the backing of Saudi Arabia in the 1980s, but within a decade they became arch-enemies of the Saudi regime. Iran has sponsored Hezbollah in Lebanon since 1982 and almost four decades later, it is still loyal to Iran.
Saudi Arabia’s rivals can play the same game as the prince and bring the war to the heart of Saudi Arabia as Mohammed bin Salman promised to do to Iran
Mohammed bin Salman’s strategy to reach out to opposition groups in Iraq may echo his bid to support multiple opposition movements to his rivals. After supporting the Iranian Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and more recently reaching out to Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen in Pennsylvania, the crown prince’s strategy may backfire.
His rivals in Iran, Turkey and even Iraq have at their disposal many cards that can seriously destabilise his rule. Turkey can further support Saudi Sunni Islamists, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, while Iran can precipitate a Shia uprising in the Eastern Province. Saudi Arabia’s rivals can play the same game as the prince and bring the war to the heart of Saudi Arabia as Mohammed bin Salman promised to do to Iran.
After Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Qatar, Mohammed bin Salman has turned his attention to Iraq where complex Shia politics and shifting alliances prevail. It is not clear that he understands the consequences of playing with fire. He may be simply following the advice of Washington and its consultants.
If creating fires around Saudi Arabia protects his rule, then Muhammad bin Salman has succeeded. But if the objective is to create a peaceful region with reconciliation rather than war being the strategy of the future, then he has utterly failed.
– Madawi Al-Rasheed is a visiting professor at the Middle East Centre at LSE. On Twitter: @MadawiDr
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.
Photo: Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr meets with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia in Jeddah (AFP)
Reacting to the Tehran Attacks in Europe and the US
Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog, June 20 2017:… This matters, given the background of intense efforts over the years to de-legitimize the Iranian institutions, including the elected ones, with the aim of building support for regime change. The well financed exile dissident group Mojaheddeen-e Khalk (MEK), in particular, has developed a strong lobby in the European Parliament promoting this cause. The times, however, are changing. The images of Iranians voting in the …
Reacting to the Tehran Attacks in Europe and the US
by Eldar Mamedov
The European Parliament started its plenary session last week with a minute of silence to honor the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in London and Tehran. In this way, the EP has joined a number of other institutions, as well as leaders of the EU and its member states, in offering sympathy to the Iranian people.
For a country like Iran, which cannot boast of an abundance of international support and empathy, such a gesture from a leading Western institution was extremely valuable. The news and pictures of the minute of silence spread through the Iranian media immediately and boosted the good will towards the EU among the officials and general public.
There is a deep democratic significance for a parliament to offer its solidarity to a fellow parliament that was a target of a terrorist attack. In this particular case it also conveys a symbolic recognition by the European Parliament of the legitimacy of the Iranian parliament as a relatively democratic pillar of the Iranian political system.
This matters, given the background of intense efforts over the years to de-legitimize the Iranian institutions, including the elected ones, with the aim of building support for regime change. The well financed exile dissident group Mojaheddeen-e Khalk (MEK), in particular, has developed a strong lobby in the European Parliament promoting this cause.
The times, however, are changing. The images of Iranians voting in the last presidential elections, in a region where few other populations go to the polls, and re-electing their moderate president in a landslide, have certainly made an impact. They have also debunked, once again, the MEK’s claims that the Iranian elections are void of any meaning. In fact, such efforts are provoking a growing backlash among the Euro MPs.
In this context, the fact that the European Parliament perceived the minute of silence dedicated to Iran as completely “normal” and appropriate is itself a testimony of the changing climate in EU-Iran relations.
Contrast this with the attitude in the United States. Although the State Department did issue a proper statement, the majority in the Senate rejected the proposal of Senators Bernie Sanders and Diane Feinstein to postpone the consideration of new anti-Iran sanctions. Instead, the Senate overwhelmingly approved the measures the week after the attacks in Tehran—despite awarning from former Secretary of State John Kerry that it could jeopardize the nuclear agreement with Iran.
Such an attitude reflects Washington’s dominant view of Iran as a country unworthy of minimal sympathy even in such tragic circumstances. Hence, Trump’s infamous words about states becoming targets of the “evil they promote.” The sheer ignorance and insensitivity of these remarks is highlighted by the fact that the “evil” that hit Iran was also responsible for the terrorist attacks in America on 9/11 and in subsequent years in Paris, Brussels, London, Madrid, Manchester, and so on. Such attacks are not inspired by anything that has to do with Iran, but rather an extreme version of Wahhabism, the official creed of Saudi Arabia, whose vision for the Middle East Trump seems to have eagerly embraced.
In an irresponsible escalation shortly after the attacks, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hasendorsed the idea of a regime change in Iran. He issued his comment, ironically, on the same day that his State Department released documents pertaining to the role the US played in overthrowing the popular government of Mohammad Mossadeq in 1953, an event to which today’s poisoned state of the US-Iran relations could arguably be traced.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, by contrast, has reaffirmed once again the EU’s strong commitment not only to the nuclear agreement, but also to a deeper engagement with Iran in diverse areas, from economy and energy to conflict resolution in the Middle East.
Recent history, particularly the process leading up to the conclusion of the nuclear deal, suggests that when Iran is shown a modicum of respect and recognition, it is more likely to respond positively to the concerns of its international counterparts than when bullied and insulted. The EU way of showing such respect puts it in a much better position to persuade Iran to abandon some of its more objectionable ways than threats coming from Washington.
The US could have built on the channel established by Tillerson’s predecessor John Kerry with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif in trying to solve outstanding issues, in particular regarding regional conflicts. Instead, the current administration is making sure not only to destroy that channel but also, with its callous and insulting response to the anti-Iranian terrorism, to create damage to US-Iranian relations that may well outlast Trump. This will not advance any of America’s core interests in the Middle East. However, there is nothing to suggest that this administration realizes that.
Photo: Federica Mogherini (Wikimedia Commons)
This article reflects the personal views of the author and not necessarily the opinions of the European Parliament.
About the Author
Eldar Mamedov has degrees from the University of Latvia and the Diplomatic School in Madrid, Spain. He has worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and as a diplomat in Latvian embassies in Washington D.C. and Madrid. Since 2007, Mamedov has served as a political adviser for the social-democrats in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (EP) and is in charge of the EP delegations for inter-parliamentary relations with Iran, Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula, and Mashreq.
Fallout from Iran attacks spells trouble to come in wider Middle East
Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) is an Iranian terrorist group dedicated to violently overthrowing Iran’s government and which had been expelled from the country since the early 1980s. The Obama administration removed it from the US’s list of terror groups after an intense lobbying campaign in Washington DC, but its involvement in violence is well-known in Iran. In 1981, it was blamed for planting a …
Fallout from Iran attacks spells trouble to come in wider Middle East
Doctor in Politics at University of Oxford and Visiting Fellow at the American University of Beirut, University of Oxford
A week after Donald Trump stirred up tensions in the Middle East with his visit to Saudi Arabia, and just after Qatar was ostracised by several other countriesfor its supposed links to terrorism, a brace of terror attacks in Iran have turned up the heat even further.
In Tehran on June 7, four men attacked one of the gates of the Iranian parliament building. After opening fire on a guard, they entered the lobbies and shot a number of visitors and staff. After several hours and exchanges of gunfire, they were killed by Iranian special forces. At the same time, several attackers fired on visitors at the Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic. All in all, the two events left at least 17 dead and more than 43 injured.
Iran’s Supreme Leader dismissed the attacks as “fireworks … too small to affect the will of the Iranian nation and its officials”. Sure enough, the display of unity inside Iran was immediate and powerful, with social media booming with expressions of solidarity and defiance of terror (#درکنار همیم)
The so-called Islamic State (IS) soon claimed responsibility for the attack, reiterating that “in the holy month of Ramadan the reward of killing misbelievers” – that is, the Shia Muslims who constitute the majority of Iran’s population – “is multiplied”.
If the claim of responsibility is to be believed, this isn’t the first time IS has invited its followers to exterminate Shia populations, or attacked them. In recent months, it has attacked a Shia neighbourhood in Baghdad, Iraqi Shia pilgrims near Damascus, and a 12th-century Shia mosque in Herat in Afghanistan. It also left a bomb near Shia stronghold al-Dahiyeh in south Beirut, which was found and dismantled.
The day after the attack, Iranian authorities announced that the terrorists were allegedly connected to Wahabi cells operating under the IS network in Mousul and Raqqa, and that they followed Abu Ayesheh, a high-ranking commander of IS, who had tried in August 2016 to carry out terror attacks in Iran’s religious cities. If this account is accurate, these were therefore IS’s first successful attacks in Iran proper.
That said, the attack was also sophisticated enough that it might have been beyond IS’s abilities inside Iran – and according to Iran’s own Ministry of Intelligence, the attackers were themselves Iranians. Given that IS doesn’t have a popular base inside Iran, this might point to the tactical support of the exiled revolutionary group MEK or the Baluchi separatist group Jundullah.
Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) is an Iranian terrorist group dedicated to violently overthrowing Iran’s government and which had been expelled from the country since the early 1980s. The Obama administration removed it from the US’s list of terror groups after an intense lobbying campaign in Washington DC, but its involvement in violence is well-known in Iran. In 1981, it was blamed for planting a powerful bomb in the headquarters of the ruling Islamic Republic Party, killing dozens of leading state officials.
Then there’s the Jundullah group, a violent separatist organisation that’s previously received the backing of both Saudi Arabia and the US in the hope of undermining Iran’s domestic security and stability. In 2009, it killed 42 Revolutionary Guards, including a top general, with an explosive device in a mosque in Baluchistan.
As with many terror attacks, the timing of these incidents is particularly relevant. The Revolutionary Guards’ statement after the attacks overtly connected them with Donald Trump’s visit to the Middle East, during which the US president met with his Saudi and Israeli counterparts and decried Iran for supposedly sponsoring terrorism and extremism – basically putting the country back in the George W. Bush-era “Axis of Evil” hall of shame.
This view has gained currency among several Arab countries since Trump’s election. Only a month ago, the Saudi crown prince, while ruling out any possible dialogue with Tehran,statedthat the struggle for regional influence will “take place inside Iran”, implying that regime change and support for armed resistance inside Iran were cards on the table.
When the latest attacks struck, the world’s major players found themselves on two sides. The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, condemned the attack and invited everyone to join forces to fight terrorism; the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, expressed solidarity with her Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and heads of state from all corners sent missives of condolence and support. Similarly, France, Italy, Germany as well as most of the countries in the Global South expressed their condolences to the Iranian authorities. The UK’s Theresa May remained silent, a sign that indicates alignment with the US-Saudi front.
In fact, the Saudi foreign minister declined to address Iran directly, while the Trump White House’s statement was predictably both pointed and tactless: “States that sponsor terrorism risk falling to the evil they promote.” Zarif, for his part, called the statement “repugnant” and claimed it was mounted by IS terrorists with US backing.
The rifts on display here are growing. On the one hand, as Iran-backed military efforts help drive IS back in Iraq and Syria, Tehran is starting to look like a logical strategic partner for the EU in its efforts against radical Islamist terrorism. But on the other hand, this is precisely the sort of cooperation that the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia are keen to curtail.
These hawkish powers look set to keep up sanctions on banking, threaten retaliation against companies willing to invest in Iran, invest in propaganda and intense lobbying, and may yet mount military operations, covert or otherwise.
Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia yielded a proposed but unconfirmed arms deal that the president announced would amount to more than US$110 billion. Whether or not that’s true is highly disputed, but as a statement of intent, it clearly signals where Trump’s sympathies lie as far as the Middle East’s major powers are concerned.
Hence, Tehran finds itself part of the web of terror attacks that had already touched upon London, Manchester, Paris, Kabul and many other cities. But the stakes at play here risk leading to a regional confrontation with dangerous international underpinnings.
Jihad 2.0: the Making of the Next Nightmare (Turning Albania to a centre for ISIS/Mojahedin Khalq)
Pepe Escobar, Sputnik news, June 01 2017:… Albania is being turned into the center of MKO. John Bolton was recently in Tirana, with other international supporters of MKO, and they are attacking Iran and calling for regime change.” The MKO’s wacky Marjam Rajavi has also visited Tirana, developing plans to “topple the Ayatollahs” in Iran. The key issue, as Jazexhi emphasizes, is that “after turning the Balkans into a recruiting centre for ISIS/Daesh during the Syria war, now the Americans are …
Jihad 2.0: the Making of the Next Nightmare
You are about to enter the ultimate minefield.
Let’s start with 28 EU leaders discussing the Western Balkans at a recent summit and blaming – what else – “Russian aggression” in the EU’s backyard.
Cue to a Montenegro prosecutor raging that “Russian state bodies” staged a coup attempt during the October 2016 elections to stop the country from joining NATO.
And cue to President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker warning that Donald Trump’s anti-EU rhetoric could lead to war in the Balkans. Juncker, condescending as ever, maintains that, “If we leave them to themselves — Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska, Macedonia, Albania, all of these countries — we will have a war again.”
The Balkans may be about to explode – all over again. Yet with a twist; unlike 1999, NATO won’t get away with bombing a defenseless Belgrade for 78 days. A new generation of Russian missiles would easily prevent it.
The 1999 tragedy in the Balkans was essentially stirred up by fake massacres in Kosovo set up by the BND – German intelligence — using local Albanians and BND agent provocateurs, who shot both sides to stir up a war and break up Yugoslavia.
All Eyes on Albania
What’s evolving at the current geopolitical juncture is even murkier.
The usual suspects do what they usually do; blame Russia, and damn any evidence.
So let a knowledgeable insider, Dr. Olsi Jazexhi, director of the Free Media Institute in Tirana, Albania, be our guide.
As Dr. Jazexhi explains, “after Brennan left Edi Rama, Prime Minister of Albania, a close friend of George Soros, gathered all Albanian political parties in Macedonia and ordered them to support Zoran Zaev against Nikola Gruevski. Gruevski is seen as filo-Russian and anti-NATO, while Zaev is a lapdog of Soros. As a result, Gruevski was boycotted by Albanians and Zaev had their support to form a government. The promise of Zaev to Albanians is that Macedonia will adapt Albanian as an official language and create a third (half) Albanian state in the Balkans. Macedonians are resisting, but Tirana and Edi Rama are orchestrating Albanian political parties against Gruevski. The end game is to make Macedonia a NATO member.”
Jazexhi also details how, “in Albania, we have two major terrorist organizations being protected by the Americans and the Europeans.”
The first is what Ankara describes as the Fetullah Gulen Terror organization (FETO), allegedly instrumentalized by German intelligence; “Turkey is protesting why Albania hosts the FETO group but the Americans host them against Erdogan.”
The second is Mojahedin-e Khalq (MKO), which fights against Tehran; “Albania is being turned into the center of MKO. John Bolton was recently in Tirana, with other international supporters of MKO, and they are attacking Iran and calling for regime change.”
The MKO’s wacky Marjam Rajavi has also visited Tirana, developing plans to “topple the Ayatollahs” in Iran.
The key issue, as Jazexhi emphasizes, is that “after turning the Balkans into a recruiting center for ISIS/Daesh during the Syria war, now the Americans are turning Albania into a jihad 2.0 state.”
Meanwhile, the European Union and the Americans, who want to de-radicalize the Wahhabi Muslims of Europe, keep mum about the Iranian jihadis.”
The “Invisible” Enemy
But then there is the “invisible” enemy that really matters.
In late March, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic went to Beijing in his last official visit before the April 2 elections. Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed that economic cooperation with Serbia – and the Balkans at large – is a priority for China.
No question. In 2014, Beijing created a fund that will invest 10 billion euros in Central and Eastern Europe. Last year, China Everbright bought Tirana’s airport in Albania. China Exim Bank is financing highway construction in both Macedonia and Montenegro.
In Serbia, China Road and Bridge Corporation built the 170 million euro Pupin bridge over the Danube in Belgrade – a.k.a. the “Sino-Serbian Friendship Bridge”, inaugurated in 2014 and 85% financed by a China Exim Bank loan.
And the cherry in the (infrastructure development) cake is the 350 km, $2.89 billion high-speed rail line between Athens and Budapest, via Macedonia and Belgrade.
The EU has set off alarm bells on the flagship $1.8 billion Budapest-Belgrade stretch, investigating whether the Hungarian section violated strict EU laws according to which public tenders are a must for large transportation projects.
Inbuilt is the proverbial Western haughtiness, ruling that the Chinese could not possibly be capable of building high-speed rail infrastructure as well if not better – and for a lower cost – than in Europe.
Budapest-Belgrade happens to be the crucial stretch of the Land Sea Express Route that Beijing pledged to build, way back in 2014, with Hungary, Serbia and Macedonia. That’s the crux of the Southeastern Europe node of the New Silk Roads, now Belt and Road Initiative (BRI); a trade corridor between the container port of Pireus, in the Mediterranean – co-owned by China Ocean Shipping Company since 2010 – all the way to Central Europe.
NATO’s official spin is that it must be planted in the Balkans to fight the “threat of terrorism.” According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, “I recently visited Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo, and I’m encouraged to see how focused they are on countering the threat of foreign fighters.”
Jihad 2.0 may be directed against Slavs in Macedonia, against Iran and against Turkey. Not to mention against the Russian underbelly. The invisible angle is that they can always be deployed to jeopardize China’s drive to integrate southeast Europe as a key node of the New Silk Roads.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.
Some related documents:
Lets create another Vietnam for America(pdf).
(Mojahedin English language paper April 1980)
Letter to Imam (Khomeini) (pdf).
(Mojahedin English Language paper April 1980)
Some questions unanswered regarding the US military invasion of Iran (pdf).
(Mojahedin English Language paper June 1980)
link to one of the Mojahedin Khalq songs
advocating terror and killing Americans
(In Persian written and distributed after the Iranian Revolution)
National Geographic, March 04 2017:… Leading MEK members squirm under the knowing gaze of Michael Ware. Watch the shifty looks and glances as the MEK representatives try to lie about their true intentions. They admit to wanting regime change, but claim to be pacifists. Ware asks ‘Why does a political organization still need to have a para-military organization?’ He then cleverly gets them to …
Associated Press, February 16 2017:… The group at one point successfully infiltrated the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, according to a State Department report. And a series of bombings attributed to the MEK accompanied visits by presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter to Iran, including one to target an American cultural center. In 1973, MEK assailants wearing motorcycle helmets shot dead U.S. Army Lt. …
Iran Interlink, February 15 2017:… The following OpEd by MEK advocate Col. Wes Martin was published first in The Hill, followed by Mojahedin Khalq’s “Iran Probe” and the “NCRI” websites. Iran Interlink has published it here as indication of how hysteria has become the new normal in American published writing. A form of madness appears to have infected US politics and now all and sundry are dancing …
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, February 07 2017:… He also signals that his war is not with ISIS but with the country Iran. Donald Trump rose to victory in part on the promise to take on ISIS and defeat the group. Yet ISIS cannot be defeated except by a coalition of forces that includes Iran. The facts on the ground in Syria and Iraq demonstrate unequivocally that ISIS forces in Aleppo and Mosul have been defeated largely due to the involvement
Gazeta Impakt, Albania, Translated by Iran Interlink, January 01 2017:… According to Fatos Klosi, former director of the National Intelligence Service, the American CIA chief has warned Albania that Donald Trump will renounce support for the MEK terrorists and it will be the Albanian Government itself which must deal with internal security and must confront a group trained militarily from the time of Saddam Hussein …
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, December 24 2016:… That can only happen if journalists and investigatory bodies (human rights, nuclear experts, war crimes, etc) are able to base their work on facts and not the fake and fictionalised fantasies of stooges like the MEK, which are clearly designed to misinform on these issues. The information laundry cycle is not difficult to follow – the Washington Times takes its report …
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, November 12 2016:… In particular, Rudi Giuliani, John Bolton and Newt Gingrich. Putting aside their weak personalities as well as their individual neoconservative agendas, the common thread which links these names together is their decade long support for the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist organisation (also known as Saddam’s Private Army or Rajavi cult). It is certain that …
Iran Interlink, October 30 2016:… Local observers in Tirana are reporting that the Mojahedin Khalq cultic terror group (MEK) is buying and creating several sandwich and kebab shops in the city and is using the MEK members to work in these fast-food businesses. On the surface this may look like a positive move. In an article titled ‘Albania: What would a de-radicalization program for the Mojahedin Khalq involve’, it was …
Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh, Iran Interlink, October 16 2016:… In spite of American promises, no de-radicalisation programme is in place to deal with over 2500 members of the Mojahedin Khalq terrorist group who have relocated to Tirana from Iraq. The MEK has a long history of violent and criminal activity. This has not stopped now they are in Tirana. Unless the Albanian government introduces its own programme, it must accept …
Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington post (and Top Topic), October 09 2016:… For the local citizens, mystery surrounds their arrival and their lifestyle. Should these secretive and covert neighbours be treated with suspicion or kindness? At a local level, the first thing neighbouring families need to be aware of is that among all MEK members, sexual relations have been banned for over 25 years. This means there are no marriages or children or young people in the organisation. More troubling …
Massoud & Anne Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, July 14 2016:… Whether Rajavi is already dead or now killable is not known – only he can answer this – but he and his whole organisation are certainly now, body and soul, in the capable hands of the Saudi Prince. If he is still alive, Rajavi’s only role is to act as go-between to instruct his wife what she must do on behalf of the Saudis. If he is dead
Massoud Khodabandeh, Huffington Post, July 08 2016:… Clearly this message is not aimed at Iranians. The clamour for regime change in Iran does not emanate from inside the country in spite of its many social, civic and political problems. Who then is Maryam Rajavi’s constituency? Fro
Massoud Khodabandeh, Toptopic, July 03 2016:… So, back to the recent advertising campaign. Any publicity campaign will be successful if it is newsworthy. Maryam, however, simply churns out the same scenario ad infinitum. Starting with describing a terrible situation in Iran – based on news items that can be gleaned from any serious report