Terror Spring, September 05 2019:… As mentioned before, on the 7 o’clock of 1976/08/28, 6 members of the Mojahedin-e-Khalq group (Islamic Marxist) blocked the way with a Volkswagen of the three American citizens residing in Tehran with the name of ((Robert Krongard, William Cotrell and Donald Smith)) that cooperating with Iran Imperial Air Force while transferring to their work place and killed three of them with machinegun and pistol and left their car and ran from the crime scene. Investigation done regarding the terror of three mentioned advisors shows that the executive members of this terror had enough intelligence of their status and jobs . MEK Assassinated Americans
MEK Assassinated Americans
Assassination of Three American Advisers
Identifying the Experts of Secret Mission
In the midst of the attacks that SAVAK brought to Marxist armed groups in the spring and summer of 1976, including the active elements of the MKO (MEK), they got killed or arrested, the MKO’s leadership decided to take a dramatic and effective military action.
The analysis of the leaders of the organization was based on the fact that after the deadly attacks to the MKO (MEK), and the Fadaian, they had to – in the first place – express their effective existence, and, secondly, – put the Pahlavi regime in a complex array of armed movements .
Along with this matter, at last, the assassination of three American advisers in Iran was designed and carried out by Mojahedin. These advisers were experts in the field of electronic equipment that led the installation and operation of complex eavesdropping systems in the form of a series of designs in ((Kabkan)), that is located on the border between Iran and the Soviet Union. According to the available information, the basic information about these three spies was most likely transmitted to the Mojahedin by the Soviet government
The Process of Assassinations
During the identification operations to carry out assassinations, the exact route of the car movement got identified. According to information obtained from the operational units of the organization, they traversed Tehranpars (the intersection of Damavand Avenue, known as the Tehran-Pars three ways) every morning between 7:00 and 7:20 minutes, and near the intersection of Narmak thirty meters, passing from Khayyam avenue (one of the neighboring streets of Vosuq Square). Therefore, it was decided that the MKO’s operational layout be arranged in this area and at a specific point on Khayyam Street.
According to the plan, a Volkswagen truck was used for traffic jams and one more car to escape. Additionally, the weapons gathered in compare with the individuals presented on the operation. This terrorist operation is described by Abedini as follows:
“Operation Day”, [1976/08/28] all work was done in accordance with the schedule. The driver of the motorcycle and the person who was with him were marked with a positive signal. The team got ready. Attack layout was done. The car was turned by the driver who should make the traffic, a few moments later the car carrying the advisors appeared on the street, and the driver stopped the car. The driver of the advisers felt that something is going on and turned the steering wheel to his right, but because of the narrow street he couldn’t do anything and the way got closed.
Commander surrendered the driver and made him to put his head under the dashboard then the machine gunner shot the bullets toward Americans. The front man (Robert Krongard) committed to run away after being hit, he came out of the car and went toward the side walk but machine gunner followed him and while he fell into the gutter, finished him. Meanwhile the driver who should make traffic, should get out and support the machine gunners and should stand beside them while machine gunner can dead shot the two Americans behind, and again give the machinegun to the traffic driver and ran toward the scape car. This part of the operation, that was the main part, was done completely (except two parts) and car moved in the identified way. After a distance one of the members got out and removed the fake car number and again continued to move. After a while two members got out and the driver went to Khorasan square with scape car, while the bags of the advisors were also in the car. He put the scape car in one of the alleys of Khorasan square and transferred the equipment to another car, which had already been put there, and move the new car to the base, where the equipment had to be taken there. And in this way the operation ended.”
Members of the operation team of assassination of three advisors are:
- Hosein SiyahKolah (Kazem) the commander of the operation;
- Mehdi Fathi (Vahid) deputy commander and in fact executive commander of the scene of operation; (the first machine gunner)
- Mohsen Tarighat (Mahmoud) the second machine gunner
- Ghasem Abedini (Asgar)traffic driver and driver of scape car
- Shahram Mohammadian Bajgiran (Javad) motor driver and marker
- Gholamhosein Sahebekhtiari (shamsollah-Asghar) the motor cyclist and marker4
From the very next day, the details and descriptions of this assassination, with more details of the victims (with an emphasis on their military identity), were published in newspapers and it was announced that the American bodies were transferred to California.
Quality of operation
One of the differences between this assassination and other terror operations of the Mujahedin organization was that it was used handy machineguns for killing the targets this time. Other assassinations – generally – were carried with pistols, and the reason was clear: having large machineguns was in contradiction with the security and destroys the security of the team. But in this particular case, the use of Kalashnikov’s machinegun was on the agenda. Typically, machineguns were used to defend team houses, but Fadaian guerrillas used it in operations, but smaller and lighter ones, such as the ((Shi)) machine gun, which made by France.
SAVAK review results
One of SAVAK’s first reports about the assassination of three advisors of IBEX was as follows:
“As mentioned before, on the 7 o’clock of 1976/08/28, 6 members of the Mojahedin-e-Khalq group (Islamic Marxist) blocked the way with a Volkswagen of the three American citizens residing in Tehran with the name of ((Robert Krongard, William Cotrell and Donald Smith)) that cooperating with Iran Imperial Air Force while transferring to their work place and killed three of them with machinegun and pistol and left their car and ran from the crime scene. Investigation done regarding the terror of three mentioned advisors shows that the executive members of this terror had enough intelligence of their status and jobs. With the regard that the parts that military and nonmilitary American advisors were doing their services were always on special interest of members of intelligence services of Soviet Union and mentioned three advisors were working in a sector that has high sensitivity, this is concluded that the mentioned information and identification have done by members of the Soviet Union intelligence service.6”
Source: MKO (MEK) organization: Founding till the end (1965-2005), Second volume, In an effort by a team of researchers, the Institute of Political Studies and Research publication
MEK Assassinated Americans
Cult of Rajavi MEK , The Swamp of Political Dogmatism
Terror Spring, July 06 2019:… While the group continues to proclaim it holds great popularity within Iran, it could not be further from the truth. Iranians never could overlook the series of betrayal and treasonous acts the MEK / MKO committed in the name of power – enabling Saddam Hussein’s forces by siding with him against Iran remains to this day a source of much popular anger among Iranians. One action in particular destroyed whatever goodwill Iranians may have still harboured towards the MEK / MKO in the 1980s: Operation Forough Javidan operation . Cult of Rajavi MEK , The Swamp of Political Dogmatism
Cult of Rajavi MEK , The Swamp of Political Dogmatism
History and Ideology
Founded in 1965 the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, also known as the Mojahedin-e Khalq or more simply the MEK / MKO imagined itself a political-militant movement against the then-authority of the shah of Iran. If the group first presented itself as an advocate of Islamic values and economic socialism in that it wanted to see the ‘people’ inherit the fruits of their labour as opposed to widespread exploitation by a designated elite, the MEK / MKO quickly fell into disfavour with Iranians on account of its violence and its leaders’ blind hunger for power – even if it meant disavowing their philosophical principles.
This veritable cult of terror was formulated into existence by Mohammad Hanifnejad1 , Saeed Mohsen2 and Abdol-Reza Nikbin Rudsari 3as an extremist Islamic Marxist-based organization which aim was to bring imperialism to its knees – especially that expressed by the United States and the Pahlavi regime4 – an agent to its western ‘overlords’.
The three founders shared a history of political activism within the religious-nationalist movement and its affiliated Islamic Students Associations. They believed that opposition forces against the Pahlavi government lacked a cohesive ideology and required revolutionary leadership. They reasoned that peaceful resistance against the government was fruitless, and that only a revolutionary armed struggle could dislodge the monarchy.
The organization’s founding trio focused their initial thrust on creating a revolutionary ideology based on their interpretation of Islam that could fuel an armed struggle by persuading masses of people to rise up against the government. This ideology relied heavily on an interpretation of Islam as a revolutionary message compatible with modern revolutionary ideologies, particularly Marxism.
Initially, the founding members recruited some twenty like-minded friends to form a discussion group. Their first meeting, on September 6, 1965, in Tehran, is considered the genesis of the MEK / MKO. The group’s discussions centered on intense study of religion, history and revolutionary theory. In addition to religious texts, the group also studied Marxist theory at length. For its first three years, the group held regular secret meetings. By 1968, these discussions led to the creation of a Central Committee “to work out a revolutionary strategy” and an Ideological Team “to provide the group with its own theoretical handbooks.”
An inherently violent group, the MEK / MKO believed that only through an armed struggle, patterned on those guerilla outfits and paramilitary groups which, through the decades had risen across several continents in resistance to various regimes, would it reach victory. Committed to military action, the MEK / MKO always dismissed diplomacy as a waste of time.
To attract militants to its rank the MEK / MKO, since its inception, led a deceptive recruitment campaign throughout Iran, tailoring its philosophy according to its audience. When speaking to the religious class, the group appealed to clerics’ desire to see rise a system of governance in tune with Islamic principles, while at the same time preaching communist sympathisers the benefits of secularism.
But if the MEK/ MKO’s rhetoric moved with the needs of the days its ambition was always to ensnare young revolutionaries to its ranks to consolidate its reach within Iran. By targeting the youth aggressively the MEK / MKO hoped to impart its worldview onto the next generation, and thus assure continuity.
Because the MEK / MKO was able to map its narrative according to its audience, essentially telling people exactly what they wanted to hear, the terror group was able to attract great many people to kits cause – beginning with intellectuals, clerics and various scholars. Through a clever game of manipulations the outfit merged core Islamic principles with Marxist economic principles, thus broadening its base. If the MEK / MKO fancied itself a new school of thought, its rejection of all criticism to its rule and its unbending desire to break all people to its way of thinking betrayed its latent dogmatism.
It needs to be said that the extreme Islamic-Marxist attitude fronted by many groups today stem back from the MEK / MKO early days.
A sworn enemy of all who disagreed with its ideology, the MEK / MKO called death 5 upon its detractors – an attitude shared by so many terror groups throughout history.
Prior to carrying out any armed activities, the group planned to focus on developing its ideology and training its new recruits. However, this strategy was thwarted by the emergence of a competing Marxist guerilla group, the Fadaian Khalq Organization. On February 8, 1971, members of the Fadaian launched their first operation by attacking a police station in the village of Siahkal in the northern province of Gilan. This incident marked the emergence of armed struggle against the shah’s government.
The MKO’s leadership, surprised by the Siahkal incident, decided to expedite their plans for armed operations by organizing a spectacular attack in Tehran. At this time, the government was in the midst of promoting a large-scale celebration marking 2500 years of monarchy in Iran. The MEK/ MKO planned a series of bombings that would target Tehran’s electric power grids prior to the opening eve ceremonies.
During their efforts to acquire explosives, the MEK /MKO were infiltrated by the security forces who tracked their activities. On August 23, 1971, just days before the scheduled onset of their first operation, thirty-five members of the MEK / MKO were arrested by the authorities. Within the next few months, half of MKO’s member were arrested and put on trial by a military tribunal. “They were all accused of possessing arms, planning to overthrow the ‘constitutional monarchy,’ and studying authors as Marx, Mao, and Che Guevara.”
Once inside militants have very little recourse, if not to say that they are in fact virtual prisoners … caught in a system designed to bend the minds of all recruits to the point of absolute obedience, everything from physical training to members’ education were and continue to be set in such ways that the individual disappear before the will of his ‘owner’ – the group’s commander in chief.
Threatened with physical violence and reprisals against their family members should they ever defy the group’s authority, militants brought to the MEK / MKO have no choice but to stay committed.
Back in the late 1960s and 1970s, the MEK / MKO used the fear of SAVAK6 – Iran intelligence services under the shah, to placate all opposition. The method was known as the “physical solution”7. Such bloody and violent methods of repression were carried out against Majid Sharif Vaqefi8 and Morteza Samadieh Labaf 9, who were both members of the Central Council of the Organization.10
Readers will note that parallel to the MEK / MKO’s taste for betrayal and violence against even its own members, the group also played into sectarian sentiments to attract the sympathies of certain individuals and project a sense of identity among its ranks.
Massoud Rajavi Works with the SAVAK
Interestingly enough… although unknown to most, Massoud Rajavi, himself the self-appointed leader of the MEK / MKO and so-called symbol of the group’s resistance spirit, rather publicly collaborated with SAVAK in exchange for preferential treatment.
According to SAVAK’s own archives Massoud Rajavi proved an important and key asset in cracking down on the MEK / MKO group. Arrested alongside key leaders of the organisation Rajavi quickly turned on his own men on the express promise that he would be spared from a death sentence. As others prepared to be executed, Rajavi enjoyed a commuted sentence. He would finally be released at the eve of the Islamic Revolution.
Massoud Rajavi’s ‘cooperation’ with SAVAK was such that Marshal Nematollah Nasiri, the then-head of the Security Service (SAVAK), introduced Rajavi to the Army Hearing as a “fellow” of SAVAK – an asset not to be discarded, but rather compensated.
In a letter addressed to the military authorities Nasiri emphasised how Massoud Rajavi had “after the conclusion of investigations inside the detention center, worked closely with officials”. Nasiri argued that he therefore deserved for his sentence to be commuted.
Documentary evidences has been published on Rajavi’s cooperation with SAVAK in detecting the activities of a number of MEK members. The evidences include handwritten notes and s1ketches by Massoud Rajavi identifying the whereabouts of other members such as Mohammad Hanifnejad. The evidences also include Nasiri’s letter.
The regime’s leniency towards Massoud Rajavi did not escape the press at the time.
In fact a report was published in the Kayhan newspaper that outlined the whole sordid affair – how most MEK / MKO members had been sold out to SAVAK and how Rajavi himself had bought himself a way out by betraying his brothers in arms.
The article read: “Because, he so skillfully collaborated with the authorities by giving up his co-conspirators, thus allowing the shah’s government to fully crackdown on the MEK / MKO, he escaped death and instead was sentenced to life in prison.”11
While the group’s literature today assigned the commuting of Rajavi’s sentence as the result of an active international campaign and the influence of his brother: Kazem Rajavi, a Swiss resident who cooperated with SAVAK, historical documents tell of a different reality.
Massoud Rajavi Escapes to Paris, Flees Tehran
With the shah’s regime in shamble following the victory of the 1979 Revolution Massoud Rajavi finds himself sidelined from power – an undesirable in Iran’s new political landscape.
Robbed of what he felt was his due, Rajavi will rebel against the authority of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and ultimately that of the people, by plotting terror acts against his own fellow nationals.
Hunted by the newly established for committing heinous acts of treason against innocent civilians and state officials, Rajavi fled Tehran for Paris where he planned to ask for political asylum.
Ali Akbar Rastgoo, himself a member of the MEK / MKO recalled the events as follow: “After the group failed to topple the new government (1981) Rajavi escaped to France. If in fact he felt that power had been usurped from the people he should have stood his ground and resist … as he claimed he would. But he chose to run away, he chose to abandon his men not to have to stand trial. Interestingly enough he omitted to save the two people who could have clouded his authority and thus prevent him to proclaim himself commander in chief of the movement: Musa Khayabani and his wife, Ashraf Rabiee. Rajavi already had his eyes set on Abolhassan Banisadr’s daughter, whom he quickly married following his arrival in France to consolidate his position vis a vis the French authorities.”12
Before betraying his countrymen Abolhassan Banisadr was a fervent revolutionary and first elected president of Iran’s Islamic Republic. Following the Iranian Revolution, Banisadr became deputy minister of finance on 4 February 1979 and was in office until 27 February 1979. He also became a member of the revolutionary council when Bazargan and others left the council to form the interim government. After the resignation of the interim finance minister Ali Ardalan on 27 February 1979, he was appointed finance minister by then prime minister Mehdi Bazargan. On 12 November 1979, Banisadr was appointed foreign minister to replace Ebrahim Yazdi in the government that was led by Council of the Islamic Revolution when the interim government resigned.
Banisadr was elected to a four-year term as president on 25 January 1980, receiving 78.9 percent of the vote in the election, and was inaugurated on 4 February. Khomeini remained the Supreme Leader of Iran with the constitutional authority to dismiss the president. The inaugural ceremonies were held at the hospital where Khomeini was recovering from a heart ailment.
The Majlis (Iran’s Parliament) impeached Banisadr in his absence on 21 June 1981, in charges of treason.
Rajavi’s marital ambitions were purely self-serving. By allying himself to Banisadr he hoped to seal the latter’s support and benefit from his influence among France’s political elite. A few years later he would divorce Banisadr’s daughter and marry the infamous Maryam Rajavi.
In France, Massoud Rajavi and Banisadr form on 20 July 1981 the National Council of Resistance.13
Banisadr and Rajavi’s relationships would come to a brutal halt when the latter’s collaboration with Saddam Hussein against his countrymen became too much for Banisadr to stomach.
Rajavi and Banisadr’s escape from Tehran was made possible with the help of one of the shah’s former pilot: Colonel Moezi, the very man who facilitated the shah’s escape from Iran on the eve of the Revolution.
The Beginning of an Armed Struggle Against the Government and the People
The MEK / MKO’s true nature was revealed after 1979 Revolution. Right up to the fall of the shah the MEK / MKO had managed to attract members and military sympathies by playing up on its leadership’s ability to wield political power and secure a position in Iran’s future political landscape. Only the MEK / MKO’s claims were mostly just that: claims without any real substance.
With little popular support to its name the group was unable to secure a seat in the presidential race. Furthermore, the MEK / MKO suffered a rather crushing defeat during Iran’s parliamentary elections, dashing any and all hope of political relevance.
Despite such lack of popular support, Rajavi maintained among his group’s members an illusion of grandeur – using propaganda techniques and misinformation to assert his hold on the leadership.
Began the group’s armed struggle and reliance on Terror to project its message. It is at this particular juncture in time that the outfit lost all credibility among the public. If many Iranians were willing to give the MEK / MKO the benefit of the doubt prior to 1981, its descent into terrorism made it a social and political pariah – as it were Iran would never forgive treason against its people and its sovereignty.
In the years that follow the MEK / MKO made carved a path of blood and violence, claiming to its sordid cult thousands of innocent lives – women, children, the elderly … no acts of violence were ever too heinous or too cruel to satisfy its leadership’s hunger for power.
In June 1981, the MEK / MKO chose to espouse violence to make a political point and announce its rejection of the new system of governance. Far from being the pro-democracy activists its members claimed to be, the outfit became associated to senseless violence and bloodshed.
Just as Iranians concentrated their efforts to defending their borders from the assaults of Saddam Hussein’s forces (Iraq had the support of the United States and Britain among other western capitals) the MEK / MKO deemed opportune to launch attacks on civilians and state officials within to weaken the integrity of the state.
Faced with several enemies: within and without.
Needless to say that such actions by the MEK / MKO translated into widespread hatred among Iranians for both its leadership and its supporters. For a group which claimed to aspire to bring peace and democracy the MEK / MKO was only too keen to use murder to seize power.
The MEK / MKO is responsible for the death of an estimated 12,000 people.
While the group continues to proclaim it holds great popularity within Iran, it could not be further from the truth. Iranians never could overlook the series of betrayal and treasonous acts the MEK / MKO committed in the name of power – enabling Saddam Hussein’s forces by siding with him against Iran remains to this day a source of much popular anger among Iranians.
One action in particular destroyed whatever goodwill Iranians may have still harboured towards the MEK / MKO in the 1980s: Operation Forough Javidan operation .14
Traveling to Iraq and Working with Saddam Hussein
Early in the war against Iraq, the MEK / MKO chose to side with Saddam Hussein, hoping that western capitals would, through the deposition of the Islamic Republic of Iran facilitate its rise to power. Little did the group realize how committed Iranians were to their revolution and their leadership.
Soon, MEK militants joined Saddam’s armed forces, turning their guns against Iran.15 The group subsequently set up camp in a city north of Baghdad in the Diyala province – Camp Ashraf.
The camp fell under Washington’s protection from 2003 to 1 January 2009 when the US completely withdrew from Iraq and handed the administration of the camp to the Iraqi government.
As the MEK / MKO settled in its new ‘home’ the group began its social engineering program, separating children from their parents and forcing all members to divorce their spouse in a bid for greater control over members’ lives and psyches. The main drive was that each member owed absolute loyalty to the group.
The children were subsequently sent to Europe to be trained into the MEK / MKO dogma.
Mr. Davood Arshad, an ex-member of NCRI and former high ranking member of the MEK / MKO testified before the EU parliament in 2017 of the many and grave abused the group committed against its members and its member’s children.
He said: “I as 30 years high ranking member of MEK led by Maryam Rajavi, and also ex-member of National Council of Resistance (NCRI) of MEK, am a witness to one of the organize criminal acts of child poverty enforced by MEK at least on 300 children which were smuggled from Iraq to Europe and kept in absolute isolation in places such as Germany in Cologne, UK, France and Holland,…Which was discovered by FBI. The MEK not only force separated children from their parents but deprived these children from all their rights. MEK received social benefit for these children and used it for his terrorist goals in Iraq and elsewhere even 7 years after MEK returned them by force back to Iraq and used them as Child Soldiers. In just one instance I myself was given nearly 30000 German Marks to just buy train ticket from Bonn to Lyon for organizing MEK’s gathering in 1998 out of the social security benefits MEK received on behalf of these children in Germany alone. In another instance I used 100.000 English Pounds just to ensure a concert that was organized by MEK in Earls Court London that Maryam Rajavi made a speech in. In Iraq many of these children committed suicide under the harsh physical and psychological situations and sexual abuse some shot themselves and some set themselves ablaze.”
A European visitor of Camp Ashraf reported: “About two decades ago, the families who lived in the camp were separated; couples were forced into divorce and their children were sent abroad, and many of them are now with group supporters who live in western countries and they are training these children based on the views of the MEK which is really a sect.”16
After the return of Massoud Rajavi to Iraq in 1987 the MEK established the National Liberation Army in view of overthrowing the Islamic Republic. Upon its creation the group launched an armed campaign against Iran. Up until August 1988, the MEK / MKO conducted over 100 military operations against Iran.
Operation Forough Javidan
After Iran agreed to the terms of UN Resolution 59817 , Saddam Hussein confessed at a closed-meeting that he fully intended to renege on the terms of the ceasefire to strike Iran when it the least expected.
Wafiq al-Samarraee, then the head of the Iraqi army intelligence agency and director of military intelligence for Iran noted: “President Saddam, at a special secret meeting at the Ministry of Defense told us: ‘if we succeed in overthrowing the Iranian government, Kuwait will join Iraq, so there is a historic opportunity for a massive attack to overthrow the Iranian regime and changing it with a new government which we will elect ’.”18
According to the Iraqi intelligence official, the MEK assured Saddam that should its members come to rule, Iran would forever be a friend of Iraq and thus support its policies.
The MEK / MKO was so bent on seizing power that its leadership willingly plotted a war against their own, putting millions of innocent in harm’s way. Most striking remains the group’s divorce from reality as its leaders continue, even to this day, to believe they have some form of popular legitimacy.
Captain Sattar Sa’ ad of the 3rd Army Corps of the Iraqi Army was there during Operation Forough Javidan; he wrote in his diary: “Massoud Rajavi repeatedly said that in those areas we were going to operate in the people would support us. But Rajavi and his men deceived us. I quickly realized that all Iranians we came across in fact hated Massoud Rajavi and his wife. I saw with my own eyes how they tore Massoud Rajavi’s pictures and his wife and how strongly they resisted.”19
The captain also commented on the crimes and moral depravation MEK militants so eagerly committed. How for example the group’s female militants gave away sexual favours to prove their loyalty to Iraq and its military. He also described the cruelty of all MEK militants when confronted with Iranian civilians, how they tore at the flesh of women and executed the innocent.
“I saw with my own eyes MEK members tearing women’s belly open and killing them. I asked myself: How will they rule should they be given power? Why do they kill so many innocent people? Where is the popularity they claim?”20
He added: “We arrived in Gilan-e-gharb at 3pm. Although we were already in control of the city, MEK members chose to plunder houses, warehouses and vehicles. Those who resisted the violence were immediately executed by the female corps. In a village in Gilan-e-gharb, Ba’athist troops and the female forces of the MEK, stopped in front of a house and knocked on the door. An old man opened and asked what they wanted. One of the women spat on his face and kicked him. Then, another woman shot the old man dead .”21
After the fiasco of Operation Forough Javidan, Massoud Rajavi shamelessly denied all responsibilities, preferring instead to blame his members’ lack of commitment.
Arguing that his troops had been ‘distracted’ by personal matters, Rajavi ordered each individual to swear an oath of celibacy. Under this decree coined “ideological revolution” Massoud Rajavi forced all members to divorce their spouse and abandon their children. He declared that the right to have sexual intercourse and even to think about marriage were now strictly forbidden. He then went to order each female member to marry him.
If the MEK / MKO had always tittered on the verge of fanaticism, this decision firmly turned the group into a cult.
The MEK Exits Iraq
For the past forty years, the Rajavi’s terrorist cult has posed a threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Sold to violence, the terror outfit wielded violence and bloodshed against its own countrymen in the hope that such policies would grant its leadership the power it so desperately craved.
In 4 decades the MEK / MKO butchered over 12,000 people – among which women and children, but as well key scientists, intellectuals and state officials 22. To guarantee that the group would benefit from political protection while abroad, Massoud Rajavi and his wife allied themselves to Israel and Washington, thus acting as agents to their new masters against Iran’s interests and safety.
Following the group’s expulsion from Iraq, the US had to intervene. Initially, neighboring countries such as Jordan and Azerbaijan were floated as suitable alternatives for the establishment of a new base from which to direct attacks against Iran. Only both Jordan and Azerbaijan categorically rejected the idea of harbouring terror militants within its borders.
Faced with mounting difficulties, the US then proposed that the MEK / MKO be broken up into several divisions and thus relocated across several countries. Massoud Rajavi refused.
The US then came up with yet another proposal: Albania.
A small country in the Balkans, Albania was in no position to refuse the United States. Beginning 2013 MEK militants began the long journey to Albania where they still remain. There are now an estimated 3,000 MEK militants in Albania.
In 2013, the Obama Administration struck a deal with the government of Albania to offer asylum to about 250 members of Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK / MKO). Since 2013, the Obama Administration and the Albanian government have extended the agreement, consequently increasing the number of asylum seekers to somewhere in the range of 500-2,000 MEK members. During the summer of 2016, Tirana received the largest contingent of about 1,900 people- an operation managed by the UNHCR.
Although most local media portray the operation and Albania’s willingness to offer assistance to the dissident group as a humanitarian mission, little discussion has been made regarding the potential implications that MEK’s presence may have for Albania in the long run, and for religious balances that have already been thrown off by Wahabbi and Salafi presence among moderate Muslim communities in recent years.
From Baghdad to Tirana
With the overthrow of Saddam in 2003, the most prominent supporters of the Mujahedin-e Khalq, and the black result of this group in Iraq, which led to the deep hatred of the Iraqi people, the process of transferring members of this terrorist group from Camp Ashraf to Liberty Garrison and then to Albania began. Following the overthrow of Saddam in 2003, the most important supporter of the MEK, and with the dark past of this group in Iraq, which led to the deep hatred of the Iraqi people towards this group, the transfer of MEK members started from Camp Ashraf to Liberty Garrison and then to Albania.
The overthrow of Saddam and the disclosure of terrorist crimes of the group against the people of Iran and Iraq have led the organization to be on the list of terrorist groups in the United States and Europe. But the MEK’s cooperation with the Zionist regime, especially the spy on Iran’s nuclear issue and the advancement of US goals in Western Asia, as well as the use of this group to exert pressure on Iran and some internal goals, made them a US-backed group. In fact, Washington came to the conclusion that the revival and strengthening of this terrorist group can accomplish some of the US plans in the region. Thus, the process to remove the MEK from Foreign Terrorist Organizations list began from 2012, and consequently the arrangements for the transfer of them to another country were provided. Though initially, various plans -such as transferring them to Jordan and Azerbaijan-were proposed, but due to the reasons, that were addressed in the study, and with the aim of preserving the coherence of this group, eventually the country of Albania, a country in the Balkan Peninsula, Europe, was elected for the permanent accommodation of this terrorist group.
Why Is the MEK in Albania?
A small country of just 3 million people, 60% of which are Muslims, Albania never really had a choice as far as opening up its borders to the MEK / MKO went.
A candidate for accession to the European Union, Albania is also a NATO member and the only would-be European member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Generally speaking Albania greatly lacks political standing – both regionally and Albania as a suitable base for relocation. But if Albania’s weakness presented a valuable opportunity for the US to rehome the MEK / MKO, it also poses many dangers as far as political and social stability are concerned.
Plagued by high-unemployment, widespread poverty, corruption and criminality, Albania is also home to many Wahhabi radicals. To add to that dangerous mix yet another terror outfit can only end in disaster – both for Albania and the Balkans as a whole.
Sunni-based Islamist supporters and organizations have a history of operating in Albania and throughout the Western Balkans via funding that often streams from Gulf countries which have exported Wahhabi and Salafi Islamic values and traditions, ones that were previously foreign to Albania’s majority Muslim population which still follows the Hanafi-based teachings inherited by the Ottoman Empire.
According to a Pew Research Center analysis on Albania’s Muslim population, this religious composition is reflective of centuries of religious influences, including Sufi and Shia traditions, attested in practices and rituals to this day. It is mainly from this long history that six in ten Muslims do not distinguish their religious affiliation in a sectarian form, such as Shia or Sunni, rather simply identify as “just Muslim,” according to findings by Pew.
Despite these historical legacies that have strengthened relations between religious communities, the presence of Wahhabi and Salafi groups over the years has implanted a sectarian identity regarding which most Albanian Muslim practitioners were oblivious in the past. Since the outset of the conflict in Syria, about 150 Albanian citizens and over 500 ethnic Albanians from Kosovo and Macedonia have joined terrorist organizations in Syria and Iraq, alongside then-Jabhat Al-Nusra and later ISIS.
Even though the number of foreign fighters has drastically decreased since 2015, threats persist from non-violent agitations and divisive narratives that continue to dominate some religious landscapes, including negative portrayal of local Bektashi communities and sectarian rifts which are becoming more pronounced among popular religious leaders.
These developments may have serious repercussions for Albania and Albanian policy-makers who may not foresee the long-term consequences of being involved with the MEK / MKO, and in expanding their role on foreign policy issues beyond the small Balkan nation’s traditional reach.
The dangers of an MEK presence in Albania, will not be limited to the country and certainly such dangers will involve the Balkans and beyond, Europe.
It is folly to expect countries such as Albania to house dangerous terror militants without running the risk of precipitating the entire region into chaos – notwithstanding that such decisions fly in the face of international law.
Can we really justify the presence of the MEK / MKO in Europe … or anywhere else for that matter, and still claim to work towards peace and stability?
Since the disappearance of Massoud Rajavi in March 2003 MEK members have been under the authority of Maryam Rajavi. A fierce detractor of Iran’s Islamic Republic, Maryam Rajavi fancies herself the next leader of Iran strong of the financial support of Saudi Arabia and its allies.
Under Maryam Rajavi the MEK / MKO has stood the course set by Massoud Rajavi, crying democracy and peace while wielding guns against the innocent.
A brutal cult, the MEK / MKO exists in a world of its own – violent, sectarian, radical, dogmatic and profoundly intolerant towards its members. If not for the support of the US and the money of Al Saud, the world would long have learnt to see this group for what it is: a cult.23
Although the group has been insistent its violent days are in the past, it will serve us well to remember just how brutal and bloodthirsty the MEK has been over the decades. With thousands of death to its name, hundreds of terror attacks and countless other acts of treason against Iran the MEK / MKO is the very definition of Terror.
The Cult of Rajavi – The Swamp of Political Dogmatism