The Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) Intrusion in Albania, Threatens Regional Stability 

The Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) Intrusion in Albania, Threatens Regional Stability 

The Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) Intrusion in AlbaniaRobert Fantina, Global research, January 11 2021:… It took at least three years, from 2013 – 2016, for the Iraqi government and political-social activists to oust the Mujahedin from Iraq. Few countries were willing to shelter the Mujahedin. However, with the support of the United States, they relocated to Albania. This was an interesting development, because the MKO is a semi-militant organization which was forcibly disarmed by the United States in 2003 after the occupation of Iraq. In addition, 16 military bases and heavy weapons such as tanks which were previously provided to the MKO by the former Iraqi dictator Saddam. The Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) Intrusion in Albania, Threatens Regional Stability 

The Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) Intrusion in AlbaniaWith Trump gone , is the MEK finished ?

The Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) Intrusion in Albania, Threatens Regional Stability 

The Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) Intrusion in Albania, Threatens Regional Stability in Middle East and Balkans

One can only imagine the risk when some citizens of a small country conceal hundreds of thousands of weapons and explosives. The nation becomes a powder keg, awaiting one small mistake to spark a deadly explosion.

This is the situation currently in Albania. During the civil war of 1997, military depots were looted, and more than 650,000 guns, 1.5 billion bullets, 3.5 million grenades and 1 million landmines were stolen from military warehouses by various criminal groups and the Kosovo Liberation Army.

The government has attempted to resolve, or at least reduce, this serious problem. Since 1997, it has announced three amnesty orders for the delivery of looted weapons (a fourth is currently proposed). Yet, only about 40% of the weapons have been returned (exact numbers are impossible to determine), and it is estimated that between 300,000 and 325,000 weapons are still in private possession, many of them possessed by criminals. Albanian media previously reported that some of the illegal weapons imported into Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Greece and Italy may have been from this stockpile, and they believe that even after more than two decades, these weapons are still being found and used in Albania’s neighboring countries such as Greece and Italy.

The Albanian people experienced war and violence in their country 20 years ago, which led to the deaths of over 2,000 people and left thousands more homeless. Citizens of that country, have no inclination to, once again, become a centre for crisis in the region and bear the political and security consequences which would result. This, of course, would negatively impact their goal of joining the European Union.

And now an Albanian journalist, Ebi Spahiu, an independent analyst on Central Asian and Western Balkan Affairs has sounded the alarm about weapons being in possession of anti-Iranian terrorists. This journalist expressed her concern about the possibility of Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization’s (MKO; sometimes referred to as MEK) having access to these weapons and the danger of rearming themselves.

Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) Terrorist Supported By The United States

The MKO is a terrorist organization that seeks to overthrow the government of Iran and replace it with one that would certainly bow to any and all U.S. demands. The MKO is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iranians over the years. Now based in Albania, it was formerly headquartered in Iraq.

The Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) Intrusion in Albania

The Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) Intrusion in Albania

Members of the Mujahedin, believed to be in possession of some of the weapons looted from Albania in 1997, also stole arms from Iran. After the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, they carried out numerous attacks on barracks, police stations and military bases and stole a large number of weapons, which they used to increase their assassinations of Iranian citizens and officials.

It took at least three years, from 2013 – 2016, for the Iraqi government and political-social activists to oust the Mujahedin from Iraq. Few countries were willing to shelter the Mujahedin. However, with the support of the United States, they relocated to Albania. This was an interesting development, because the MKO is a semi-militant organization which was forcibly disarmed by the United States in 2003 after the occupation of Iraq. In addition, 16 military bases and heavy weapons such as tanks which were previously provided to the MKO by the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein were all recaptured and handed over to the Iraqi military. The U.S. only began supporting the group as its hostility to Iran increased.

Maryam Rajavi MEK Cult Fake Journalists

In addition, the MKO was housed in a military camp called Ashraf after 2003, in the Diyala province of Iraq, which was one of the main strongholds of the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization. The Mujahedin were able to establish close contact with foreign extremist terrorists who had entered Iraq and provided them with a great deal of intelligence. They also used part of Camp Ashraf as a site for military and combat training for terrorists.

With so many weapons in the hands of Albanians, there is a high risks that the MKO, with its long history of conducting military operations, could gain access to illegal weapons in that country and use them in pursuit of their goals. While their ability to achieve those goals is slim, they could still cause tremendous suffering as they attempt to reach them.

Adding to the risk is the fact that Albania is a center of arms smuggling in the Balkans; thus, buying large quantities of weapons is not difficult for the MKO since the organization is now headquartered in that country.

The MKO’s interference in Iraq during the period of Saddam Hussein, and then intervening in post-Saddam Iraqi political tensions, indicates the threat that it can be, and therefore it must be carefully controlled by any country where MKO members have a presence. Any violent actions by the group could have a negative impact on the security of this region of the world.

Iran Fighting US Sponsored ISIS and MEK

Indications of future violence are in clear evidence; even Twitter briefly restricted the group’s activities, and suspended the leader.

Beyond the MKO, the presence of jihadist extremists, especially in southeastern Albania, bring widespread activities of arms and drug trafficking. Adding the presence of the Mujahedin-e Khalq into this already-deadly mix further jeopardizes the safety of the citizens in this country and further destabilizes the entire region.

The support that the United States currently offers to the MKO must end. Without that support, the MKO would be unable to continue its operations in Albania, and the risk of further terrorist activities by its members would decrease significantly.

Link to the source

The Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) Intrusion in Albania, Threatens Regional Stability 

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Also read:
https://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/albania-accession-to-eu-open-letter-to-the-negotiators/

Albania Accession TO EU – Open Letter to the Negotiators

Albania Accession TO EU - Open Letter to the NegotiatorsAnne Khodabandeh, Iranian.com, July 17 2020:… MEK leader Maryam Rajavi boasts that she can organize a Zoom conference from Albania on July 17th to link up paid pundits she would normally invite to her annual rally – a cut price event. On July 16th families from every province in Iran linked up by Zoom to talk and asked ‘if Rajavi is so afraid that we will come to the camp with bombs, why can’t she allow our loved ones to make supervised Zoom calls with us from afar?’ Albania Accession TO EU – Open Letter to the Negotiators

A Step Further Than Saddam Hussein! Albania Accession TO EUA Step Further Than Saddam Hussein!

Albania Accession TO EU – Open Letter to the Negotiators

Albania Accession TO EU - Open Letter to the Negotiators

Open Letter to the Negotiators for Albania’s Accession to the EU

by  Anne Khodabandeh 

News that, in spite of the difficulties thrown up by the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission accession talks are going ahead is welcome. Albania, in particular, has many serious issues to address if it is to make progress and the country will benefit from pressure to meet EU expectations on combatting crime and corruption as well as instituting judicial and political reforms.

The recent arrest of 5 senior officials of Albania’s Regional Border and Migration Directorate on charges of people smuggling and illegal assistance to cross the borders, after an investigation into illegal trafficking and abuse of migrant documentation, illustrates the depth of Albania’s problems. Coordination with the CIA in these arrests by Director General of the State Police, Ardi Veliu also reminds us that one of Albania’s difficulties has been to emerge in any meaningful way from under the control of the US as a NATO state.

These arrests have inadvertently exposed another significant, but easily ignored aspect to US influence – the presence of the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK, MKO, Rajavi cult), an Iranian terrorist group which operates as a mind control cult. The MEK in Albania is protected by the Trump administration and claims CIA links. Albania’s government has allowed the MEK unprecedented freedom; freedom that former benefactor Saddam Hussein never granted. Indeed, the tolerance of and collusion with the MEK’s maverick, often criminal behaviour acts like a litmus test for how corrupt various Albanian institutions are.

In the case of the police arrests, several former members of the MEK who live in Tirana said they were surprised and relieved because “These five are the same police who have been harassing us, refusing to give us residence permits and denying our basic rights. They have arrested one of us and detained him without charge for almost a year. The police have been doing this on behalf of MEK leaders.” What this exposes is that the MEK enjoys undue influence with the police services, and that MEK members do not have any legal status in the country; no ID papers, work permits or travel documents. They are not refugees, they are stateless and unaccountable people who live outside the law.

Since arriving in Albania in 2016, the MEK presence has been at best problematic – the MEK has interfered in the internal and external affairs of the country – and at worst poses a serious security risk. An examination of MEK behaviour reveals profound corruption in every institution of Albania.

The following sample of the range of MEK activities in Albania displays a pattern not of simple disregard for the laws and norms of the host community, but a deliberate exploitation of weaknesses in every aspect of the Albanian state from local to national level.

The MEK:

  • Persuaded deputy Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Dr Elona Gjebrea to support Maryam Rajavi even though MEK modern slavery is clear for all to see.
  • Diverted drinking water [in English] from a tourist area for their camp.
  • Taken precedence for the supply of electricity to their camp over local residents.
  • Angered locals by burying one of their dead in an already overcrowded cemetery.
  • Evaded the post mortem examination of a member who died in suspicious circumstances [in English].
  • Had media interviews removed after Anne Khodabandeh revealed the MEK was recruiting Albanian youth.
  • Falsely accused two Iranian academics of being terrorists and used this as evidence to have diplomatic staff from the Iranian embassy expelled after MEK labelled them terrorists.
  • Established an extrajudicial, extraterritorial camp to keep members in a state of modern slavery.
  • Used slaves to run a troll farm against the national interests of Albania.
  • Interfered in media freedoms to have favourable articles published and critical articles suppressed.
  • Denied access and physically assaulted western journalists who came to report on the activities in the closed camp in Manez.
  • Paid politicians and personalities to attend their meetings and promote their anti-Iran agenda using Albania as a platform to call for violent regime change against Iran [in English].

In response to revelations of its activities, the MEK accuses critics of being “agents of Iran’s intelligence services” – cult jargon intended to frighten the members and call into question the integrity of the critics and distract attention from MEK illegal activities.

Even respected and well-known Albanian citizens are not exempt from the MEK’s unchecked defamation and intimidation campaign. Albanian journalist Gjergji Thanasi is still seeking justice against leading member MEK Behzad Safari as court hearing after court hearing is postponed after spurious excuses are raised. Civil rights activist and historian Olsi Jazexhi and lawyer Migena Bala have been threatened with violence by MEK for investigating and criticizing the cult.

What is to be done?

Clearly, if the European Union is to welcome Albania as a member state something must be done to root out the MEK’s influence in that country. In the past two years, member states of the European Union have severely curtailed MEK activities in Europe. The MEK leader Maryam Rajavi has been obliged to quit France and set up her new headquarters in Albania. There can be no doubt that the EU will not tolerate the group re-entering by default should Albania finally join the union. If Albania does issue them with ID papers, these ‘refugees’ will have direct access to everywhere in the EU following accession.

It is time to dismantle the group.

In 2003 when Saddam Hussein was removed from power, families of MEK members who had not seen their loved ones for two decades made the perilous journey to Camp Ashraf to make contact. These families joined together as an NGO called Nejat Society (Rescue Society) and Sahar Family Foundation was created to help disaffected members in Iraq. Since then they have helped hundreds of individuals who left the MEK to reunite with their families, de-radicalise and return to normal life. In that time, the MEK has transferred from Iraq to Albania, but still in 2020, many, many members remain trapped, incommunicado without knowledge of how they can be helped.

Back in August 2017, an official from the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Tirana met with representatives of these families and pledged to help. Visiting Tirana, Iran Interlink representative Anne Khodabandeh explained how important families are to helping de-radicalise MEK members after they leave the group, and offering them support in returning to normal life.

Since then MEK have waged a campaign to demonize families of MEK members who travelled, or want to travel, to Albania to make contact with their long estranged loved ones, labelling them terrorists and accusing them of wanting to kill their relatives, ensuring they cannot obtain visas.

Families’ petition Albania’s PM

In May this year, a petition by the families addressed to Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama reached over eleven thousand signatures. There is a lot of sympathy for the plight of these families, many of whom are elderly and are desperate to be reconciled with their loved ones before it is too late. The petition urges Albania’s prime minister to allow the families to contact their loved ones in the MEK camp. Tens of families added personal appeals and wrote individual letters. Still Rama has not responded.

MEK leader Maryam Rajavi boasts that she can organize a Zoom conference from Albania on July 17th to link up paid pundits she would normally invite to her annual rally – a cut price event. On July 16th families from every province in Iran linked up by Zoom to talk and asked ‘if Rajavi is so afraid that we will come to the camp with bombs, why can’t she allow our loved ones to make supervised Zoom calls with us from afar?’

MEK leader Maryam Rajavi boasts that she can organize a Zoom conference from Albania on July 17th to link up paid pundits she would normally invite to her annual rally – a cut price event. On July 16th families from every province in Iran linked up by Zoom to talk and asked ‘if Rajavi is so afraid that we will come to the camp with bombs, why can’t she allow our loved ones to make supervised Zoom calls with us from afar?’

Albania Accession TO EU - Open Letter to the Negotiators

If the European Union is serious about allowing Albania to accede to the union, the negotiators on all sides must take this issue seriously. The coronavirus pandemic offers a strange but real opportunity to treat this as a humanitarian issue rather than a political or terrorism problem. The MEK can be dismantled, the members rescued, their families are ready to help. Edi Rama should be supported in taking this courageous and defining step to secure the future of his country.

To:

Olivér Várhelyi – European Commissioner Neighbourhood and Enlargement

Genoveva Ruiz Calavera – Director of the Western Balkans at the European Commission

Isabel Santos – EP Standing Rapporteur on Albania

Zef Mazi – Albania’s chief negotiator for EU integration

David McAllister – Chair of Foreign Affairs Committee EUP

By Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh

Link to the source 

Albania Accession TO EU – Open Letter to the Negotiators

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Also read:
https://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/mek-families-petition-addressing-albanian-pm-a-unique-opportunity-to-take-control/

MEK Families Petition Addressing Albanian PM , A Unique Opportunity To Take Control

MEK Families Petition Addressing Albanian PMAnne Khodabandeh, Iranian.com, May 12 2020:… petition addressed to Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama has reached over ten thousand signatures. The petition was created by estranged families who need help to contact their loved ones trapped in the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) cult’s closed camp ‘Ashraf 3’ in Albania. The families are demanding that PM Rama ensures they get this contact. Now with the global coronavirus pandemic affecting Albania as elsewhere, they are even more urgently concerned to have news about the fate of their loved ones.  MEK Families Petition Addressing Albanian PM , A Unique Opportunity To Take Control 

Anne Khodabandeh : MEK Families Petition Addressing Albanian PMFamilies Write to Albanian PM Adviser Endri Fuga

MEK Families Petition Addressing Albanian PM , A Unique Opportunity To Take Control

Coronavirus gives Albanian PM Edi Rama unique opportunity to control MEK

by Anne Khodabandeh

Anne Khodabandeh : MEK Families Petition Addressing Albanian PM

petition addressed to Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama has reached over ten thousand signatures. The petition was created by estranged families who need help to contact their loved ones trapped in the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) cult’s closed camp ‘Ashraf 3’ in Albania. The families are demanding that PM Rama ensures they get this contact. Now with the global coronavirus pandemic affecting Albania as elsewhere, they are even more urgently concerned to have news about the fate of their loved ones.

The families have tried for decades to find ways to have news of their relatives – including taking the dangerous journey to the gates of MEK’s Camp Ashraf in Iraq after the 2003 defeat of Saddam Hussein. The MEK’s policy of forced divorce and separation of families has meant this has not been possible. It was hoped that the move to the more open western country Albania might give the families a better chance to visit their loved ones. Unfortunately, after 2016, the Trump administration allowed the MEK to corral the ordinary members back inside a closed and isolated camp in Manez, Durres county, where they are kept incommunicado.

In addition to the Trump administration’s support for the MEK, the government of Albania also capitulated to the MEK leaders’ demands, turning a blind eye to the conditions of modern slavery which characterise this group. Indeed, although they are said to be refugees, neither the government of Albania nor the UNHCR take any responsibility for the MEK members. Ex-members appealing for help are told by the UNHCR and the Interior Ministry that their existence in Albania is governed by an agreement that allows the MEK to take charge of all the people transferred from Iraq; they are entirely reliant on support from the MEK itself. This suits leader Maryam Rajavi very well. It is imperative for her to exert total control over the members since she has re-purposed her former combatants in Iraq to keyboard warriors in Albania where the MEK now runs a notorious click farm. Rajavi does whatever she can to prevent the members from leaving, no matter their state of health or willingness to work.

In the petition, the families – the elderly parents, siblings, cousins and children of the members – have appealed to Edi Rama to be granted visas to travel to Albania to search for their loved ones. These have so far been refused. But preventing the members from having contact with their families is just one element in a panoply of tactics designed to prevent defections. The MEK members have been denied the identity papers, travel documents and work permits which would enable them to live independently. This means that those who have managed to leave the MEK cannot work, cannot get a driving license and cannot even open a bank account to allow their families to transfer funds to cover their basic sustenance. These conditions of forced dependence are all part of a deliberate scheme to close every possible door to help from outside the MEK.

Anne Khodabandeh : MEK Families Petition Addressing Albanian PMMunicipal workers in Manez, Durres county | Photo credit: Gjergji Thanasi from Manez, Albania

But the blatant human rights and justice implications of hosting a slave camp on its territory that has been largely swept under the carpet by corrupt politicians and media in Albania, has now become an urgent matter because of the coronavirus pandemic. The MEK members did not choose to live in Albania but were brought en masse under an agreement between the MEK, U.S., Albania and the UNHCR. Once in Albania they were herded into the camp and kept isolation there. In Albania, there is a refusal at government and local level to acknowledge them as individual people and grant them rights – they are dealt with only as a group.

According to investigative journalist Gjergji Thanasi, who reports from Durres county where MEK is based, and where the worst of the coronavirus outbreak has been recorded, the Albanian Ministry of Health “deals with Camp Ashraf 3 as if it does not exist. There is not a single line in the Durres Municipality health officials’ paperwork written about the camp and its residents. No Albanian health official has ever entered the camp.” The group is therefore inaccessible and unaccountable. This means that no matter how hard epidemiologists may be working to trace the contacts of positive cases throughout the country, the MEK will not submit to allow Health Ministry staff inside the camp to test or treat the individuals there. Based on its past behaviour, the MEK is also unlikely to register deaths inside the camp as COVID-19 related as this would itself force the involvement of the local health authorities. This makes the group an unsafe entity for the general citizenship of Albania and in particular the residents of Manez and the greater Durres county, the epicentre for the virus in that country.

This is a thorny issue for PM Rama. On one hand he must kowtow to the demands of the Trump administration which continues to support the MEK. President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo have been happy to use MEK disinformation and propaganda emanating from the troll farm in Camp Ashraf to boost their anti-Iran agendas. On the other hand, Albania’s aspirations to join the European Union are hampered in part by the MEK presence there.  The EU’s tolerance of the MEK ran out in 2018 when an alleged bomb plot brought the MEK’s conflict with Iran to the heart of Europe, forcing France, Belgium, Denmark and Germany to look afresh at the security implications of allowing the MEK a free rein in their countries. As a result, MEK leader Maryam Rajavi was obliged to relocate to a new headquarters in Albania, and MEK activities in the EU were severely curtailed, particularly public demonstrations and gatherings. As long as the MEK remain in Albania, the EU will not accept them returning through the back door by allowing Albania to join the union.

In a strange way then, the pandemic offers an opportunity for PM Rama to address this issue once and for all. To deal with the MEK not as a political or terrorist problem but instead as a social problem. The petition of the families points to an obvious solution to this problem: allow the families of MEK members to make contact with them and help them individually. But this relies on the acknowledgement of government that MEK poses a threat to Albanian society, along with the willingness to deal decisively with them. This is possible. But will PM Rama have the courage and wisdom to take this opportunity?

Link to the source

MEK Families Petition Addressing Albanian PM , A Unique Opportunity To Take Control

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