Tangled Webs

Here’s a story that looks like something of a blockbuster: The Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), an Iraqi-based Iranian opposition group, is considered a terrorist organization by the United States. Any American supporting the group can be charged with a crime. Yet the MEK “gets protection from the U.S. military despite Iraqi pressure to leave the country,” and “regularly escorts MEK supply runs between Baghdad and its base, Camp Ashraf.”

But you probably missed the story because (according to a reader who sent it to me) it was posted very briefly on CNN’s front page and then quickly disappeared. No other major outlet (and very few minor ones) seem to have picked it up. The CNN story quotes Shirwan al-Wa’eli, Iraq’s national security minister, as saying of the MEK, “We gave this organization a six-month deadline to leave Iraq, and we informed the Red Cross. And presumably, our friends the Americans will respect our decision and they will not stay on Iraqi land.”

The MEK has been on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist groups for a decade. And when reading that CNN story, mull over this excerpt from a recent State Department report:

During the 1970s, the MEK killed U.S. military personnel and U.S. civilians working on defense projects in Tehran and supported the takeover in 1979 of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran… Near the end of the 1980-1988 war with Iran, Baghdad armed the MEK with military equipment and sent it into action against Iranian forces. In 1991, the MEK reportedly assisted the Government of Iraq in suppressing the Shia uprisings in southern Iraq and the Kurdish uprisings in the north.

 

Harper’s Magazine – BY Ken Silverstein – PUBLISHED April 9, 2007

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