Home » Mujahedin Khalq Organization as a terrorist group » Th MEK; Virus of Corruption, Terrorism in Albania

Th MEK; Virus of Corruption, Terrorism in Albania

It has been more than five and a half years since the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (a.k.a. MEK, MKO, and PMOI) has relocated to Albania, a small country in southeastern Europe. A process, which took nearly three and a half years, indicates how difficult and complicated the expulsion of fewer than 3,000 members from Iraq to a third country was.

The MEK’s expulsion from Iraq and their acceptance by a third country had been a knotty problem for the Iraqi central government because of their criminal and anti-human rights record, which has been corroborated by numerous international reports, including the European Union.

Eventually, Albania, a small Balkan country, accepted the MEK members after signing an agreement with the United States. Many believe that Albania’s acceptance was because of the United States’ hegemony over Albania and its $20 million aid to the Albanian government, which had been revealed by John Kerry during his meeting with the Albanian Prime Minister in Albania.

Camp Ashraf 3 in Albania

Camp Ashraf 3 in Albania

However, Albanian officials, being aware of the sensitivity of their decision, insisted that their terrorist guests made pledges not to engage in any political activity and they had been accepted solely for humanitarian reasons. But the fact is that none of these claims of the Albanian authorities came true. The politicians of the Democratic Party who signed the agreement to accept the MEK members in 2013 did not adhere to the claim. And the Socialist Party and Prime Minister Edi Rama offered the strongest support to the terrorist group. The incumbent Albanian Socialist Party had previously accused the Democratic Party of taking huge bribes from the United States in exchange for accepting MEK members on Albanian soil. Strangely enough, the political leaders of both parties are now giving widespread support to the MEK. Members of the MEK were initially housed in buildings in the Albanian capital of Tirana. Gradually, they moved to a more remote site in Durrës County, western Albania, and constructed a highly fortified camp on 34 hectares of farmland when the country was struggling with unfavorable economic conditions.

Albanian officials have suspiciously stepped up their support for the cult of MEK. Forgetting his legal status, Albanian President Ilir Meta attends the MEK camp in Tirana to meet with the leader of the terrorists. Prime Minister Edi Rama spends a significant portion of his time at the UN General Assembly in support of the MEK. Albanian lawmakers have frequently visited the MEK camp and given speeches in their support. In November 2018, former Albanian MP Namik Kopliku said that his country’s politicians were united in welcoming the MEK. Given the serious disagreements between the Albanian political parties, the MEK’s drawing support from Albanian politicians should be seriously investigated as Albania’s political corruption has always been a hindrance to its EU membership. Popular narratives of MEK’s cutting fat checks for some Iraqi and US officials during the last years shed light on the reasons for the Albanian support and speeches in favor of the MEK.

It is the dubious support of the Albanian authorities for the MEK that has led to the group’s freedom of action in the country, a situation that contradicts the initial commitments of the Albanian authorities. The MEK cult, according to the Independent’s 2018 report, has built a state within a state in Albania that implements its own laws. For example, for a large sum of money, it has set up a powerful telecommunication tower overlooking Tirana. “The organization appears to have strong connections to senior Albanian officials.,” the report said. “Pandeli Majko, a minister in the current Albanian government of Prime Minister Edi Rama, Fatmir Mediu, a former defense minister, and Elona Gjebrea, a former deputy interior minister, were with Giuliani in his visit to Tirana earlier this year for Persian New Year festivities hosted by the MEK.” The MEK’s influence among the corrupt Albanian politicians has been so overwhelming that, according to the Independent, even the Albanian police are not allowed to enter their camp. The Albanian Interior Ministry has no control over the compound, which has become a secret underground organization.

At the peak of the coronavirus pandemic and the infection of a significant number of the MEK members which led to the death of a number of them, the Albanian Ministry of Health was not allowed to enter the camp to check the health protocols. In addition, at the heart of the energy crisis which has plagued the country, causing power outages in various parts of the country including Durres, it has been surprising and at the same time irritating for the locals to see the MEK’s camp lit by innumerable lamps.

Undoubtedly, the Albanian government’s different approach to the MEK has seriously raised suspicions of collusion and secret agreements of Albanian officials with this terrorist cult and perhaps its sponsors. In 2020, El País disclosed the MEK’s $1 million support for Spain’s far-right Vox party during its founding in 2013 and the payment of monthly salaries to the party leaders, as well as the payment of 80% of its campaign expenses in the 2014 European Parliament elections. It shows that the group’s tendency to attract foreign support and strengthen its lobby knows few bounds. It becomes highly dangerous if the support is drawn from officials of a small country faced with economic chaos like Albania whose politicians are involved in rife corruption.

Albania performed poorly in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2020 and ranked 104. Housing the MEK with numerous cases of money laundering and corruption is a threat to Albania and would endanger its efforts to join the European Union. The MEK spends huge sums of money to support the political authorities who support them the most. The political leaders, in return, will do their best to attract the attention of this terrorist group. It will be the Albanian people who will suffer from the presence of this terrorist group in Albania and will touch its effects, in the long run.

by Reza Alghorabi – Quds Online – Translated by Habilian Association

You may also like

Leave a Comment