MKO, Political Refugee or Opposition Force?

Considering the position and role of MKO in Iraq and disregarding its interference that escalate the internal tension, it is a proven fact that MKO’s so-called political stance toward the Iraqi government, parliament, and constitution display tokens of interference in internal affairs of Iraq. To what extent these hostile and blasphemous attitudes are in broad violation of what MKO claim to be asylum rights activities according to international conventions is a matter of consideration. But the current position of Mojahedin in Iraq, before they are recognized a legal or illegal group of refugees, is naturally the reputation of a violent opposition that intends to destabilize a sovereignty.

The very present attempt by MKO to regulate relations with the Iraqi government constitutes part of the legal challenges met by international organizations which has to be elaborated on. On the other hand, the current position of Mojahedin claiming to be refugees since a long past compared with their status in the reign of Saddam is not a matter of least significance. They are the same Mojahedin that before Saddam’s fall adulated him as their strategic and ideological ally, but now they have made a complete shift to maintain solidarity with the same people they colluded with the dictator to suppress. How these contradictory attitudes and positions have convinced Mojahedin’s current Iraqi associates is another question. Unfortunately, neither the Iraqi government nor MKO’s supporters are interested to engage in a realistic analysis of the issue. It might imply that MKO’s supporters in Iraq are Saddam’s sympathizers although nothing is certain. In any case, it is Iraqi people and the government that have to pay the cost.

The main cause of MKO’s interference in Iraqi affairs is an indetermination to confront Mojahedin’s dissident moves that emboldens the group to consider it certain right to play a political role in Iraq. Alireza Ja’farzadeh in an interview with al-hurra TV rejected the accusations made by Ali Al-Dabbagh, Iraqi government spokesman, that Mojahedin are engaged in terrorist moves in Iraq but he did not denied that the group is engaged in political activities:

Dabbaq could not present even one example of terrorist activities of Mojahedin in Iraq. I just heard him saying, ‘they are engaged in political activities’. Is it equal to terrorism!!

With such a confession made, now the question is why Mojahedin are interested in interfering politically in Iraq’s domestic affairs. Moreover, it has to be taken into consideration that Mojahedin repeatedly have maintained that they are political refugees threatened by the Iranian government and are to be supported according to international conventions. They justify their stay in Iraq as individuals who have been legally granted asylum for 20 years or so. Thus, granted that Mojahedin are sincere in their claims that they are trying to work out a strategic objective of establishing democracy in Iraq, the question now is why Mojahedin in the reign of Saddam MKO never made such a claim and formed a strategic alliance with him in total dismissal of people’s demands, namely democracy in Iraq. It might imply that Saddam was believed to be much more democratic than the new Iraqi government! Besides, Even if Mojahedin’s current opposition to the Iraqi government is, as they propagate, a recognized legitimate right, why they were deprived of the right in Saddam’s time when the asylum is claimed to have been granted?

It has been obvious from the beginning that Mojahedin’s attitude, as a violent opposition, toward Nuri al-Maliki’s government has been hostile and cynical. The attitude in no way conforms to the standards of asylum-seeking. Mr. Al-Dabbagh reiterates that Mojahedin unlawful role played in Iraqi internal affairs is far beyond the claimed refugees’ right. Referring to some instances of MKO’ moves to challenge Iraqi legal government he said:

Last Saturday, the organization held a session with Iraqi politicians; an issue that has to be investigated by the parliament. But concerning their opposition and propaganda against Iraq’s political trend, their Arabic published paper Mojahed, for instance, addresses the legally elected government calling it a preposterous cabinet.

The statements made by Ali al-Dabbaq imply that the Iraqi government tolerates MKO despite being aware of the negative role it plays in Iraq. Iraqi spokesman claims to have access to some documents against MKO that are kept secret due to security concerns. He asserts that:

The Iraqi government does not intend to expel MKO by force. Therefore, we are cooperating with the U.N. to find a third country to receive them. There are numerous documents against Mojahedin but as it is an issue of national security, they cannot be publicized. We keep documents that indicate they are even watching the Iraqi government. Even the U.N. is not allowed to visit their camp freely and it has no clear description of the organization since MKO conforms to none of its published descriptions.

At this juncture that Iraq is engulfed in crisis and disorder, MKO is demanding for more than refuges might ask because they receive full backing of the coalition forces and the U.S. in particular. Although the Iraqi government insists on expelling MKO, the group considers its political interference in Iraqi affairs as an absolute right for itself. The Iraq’s present dilemmatic situation makes it difficult to prove that Mojahedin are turning from being mere refugees to a formidable opposition force. It seems that the Iraqi government has actually sensed the threat of MKO and that its base constitutes a bastion for the Iraqi opposition and insurgents since all traffic from and to Camp Ashraf are banned and Iraqis have been prohibited to take part in the group’s gatherings held there.

July 14, 2007 –  Mojahedin.ws

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