Following the recent hacking of the Albanian government systems which caused the country sever ties with Tehran, Israel offered cyber defense assistance to Albania. Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll met with Albanian Foreign Minister Olta Xhacka on the sidelines of the Conference on Shaping Feminist Foreign Policy in Berlin, where he “offered to share our knowledge and experience in cyber defense” and “expressed Israel’s appreciation” for Tirana’s decision to sever its diplomatic ties with Iran, he said in a tweet.
Albania hosts a group with violent capacities
Albania agreed in 2013 to take in members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an anti-Iran cult-like group also known as the Cult of Rajavi and a longtime ally of Israel, at the request of Washington and the United Nations, with thousands settling in the Balkan country over the years. The group based its new headquarters in Manza, 30 kilometers north of the Albanian capital, Tirana.
MEK is a paramilitary group which was once the private army of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and was disarmed by the US military after the US invasion on Iraq, in 2003. As an armed group with a dark background of terrorist activities in Iraq and Iran, the group was listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department until September 2012. The delisting was based on the group’s alleged denouncing of armed struggle but the DOS’s report notified, at the time, that regarding the group’s cult-like system and its violent history, it maintains the capacity to commit acts of violence. And, that was true. The MEK is still promoting violence inside Iran by its so-called resistance units (in Persian called Kanoon-e Shooreshi).
Frequent reports on violent attacks of the so-called MEK’s resistance units against Iranian governmental or religious buildings across Iran are regularly broadcasted on the group’s media. The most recent demonstration of the MEK’s violent attitude has been reflected in Massoud Rajavi’s latest message from his hiding place which was published by the group’s media on September 13, 2022. In a ten-point command, Rajavi orders the resistance units to attack Iranian government buildings “following the pattern they acted in fall 2019 in Iran” when government buildings and banks were set on fire by the MEK agents.
Albania, victim of MEK-Israel alliance’
The MEK has long been an operative arm for the Israeli intelligence service Mossad. In 2002, they were first used by Mossad to publish the intelligence on the Iranian nuclear program. The investigative journalist, Gareth Porter writes in the American Conservative that the MEK was used by Israel’s Mossad to “launder” information that it wanted to make public but didn’t want attributed to Israel, according to two Israeli journalists.
Since then, the MEK’s agents became Mossad’s operative arms to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists. In November, 2012 NBC reported that two US senior officials confirmed that the MEK was “financed, trained, and armed by Israel” in killing Iranian nuclear scientists.
The MEK and Israel are also known for launching cyber-attacks against Iran, most notably in 2010 when the Stuxnet virus — believed to have been engineered by Israel and the US — infected Iran’s nuclear program and the most recent but trivial one was committed by the MEK in June 2022 when the MEK claimed it had hacked Tehran security cameras, dozens of municipality websites. According to AFP, the Cult of Rajavi claimed the hacking attack which it said temporarily took control of dozens of websites run by Tehran’s municipality and thousands of the capital’s surveillance cameras.
Albania seems to have become the victim of a war between Iran and Israel’s proxy force, the MEK. In order to stop the domino of problems, the Albanian government should stop hosting the MEK as a whole entity. Instead, it must host the rank and file of the MEK as human beings who need to be deradicalized and welcome by the Albanian society in order to build a normal life in the free world.