The Bulgarian unit has been relocated from Camp Ashraf TIPF and now “a few of them, along with some American soldiers, are protecting only the remaining US property at the Center.” As stated by Bulgaria’s News Agency, the Bulgarian mission had been to “control the Center’s regime and provide order and protection of the property and the Iraqi [sic] citizens with refugee status temporary placed there.”
With the closure of TIPF and re-deployment of soldiers guarding it, the future of Camp Ashraf itself is under question. How many American soldiers are still protecting the foreign terrorist group in Iraq? And how long will it be before they hand over control of the camp to the Iraqi Government and military?
Perhaps the plan is to now re-locate the 3,300 uniformed militants from Camp Ashraf to other places in Iraq.
The MKO leader Massoud Rajavi is waiting to have his uniformed combatants re-armed and re-deployed against Iran by the American Administration. It may be that he will not have long to wait.
However, the moment the MKO is re-armed in Iraq it will be a legitimate target for anyone and everyone who bears a grudge against the group – and the MKO has many, many enemies in Iraq.
In these circumstances, as soon as the MKO is de-proscribed in the UK, the militants in Camp Ashraf must be given asylum there, so that they can continue what Maryam Rajavi describes as their peaceful opposition to the Iranian regime. Any other course of action will leave them vulnerable to a potential massacre. The MKO’s supporters in the British parliament who led the campaign to have the group de-proscribed now have the task of rescuing the group’s members in Iraq before they are killed.
Iran-Interlink, May 9, 2008
Bulgarian News Agency report:
Future of Bulgaria Military Mission in Iraq to Be Decided in One Week
Sofia Weekly, May 9, 2008
The decision regarding the future of the Bulgarian military contingent in Iraq could be made as early as a week from today.
This statement was made Friday by General Zlatan Stoykov, Chief of Staff of the Bulgarian Armed Forces, after the official ceremony commemorating the end of World War II.
The decision is a political one and will be made by the Bulgarian Council of Ministers, according to the General. The current government decision about the Bulgarian military mission in Iraq provides for the mission to continue till the end of 2008.
At the moment, Bulgarian rangers serving in Iraq have been relocated from the Temporary Detainee Center "Ashraf". Right now a few of them, along with some American soldiers, are protecting only the remaining US property at the Center.
According to General Stoykov, the current plans are for the Bulgarian soldiers to be withdrawn from Iraq. There is, however, another possible outcome since the US has made a proposal for the dislocation of the soldiers to two other military bases near Baghdad – "Future" and "Copper".
If Bulgaria accepts this proposal, the entire formula of the Bulgarian mission in Iraq will have to be changed since the offer provides for the Bulgarian army to take care of the complete security of either of the two bases, as Stoykov stated.
General Stoykov believes that the option to increase the number of the Bulgarian contingent in Iraq does not exist since a similar move will require additional funds.
The Bulgarian contingent in Iraq is about 150 military servicemen and women. They have been in the Temporary Detainee Center "Ashraf" since May of 2006 to control the Center’s regime and provide order and protection of the property and the Iraqi [sic] citizens with refugee status temporary placed there.
At the same time, as announced by the Bulgarian National Radio, the return of Bulgarian soldiers from Afghanistan is expected today.
These are two military companies deployed in Kandahar and Kabul, where they were executing assignments for the NATO operation in the country.