Unwanted guests, Iraq’s controversial issue
Reported by Niqash on 1 April 20 09, in an interview held with Saleh Mutlaq, leader of the Sunni oppositional list, to inquire about the front’s political position and the accusations posed against it. Mutlaq is alleged to have played a role as a mediator between the Iraqi government and the dissolved Baath party. He is also a strong supporter of the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq organization (MEK) that the government is decisive to expel as a measure to restore peace and security to the country and combat terrorism.
Niqash: Why do you support the Mujahedin-e Khalq organization (MEK)?
Al-Mutlaq: The MEK is a complex topic and the government has issued a decision banning any cooperation with it. The decision describes everybody who supports or cooperates with MEK as a terrorist. We are against expelling the organization from Iraq for humanitarian reasons because of our Arab and Iraqi traditions and values of respecting guests, providing them with support and helping the oppressed. Of course, this issue is not at the top of our priorities. We should first defend Iraqis and their interests and find solutions to the problems of Iraqi widows, orphans and refugees abroad. But this does not mean that we shouldn’t say what we really believe in when it is necessary to do so.
After fleeing Iran in the early years after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the MKO, after being expelled from France, took refuge in Saddam’s Iraq where it enjoyed full financial and political support and got involved in Saddam’s dirty work including the slaughter of Iraqi dissidents and their families, in particular Kurds and Shiites. MKO’s settlement in Iraq was not at all an issue of refugee’s case or accepted gusts but a matter of cooperation and bilateral interests.
In a secret meeting with the head of Saddam’s notorious security and information system, Mokhaberat, following the bloody crackdown of 1991’s uprising wherein MKO played the role of Saddam’s mercenaries, Massoud Rajavi addressed General Saber al-Duri saying:
In mind and heart, I cannot disengage our interests from that of yours; they are merged together exactly as one. We may have our differences in some points but the fact is that our interests are strongly intermingled. Please express my regards to the president [Saddam] and tell him we were, are and will be staying at your home as long as possibly we can. (Iran-interlink)
It seems that Mr. Mutlaq has misunderstood the meaning of gusts and mercenary terrorists. Neither the outcasts who are settled in another country are called gusts nor Mr. Mutlaq seems to be very respectful of Arabic traditions and values. Furthermore, Iraq is the home to its own nation and it is people and their legally elected authorities who can decide to keep gusts, as Mr. Mutlaq calls them, or expel them as they have turned to be thorns in the side of country.
Blacklisted as a terrorist group by many international organizations and countries, including the US, the MKO has claimed responsibility for a spate of deadly bombings, killings and attacks against Iranian officials and the common people over the past 30 years. Reported recently, the Iraqi courts have also drawn to prosecute top members of MKO on charges of killing Iraqi civilians. It has to be pointed out that Iraqi courts have already convicted 450 senior MKO agents on charges of killing and acts of sabotage. However, most of them are reported to have escaped from their headquarters and training center in Camp Ashraf with a handful remaining.
Of course, as Mr. Mutlaq defines, these convicted members are the oppressed who need to be provided with help and support. Where the interests of the nation stand and who is responsible to defend them, if they ever have any priority, is a question that none of the likes of Mr. Mutlaq can ever find a solution for. MKO might be a complex issue to deal with, but the Iraqi government has coped with it cleverly and will put an end to it whether its advocates like it or not.