MKO, the illegal settlers in Iraq

The claims of MKO on keeping Camp Ashraf by means of grabbing at the issue of refugee rights has been turned to the main point of their conflict with the Iraqi government. It can be reviewed from different dimensions. A brief look at the past events regarding Mojahedin may give us a better understanding of the legal and political grounds of this claim. First the conditions in which Mojahedin moved to Iraq and the objectives they pursued by this movement have to be clarified to judge upon the accuracy of their present allegations from a political point of view rather than with regard to international protocols and conventions as practiced with the organization. Therefore, we have to identify the reason why Mojahedin entered Iraqi soil after their expulsion from France.

It is said that this movement has been aimed at achieving some political and ideological objectives rather than seeking refuge in Iraq. At that time (the meetings of Rajavi and Tariq Aziz) MKO aimed to make a strategic alliance with Saddam by this relocation and this alliance has been so determining and significant for two parties that neither legal international protocols nor refugee rights had been taken into consideration. Reviewing the past and the statements made by Rajavi and Saddam indicate that the transfer of Mojahedin from France to Iraq had mechanisms far beyond looking for refugee and according to evidences revealed later on, the interactions and relation of these leaders had been contrary to the international protocols and the Fourth Geneva Conventions in particular. The main part of these statements appeared in Rajavi’s declaration issued under the title “The valedictory message of the leader of the new Iranian revolution”. There, he points to issues like the necessity of overthrowing the Iranian government, using adjacency to Iranian soil for making a strategic shift in guerilla warfare and turning it into regional warfare and liberation war relying on his so-called liberation army etc. According to Rajavi:
I should say that here, in France, it is no more possible to further and lead the armed movement for overthrow in the most responsible positions. 1
As he further states:

If you ask me why I am going, I say it in one sentence: to light a fire in the mountains. 2

All over his 30-page declaration and explanations on the rationale behind his flight to Iraq, Rajavi hardly refers to the subject of seeking refuge therein.
At that time, Rajavi took a winning position toward the outsiders and never thought of a time when he had to resort to a fabricated subterfuge for justifying his illegal settlement in Iraq. Soon the close relationship between Rajavi and Saddam was revealed; a relationship that cannot be defined under any framework of international protocols and rules. Here some points are to be mentioned regarding the claims Mojahedin make in the present conditions:

1. The secret negotiations of Iraqi officials and Tariq Aziz in particular with France were based on the common policies of two countries against Iran.

2. The Iran-Iraq war had a determining role in Rajavi-Saddam alliance. Application for political refuge is based on a specific set of rules, however, Rajavi-Saddam interaction has been a political alliance not included in the framework of international conventions and refugee rights.

3. As asserted by Rajavi, his movement has been a strategic one for furthering his armed struggle against Iranian government rather than seeking refuge or anything else.
With regard to these factors, it is proved that the transfer of Mojahedin to Iraq has not been for seeking refuge therein and as evidences show, Rajavi moved to Iraq to ally with Saddam due to the strategic position of Iraq in the region next to Iranian borders. Although Rajavi could grab at the issue of seeking refuge at that time as the reason of his movement to Iraq, he refrained to do so due to his lack of political awareness, foresight as well as placing much reliance on the power of Saddam.

However, after the fall of Saddam when Rajavi lost all his political and military power and received a sharp reprimand due to his alliance with Saddam and illegal settlement in Iraq, he had no option but grabbing at international protocols and the Fourth Geneva Conventions to justify his past illegalities. An immediate shift in his policy after the fall of Saddam indicates that the issue of seeking refuge in Iraq is baseless and unjustifiable. Undoubtedly, if Saddam wasn’t deposed, neither was the issue of refuge seeking of Mojahedin mentioned nor any effort was made to prove the legitimacy of the presence of Mojahedin in Iraq.

References:
1. The historical flight for “peace and freedom”; the messages, reports, and news on the departure of the leadership of the new Iranian revolution from France to Iraq. MKO publication, 1986, p. 126.
2. ibid, p. 127.

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