Text of report by Majid Mehrabi-Delju entitled "Last house of discord" published in Iranian newspaper Hamshahri website on 9 August
Recently Iraq’s military forces were ordered by the country’s government to attack and take over Camp Ashraf, which had been at the disposal of the hypocrites [Monafeqin in Persian, reference to Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization] since the time of Saddam Hussein.
Reports and images of the attack were given extensive coverage by the world’s media. The Iraqi government denied it had been violent with the camp’s residents, though it was said the attack killed more than 10 and injured 200 people. The Iraqi government had been talking to the heads of this little group for two years so they would recognize Iraq’s national right to exercise sovereignty over this parcel of Iraqi soil. But the MKO’ leaders – it is not clear with which argument – negated this right of sovereignty and refused the Iraqi government entry into the camp.
They believe Iraq is under occupation and wanted Iraq to implement the Iraqi agreement with America concerning the camp, which would be considered a negation of Iraq’s sovereign rights over its territory.
"Among the MKO’ group in Camp Ashraf, there are people whose hands are stained with the blood of Iraqis. We shall refer these people to competent Iraqi courts for trial. Likewise some of these people have their hands stained with the blood of the people of Iran, and we shall deal with them in line with the security agreement. Most of them of course have stated an interest in returning voluntarily to Iran, so we intend to make preparations for that." These were comments made in Bahman 1387 [January-February 2009] by Muwaffaq al-Rubay’i, the Iraqi national security adviser, at a press conference during a trip to Tehran.
A day after the anniversary of the Mersad operation, or the Eternal Shining [Forugh-e javedani] as it is ordinarily referred to in the MKO language, and a day before the anniversary date of Abolhasan Banisadr’s flight from Iran with [Mas’ud Rajavi] the head of the MKO (seventh Mordad 1360) [29 July 1981], the Iraqi army surrounded Camp Ashraf to begin the countdown to the end of the MKO’ 23-year residence at the base. After this certain media sought to find a link between visits made to Iran in recent months by Iraqi officials and the Iraqi army’s attack on Camp Ashraf.
But as the head of the Iran-Iraq parliamentary friendship group, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, has said, the attack was an internal Iraqi affair and, contrary to rumors, Iraq did not do this for Iran’s sake. It seems that one of the most important reasons for the attack was the MKO’ collaboration with Saddam Hussein in attacks on areas including Khalisiya and killing of various innocent Iraqi Kurds and Shi’a.
The camp, as the Christian Science Monitor has described, has risen like weed, and with elegant gardens and wide avenues, is a memento of [previous] intense differences between Iraq and its neighbour Iran. The Mojahedin became armed and wealthy under Saddam Hussein, launching numerous attacks on Iran from Iraqi territory, the review wrote at the time of the Iraqi army’s attack on Camp Ashraf. Wikipedia writes about the camp that it is a complex of buildings and streets, and includes educational, social and sporting facilities. It has four Olympic-size pools, a shopping centre, a zoo, a park, a university, and a standard-size football ground. The website stated that Camp Ashraf had given its size and to function effectively, services like a shop, bakery, petrol station and even traffic police.
Dictator’s green light
The camp was founded in 1986 with the green light from Saddam Hussein; the 3,400 people based in the camp have committed crimes in the past 23 years, including against other camp residents. During the Iraqi army’s attack on the camp, a mass grave was discovered inside the camp.
The MKO’ little group, following the calamity of the seventh Tir that martyred more than 70 members of the Islamic Republic Party, fled the country with Banisadr and preferred to pursue its counter-revolutionary manoeuvres from abroad, initially from France. In 1986 the French government forced the MKO to leave Paris, after which their base became Baghdad (the capital of Iraq). The group proceeded then to found a city north of Baghdad in the Diyala province, 80 kilometres from the Iran-Iraq frontier.
In addition to the terrorist actions the MKO carried out in Iran, the group also carried out military operations on the frontline against Iran during the imposed war [1980-88]. If we overlook the operations known as Aftab [Sun] and Chelcheragh [Chandelier] on Iran’s southern frontier, respectively taking place at midnight on the seventh Farvardin 1367 [27 March 1988] and midnight of 28 Khordad 1367 [18 June 1988], the operation Forugh-e Javidan [Eternal shining] was the best-known attack made on Iranian soil by the MKO.
Rajavi sought in this operation to do what Saddam failed to over eight years. He wanted to conquer Tehran in 33 hours. When the MKO entered Iran’s frontier towns and villages, they began to kill innocent people. They did not hesitate to decapitate patients and the injured in hospitals. The Mersad operations take place to repel this operation and the soldiers of Islam created a hell for the MKO in the Chaharzir district [in Kermanshah].
After that the MKO left their tracks on a number of terrorist acts inside Iran. The European Union and America kept the little group on their blacklist of terrorist groups for a number of years. But events concerning the sect led the European Union, led by the UK, to seek some way of opening their passage to Europe, as their the expulsion from Iraq seemed imminent.
Europe’s green light to the MKO
With the overthrow of the Iraqi regime in 2003, the MKO were disarmed by American troops. On the basis of the first phase of the security agreement between Iraq and America, signed on 26 Aban last year [16 November 2008], the country’s armed forces would take charge of Iraq’s security and American forces must return to specified bases. Camp Ashraf was not one of the camps placed under American control, but under the authority and influence of the Iraqis. The MKO should not have been pleased with the signature of the agreement.
They celebrated America’s national day for the Americans in Iraq and were happy with the presence of American troops in Iraq. About two months after the signing of the security agreement between Iraq and America (seventh Bahman) the EU removed the MKO from its list of terrorists. This could only mean one thing. At the same time various experts said the MKO’ removal from the terrorist list was a calculated response to the move due to take place in six months later in Iraq. Still, about 55 members of the MKO group in the camp (New Iraq Camp) are wanted by the international police.
Nobody will accept them
Iraq wants the MKO to leave the country or return to Iran or go to a third country. The Christian Science Monitor writes on Iraq’s decision to expel the MKO that the head of the Iraqi National Security Council believes that the members have been "brainwashed" and are potentially dangerous. It adds that it has been a difficult deal to persuade other countries to accept more than a few members of the group. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has so far given refugee status to 250 former members of the Mojahedin though officials say only some have been accepted by third countries [the Christian Science Monitor wrote].
In fact days after the Iraqi army’s attack on the MKO’ camp in Diyala, Abd-al-Husayn al-Shammari, the police chief of the Diyala governorate north-east of Baghdad, said residents of the camp now called New Iraq Camp, have no choice but to leave Iraqi territory. "The high commission dealing with the New Iraq Camp dossier has given members a month to leave Iraqi territory and they must decide in this time to return to their country Iran, which has issued a general amnesty for them, or go to a third country. They no longer have the option of remaining in Iraq," he said. A Western official has said Camp Ashraf is the last place left to the MKO, and asked, what are they without it?
Source: Hamshahri, Tehran in Persian – Translated by:BBC Monitoring Middle East