On early December, BBC quoted Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO, MEK, PMOI, NCR) that it never consents to evacuate Camp Ashraf under any condition adding that any attempts by the Iraqi Government to force the group out of its base might result in further bloodshed. Earlier in a message, Rajavi had announced his readiness to leave Ashraf on condition of receiving a big sum of money for the price of the camp. Of course, many were of the opinion that his words meant buying more time and lengthening the process of relocation. But one thing is certain that the Iraqi Government’s ultimatum reaching its final days, the organization is also preparing to confront, as it has already threatened, any move by the Iraqi forces against its bastion as it did in July that resulted in many casualties.
That is while according to the state’s spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, the Iraqi forces and police had “an order not to use any live rounds”. The residents’ fierce resistance against attempts to quell the violence eventually led to an estimated casualty of two deaths and 110 injured from the Iraqi forces and 11 claimed deaths and some 500 wounded from among the Ashraf residents.
What is of great significance and attention in all these is MKO’s broad and widespread propaganda to demonize the Iraqi Government and to demonstrate itself as the oppressed. While the Iraqi Government prefers not to run out of patience with the group to find a peaceful solution to end the issue, MKO has insisted on the application of violence and continuation of an aggressive resistance. The government is doing nothing but trying to execute the law that the constitution and the nation requires to be accomplished rather than appeasement of a terrorist group that claims an autonomous territory on the soil of a sovereign state. The organization’s subsequent propaganda blitz against the Iraqi Government mainly aims to attract the attentions of advocates to interfere and to take the side of Mojahedin to impose them on the government and guarantee their stay in Iraq.
That is why suddenly a rightful enter of a country’s forces to impose the law turns into the eye catching headlines of “crime against humanity”, “barbaric attack by Iraqi forces”, “storm against Camp Ashraf” and the like by MKO’s media and propaganda machine that did much better than the Iraqis in this respect. The incident was recorded mostly from MKO’s cameras and reports released as the group aired. In fact, all the media and news agencies reflected just what MKO had released about the incident with the very same words, pictures and footages.
In contrast, Iraq underestimated the need to counteract the group’s heavily influential propaganda by making it clear that it was not so complicated an issue and violation of any right but just an ordinary act of controlling a terrorist group imposed on it as an unwanted and problematic legacy of the ousted dictator. MKO has come to understand that its relocation to Baghdad means a never-return to camp Ashraf and the beginning of expulsion and wandering in nowhere. As a result, it prefers to save its present foothold that seems much secure by any means and price. It has whatever it needs to line against Iraqi’s determination; the well trained militants that are ready to follow any organizational command just as when Rajavi encouraged them to initiate a suicide operation against the Iranian borders just after the announced ceasefire between Iran and Iraq. It is a scenario that can be put into action easily whenever necessary and to put the blame on the other side.
At the present MKO has chosen the psychological warfare whose bullets are bloodless and unethical with the outmost impact on the public opinion. It is a seemingly peaceful but offensive weapon that attempts to exploit the Iraqi’s weaknesses in media and propaganda coverage that helps further tactical achievements for the terrorists. It will be a good move by Iraq to invite international observers, as it invited reporters, to prove that its words mesh with its actions concerning its good-intention when dealing with the group according to its adopted laws and decisions.
The presence of the international humanitarian bodies and organizations like ICRC and UNHRC, as well as the reporters’ cameras side by side of the Iraqi forces when the government announces the exact date of the Ashraf relocation to execute the law can well judge between the side that is violent and infringes the regulations and the laws. For sure, MKO’s propaganda machine fails to spread misinformation before responsible eyes and cameras watching closely.