Home » Mujahedin Khalq Organization » Impact on the MKO: US Withdrawal from Iraq

Impact on the MKO: US Withdrawal from Iraq

As the Iraqi government proceeds with gaining sovereignty after President Barack Obama officially announced the withdrawal of US forces from Iraqi territory [1], the Iraqi people will face consequences. Also facing consequences, but less publicized is the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO, MEK PMOI, NCRI), a group which has housed its members there for a number of decades in Camp Ashraf. For the Iraqi people, the withdrawal creates a frightening state of affairs despite Nouri Al Maleki’s announcement that Iraq is now independent and stands equal to the US. [2]

For the MKO however, the impact of US withdrawal will be even more crucial since the US may shirk guardianship over Camp Ashraf and let go of support as they hand over the country to Iraqi leaders. Prior to the US invasion, the MKO members housed in Camp Ashraf were protected by Saddam Hussein and his notorious Ba’ath regime. Now almost seven years after the MKO’s catastrophic loss of Saddam Hussein, the MKO leaders find themselves orphans. Soon the MKO will be stuck in the hands of Iraqi authorities who are determined to expel them from Iraq because of the group’s violent acts against Iraqi Kurds and Shiite civilians.
Recently, an Iraqi court order issued arrest warrants for some high ranking members of the MKO. These members are supposed to be brought into trial for atrocities committed during the last three decades. And their fate doesn’t look good because they don’t qualify as refugees able to be relocated in the US. Rachel Schneller, a Western journalist and contributor to Chatham House notes that the MKO—including some of its present members, participated in the 1979 takeover of US embassy in Tehran and "as designated terrorists" they "are not eligible for resettlement in the US." Schneller believes that "MEK members who took part in acts of terror should face justice, possibly through an ad hoc united Nations tribunal that would ensure a fair trial."[3]

This withdrawal is just bad timing for the Mujahedin as the families of Ashraf residents also maintain their now nine-month long strike at the gates of Camp Ashraf. And their strike is not a symbolic one—a number of elderly whose children are being kept in the camp are bearing a difficult time in Iraq’s hot desert near Ashraf, especially during Ramadan, which is a month of fasting. The MKO has not allowed them to visit their children in the camp. And the MKO’s response to the strikers is not a new tactic. MKO leaders have determined that the strikers—because of their stance against the MKO, and despite their ages and physical abilities—are either Iranian spies or Quds Forces. In addition to these ridiculous allegations, the MKO broadcasts propaganda that demonizes Nouri Al Maleki—plainly because of both his determination to expel the MKO from Iraq and his proceedings towards having friendly relations with Iran. If the MKO would have given up their violent and non-diplomatic tactics—tactics which they feel prepare them to take over the Iranian government (and replace it with their own cult) they might have been able to negotiate a getting-out-of-Iraq plan. The MKO could have quietly disassembled and asked the Iraqi government to agree to let MKO members choose their own fates—for one, allowing many of the members visiting rights to their families standing outside the gates of the camp.

But the truth is that MKO leaders have never been engaged in discretionary politics. Because they are a cult, they fear denunciation of the true and bizarre substance of their very tightly controlled organization—of which almost every day one defector or another records another strange testimony. (Recently Ms. Batoul Soltani revealed sexual abuse that was occurring in the group [4].) For the MKO, the preservation of their cult is the condition of their existence, and as time goes by the chances for them to play a part in their own fate diminishes.

Their period of spying, treason and cooperation with Ba’athists, Al Qaida, or Jondullah has run out. Their hope for achievement of power in Iran is diminished, and all that seems to be left is denial of reality coupled with an unfulfilled fantasy of ruling and revolution.


[1] Obama, Barack. "Obama’s Full Speech: ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom is Over’.”
White House on msnbc.com (2010): Web. 30 Sep 2010. <
President Barack Obama on August 31st, 2010 ended the U.S. combat mission in
Iraq, declaring no victory after seven years of bloodshed, and telling those
divided over the war that “It is time to turn the page,"
Also see: US State Department Website. "Iraq Profile." (2010): Web. 30 Sep
2010. <http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/6804.htm>. The State Department
specifies that “on August 31, 2010, President Barack Obama announced the end
of major combat operations, the completion of the withdrawal of all U.S.
combat brigades, and the transition of the role of the remaining U.S.
military force of 50,000 troops to advising and assisting Iraqi security
forces. By December 31, 2011, all U.S. military forces will withdraw from
the country.”

[2] Author Unknown. "Maliki: Iraq Independent as US Troops Withdraw."
Euronews (2010): Web. 30 Sep 2010. <
Many Iraqis are apprehensive at the troop withdrawal, especially amid
political deadlock six months after an inconclusive election. Others are
skeptical, doubting much will change.

[3] Schneller, Rachel. "Iraq and the American Pullout: Separate We Must."
World Today 66.8/9 (2010): Web. 30 Sep 2010. <

[4]The Nejat Bloggers "PMOI Leadership Council’s women SALVATION DANCE ."
Nejat Society August 19, 2010: Web. 30 Sep 2010. <

By Mazda Parsi

You may also like

Leave a Comment