There are a number of basic facts which even the sophisticated and well-financed MEK propaganda machine cannot make untrue. It is worth repeating them.
The number of MEK members has never risen beyond 6,000 to 7,000. Even in 1988 at the height of their powers the group could only muster 5500 to launch its abortive operation to topple the regime, the infamous Eternal Light operation. American soldiers corralled 3800 members inside Camp Ashraf in 2003. In the rest of the world figures probably do not exceed an additional one to two thousand including the MEK’s non Iranian supporters and backers.
Fourth Geneva Convention Protected Persons’ status was wrongfully applied in 2004 by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He gave ‘Pentagon protection’ to his terrorists in Iraq while the UN and ICRC expressed their concern over the issue and argued (fruitlessly) that the MEK is a paramilitary group, not a civilian population and this designation had no legal basis. But in any case the status would not apply after 2006, a year after the first elections in Iraq – a fact repeatedly corroborated by British, European and American officials. A document produced by the Library of the UK’s House of Commons states: “In the case of occupied territory, the Convention continues to apply for a year after the general close of military operations, and partially thereafter if the occupying power continues to exercise the functions of government. The occupation of Iraq formally ended on 30 June 2004.”
The MEK members in Camp Ashraf do not have any legal right to be in Iraq. No MEK member has refugee status in Iraq. Leader Massoud Rajavi ensured they all entered the country illegally in order to be able to use this against them if they defected (he sent scores to Abu Ghraib in this way). After 2003, the UNHCR in Iraq would not grant refugee status to MEK members because it is a paramilitary group and the GOI has refused to grant refugee status to members of what is known throughout Iraq as a terrorist organisation which has killed some 25,000 Iraqi civilians. In Written Answers in the House of Lords on 20 April 2009, Lord Malloch-Brown (then Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office) told parliament, “The UN High Commission for Refugees has previously determined that Camp Ashraf residents do not qualify as refugees.”
The Government of Iraq has every reason, regardless of Iranian or American influence either way, to wish to expel the MEK from the country. The MEK was responsible for killing 25,000 Iraqi civilians. It is currently the only part of Saddam Hussein’s repressive apparatus which remains intact and active. This is due to the failure of the American military to dismantle the camp and remove the inhabitants. (RAND Report, August 2009) Iraq’s Foreign Minister Zebari a few weeks ago again accused the MEK of trying to maintain a state within a state and said that "the Mojahedin-e Khalq terrorist organization is like many other armed terrorist organizations," adding that "the government is determined to impose its sovereignty and not allow any party to impose its policy orientations."
The Iraqi Judiciary would like to prosecute leading members of the MEK for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against Iraqis in Iraq. They have been frustrated by the interference of the MEK’s backers in Washington, London and Brussels.
Iraqi soldiers are stationed at Camp Ashraf to provide protection, a role imposed on them by the Americans who failed to deal with the MEK for six years. In the six years that American soldiers protected the terrorist group and its base, fourteen American soldiers were killed during escort missions for MEK shopping in Baghdad. (RAND Report August 2009.)
There is plenty of evidence that the MEK commit serious human rights abuses against their own members inside Camp Ashraf, but to date no independent investigation has taken place into these allegations.
The Iranians outside Camp Ashraf are the families of members trapped inside. The MEK do not allow the members to have contact with them. The families have been recently attacked by MEK special forces from inside the camp which resulted in the hospitalisation of a couple of old people. The American soldiers have repeatedly come to support the MEK in the harassment of the families who have now entered their 13th month of their picket, demanding a simple visit to make sure their loved ones are there of their own free will. So far, no one has established that the people inside Camp Ashraf are there of their own free will.