For the escapees of Ashraf, MKO’s cracked shell is no more a serious impediment to freedom
The escape of more than a score of MKO’s members from its military base, Camp Ashraf, while being transferred to a temporary transit center near Baghdad has faced the group with another grave crisis among many other that have already challenged it. Even more overwhelming, majority of them are old, experienced veterans and ranking members of the group. But what is particularly noteworthy about these escapes is that neither the group makes any allusion to them nor takes any antagonistic position, as did in the past, to call them infiltrated Iranian agents or other names. However, as they had provoked an angry backlash from the group, it directed its anger at other people and bodies cooperating in the process of relocation. For instance, we witnessed a new wave of strong condemnation of Martin Kobler, UN representative in Iraq, ICRC, UNHRC, and even the US State Department and being labeled of collaborating with Tehran against MKO. Silly as it may seem, the group even squawked about the UNHRC processing of individuals at Temporary Transit Location (TTL) and blamed it for asking tendentious questions that the group believed to be totally irrelevant to the individuals’ refugee status.
No doubt, these escapes are the consequence of the internal functioning of a terrorist group in terms of dynamics that are typical of a cult. Rajavi, as the leader of the cult, had already anticipated what would happen if a crack in the internal relations of the organization would appear. As a result, he would insist to safeguard the internal relations of the group from any outside interference. The first step, after the fall of Saddam, was to reach at an agreement with American forces in Iraq to keep its internal structure intact.
Rajavi has repeatedly announced in his meetings with the group’s leadership council that his organization has solved problems with American forces; they are free to do what they will in Camp Ashraf and in return, they have promised to “leave us to ourselves” and have no interference in our internal relations. In fact, when MKO surrendered its arms, it knew what precious reward it was being granted in return. It could do nothing more with the arms, but having the control of Ashraf in its own hands could well guarantee the survival of an organization destined to fall.
In contrast to Americans, the Iraqis are well aware where to target to destabilize the group. And that is why MKO’s leader insisted to have the control of Ashraf returned to American forces and strongly reacted against the transfer of the camp’s security to Iraqi forces in January 2009. Since the transfer of Camp Ashraf’s security from the US military forces to Iraqi government, there has been an ongoing wave of clashes between the insiders and Iraqi forces mainly because the former have insisted to penetrate into the camp to take the internal control of Ashraf in their hands, a move that seriously threatened the internal cultic relations and which provoked insiders into violent reaction that left tragic casualties.
Rajavi did anything in his power to protect and save its ideological-cult bastion, to keep members altogether under his cultic spells and practices inside the camp. But the best means at hand were always the members of the organization themselves who have been victimized as human-shields to bulwark Rajavi’s cult bastion. The watching and controlling measures that monitor the members even in their privacy never permit any risk of leaving a member alone with an outsider, be it a health caretaker or a member of his/her own family. That is why Rajavi has so far objected to letting the members out of the camp or meeting their families alone and unsupervised.
Despite raising huge fuss about its internal ideological revolution as the group’s greatest achievement, the flimsy, fragile walls of the group’s post-revolution framework have become even thinner. In fact, its structure can be analogized to a spider‘s house as the most feeble; a high-wind will sweeps it away altogether. And there are winds of crises blowing one after another. Now the control of Ashraf being removed through the process of transfer of the members to TTL, the members find an opportunity to breathe a fresh air they have long been deprived of. The thinned wall of the closed egg shutting them up from the free world outside is just before them to crack and pop it open. And there have been braves among them to try it out. For sure, there will be more escapes as the number of the encouraged is growing and the thin, cracked shell of the organization is no more a serious impediment to freedom.