This is the second time head of the Mukhtar Army Wathiq al-Battat has claimed responsibility for attacks on the MEK. In February, in an interview with Al-Mada Press, al-Battat said he did not rule out the possibility of further attacks on Camp Liberty, and emphasized that they are waiting in ambush for the terrorist MEK until they leave Iraq. In a separate interview with the Associated Press, al-Battat said, “It is time for the people of the MEK to leave Iraq. We have demanded that the government kick the group out of the country, but the Iraqi government did not respond positively to our demand”.
In the past year over 8,000 people have died in violent incidents in Iraq. The problem is not that the MEK are being singled out for attack, the real problem is that nobody is allowed to get inside Camp Liberty to help rescue these people from their enforced captivity. Nobody is allowed to help them or to relocate them or save their lives. In spite of the diverse efforts of various parties, MEK leaders have refused to allow any party to help or rescue the residents first in Camp Ashraf and latterly in Camp Liberty.
Maryam Rajavi may be able to lie to and deceive the captive members and those supporters who have not the intellectual or moral capacity to question or challenge her script, but these are the facts:
· In 2003, the IRI offered an amnesty to rank and file members who renounced their membership of the terrorist group and other political activity can return home under the supervision of the Red Cross in Iran. To date this has been honoured.
· Iraq’s constitution, its polity and its judicial system will never allow the MEK terrorist organisation to remain in the country. To date the government and the security services have shown commendable restraint and compliance with international law, above the demands of national law, as embodied by the agency of UNAMI.
· Since 2009, America and European countries have offered to take several of the captives; initially those who have had previous connection with their countries or have family members there.
· The UN has instigated refugee determination interviews to assess the eligibility of all the captives. Some have been enabled to be transferred to Albania after such interviews.
· Individual families have travelled to Iraq on several occasions to try to reach their relatives. For three years families of residents held vigil outside Camp Ashraf demanding contact with their loved ones which the MEK leaders denied.
To date the Rajavis have refused to cooperate with all of these attempts to help and rescue the residents and take them to safety.
As a result, since 2003 there have been numerous deaths among the residents of Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty: through rocket or missile attack (including this latest one), during interventions by the Iraqi military, untreated illness and disease, uninvestigated suicides or murders. Most of these could have been prevented. It is no longer acceptable that the Rajavis blame every other party to this crisis and refuse to acknowledge their part. Nobody will buy that any more. If there was even one iota of accountability in the totalitarian system of the MEK the leadership would have been expelled by now.
But is it ludicrous to imagine that one or even two people – whether Maryam and/or Massoud Rajavi – are capable of acting alone to prevent all this help from reaching the people in the camp. There are others who have a clear interest in keeping them locked away behind closed doors.
For years now the presence of the MEK in Iraq has had nothing to do with Iran. The MEK’s own policy of ‘regime change’ or ‘overthrow of the Iranian regime’ was abandoned several years ago, possibly as long ago as 2003. Since then the MEK has been taken up and used by western backers to interfere in the internal affairs of Iraq. This was made abundantly clear in the work of the European Parliament’s Iraq Delegation which shamelessly supported and promoted the MEK’s presence in Iraq in defiance of the government’s decision to expel the group and in spite of the constitutional requirement to remove them.
All the lobbying on behalf of the MEK is to do with preserving it as a terrorist organisation for its backers to use in pursuit of their anti-Iraq agenda. There is no intention on the part of those who use the group to have it dismantled, or to have the residents rescued. The group must either remain in Iraq or, if pushed, they must move altogether without anyone talking with them. Although it is glib to claim that MOSSAD and the CIA are the MEK’s main backers, we only have to look at a recent report from Sofia which reveals that during a visit to Romania, the US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Romanian Foreign Minister discussed the possibility of settling all 3000+ MEK members together near the city of Craiova. In other words, if this terrorist group must be moved, it must be moved as a whole. That such a discussion and plan could take place at this level is ample evidence that even at the highest levels of power there is no intention of dismantling the group and helping the individual members out of captivity. Instead there is a sense of ownership which clearly states ‘this is our terrorist group, we will do as we like with it and use it as we like’.
Such owners pay for the name of the MEK – and the 3000 members to pretend it is a viable group. They are playing with the lives of these people for their own agenda and as long as the MEK are useful in this way they won’t allow help to be given or anyone to go in to rescue them. While Maryam Rajavi lives with every convenience and comfort in Paris, the rest must remain in Iraq, targets for missile attacks. For the MEK leaders every one of them who dies is a martyr and every one of them who survives is a witness. It is clear what the outcome should be for the Rajavis. They will expend their blood in whatever way suits them to fulfil the agenda of their backers, but clearly they will end up killing all of them sooner or later. And those who use the MEK in any way and deny help to the individuals are complicit in this scenario.
Anne Khodabandeh (Singleton), Middle East Strategy Consultants