On March 22, 2018, former mayor of New York and adviser to President Trump, Rudi Giuliani, was in Tirana. He was invited to the capital of Albania by Maryam Rajavi, head of the Iranian People’s Mojahedin organization, to attend the Iranian Feast of Nouruz. The Iranian People’s Mojahedin has been hosted in Albania since 2013. At this meeting, organized by the Mojahedin, Giuliani expressed his support for about 3,000 Iranian extremists in Albania.
In his speech, Giuliani encouraged the Mojahedin to continue its struggle against the Iranian government and called for regime change in Tehran. Three Albanian politicians also participated in the gathering.
One was Pandeli Majko, the minister of the Diaspora in the current Albanian government. Majko served as Interior Minister at the time of CIA secret renditions in Eastern Europe when Albania was used by the CIA for the surrender and torture of people. Majko, who has never denied his cooperation with the CIA or the existence of secret prisons in Albania, has defended the illegal traditions and torture and criticized those who spoke against the CIA torture.
The second politician was the infamous Fatmir Mediu, a former defense minister, charged in Albania with weapons trade in Afghanistan and the bloody explosion of Gërdec. Gërdec’s explosion, which killed 26 Albanians, injured hundreds, destroyed more than two thousand homes, was part of a Fatmir Medium operation with US agents to sell old Albanian ammunition to Afghanistan as new. The third politician was Elona Gjebrea, who served as Deputy Interior Minister under the famous Saimir Tahiri (2013-2017) and is now under investigation for her potential ties with a notorious Albanian mafia gang known as the Habilaj brothers.
Giuliani told the Mojahedin that the US and the Albanian government see them as the only future for Iran, and what they should fight for is regime change. Pandeli Majko, the Diaspora minister in Edi Rama’s government, supported Giuliani claim and told the Mojahedin that his dream is to return to Tehran with them. Elona Gjebrea and Fatmir Mediu did the same. They supported the Mojahedin in their violent mission to change the government in Iran.
Giuliani encouraged the Mojahedin by saying changes are coming to Washington. One of these is John Bolton, who is a warm Mojahedin supporter and is going to become the National Security Advisor desirous of changing the regime in Iran.
Giuliani’s threats against Iran have been orchestrated in recent months with close monitoring and massive attacks on Iranian and Shiite Muslim targets in Albania and Kosovo. The Israelis are constantly alert to prevent Iranian influence in the Balkans. They are giving orders to their Albanian partners to target Iran and its institutions, although Iran has never had a problem with a Balkan country.
With the arrival of the Mojahedin in Albania, hysteria against Iran and the Shias is becoming increasingly apparent. The Mojahedin, which acts as proxy for the US and Israel, claims Iran has a major influence in Albania and works with its agents to discredit their struggle for regime change. In recent months, a series of attacks have been launched with attacks on Iranian institutions and the Iranian Embassy in Tirana.
With the backs of the UN
On March 15, the Mojahedin attacked a group of Albanian intellectuals headed by former Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani, who participated in a scientific conference in Tehran. The attackers claimed it was an assault by Tehran to defame them. The Mojahedin, many of whose members are abandoning the organization in Albania, attack these former members by labelling them as Iranian agents and threatening to assassinate them.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which is supposed to help refugees in conflicts, has taken the part of the Mojahedin and refuses to financially support those leaving the group. It even advises the latter to return to the Mojahedin camp if they want financial support. When local TV stations dare to present their allegations of threats from the Iranian People’s Mojahedin, they are attacked by the Mojahedin which claims that the media were bought by Iran.
The Albanian government is silent
Faced with the threats of the Iranian People’s Mojahedin against Albanian intellectuals, the media and the former members, the Albanian government remains silent; even though a recent police report claims that the Mojahedin may have murdered some of those who left the organization.
While the Albanian government and its courts are very careful about the imprisonment of any Albanian Salafist as a terrorist if he calls for regime change in Syria or supports ISIS, so far no action has been taken against the Mojahedin, nor the Albanian or American politicians who support the Mojahedin and are calling for a regime change in Iran. All this, even though the Albanian Penal Code penalizes such acts with imprisonment from four to ten years. The Albanian government and its courts did not even act against those Mojahedin who threatened to assassinate their former members in Albania.
The Albanian government takes orders from people like John Bolton, John McCain, and Rudy Giuliani to do everything in their power to support the Mojahedin. And they have even attacked Shiites and Salafists in Albania. On March 22, 2018, counter-terrorism broke into the Novruz ceremony, which was hosted by the world headquarters in Tirana.
The ceremony of liberal Muslim-style Sufis was interrupted when the anti-terrorist police arrested two retired Iranian journalists and an Iranian-German citizen who celebrated Novruz at the Grand Sufi Teqe. They were officially invited to the ceremony by Baba Mondi, the Grand Dervish of Bektashis. Albanian counter-terrorism units, acted on received allegations by the Iranian People’s Mojahedin about Iran’s influence and the conspiracy against them. They held and investigated the two retired Iranian journalists covering the Bektashi festival as terrorists for seven hours.
Let us be quiet
Although the journalists were later released, this fact shook the Bektashi community and the Iranian cultural NGOs operating in Albania. The attacks launched by the Mojahedin against local Muslim communities, academics and intellectuals, journalists and the media shook the Albanian people.
So far we have seen the Mojahedin as another terrorist organization that the US wanted to dump on Albania after exiting from Iraq. However, the recent media and police attacks show the Albanian people that the Mojahedin are a threat not only to Iran but also to Albania. On the other hand, the call for Albania’s Mojahedin to launch a holy war on the government of Iran by US senators, such as Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton and John McCain, is worrying many Albanians.
Many ask: If the US wants to use the Mojahedin to fight Iran, why not host them in the US instead of Albania? The Albanian people have not and never had any problems with Iran. Why is the US government blackmailing Albania and using it as a starting point for the next terrorist war against another Middle East country?
Was it not enough for the US government to allow the Saudis to radicalize young Muslim people in the Balkans and send them to Syria for jihad? But are they now creating another jihad and the Muslims in the Balkans are paying the price again? Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton, you can host your Mojahedin in the US and from there do whatever you want! We do not want to fight for another Middle East war. Leave us in peace, please!
Written by Olsi Jazexhi – Albanian historian and journalist , Tachydromos, Athena,
Translated by Iran Interlink