Sunday, March 18, 2007

Booting the MEK

I'm afraid I missed this from last week, but this is very interesting. The Iraqi government is seeking to expel the Pentagon-supported Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK), a terrorist group the Pentagon has been more than happy to accommodate while the this band of Muslim fanatics have run various insurgent activities inside Iran, something they first started doing after being booted out of Iran by Khomeini. The MEK were originally part of the Islamic revolution in 1979, but proved too crazed for Khomeini's liking. After being cast out of Iran, the MEK developed a mutual understanding with Saddam Hussein, who was more than happy to host the nutters while they carried out various terrorist operations against Iranian targets throughout the '80's and 90's. These are the guys the US military have been hosting at Camp Ashraf, just north of Baghdad, for three years.
For three years, thousands of members of a militant group dedicated to overthrowing Iran's theocracy have lived in a sprawling compound north of Baghdad under the protection of the U.S. military.

U.S. soldiers chauffeur top leaders of the group, known as the Mujaheddin-e Khalq, or MEK, to and from their compound, where they have hosted dozens of visitors in an energetic campaign to persuade the State Department to stop designating the group as a terrorist organization.

Now the Iraqi government is intensifying its efforts to evict the 3,800 or so members of the group who live in Iraq, although U.S. officials say they are in no hurry to change their policy toward the MEK, which has been a prime source of information about Iran's nuclear program.
Most of which has been phony or wrong, which is probably why the Pentagon wants them around. One can't have too many "curveballs" when one is drumming up "intelligence."
The Iraqi government announced this week that roughly 100 members would face prosecution for human rights violations, a move MEK officials contend comes at the request of the Iranian government.

"We have documents, witnesses," Jaafar Moussawi, a top Iraqi prosecutor, said Monday, alleging that the MEK aided then-President Saddam Hussein's campaign to crush Shiite and Kurdish opposition movements at the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Moussawi said the criminal complaint would implicate MEK members in "killing, torture, (wrongful) imprisonment and displacement."
It's always been a wonder as to how long the uncomfortably cozy MEK/Pentagon relationship would last once the Iranian-connected Iraqi government began to assert itself. I think we are seeing the beginnings of an answer to this question. Not that this will persuade the Pentagon or the White House much, but it does indicate that Maliki is trying to assert some authority where he has little. Furthermore, it says a whole lot about strengthening ties between Iraq and Iran at the expense of US interests.

MEK spokesman, Behzad Saffari:
If we have to leave Iraq, it means the Americans are defeated. It means Iran has prevailed.
In fact, that is exactly what it would mean. At least partly. But it also means that Maliki, with close ties to Tehran himself, recognizes that the MEK could turn on him in a Baghdad minute.

No mention of this in the article but I can't help but wonder how responsible are the Baghdad talks for this effort by Maliki.


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