Iraq expels Mujahedeen Khalq

Baghdad has ordered the expulsion of Mujahedeen Khalq (or People's Mujahadeen Organization), armed wing of the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), following an April 8 raid on Camp Ashraf, the group's stronghold. The NCRI said 34 people were killed when Iraqi security forces attacked the camp 65 kilometers northeast of Baghdad. The government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has has given the estimated 4,500 members of Mujahedeen Khalq and their families until the end of 2011 to leave Iraq. "This organization must be removed from Iraqi territory by all means, including political and diplomatic, with the cooperation of the United Nations and international organizations," Iraqi government spokesman Ali Dabbagh said. (World Tribune, NCRI, April 14)

See our last posts on Iraq, and Iran and Majahedeen Khalq.

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Fate of Iranian exiles in Iraq still pending

Apparently orders for the expulsion of Mujahedeen Khalq from Camp Ashraf were never carried out, because now (as the US is officially withdrawing from Iraq) Fox News reports that 3,400 Iranian exiles at the camp are to be relocated to Camp Liberty, a former US military base near Baghdad pending resettlement in an unnamed third country. The deal was brokered with the Iraqi government by the State Department, but the exiles still say they fear they will be forcibly deported to Iran.

Mujahedeen Khalq in Nevada?

Here we go again. Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker this week claims that in 2005 Mujahedeen Khalq fighters were trained by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) at the Department of Energy's Nevada National Security Site. Amy Goodman dutifully tells us Hersh "has revealed that the Bush administration secretly trained an Iranian opposition group on the State Department's list of foreign terrorists" (emphasis added)—despite the fact that his claims are (as usual) 100% based on anonymous, unverifiable sources. (Hersh parenthetically adds that a JSOC spokesman told him "US Special Operations Forces were neither aware of nor involved in the training of MEK members.") Weirder than the US training an official "foreign terrorist organization" is doing so for one with Mujahedeen Khalq's ultra-left politics. If this is true, it may actually say something about the neocons' famous left-wing roots, and why they are so reviled by the old-fashioned anti-communists of the paleocon crowd...

MEK dropped from FTO list

Days ahead of an Oct. 1 deadline on whether to keep Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) as a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, the US State Department announced a decision to drop the group from the list Sept. 21. The move comes as the last of its former fighters are leaving their base at Camp Ashraf outside Baghdad for resettlement in third countries—mostly France, where the organization now has its headquarters. Since control of Camp Ashraf was formally turned over to Iraq in 2009, two clashes with Iraqi security forces left about 50 MEK members dead. The MEK has officially renounced violence, the State Department said. 

Among those named as supporting the de-listing of the group, which has assembled powerful political machinery in Washington DC, are ex-CIA directors James Woolsey and Porter J. Goss, ex-FBI director Louis J. Freeh, former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge, former attorney general Michael B. Mukasey, former national security adviser Gen. James L. Jones, and Congress members such as Dana Rohrabacher. MEK had been on the FTO list since 1997, when it was being sheltered by Saddam Hussein to prepare armed attacks against Iran. (Naharnet, Lebanon, Sept. 22; NYTFT, The Guardian, Sept. 21)