Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki
and other top Iraqi officials are calling for the eviction of an
anti-Iranian militant group that is reportedly
attacks and collecting
intelligence inside Iran on behalf of the Department of Defense.
The group, known as the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK or MKO), �is
interfering in social and political issues as if it's an Iraqi organization,�
Maliki told reporters at a recent press conference. �It's a terrorist
organization and the presence of this group in Iraq contradicts the
constitution,� he said, calling for the group�s eviction.
the Iraqi leader neglected to mention the United States, his position is at
direct odds with current and former military and White House officials who view
the MKO as a potential �democratic� alternative to the present Iranian regime.
the Iraqi Prime Minister�s stance could jeopardize a covert operations program
reportedly being directed by the Department of Defense against Tehran. The
Pentagon is reportedly running the MKO in Iran�s oil-rich province of Khuzestan
-- which has been the subject of numerous attacks and terrorist bombings over
the past year -- and in the opium-smuggling border province of
Sistan-Baluchistan, where suspected US/MKO operatives attacked and killed
several Iranian officials just this March.
The prime minister�s recent
comments on the MKO were reiterated
by Iraq�s Deputy Interior Minister for Security Affairs.Salam al-Zawba'i
who announced a �comprehensive plan, which requires
approval of the government to expel the MKO from the country by the year's
The Iraqi official also said that
the MKO �seeks to hatch plots against the Iraqi nation.� Although he did not
cite any specific examples, there are many in Iraq, including the nation�s
parliamentary leader, that have accused the US of sponsoring MKO terrorist bombings
-- not just in Iran -- but in Iraq as well.
recent announcements by Iraqi officials come in the wake of blossoming
negotiations between Iraq and Iran, the latter of which has been calling for
the MKO�s eviction since the beginning of the 2003 invasion.
plan goes through, it may bring the reported US/MKO operations to an end,
although it wouldn�t be the first eviction notice the MKO has received.
The provisional Iraqi Governing Council expelled the
militant group back in 2003, but despite the order,
approximately 3,800 members of the group remained in the country under the
watch of US forces -- presumably so they could be used in future operations
The MKO were supposedly being
confined to a US military-run compound northeast of Baghdad, but by January of
2005 the group was reportedly �launching
raids� from Camp Habib in Basra on behalf of the US, and had also been
given permission by Pakistani President Pervez Musharaff to operate from
Pakistan�s Baluchi area, according to US officials who spoke to UPI.
US-sponsored MKO militants are suspected of
carrying out the string
of terrorist bombings
at least 12 people and injured 90 others in Iran just prior to the country�s
elections in 2005. They also attacked and killed 22 Iranian officials in the southeastern
province of Sistan-Baluchistan this March, according to US government officials
who spoke to the online publication Raw
The MKO has a long history of
violence and has been listed by the State Department as a terrorist organization,
making it illegal for anyone in the United States to provide material support
to the group. The Treasury
Department has also labeled the MKO and its affiliated groups as �Specially
Designated Global Terrorist� entities, �effectively freezing all [of their]
assets and properties and prohibiting transactions between U.S. persons and
Despite their terrorist status,
the MKO has conducted a fairly successful lobbying campaign in Washington, DC,
garnering support from the Pentagon, the White House, influential foreign
policy groups, and several members of Congress.
The Iran Policy Committee (IPC), which has
been described as a �spin off� of the highly influential American Israel Public
Affairs Committee (AIPAC), serves as the MKO�s primary support group in
Maintaining the bold slogan,
�Empowering Iranians for Regime Change,� the IPC is urging US officials to step
in and counter the Iranian regime�s influence in Iraq.
�Iran's attempts to bulldoze and
beguile Baghdad into evicting the Iranian resistance,� IPC member Bruce McColm
recently said, �must be resisted by Washington.�
Fellow IPC member and retired
Marine, Lt. Col. Bill Cowan, went even further: �The United States should put
Iran on notice that we are going to threaten its regime in the worst way
possible -- from within: Tell Tehran that we will be providing money,
assistance, and advice to empower Iranian resistance movements.�
Any such efforts will surely be
complicated by the Iraqi
government, which has already cut off water and fuel supplies to the MKO�s
main base of operations; restricted the MKO from making contact with
governmental institutions; and, on July 27, ordered the militant group to leave
the country within the next six months.
Devlin Buckley is a freelance journalist and
author of The American Monitor
blogspot. He may be reached at PDevlinBuckley@aol.com.