By Alexandros L. Papageorgiou
‘… In the United States, many of us are working towards the outcome of the Presidents Policy Review (and that it) should be to determine that, Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 Revolution will not last until its 40th birthday. The fact is, that the Tehran regime is the central problem in the Middle-East … In the region we face a very dangerous point … we must avoid allowing the regime in Tehran to achieve its long-sought objective of an arch of control from Iran through the Bagdad government in Iraq, the Assad regime in Syria and the Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon. An arch of control that, if it is allowed to form, will simply be the foundation for the next grave contest in the Middle-East. The regime in Tehran is not merely a nuclear weapons threat, it’s not merely a terrorist threat, it is a conventional threat for everybody in the region who simply seeks to live in peace and security … There is a viable opposition to the rule of the Ayatollahs’ and that opposition is centered in this room today … The behavior and the objectives of the regime are not going to change and therefore the only solution is to change the regime itself … Before 2019, we here, will celebrate in Tehran …’
John R. Bolton, former United States National Security Advisor, extract from speech given to MEK members at the ‘Grand Gathering of Iranians’, Paris, July 1, 2017.
‘… Since I’ve been working with you, and all of my colleagues from the United States, we fought a world wide battle, to shed the (Mojahedin-e Khalq’s) unfair label of terrorism in the United States, the United Kingdome, the European Union. Τhat label is now gone and you are seen as defenders of human rights, because that’s what you are and we won that battle. Our people were stranded in Iraq … but we finally delivered them to freedom in Albania and I thank the Government of Albania, I was there this year, it is a wonderful place to see, it is a great hope for the future of Iran and believe me, these people (the Albanians) are doing great work for us … God Bless them. You’ve been able to form resistance units all over Iran, those protests are not happening accidentally, those protests are happening because they are been coordinated now … they are been coordinated by many of our people in Albania and many of our people here and throughout the world … Suppose the face of Iran was a brave woman (Maryam Rajavi) … and this brave woman will be the face of the new, modern, liberated Iran … will it happen? Yes … Next year at this time, I want us to have this convention in Teheran.’
Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York, extract from speech given to MEK members at the ‘National Council of Resistance of Iran’, Villepinte, near Paris, France, June 30, 2018.
February 14, 2016. John Kerry, then Secretary of State of the Obama Administration, arrives in Tirana, capital of Albania, to express his government’s gratitude towards Prime Minister Edi Rama, for facilitating the transference of ‘an Iranian opposition group known as the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK’ from Iraq to Albania. John Kerry did not simply express his superior’s gratitude. He stated that 20 million USD were transferred to the UN refugee agency for aiding in the relocation process. According to the Albanian ‘Gazeta Telegraf’, by 2018, more than 4.000 MEK members had settled in their ‘new home’. To the unsuspecting readers of the Western World, this entire affair appeared as yet another ‘gallant’ effort of civilized nations in assisting bewildered minority groups fleeing oppression and tyranny. But in this case, as in most nowadays, there’s more than meets the eye.
Say what you will of the Albanian government, shambolic and corrupted as it is but, from my little experience, in their meddling in Greek affairs and the inner-workings of their police and secret service, I can affirm they are highly organized and efficient. Contrary to the politicians, that only speak with honeyed words when it comes to the ‘Iranian freedom-fighters’ been ‘sheltered’ in their soil, the Albanian Intelligence paints a rather disturbing picture of the MEK.
As divulged by UK’s Channel 4 News, ‘Albanian Security Officials worry that the MEK is building a state within a state’. According to Ylli Zyla, Head of the Albanian Defence Intelligence Security Agency, between 2008-2012:
‘This is an organization with very strict rules and anyone who breaks their criminal laws might be executed by other group members’
On February 20, 2018, the Albanian State Police (Policia e Shtetit) circulated a secret ‘threat assessment’ document to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Ministria e Punëvetë Brendshme) stating, amongst others, the following:
‘(The MEK members are) deeply indoctrinated, have been part of military structures and participated in acts of war and terror … In Iraq, some former members of the organization were murdered … there are reasonable suspicions that the situation here is similar to the one in Iraq’
Portion of the Mojahedin-e Khalq’s massive new Headquarter/base located in Manëz, Dyrrhachion (Durrës), some 20 kilometers from Tirana, capital of Albania. Source: https://lobelog.com/nobody-can-be-comfortable-with-regime-change-involving-mek/)
Despite the best efforts of certain Washington circles to portray the organization as ‘pro-democratic’, ‘inclusive’ and ‘progressive’, the truth lies in the extreme opposite. Barbara Slavin, correspondent for Al-Monitor and Director of the ‘Future of Iran Initiative’, an articulate journalist yet, by no means friend of the Iranian regime, when speaking to Al-Jazeera described the MEK as such:
‘This group is not fit to replace the Iranian government. It’s a cult around a disappeared, possibly dead leader, Massoud Rajavi and his widow Maryam Rajavi. It brainwashes people. It forces them to give up their earthy goods, to divorce their spouses, to renounce their children and it keeps them in camps against their will … (the group is) a Marxist-Islamist cult masquerading as a democratic group’
These claims appear to be seconded by Massoud Khodabandeh, a former high-ranking MEK member, now living with his family in Leeds, UK. Mr Khodabandeh was Chief of Security for the group’s leader, Maryam Rajavi, before making a U-Turn escaping what he described as ‘a terrorist cult’. Speaking to MSNBC he disclosed:
‘They don’t believe in Democracy, I don’t think any decent intelligence officer in America would think they are trustworthy … (they are) a destructive cult, they (the leadership) controls them (the followers) financially, they control them physically, they control them emotionally …’
Official Emblem of the Mujahidin-e Khalq … not your average, ‘moderate’ and family friendly party logo now is it?
Before we proceed, let us provide context. The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (Mojahedin-e Khalq, shortened to MEK) was founded on September 5, 1965. Their original aim was the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty that ruled the Imperial State of Iran between 1925-1979. During the Iranian Revolution of 1978-1979, the group was one of many that cooperated with Ruhollah Khomeini’s ‘Council of the Islamic Revolution’. According to Jonathan Broder, contributing writer in Newsweek:
‘the MEK espoused an odd hybrid of Marxism and Islam. It was the first opposition group to take up arms against the Shah and his supporters in the west. In the 1970s, according to U.S. intelligence, the MEK assassinated three U.S. Army colonels, murdered another three American contractors and bombed the facilities of numerous U.S. companies, earning it a place on Washington’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.’
After the expulsion of the Monarchy, the group began a violent clash with its former allies. The cause of the rift was primarily the efforts of MEK leadership to transform Iran to a syncretic Islamic-Marxist state with close ties to the Soviet Union. Naturally, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps disagreed and since the MEK had the habit of assassinating and bombing its political opponents, rather than negotiate with them, the Ayatollah ordered their dissolution. In 1981 the organization was forced to recede underground and by 1983 most, if not the entirety, of its paramilitary wing, had sided with Saddam Hussein in the Iran–Iraq War (1980-1988) adding high treason to the group’s list of offenses.
Prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, naturally listed MEK as a terrorist organization. As of today, only Iran and Iraq continue to list them as such. Following the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, the organization was placed by the US Army in a ‘quarantine’ base/camp in Fallujah, adjacent to the US Forward Operational Base (FOB) Camp Baharia, otherwise known as ‘Dreamland’. Yet, despite being prisoners of war, despite being tagged as ‘terrorists’ and ‘radical extremists’, the members of MEK were treated as misunderstood ‘political activists’! More so, the then Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, declared MEK’s operatives as: ‘protected persons’ under the Geneva Convention! Thus, from 2003 until 2009, when the Iraqi government finally refused to continue sheltering MEK in their soil, the US Army not only safeguarded these Islamic-Marxists, they even began to reshape them as a government-in waiting for a future ‘independent and free Iran’. Yet, even with this enormous effort to rebrand a terrorist organization as ‘human rights activists’ and ‘a viable opposition’, MEK’s original paramilitary mechanism silently remained fully operational. Contrary to their ‘amateur’ criminal undertakings during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, they now had, apart from the support of the US Army, the financial and logistical assistance of the Israeli government. As was explained by Seymour M. Hersh of ‘The New Yorker’:
‘Five Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated since 2007 … NBC News quoted two senior Obama Administration officials as confirming that the attacks were carried out by M.E.K. units that were financed and trained by Mossad, the Israeli secret service. NBC further quoted the Administration officials as denying any American involvement in the M.E.K. activities. The former senior intelligence official I spoke with seconded the NBC report that the Israelis were working with the M.E.K., adding that the operations benefitted from American intelligence … “The goal is to affect Iranian psychology and morale,” he said, and to “demoralize the whole system—nuclear delivery vehicles, nuclear enrichment facilities, power plants.” Attacks have also been carried out on pipelines. He added that the operations are “primarily being done by M.E.K. through liaison with the Israelis, but the United States is now providing the intelligence.” An adviser to the special-operations community told me that the links between the United States and M.E.K. activities inside Iran had been long-standing.’
Panoramic view of ‘Ashraf 3’, MEK’s base of operations in Albania. It is reported that, as of now, more than 4.500 members reside in this veritable fortress. Hasan Heyrani, a former MEK member and now whistleblower, was once operating within the camp, with hundreds of others, as an internet troll, trying to create ‘fake news’ about the ‘Mullah’ regime and promote Maryam Rajavi, the group’s leader, as favorite candidate of the Iranian masses, in one of his interviews he described what goes on inside the camp: ‘During the day, all of the members should write any sexual thoughts (that come in mind). They then have to read (what they have written) in-front of the commanders’! Image Source: https://iranfreedom.org/ar/
It has now become apparent that the MEK’s only hope of assuming leadership in Iran is if NATO effectively occupies the nation and drags the surviving masses to the election box with bayonets. There is currently no evidence to suggest that even the portion of Iranians (optimistically around 15%) that opposes the government would ever be willing to associate themselves with the Mujahidin-e Khalq. Paradoxically, the MEK’s entrenchment in Albania constitutes a far larger threat to Europe than it does to Iran. Albania as a nation, may appear as predominantly atheistic, but there is a chronic cooperation with nefarious Islamist organizations. Albanians of today may take pride at the fact that their national hero (who incidentally was half-Greek half-Serbian), Georgios Kastriotis ‘Skanderbeg’, fought heroically against the Ottomans but, it is oxymoron that the Albanian ‘UÇK’ (Kosovo Liberation Army or KLA) allowed Muslim fundamentalists to serve in its ranks and was assisted by Al-Qaeda. According to Marcia Christoff Kurop of ‘The Wall Street Journal’:
‘… Robert Gelbard, America’s special envoy to Bosnia, officially described the KLA as Islamic terrorists’
With that in mind what comes next, however horrific, can be understood more comprehensively. In 2017, Salvatore Domenico Pogliese, speaking in the European Parliament, placed the following question:
‘Several leading Italian newspapers have recently published news concerning the presence of groups of ISIS fighters in Albania. More specifically, in a number of villages along the border with Kosovo, several ISIS flags have apparently been sighted. The Italian authorities have already said they cannot rule out possible threats to national security … will the Commission include in the accession negotiations some specific clauses concerning the combating of radicalization and ascertainment of the real use of overseas funding — in particular from Saudi Arabia and Qatar — for the establishment of so-called Islamic cultural centres in Albania?’
Albania has become festering ground for Radical Islamic Terrorists. Al-Qaeda in the 1990’s, the MEK since 2016 and now even ISIS remnants, all have converged in the confines of Greece’s most desolate North-Western neighbor. What does that entail for the future? Certainly nothing good. If you are looking for a visible weaponized bridgehead of Islam in Europe, Albania is the place. The US government ordained it and the Albanian government enabled it. The paramilitary forces now amassing in Albania pose equal threat to Greece and Serbia. How long before the Tirana authorities start using their ‘guests’ as assets in a campaign to achieve the dream of a ‘Greater Albania’?