Hamid Al-Bayati: If the Mojahedin-e-Khalq were handed over to the Iraqi government we will certainly expel them
An interview with Hamid Al-Bayati by Mahan Abedin
Terrorism monitor/ in-depth analysis of the War on Terror/ volume 2, issue 7, June 21, 2004
Hamid Bayati became the deputy foreign minister in political affairs and bilateral
relations in Iraq in February, 2004 and is a member of the General Assembly and
the central committee of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq
(SCIRI). The interview was conducted on 26 May 2004, at the SCIRI offices in
MA: You told me last year that your organization was convinced the former Iraqi
regime had been behind 9/11; is this still your position?
HB: We have evidence that Saddam was involved indirectly.
MA: But before Iraq can normalize its relations with Iran, the new government will have to decide the fate of the Mojahedin-e-Khalq. What is going to happen to the
HB: Iraqi political forces decided in the December 2002 London conference that post-Saddam Iraq should be cleansed of all foreign terrorist groups, and this of course includes the Mojahedin-e-Khalq.
MA: And Iraq has been cleansed of all terrorist groups apart from the Mojahedin-e-Khalq. What is happening here; who is making the decisions, you or the Americans?
HB: Well the Governing Council issued a strongly worded statement in December 2003 calling for the expulsion of the Mojahedin. We are determined to eject this terrorist organisation that was complicit in many of the crimes of the former regime- particularly the suppression of the Shi’a and Kurdish uprisings in 1991-from our country.
MA: It is now nearly six months since the Governing Council called for the expulsion of the Mojahedin-e-Khalq; clearly the real power holders in the country do not share
your enthusiasm on this issue.
HB: I think you are raising some very fair points. According to Security Council resolution 1483 the authority in the country has been the occupying power and any the decision to eject the Mojahedin-e-Khalq will have to be enforced by them.
MA: But now that the occupation is being, at the least, symbolically ended, will there be an imminent move against the MKO?
HB: If the Mojahedin-e-Khalq were handed over to the Iraqi government we will certainly expel them.
MA: You are the deputy Iraqi foreign minister; surely you should know what is going to happen. Will the Americans know what is going to happen. Will the Americans
transfer control of the MKO’s Ashraf camp to the sovereign Iraqi government?
HB: This is still not clear. One of the demands of the Iraqi side is that sovereignty should mean control over the prisons and the detainees. General Miller, the commander of Abu Ghraib prison told me that there are 4,000 Mojahedin-e Khalq prisoners in Abu Ghraib. However General Mackiernon, commander of the 1st division, which is in charge of security in Baghdad, told me that they consider
the Mojahedin-e-Khalq as prisoners of war. Therefore two highly placed individuals have confirmed the POW status of the Mojahedin-e-Khalq. As to whether the MKO are really incarcerated in Abu Ghraib, I have no ways of verifying this.
Moreover many U.S. military officers have told me that the Memorandum of Understanding that they signed with the Mojahedin-e-Khalq in April 2003 was a mistake.
MA: Certainly I have not come across any reports that the MKO are being kept in Abu Ghraib. They seem to be staying put in their headquarters in Ashraf.
HB: Well this situation should be clarified soon.
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