Opinion

Mazda Parsi
The MKO is not cooperative with the UN and Iraqi government to vacate Camp Ashraf.

 

Following the stall in the relocation process of Ashraf residents to Temporary Transit Location (Camp Liberty], the United Nations mission in Iraq presented a roadmap to the government suggesting series of steps to complete the peaceful relocation of the camp residents.[1]

 

The MKO's reluctance to leave Camp Ashraf concerned the UN, the GOI and even the US. Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Iraq, Mr. Martin Kobler said:"our commitment is strictly humanitarian: to facilitate a voluntary temporary relocation of residents to Camp Hurriya as a first step resettlement to countries outside Iraq."[2]

 

As Mr. Kobler says, the residents' relocation is "voluntarily" and "temporary" but the group seems not to be a volunteer to leave the camp and about those who have resettled in TTL, they seem to intend to stay in the new camp for ever or at least not "temporary" for the time being. That's why they want it to be as equipped as their former ''Ashraf City".

 

To halt the voluntary evacuation of Camp Ashraf, the MKO uses some repeatedly claimed excuses: they claim that TTL does not meet the residents' basic humanitarian needs such as water shortage, power generators and air conditioning. However, numerous reports by UNAMI or US State Department confirm that the condition at camp Hurriya (TTL) is not as bad as what the group claims.

 

On July 6th, during a call with reporters, State Department officials spoke on issues related to the MKO. Special Advisor to Secretary Clinton on Camp Ashraf, Ambassador Daniel Fried said that he considered some of the group's demands legitimate but not all of them.

 

"Some of the MEK demands are reasonable. For example, given the hot weather in Iraq, they've requested more air conditioners", he said. The Iraqi government has agreed to provide them, that is agreed to allow a special shipment of air conditioners from Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty and this is being arranged as we speak," Fried said, "but it has been frustrating to deal with constantly shifting demands, many demands. We find that US Embassy and State Department and the UN will work to resolve problems and, a la wack-a-mole, you find that new ones- you're constantly presented with new ones."[3]

 

Once more on July23, Ambassador Martin Kobler stated that conditions at TTL comply with UN living standards. He stressed that the UN monitoring team observed the needed water and electricity of the Camp. [4]

 

While the MKO propaganda accuses the UN and DOS and GOI of committing "outrage" against Ashraf and Liberty residents, the officials of UN, US and Iraq urge on more cooperation to relocate the residents of Ashraf and to facilitate their further resettlement in third countries.

 

"Time is running out to find out a sustainable situation," Mr. Kobler said, "Without prospect for resettlement the ongoing process runs the risk of collapsing."[5]

 

Seemingly, the MKO is seeking the "collapse" of the UN-US- Iraqi plan to evacuate Camp Ashraf.

 

The GoI has made it clear that it wants Camp Ashraf shut down and the MeK which once fought alongside Hussein and is designated by the United States as a terrorist organization - to leave Iraq, according to the UN News Centre. [6]

 

Iraqi authorities have so far taken strong stance against the group's defiance to leave Camp Ashraf. Iraqi government is now trying to use other legal ways to totally evacuate Camp Ashraf, reported IRNA. The government of Iraq has issued warnings to the group to get prepared for the camp closure and the transfer to TTL. [7]

 

Mayor of Al Khalis, the province where camp Ashraf is located also warned of possible expulsion of remaining MKO members at Camp Ashraf, according to Habilian Foundation. [8]

 

The most recent stance by GOI was declared in a conference held on July 31. "We have reached a dead end (with them) and the extension ends today, they have to move," Falih al-Fayadh, Iraq's National Security Advisor, told a conference attended by the U.N. mission in Iraq, aid groups and Western and Arab diplomats. [9]

 

Martin Kobler also said in the conference that the UN is directly involved in the issue and called for finding a peaceful solution for the MKO issue in Iraq. [10]

 

It's not a surprise that the MKO denounced the conference. National Council of Resistance, the propaganda arm of the group called the meeting "devoid of any credibility".

 

Earlier last month, the Unites Nations' News Centre warned that a slowdown in the relocation process during May and June --and even July - prompted renewed tensions and recriminations. "The situation continues to be fragile", said Ambassador Kobler. [11]

 

While the State Department supports the UN roadmap for Camp Ashraf closure, it stressed,"the government of Iraq has recently taken constructive steps to advance this process."[12]

 

The State Department reported of a cargo convoy of 300 additional air conditioners, several large water tanks, additional generators, and other goods transported from Ashraf to TTL to improve the residents' quality of life at TTL. On July19, the Iraqi government transported to camp Hurriya three especially equipped vehicles for residents with disabilities. [13]

 

As the International community is seriously concerned about peaceful evacuation of Camp Ashraf and consequently resettlement of its residents in third countries, the MKO propaganda is working hard to undermine the UN efforts to resolve the problem. The group is not cooperative to advance any plan presented by either the UN or the GoI because it doesn't actually want to leave Camp Ashraf.

 

Peaceful relocation appears not to be a good solution for the MKO leaders who prefer a forceful relocation. They seem to seek another bloody clash with Iraqi government --which has shown enough tolerance towards the presence of foreign terrorists in its territory so far. In their idea, victimization of some other dissident members of the group would be a useful way to both clear the cult off disloyal members and to feed the propaganda machine of the group. Lack of cooperative behavior by the side of the MKO proves its violent approach.

 

Daniel Benjamin, the State Department Coordinator for Counter terrorism official said," this is MEK's moment to show that it has taken a fundamentally different character.[...]And that really is going to be a very important demonstration of what the MEK's orientation in the future will be."[14]

 

References:
[1] UN News Centre, UN puts forward roadmap for relocation of Iranian exiles from Camp in Iraq, July24, 2012
[2]ibid
[3] Lach, Eric, Iranian Group Advocated Tried to get State Department. Meeting under False Pretences, TPMMuckraker, July9th, 2012
[4] UN Webcast, Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq - Security Council Media stakeout , July19, 2012
[5]ibid
[6]ibid
[7]IRNA, Iraqi government issues deadline to evacuate Ashraf, July25, 2012
[8]Habilian Association, Iraqi official warns of people's anger over delay of MKO expulsion, July26, 2012
[9]Reuters, Iraq says will force out Iran dissident group, July 31, 2012
[10] Press TV, Iraqi government requests for MKO evacuation, July 31, 2012
[11] UN News Centre, UN puts forward roadmap for relocation of Iranian exiles from Camp in Iraq, July24, 2012
[12]US State Department, US support for UN roadmap on Camp Ashraf, Press statement, July25, 2012
[13]ibid
[14]Lach, Eric, Iranian Group Advocated Tried to get State Department. Meeting under False Pretences, TPMMuckraker, July9th, 2012

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