Quantcast
Latest Stories

Iraq wants rehabilitated Iran ‘terror group’ out


BAGHDAD—An Iranian exile group attacked in Iraq this month has moved from terrorism lists to international good graces, but Baghdad wants it out over its opposition to Iran’s rulers and ties to Saddam Hussein.

On February 9, mortar rounds and rockets slammed into Camp Liberty, a former US military base near Baghdad that now houses some 3,000 members of the People’s Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran (PMOI), killing five people, according to Iraqi security officials.

The attack triggered condemnation from the United States and United Nations, but in Iraq officials are eager to see the group depart.

The PMOI’s “presence in Iraq is illegal and illegitimate,” Ali Mussawi, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s spokesman, told AFP. “Their presence is rejected.”

Iraqi political analyst Ihsan al-Shammari said the “nature of the relationship between the (Iraqi) Shiite political powers and Iran,” Baghdad’s Shiite neighbour to the east with which it has close ties, is a key factor in Iraq’s insistence on the PMOI’s ouster.

Shammari also noted other factors including the PMOI’s links to executed dictator Saddam, under whose rule Iraq’s now-empowered Shiite majority was oppressed.

Saddam allowed the PMOI to establish a base called Camp Ashraf northeast of Baghdad after he launched the 1980-88 war with Iran, in which the group fought alongside his forces.

According to the US State Department, Saddam armed the group with “heavy military equipment and deployed thousands of (PMOI) fighters in suicidal, mass wave attacks against Iranian forces” near the end of the war.

Following the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, the PMOI turned over “2,000 tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and heavy artillery,” the State Department said.

The group was also allegedly involved in Saddam’s violent suppression of 1991 Shiite and Kurdish uprisings in Iraq.

“The former regime used (the PMOI) to carry out repression” in Iraq, said Dr Adnan al-Saraj, who has written books about the group.

Saddam gave the PMOI four bases in Iraq, buildings in central Baghdad and other perks including Iraqi passports and free petrol, Saraj said.

Almost all PMOI members in Iraq have moved to Camp Liberty from Camp Ashraf, the last of their bases, as part of a UN-backed process that aims to see them resettled outside the country.

But after this month’s attack, the PMOI complained about the slow pace of the process, which has dragged on as few countries have come forward with concrete offers of resettlement.

The PMOI has not taken the move from Camp Ashraf, where some members have lived for decades, quietly, alleging Baghdad is acting at Tehran’s behest.

It has also criticised the UN’s assertion that the camp meets minimum humanitarian standards and complained about a variety of alleged shortcomings including restrictions on using forklift trucks, which it said amounted to “torture”.

While not accepted in Iraq, the PMOI has made strides internationally.

The group, which was founded in the 1960s to oppose the shah of Iran but took up arms against the country’s new clerical rulers after the 1979 Islamic revolution, successfully campaigned for its removal from US and EU terrorism lists.

The PMOI said it renounced violence in 2001 after carrying out attacks in Iran and elsewhere for decades. It now issues deluges of statements to the media and has enlisted well-known western politicians and officials as advocates.

The language of the official US condemnation of the attack on Camp Liberty also indicates the progress made by the PMOI, which was listed as a “terrorist organisation” by Washington until last year and by the EU until 2009.

The US State Department condemned it as a “terrorist attack,” and also referred to the attack as a “tragedy”.

Although the PMOI has gained international acceptance, Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert and senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the same is not true within Iran.

“They’re widely viewed as a backward and intolerant cult by their opposition peers in Iran,” Sadjadpour said.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Baghdad , Ihsan al-Shammari , Iraq , Saddam Hussein , Terrorism , United Nations , US military base




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Ex-PBA player Bryan Gahol dies in road mishap
Advertisement

News

  • Napoles tags over 100 officials in pork scam – Lacson
  • Vitangcol to sue Czech envoy
  • Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  • 43 out of 414 Etihad passengers yet to be found, tested for MERS-CoV – Palace
  • Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna
  • Sports

  • San Mig Coffee grinds out win over Alaska to force decider
  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • UST posts twin kill in Filoil pre-season cup opening day
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • China won’t budge, wants PH gov’t to apologize to HK
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement