Iraqi tribes back anti-Iran group

Iraqi tribes living round the last remaining base of the People's Mujahidin (MKO) have offered support to the embattled Iranian opposition group.

    Maryam (L) and Masud Rajavi lead the People's Mujahidin

    A dozen tribal chiefs met leaders of the once powerful armed

    force after Tuesday's decision by Iraq's Governing Council to expel the "terrorists".

     

    US troops firmly control the MKO's huge compound about 100 km

    northeast of the capital.

    "We are not authorised to talk to the press," one uniformed but

    unarmed member of the group said.

    He did however hand out a statement from the People's Mujahedeen

    rejecting the expulsion.

    Anti-Iran campaign 

    The US-appointed Governing Council has said the Mujahidin must be

    kicked out forthwith and their assets

    seized.

    The organisation, which ran an armed campaign against

    Iran under Saddam

    Hussein's protection, suggested the council did not

    have the legal right to take such a decision.

    "The Governing

    Council unanimously decided to expel from Iraq by the end of the

    year the People's Mujahidin because of the dark history of this

    terrorist organisation"

    Iraqi Governing Council statement

     

    "Such a statement has no executive guarantees and only paves the

    way for terrorist activities by the mullahs' regime against the

    Mujahidin in Iraq," a spokesman for the group said

    .

    The Mujahidin said its "presence in Iraq as a country under

    occupation is in the context of the Geneva Conventions".

    "Such a statement has been dictated by the ruling clerics in

    Tehran and has no bearing on that issue."

    'Iranian puppets' 

    Abbas al-Zawi, head of the Aza tribe, said

    the explusion order was "not just because it is a

    peaceful organisation", and accused the Governing Council of being a

    "puppet of the Iranian regime

    ".

    Namman al-Jabbari of the Al-Jobour tribe and Ahmad al-Sumedia of

    the Al-Sumeidi nodded in agreement and said they would organise a

    protest.

    And Salem al-Zawi of the tribal council added: "The Mujahidin have

    never interfered in the internal affairs of Iraq. We have known them

    for 20 years and we have never found any terrorists here."

    An official statement released in Baghdad on Tuesday said: "The Governing

    Council unanimously decided to expel from Iraq by the end of the

    year the People's Mujahidin because of the dark history of this

    terrorist organisation."

    And a spokesperson from the occupation's Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA)

    hit back at the Mujahidin's rejection of the ruling.

    "This is a Governing Council issue and they are fully authorised

    to take this decision," he said.

    'Postive move'

    "Such a statement has no executive guarantees and only paves the

    way for terrorist activities by the mullahs' regime against the

    Mujahidin in Iraq"

    MKO spokesman on the expulsion decision

    With the US army the only force likely to be able to

    physically expel the Mujahidin, the spokesperson declined to comment on

    coordination between the Governing Council and the CPA to apply the

    decision.

    An occupation military spokesperson said he had no details about

    the expulsion, but added: "We will confiscate their weapons.

    We don't know the time or the procedures (for confiscation),"

    but "they are now surrounded".

    Meanwhile, Iran greeted the expulsion as "very positive" and said the

    Islamic republic would show "leniency" to low-ranking members

    wishing to give themselves up.

    The Mujahidin, 4000-5000 of whom were

    disarmed at the sprawling camp following the March-April invasion of

    Iraq, have since September been considered prisoners by the US-led occupiers.

    The group set up base in Iraq in 1986 and carried out regular

    cross-border raids into Iran, with which Iraq fought a bloody war

    between 1980 and 1988.

    The Mujahidin, listed as a "terrorist" organisation by both

    Washington and Tehran, kept out of the invasion which overthrew Saddam's regime

    and struck a deal with US forces that saw them hand over all but

    personal weapons.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Venezuela in default: What next?

    Venezuela in default: What next?

    As the oil-rich country fails to pay its debt, we examine what happens next and what it means for its people.

    The Muslims of South Korea

    The Muslims of South Korea

    The number of Muslims in South Korea is estimated to be around 100,000, including foreigners.

    What is Mohammed bin Salman's next move?

    What is Mohammed bin Salman's next move?

    There are reports Saudi Arabia is demanding money from the senior officials it recently arrested.