Iraq to expel all MKO members from Camp Ashraf after Ramadan

All members of the terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as MEK, NCR and PMOI) will be expelled from Camp Ashraf after the holy month of Ramadan, police sources said.

"Based on a decree issued by Diyala provincial court, Camp Ashraf which now shelters about 100 MKO members will be closed completely next week and after the end of the holy month of Ramadan," Spokesman of Diyala province's Police Commander Qaleb al-Atiya told FNA on Sunday.

"The Iraqi government needs the large area of the Camp for trade and military uses and can no more give time to the MKO leaders for the full evacuation of the Camp," he added.

Earlier, the local administration of the Iraqi town of Khalis declared plans to build a mall in Camp Ashraf - the main training center of the MKO - after all members of the terrorist group are expelled from the Camp.

Khalis Mayor Uday AlKhadran told a press conference in July that an Iraqi court has transfered the authority of the site to the local administration of Khalis which plans to build a mall in there once all MKO terrorists are expelled from the Camp.

"The Camp of New Iraq (Ashraf) still accomodates 100 members of the MKO members, and the rest have already been transferred at the order of the UN to (the transient facility in Camp Liberty in Northern) Baghdad during the last year in preparation for housing them in other countries.

He further pointed to "the suspicious political activities of Ashraf residents who refused to sell the property of Camp Ashraf in accordance with their earlier agreement with the Iraqi government, despite receiving attractive offers from Iraqi and foreign traders and companies".

The Iraqi government evacuated Camp Ashraf almost completely last Summer and moved more than 3 thousand MKO members to Camp Liberty, and kept only 100 members in the Camp of New Iraq (Camp Ashraf) to complete the sale of property and transfer the money to the MKO.

The Diyala province which hosts Camp Ashraf has on several occasions declared its intention to invest in the Camp to turn it into a tourist site and build a large commercial exchange center for trade between Iraq's Kurdistan region and Baghdad.

The MKO was a long-standing member of the US State Department’s list of terrorist organizations, but after heavy lobbying the group was dropped from the list last year. The group was allied to Saddam Hussein and retains a significant presence at Camp Liberty, and formerly at Camp Ashraf (its main training camp) during the US occupation.

The MKO group, founded in the 1960s, blended elements of Islamism and Stalinism and participated in the overthrow of the US-backed Shah of Iran in 1979. Ahead of the revolution, the MKO conducted attacks and assassinations against both Iranian and Western targets.

The group started assassination of the citizens and officials after the revolution in a bid to take control of the newly-established Islamic Republic. It killed several of Iran's new leaders in the early years after the revolution, including the then President Mohammad Ali Rajayee, Prime Minister Mohammad Javad Bahonar and Judiciary Chief Mohammad Hossein Beheshti who were killed in bomb attacks by MKO members in 1981.

The group fled to Iraq in 1986, where it was protected by Saddam Hussein and where it helped the Iraqi dictator suppress Shiite and Kurd uprisings in the country.

The terrorist group joined Saddam's army during the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-1988) and helped Saddam and killed thousands of Iranian civilians and soldiers during the US-backed Iraqi imposed war on Iran.

Since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the group, which now adheres to a pro-free-market philosophy, has been strongly backed by neo-conservatives in the United States, who eventually took the MKO off the US terror list.

The US formally removed the MKO from its list of terror organizations in early September 2012, one week after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent the US Congress a classified communication about the move. The decision made by Clinton enabled the group to have its assets under US jurisdiction unfrozen and do business with American entities, the State Department said in a statement at the time.

In September 2012, the last groups of the MKO terrorists left Camp Ashraf, their main training center in Iraq's Diyala province. They have been transferred to Camp Liberty which lies Northeast of the Baghdad International Airport.