Iraq Expels Anti-Iranian Group
An Iranian opposition group that has sought refuge in Iraq for more than 20 years has been ordered by the Iraqi government to leave the country.
The Shiite-dominated Iraqi Interior Ministry announced September 1 that members of the Iranian opposition group Mojahedin-e-Khalq (mek) has six months to leave Camp Ashraf, the U.S. camp in Iraq where approximately 3,360 members of the group are currently being held. The Saudi daily al Riyadh reported September 3 that the United States and Iran had agreed to hand over members of the mek (also known as the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran) to Iraqi authorities.
While Iraq wants this group out of the country, it is Iran that is behind the move to expel the mek from Iraq. Tehran views the mek—whose goal is to replace Iran’s Islamist theocracy with a secular regime—as a terrorist group. The U.S.’s protection of the group has been a major obstacle in U.S.-Iranian negotiations over Iraq. America—which has been a longtime ally of the mek—has now caved in to Iran’s demands. At the same time, the U.S. administration has become relatively silent in its criticism of Iran, indicating a final deal between Iran and the U.S. on the future of Iraq may be drawing closer.
Meanwhile, “By essentially selling out the mek,” Stratfor reports, “the United States risks sending the wrong message to its current allies” (September 4). The U.S. is increasingly finding itself in such a position—as recently seen in its lack of support for Georgia. As America increasingly loses power and prestige on the world stage and its military forces continue to be overstretched, we can expect it to become less and less reliable as an ally. This will push former allies to desert the U.S. and look to other nations for support and protection.