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MKO Surrenders To US Forces In Iraq

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April, 15, 2003 A.D.:
MKO Surrenders To US Forces In Iraq


(Wikipedia) - During the Iran–Iraq War (1980-1988), the MKO terrorist group was given refuge by Saddam Hussein and mounted attacks on Iran from within Iraqi territory. The MKO transferred its headquarters to Iraq in 1986. Government sources claim that over 17,000 Iranians were killed by the MKO. According to the US State Department, the MKO received all of its military support and most of its financial assistance from Saddam's government until the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.
After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, MKO camps were bombed by coalition forces because of its alliance with Saddam Hussein. On April 15, 2003 U.S. Special Forces brokered a ceasefire agreement with the leaders of the MKO. Each compound surrendered without hostilities. In the operation, the US reportedly captured 6,000 MKO fighters and over 2,000 pieces of military equipment, including 19 British-made Chieftain tanks.. This was a controversial agreement both in the public sphere and privately among the Bush administration due to the MKO's designation as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.
The MKO compound outside Fallujah became known as Camp Fallujah and sits adjacent to the other major base in Fallujah, Forward Operating Base Dreamland. Captured MKO members were kept at Camp Ashraf in Diyala province of Iraq, about 100 kilometers west of the Iranian border and 60 kilometers north of Baghdad.
The MKO remains listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the Department of State. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld declared MKO personnel in Ashraf protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. They are currently under the guard of US Military. Defectors from this group are housed separately in a refugee camp within Camp Ashraf, and protected by U.S. Army military police (2003-current), U.S. Marines (2005–2007), and the Bulgarian Army (2006-current)
On January 1, 2009 the U.S. military transferred control of Camp Ashraf to the Iraqi government. On the same day, Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki announced that the militant group would not be allowed to base its operations from Iraqi soil.
Iraqi government's crackdown
On January 23, 2009, and while on a visit to Tehran, Iraqi National Security Advisor Mowaffak Al Rubaie reiterated the Iraqi Prime Minister’s earlier announcement that the MKO organization will no longer be able to base itself on Iraqi soil and stated that the members of the organization will have to make a choice, either to go back to Iran or to go to a third country, adding that these measures will be implemented over the next two months.
On July 29, 2009, eleven MKO militants were killed and some were injured in a raid by Iraqi security on the MKO Camp Ashraf. U.S. officials had long opposed a violent takeover of the camp northeast of Baghdad, and the raid is thought to symbolize the declining American influence in Iraq. After the raid, the U.S. Secretary of State stated the issue was "completely within purview." In the course of attack, 36 MKO members were arrested and removed from the camp to a prison in a town named Khalis where the arrestees went on hunger strike for 72 days, 7 of which was dry hunger strike. Finally, the dissidents were released when they were in critical condition.
The US has been using MKO as a bargaining chip against Tehran. During the Iraq war, U.S. troops posted guards at MKO bases. The U.S. military also protected and gave logistical support to the MKO as U.S. officials viewed the group as a high value source of intelligence on Iran. The MKO is credited with revealing Iran's nuclear program in 2003 and alerting Americans to Iranian advancements in nuclear technology.
On January 1, 2009 the U.S. military transferred control of Camp Ashraf to the Iraqi government. On the same day, Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki announced that the militant group would not be allowed to base its operations from Iraqi soil.
Iraqi government's crackdown
On January 23, 2009, and while on a visit to Tehran, Iraqi National Security Advisor Mowaffak Al Rubaie reiterated the Iraqi Prime Minister’s earlier announcement that the MKO organization will no longer be able to base itself on Iraqi soil and stated that the members of the organization will have to make a choice, either to go back to Iran or to go to a third country, adding that these measures will be implemented over the next two months.
On July 29, 2009, eleven Iranians were killed and over 500 were injured in a raid by Iraqi security on the MKO Camp Ashraf. U.S. officials had long opposed a violent takeover of the camp northeast of Baghdad, and the raid is thought to symbolize the declining American influence in Iraq. After the raid, the U.S. Secretary of State stated the issue was "completely within purview." In the course of attack, 36 Iranian dissidents were arrested and removed from the camp to a prison in a town named Khalis where the arrestees went on hunger strike for 72 days, 7 of which was dry hunger strike. Finally, the dissidents were released when they were in an extremely critical condition and on the verge of death.
The US has been using MKO as a bargaining chip against Tehran. During the Iraq war, U.S. troops posted guards at MKO bases. The U.S. military also protected and gave logistical support to the MKO as U.S. officials viewed the group as a high value source of intelligence on Iran. The MKO is credited with revealing Iran's nuclear program in 2003 and alerting Americans to Iranian advancements in nuclear technology.



KEY TERMS:American , Ashraf , Baghdad , British , Bush , Camp Ashraf , Diyala , Donald Rumsfeld , FTO , Fallujah , Geneva , Iran , Iranian , Iran–Iraq War , Iraq , Iraqi , MKO , Mali , Mowaffak Al Rubaie , Nuri Al Maliki , Prime Minister , Rumsfeld , Saddam , Saddam Hussein , State Department , Tehran , US , Wikipedia

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