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The MEK was founded in 1965 and it has the unusual distinction of taking action to overthrow both the former government of the shah of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Iran by relying on terrorist actions. In the early 1970s, the MEK embarked on a program of assassinating Iranian officials and U.S. personnel in Iran.
The Iranian Revolution of 1979 saw the MEK’s program of bombings and shootings increase in intensity. The MEK is led by the husband-wife team of Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, who opponents and ex-members of the MEK describe as leaders of what has become known as the “Rajavi Cult.” The Rajavis abhor criticism and have been known to silence former MEK members-turned-critics by having them constantly harassed or worse, assassinated. There were nine assassinations between 1970-79).
After the United States ousted Saddam Hussein in the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, the MEK forces were confined to U.S.-protected compounds in Iraq, the most prominent being Camp Ashraf, the former U.S. military’s Camp Liberty. The new Iraqi government demanded the MEK forces leave Iraq. Acceding to Iraqi demands, the United States relocated 3,000 MEK members to the Manez base in Albania, which the MEK calls “Ashraf 3.”
The MEK, which reportedly receives support from Israel’s Mossad, is said to be involved in money laundering and sex trafficking through the intensive use of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Not surprisingly, MEK forces joined with ISIL forces in battling against Syrian and Iraqi government forces. The MEK saw ISIL as a natural ally in fighting pro-Iranian governments in Baghdad and Damascus. It was well-known to Western intelligence agencies that the MEK and ISIL had established an alliance, but, nevertheless, the Barack Obama administration removed the MEK from the U.S. State Department’s terrorist list in 2012. From 1997 to 2012, the United States officially designated the MEK as a foreign terrorist organization.
After ISIL forces were routed in Syria and Iraq, the United States pressured Albania to allow the Islamist terrorists to join their MEK allies in Albania. ISIL terrorists and their families have reportedly been housed in buildings in Tirana that were formerly occupied by MEK members prior to their transfer to the Manez base. From their Albanian base, MEK operatives have easily entered Kosovo, the location of another major NATO military base at Camp Bondsteel, near Ferizaj in eastern Kosovo.
MEK terrorists, allied with sympathizers in Albania and Kosovo, have targeted Shi’a and Sufi Islamic institutions. It is also believed by some Albanian journalists, who have been intimidated by the Albanian government and MEK, that Ashraf 3 and Camp Bondsteel are being used to train MEK and other Middle Eastern mercenaries for a war against Iran to effect a NATO-led regime change operation.
The MEK enjoys widespread support in the Trump White House, as well as in the U.S. Congress. One of the MEK’s biggest boosters is Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton. On April 1, 2017, Bolton addressed an MEK Nowruz (Persian New Year) conference in Albania and declared that the MEK would be celebrating taking power in Tehran before 2019.
The MEK is represented in Washington by the law firm of Joseph diGenova and his wife, Victoria Toensing. DiGenova almost became Trump’s personal attorney. However, diGenova took his name out of consideration due to conflicts of interest and Giuliani accepted the job.
The Trump administration’s neocons, notably Bolton and Giuliani, are hell-bent on regime change in Iran. They are ramping up their terrorist army in the Balkans for such a future war. Politics makes for strange bedfellows.