Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Archive for July 31st, 2009

Larijani, Qubbanji, and Saghir All Welcome the Camp Ashraf Operations

Posted by Reidar Visser on Friday, 31 July 2009 23:59

They may have been intended by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki as another piece of strongmanship that would strengthen Baghdad’s central government, but the recent operations by Iraqi government forces against the Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MKO) at Camp Ashraf in Diyala governorate have been greeted in a way that suggests wider regional political dynamics. Using rhetoric that is a carbon copy of that employed by the Iranian regime, Sadr al-Din al-Qubbanji and Jalal al-Din al-Saghir, two old Khomeinists and leading preachers of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), today hailed the operations against the munafiqin or “hypocrites” in their Friday sermons in Najaf and Baghdad respectively. (The MKO are a remnant from Iraq’s Baathist period, when they were Baghdad’s favoured Iranian opposition group.) For his part, Iran’s parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani welcomed the action taken by the Iraqi government, while MKO representatives characterised the manoeuvre as an operation directed from the very top of the Iranian regime, intended as a diversionary tactic by a government that remains under heavy domestic pressure after the recent presidential elections.

It should be added that the Camp Ashraf operations took place simultaneously with the visit to Iraq by the US defence secretary, Robert Gates.

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