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U.S. to start redeployment of Islamist militants from Iraq to Eastern Europe

13.01.2014 16:23

In the geopolitical game in the territory of the western part of the former Soviet Union and the new EU members, another factor of American influence may appear in the near future. According to the Bulgarian press, in early December 2013 during the talks in Brussels between the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean it was agreed to transfer 3000 Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) fighters from Iraq to the frontier with Bulgaria, Romanian Craiova.

Mujahideen-e Khalq appeared in Iran in the mid-1960s and throughout its history has organized many terrorist attacks. After the Islamic Revolution, many members of the organization moved to Iraq and took an active part on the side of Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in 1986. In 1997 the U.S. State Department named MEK a terrorist organization. Then the report stated that "there is no coincidence the only government in the world that supports Mujahideen-e Khalq politically and financially is a totalitarian regime of Saddam Hussein."

After the overthrow of Hussein Washington took control of MEK. Since then thousands of fighters inhabit the U.S. base near the Iraqi capital. A whole town with shops and hospitals was built for them there, where they constantly hold their parades flaunting brand new ammunition. When fighters leave the base they are guarded by the U.S. military police.

September 21, 2012 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the exclusion of Mujahideen-e Khalq from the list of terrorist organizations. According to reports in the U.S. media, such a decision was promoted by the largest lobbying firms like Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Patton Boggs. A positive image of the militants has been created by such influential people as Minister of the U.S. Homeland Security Tom Ridge, three former CIA Directors Michael Hayden, James Woolsey and Porter Goss, former NATO Supreme Commander General Wesley Clark.

For many years analysts assumed that Washington kept MEK in case of serious exacerbations with Iran. As it turned out, the militants may be used in the Old World. Under the pretext that the new Iraqi leadership requires MEK eviction from the country, Mujahideen-e Khalq members are being prepared for deployment to Europe. Germany and Albania had previously refused to host militants demanding their resettlement in compact groups. But Romania apparently agreed to accept the grouping in full combat readiness.

It is possible that Bucharest expects to use the Islamists brought from Iraq to implement its long-standing dream to join Moldavia. In fact, the new government in Chisinau is not against such a scenario because then they will automatically become citizens of the European Union. But residents of the unrecognized Transnistria associate themselves with the Russian world, rather than Greater Romania. The authorities in Chisinau and Bucharest cannot directly launch a military operation, as it was in 1992 - these plans are prevented by Russian peacekeepers. But the situation can be destabilized using Islamist militants in guerrilla warfare.

Ukraine can appear in the firing line as well. Members of radical Islamist groups feel at ease in the Crimea, and about 400 inhabitants of the peninsula are now fighting in Syria on the side of terrorist groups. What they will be engaged in when they return home, nobody knows. But if they receive assistance from abroad and through MEK stationed in Romania, Ukraine will have to forget any peaceful development.

According to MGIMO Department of diplomacy, Professor Nikolai Leonov, Russia must be ready for the transfer of militants to Europe:

Leonov: If this information is true, then the situation becomes a problem for the United States. After all, it will be enough to catch one or two of these fighters to represent them to the world community as evidence of the U.S. attempts to destabilize the situation in Europe. And this may be the reason for the adoption of the relevant resolution by the UN Security Council. At least we can prepare such a resolution.

We must understand that all these steps are part of information warfare. And if armed clashes have their own rules (for example, not to use nuclear and chemical weapons), there are no rules in the media wars. There may be any rumors. States claim that they cannot encroach upon the freedom of the press.

If these rumors are true, we will need to use our diplomatic mechanisms and expose U.S. as a global terrorist accomplice. (SP): Can the presence of militants in Romania affect the situation in the region?

Leonov: The presence of militant elements, carriers of radical views always complicates the situation. Some were dancing Lezghinka in central Moscow on New Year's night, and the entire Internet is buzzing, the society is outraged. Though there was nothing illegal. But the demonstrative actions causing rejection in humans disturb the public and cause mistrust of authority, which cannot prevent such things.

Militants in Romania will become an explosive factor in all the Balkans. Primarily they need to bother in Bulgaria, where many Muslims reside Dobruja. The appearance of militants will cause aggravation straight away.

SP: What could the reaction of the Eastern Europe countries be?

Leonov: In this region they cannot help but understand the consequences of the presence of militants. Poles, Hungarians fought against Muslims for a long time and are proud to have stopped the Ottoman advance into Europe. Not to mention the Bulgarians who were under the Turkish yoke for about five hundred years.

But I cannot make predictions yet because I do not possess full information about the situation. Rumors in the media may be different. But concrete data is needed to start confrontation at diplomatic and political level. After all, no one will be glad to militants from Iraq, neither in Bulgaria, nor in Ukraine or Moldova or Transnistria.

Expert on International Affairs Mikhail Demurin indicates that the scenario of the U.S. use of radical Islamists from Iraq in Europe is real:

Demurin: In my opinion, an analogy can clearly be seen between the U.S. flirting with terrorist organizations now and the way they acted in the early XX century. In the early 1920s, Americans began to support the Nazi project to deal with the Soviet project. After Hitler came to power, the collaboration with the Nazis continued more actively and, according to some sources, has not been fully terminated even after the beginning of World War II.

The United States operates on the scheme of financing "the anti project" which then tries to manipulate. When they see that things have gone too far, they try to tame this "anti project." Just recall 1945. When Russian troops crushed the Nazis, the Americans together with the British kept in readiness several Nazi divisions who surrendered to them in case they had to implement Operation Unthinkable that is to start a war with the Soviet Union. Then these German units would be fighting on the side of the West. Usefulness of such operation was defended by Churchill. The fascist divisions maintained their fighting condition until second half of 1945.

Now I can see a direct analogy with that time. And the threat of Washington's policy comes not only to Moldova, Transnistria or Romania. The approach of the Americans is dangerous itself.

SP: What can Russia take in case of transfer of militants to Romania?

Demurin: Moscow should take a principled position. We cannot allow the same wavering that helped the terrorists take Libya. Unfortunately, Russia was involved in that operation. Some of our politicians played a very active role in the political and propaganda support. Now, these politicians still hold their posts.

Now we keep a consistent position on Syria. And we need to understand that those "games" which Americans play with terrorist international is not the only, but one of the major reasons excluding the possibility to consider them as true long-term partners. This, however, does not close the possibility of joint actions in cases where our interests coincide.

"Islamists have always been a tool for the U.S. to achieve its geopolitical objectives," said Director of the Center for Geopolitical Expertise Valery Korovin. "This mechanism was already debugged when the Soviet troops entered Afghanistan, and the Mujahideen received financial and military support from the U.S. Americans believe that man-made impact on the opponents with the help of the Islamists is completely under the control of Washington. If Islamists appear somewhere, it means that the U.S. is preparing to enter a territory. An outbreak of so-called "controlled chaos" provides an opportunity for direct intervention."

Korovin: Another thing is that any system is subject to entropy. The more difficult the American network is, the greater autonomy its fragments acquire, and the more pieces break off from it. This process may begin to get out of control. Then unintended consequences may occur for the initiators of the network activity, for those on whose side this Islamist branched structure operates. So Romania runs a great risk. Especially that this country has no subjectivity and is not capable, in principle, to ensure its security in the face of external and internal threats. But the rejection of a significant part of its sovereignty is a condition of joining the European Union.

SP: Can the militants pose a threat to the post-Soviet states?

Korovin: They can be regarded as a danger to Transnistria, Moldova and even Ukraine. Now Kiev made a momentary choice in favor of Russia and headed for the exit out of U.S. control. And it can be considered a serious failure of Washington's foreign policy.

It's no secret that a base for the preparation of Islamist militants has been created in the Crimea. The presence of another 3,000 fighters near the state's border can put an end to the possible desire of Ukraine to join the Customs and the Eurasian Union without any problems. It will be followed by forced reorientation of the country to the EU or its collapse into several parts.

SP: And can the militants pose a threat to Russian interests in Transnistria?

Korovin: It would be logical for Americans to use the militants for their own purposes in Transnistria. They are accustomed to act rationally, consistently. This scenario looks convincing. Importantly, this development will look normal for ordinary Romanians. The possible increment of Romania at the expense of Moldova will look like a historical revenge. Using PR the situation could be presented so that Romania becomes a geopolitical player, challenging major power - Russia. But, of course, it will only cover the monstrous U.S. plans to redraw the region.

SP: Don't they really fear in Romania that the situation may get out of control?

Korovin: The Romanian elites are directly engaged by the Washington administration, they make the decision in isolation from their people. The elites do not think about the consequences and are not associating themselves with the state or the people. At any moment they can sit on their planes - and disappear.