Skip to comments.What’s Behind the Campaign to Delist the Mujahedin al-Khalq Organization?
Posted on 03/04/2011 5:13:12 PM PST by nuconvert
A growing number of former U.S. officials both Republicans and Democrats have hopped on the bandwagon to demand that the State Department delist the Mujahedin al-Khalq Organization (MKO) from its list of terrorist groups.
I consider the MKO a terrorist group for good reason. There is no doubt that the MKO has targeted Americans, and no amount of slick public relations should erase that. During my time in Iran, it was clear that while Iranians respect the United States and have little good to say about their own government, they all detest the MKO.
The enemy of my enemy is not always a friend: Iranian attitudes toward the MKO are analogous to Americans views toward American Taliban John Walker Lindh. Iranians despise the MKO for siding with Saddam Hussein as he murdered Iranians. After liberation, the MKO embraced America not because it loves liberty and apple pie but rather because it is an ideological chameleon. Only fools would believe that the MKO is sincere in its pro-American rhetoric. While the MKO claims credit for intelligence coups, more often than not it is either a conduit for other countries to launder their own collections or the MKO simply makes it up.
One thing is certain: embracing the MKO is the surest way to make anti-American the 65 million Iranians who dislike their government and dislike theocracy.
Still, MKO lobbying is slick and, as a cult, it can rely on the entirety of its members incomes to purchase support it might not otherwise receive. If American officials call for the delisting of the MKO, that is their right. For an honest debate on the issues, however, they should acknowledge the honorarium or consulting fees they receive from the group.
“Lee Hamilton, former Chair, House Foreign Affairs Committee; Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico (2003-2011); Gen. Michael Hayden, Director of NSA (1999-2005), Director of CIA (2006-2009); Michael Mukasey, Attorney General of the United States (2007-2009); Walter Slocombe, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy (1994-2001); Amb. Dell Dailey, Coordinator for Counterterrorism, State Department (2007-2009); Gen. Peter Pace, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (2005-2007); and Gen. Hugh Shelton, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (1997-2001), were among the speakers.”
Our government is full of traitors that’s what’s behind it.
John Bolton was a speaker at one of their rallies in Paris a short time ago. I don’t consider him a traitor, but he’s absolutely wrong wanting to de-list MEK and use them to try to overturn the regime.
I agree with you. They are a group of violent nutters - they are nothing but trouble.
The theory may be that if MEK forces were fully equipted and had some degree of U.S. support they could wreak chaos inside Iran. Planners could hope that MEK—a much smaller group than Iran's combined military—would ultimately be decimated but not before wreaking costly damage on the Iranians. In a perfect world the MKE would win the battles
but be 100 percent casualties at the triumphal parade through Tehran.
Also the U.S. may be just posturing to convince Iran we plan on turning a refurbished MEK loose on Iran when we don't. MEK would be s barging cip.
I agree with Rubin and Ledeen on this:
I spoke to two members of the panel and both said they had argued for delisting the MEK, not for supporting it. Thats a big difference, although even delisting the Mooj would be interpreted as an act of political significance. In any event, supporting the MEK would be a monumental blunder. First of all, its a cult of personality, not a pro-democracy opposition group, and we should be helping democrats in Iran. Second, most Iranians hate the MEK, because it is based in Iraq and operated on behalf of Saddam Hussein, killing many Iranians. Doing anything that looks like an embrace of the MEK would foolishly antagonize the overwhelming majority of the Iranian people, above all the broad-based coalition that fights under the banner of the Green Movement.
I’d like to give you an Iranian perspective on this topic.
A. Yes, generally speaking, there is no love lost between MeK & the Iranian populace (exiled or in Iran). Personally, I disagree with their ideology as well as trackrecord.
B. Not all exiled Iranians are exclusively monarchists, communists, marxists, islamists, republicans, etc.. - often you get a hybrid of the mentioned. Same applies to inside Iran. Though, ‘Democracy/Freedom’ is a common thread & wish - even if some of them, at present, may not fully understand what it exactly entails.
C. Many, if not most, Iranians of older generations (exiled or in Iran) mistrust and/or hate MeK because of history. That history is strictly an Iranian one (not American) & is broadly threefold:
- the pivotal role MeK (along with the communists & other ideologues) played in persuading/influencing gullible/impressionable young Iranians in the 1970’s to join them & carry out violent acts in Iran to not only harm other ordinary Iranians, but also to bring down the monarchy.
- the direct support MeK (Rajavis) gave to Khomeini.
- the role Rajavis & their MeK disciples played by siding with Saddam during the 8 yr Iran-Iraq war in the 1980’s. This is particularly the case w/current or ex members of the IRGC, or ordinary Iranians, who fought on Iran’s side during the war with Iraq. Also, note that the Rajavis claim that by siding w/Saddam their main aim was to fight the Mullahs’ regime in Iran, not the “Iranian people”. I’d also add that the Mullahs’ regime was just as bad if not worse in its treatment of Iranians during the war. For example, it was the Mullahs’ regime who sent young children to the minefields as ‘mine-detectors’ with a plastic key in hand, which according to the Mullahs was the key to paradise, for after they are ‘martyred’.
In any case, MeK & the Rajavis remain to be Mullahs’ nemesis to date. The regime is very afraid of them, because MeK has the motive & is motivated to confront them, in an organized fashion & by any means, unlike the airy fairy, disorganized, let’s get permission from the Supreme leader to protest & let’s burn a few pictures & throw stones at the bassiji, etc.. of the Moussavi & Karroubi supporters (btw, most, if not all, Moussavi & Karroubi supporters are loyal to the core mandates of the ‘Islamic Revolution’).
D. The younger generation in today’s Iran does not have the firsthand experience the older generation of Iranians have per above points in (C).
E. MeK is not the Rajavis. MeK is essentially a mixture of ideologies, which have changed and/or evolved since its inception in 1965. Today, their core ideology is mostly Islamic-Marxist (or left wing Islamic).
F. MeK in Iran does not go about advertising itself as “MeK”. It sells its ideology just as the Mullahs’ regime sells its own, both with a ‘democratic’ bend, when necessary. IOW, it’d be very difficult to ID who is MeK or not in Iran. Incidentally, not all in the Mullahs’ regime are right-wing Islamists. There are many who are left-wing Islamists too. It’d also be naive to presume that at least some of the youth (who are mostly ideologically driven) do not subscribe to “MeK type ideology”. Equally, we can not assign a distinct % to monarchists, Islamic reformists, Islamic conservatives, republicans, etc.. & their supporters (related to point B).
G. Despite MeK’s anti-American campaign during the 70’s & 80’s, MeK was only put on the blacklist during Clinton administration in 1997. - IIRC, later on, it was reported by WSJ & NYT that the reason for MeK’s inclusion on the blacklist as a terrorist organization was to show goodwill toward Iran’s newly elected reformist president Mohammad Khatami.
H. Regardless of point (G), Mullahs’ regime has continued to blame the U.S. for supporting MeK in Iran. My guess is that the regime will continue to accuse the U.S. of supporting MeK, whether the U.S. decides to de-list them or not. Just as the Regime incessantly blames Israel & the U.S. for all the ills in Iran. The difference, IMO, is that the Mullahs’ regime is actually & truly fears MeK.
In conclusion, I don’t know whether the U.S. should de-list MeK or not. But, I do know that MeK’s trackrecord and ideological bend are just as abominable as that of the Mullahs’ regime, with a difference that the Mullahs are currently in charge of a country & MeK is not. Perhaps, the West should cease doing ‘business’ with both. Nonetheless, both MeK & Islamist groups, one way or another, will remain part of the Iranian social/political makeup in the future, even if not in power - that’s the reality Iranians & the West need to deal with.
It isn’t sufficient to constantly suggest such generalities as “we should support pro-democracy, liberty movements in Iran”. The present Mullahs’ regime will not let that happen because it’ll be the end of them. Nonetheless, there has to be a practical, detailed & long term plan to make that happen. I am not aware of any such plan.
Sorry about the long post!