MEK: The Peril of Paradox in American Middle East Policy
One thing is abundantly clear about American policy in the Middle East–it is based on a series of paradoxical, internally contradictory goals and alliances which typically end in tragic results for friend and foe alike.
Nowhere is this conundrum clearer than in the present U. S. quandary over the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), or People’s Holy Wvarriors, as chronicled by Ed Blanche, Beirut correspondent for The Middle East, in that publication’s June 2009 issue.
As Blanche capably summarizes what is known of the MEK, the organization was formed in Iran in 1965 by leftist students, subsequently adopting a “bizarre ideology that embraced by Islam and Marxism.” The ideology soon became linked to urban revolutionary guerrilla violence. In the final years of Pahlavi Iran, the MEK conducted a series of attacks and assassinations on American military and diplomatic personnel, as it sought the overthrow of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.
The MEK joined forces with Khomeini’s revolutionaries in this ultimately successful effort, only to be expelled by the IRI regime itself in Tehran once its usefulness had expired after the Shah’s departure. The MEK began to conduct guerrilla operations against the Islamic Regime as they had against the monarchy previously, with considerable success. But the IRI applied a level of retaliatory force the “Islamic-Marxists” could not endure. They fled to France, and later joined forces with Saddam Hussein against Iran in the 1980-1988 war between the Gulf rivals.
The shifting paradoxes would continue, as the MEK established a headquarters at Camp Ashraf in Iraq, largely under American and Israeli protection. The one-time adversaries of both Persian monarchy and its American military and intelligence allies, had now become a tool of the United States and the Europeans against the Islamic theocratic regime they helped to usher in 3 decades ago.
And the ultimate paradoxes are these: First, Mr. Bush’s Operation Iraqi Freedom has resulted in the installation of a central government in Baghdad largely sympathetic to the IRI regime in Tehran, and with identical animosity to the MEK’s presence within its borders.
Second, while Ed Blanche notes that it “was the MEK that disclosed the existence of Iran’s nuclear program in August 2002, stunning the U. S. intelligence and military establishments,” he fails to note credible information provided by Barry O’Connell and IPS’s Gareth Porter that the MEK’s role in “disclosing the existence of Iran’s nuclear program,” has been to serve as a clandestine conduit of information on the subject supplied by the Israeli intelligence community.
Hello, Mossad, meet your new allies in the “Islamic-Marxist” network worldwide.
There you have it. The Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), or People’s Holy Warriors, is an “Islamic-Marxist” terror organization, which assisted in implementing the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979; was subsequently involved in guerrilla warfare operations against the very Iranian Islamic Regime they helped to bring to power; fought on the side of Saddam Hussein for 8 years in the Iran-Iraq war between 1980-1988; and now, according to Barry O’Connell and Gareth Porter, is working with Jewish neo-conservatives and Israeli intelligence in planting false “intelligence” on Iran’s nuclear program with the American National Security State and Western news media, itching for a confrontation between Tehran and Tel Aviv—even as it now possesses an adversarial role with the very regime in Baghdad installed by Mr. Bush’s War. Confused?
You should be. The global international establishment can’t figure out what its position on the MEK is supposed to be, either. Hence, according to Blanche, Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Directorate is trying to find the organization a new place to live; the U. S. State Department continues to maintain a place for the MEK on its terrorism blacklist, as does the European Union; American and Jewish neo-conservatives in the defense and intelligence communities of the United States advocate an alliance with the MEK against Tehran; even as Britain’s Court of Appeal ruled in May of 2008 that the MEK “should not be deemed a terrorist organization.”
Oh, yes. One other thing. Even as Israeli intelligence and the Pentagon pursue an anti-Tehran alliance with the MEK, Tehran, according to Blanche, offered the United States in December of 2003 several senior Al Qaeda operatives in exchange for MEK commanders under U. S. control at Camp Ashraf. The U. S. could have had Saif Al Adel and Mahfouz Ould Walid (Abu Hafs the Mauritanian), even as it avenged the deaths of murdered American personnel from the days of Pahlavi Iran in the 1970s.
Why was there no deal?
Better ask the Mossad, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Kenneth R. Timmerman, and the Project for the New American Century crowd.
Isn’t paradox wonderful?