In Raw Story today, a report that the Pentagon has unleashed the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), an exile Iranian organizationpreviously identified as a “foreign terrorist organization” by our State Department in its annual report on terrorism.*
The Pentagon is bypassing official US intelligence channels and turning to a dangerous and unruly cast of characters in order to create strife in Iran in preparation for any possible attack, former and current intelligence officials say.
One of the operational assets being used by the Defense Department is a right-wing terrorist organization known as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), which is being “run” in two southern regional areas of Iran. They are Baluchistan, a Sunni stronghold, and Khuzestan, a Shia region where a series of recent attacks has left many dead and hundreds injured in the last three months.
One former counterintelligence official, who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the information, describes the Pentagon as pushing MEK shortly after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The drive to use the insurgent group was said to have been advanced by the Pentagon under the influence of the Vice President’s office and opposed by the State Department, National Security Council and then-National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice.
The MEK, in fact, was the only identified terrorist group with substantial operations on soil controlled by Saddam’s regime. Other terrorist camps were located in the Kurdish-controlled north. From page 116 of the State Department’s 2002 report:
The MEK philosophy mixes Marxism and Islam. Formed in the 1960s, the organization was expelled from Iran after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, and its primary support now comes from the Iraqi regime. The MEK’s history is studded with anti-Western attacks as well as terrorist attacks on the interests of the clerical regime in Iran and abroad. The MEK now advocates a secular Iranian regime.
The worldwide campaign against the Iranian Government stresses propaganda and occasionally uses terrorist violence. During the 1970s, the MEK killed US military personnel and US civilians working on defense projects in Tehran and supported the takeover in 1979 of the US Embassy in Tehran. In 1981, the MEK detonated bombs in the head office of the Islamic Republic Party and the Premier’s office, killing some 70 high-ranking Iranian officials, including chief Justice Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, President Mohammad-Ali Rajaei, and Premier Mohammad-Javad Bahonar. Near the end of the 1980-88 war with Iran, Baghdad armed the MEK with military equipment and sent it into action against Iranian forces. In 1991, it assisted the Government of Iraq in suppressing the Shia and Kurdish uprisings in southern Iraq and the Kurdish uprisings in the north. Since then, the MEK has continued to perform internal security services for the Government of Iraq. In April 1992, the MEK conducted near-simultaneous attacks on Iranian Embassies and installations in 13 countries, demonstrating the group’s ability to mount large-scale operations overseas. In recent years, the MEK has targeted key military officers and assassinated the deputy chief of the Armed Forces General Staff in April 1999. In April 2000, the MEK attempted to assassinate the commander of the Nasr Headquarters—the interagency board responsible for coordinating policies on Iraq. The normal pace of anti-Iranian operations increased during the “Operation Great Bahman” in February 2000, when the group launched a dozen attacks against Iran. In 2000 and 2001, the MEK was involved regularly in mortar attacks and hit-and-run raids on Iranian military and law-enforcement units and government buildings near the Iran-Iraq border, although MEK terrorism in Iran declined throughout the remainder of 2001. Since the end of the Iran-Iraq war, the tactics along the border have garnered almost no military gains and have become commonplace. MEK insurgent activities in Tehran constitute the biggest security concern for the Iranian leadership. In February 2000, for example, the MEK launched a mortar attack against the leadership complex in Tehran that houses the offices of the Supreme Leader and the President. Assassinated the Iranian Chief of Staff.
After the fall of Saddam’s regime, the Bush administration granted MEK “protected status“, while insisting it was not “protecting” them, and now reportedly has sought to use its members as irregular combatants against Iran.
If these reports are accurate, we are now employing these same terrorists in operations against Iran.
Supposedly we invaded Iraq because, apart from false reports of WMDs and spurious connections with al Qaeda, because Saddam was a state sponsor of terror. Now, we’ve seemingly taken over sponsorship of what is by far the single largest terror group Saddam sponsored. As the Raw Story report states: “These guys are nuts,” this intelligence source said. At first I thought the source was referring to the MEK, but on second glance, he appears to be referring to the Bush apparatchiks who dreamed this one up.
I guess it’s a good thing the State Department stopped issuing its annual report on Patterns of Global Terrorism, or else we might have to identify ourself as a state sponsor of terror. (link via Talk Left)
*The Department’s annual report has been discontinued by the Bush administration after the reports noted substantial increases in terrorist attacks following the Iraq invasion, and past reports are no longer available on the Department’s web site.
Posted by Alex on Thursday, April 13th, 2006 at 12:10 pm, filed under Martini Republic. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Martini Republic – posted by Alex – April 13th, 2006