Employing terrorists, AL Qaeda, ISIS or MEK

For the past decades, the Middle East has been a fertile ground for proxy wars. However, Iran has almost always been a secure land in the heart of this chaotic region despite the fact that several dissident and separatist groups oppose the Iranian government. The Mujahedin Khalq Organization (the MKO/ MEK/ PMOI/ Cult of Rajavi) is one of these dissident groups with a long background of terrorist acts against Iranian nation.

The Group was once in the safe haven donated to them by Saddam Hussein who funded and supported them against Iran for about two decades. After the fall of Saddam, the MEK turned into the proxy force for the West, particularly the US and Israel, although it was listed as a “foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department until 2012.

The group is widely despised by the Iranians due to its violent history and its alliance with the fighting enemy of Iran Saddam Hussein. Jonathan Broder of Newsweek presents the most recent account on the MEK’s past and present. “Many independent scholars say the MEK’s alliance with Saddam in that long and bloody war turned the group into traitors in the eyes of most Iranians,” he writes. “In the 1990s, the Rajavis instituted a number of cult-like measures to prevent defections. According to a 2005 Human Rights Watch report based on interviews with several defectors, members were required, among other things, to divorce their spouses and send their children abroad for adoption, lest family obligations divert their attention from the struggle against the Islamic Republic.” [1]

Some suggest that the MEK was delisted by the then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to “pave the way for the evacuation of Camp Ashraf’s MEK members to Albania”. [2]

Border doubts the assertion asking “But had anything really changed?”. He finds the answer in what Daniel Benjamin, the State Department coordinator for counterterrorism at the time, told Newsweek. According to Benjamin, the delisting was done “at the discretion of the secretary out of humanitarian concern because no country would take them otherwise, and not because of any changed thinking within the MEK.” [3]

Richard Black a Republican member of the Virginia State Senate clarifies the case of the MEK in Iran compared with the most notorious proxy forces in the region including ISIS and Al Qaeda. Asked about the possibility that the MEK openly takes in Iran the place that ISIS has had in Syria, giving way to a bloodbath in the Islamic Republic as well. “That is a distinct possibility,” he answered. “However, Iran is a cohesive, unified nation. Despite their internal political disagreements, Iranians are patriotic and even its dissidents are generally unwilling to undermine the unity of the nation. For that reason, I do not believe the MEK will find fertile ground to grow like ISIS did in the deserts of Iraq and Syria.”[4]

“Nevertheless, the West has decided to employ MEK-led terrorists to overthrow the duly-elected government of Iran,” he continued. “The Ashraf-3 base has just opened in Albania. Its purpose is to coordinate terrorist training, logistics and military action against Iran. The Ashraf-3 facility will be used to plan the infiltration and destabilization of Iran. It may use both MEK terrorists and battle-hardened ISIS and al Qaeda troops who are moved there from Iraq and Syria. The massive Ashraf-3 base is a complete city. It has parks, shopping centers, conference centers, and a luxury hotel. The heavily-guarded facility will be home to 3,000 MEK terrorists and families. If MEK succeeds in toppling Iran, Maryam Rajavi has already been designated as its first interim president. The United States designated the MEK as a terrorist organization in 1997. However, the push to overthrow seven Middle Eastern countries (including Iran) began to move forward rapidly in 2011 with the invasion of Libya. MEK was removed for the list of terrorist organizations in 2012 in order to bring about a violent regime change in Iran.”[5]
Senator Black believes that employing what he calls “terror weapon” — terrorist groups like MEK and Al Qaeda—has not been fruitful for the West. “The CIA fielded a quarter-million-man army of terrorists against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, he said. “Saudi Arabia built a vast system of madrassas to indoctrinate youth in Wahabism, a remarkably murderous version of Islam. Although CIA’s jihadists did defeat the Soviets, they also gave birth to al Qaeda, which attacked the U.S. on 9-11 and went on to spread terror across the globe. Every time the West and its Gulf State allies use terrorists to overthrow governments, the results are disastrous.” [6]

The US-Israel alliance must know that proxy forces may run their ambitions in certain divided communities with its entire disasrous results but the MEK will not thrive to achieve its anti-national goals in Iran. The MEK is the one that is so hated by Iranian public opinion that it can never accomplish their regime change agenda in Iran, even if it launches the most violent acts of terror – as it has an extensive experience in them.

Mazda Parsi

References:

[1] Broder, Jonathan, Iran’s Opposition Groups are Preparing for the Regime’s Collapse. Is Anyone Ready?, Newsweek Magazine, August 27th, 2019.
[2] ibid
[3] ibid
[4] Ceoldo, Costantino, Richard Black speaks about Syria (and not only), Opinion.com, August 25th, 2019.
[5] ibid
[6] ibid

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