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Quincy Institute: MEK, a proxy force for Israel and Saudi Arabia against Iran

MEK proxy force for Israel and Saudi Arabia

The Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO/ MEK/ PMOI/ Cult of Rajavi) has been documented as a main proxy force of the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia in their interventionist agendas in Iran, according to the new study published by Quincy Institute.

The new Quincy paper report on the controversies in the Middle East indicates that the instability in the region is not due to a sole ‘malign actor’. The report gives a qualitative and quantitative view of the region’s conflicts over the past 10 years. It shows several states to be interventionist to roughly the same degree.

MEK proxy force for Israel and Saudi Arabia

According to the new research by Matthew Pettiis and Trita Parsi for the Quincy Institute, the reality of the interventionists in the middle east is complicated. Their new report, “No Clean Hands: The Interventions of Middle East Powers, 2010-2020,” looks at the last decade of conflict in the Middle East in which six states have shown themselves the most able to project armed power beyond their borders: Iran, Israel, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. “Iran is highly interventionist, but not an outlier,” they assert. “The other major powers in the region are often as interventionist as the Islamic Republic — and at times even more so. Indeed, the UAE and Turkey have surpassed Iran in recent years.”


The report also highlights the U.S. role is as “highly problematic”. “It is an active player in these regional interventions,” it reads. “In fact, five of the six most interventionist powers in the Middle East are armed by the United States — and also enjoy significant political support from Washington.”
The report investigates various aspects of interventions by the powers. They may include low-intensity intervention, proxy or remote warfare, combat troops on the ground and territorial conquest. A table has been planned by the authors to list each interventionist’s activities in certain countries in the region. The MEK has been mentioned in at least two cases.

John Bolton and Saudis

President Trump and his good friends the Saudis (White House photo)

The MEK, has been used by Saudi Arabia in Iran since 1989 to date. “Multiple defectors from the Mojahedin-e Khalq, an armed Iranian opposition group, have gone on the record claiming that Saudi Arabia materially supports the group,” according to the report. “The MEK’s former head of security said that this relationship dates back to 1989 and included hundreds of millions of dollars in funding.”

The group was also a proxy force for Israel in the terror campaign against the Iranian nuclear scientists. Based on the Quincy report, Israel has been using the MEK operatives since 2007 to date. “Israel has cultivated relations with armed opposition groups in Iran,” Parsi and Pettiis state. “Two Obama administration officials confirmed that Israel had carried out the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists in 2011 through 2012 through Mujahedin-e Khalq operatives, and a former official confirmed their claims in a separate report. The official added that the U.S. military trained the operatives on U.S. soil.”
Matthew Pettiis a researcher at the Quincy Institute and an investigative reporter at Responsible Statecraft. Before joining the Quincy Institute, he worked as a national security reporter for The National Interest and a freelance journalist.

Trita Parsi, Ph.D., is an award-winning author and the 2010 recipient of the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. He is an expert on U.S.–Iranian relations, Iranian foreign policy, and the geopolitics of the Middle East. He has authored three books on U.S. policy in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Iran and Israel. He is the cofounder and former president of the National Iranian American Council.

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