Ashraf Base in Iraq, from inside and from outside
The Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) is a destructive cult according to all modern psychological and sociological definitions of cults. This cult is of course fully developed and has exposed all known cultic characteristics. All cults behave in a similar manner both from inside and from outside although they defer vastly in their publicized ideas.
All cults are known by three categories where they could be distinguished from other even undemocratic establishments.
1. Charismatic authoritarian leader who has control over every aspect of his followers and owns the lives and properties and chastity and even thoughts of individuals. The leader in a cult practically sits in the place of God and is not responsible against anyone.
2. Totalitarian pyramidal structure where the superior of every individual sits in the place of the leader and plays the same role. Followers are totally dependant to the organization and to their superiors. As they say breathing outside the organization and without the presence of the superior is impossible.
3. Psychological techniques are used to control the minds of the people under the tag of ideology. It is worth noticing that the philosophical or theological ideas of a cult have no significance and are just used as excuses. What keeps the followers attached to the cult and its leader is just utilizing mental methods of brainwashing.
But a cult needs particular facilities to impose those rational techniques to control the minds of the followers. The most important of course is a remote place isolated from the outside world since the cults need to disconnect the contact of their followers from the outside world, particularly from their families and fiends and even from their past, in order to impose their control over their lives and their minds.
Ashraf base in Iraq has provided a good opportunity for the MKO for two decades. The base of the MKO in Paris (Auvers-sur-Oise) and other safe houses of the organization round Western Europe and Northern America are serving the same purpose for the cult.
The MKO is claiming that the Ashraf Base is its strategic vessel (armed struggle) which is based on the National Liberation Army (NLA). This is true, but prior to that the base is the organization’s ideological vessel (or the mental methodology).
The Ashraf base facility has the following advantages for the MKO:
1. Ideologically and organizationally or better to say regarding the mental methods to control the minds of the followers, this base is providing a good opportunity for the organization since the connection of the individuals with the outside world is totally cut off. Such facility for a great number of people would certainly not be found anywhere in the world.
2. Strategically the NLA as an army has two elements from the three basic elements needed (military base, border with Iran, and weapons). The view that the third element (weapons) would be provided keeps the individuals hopeful and therefore fix them to the organization in that base.
3. Politically and regarding propaganda for the MKO the Ashraf base is known as the symbol of power for the organization which has its special effects on Iranian and non-Iranian supporters and western politicians. In fact this base is the major instrument in the organization’s political and propaganda work and also to recruit new members in the western countries.
Therefore the Ashraf base, which the MKO prefers to be on the boarder with Iran, provides a unique opportunity for the organization to sustain and control the followers, to keep the structure of an army although too small, and to show the power of the MKO in its political and propaganda activities.
The MKO is not considered a threat for the Islamic Republic of Iran when it is by itself. But if they can find a substitute for Saddam Hussein as an external backer, then it could be turned into a threat as far as security is concerned. It is worth mentioning that this threat is of course limited to espionage and terrorist activities and the MKO slogans to overthrow the Tehran regime is out of question.
Then the Ashraf base is an opportunity from inside to preserve and control the forces and is an opportunity from outside for propaganda.
But what would happen if the Ashraf base is dismantled?
Initially a place must be found for the 3400 inhabitants of the base. The westerners are striving to send these people towards Iran. Surely they do not welcome these people who are the outcomes of a terrorist cult into their country. But any number of people who can reach to the western countries would not have the same use for the organization and they would not have the same ideological dependency. Many of them after having free contact with the outside world and realizing that they have been subject to psychological methods of brainwashing would gain the potentiality of countering the MKO and revealing the cultic internal relationships (historically the cults are doomed to be dismantled by their defectors).
In the next step the MKO would loose a strategic facility which is the boarder and the military base, and the strategy of armed struggle which is now on the halt would be finished.
And finally the MKO would loose its political and propaganda and recruiting opportunity and would face political and manpower crises in the western countries.
Specifically if the Ashraf base is dismantled and the forces are driven towards the western countries, not only the capability of diplomatic and propaganda of the organization would not increase, it would add to the many problems of the MKO and would face it with a dead-end.
In one word the cult would loose its main vessel and without that no content of the MKO would exist.
But this does not mean that the cult would go down completely since the organization could live as a cult in a very limited form with the facility of Auvers-sur-Oise (the European base of the MKO in France) and other safe houses they have in the western countries, but it would not have the same function as a political force.