The armed struggle is mostly defined as Guerilla warfare which is considered as the unconventional warfare in which the guerrilla army uses mobile tactics (ambushes, raids, etc) to fight a larger army or enemy.
According to Wikipedia this term (guerrilla) means “little war” in Spanish and the concept acknowledges a conflict between armed civilians against a powerful nation state army. Also, as Che Guevara, the Argentine revolutionist, writes in his book “Guerrilla Warfare”:
”the guerrilla band is an armed nucleus, the fighting vanguard of the people. It draws its great force from the mass of the people themselves “
In China, the Maoist Theory of People’s War believes that the guerrilla earns population’s support by distributing propaganda. To answer the question “why does the guerrilla fighter fight?” Ernesto Che Guevara responds:
”the guerrilla fighter is a social reformer that he takes up arms responding to the angry protest of the people against their oppressors.”
Therefore, as the most revolutionary guerrilla leaders believe the support of the population is of great importance to guerrilla fighters to provide shelter, supply, finance and intelligence for them. So having the base of the people guarantees the success of a guerrilla movement and this is what the MKO lacks. Instead they could operate by enjoying the protection of the friendly regime of Saddam Hussein that provided them with funds, weapons, military training and bases, but the support of Baath regime for MKO just made their situation among the masses of Iranian population worst because their cooperation with the enemy of Iran turn these freedom fighters into traitors who have been Saddam’s mercenary forces for 3 decades. The experts think that relationships with civil populations are one of the most important factors in the guerrilla fighters’ success or failure.
MKO lost its public support in three phases. The first phase happened following their use of terror after the Islamic Revolution, when they launched terror operations in civil targets and assassinated a large number of their compatriots. Like the communist forces in the Philippines and Malaysia, these strikes helped turn civilian opinion against the so-called freedom fighters. Such tactics had no result except the withdrawal of the support of Iranians for MKO terrorists.
As mentioned above the second phase of the withdrawal of public support for MKO was after their cooperation with Saddam dictatorship during the eight years of Iran- Iraq war in which the MEK served as Saddam’s private army, provided intelligence for Baathist Intelligence services. MKO bases donated by Saddam Hussein were mostly located near Iranian border of which is an important factor in guerrilla warfare but after the fall of Saddam, their bases were reduced to the one in the Northern part of Baghdad, Camp Ashraf, in Diala province. Thus after the American invasion to Iraq and the take over of Camp Ashraf by the US army, the MEK were restricted to their only remote base, Ashraf.
The third phase of the public hatred toward MKO was as recent as the visits made by the families of captured MKO members in Camp Ashraf. Families of MEK/MKO members were the only people who were considered as sympathizers by MKO leaders but they are also turning to their enemies because they are seriously seeking the visit of their beloved ones who are captives of MKO cult in Camp Ashraf. The best example is their former supporter, Mustafa Muhammadi who has appealed for the arrest of Camp Ashraf leaders who have kept his daughter for years.
Another important element in guerrilla warfare is weapon of which the NLA had plenty of, due to their ex-master Saddam Hussein’s donations .But they had to submit all their weapons to the US army that disarmed the group after the seizure of Camp Ashraf in 2003.
Nowadays the MKO lacks public support ,weapon and also border but their only last resort includes Camp Ashraf that itself is supposed to be handed over to Iraqi Government and eventually to be shut down.
MKO leaders find no way except prolonging their stay in Camp Ashraf, Iraq since their vital need is now awning a location where they can survive as a coercive army.
This shows the importance of Camp Ashraf while MKO has no public support to rely on, no weapon to fight with and no border to launch cross border attacks.