An interview with Batool Soltani on MKO self-immolations – a précis of parts 33-34
Sahar Family Foundation: Ms. Soltani, your given reasons for preservation of Ashraf implies that the organization considers two functions for the camp, political and strategic with your focus more on the latter function. You also had references to the organization’s attempts in the West to preserve Ashraf which I classify as the former function. Do you have anything more to add?
Batool Soltani: Your classification seems accurate and right. Besides considering the strategic potentialities of Ashraf that secures the permanence of the organization, there are other interests that it strives to achieve in the West. As you have noticed especially in the recent years, Ashraf has given the organization a good excuse to orchestrate a variety of rallies and gatherings, some arranged with only a handful of people, in different Western cities. They work as fuels to run the organization’s propaganda machine throughout the world as a vindication of its entity and practically influential political life.
Naturally, to survive on the world’s political stage to show off as a potential alternative it has to buy credit by playing up whatever trifle. The victimization of Camp Ashraf can influentially impress the public opinion that the organization exploits as a working leverage in European countries.
The volume of reports and news released at the present concerning Ashraf indicates that the organization has no other lever to rely on to advance its political ends in the West. While the organization calls the world’s attention to Ashraf to intervene to stop the human tragedy taking place there, which also puts its great impact on the Ashraf residents as well, it does not shrink to sacrifice all of the camp’s members to survive and further its ends. The propagandas persuades insiders to insist on their resistance since they may come to believe that for sure something would come out of these propagandas and they may achieve Rajavi’s promised victory to start a triumphant return to their home country. Would not you be influenced by such illusion if you are made to believe that you have the support of whole world behind you?
The consequent easy result will be that Rajavi can persuade Ashraf residents to commit suicide for the final battle to gain the victory. That is the political function the organization intends to grab at and to convince the West that Ashraf is no more a military camp housing listed terrorists but a city that resists to survive and it is a duty on the world to join the resistance. That is why in most of its programs on Ashraf aired by its TV it focuses on the existing facilities, accommodations, green avenues and gardens as well as people in civilian, clean outfits rather than military uniforms.
SFF: If you will, Ms. Soltani, lets return to our unfinished issue, that is, reasons for Mojahedin to stay in Iraq, and the possible fluctuations that may help them to continue with their strategy of overthrowing the regime. How is it possible and what guarantees it to achieve the end by effectuating its stay in Iraq?
BS: You know, the principal thing Rajavi exclusively relies on is the time, which plays a crucial role for someone in his position. He knows well that the question of time can be either accelerating or deterring the accomplishment of events. He has the experience of being driven forth by the time in tortuous paths and strained circumstances. He knows that the states are after their own interests and may dodge to be observant of their promises. He has reiterated again and again that neither Europeans nor Americans believe in any principle but accomplishment of their own interests and they consider no ethics in their relations, feeling under no obligation to be observant of their pledge.
Thus, each side was after achieving its own interest more or less and Rajavi believed that it would be so treasured if the organization could convince them to support it even if it imposed makeshift costs on the organization to furnish them with the interests that pleased them. Such reasoning was enough to push them into an attempt to draw the US political support regardless of a notorious anti-American history and assassination of its personnel. The organization hoped that the pass of time had changed many things and the two sides reckoned on a guarantee that could well ensure collective interests.
As a result, the organization needed to procure time to pass over the crises and to continue its anchor in Iraq. That is why from the very beginning of Saddam’s fall the organization began to invest on the existing internal disorder and frictions among the dissident groups. It is still through the support of some factions and individuals that the organization hopes a permanent residence in Iraq. However, the question of buying time and letting their supports profit out of it remains a strategic priority in its global relations. Why France tolerates presence of Maryam Rajavi on its soil while it is well aware of the costs that her presence imposes on the country? Does not it know all problems the organization is facing in Iraq? While France is still opposing removal of the organization from the EU terror list, we see the leader of the organization is freely active in the heart of the country?
SFF: For sure it is looking after its own interests.
BS: Exactly. Since 1997 Maryam Rajavi has two times travelled between Iraq and France with no restriction. France could have easily occluded or expel her for leading a blacklisted, clandestine terrorist group in France. If France had abjured to grant her asylum, no state or organization would have condemned it for breach of human rights because the organization had been listed a terrorist group. Not only the French government let her settle on its soil, but also provided for her protection. Trading a profitable political deal, France tries taking advantage of a potential lever by paying the least cost. Of course, we have nothing to do with Franc’s reluctance to receive Ashraf residents as it is another case to discuss. What is of great importance for the organization at the present is to be removed from the US list of FTO which may grant the organization the legitimacy of a liberation army permitted to carry arms. That is the future in perspective.
SFF: But it is possible on condition that the organization has soil to settle on. It is impossible to organize a liberation army when it has no piece of land on the border. How is it possible?
BS: That is it. It depends on the influence of Americans on the Iraqi government. It would be enough for the organization if the US could convince Iraqis to let it carry arms, of course on condition it is removed from the US terrorist list. It all relies on possibilities and ifs, but does it have any other choice but to wait for the unexpected opportunity to arrive? So, the organization waits and waits for the ripe time that can change its course and connect another ring of the chain. As the violence is innate in its nature, violent tactics of mass suicide and immolation may work as good instruments to evade or pass over the temporal impediments.
Rajavi believes that a tree with dried leaves and branches can possibly bloom but it cannot if it is uprooted. It is the very same case with the organization and the duty on the members is to prevent uproot and demise of the organization so it may be rejuvenated by a new political entity. The members play the role of the leaves that their drop, as they sacrifice for the organization, help safeguarding the trunk that may come to life by shooting greens. So it is the body that is of significance and all have to do their best and sacrifice their lives to protect it.
SFF: Ms. Soltani, will you be clear enough to say that how can the organization kill the time to use the present Iraqi Government as a lever to effectuate its strategy of armed struggle and liberation army?
BS: The organization insists to become an outlet of violence and arms for both Americans and Iraqis to carry out their ambitions against Iran. It hopes to be equipped with arms and does whatever it can to instigate tension that deters any peace. By demonizing Iranian regime, they try to justify the right of carrying arms.