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How GOP Leaders Allow Iran To Shape Their Policy

Most Republicans would do anything to take down Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Iranian regime. And for Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin, that means embracing a “terrorist group” and Wikileaks, respectively. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, yes, but the only winner here remains Iran.
Those who support MEK simply want the group to launch a proxy war against Iran, yet haven’t considered the potentially dangerous consequences
Giuliani and other Republican officials like former homeland security advisor Tom Ridge traveled to Paris this week to speak on the behalf of Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), a militant exile group Bill Clinton dubbed a terror organization in 1997.

“For your organization to be described as a terrorist organization is just really a disgrace,” said former New York City mayor Giuliani during his trip, which was organized by MEK’s political arm, French Committee for a Democratic Iran. “The United States should not just be on your side. It should be enthusiastically on your side. You want the same things we want.” While MEK’s surely a better friend than Tehran, and we have a common goal, that doesn’t mean the group’s entirely harmless.

Founded in 1965 to oppose the pro-U.S. Shah, MEK, which killed U.S. officials in the process, presumed it would enjoy a new life in post-Revolution Iran. They were wrong, because the Ayatollah didn’t want any ideological competition and routed them out, sending MEK around the world, mostly to Europe, from which they continued to launch attacks against Iran.

Their militant activities, however, alienated MEK from their European hosts, which led them to another long-time nemesis of Iran, Saddam Hussein, who began housing and aiding MEK in 1986. The group, which bases their ideology on an amalgamation of Islam, Marxism and feminism, has mellowed since then and many governments, including the European Union, have lifted the group’s terrorist label.

MEK’s terror background remains open for debate. Though their past attacks could qualify as terrorism, President Clinton reportedly added them to the terrorist list as an ultimately impotent way to bring the Iranian regime to the negotiation table. George W. Bush maintained the practice and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed off on a renewal in January of 2009, right before she was replaced by Hillary Clinton.

“It is pretty openly acknowledged that the reason MEK was placed on the list by the Clinton administration was to curry favor with Iran,” Michael Mukasey, Bush’s attorney general who joined Giuliani’s Paris trip, said in a statement put out by a group called ExecutiveAction, which happens to be the same term the CIA uses for its assassination missions.

“I am sorry to say that even during the administration that I served in, it is reported that the MEK continued to remain on the list for the same misguided reason — that if we kept MEK on the list of terrorist organizations … then somehow the Iranians would be more willing to engage in constructive negotiations to end their nuclear program.”

Secretary of State Clinton’s team now has to figure out what to do with MEK: a federal appeals court this year ordered the State Department to review MEK’s terrifying label, and 112 U.S. Representatives from both parties, though mostly Republicans, are calling for the MEK’s collective name to be cleared.

Those who support MEK simply want the group to launch a proxy war against Iran, yet haven’t considered the potentially dangerous consequences. For example, none of the legislators bother to mention that MEK continues to clash with the U.S.-backed Iraqi Security Force, nor does anyone seem to recall other situations in which we teamed up with militants to destroy a common enemy.

Remember the Taliban? If you recall, we enlisted them to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan, and that decision ended up backfiring, to say the least.

While some Republicans were championing MEK in their fight against Iran, Sarah Palin, another ardent advocate of toppling the Iranian regime, has been building a case against Iran’s nuclear program.

“Iran continues to defy the international community in its drive to acquire nuclear weapons,” she wrote in an op-ed for ‘USA Today.’

“We suspected this before, but now we know for sure because of leaked diplomatic cables. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia ‘frequently exhorted the U.S. to attack Iran to put an end to its nuclear weapons program,’ according to these communications.”

Those “leaked cables,” journalist Nick Wing points out, came from Wikileaks, a site Palin called “treasonous” and whose editor she likened to Osama bin Laden. But since she needs to target Iran, Palin’s willing to look past her past animosity.

Giuliani, Palin and other leaders, mostly Republican, are so intent on destroying the Islamic regime in Iran that they’re willing to strike short-sighted deals or compromise their own beliefs in the process. They’re taking up positions and alliances that they would have previously vilified. Giuliani, who was NYC’s mayor on 9/11, rallying for a group that has killed American officials in the past? That’s unheard of; yet so deep is his and others’ determination to see Tehran dismantled. Unfortunately for them, the only winner in this situation is Iran.

The regime’s defiance proves so tenacious and irksome, Western leaders end up grasping at straws, leaving Ahmadinejad to laugh as his enemies squabble among themselves, aware that he has them backed into a corner, clearly so desperate that they’re willing to erode their own positions simply to destroy him. 

by Andrew Belonsky

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