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MKO’s Shift in Terrorist Modus Operandi

It has been frequently reiterated that Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO, MEK, PMOI, NCR, NLA) for a variety of ideological, strategic and other reasons has failed to alter its long practiced violent and terrorist approaches. The reasons are all grounded on a wholehearted devotion to its inbuilt violence and an understanding of the philosophy of the existence. However, it is not for long that MKO has come to claim it has made a thorough change to stop terrorism in the favor of adopting an alternative peaceful and civil way of democratic struggle.

No convincing theoretical explanation has so far the organization presented for such changes and the ambiguity still prevails for the unexpected, claimed U-turn of a fundamentally terrorist organization. Since MKO persist in dodging from logically convincing reasoning, the transition must be analyzed according to unconventional tactics of the organization and its engagements with other similar terrorist organizations in an attempt to mastermind unusual methods of coverage for its activities. These methods, unfortunately, have drawn less attention while it is of importance to have a study of them concerning the issue. The basic question, with regard to MKO’s claim of denouncing terrorism, one may pose is how practical the pretense could be and in case of a negative answer, how could it help the organization to survive.

The fact is that today the global consensus on the issue of fight against terrorism has forced many terrorist groups to withdraw from violence, go to isolation, temporary cease armed activities and in some way pose as analogous to pro-democratic devotees and parties. As a result, if we suppose that MKO has made a change in the procedures and practices of terrorism and violence, it is a miscalculation according to dozens of political and theoretical justifications and facts. Now the question is that how can such an organization that is struggling hard to be removed from the terrorist blacklists play a double standard of both maintaining its terrorist and militarist potentialities and portray a counter-terrorist in its political and propaganda profile? For sure there are concrete evidences to prove such a hypocritical behavior.

One is shift in modus operandi; that is, from this point on the organization sees no need to engage in terrorism and violence and to accept any responsibility under its commonly known logo and signature. Rajavi knows well that today assuming responsibility for terrorist acts has lost its effectiveness and the international community condemns these activities in any form. Facing a universal restriction, MKO like some other similar terrorist groups made a change in its profile that faces the world at large and has decreased much of its activities done under its old emblem specifically when issuing statements for terrorist perpetrations. Opening new branches under a variety of charity, humanitarian, women’s rights and other aliases, MKO began a new phase of bulwarking and feeding its main military structure. In this way, it strived to operate under a self-made legality and equality with a democratic group that gave it an open hand to have further collaboration with other opposition that operated with a terrorist transparency. We have still the reports of MKO’s support of Rigi’s terrorist group calling him the leader of a liberation movement after his arrest by Iranian forces.

Pushing the political and civil activities to terrorism is another adopted approach in which MKO sets guidelines for non-violent, civil activities. That is, while pretending to be siding with pro-democratic and civil factions, MKO ventures to impress them with its own ideological and political impressions. Interestingly, in contrast to its attempt to convince the international community to have withdrawn from a proven terroristic past to be removed from terrorist lists, MKO is in a never-ending struggle to incite peaceful oppositions to riot and engage in violent and insurgent activities against the Iranian regime. At least in the past two years it has been the prescription Rajavi would formulate for the opposition currents inside Iran. Through several messages sending out from his hideout, Rajavi sought to instill his self-set political and theoretical instructions into motivated protesters to intensify their public anger. Not only he tried to influence the internal protestors to incite domestic violent but also to impose himself as one of the leading figures at the lead.

A support of blind and revengeful assassinations has been another indirect mien of operating under democracy. During all the years that MKO claimed to have stopped terrorist activities, it has unequivocally backed all acts of violence and terrorism even those perpetrated with personal and revengeful motives. A look at its websites well explains how it has been, and is, supporting and sympathizing with the arrested criminals, rubbers, kidnappers and drug dealers as heroes and freedom fighters. Thus we see the footprints of Rajavi and his propaganda machine in provocation of any form of domestic political and criminal violence because he initially rejects any peaceful and public-approved democratic behavior.

Many terrorist organizations are believed to have abnormal potentialities to identify with a pro-democratic profile and to replace their known terrorist image with a leading role in guiding, organizing and managing other violent minorities. Hardly anywhere can you find such a creativity and ingenuity these organizations, regardless of being revolutionaries, freedom fighters or any other name, possess especially when they are on the verge of disintegration. In fact, “The prime tool of the revolutionary terrorism is use of creativity and ingenuity to guarantee the continuity of its organizational activities”. (Reich Walter; Origins of Terrorism, 19)

At the present, MKO does not seem to demonstrate serious threat as a terrorist group especially after being removed from the EU blacklist. That is because it does not directly involve itself in terrorist acts as did before. Instead, it has taken the initiative to impose its hegemony over other terrorist groups for reasons: first to fill the created gap of armed activities against Iranian regime and second, to quantitatively reproduce and educate dependent groups and individuals as well as organizing violent calls. In other words, submission of some pro-violent factions to Rajavi’s hegemony made him to call them under his banner by granting them excessive political, financial, media and propaganda support that in turn have been entrusted to him by his Western supporters. And this is a phase that can be named as a phase of administration of terrorism by disguised terrorists, a phase that has to be taken seriously, even if a temporal modus Vivendi to accomplish a joint political cause.

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