You would imagine that, when offered a (now retracted) deal like that from Hillary Clinton – give up Camp Ashraf to give us some grounds to take you off the US terror list – bearing in mind the concomitant Patriot Act funding that would surely follow – Massoud Rajavi would grab it with both hands, vacate the camp and make plans to move his army to a similar camp in another country neighbouring Iran.
Instead, Rajavi, ungrateful cur that he is, has again completely misread the situation and lost the only opportunity he had of redeeming his organisation and giving it a future. His infantile inability to give up what he holds in his hand on the promise of some greater gift held out to him is reminiscent of his reaction during the first Gulf War when he ignored covert attempts by the West to get him to leave Iraq and disassociate from Saddam Hussein’s regime. Instead, Rajavi stayed put and stained the MEK forever with the massacre of thousands of Kurdish and Shiite civilians in an effort to sustain his benefactor in power.
Blinded and dazzled by the smoke and mirrors of his own deceptive tricks, Rajavi simply cannot see what to the rest of the world is completely obvious. Now he has not only bitten the hand that could have fed him, but has gnawed and gnarled it to the point of leaving top US diplomat Daniel Fried reportedly “furious”. Perhaps he has spent so long sitting in his bunker in Camp Ashraf peering out at ants and lizards that he could not see the big picture, which was the rescue and resurrection of the MEK by Western power brokers, and has instead held out for some petty deals to do with the transfer of air-conditioning units and personal cars and planting trees at a temporary camp.
We know that his aim is to stay in Iraq as long as possible in the hope a new dawn will arise and the MEK will carry on as before. But we also know this is impossible and that the unspoken offer of a move to another country was his best, now missed, opportunity.
What Rajavi doesn’t appear to understand is that what he must think is his brilliant and sophisticated trick to save his cult is risibly exposed by its own stupidity.
Does it not occur to Rajavi at all that everyone else can see the totally bizarre and unhelpful contradictions in the campaign messages he has lodged in the three countries where his fate is being decided. Has he not heard of the internet or media scrutiny, or simple critical thinking?
In Iraq Rajavi has told his followers that when they arrive in Camp Liberty and they are taken for the UNHCR refugee determination interviews – in which they are alone with no MEK oversight – they must refuse to disavow their MEK membership otherwise the UN will send them out of Iraq where they will be hunted down by the Iranian regime and killed. As a result only a small number of those transferred to Camp Liberty have allowed themselves to be eligible for refugee status by renouncing their membership of the MEK.
Regardless of the motive, Rajavi’s message in Iraq is clear: ‘the MEK is an illegal but fully trained paramilitary (terrorist) group which must stay intact in order to continue its aim to violently overthrow the ruling system in Iran’.
In America however, the completely opposite message is being rolled out in a massively funded propaganda campaign which aims to convince the State Department, on no evidence except repeated lies, that the MEK has never been a terrorist entity, that the six Americans killed in Iran in the 1970s were killed by an offshoot of the real MEK, and the subsequent deaths of 16,000 Iranians and 25,000 Iraqis either never happened or were the work of a different MEK or was the result of legitimate freedom fighting and that the original terrorist designation in 1997 was made as a pragmatic gift to the Reformist Iranians by the Clinton administration and that the MEK’s real identity is as a democratic, feminist, popular opposition which will lead the Iranian nation in its desperate desire for regime change.
So, the message in America: ‘we have not ever been and are not now terrorists’.
Even more ludicrous then is that a third and different message is being touted in Europe.
Perhaps in anticipation of an unwanted influx of former residents of Camp Ashraf in their countries, the European Union has begun to crack down on MEK activity there. Significantly, the MEK has been evicted from its office inside the European Parliament and has had to establish lobbying offices outside the parliament for its keenest advocates, Struan Stevenson and Alejo Vidal-Quadras. Even this is not acceptable and Brussels is investigating ways to further curtail the MEK’s activities in the city. In the UK, the recent deaths of Lord Corbett and Lord Archer, ardent MEK advocates in the House of Lords, have left a huge hole in the MEK’s lobbying activities. This was reflected clearly in a spate of badly written hysterical press releases which had clearly not had the benefit even the minimum proof reading for style and logic.
Rajavi has had to seek a new narrative in Europe to confront this latest crisis, apparently forgetful or ignorant that those who don’t fall for his smoke and mirrors deception can clearly see what both his right hand and his left hand are doing when he performs his illusions.
With Lord Magginis of Drumglass a Crossbencher from Northern Ireland now advocating for the MEK in the House of Lords, Rajavi has hit upon what must have seemed to him a brilliant idea, which is to borrow from the successful transition of the IRA from terrorists to parliamentarians. Rajavi is now saying that, yes we once were terrorists (we did actually kill thousands and thousands of people), but we have renounced violence and are now peace loving democrats with a feminist face.
(He is forgetting that the IRA brokered their ceasefire and disarmament with their avowed enemy the British government. It is the British government which the IRA were fighting. In the same way, other terrorist entities, such as ETA, must declare and negotiate the terms of any ceasefire directly with their enemy, in this case the government of Spain. The MEK would find this impossible since they have not and cannot change their violent malignity toward the government and ruling system of Iran. Besides, the MEK have never announced to its own membership that it either has, or intends to, renounce violence, let alone made a public statement to this effect.)
So, in Europe the MEK’s third message is: ‘we were terrorists but we are now rehabilitated from terrorists to parliamentarians’. Is this what Maryam Rajavi means by the Third Way? Are we supposed to not notice that three different versions of the MEK identity are being promoted simultaneously in Iraq, America and Europe?
Mr. Rajavi, just because you have your head in the sand, doesn’t mean we can’t see your bottom.
By Anne Singleton, Middle East Strategy Consultants