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The New Order in Renunciation of Terrorism

No statement of renunciation is needed as only definition of terms has changed

The terrorist organizations that for national causes decide to forswear violent campaign and practice of terrorism may be granted the opportunity to accomplish their political demands through peaceful avenues. The groups and organizations that claim to have renounced armed campaign are mostly judged by their actions rather than the words. There are groups that indeed mean what they say and declare it publicly for the world to see and judge. On the contrary, there exist groups that their non-proclaimed but quoted claims of renouncing terrorism corroborate the intention of evading a just judgment rather than adhering to non-violent practices to fulfill the rightful objectives.

The removal of Mojahedin Khalq Organization MKO/MEK/PMOI from the State Department’s FTO has been seen as the result of a costly campaign by members of Congress, Washington lobby groups and influential former officials to bury the MKO’s bloody history of bombings and assassinations that not only killed American military personnel and businessmen but also Iranian personalities and thousands of civilians. It was also assumed a hard campaign to portray it as a loyal US ally against the Islamic government in Tehran. In fact, there does exist a credibility gap between the taken decision and the existing fact about the nature of MKO; it is impossible to consider a heavily armed and militant group transformed into a pro-democratic campaigner overnight with no officially made statement.

Consider the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) for instance. Through an officially issued statement, UVF declared that “as of 12 midnight, Thursday 3 May 2007, the Ulster Volunteer Force and Red Hand Commando will assume a non-military, civilianized, role”. Formed as an armed group in Northern Ireland, it declared war on the IRA and made note of the fact that they were “heavily armed Protestants dedicated to this cause”. In the course of its forty-year long armed activities, UVF had been reportedly responsible for the killing of some 550 people. Whatever the cause, it had created a nightmare of terrorism threat that led to its proscription as a terrorist group. Although the group had already declared a 13-year long ceasefire, it was still known responsible for a variety of scattered murders and crimes.

Transformation from a terrorist to a civilian organization includes measures as stated in the group’s issued statement: “All recruitment has ceased; military training has ceased; targeting has ceased and all intelligence rendered obsolete; all active service units have been de-activated; all ordinance has been put beyond reach and the IICD instructed accordingly”. The statement seems to be a sensible recognition of a new political reality that the world is no more a place for armed or violent actions, rather any pro-democratic move is welcomed if the repentant armed groups really mean it.

The sole move to recognize MKO a pro-democratic group that has never renounced terrorism is a decision made by the US for political considerations. MKO is a terrorist group with a forty-year long history of violence and the most vicious terrorist activities against Iranian people. There is no exact number of the victims of its atrocities but it is believed to reach thousands. Then, when reconsidering MKO’s terrorist status, if these terrors and atrocities have been interpreted as democratic deeds in a process of civil campaigns, MKO needs no issued statement of renunciation as nothing has changed but definitions of terms. Thus, according to a new definition of democracy, any group has the right to shed people’s blood for the cause of a self-defined democracy and accredited interests. But who are to assume the responsibility for the shed bloods remain an unanswered question in such a new political order.

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