On July 25 1988, the leader of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (the MKO), Massoud Rajavi seized the first and last opportunity for launching a war against his own country. Both Iran and Iraq had accepted United Nations Security Council Resolution 598, which had ended the war on July 20th. Rajavi’s miscalculations led him to harbor the hope that the attack should be welcome by the Iranian people and it would lead to a popular uprising. Of course this was not the first and the last time that his analysis would go wrong.
Ms. Manijeh Habashi who is a former sympathizer and member of the MKO, witnessed Rajavi’s overestimated invasion, the ”Eternal Light”. In her detailed description of what she saw in the Eternal Light Operation, she tries to portrait the scenes she perceived, without judging or analyzing the events. She believes that her expressive article is significant enough to enlighten the mind of her audience.
Ms. Habashi states some examples of Rajavi’s miscalculations about the war and the Iranian government. For instance, about the disastrous last days of Iran-Iraq war she writes:
“It is necessary and significant to know about Massoud Rajavi’s evaluations of heavy missile attacks against Iranian cities. Rajavi’s analysis was positive. He believed that launching missiles would cause Iranians’ hatred against Ayatollah Khomeini.”(!) Habashi recalls that after each city was attacked by Iraqi missiles, Rajavi would give out sweets and candies in the camps!
Thus, Rajavi used this type of arguments to launch a new war against Iran after the ceasefire was agreed by both Iran and Iraq. Habashi heard one of the MKO commandants saying,” In current situation, we are the only people who want war in borders.”
According to Manijeh Habashi , the MKO leader had to make the ultimate decision before it would be locked behind borders. “So, they started to get prepared for a large-scale attack in shorter than a week!”
The group launched a world-wide propaganda to recruit sympathizers and members from around the world bringing them to Iraq. Ms. Habashi explains how rapidly members were trained for the operation: “Forces were divided into groups. Each group received military training for about two or three hours. It was like a joke. Each person had 10 to 15 minutes to learn how to trigger a gun!”
Rajavi’s unrealistic approach to start his so-called operation was obvious in Rajavi’s ridiculous belief that Ms. Habashi cites, “a Mujahed- e Khalq can face hundred people”.
Rajavi naively believed that his forces would be joined by groups of Iranians, so they would simply occupy Tehran. He promised his forces that hardly ever there would be clashes in the path!
Children and parents who are already kept separated in Camp Ashraf, kiss and hug each other goodbye. Despite large-scale propaganda, distress and anxiety is seen in faces, especially for 11-12 year olds who have been used for preparation works of the war. They made sandwiches
“That night, the atmosphere of Camp Ashraf was bizarre. Everyone spoke of getting back to Tehran passionately. One was looking for a coin to call his family as soon as arriving in Tehran!”
Ms. Habashi precisely explains how members of the MKO were manipulated by the leaders. “Female members were told to put their red headscarves in their backpack for the march they would have in Azadi Square, Tehran.”
The next morning, a long line of trucks, tanks and vans are headed to the Iranian border. They arrive in the border line at night. There are no people to join the MKO forces as Massoud Rajavi had promised.
They are so simply confident that they can take a break at night and begin advancing in the morning. Naturally, they are traced by the Iranian security forces.
Clashes break out. Untrained MKO members are not able to defend themselves against Iranian air force. Ms. Habashi recounts, “From the beginning, several dead and injured people are left. A Mujahed woman named “Manizheh” is standing up watching aircrafts bombing her. She even doesn’t know that she should lie down and hide her head with her hands. Her brain is collapsed.”
The MKO forces are ordered to climb the hills on the right side of the road in order to shoot Iranian soldiers, Habashi recalls. Their random shots are of no use. Their vehicles are one after another shot by Iranian RPGs and mortars.”
Manijeh Habashi describes painful scenes of grieving MKO members who were surprised by the sheer violence of the war despite the pleasant mirage of victory that Massoud Rajavi had shown them:
“Wounded and dead bodies and burned vehicles are seen everywhere. The girl who had come from London three nights ago, is left wounded near a burning oil tanker. The burning line of petrol is running towards her. You just wish that bullets had killed her before the fire gets to her body.”
After the MKO forces start withdrawing, they are still under the fire of the Iranian troops. A large number of Mujahedin are killed in their way back to Iraq.” forces who are shocked by the silly war, finally retreat across Iraqi border,” Manijeh writes.
The MKO’s withdrawal from Iranian territory takes a few days. The casualties of such a stupid disastrous attack is very heavy. According to Habashi,”In his deadly picnic, Massoud Rajavi didn’t leave elderly members free.” A large number of fighters are elderlies, mothers and fathers who are sent into death. “The body of Mother Meimanat is left behind in the Iranian soil”, Habashi writes.
By the way, Forough Javidan (Eternal Light) it is glorified as a great victory by the group, every year although it was actually an absolute failure for the MKO. Why is that?
The answer is simple. The cult-like system ruling the MKO justifies any controversy. Members are indoctrinated by repetitive lies. Lies turn into truth in their minds gradually.
“Finally, the defeated troops get back to the Camp. Spirits are different. Some are obsessed with the overvalued war but the majority confirm Rajavi’s argument. He claims that the operation is a victory; Eternal light is the glorious point in the history of armed struggle; it is the great victory of the Iranian “People”!