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Third Option: A Window to Nowhere

Mojahedin-e Khalq has been for long time promoting so-called "Third Option" in its propaganda as a strategic solution. As far as I have been able to study, after inevitably undergoing significant changes three years ago, Mojahedin-e Khalq has maintained a new solution for overthrowing Iranian regime and assuming control in Iran. In this regard, MKO rejects invasion to Iran as well as compromising with Iranian regime in return for political deals, and instead insists on lifting group’s name from terror lists in the West and rearming the NLA in Iraq; if rearmed and backed logistically, NLA in Iraq can move from Iraq toward Iran, defeat Iranian forces and take control of the country.

First, it’s crystal clear that this option addresses the West, and particularly the US. In fact, this strategy requires the US to do what MKO orders. It doesn’t say what would happen if the US rejects the group’s requests. As usual, Iranian people have been omitted from this equation. As far as I know, the strategy of an independent revolutionary group should be based on what it does, not what others can do (here, the US).

Mr. Bizhan Niabati says that "MKO’s ideal is to be recognized by Americans as a military force in the form of National Liberation Army (NLA) and as a unified political alternative under the form of NCRI". Of course, this has been considered wholly wrong since the only alternatives accepted and recognized by the US are Monarchists and Republicans; Americans will never back a violent revolution in Iran unless they can handle its military force all by their own.

Second, let’s pretend that the West and the US have accepted all MKO’s requests (in other words, MKO has been lifted from the list and their confiscated weapons given back). This situation is still similar to the golden times after Forogh operation. The organization enjoyed similar situation in Iraq for years but there was no move from NLA! How could it be helpful for the time being? MKO may be looking for greater support than that of Saddam; for instance, a joint military operation! In that case, the US is unlikely to initiate a war against Iran and support the MKO (to get to power) at the same time. The fact is that the US and the West will lift MKO’s name from terror lists only if the organization firmly renounces armed struggle, renounces its past, and dismantles the NLA. Also, the US will only support MKO’s alternative if it is a "dependent alternative". In short, the organization should completely change its strategy before being accepted by the US; in this significant change, many of MKO members will be dropped. Is the MKO, now hanging on the US, ready for such a change?

Third, the MKO always claims that group’s designation as terrorist, bombardment of its camps, and disarmament of its army were all done in response to the requests of Islamic Republic. If the US and the West do have such a good relationship with Iran (to meet its requests despite all differences), will there by any hope for sudden changes in their policies to turn their support for the MKO? Even if we accept this assumption that the West is meeting Iranian regime’s requests, there are undoubtedly advantages for it; can MKO secure West’s advantages (more than Iranian regime) when it expects them to accepts Mojahedin’s strategy?

However, what has occupied my mind is that whether this so-called solution can really be the plan and the agenda of a revolutionary, Islamic, popular, anti-colonialism, anti-exploitation organization with more than 40 years of nonstop struggle and a long line of martyrs? It seems as if experts in Pentagon have presented a solution for the US to easily get to its goals. I wonder if MKO founders could recognize their organization after a search in the Internet and different websites of Mojahedin-e khalq! Had they really joined the MKO if they could see group’s current situation 20 years ago? I recommend MKO members to look back at early books and magazines of Mojahedin, although those books and magazines are unlikely to be available now.

In fact, "Third Option" is not a strategy; it’s the same American military option in which the MKO wants a share. The US believes it has two ways to confront the Islamic Republic: one is military option (like what it did to Iraq) and the other is political solution (in other words, forcing the regime to withdraw and giving more freedom of movement to pro-US forces). There’s no place for the MKO in both solution, and that’s why the MKO tries to convince the US to overthrow the regime under the name of NLA so that the role of MKO in Iran’s future is guaranteed. This dream, which has been presented as a strategy, will never come true.

I should note that the organization, now and in the past, adopted two wholly wrong policies. In the past, it tried to achieve its goals by taking advantage of Iran-Iraq war, winning the support of Saddam Hussein, standing along the enemies and forming NLA in Iraq; currently, the MKO is seeking American support to fill the gap of Saddam Hussein. In both cases, MKO stood right against the interests of Iranian people, therefore there will be nothing for the group except defeat and failure. Mojahedin moved to Iraq and invested on the war (between Iran and Iraq) but everything reached a deadlock as Iran accepted the UN resolution (for ceasefire). Recent investment (by MKO) on the gap between Iran and the US as well as nuclear issue will bring a similar experience for the group.

Of course, I believe that even Mojahedin leaders know that they will not benefit from this strategy. Therefore, they don’t elaborate on its details. From my point of view, the story of "Third Option" is only for preserving remnants of forces and keeping them busy. I believe that as members in Iraq, Europe and the US were for years busy with the story of NLA and toppling regime from Iraq, this recent story has been written only to postpone the determined dismantling of the organization. MKO leaders, who have created this story, and their audience in the US, are well aware of this fact. The only people who count on this issue are the surrounded members inside the organization. This solution tries to open a way out for desperate members of MKO, but similar to previous strategies and solutions of the organization, it’s a window that opens to NOWHERE.

Ebrahim Khodabandeh    2006/05/08

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