Iran-Interlink Weekly Digest- 151

++ This week the only topic of interest in Farsi and English has been the controversy following the annual MEK rally in Paris on 9th July. The usual backlash after this event is that some reporter might take the trouble to film and expose the artificial audience of French blacks and Polish students and then berate the speakers as retired has-been US officials who are prepared to say anything for a fee.

This year, however, has been a disaster of unprecedented proportions for the MEK after it became clear that Saudi Intelligence is now in charge of the group. This was made very public by the surprise involvement of Prince Turki Al Faisal, who took charge of the event. (He had the venue changed for security reasons and altered the layout of the stage and speakers’ panel so as not to appear alongside Maryam Rajavi in any meaningful capacity.)

Former MEK members writing about the event say it was clear to them from the time of Saddam Hussein that the MEK was jointly owned by Iraq and the Saudis. They are only surprised it has taken this long for the relation to be made public. Other MEK paymasters include the Israelis and neoconservatives who form a narrow anti-Iran coalition with the Saudis.

Many comments in Farsi mention the Saudis’ attitude toward women; how can Maryam Rajavi call herself a feminist when she works for people who don’t even allow women to drive?

But the most controversial issue – in terms of speculation and analysis in Farsi and English – has been the question of whether MEK leader Massoud Rajavi is alive or dead.

During his speech Prince Turki turned twice to look at Maryam Rajavi as he made reference to “your late husband”. The MEK insistence after the event that Massoud Rajavi is still alive rang hollow. Somebody is lying. It is not clear who.

Essentially nobody outside the MEK really cares if Massoud Rajavi is alive or dead – he disappeared in March 2003 and nobody except his own followers missed him. But, unless the MEK prove definitively that he is alive – through speech or appearance – or announce once and for all that he has died, the organisation will remain in a purgatory of insecurity and disaffection. Put simply, MEK members now have only one question on their minds, and only the leadership can give the answer to that. If he is alive they must prove it beyond doubt. But if Massoud Rajavi really is dead and Maryam Rajavi has not informed her followers this will have been the biggest deceit perpetrated against the ordinary members in the history of the organisation. It is doubtful that any amount of cultic brainwashing will whitewash that kind of treachery.

July 15, 2016

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