MKO hanging on the Trump administration?

The stunning victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential elections concerned his critics over his domestic and foreign policies. A large number of articles, op-eds and letters have recently been published to warn the audience about the risks of a US run by Donald Trump. Certain journalists and scholars have focused on the hardliners and warmongers who are likely to become a part of his administration. It is worth to know that in the majority of the articles, paid sponsorship for the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (the MKO) is considered as a negative point in the political life of figures like John Bolton, Rudolf Giuliani and Newt Gingrich who are supposed to be Trump’s Secretory of State or advisors.

Actually the double standard that divides terrorists to “good” and “bad” is the reason for enemies of the Iranian government to repeat the mantra "Iran is the biggest state sponsor of terrorism", ignoring Saudi Arabia’s financing of ISIS and supplying of suicide bombers and even ignoring the assassination of the American citizens by the MKO in the 1970s and furthermore ignoring the MKO suicide attacks during the 1980s and 90s –in fact the MKO operatives were the first suicide attackers in the history prior to Taliban, Al-Qaida and ISIS. Just because one group opposes your enemy, doesn’t mean they aren’t your enemy as well. The current situation in Syria has made that crystal clear. ISIS opposes Assad who is supported by Iran and opposed by the US, so is ISIS a US ally?

As the elected president Trump criticized the conduct of American foreign policy under the Bush administration and not only the Obama administration, for the wars in the Middle East, it is not improbable that his administration will be careful about fraudulent propaganda of MKO crisis mongers and their sponsors. The open letter of Justin Raimondo a Libertarian American Journalist and the editor of the Antiwar website to Donald Trump tries to exaggerate such antiwar stances taken by him in his speeches in the presidential campaigns. He writes, ”But, hey, I’m not just watch-dogging you – I’m heartened by your apparent decision to stop funding and supporting the Syrian Islamist terrorists Hillary told us are really “moderates.” We have no business trying to bring about “regime change” in Syria, or anywhere else, and the farther we stay away from that hellhole the better.” Raimondo also tries to put an egg in Trump’s hat by implying that another war will be the worst decision in American Foreign policy. ”I’m also very much encouraged by reports that you have no intention of ripping up the Iran deal. That’s exactly what you said during the campaign, but the media – particularly Fox News – wasn’t listening apparently. We don’t need another war in the Middle East: indeed, it’s the last thing we need,” he asserts. [1]

Eli Clifton of the Lobelog expresses his concern over the probable active role of the murderers of Americans in the next American administration. “If Lopez, Giuliani, Bolton, or Gingrich serve in the Trump administrations, the MEK will have the highest level access its ever enjoyed in the U.S. government, a remarkable journey for a fringe Islamic-Marxist group that, until 2012, was on the State Department’s terrorism list for its role in assassinating Americans,” he writes.[2]

American sponsors of the MKO have been paid by the group for the support they voice every now and then. “Throughout the first term of the Obama administration, Iranian American organizations with extensive links to the MEK paid prominent U.S. national security officials to speak on behalf of the group”, Josh Rogin reveals in the Washington Post. “They also contributed heavily to the campaign coffers of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. The payments ran through the lobbying law firm DLA Piper, which passed the money through a speakers’ bureau that cut checks to the officials.” It should be taken in to consideration that the MMO was officially listed as a foreign terrorist organization at that time. Therefore, paid speakers have violated the law that prohibits American citizens from material support for terrorist entities.   [3]

“In March 2012, Giuliani traveled to Paris to speak at an MEK conference alongside the group’s secretive leader Maryam Rajavi. While there, he called the U.S. military base in Iraq where the United States wanted to relocate the MEK a “concentration camp.” Those comments later appeared in an MEK ad in the New York Times, according to josh Rogin. “That same month, the Treasury Department’s investigation into the payments made to American politicians became public when former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell admitted that he had received a subpoena related to his work on behalf of the MEK. It’s illegal for American citizens to do business with a group designated as a foreign terrorist organization.” [4]

Regarding that the MKO have bought a large number of supporters among US politicians particularly the republican figures, it might be natural to be concerned about the next US government’s warmongering policies but how much the extent of such influence would be –if there is any influence.

The Huffington Post reported, a few days ago, that John Bolton –a top candidate to serve as President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state, is publicly calling for the U.S. to help overthrow the existing government in Iran. Bolton who was a hyper-hawkish supporter of the US-led military invasion to Iraq and has always recommended a military attack against Iran opposing the nuclear deal with Iran, “has no plans to tone down his adventurist foreign policy views, which run counter to Trump’s repeated promises to focus resources domestically and to avoid unnecessary entanglements abroad.” [5]

Bolton announces his new plan that has cheered the MKO up. He told Breitbart News Daily, “I think the people of Iran would long for a new regime. I don’t think the regime is popular, but I think it has the guns. And I think there are ways of supporting the opposition that does not involve the use of American military force that does involve helping the opposition to get a different kind of government.” His clear recommendation for arming the MKO seems terribly silly because it suggests the extent of his ignorance, mis-calculations, and mis-understanding about the MMO, the Iranian people and their view on the MKO. [6]

Arash Azizi of the Global Voice was one of the first journalists who warned about the disastrous advocacy for the notorious MKO. He suggests, “The links with MEK are a serious cause for worry, and the reason Iranians should be vigilant and make it clear that this cult doesn’t speak for the people of Iran, nor they are genuine advocates of democracy in the country.” [7] His assertion was then confirmed by Michael Rubin, former Pentagon official who is at the same time a harsh critic of Islamic Republic. [8]

“Still, it is important to remember that the MKO is a Marxist, authoritarian cult with minimal support inside Iran,” Rubin writes in commentary magazine. “Many Iranians view the MKO in the same way as Americans view John Walker Lindh, the American Taliban. That the MKO conducted terrorism which victimized ordinary Iranians has only solidified Iranian public opinion against the group even further.” [9]

Rubin also warns about the MKO propaganda, “The MKO’s rhetoric about democracy can be alluring, but if the goal of the Trump administration is to contain, weaken, and roll back the influence of the Islamic Republic, then outreach to the MKO is the worst possible move because it would rally Iranians around the flag and strengthen the current regime.” So, he comes to the conclusion that “the enemy of an enemy is not always a friend.” [10]

By Mazda Parsi

References:

[1]Rimondo, Justin, Dear President Trump, An open letter, Antiwar.com, November 14, 2016

[2] Clifton, Eli, Former Terrorist Group To Enjoy Close Ties to Rumored Trump Cabinet, Lobelog, November 15, 2016

[3] Rogin, Josh, Giuliani was paid advocate for shady Iranian dissident group, Washington Post, November 15, 2016

[4] ibid

[5] Schulberg, Jessica, John Bolton, Top Contender For Secretary Of State, Calls For Regime Change In Iran, Huffington Post, November 18 2016

[6] Conway, Madeline, Bolton calls regime change the ‘only long-term solution’ in Iran, Politico.com, November 17, 2016

[7] Azizi, Arash, Possible Trump Cabinet Members’ Links to the MojahedinKhalq Could Spell Trouble for Iran, Global voice,13 November, 2016

[8] Rubin, Michael, Will Trump Embrace the MKO?,Commetary Magazine, Nov. 11, 2016

[9] ibid

[10] ibid

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