Sophia's Peace Work

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Mojahideen-e-Khalq: terrorist tools of the U.S.?

Christian Peacemaker Team has a member (William van Wagenen) on team who is well versed in Middle East issues. Below is his latest update. Those who have worried about American troops marching into Iran or Syria next should take note. It is far more likely that we will support/hire others to do this work for us.

Nikki Keddie's very informative (if a bit dry) book Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution, gives some good information on the Muhahideen-e-Khalq. Keddie differs slightly from van Wagenen in her description of this guerrilla organization, referring to two Iranian revolutionary groups that formed in the late 1960's: The Marxist Feda'iyan-e-Khalq and the Islamic leftist Mojahedin-e-Khalq. Both groups rose to combat the injustices of their time. While they raised hope that resistence could still occur under a despotic regime, Keddie writes, their "guerrilla activities contributed something to the increase in political repression, jailing, tortures, and executions from the late 1960s on." [0]

US Openly Supports Iranian Terrorists

By William Van Wagenen

The U.S. Government is now openly supporting the Mujahideen-e-Khalq,an Iranian resistance movement designated as terrorist organization by the US State Department. On June 20th of this year, the Mujahideen-e-Khalq held a conference at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, which is where many foreign journalists stay and is under the full protection of the U.S. Army. I was in the area of the hotel that day, and saw at least 10 U.S. tanks heading in the direction of the hotel to provide additional security. I knew of the conference in advance, because of a report issued to all NGO's working in Iraq, which mentioned that the conference would take place. The report warned of an increased danger of attacks against the hotel, as anti- U.S. insurgents were likely to attempt to disrupt the conference [1].

The Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) is a Marxist oriented Iranian resistance organization founded in the 1960's to topple the pro-western regime of Reza Shah. Since that time, MEK has carried out scores of attacks and assassinated a number of Iranian government
officials. MEK killed several American military and civilian personnel in Iran during the 1970's, and assisted in the occupation of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979 where American civilians were held hostage. Though MEK participated in the 1979 revolution, which toppled the Shah, once the Ayatollah Khomeini consolidated power in Iran, MEK moved their headquarters to Paris and continued resistance activities against the Islamic Republic. In 1981, MEK bombed the offices of the Islamic Republic Party, killing 70 high-ranking Iranian officials. MEK established its military headquarters in Iraq in 1986, where Saddam Hussein became their main source of funding and protection. In return, the MEK fought alongside Iraqi forces during the war against Iran in the 1980's, and assisted Saddam's security forces in putting down the Kurdish and Shiite revolts after the first Gulf War in 1991. The majority of Saddam's recently discovered mass graves are filled with the Shiite and Kurdish dead from this uprising. MEK military operations against Iranian targets continued through the 1990's. The U.S. Department of State added the MEK to its official list of terrorist organizations in 1997, and shut down the organization's Washington, DC office in 2003 [2].

During the U.S. invasion of Iraq, MEK forces in Iraq surrendered to U.S. forces and turned over their military hard wear, including several thousand tanks, armored personnel carriers, anti-aircraft guns, and other vehicles. Despite denying suspected terrorists from Afghanistan and elsewhere prisoner of war status under the Geneva
conventions, the US granted this status to detained members of MEK in Iraq [3].

Support for the MEK reveals one of the advantages the U.S. has acquired by occupying Iraq. The country can now be used as a staging post for carrying out attacks against regimes hostile to U.S. interests in the region, whether through proxy organizations such as MEK, or by attacking such countries directly by dispatching U.S. forces based on Iraqi soil. U.S. planners are currently somewhat constrained from using the latter option due to the difficulty they face in pacifying Iraq, so the first option, namely supporting terrorist organizations that are trying to destabilize the Iranian regime, will likely be their preferred course of action until U.S. control of Iraq is fully consolidated.

So when Paul Wolfowitz promised Iraqis in 2003 that the US would hunt down the "monsters" that assisted Saddam in digging the mass graves in 1991 [4], the Bush administration was in fact just beginning its support for some of the direct perpetrators of these crimes. Also revealing is U.S. criticism of the new Iranian
president elect, due to his alleged involvement in holding U.S. embassy personnel hostage in 1979. Though the U.S. admits the MEK was involved in the same incident, White House support for this terrorist organization continues. This kind of hypocrisy reveals much about what the global "war on terror" is really about. It's not a war against terror as such, but rather a war of terror to subdue resistance to the US designs in the region.

Sources:
[0] Keddie, Nikki, Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution, 2003, Yale University

[1] The organization which provides these security reports does not allow them to be cited publicly, and thus I cannot indicate the name of the source. The report for June 19th, 2005 stated the following: "A large conference involving the mujahadeen kalk and sponsored by the Iraqi Government is scheduled to take place in the
Palestine Hotel in Baghdad 20th June, this may lead to insurgent attempts to disrupt the conference, HOM are advised to advise their staff to avoid this area."

[2] US State Department, Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002: http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/pgtrpt/2002/pdf/
See specifically Appendix B: Background Information on designated foreign terrorist organizations, pg. 115 for information on the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq
http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/20119.pdf

See also this description of the group from Globalsecurity.org at:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/mek.htm

[3] Why the US granted 'protected' status to Iranian terrorists, The Christian Science Monitor, 07/29/2004.

[4] New York Times, July 20th, 2003.

1 Comments:

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 31, 2005 9:21 AM  

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