view
Sanam Vakil is a doctoral candidate and researcher in the Middle East Department at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced
Sanam Vakil is a doctoral candidate and researcher in the Middle East Department at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies WASHINGTON -- The announcement of the cease-fire negotiated between the United States and the Iraqi-based People's Mujahedeen guerillas is a shocking development that is counter to the U.S. strategy in both the Iraq are and the war on terror. Moreover, it demonstrates the myopic and contradictory vision that continues to guide U.S. policy in the region. The Mujahedeen Khalq (MKO), also known as the National Council of Resistance and the People's Movement, is an internationally recognized terrorist group that has been on the State Department's Foreign Terrorist Organization list since 1992. Not only has the MKO been responsible for terrorist activities that have resulted in the death of Americans, but its members also participated in the 1979 U.S. Embassy seizure and subsequent two-year hostage crisis. It opposed the release of the hostages in 1981. The group is outlawed in Iran. More damning is its 18-year alliance with Saddam Hussein, who provided it with sanctuary and financial support in its efforts to oust the theocratic Islamic government in neighboring Iran. The MKO was a loyal supporter of its Iraqi benefactor, having fought to contain Iranian advances during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war and to repress the Kurdish and Shiite uprisings in northern and southern Iraq after the 1991 gulf war. The Pentagon, which negotiated the cease-fire with the MKO, is assuming that such an alliance will facilitate the U.S. effort to secure and stabilize Iraq in the near term. But the shortsightedness of such a policy is twofold: First, it delegitimizes America's stabilizing role in Iraq because the Iraqi people undoubtedly will link a U.S.-MKO alliance to the MKO's complicity in Mr. Hussein's treacherous terror campaigns. Iraqis regard the MKO as Mr. Hussein's ruthless mercenaries. Second, allowing the group to retain its weapons and use them to fight other armed groups in Iraq, as per the agreement, will cause further domestic instability in Iraq by creating a situation susceptible to civil war. Introducing warlordism to Iraq does not benefit the United States. Perhaps the Bush administration thought that such a cease-fire with the MKO, whose base in northeastern Iraq the Americans attacked early in the war, would be used to bolster U.S. interests in the reconstruction of Iraq and the region generally. An alliance with the MKO could be used as leverage against the Iranian Shiite clerics who are allegedly trying to exert their influence over Iraq's Shiites, which represent 60 percent of the population. But this tactic will only inflame the already tense relationship between Iran and the United States, including hindering any engagement with Tehran on its disputed weapons of mass destruction program. The Bush administration has refused to side with different factions within the Iranian government. Rather, it argues that U.S. support should be given to the people of Iran. Cutting a deal with the MKO will send the wrong signal to the Iranian people and undermine the administration's efforts to capitalize on their pro-American sentiments. The "Iranian street" can quickly turn against America unless this apparent contradiction in the war on terror is promptly corrected. Most notably, the agreement with the MKO contradicts U.S. policy implemented after Sept. 11. How is it possible to fight a war on terror when the United States has made an accommodation with a terrorist organization considered as dangerous as the terrorist group of al-Qaida? By working with the MKO, the Pentagon has legitimized its terror tactics and increased the likelihood that such associations can be made with other terrorist organizations. Ultimately, engaging the MKO has discredited the Bush doctrine and the administration's future initiatives to curtail terrorism. The Baltimore Sun

New Articles

US Is Helping ‘Bloodthirsty Cult’ – the MEK – to Overthrow Iran’s Government

In pursuit of regime change in Iran, the Trump administration and prominent Republicans and Democrats alike are supporting the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), which former top US official Larry Wilkerson says...

Was it an Iranian terror plot or a false flag operation?

Belgian police say an Iranian diplomat was involved in a plot to bomb a rally of the dissident Iranian group MEK, but Iran says MEK itself is to blame.

Stephen Harper knocked for speaking at 'Free Iran' rally hosted by 'cult' ex-terror group

Harper's own government considered Mojahedin-e Khalq or MEK a terrorist organization as recently as 2012

Giuliani, Gingrich Visit MeK Conference to Push for Iran Regime Change

Trump aides see once-banned terror group as replacing Iranian government

The Despicable Hawkish Embrace of the MEK

The Trump administration’s MEK fans participated in the group’s annual rally in Paris over the weekend:

Most viewed

Basque militant group ETA: 'We really are sorry'

The Basque militant group ETA on Friday offered an unprecedented apology for the pain caused during its more than four decades of armed campaign for independence from Spain and France...

M.E.K.: The Group John Bolton Wants to Rule Iran

As talks with North Korea approach, the new national security adviser, John Bolton, has long pushed for regime change in another country with nuclear ambitions: Iran. One of his chosen...

Rudy Went to Albania to Hang Out with A Iran Regime Change Cult

Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) is a notorious cult-like group of Iranian exiles which appears to have close to literally zero support inside Iran but has for years cultivated significant ties to...

Footprints of MKO terrorists, monarchists seen in recent unrests in SW Iran

The protests in the city of Kazeroun in Southwestern Iran ended and the situation came under control after Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, PMOI and NCRI)...

April 1992 marks the MKO’s determination to conduct terror acts abroad

Experts and political representatives from Albania were in the European Parliament last week, asking Europe for help in preventing the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) from toxifying their country’s internal and foreign...