Analysis and background on the people’s Mojahedin organization
CHAPTER 7/The basis for action
The Mojahedin's "National Liberation Army" has never really acted as an army in the Western sense of the word. After some stunning defeats during its conventional attacks, its soldiers fell back on the tried and true methods of guerrilla political terrorism. These are techniques which have advantages and disadvantages for the PMOI. On one hand, the organisation could loudly and widely claim that it had a military capability. Later, it tried to build its "legitimacy" to the Iranian diaspora - who entertained no illusions about them. Finally, it tried to establish itself as the only possible alternative to the power in place.
Most of the actions carried out inside the national borders were followed by a communique claiming responsibility. These were purely along the lines of those used by Hamas or Islamic Jihad:
Or as TerrorWatch states: "One of the objectives of terrorism is to publicise the movement and its aims. It is part of the Marxist idea of the corrosion of the social order and of armed propaganda". (45)
But, since the Liberation Army has only limited means and a limited number of recruits, especially compared to the numbers and armaments fielded by the regular Iranian Army, they can only plan small acts of force. Mortar attacks, attacks with explosive charges. Nothing important in itself, but actions that kill. Usually the victims are innocent civilians, if they are not targeted murders. This does not help the PMOI, especially when it hopes for a real Popular representation in country. And this they lack completely. It's necessary not to sink into oblivion but the use of bloody means attracts harsh criticism on the international stage. There, the decision seems clearly taken to wipe out all extremist groups preaching the use of violence. Since then, Mr. Rajavi and his friends gild the lily in grasping at prestigious straws. Many times, he has spoken of General de Gaulle's legacy in an attempt to draw self-serving conclusions:
"To accuse the Iranian Resistance of terrorism is like accusing the American Revolutionary forces or the French Resistance to Nazi occupation of terrorism. " (46)
It suffices to draw on TerrorWatch's analysis to clearly understand the difference: ,
"In general, terrorism is only a specific act of force to destroy or kill in a non-communist or non-revolutionary conflict. It exemplified by the Resistance to the Nazi occupier during Work War II, by the Israeli Irgun, by Tamil terrorism or the Afghan resistance. In the structure of the communist revolutionary process terrorism is not only a means of destruction. Often and above all it is a form of propaganda. This armed propaganda is speaking to the enemy, as well as the 'friendly' population. It aims to show the movement's success". (47)
While the People's Mojahedin clearly announced their revolutionary nature, they showed no embarrassment in calling for armed uprisings. As to the alternative they plan to pose to Ayatollah Khomeini's regime:
"The complexities of our national situation dictate that this alternative is armed and organised. This includes respect for Islam, the faith of the vast majority of Iran's population ". (48)
In the case of the PMOI, if this terminology aims to be Islamist they see the facts on the ground through a Marxist prism.
Weaken the West
From the Sixties to the Eighties, the world's bipolarization created permanent confrontations between capitalism and communism If the situation between the two superpowers never degenerated into open conflict, the Cold War reached its height through the use of subversive means by Moscow and Washington to influence the balance of forces in their respective favor.
Expert in clandestinely and fighting in the shadows, the PMOI was an ideal lever for the application of subversive doctrine:
"The armed opposition of the Mojahedin presented a very real danger to power since its Islamist-Marxist militants were the first infantry in the February Days of 1979. In addition, they had orga¬nised and directed the first committees and kept relations on many levels with the personnel in the power structure. Many had been their fellow travelers during the years of struggle against the Shah. In the ruling circles, everyone could have been suspected of being a Moujahid mole", historians point out.
In all the speeches and all the publications of the PMOI, the Soviet Union is rejected in the same way as American imperialism. These ultra-progressives, however untrusting of the Kremlin elders (who posed as guarantors of Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy), would still play the big power game. They did so even if they were unconscious of it. They marked their differences by looking to Trotsky and Mao. But they still remained within the larger political family in common struggle against capitalism and the West.
"It involves subversion already discussed by Sun Tzu in 450 B.C.: those who master this strategy force their enemy to change his strategy without direct conflict, destroying their fortifications without attack, eating up enemy organisations without long campaigns. (The Art of War, Chapter III, 'Attacking the system together'.)
Subversion has been the principal element of the indirect stra¬tegy of the USSR (and China) from the beginning of the Sixties. At that time it was used to weaken the Western countries to change 'the balance of force'.
The balance of forces is a complex calculation, taking into account quantitative and qualitative factors in order to calculate the relationship of strategic force between the USSR and its enemies.
On the political level these factors take account of the strength of the State's social base, its form of organisation, the constitu¬tional procedures for the relationship between the executive and the legislative organs, the possibilities of taking operational deci¬sion making, the degree and form of popular support for domestic and foreign policy."
For the USSR war was a permanent phenomenon, which depen¬ded on "direct" (military conflict) and "indirect" strategies. The latter aimed to sap the West in most varied ways.
The process of subversion:
The definition of war in the Soviet Military Encyclopaedia dearly presents the complementarity of military and other means:
"[War is] a socio-political phenomenon, a continuation of politics by force... In war, to attain political goals, armed force is the principal and decisive means, along with economic, diplomatic ideological and others".
It does not necessarily involve promoting an idea or an ideo¬logy, but weakening the adversary. This explains why the East indiscriminately supported terrorist movements of the extreme Right and the extreme Left.
The objectives of subversion are:
Ideological encirclement aims to change the doctrinal orien¬tations of a given nation or culture. It is the most subtle and dif¬ficult element to define. Seeing it is difficult against the social and cultural changes going on at any time. An ideological encirclement was attempted during the Eighties in West Germany. Pacifism was implanted to fight against the stationing of NATO's Pershing 2 missiles in the Federal Republic.
Political encirclement involves changing the perceptions of decision-makers on key subjects and limiting their freedom to decide. Thus, the freedom of a European decision maker is very limited on the subjects of Saddam Hussein or Milosevic. One could be rapidly pushed to the sidelines.
Strategic encirclement is the creation of an environment unfavorable to the adversary. This limits his freedom of maneuver. This is the "physical" side of subversion which uses democratic rules to paralyze political or other kinds of decisions (industrial planning, for example.) (50)
46. Democracy Betrayed, op. cit.
48. Democracy Betrayed, op. cit.
49. Digard, Hourcade and Richard, op. cit.
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