U.S. doublespeak

Published : Oct 19, 2012 00:00 IST

Members of the Mujahedin-Ekhalq in the Liberty refugee camp in Baghdad, Iraq.-HADI MIZBAN/AP

Members of the Mujahedin-Ekhalq in the Liberty refugee camp in Baghdad, Iraq.-HADI MIZBAN/AP

THE Barack Obama administrations decision, which filtered out in late September, to seek the removal of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) from the United States list of foreign terrorist organisations was on expected lines. The MEK was designated a terrorist group in 1997 for allegedly killing U.S. citizens. The American media reported the news just days before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was to give his speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

Iran has held the MEK responsible for many of the recent terror attacks inside its territory and outside. The history of the terrorist activities of the MEK since the time of the Iranian Revolution and the overthrow of the Shah in 1979 is well-documented.

The MEK, which adheres to a pseudo Marxist-Islamist ideology, has been in the forefront of the efforts to dislodge the Iranian government. When its leadership and most of its cadre were forced out of Iran, the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein offered them sanctuary. The MEK fought alongside the Iraqi army in the eight-year war against Iran. After the fall of Saddam, the MEK transferred its loyalties to the American occupation forces in Iraq.

The current Iraqi government led by Nouri al-Maliki, which is favourably disposed towards Iran, ordered the MEK to vacate Camp Ashraf, the large base Saddam had bequeathed to them. In the last couple of years, the MEK suddenly became flush with funds, which enabled it to lobby U.S. Congressmen and politicians in Europe. The source of the funding seems to be the Jewish lobby in the U.S. and Israel itself. The Iranian opposition, the umbrella Green Movement, has no love lost for the MEK. The delisting of the MEK by the Obama administration will allow Washington to funnel funds to the MEK formally so that it can conduct more attacks inside Iran.

John Cherian
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