[Marxism] (no subject)

Sudhir Devadas sudhirdin at gmail.com
Fri Nov 18 06:29:10 MST 2005


as in iraq, so in iran. the same cynical ploy of promoting traitors
masquerading as dissidents, acting on spurious intelligence churned by
these imposters, and finally installing them in power, to plunder the
subjugated countries' natural resources.such farce has all the
elements of low comedy, were it not for  the staggering human cost
involved.

sudhir

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Friendly fire and the US in Iran
By Neda Bolourchi     Nov 18, 2005

In recent months, the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) and its attempts to
prove that the Islamic Republic of Iran intends to develop nuclear
weapons garnered widespread media coverage and speculation. While
bringing forth a modicum of new information, the attention fails to
illuminate just how dangerous the MEK could be to the United States.

Grappling in Iraq, the Bush administration now faces an analogous yet
graver situation in the Islamic Republic. In the years leading up to
the Iraq war, Ahmad Chalabi led the exiled Iraqi National Congress. In
courting Bush officials like Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz to stoke
the war flames in Iraq, Chalabi materialized defectors who affirmed
suspicions about Saddam


Hussein's ethereal weapons of mass destruction. Chalabi then secured
administration support by seducing it with visions of Iraqis showering
American liberators with flowers and a quick handover of a
well-ordered Iraq from US troops to his Free Iraqi Fighters.

Today, Maryam Rajavi, the so-called president-elect of the MEK's
National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), conjures up the same
desert visions for Iran.

Like the case of Chalabi, who offered information on the seemingly
impenetrable Iraq, reliance on Rajavi and her supporters superficially
makes sense. Given the US's lack of human intelligence inside the
Islamic Republic's government, supporting the MEK would naturally
appeal to the US administration as a means to quickly develop and
install agents who can provide reliable information regarding the
Islamic Republic's nuclear advancements.

The MEK even appears to fit the bill better than Chalabi in many
respects. As an Iranian opposition group with members inside and
outside the country, the MEK can utilize its nativist connection to
seamlessly merge with countrymen without fear of being detected by
foreign accents, mannerisms or characteristics.

Moreover, the MEK is the largest and the best-organized Iranian
opposition group, with realistic estimates between 6,000 to 10,000
fighters, members and supporters combined. More importantly, the MEK
demonstrated its ability to deliver reliable information when it
revealed, on August 14, 2002, that the Islamic Republic possessed an
advanced nuclear program that included facilities at Natanz and Arak.

The MEK now finds support within parts of the American government as a
"third option". Such support is built on the fallacy that the MEK can
not only provide information, but also enjoys enough popular support
so that diplomacy and direct military action can be skirted. By
lobbying to remove the MEK from the US's list of foreign terrorist
organizations and considering the group as leverage to destabilize,
overthrow, and/or replace Tehran's clerical government, supporters
ignore the unsavory history of the MEK.

And that puts the United States, its citizens and its interests in
grave danger.

Under the Bill Clinton administration, the State Department placed the
MEK on its terrorist organization list in 1997 as a conciliatory
gesture to the then newly elected Mohammed Khatami moderates. In
justifying its decision, the State Department used several acts of
violence committed against Americans to justify its actions.

These acts included the November 1971 attempt to kidnap the American
ambassador, as well as the 1972 bombings of the offices belonging to
Pepsi-Cola, General Motors, the Hotel International, the Marin Oil
Company, the Iranian-American Society and the US Information Office.
Over the next three years, the MEK robbed six banks, assassinated the
deputy chief of the US Military Mission (Colonel Lewis Hawkins),
killed the chief of the Tehran police, killed five American civilians
and/or military advisers, attempted to assassinate the chief of the US
Military Mission in Iran (General Harold Price), and bombed the
offices of Pan-American Airlines, Shell Oil Company, British
Petroleum, El Al and British Airways. [1]

In a military tribunal in 1972, MEK leader Massoud Rajavi explained
such acts of violence by premising that the future of Iran depended on
armed resistance.

Blaming most of the world's problems on imperialism, Rajavi insisted
that "American imperialism" was the main enemy of Iran because the
United States conducted the 1953 coup d'etat that overthrew the then
prime minister, Mohammad Mossadeq. [2] In retaliation, the Shah
attempted to discredit the group by labeling the mujahideen as
"Islamic Marxists" and by claiming that Islam merely served as a cover
to hide the group's Marxist ideology.

In response, the MEK declared its respect for Marxism "as a
progressive social philosophy" but stated that "their true culture,
inspiration, attachment and ideology was Islam". [3] Attempting to
clarify its position, the MEK later published an article declaring
that
[T]he regime is trying to place a wedge between Muslims and Marxists
... Of course, Marxism and Islam are not identical. Nevertheless,
Islam is definitely closer to Marxism than to Pahlavism. Islam and
Marxism contain the same message for they inspire martyrdom, struggle,
and self-sacrifice. Who is closer to Islam: the Vietnamese who fight
against American imperialism or the Shah who helps Zionism? Since
Islam fights oppression it will work together with Marxism which also
fights oppression. They have the same enemy: reactionary imperialism.
[4]
With this history, news that the MEK engaged coalition forces during
Operation Enduring Freedom should not be surprising. [5] With their
obvious ideological differences, the US and MEK have been separately
battling the Islamic Republic of Iran for about the past 25 years.
Now, however, the MEK and its supporters within the American
government want to temporarily put aside such differences to bring
about regime change.

Intelligence sources, though, are quick to note that the information
the MEK/NCRI provides is only sometimes correct.

For example, on September 16, the group's "spokesman", Alireza
Jafarzadeh of Strategic Policy Consulting, a corporation viewed as
established to circumvent US laws prohibiting the MEK/NCRI's existence
on American soil, proffered that the Islamic Republic had secretly
built an underground tunnel-like facility deep in the mountains of the
Parchin military complex, in order to transfer secret nuclear
components and conduct other activities related to a supposedly
vibrant nuclear weapons program.

The tunnels allegedly house secret "military-nuclear factories" and
serve as storage space. Diagrams that were produced appear to show
that the tunnels are supplied with water, electricity and ventilation,
providing a suitable and seemingly extensive working space deep
underground. Jafarzadeh claims that Iranian officials decided to
construct the tunnels in response to continuing leaks regarding the
country's nuclear activities, and that they serve to prevent the easy
destruction of essential facilities by US "bunker-busting" munitions.

Yet neither a direct inquiry into the credibility of the statement nor
confirmation from reliable sources seems to exist. Given that American
satellites would be able to detect the mass movement and transit
required to perform the alleged tunneling activities, and with access
given again to international nuclear inspectors, additional skepticism
is in order.

In much the same manner that the American intelligence community
questioned the credibility of Chalabi over his allegations regarding
Iraq, it is rightfully wary of the MEK.

Unlike Chalabi, though, the MEK's disdain for democracy is clear. In
the years following the Islamic Revolution of 1979, when the MEK
arguably reached its height both in popular domestic support and sheer
strength, the mujahideen avoided legitimate elections for its top
leadership positions and any democratic formulation for an official
strategy.

Instead, Massoud Rajavi assumed the chairmanship of the NCRI, with the
result that as other Iranian dissident groups joined the MEK in the
1980s, most quickly left the national council because the MEK insisted
on full control over all important decisions, including who could join
the NCRI, who would receive full voting rights within the NCRI and who
could represent the NCRI at international meetings.

Although in recent years the MEK has recast itself as a
pro-democratic, pro-capitalist organization that provides equal
opportunities to minorities and women, the group continues to exert
authoritarian control over its members.

Having essentially declared himself the leader for life of the Iranian
people, Massoud Rajavi appointed his wife, Maryam, as so-called
president-elect. Saddled with one appointed leader for life in
Ayatollah Ali Khameini, the Iranian people are unlikely to want
another. Like Tehran's regime, the MEK has its own interpretation of
Islam that includes mandatory Islamic dress for women. On the verge of
potentially re-embracing secularism, Iranians do not want another
government-mandated and imposed interpretation of Islam.

Moreover, supporting the MEK will irrevocably alienate all classes
because Iranians do not consider the group a legitimate source of
resistance. Now alienated from the Islamic government, Iranians
remember that the MEK significantly aided Khomeini in bringing about
the revolution and the current government. Multiplying their
grievances against the group, Iranians say that when Khomeini pushed
out the former icons of the Islamist movement, the MEK used
assassinations and terrorism in an attempt to destabilize the regime.

Once beloved by the masses, "the hypocrites" turned and fought for
Saddam Hussein during the grizzly Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s - an act
that continues to outrage Iranians. At the war's end, Saddam attempted
to use the MEK as a fifth column, but the Islamic Republic set a trap
and massacred thousands of MEK paramilitary fighters and prisoners. No
Iranian publicly objected at the time. Thus, despite arguments that
empowering the MEK would "support President [George W] Bush's
assertion that America stands with the people of Iran in their
struggle to liberate themselves", Iranians with their long and
collective history will neither forgive nor forget the "traitors" who
attacked their own country and people.

As such, the MEK cannot be an asset to the US because the group
carries a deadly legacy from the Iran-Iraq War that only stokes the
embers of Iranian nationalism. Such nationalism brought about much in
the last century: from the 1905 constitutional revolution to the
nationalization of oil and the Mossadeq movement; from a vital role in
the 1979 revolution to surviving a deadly war with Iraq. Any foreign
military action can expect a similar reaction.

The MEK and its supporters, however, will encounter a rare
ferociousness because the group presents the kind of common enemy
against whom the reformists, the conservatives, the students and
common people will all rally against - something that has not happened
since the conclusion of the Iran-Iraq War.

But now the Islamic Republic is dangerously better armed, holds a
network of relations throughout the Middle East, and is bolstered by
proxies operating widely and freely from Russia to Bosnia and from
Lebanon to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Although the Iranian people are clearly the most pro-American populace
in the Middle East, does the United States really want to turn that
advantage on its head and be on the receiving end of such an Iranian
nationalist movement?

While the Persian puzzle continues to perplex, Chalabi-style fantasies
are not an answer. The lessons from Iraq have been too many, at too
high a price, for that mistake to be made again.

Notes
[1] In defending the current Rajavi leadership, supporters cite that
Massoud Rajavi was in jail at the time of the American murders.
However, in the critical early months preceding the Revolution, the
MEK (under the leadership of the freed Rajavi) not only moved towards
clerical power bases but cooperated with radical clerics to weaken and
eliminate the moderate leadership of prime minister Bazargan, whom
they viewed as bourgeois and pro-American. See Ervand Abrahamian,
Radical Islam: The Iranian Mojahedin 184-85 (1989).

[2] Viewing the Pahlavi regime as having little social support outside
the middle class, the MEK asserted that the monarchy had to rule
through terror, intimidation, and propaganda. In aiming to shatter the
"atmosphere of terror" through heroic acts of violence that would
bring the collapse of the regime, the Mujahideen ultimately intended
to could out carry out "radical reforms" that included ending Iranian
dependence on the West, building an independent society, and
redistributing wealth while giving a free voice to the masses. See
Ervand Abrahamian, The Guerrilla Movement in Iran, 1963-77, 86 Merip
Reports 9 (1980)

[3] See The Mujahideen Organization, Dafa'at-i Naser Sadeq (The
Defense Speech of Naser Sadeq) 24 (1972).

[4] See The Mujahideen Organization, Pasokh Beh Etemat-i Akher-I
Rezhin (An Answer to the Regime's Latest Slanders) 10-13 (1973).

According to Abrahamian, note 1, 92-93, original members of the MEK's
"Ideological Team", Hosayn Ruhani and Torab Haqshenas, explained that
their "original aim was to synthesize the religious values of Islam
with the scientific thought of Marxism ... for [the two] were
convinced that true Islam was compatible with the theories of social
evolution, historical determinism, and the class struggle." The fusion
of Islam and Marxism made sense because the Mujahideen believed that
the Prophet Mohammed sought to establish not just a new religion but a
new ummat(progressive society) that sought social justice by
delivering the message of nezam-e tawhidi (a classless society free of
poverty, corruption, war, inequality, and oppression).

In contrast, at least one author asserts that the MEK, as a group of
Marxists, realized they lacked grass roots support and tried to
legitimize their movement by utilizing Islam and following Ali
Shariati's interpretation. In opposing the view of Frantz Fanon, who
believed that people from non-Western countries must give up their
religion to bring about revolutions in their countries, Shariati
argued that without rooting identity within religion and culture,
non-Western peoples could not fight Western imperialism See Asaf
Hussain, Islamic Iran: Revolution and counter-revolution 85 (1985).

[5] See Sam Dealey, Iran "Terrorist" Group Find Support on the Hill,
The Hill, April 2, 2003.

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