Sunday, May 08, 2005 A Third Option for Iran - A Major Mistake!!

I have long been a reader of David Horowitz's So I was surprised today their editors appear to have taken a wrong turn on Iran. Yesterday, they published a report by David Johnson, co-founder of the US Alliance for Democratic Iran and its Director of Operations.

The article
entitled: A Third Option for Iran suggests that the current thinking in Washington D.C. sees only two options: either appeasement of Iran's Islamic Republic or a military strike. On this I agree, and like David I believe that a third option is not getting the attention it deserves, more about this later.

But I was shocked to read that his "third option" involved support for an organization that the U.S. State Department has designated a "terrorist" organization, the MEK. The article was blatantly slanted towards the MEK, in exclusion of all other options.

Since I have been publishing all the major news on Iran for several years now, I am well aware of the various options in regards to the Iranian threat. I know most of the leaders of the Iranian expatriate community and there is little support for the MEK among them. I believe the MEK may have a place at the table in a future Iran, but a limited one.

I have also been aware of the massive campaign the MEK have been waging to legitimize themselves in the eyes of our government. I also understand the only way they will ever be in power inside of Iran is if the U.S. were to back them in an overthrow of the Iranian government.

It appears that is exactly what the MEK are seeking. David reported on the MEK's recent conference in Washington D.C. (attended by a few hundred Iranian, virtually all MEK supporters) saying:
[Their] plans for Iran remain ambitious. Mrs. Rajavi's [leader of the MEK] position as an interim president is planned to last for only six months after the fall of the current Iranian regime. At the end of her interim term, free and monitored elections would be held throughout Iran.
It appears the leader of the MEK is seeking U.S. help in replacing the Islamic Republic with herself as the new leader, for six months.

So who are the MEK? Here is the's own report on the MEK:
  • Islamist-Marxist terrorist group that seeks to topple the Iranian regime
  • Served Moscow as a source of information on Iran during the Cold War
  • In the early 1970s, murdered five American military technicians working with the Iranian army
  • By the late 1980s, created a 10,000-strong fighting force in Iraq to aid Saddam Hussein ...
The MEK was founded in 1965 after a split in a Marxist-Leninist movement that had waged a guerrilla action in northern Iran. Its ideology emerged as a mix of Islam and Marx, with ingredients from the Iranian religious sociologist Ali Shariati, who advocated an "Islam without a clergy." The MEK, with KGB help, engaged in a campaign against the Shah and sent cadres to Cuba, East Germany, South Yemen, and Palestinian camps in Lebanon to train as guerrillas.
Yes, they have money (from places unknown), weapons and organization. Is David actually advocating that we "install" the MEK, even if only temporarily? The Khomeini regime was supposed to be a temporary regime.

It is important to ask ourselves, do we really want to replace the Islamic Republic with a Marxist/Islamic government?

If the U.S. wants to turn the most pro-American Muslim population against us, then we should attempt to install an MEK government in Iran. The Iranian people despise their government, but they also despise the MEK. Scott Peterson, Christian Science Monitor puts is this way.
Western diplomats and analysts agree that the MEK has very little support inside Iran itself. Though many Iranians take issue with their clerical rulers, MEK members are widely seen to be traitors, as they fought alongside Iraqi troops against Iran in the 1980s. ...
Among the Iranian population the MEK are a highly dedicated but small segment of the Iranian population. The Mullahs of Iran would love nothing more than U.S. support for the MEK. They recognize that the Iranian people will lose their trust of the U.S. if we partner with those the pro-American Iranians consider traitors.

So what is our alternative?

There is a real third option and it involves supporting the people of Iran in their own quest for a real democracy in Iran. This is the greatest fear of the regime. The Iranian people have been pleading not for military action but International support for their struggle for real democracy. The regime has seen the winds of change around the world and Middle East. They are worried. This is the reason the Iranian regime is so desperately seeking nuclear weapons technology. They want the International community to back off just as it has with North Korea. A nuclear Iran can suppress its own people with impunity.

For the U.S. Administration to abandon its support for democratic change and instead install an MEK government would not only destroy the trust of the Iranian people, but also the trust of Muslims throughout the Middle East that seek the same fundamental changes in their governments.

This summer, the people of Iran have the greatest opportunity in the 26 year history. The world will be watching in June when they have their so-called elections. The people of Iran will likely boycott what they consider to be an illegitimate election and go into the streets seeking real democracy. I believe the Bush Administration want to support the people of Iran in this way (see my article, Reading the Tea Leaves: Bush's Strategy on Iran).

The MEK will likely play a part in a post Islamic Republic, but they need to find their way in a real democratic government. I hope that will rethink its support of the MEK.