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MARCH 16, 2012 11:58AM

Who Is the Mujahadin e Khalq, and Why Care: War with Iran

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For MEB, always. And for GC.

The author will preface this by saying that if Andrew Jackson was alive, and President, it seems fairly clear to me that he would lean towards bombing Iran right now, if he had a subtle streak in the "Florida Operation" worth remembering too, as to an early version of "plausible deniabilty."

Maybe Jackson would like the idea of using the Mujahedin e Khalq to lever Iran, as he did once use a pirate named Jean Laffite in New Orleans that went really well.

Of course, its also might be the case that if Andrew Jackson had been alive, and President, he would have used nuclear weapons on Russia and China when we could do that with little risk of Russian or Chinese response too, which was the case between about 1950 and 1956-59, depending on how you define risk.

In 1954, we could have done what the SAC warplan called for, and dropped 3,200 nuclear weapons from Eastern Europe to North Korea and Vietnam, and there wouldn't have been much of a Russian response, if and only if you set it up right: Ike nonetheless said "You are insane. 3,400 nuclear weapons killing a half billion people. Do I look like Genghis Khan? Get way from me Lemay, you maniac."

Jackson.... you wonder, if he was a little more Lemay -like, and of course Jackson scared people in 1828 for that reason, if nuclear weapons seem to tame most crazed ambitions, so far.

Then again, that's the issue with the Islamic Republic of Iran, is it not: do we want to find out what its like to live in a world with Iran as a nuclear armed state?

That intro now revealing the method to the madness, can we live with nuclear weapons in somce places given what we know about the nature of what is possible with nuclear weapons, so, why care about the Mujahedin e Khalq, often referred to as the MEK?

Well, the reason to care is that the MEK is the main alternative to war with Iran it would seem like, other than just hoping Israel does nothing, and that nothing bad comes from an Iranian nuclear weapons program too.

The MEK is in the news now because a good number of American bigwigs in foreign policy circles, Republicans and pro-Israeli "Usual Suspects" are being investigated by the FBI for meeting with the MEK, which technically speaking might be a serious crime, since the MEK is called a "terrorist organization."

There is an issue with people conducting their own personal foreign policy in an election year, which probably ought to be discouraged, as more than anything we don't need an American President distracted very much, unless this of course is just a distraction, and then that's a good idea, or so might be leaving it that way whatever was intended initially.

Jackson used Laffite, and he was a pirate, and unless we are bombing Iran, or hoping Israel does not, and then seeing what happens when Iran is a nuclear armed state, or not, is there a better plan than the MEK?

That would seem the real issue to the author: what's the plan stan?

As to the MEK freedom fighters, they came about in the mid sixties as to resisting the Shah and his "White Revolution." Kennedy of course encouraged that Whit Revolution to reform Iran, which pretty much destabilized it as much as anything else did when you look back at it, just as we encouraged Mossadegh to go on permanent vacation from politics, as to messy situations in dealing with Iran historically speaking.

Encouraging track record hey, but, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again, unless its time for B-2 strikes and such from Diego Garcia. Until then, if the MEK's the only non-overt war game in town... their freedom fighters some wags might argue.

In a real sense, then the MEK were representative of the Mossadegh strand of Iranian political life on the Left, which resisted the Shah and was pro-Socialist and anti-imperialist, like a more mellow version of the pretty Moscow subservient Tudeh Communist Party that got Mossadegh Operation Ajax when he got too close to them.

Ivan probably has some say with the MEK one would think, just as to historical ties, fellow travellers and such, which could be a good thing, if Ivan is going to be very unhappy about B-2 strikes from Diego Garcia, but, also now gets the point that the Israelis really don't like Iranian nuclear weapons, and that so therefore encouraging that idea along with China wasn't really such a great idea after all. :)

So, the MEK is a bunch of left wing opponents of the Shah, who to us were pretty radical back then, which was why they were originally called a "terrorist organization," since we liked the Shah, and they wanted him dead, like he wanted them dead.

Of course, we didn't like the Shah, we were in bed with him making passionate love with Reza over oil, weapons contracts, and listening posts on the Soviet Union, including certain organizations that were rather close with an acronym known as SAVAK, often preceeded by the adjective "dreaded."

Its good to know that the MEK doesn't hold a grudge ove that... hopefully, although one supposes its just one of those "its a rough neck of the woods" sort of things?

So, as to the MEK, while the Shah was "Our Island of Stability" the MEK were the bad guys, since he was our good guy, other than SAVAK Dreaded, but even they were the good guys in a small Northern Virginia suburb.

In any event, when the Shah began to wobble in 1978, for a complex set of reasons, one of which was the dreaded American in a tank top in a mosque... hello, the MEK had a choice: go with Khomeini, who started to fight the Shah with words in 1963 during the "White Revolution," encouraed again by the way by Kennedy, as to our track record of cluster you know what's in Iran, or, the MEK could go with the few Liberals in Iranian politics who wouldn't be out of place at a Democratic or Republican convention.

Since at that time, the number of Liberals in the sense we know in the West did not greatly exceed the number of characters in Billy Joel's song Piano Man, the MEK chose to go with Khomeini, on the theory of course to that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" and "we want to be on the winning team so ignore all that silly opium of the masses stuff about the Rule of the Supreme Jurisprudent." Whoops.

Pretty soon however, what the MEK discovered was that they had lept from the frying pan of the Shah to the fire of the Mullahs, in which ensued a curiously bloody civil war.

It was a curiously bloody civil war to some inquiring minds, because the MEK showed an impressive ability to set of large numbers of large bombs killing large numbers of people, if the Pasdaran of which Ahmadinejad was almost certainly becoming a part imitated the tender mercies of the SAVAK Dreaded in killing people left and right too.

The only reason to care about the MEK in that context is this question: funding?

Was that us, the Russians, the Israelis, Saddam, a bit of all the above, as large numbers of large bombs that kill large numbers of people don't gorw on trees. 

Then again, if its Diego Garcia, or Operation Ajax Laffite... and people do learn things about exterme ideas over time, and the Shah... well what did we expect to happen there, as to the case that the MEK are brave freedom fighters, for real, if Republicans and other pro-Israeli people need to be at one with Obama on how that is done too; no independent wild cannons around an Iranian nuclear program and Israeli strike upon such program would seem smart.

Thus, the freedom fighters of the MEK on which peace or war with Iran as a factual matter now may well hinge, having lost the war with the mullahs and their Pasdaran allies in the early 80s, had to make a choice, and made another... questionable one, if that's easy to say not having had to fight first the Shah and then Khomeini, and chose... Saddam.

Well, who would you pick, Hitler or Stalin, if as for the MEK, there was no "None of the Above" box to check?

Saddam or Khomeini was "Hitler or Stalin," to be fair to the brave freedom fighters of the MEK, for real, who maybe figured out over a lot of messy things what was right and what wasn't and if there is no other option that is realistic on the table but the MEK or Diego Garcia or an Israeli Jericho III strike, many would say go with Mujahedin e Khalq e Laffite, like Jackson might well do when he, as he would, walked through all the diplomatic calculations.






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Or maybe we suffer the same fate as Old Hickory suffered to his pride and the national treasury after three long bloody Seminole Wars. Last I looked the Seminole were still in charge of their swampland long after Andy Jackson was interred.

As for this "[we could have] used nuclear weapons on Russia and China when we could do that with little risk of Russian or Chinese response too, which was the case between about 1950 and 1956-59, depending on how you define risk" Depending on how you define risk, indeed. I'll leave you to ponder those glorious possibilities with Curtis LeMay, Dr Strangelove.

The idea that we would attack Iran whilst still prosecuting a costly stalemate (at best) after a decade in Afghanistan is so preposterous as to make the claim "all options are on the table" a sick joke. But there's nothing funny about this joke.

Amenijihad (I give up on spelling his name) and Netanyahoo and Obama all have political baggage that could lead the resut of us into a war that nobody wants but rtwing nutjobs in all three countries. And I guess now I have to throw John "Bomb, Bomb Iran" McCain into the nutjob pile, too. How about we just let the nutjobs do the fighting this time?

Really, Don, after Vietnam, after Iraq, after Afghanistan -- hell, after our own revolution against Britain -- shouldn't we have learned that far-flung wars against dedicated enemies are not a wise or productive foreign "policy"?
Florida is in the United States Tom, because of him.
As to winning a nuclear exchange, prior to about 1956, absent insertion by ground, Russia and China didn't have the ability to strike the United States via bomber or missile, although if they had warning, Japan and Western Europe were a different story, maybe, depending on alert levels. Ike didn't do that, because he thought it against our traditions.
If Israel goes, we have to seize Hormuz anyway, there is no choice at the point, and probably also Khuzistan in Iran too, to prevent an economy crushing price spike. We don't need that now.
That's why if people want to try ... indirect measures, that's the MEK route, in which knowing who they are is rather important.