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The Other Face of Terror: Why is Washington Entertaining the MKO/MEK as a Political Alternative?

With so many dangerous unknowns revolving around the MKO/MEK and its proclivity to shed blood, Washington’s wholehearted support boggles the mind.

Strong on the legitimacy his office grants him U.S. State Department Mike Pompeo was quick to lambast his predecessor: John Kerry, for diplomatically engaging Washington’s new favorite enemy … the root of all that goes bump in the night: Iran.

Speaking to reporters at the State Department earlier this September Pompeo was lavish in his criticism, somewhat unaware of the sheer irony his ire betrays.

“What Secretary Kerry has done is unseemly and unprecedented,” exclaimed Pompeo before adding: “This is a former secretary of state engaged with the world’s largest state sponsor of terror and according to him, he was talking to them, he was telling them to wait out this administration … You can’t find precedent for this in US history, and the secretary ought not engage in this kind of behavior.”

If Pompeo may, out of political opportunism look onto Kerry’s initiative to communicate with Iran as a betrayal, he’s in no position to grandstand on terrorism – not as far as talking to Terror’s patron goes.

Terror’s Biggest Exporter – Saudi Arabia or Iran?

Let us first of all address the proverbial elephant in the room: Iran. Iran is by no means and no stretch of anyone’s imagination, the biggest “sponsor of terror.” That title was long bestowed to the House of Saud, the very charming monarchical dynasty that birthed Wahhabism and its sister in extremism: Salafism.

Wahhabism and Salafism –  which terms have often been used interchangeably, posit that whoever dares exist outside their school of thought ought to perish by the sword. Such an ascetic, violent and reactionary nihilistic interpretation of Islam has served as an ideological ground zero for groups such as Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, and the Taliban, if not to say an incubator.

Terror, that Terror which claimed tens of thousands of innocent lives to its flag over the years is ideologically tied up to Saudi Arabia. Worse still, experts have already, proof in hands, assessed beyond any shadow of a doubt that Terror has been one of Saudi Arabia’s most active exports if we consider the resources spent in the promotion of such religious dogmatism.

In his book The Looming Tower, Lawrence Wright asserts that while Saudis constitute only one percent of the world’s Muslims, they pay “90 percent of the expenses of the entire faith, overriding other traditions of Islam.” Others estimate that, on an annual basis, Saudi Arabia spends three times as much in exporting its Wahhabi ideology as did the Soviets in propagating Communism during the height of the Cold War.

Back in 2015, President Trump would have agreed with this assessment. In fact, he eternalized such assessment in his book: ‘Time to Get Tough,’ which was published ahead of the presidential election. Trump writes: “Then look at Saudi Arabia. It is the world’s biggest funder of terrorism. Saudi Arabia funnels our petrodollars – our very own money – to fund the terrorists that seek to destroy our people, while the Saudis rely on us to protect them.”

In 2010 then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also came to the conclusion that Saudi Arabia was a great sponsor of Terror.

Her memo, published by WikiLeaks, says Saudi donors “constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

It further reads that despite some positive steps made by the regime, “It has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority.”

Clinton also stressed that Saudi Arabia provided “a critical financial support base for al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Toiba and other terrorist groups, including Hamas, which probably raise millions of dollars annually from Saudi sources.”

Interestingly enough such knowledge of wrongdoings did not prevent U.S. state officials at the highest levels of government to pursue close relations with Saudi Arabia … and so Secretary of State Pompeo may want to review his initial outcry of disgust vis a vis John Kerry.

Grandstanding is never pretty when done over quicksand.

Is America Aiding And Abetting?

But here is where things get a little dicier… or morally revolting depending on how one wishes to look at it.

Under the Trump administration, the United States has become a de facto patron of terror, if not in means, at least in political accreditations.

In June 2018 Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani spoke to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an umbrella coalition largely controlled by the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), which was once listed as a terrorist organisation in the U.S. and Europe and is still widely viewed as a Marxist-Islamist cult built around the personality of its leader, Maryam Rajavi.

“We are now realistically being able to see an end to the regime in Iran,” Giuliani enthusiastically called out. And: “The mullahs must go, the ayatollah must go, and they must be replaced by a democratic government which Madam Rajavi represents … Freedom is right around the corner … Next year I want to have this convention in Tehran!”

The former New York mayor, who became a cybersecurity adviser in the White House before being named as Trump’s personal lawyer in April 2018, is one of a long line of American neocons to have attended the NCRI annual conference in Paris, France.

Hinting to America’s role in manufacturing unrest in Iran to manifest regime change in favor of and by the MEK/MKO Giuliani had this to say: “Those protests are not happening spontaneously … They are happening because of many of our people in Albania [which hosts an MEK compound] and many of our people here and throughout out the world.”

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton is also touting this shadowy exiled cult as an alternative to the Iranian government while arguing democracy building.

The MKO/MEK’s ‘Swath of Terror’

British journalist Lindsey Hilsum had a recent run-in with the MKO/MEK when she traveled to Albania, home to the group’s military arm. Sprawling over 200,000 square meters, the camp benefits from heavy militarised protection, against it seems Albania’s own best opinions … if not wishes.

Hilsum was brutalized by the group after she was accused of being an agent sold to Iran. If the incident was conveniently kept from mainstream media, it nevertheless betrays the nefarious nature of the organization whose taste for secrecy borders the pathological.

In her documentary for Channel 4 (UK) Hilsum produces documents enouncing in no uncertain terms how dangerous Albania believes the MKO/MEK to be – highlighting the length foreign governments will go to secure an alliance with the U.S.



With so many dangerous unknowns revolving around the MKO/MEK … notwithstanding the group’s proclivity to shed blood – including that of its members should they wish to leave, Washington’s wholehearted support boggles the mind.

A state department report in 1992 identified the MKO/MEK as responsible for the killing of six Americans in Iran during the 1970s. They included three military officers and three men working for Rockwell International, a conglomerate specializing in aerospace including weapons, who were murdered in retaliation for the arrest of MKO/MEK members over the killings of the U.S. military officers.

The MKO/MEK was an enthusiastic supporter of the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran following the Iranian revolution, something both U.S. officials and mainstream media have been keen to sweep under the rug to serve more immediate agendas.

It called the eventual release of the American hostages a “surrender.”

After falling out with Iran’s new government, led by Ayatollah Khomeini, the MEK launched a bombing campaign against the Islamic government. In 1981, it attacked the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party, killing 74 senior officials including the party leader and 27 members of parliament. A few months later it bombed a meeting of Iran’s national security council, killing Iran’s president and the prime minister.

The state department described the MKO/MEK as cutting a “swath of terror” across the country in the following years and of “violent attacks in Iran that victimize civilians.”

“Since 1981 the [MEK] have claimed responsibility for murdering thousands of Iranians they describe as agents of the regime,” the report said.

In light of Western capitals’ suffering at the hands of terror militants, one would think that they would work to minimize threats – not invite them in.


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Catherine Perez-Shakdam

Catherine is a Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society and a former consultant to the UN Security Council on Yemen. Her work has been published in the Times of Israel, the Jerusalem Post, the Daily Express, Epoch Times and countless other media.

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1 Comment

  1. Romeo Romero October 1, 2018

    Kerry only stated what we all think…we are waiting for this nightmare to be over.
    If you take offense to that…look at some of the conservative base political rhetoric during Obama’s term, and tell me…which is worst ?


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