Obama Relents on Delisting MEK

The Obama administration is acquiescing to a high-priced lobbying campaign to “delist” the Iranian dissident movement, MEK, from the U.S. terrorism list. The move signals a readiness to intensify the confrontation with Iran, write Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett at www.RaceForIran.com.

By Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

The U.S. Department of State took the moral and strategic bankruptcy of America’s Iran policy to a new low, by notifying Congress that the Obama administration intends to remove the mojahedin-e khalq (MEK) from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs).

At a macro level, we are disdainful — even scornful — of the U.S. government’s lists of both FTOs and state sponsors of terrorism. We have seen too many times over the years just how cynically American administrations have manipulated these designations, adding and removing organizations and countries for reasons that have little or nothing to do with designees’ actual involvement in terrorist activity.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

So, for example, after Saddam Hussein invaded the fledgling Islamic Republic in 1980 — on September 22, no less — and starting killing large numbers of innocent Iranians, the Reagan administration (which came to office in January 1981) found a way to remove Iraq from the state sponsors list, in order to remove legal restrictions prohibiting the U.S. government from helping Saddam prosecute his war of aggression as robustly as the administration wanted.

(During that war, the MEK — after having tried but failed to bring down the Islamic Republic through a bloody campaign of terrorist bombings and assassinations conducted against the new Iranian government’s upper echelons — ended up collaborating with an Iraqi government regularly carrying out chemical weapons attacks against targets, civilian as well as military, inside Iran.)

But, when the same Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990, the George H.W. Bush administration couldn’t get Iraq back on the state sponsors list fast enough. We are very skeptical that Saddam’s ties to groups that the United States considers terrorist organizations changed all that much during this period.

Yet, precisely because we know how thoroughly corrupt and politicized these designations really are, we recognize their significance as statements of U.S. policy. Today, the Obama administration made a truly horrible statement about U.S. policy toward Iran.

The statement is horrible even if one wants to believe that FTO designations have some kind of procedural and evidentiary integrity about them. (We don’t, but we also recognize that letting go of illusions is often not easy.)

Just this year, U.S. intelligence officials told high-profile media outlets that the MEK is actively collaborating with Israeli intelligence to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists, see here; Iranian officials have made the same charge. Since when did murdering unarmed civilians (and, in some instances, members of their families as well) on public streets in the middle of a heavily populated urban area (Tehran) not meet even the U.S. government’s own professed standard for terrorism?

Of course, one might rightly point out that the United States is responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent civilians across the Middle East. But Washington generally strives to maintain the fiction that it did not intend for those innocents to die as a (direct and foreseeable) consequence of U.S. military operations and sanctions policies. (You know, the United States didn’t really mean for those people to die, but, as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once said, “Stuff happens.”)

Here, the Obama administration is taking an organization that the U.S. government knows is directly involved in the murder of innocent people and giving this group Washington’s “good housekeeping seal of approval.”

But, to invoke Talleyrand’s classic observation that a certain action was “worse than a crime — it was a mistake,” delisting the MEK is not just a moral abomination; it is a huge strategic and policy blunder.

It is hard to imagine how the Obama administration could signal more clearly that, even after the President’s presumptive reelection, it has no intention of seeking a fundamentally different sort of relationship with the Islamic Republic — which would of course require the United States to accept the Islamic Republic as a legitimate political entity representing legitimate national interests.

Count on this: once the MEK is formally off the FTO list — a legally defined process that will take a few months to play out — Congress will be appropriating money to support the monafeqin as the vanguard of a new American strategy for regime change in Iran.

In the 1990s, similar enthusiasm for Ahmad Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress — who were about as unpopular among Iraqis as the MEK is among Iranians — led to President Bill Clinton’s signing of the Iraq Liberation Act, which paved the way for George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

The chances for such a scenario to play out with regard to Iran over the next few years — with even more disastrous consequences for America’s strategic and moral standing — got a lot higher today.

Flynt Leverett served as a Middle East expert on George W. Bush’s National Security Council staff until the Iraq War and worked previously at the State Department and at the Central Intelligence Agency. Hillary Mann Leverett was the NSC expert on Iran and – from 2001 to 2003 – was one of only a few U.S. diplomats authorized to negotiate with the Iranians over Afghanistan, al-Qaeda and Iraq. [This article was originally published at RaceforIran.com. For direct link, click here: http://www.raceforiran.com/by-delisting-the-mek-the-obama-administration-is-taking-the-moral-and-strategic-bankruptcy-of-america%e2%80%99s-iran-policy-to-a-new-low

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29 comments on “Obama Relents on Delisting MEK

  1. Flynt and Hillary, I am not surprised by this piece of rubbish.
    The mullahs’ money does wonders, doesn’t it?

    Did you enjoy your week-long all-expenses paid trip to Tehran?
    Even the regime is not writing is such venomous words.

    • rosemerry on said:

      who on earth are you???? Hillary and Flint are genuine Iran experts and worth reading and following. Your sniping is grotesque.

      • Case of mirror images – The person making accusations at Flynt and Hillary is no doubt someone who is being paid – probably and MEK. They are always for sale, Saddam, Israel, …..

  2. “which would of course require the United States to accept the Islamic Republic as a legitimate political entity representing legitimate national interests.”
    Not true , but I agree that it is bad policy . Mek is a militant political party .we have that right here .so what is the difference ?

    • The difference, according to this article is that MEK is taking its order from Israel; meaning it is sold-out traitorous entity which should be incinerated. No mercy, no compassion on those who sells their country.

  3. De-listing MEK mark the end of JUNK articles such as this one.

  4. Connect the dots —people making the loudest noises over Iran all have “special interests” at stake, none of which include the well-being of Iranian citizens or indeed what is in the best interest of the American people or the world at large.

    “Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran’s nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News”

    http://tinyurl.com/9rg6oep

    • Well said.
      Also, if there is an entity that should be put on some countries’ terrorist list, it should be the state terrorist, the government of the millionaires, for the millionaires, by the millionaires: the trouble-making government in the US. This state terrorist making trouble all over the planet, terrorizing the world and calling the rest of the world terrorist.

  5. Mansoori on said:

    What an “Independent Investigative Journalism”! of two lots by the name of “Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett”. By reading the very first line of this piece of junk saying that they have been “disdainful — even scornful — of the U.S. government’s lists of both FTOs and state sponsors of terrorism” I noticed that this two “Investigative journalist” are very well paid by the mullah’s MOIS (intelligence ministry of the Iranian regime) for churning the old and defunct demonizing campaign. Shame on you both for writing such an investigative! article which is sheer fabrication and factually is incorrect wasting your time and others to read, but rest assure that notorious mullahs who have ruled Iran with iron fist, are very much thankful to you and this is what you have to be ashamed of yourself.

  6. Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett are well known in the Iranian American community since 2003 as two individuals who through their official posts in the Bush’s administration, established deep connections with different intelligence and financial circles of the regime in Tehran. Since their rushed departure from the administration to capitalize on these connections, they have been well paid-advocates of preserving the tyrannical status-que in Iran, seeking to compel the US to capitulate to ayatollahs transgressions under the pretext of normalizing relations.

    • Did you forget to mention that both Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett are 101% Jewish, who supported Israeli policies before the invasion Iraq based on Jewish lies?

      http://rehmat1.com/2012/08/09/israeli-vultures-in-iraq/

      • rosemerry on said:

        You can’t pretend to back up something by linking to your own site. You are a fanatic.

        • Wouldn’t that logic of yours – make you a fanatic by reading my blog??

          However, everything I say on my blog is backed up by links to Jewish and Christian writers and authors.

          Delisting of terrorist MEK will pose a minor threat as compared to the threat the terrorist state of Israel has posed to the Islamic regime in Tehran since 1979.

          MEK is not the only Iranian terrorist group supported by he US and Israel. They also support the murderous group Jundallah and the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan, or PJAK. In a New Yorker article dated July 7, 2008, Jewish investigative writer Seymour Hersh wrote that ” The CIA and Special Operations communities also have long-standing ties to two other dissident groups in Iran: the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, known in the West as the MEK, and a Kurdish separatist group, the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan, or PJAK.”

          http://rehmat1.com/2010/12/29/western-terrorism-against-iran/

  7. Sounds like the above commentators are shills for the MEK, and rather poor ones at that. Thankfully, we have Iran specialists like Leveretts who have the breadth of experience and courage to give us a narrative that speaks truth to power, since we seem to have precious little of it in the State Department and Congress.

  8. I don’t normally agree with the authors but MEK is bad news. The one group worse than IRI are MEK. But money talks and did again.

  9. American politicians have morals; you got to be kidding, right!!

    In March 2012, US Treasury Department issued subpoenas into an investigation against over three dozen former US high ranking government and military officials for accepting large sum of money in return for lobbying for an anti-Tehran government terrorist militant group, the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), known as ‘Munafiqun-e-Khalq (or People’s traitors) in Iran. The group is listed as a ‘terrorist organization’ by the State Department. Allegedly, these Judeo-Christians sold their souls to the devil for $30,000 to $160,000.

    All under investigation are the ‘Israel-Firsters’ belonging to the Republican, Democratic and Tea parties. The list includes former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell (Jewish) of Pennsylvania and currently MSNBC contributor, Democratic Gov. Howard Dean (Jewish) of Vermont; former Republican Homeland Security Advisor to George W. Bush and currently CNN’s resident terror expert, Frances Townsend (Jewish), Bush’s Attorney General, Michael Mukasey (Jewish), and former UN ambassador John Bolton (crypto-Jew); former Republican Mayor of New York, Rudolph Guiliani (Zionist Christian); and ex-FBI Director Louis Freeh (crypto Jew) and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton (friend of Jewish Army).

    http://rehmat1.com/2012/03/19/us-leaders-charged-for-accepting-money-from-anti-iran-terrorist-group/

  10. typical response from the ass kissers of the Iranian theocratic regieme.

  11. humanist on said:

    In my view this article emanates from the minds of two analytical thinkers who often see things others fail to see.

    As an overly skeptical reader, as far as Iran is concerned, I often find my judgments differing from the opinions of most of the conscientious Western analysts. Not this one. Except the exclusion of a few important facts on further criminality and threat of MEK this article is an exemplary piece that shines more light on crucial flaws of American enterprise.

    I think anyone who harshly criticizes the essence of what is written in this article or attacks the authors personally is eighter ignorant or, with very high probability, is a low form of life.

    Hillary worked for AIPAC, Flynt was a CIA analyst. They gradually evolved as different from what they were. That transformation, according one definition of astuteness, is a clear measure of their intelligence. Furthermore the change was not driven by self-interest but by moving towards what is right. In these times, such a rare evolution requires a high doze of integrity, honesty and courage.

    Now Leveretts are increasingly listened to and are deeply respected by many thus pipsqueak are not capable of belittling them in any form or shape.

    I for one, salute them with deep sense of appreciation for what they are doing to stop heinous wars and for highlighting the deficiencies, incoherence and immorality of US foreign policy on Iran.

  12. Pingback: Daniel McAdams ~ MeK De-Listing: Washington Openly Embraces Terrorism | Shift Frequency

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  14. Frances in California on said:

    If you can de-list the demonstrably terrorist MEK, you can freakin’ well free Bradley Manning, who only told the truth.

  15. Pingback: Will the MEK become our Next Bin Laden or Al Quaeda, too? | Eslkevin's Blog