April 13, 2006

Help wanted.

'Government of major North American country needs independent contractors to carry out covert operations and intelligence gathering in major oil producing nation south of the Caspian Sea. Familiarity with Khuzestan and Baluchistan a plus. History of terrorist activities and past association with the Axis of Evil are no problem.'

That's pretty much the job ad that Donald Rumsfeld could have placed when he started looking for someone to forment trouble inside Iran. And, according to Larisa Alexandrovna at Raw Story, the Defense Department's chosen agents are the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), a group on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations. And, incidentally, Saddam Hussein's choice when he wanted to cause trouble in Iraq. Intelligence source told Alexandrovna that the MEK is already active inside Iran, carrying out activities in preparation for a US strike against the country. And, interestingly, the main mover behind the decision to use the MEK is reported to be none other than that great Mideast expert, VP Dick Cheney.

If the idea of using the MEK as a US surrogate sounds familiar, it should. Back in 2003, I posted at Magpie this excerpt from a Knight Ridder report on how destablilizing Iran was already on the Dubya administration's to-do list:

Officials in Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's office are using both issues to press their view that the United States should adopt both overt and covert measures to undermine the Islamic regime in Tehran, said the officials, who are involved in the debate. Other officials argue that such a campaign would backfire by discrediting the moderate Iranians who are demanding political reforms.

Although one senior official engaged in the debate said "the military option is never off the table," others said no one was suggesting an invasion of Iran, although some officials think the United States should launch a limited air strike on Iran's nuclear weapons facilities if Iran appears on the verge of producing a nuclear weapon. By some estimates, Iran could have a nuclear weapon within two years.

Some Pentagon officials suggested using the remnants of an Iranian opposition group once backed by Saddam Hussein, the Mujahedeen Khalq (MEK), to instigate armed opposition to the Iranian government. U.S. military forces in Iraq have disarmed the roughly 6,000-strong MEK, which is on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist groups. But the group's weapons are in storage and it hasn't disbanded. [My emphasis]

If the Raw Story report is confirmed, it means that Rumsfeld, the Pentagon, and the White House have learned even less from the mistakes they've been making in Iraq than even this magpie suspected. After all, it doesn't take a Ph.D. in history to know what happened the last time the US started supporting terrorists to destabilize one of the region's governments.

Can you say 'Afghanistan', Dubya? Or 'Taliban,' Mr Cheney?

Posted by Magpie at April 13, 2006 05:38 PM | Iran | Technorati links |

Umm, you mean Iran, not Iraq, correct?

Posted by: Palamedes at April 13, 2006 08:00 PM

yes. definitely iran in the first case. and i've clarified the second to make it clear that i really do mean iraq.

but i can bet that i'll make this mistake again, given how used i am to typing 'iraq.'

Posted by: magpie at April 14, 2006 12:33 PM

After a while, it does feel like "to-mae-to"/"to-mah-to", sadly...

Posted by: palamedes at April 15, 2006 07:07 AM

Um, actually, the MeK was used by Saddam to try and destabilize Iran and they fought on his side against their own country during the Iran-Iraq war, for which the Iranian public (can't imagine why) still hates them. They may well have also been used by Saddam to cause trouble in his own country, just as Iran uses disaffected Iraqi immigrants to bolster their own forces, but that's not all the use he had for them.

Posted by: natasha at April 15, 2006 02:46 PM