When politics dictates who is a terrorist – and who is not (part two)

Has something happened to Rudy Giuliani? The iconic former mayor of New York – remember the important role he played in the aftermath of 9/11, rallying Americans? – seems, to me at least, to have ‘lost it’. And I am not referring to his obsequious ass-kissing of boy President Trump, for whom he acts as ‘personal lawyer’, although that would be enough in my books to question someone’s relationship with reality. Have you seen him lately? I recall a speech he gave in which he ranted and raved and looked like someone ready for the sanitarium (can I use that word in 2019?). I am no doctor but he does not strike me as a well man.

Mr. Giuliani also happens to have become a shill for a bunch of people – known as the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (aka the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organisation), Farsi for People’s Mujahedin of Iran, which, at least until fairly recently, was listed by many countries as a terrorist organisation, including my own until it was cravenly ‘unlisted’ under the Harper government. The MeK was created in the 1970s in opposition to the Shah then started to attack the Khomeini government after the success of the Iranian Revolution. It was behind some truly horrific terrorist acts in Iran, including ones in 1981 and 1983 that killed dozens of government officials, among which were a president and a premier). It also killed Americans in Iran pre-1979.

At best, the MeK is a bizarre Marxist/Islamist cult whose leaders imposed celibacy on couples within the group. It resided for a long time in Iraq under the protection of Saddam Hussein and had offices in Paris, where it created the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) before its allies abandoned it, leaving the NCRI as de facto the MeK. It is roundly and categorically hated by pretty much every Iranian. I don’t know any Iranian who wants these clowns to take over the country.

But don’t tell Rudy Giuiliani, who spoke at an MeK rally in Paris in 2018, that. Or National Security Adviser John Bolton. Or even the late John McCain, a man for whom I had a great deal of respect, but not in this regard. They are all in to make this terrorist group – which by the way was one of the first groups to make the US list of terrorist entities back in 1997 (before it too was ‘delisted’ in 2012) – the saviour of Iran.

Is it just me or does this smack, yet again, of politics interfering with decision making. Yes, I know the US has had a hankering to overthrow the Iranian regime since 1979 – no one takes our diplomats hostage and gets away with it! – but are there no better options than this bunch of cultists? In truth I have to give the MeK credit as they have built a masterful propaganda campaign to gain US support, even if some of those it has successfully recruited are not the sharpest pencils in the box. And it is not only in the US where the organisation is trying to win hearts and minds. There are reports that the right wing Vox Party in Spain has received MeK funding, which is kinda odd given that Vox is anti-Muslim and evokes the Reconquista – Spain’s overthrow of its Muslim rulers from the beginning of the 8th to the end of the 15th centuries – as one of its central tenets.

Here we have a political agenda – again – dictating who is a terrorist and who is not. This is not helpful. Enough people already have little faith in intelligence and national security without this interference from politicians making it worse.

The US should stop supporting the MeK. And Rudy Giuiliani should get some help (I am not being cynical – he is not well).

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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