Developments in the Middle East and North Africa, widely described as Arab Spring, highlight a missing key element that in order to remove a tyrant people of a country need and that is a viable opposition movement to set out the plan for overthrow and the future of their countries.
Despite widespread protests and international support for uprisings in Syria and Libya, the dictators are still resisting and holding on to power. For most part it is because they have done their homework well to crackdown on their opposition and employ the Iranian agents’ many years of experience on how to crackdown on their people.
The clerics in Iran have set a very good example for the region – in a backward way. They have been facing widespread discontent for three decades and they have managed to stay in power by allocating major part of their resources to clampdown on their opposition. To this end they have spent billions of dollars to brutally crackdown their opponents inside the country and enchain dissidents outside. More than 100,000 political prisoners have been executed by the regime since its inception.
Regimes suppressive arm has acted differently abroad. As the Iranian regime no longer possesses the power to destroy its main opposition in a physical sense, it wants the Western countries to do the job for it. To facilitate for that the regime operates a vast misinformation campaign in the West.
The regime obviously couldn’t get its opponents hanged in groups or in public in the West but it has succeeded to convince Western powers to do the dirty work for it by deception, disinformation and blackmail.
The United States in 1997 designated Iran’s main organized opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MeK) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). It was openly admitted at the time that it was meant to be a goodwill gesture to the clerical dictatorship and it was confirmed to be the case by several former officials in recent months.
Regrettably, while the West appears to be backing the people in their struggle for freedom in the Arab world, it has effectively collaborated with the dictator in Iran in suppressing its viable opposition.
The FTO designation not only restricted the activities of the opposition outside Iran but also justified executions in the country. In the meantime major part of the opposition’s resources and time has been consumed in defending their just cause, though successfully, in courts. This is while all these resources could have been used to unseat the dictator in Iran. Another good service to dictator in Iran.
The FTO designation has also served to justify massacre of MeK members in Camp Ashraf in Iraq by the government in that country which is heavily influenced by mullahs’ regime.
Collaboration with the dictator in Iran against people, to everyone’s disgrace, is still continuing. The US Department of State has been dragging its feet for more than a year to remove the MeK from the FTO list. In July 2010 the US Court of Appeals in Washington ordered the State Department to revisit the designation as there was no justifiable reason to keep the group in the list. A year’s delay is totally unacceptable as it only took the Department of State to enlist the MeK in a matter of few months without even allowing the group to defend itself against unfounded charges. DOS’s delay is particularly reprehensible since Iraq’s Prime Minister Maliki, in a meeting with US Congressional delegation in Baghdad, openly justified April 8 massacre of Ashraf residents by its forces with the FTO designation.
Now that the DOS has finally announced its plan to make a decision about the designation in August, the mullahs’ regime and all its lobbies have panicked and gone on stage to repeat the worn out allegations against the MeK.
Officials of the regime and its media in Iran are threatening the US of the consequences of delisting the MeK by blackmail and terrorism. In the meantime, its lobbyists take a more moderate approach as wholehearted democrats pressing the DOS to ignore the court ruling ‘democratically’ and maintain terror designation. Their justification is that the MeK is despised by Iranians, it is violent, a cult like organization and if they are delisted, the regime will suppress the democratic opposition inside Iran.
These allegations are no new discoveries since the regime has been saying them for three decades. It is however questionable as to how these lobbyists could obtain such polls in a country where polling is not possible for two reasons; first, the regime would not allow it, second, people would not feel secure to freely express their opinion in fear of persecution.
After all, even if we assume these lobbyists are right, it is no justification to maintain designation if they truly believe in democracy. If defending a democratic movement inside Iran means to violate democratic rights of others, the intention of advocates of such assertions is not only undemocratic but also highly suspicious as the only benefactor would be the ruling regime of deceit and demagogy in Iran.