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May 23, 2003 - Image 31

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-05-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Both 'Terrorist' And Ally

ne of the stranger news items
coming out of Iraq these days
concerns an Iranian opposition
group called the Mujahedeen-e
Khalq (MEK). It's a U.S. government-
designated terrorist organization that
coalition forces first bombed from the
air, then signed a cease-fire agreement
with, and finally disarmed and protected.
Say that again?
The MEK is not your typical anti-
Western group but an organization with
a strong political presence in Western
capitals and more than 3,000 soldiers sta-
tioned in Iraq, singularly dedicated to
one goal: overthrowing its "arch-enemy,"
the Islamic Republic of Iran. Of course,
during its 17 years in Iraq, it also had to
do Saddam Hussein's bidding.
This situation raises several questions:
• Is the MEK a terrorist group? No. It
used terrorism decades ago, when its
members attacked Americans. For the
last 15 years, however, the MEK has
been organized as an army, and its only


Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle
East Forum. Patrick Clawson, deputy
director of the Washington Institute for
Near East Policy, contributed to this
report. Pipes' e-mail address is
Pipes @MEFo rum. o rg

violent actions have been directed against
the Iranian regime. Unlike Hezbollah
(which targets Jewish community centers
and shoots rockets into civilian areas),
the MEK attacks specific regime targets.
Unlike the PLO and Sinn Fein (whose
leaders were terrorists more recently and
arguably still are), the MEK really has
foresworn this barbaric tactic.
• Can the MEK liberate Iran? No. Its
strategy of invasion by an army cannot
work. The foul theocracy in Tehran will
come to an end when the democratic
forces in Iran finally manage to push it
aside. Foreigners can best help them by
inc, satellite television transmis-
sions from Iranians living in free coun-
tries (as U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-
Kan, has recently proposed).
• Can the MEK be useful? Yes.
Western spy agencies are short on
"human intelligence," meaning spies on
the ground in Iran, as distinct from eyes
in the sky. Coalition military command-
ers should seek out the MEK for infor-
mation on the Iranian mullahs' agents in
The MEK can also supply key infor-
mation about developments in Iran
where, despite a tendency toward exag-
geration, it has had some major scoops.
Its information in mid-2002 about Iran's
nuclear program, for example, was better

where in Iraq. And State is
than what the International
dreaming if it thinks the sight of
Atomic Energy Agency knew,
U.S. troops guarding the MEK
thereby leading a shocked U.S.
will mollify Iran's mullahs.
government to kick off an inves-
Instead, as the U.S. Army rec-
tigation that confirmed just how
MEK members
far advanced the Iranians are
should (after giving assurances
toward building a nuclear bomb.
not to attack Iranian territory)
Policy toward the MEK has
be permitted enough arms to
long been quietly but intensely
protect themselves from their
and bitterly debated in
Iranian opponents. And in
Washington. To curry favor with
Spe cial
Iranian "moderates," the State
Comm entary November, when the secretary
of state next decides whether or
Department designated the
not to re-certify the MEK as a terrorist
group in 1997 as a Foreign Terrorist
Organization. Although 150 members of group, he should come to the sensible
conclusion that it poses no threat to the
Congress publicly opposed this designa-
security of the United States or its citi-
tion, a U.S. Court of Appeals recently
zens, and remove it from the list of
upheld it.
Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
This stark difference of views helps
Finally, because Iran's mullahs irra-
explain Washington's erratic policies of
tionally fear the MEK (as shown by their
late. On April 15, the U.S. Army signed
1988 massacre in the jails of Iran of
a cease-fire permitting the MEK to keep
10,000 long-imprisoned MEK members
its weapons and use them against Iranian
and supporters), maintaining the MEK
regime infiltrators into Iraq.
as an organized group in separate camps
This deal infuriated the State
in Iraq offers an excellent way to intimi-
Department, which then convinced the
and gain leverage over Tehran. To
president to undo it, leading to the
deter the mullahs from taking hostile
strange sight of U.S. troops surrounding
steps (supporting terrorism against coali-
MEK camps on May 9, disarming its
tion troops in Iraq, building nuclear
fighters, and taking up positions to pro-
weapons), it could prove highly effective
tect them.
to threaten U.S. meetings with the
That's a bad idea. Coalition forces are
MEK or providing help for it. ❑
urgently needed to restore order else-

Two Minutes of Memory



he siren wails and Israel
stands still. Cars stop in
their lanes of the highway;
pedestrians freeze in mid-
stride on crosswalks; entire restau-
rants of people drop their forks and
stand to attention together.
We stand and we remember, and,
believe me, as those sirens wail your
bones shudder in fear. It is like the
primal blast of the shofar that,
according to Jewish tradition, blew
when the heavens opened with
mercy during the first act of cre-
Only this time, it signals those
same heavens opening to call the
creation back to the Creator. These

Doron Spielman is a 1996 graduate of

the University of Michigan and an alum-
nus of the Jewish Federation of Metro-
politan Detroit's Project OTZMA. He
made aliyah in 2000, and works for the
City of David in Jerusalem. His e-mail
address is doron@cityofdavid.org.il

are Israel's fallen — both those with
guns in hand on the front line, and
those with babies in hand at Sbarro's
Pizza. Well over 20,000 of them in
the 55 years since the declaration of
the State of Israel.
Those sirens bear no good tidings.
They are the same sirens that have
continued to blow every Memorial
Day since the armies of Iraq, Iran,
Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt
besieged our land in 1948. They are
the sirens that signaled the approach
of Saddam's rockets in 1990, and
that, thank God, have remained
silent over the last few months.
Every one of us knows at least one
person who stood like us last year in
silent reflection and now stands in
something infinitely worse. To be
honest with you, I think that many
others like me take a moment to
pray that we should never know
their personal pain.
Then the sirens wail down. Not all
at the same time now, but slightly
staggered so that the echo through-

remember those who sacri-
ficed themselves so that I
may live? Throughout the
rest of the day I am set on
trying to figure out what I
can do to better remember
them. Next year I will go to
the national cemetery, visit
Yad Vashem, plant a tree in
SPIEL MAN their honor, I tell myself.
As I come to this conclu-
Spe cial
day has turned to
Comm entary
Doing More
evening, and my thoughts
are drawn away by the
For one moment, life was
taken from us all, and in that instant sounds of music permeating the
night. The smells of barbeques are
we shared something so powerful, so
everywhere, and people begin to
communal, it can scarcely be
out into the streets smiling.
Evening marks the beginning of
Few speak about it immediately
Israel's Independence Day celebra-
afterwards. It takes a few moments
tions on Iyar 5 (the evening of May
before we can look another person
6 this year), and there is not a per-
directly in their eyes. Most continue
son without a party to go to. The
wherever they left off. But nothing
change is simply abrupt. But this is
is the same.
fitting for Israel, because this is what
I am left feeling frustrated and
do on an almost daily basis.
angry. Mostly at myself. Were those
SPIELMAN on page 36
two minutes all I an giving to

out the hills of Jerusalem
sounds like a mother weep-
ing for her young. We are all
mothers then.
Then, miraculously, life
once again fills those bodies.
Pedestrians in mid-stride
continue on their way; babies
begin to cry; cars resume
their journeys to wherever.



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