Mujahideen Khalq, MKO, MEK is an Iranian organization with a long history of switching sides and shifting alliances.
During the rule of the Shah of Iran, the MEK/MKO were a radical group that targeted Americans.
They were part of the Iranian Revolution of 1979, and had a role in the storming of the American Embassy in November of that year and the taking of American hostages.
In the early 1980s they broke with the ruling theocratic clerics (under Khomeini) and their leadership left Iran, but some remained and waged a guerilla-style war against the mullahs. A large number of them moved to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq next door, where they switched sides and served him faithfully in the war against their own country, Iran, as well as against the Kurdish rebels. That was fine by the Arab oil kings and potentates: at that time they also financed Saddam’s wars.
As soon as Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990, the MEK/MKO became pariahs along both sides of the Persian Gulf. During the Desert Storm and its aftermath, they were reportedly helpful in crushing rebellions against the Baath rule in southern Iraq.
After the 2003 invasion of Iraq by Western powers, with strong Arab help, the MEK/MKO moved to a huge camp outside Baghdad. When the Iraqi elections brought a Shi’a-Kurdish-dominated government, the MEK/MKO found new sponsors and financiers: Arab kings and princes, mainly Saudis. They also were eventually, and painstakingly, forced to move out of Iraq.
Ever since, the organization has moved even closer to the Al Saud rulers, eventually they also got close to the Israeli Mossad. The Iranian regime often accuses MEK/MKO agents of committing violent acts overseas for which the regime gets blamed. Eventually Hillary Clinton and various Republican and Democrat politicians in the USA helped take the Mujahideen off the US government terrorist list a few years ago.
Since then, the organization has suddenly become rich and generous with money towards American politicians. It can afford lobbyists in Washington, and it can buy former and current American politicians. Its leaders for life, the Rajavi couple, live in the Paris area. They hold occasional huge conferences called “Iran Liberation” conference. The emphasis at these “conferences” is on photo-ops with famous American politicians, current and former. And they pay well for these photo-ops. The list of famous Americans who get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, allegedly for “speaking” but really for showing up includes: Newt Gingrich, his wife Callista (a new face at this year’s conference), Rudy Giuliani, General Wesley Clark, Bill Richardson, Howard Dean, Joe Lieberman, John Bolton…… Among many others (just wait until Trump leaves office).
They all probably know that this organization has little if any support or credibility inside Iran, that its siding with Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime was probably an unforgivable act. So, it is a waste of American time and money to emphasis it. But the money received is too good for them to resist.
Speaking of the money: a has-been Saudi prince (Turki Al Faisal Al Saud) now attends every conference of this organization, no doubt assuming that this bestows some Neocon-type “legitimacy” on it among American officials. Of course the reaction to the use of this un-elected absolute Saudi prince inside Iran is obvious. Even the lousy self-styled Palestinian leader, the Mayor of Ramallah, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) attended the previous conference.
The self-delusion about Iran and the Middle East during and after these conferences is breath-taking. They actually seriously talk about “regime” change in Iran, meaning outside action to change the regime. It almost matches the self-delusion inside the US Congress (both houses, both parties) on the same topic.
They all must know it is pure nonsense, but the again money is too good for all participants, and the futile message sounds good to many extreme right-wing US media outlets. Besides, the Israeli Lobby and the newly influential Saudi lobby and the sources of oil money in Washington like it.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum