"The Third Way"
Survivors Report, May 2005
The context of this third way is that the MKO's forces amount to between 2-3 thousand ageing combatants, whose average age is over 45 years old, and in addition, according to the US State Department's Country Reports on Terrorism 2004, "a significant number of MEK personnel have “defected” from the Ashraf group, and several dozen of them have been voluntarily repatriated to Iran."
Recent public and political debate over Iran's nuclear power program, has polarized in some circles around proposals for regime change and how this might be achieved.
On 13 April, the Middle East sub-committee of the US House of Representatives discussed legislation relating to Iran. The Iran Freedom Support Act (HR 282) defines its purpose as, "To hold the current regime in Iran accountable for its threatening behavior and to support a transition to democracy in Iran." The legislation calls on the White House to support pro-democracy forces that oppose the Iranian regime.
In a similar vein one US think tank called the Iran Policy Committee states that "in consideration of the perceived threat to the US from Iran, the question is, what means should the President use to decrease threats posed by Iran:
· Continued negotiations, including positive and negative incentives
· Future military action
· Support for the Iranian opposition
These options are neither mutually exclusive nor logically exhaustive; but they do reflect courses of action being considered in Washington."
The report concludes that "Washington should consider a third alternative, one that provides a central role for the Iranian opposition to facilitate regime change."
This introduction of a third alternative sounds familiar. We have heard about it from other circles:
Andrew Mackinlay, MP,
Speaking at the Symposium of Parliamentarians and Jurists, March 22, 2005
"Mrs. Rajavi, when she spoke in the European Parliament, quite rightly in my view, rejected the European Union's policy of engagement - or appeasement, as some of us would call it. But, as a proud Iranian woman, she also rejected any prospect of external aggression, and I applaud that. She pointed to a third way: facilitating the men and women of Iran themselves to change their county's regime and bring about justice and democracy."
Dr. Rudi Vis, MP
House of Commons, Hansard Daily Debates, March 24, 2005
"Mrs. Rajavi… rightly rejects the appeasement approach that France, Germany and the UK want to follow. She also rightly rejects the war option. She presented a third option—change brought about by the Iranian people and the Iranian resistance.
It is difficult to understand the appeasement road. Why would anyone be in favour of a regime that has no human rights, has a nuclear weapons programme, exports terrorism and fundamentalism and has killed 120,000 [sic] of its own people? It is also difficult to understand the war option, particularly after Iraq. I would add that there are few similarities between the societies of Iran and Iraq.
Mrs. Rajavi's third way is surely the preferred option. It requires the proscription of the PMOI to be lifted as soon as possible."
Are we to assume then that the political debate in the USA about a third alternative is somehow linked to the Mojahedin promoting itself under the banner of the third way?
In April, Tom Tancredo (Republican, Colorado), acting as co-chair of the Iran Policy Committee also called for an end to the State Department's designation of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) as a terrorist group.
When we are talking about 'a central role for the Iranian opposition to facilitate regime change' or even the 'transition to democracy in Iran' surely what needs to be clarified is what opposition should benefit from US governmental support? And in what ways it is anticipated that such opposition will oppose the regime in order to bring about regime change?
There are many, many individuals and groups, both inside and outside Iran who are actively seeking Iran's transition from clerical rule to secular rule and who seek the inclusion in a democratically elected government of representatives for the many different political, social and economic views which already exist in Iran.
Why then do we see promotion of the terrorist Mojahedin organization and a lack of recognition and support for more peaceful movements of change in Iran?
One reason could be that the Mojahedin has had millions of dollars made available to it by Saddam Hussein for its propaganda activities in the West. The Mojahedin's success has always come at the expense of other groups whose efforts are not so lavishly funded and who do not practice the same totalitarian structure internally, and who do not employ a system of modern slavery in order to push forward their agenda.
In spite of this discrepancy however, there has been no lack of information about the Mojahedin available to western politicians. The US State Department has now published its 2004 Country Reports on Terrorism. There is no reason to suppose that other governments take a different view.
Perhaps the real problem for politicians who support the Mojahedin is that they believe their own governments have designated the MKO as terrorist for political reasons, as part of deals with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In this case, only the Mojahedin's own words will have resonance for those determined to support the Mojahedin as the only alternative to the current regime.
Maryam Rajavi introduced her Third Way as a rejection of both appeasement and military intervention by a foreign power. She told her Western audience, "…There is a third option: If foreign obstacles are removed, the Iranian people and their organized resistance have the capability to bring about change. This is the only way to prevent foreign invasion. …the People’s Mojahedin, (a member of the NCRI) the pivotal force within the Resistance…"
For elucidation we can read the following article (translated from Farsi) by the Mojahedin's own theorist, Bijan Niabati, called the Third Way.
In it, Mr Niabati says "The Third Way as the Mojahedin explain it [externally] means democratic changes in Iran through the Iranian people and the Iranian Resistance! In more understandable words, instead of a military offensive (as in the case of Iraq) or the policies of fruitless appeasement and ambiguity to achieve "regime change", it is better that the concerned world open the way for the Iranian Resistance and stop supporting the regime of the Islamic Republic!
The pure Farsi translation
of this policy would be:
For two decades, at the peak of its strength, the Mojahedin was poised to topple the regime in Iran with the backing of Saddam Hussein. The current demand for air support from the Americans betrays both its incompetence and its lack of independence. The Mojahedin is now desperately looking for a new sponsor. Yet the article concludes, "One should fight back with all force against any possibility of an American military assault." Does this not echo its violently anti-imperialist past?
What Bijan Niabati succeeds in doing in this article is to reassure the Marxist members of the Mojahedin – the ideological membership - that in spite of its false western face, the leadership – both Massoud and Maryam Rajavi – have not abandoned the core values and ideological beliefs of the organization, which are couched here in the ex-Soviet, Marxist style which is the internal language of the Mojahedin.
The real context of this Third Way is that Maryam Rajavi has been investigated by the French Judiciary on terrorism charges and will soon be brought to trial along with several other leading MKO members in France.
The context of this Third Way is that the MKO's forces amount to between 2-3 thousand ageing combatants, whose average age is over 45 years old, and in addition, according to the US State Department's Country Reports on Terrorism 2004, "a significant number of MEK personnel have “defected” from the Ashraf group, and several dozen of them have been voluntarily repatriated to Iran."
With increasing disaffection and desertion among even the Mojahedin's closest supporters and members, can we assess the Third Way as anything but a desperate plea for survival at any cost.
The Third Way!
By Bijan Niabati
Last Thursday the large Congress of Iranians was held in Washington.
The organizers of this meeting were the "Mojahedin Khalq Organization", sponsored and supported by the "Enterprise" Institute and "Michael Ledeen" himself. Last year, a concert in Washington was also organized and sponsored by the same people…
My enemy's enemy is my friend!
I have written articles about the "Enterprise" Institute before and in an article The confrontation of two analyses in the Paris show, 9th Mordad 1382 (July 31, 2003) I mentioned that: "Regime change is something that has been decided upon. The problem is, an acceptable alternative to take power".
The commissioning of such an alternative or a "desirable alternative" has been the aim of this Institute. The problem it faced on one side was that forces acceptable to it, the monarchists and liberals, had neither a viable organization to accept leadership nor had they the "means and tools" to bring about regime change. And on the other side, the forces which were unacceptable, the Mojahedin and their allies in the "National Council of Resistance", not only had amazing organizational capability and a charismatic leader and an experienced, controllable, mechanized army which would put it in position as the only serious force outside the ruling regime of Iran, but it also had the potential and the tools for toppling the ruling regime of Iran!
The line taken by this Institute therefore in the last one or two years has always been to gather together the totally dependent figures of the Monarchists with the totally independent forces of the Mojahedin Khalq.
On the other side, for the Mojahedin, who were under the crushing pressure of nine foreign powers, and which the only superpower of the world had decided to physically destroy, for the Mojahedin to choose the pragmatic policy of "my enemy's enemy is my friend" would be the peak of their political awareness and expertise if they would be successful without giving up their "hegemony" whatever the price! I wrote in my article two years ago at the height of the 17th June attacks: "for the Mojahedin, whatever else may be considered as negotiable, the issue of "hegemony" is not negotiable! If not, there would not have been any need for the 'Ideological Revolution'."
The ideal for the Mojahedin is to be recognized by the Americans by their military might in the context of the "National Liberation Army" and their one voice political alternative under the name of the "National Council of Resistance"!
This ideal is as real! as the other side's ideal, which is [to emulate] the role of "the [Afghan] Northern Alliance" but this time against Iran by the Mojahedin!
As important and vital as it is for the Mojahedin to keep their "revolutionary democratic" hegemony, it is as important and vital for the Americans to see the imposition of a "dependent Bourgeoise anti revolutionary" as a real test of trust for the Mojahedin and nothing else. " (The confrontation of two analyses in the Paris show, 9th Mordad 1382 (July 31, 2003)
The desired method for the Americans for a controlled change in the regimes in the region is to start a Velvet Revolution. It means that either the dictatorial regimes should accept the basic fundamental of referring to the vote of the people and prepare their societies for the attack of "liberal democracy" or they will be sidelined! Recently, I heard a sentence quoting "Ali Abdullah Saleh" the president of Yemen saying that "Either we will cut and dress our hair ourselves or they will shave it for us"!
Relative to the above, the presence of "Richard Perl", theorizer of the hawks in the present American administration, participating in last year's concert in Washington to preliminarily introduce and emphasize the [Mojahedin's] "referendum" as a so called solution presented by the Mojahedin, was to try to present it in a framework of non violent (read anti-revolutionary) line of action. In this respect, the Mojahedin, by presenting the tactic of "referendum" purchased its ticket to enter the present political checks and balances.
After entering the scene, contrary to the expectation of many whose mouths were slavering in anticipation of the fall of the hegemony of Mojahedin!, the Mojahedin not only did not accept the disgrace of sitting with the counter revolutionaries supported by "Enterprise", but by introducing the "Third Way" to the European Parliament, they consequently entered the international equation over the problem of Iran in a much higher level.
The Mojahedin had sent the message to the other side that if there is going to be any cooperation, the condition is that your deals must be only with us. Certainly do not ask us to sit down with any other group or force!
The reaction of the "Enterprise" institute was the premature and knee jerk "Referendum" proposal by "Mohsen Sazgara" with the support of "Reza Pahlavi" under the umbrella of "Michael Ledeen". Not forgetting that in the last few years, there has been a history of contacts between the so called reformists inside the regime and the buried remnants of the Monarchists.
The only result they got from this program, was that the "Reza Pahlavi" card was burned by "Sazegara".
Current events are being pursued with new offensives by the Mojahedin on two fronts at the same time. Preparing the atmosphere for removing the name of the Mojahedin from the list of terrorism, and gathering international support for the Third Way! If the Mojahedin is successful in respect of the Third Way, they will be standing on the same principles they were insisting on before the occupation of Iraq.
What is the Third Way?
The Third Way as the Mojahedin explain it means democratic changes in Iran through the Iranian people and the Iranian Resistance! In more understandable words, instead of a military offensive (as in the case of Iraq) or the policies of fruitless appeasement and ambiguity to achieve "regime change", it is better that the concerned world open the way for the Iranian Resistance and stop supporting the regime of the Islamic Republic!
The pure Farsi translation
of this policy would be:
This is exactly what the Mojahedin are counting on. If this happens, I believe that the victory of the Mojahedin in an election after the fall of the regime is also guaranteed! Because it would have all the legitimacy which will go to a force which has brought the dawn with the fall of the regime. In this respect, the guarantee given by the Mojahedin to the other side for a free and fair election after the regime toppled is such a small point that it would not bring any change in the power equation of after the downfall.
In another words, "the technique of bringing changes" to a dialectic relation, would be only in the hands of the force which is the instigator of the changes. One is not after the "reform" of this revolutionary force which will enjoy a hegemonic role.
By the same logic, it is obvious that any other proposed solution, that is, the dreamlike way of Referendum or the direct military intervention of America, would lead to the creation of any force except a revolutionary force!
The arguments about what this force, which would topple the regime and whose name would come out of the ballet boxes, would do with the International Monetary Bank or the World Bank or even how would it stop the rule of capitalism in "civil society" and in general what its balancing mechanisms would be in the long term program of a "United Middle East" and … is another matter.
The proposed "referendum" solution cannot work. A velvet revolution in Iran can also be dismissed as a dream. One should fight back with all force against any possibility of an American military assault. The "Third Way" is the most logical way to confront the religious monster ruling Iran and is the end to a nightmare which has been expanding for more than a quarter of a century.