Who are the Iranian opposition?

Critics of any U.S. intervention in the Iran crisis have repeatedly pointed out that the protesters are also true-believing Shi’ite Muslims, who, if they came to power, would not change anything essential about Iran from our point of view.

Now get this. Guess what is the name of “the largest and best organized Iranian opposition group,” as Daniel Pipes describes it. Guess.

Mujahedeen-e Khalq. The People’s Mujahedeen of Iran.

Mujahedeen. Holy Warriors.

Yeah, that’s the ticket. Let’s interfere in internal Iranian affairs so as to facilitate the transfer of power from the mullahs to the mujahedeen. Let’s put all our eggs in that basket.

And, indeed, Daniel (“moderate Islam is the solution”) Pipes himself is a strong supporter of the People’s Holy Warriors of Iran, having repeatedly attended their annual conferences in Paris, the most recent one of which took place last Saturday.

Pipes says that the group is moderate, is against the export of terror, and wants the U.S. to exert pressure on the mullahs to get them to stop developing nuclear weapons. He also points out that the speech by its leader, a woman named Maryam Rajavi, at the Paris conference was “blessedly clear of attacks on the United States or Israel.” But to say that the speech was “blessedly clear” of such attacks clearly implies that the speech was different in this regard from her previous speeches. Otherwise, instead of saying that Rajavi’s speech last weekend was blessedly clear of attacks on the U.S. and Israel, Pipes would have simply said that the organization as such does not attack the U.S. and Israel.

But, really, all that’s beside the point. What kind of Islamic moderates would call themselves mujahedeen? It doesn’t pass the laugh test.

- end of initial entry -

Terry Morris writes:

“Blessedly clear,” eh? Great! How can I help? Where do I send my first donation? Are there any rallies that I can attend? I mean, such Islamist speeches—blessedly clear of calls for attacks on the U.S. and Israel—are so few and far between, afterall.

It didn’t occur to Pipes that maybe, just maybe, this group has toned its rhetoric down in an attempt to win the support of the U.S.? What an empty headed dupe.

JB writes:

Your characterization of the People’s Mujahedeen as simply holy warriors is oversimplified.

This CFR backgrounder characterizes the organization as a mix of feminism, Marxism and Islam. This organization was also on our terrorist lists for a while and allied with Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

Not that this makes them more attractive than the mullahs.

LA replies:

I didn’t characterize them as holy warriors. Mujahedeed MEANS holy warriors.

Further, if they are not holy warriors, but call themselves such, doesn’t that require some explanation on Pipes’s part? Doesn’t he realize that his endorsement of “mujahedeen” will seem just a tad odd and disturbing? No, he doesn’t realize that, because, as I’ve shown over and over, no one, except me, ever challenges his wildly contradictory statements, so he has no need to think about what he’s saying.

Also, when you say “our” terrorist list, what organization are you referring
to? Council on Foreign Relations?

William A. writes:

I think that the Mujahadeen al Khalq are bad people. I think Moussavi is a bad person. I don’t want my country to resemble the country they want. But that being said, anything that undermines and weakens the theocratic state of iran is probably in our interest. [LA replies: But that’s NOT the argument being made by their champions in the U.S. They’re treating them as fellow believers in liberty, pro-Western etc.]

Moreover, I think all soldiers and warriors in the ummah call themselves mujahadeen. Every war they fight takes on the character of a jihad. That’s built into the history, the culture, and the language. [LA replies: Well, isn’t that the whole point?]

William A. replies:

You wrote:

“Well, isn’t that the whole point?”

Yes, it is an important point. But it cuts both ways.

It does mean that the world will never be fully free until Islam goes the way of Mithraism … but it also means that some of those who call themselves mujahadeen may not in fact be Islamic fanatics … however, if your point is, that you can take the boy out of the ummah, but you can’t take the jihad out of the boy, you are probably right and that is something to ponder.

Take the rooftop shouts of Allah O Akbar! for example. What does this phenomenon really mean? Do these cries mean more than opposition to the regime? Is shouting God is great! and acknowledging a Divine power over a government established by men (even in God’s name) any different in Tehran than ackowedging the Creator’s natural law would be in Boston? I think it probably is different, but I am not sure that what people in Tehran believe is necessarily objectionable. Granted the cultural history, I agree that it probably is objectionable, for the majority of the shouters, but perhaps not for all.

That being said, I am in agreement with the principle ideas of Separationism. All too often we fool ourselves when we think that people in the ummah mean what we mean by God, natuiral law, etc.

And what I think would be a big improvement for Muslim society would be a big step backwards for ours.

You wrote:

“But that’s NOT the argument being made by their champions in the U.S. They’re treating them as fellow believers in liberty, pro-Western etc.”

Well, that’s starry-eyed and foolish, isn’t it? Many of the people in the street may want liberty and democracy, but there is no evidence that Moussavi or his ilk want the people to have either one.

To repeat in a slightly different way, the theocratic regime in Iran is the fount of worldwide Islamic extremism and terror. Even though they are Shia, and many of the terrorists are Sunni. That is not as important as the Tehran regime’s role in organizing world wide terror attacks against the West. Anything that gives it the appearance of success emboldens all Islamists, whether Shia or Sunni, and its destruction will demoralize our enemies and strengthen whatever few friends in the ummah we do have.

EK writes:

I think we must first destabilize the present regime—every revolution that we know has had multiples of revolts—visit the French and the Russian revolutions—it will give us time and in the meantime they will be too busy and fractured to stop all our moves.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 24, 2009 12:57 PM | Send

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