Updated: 5/16/2006; 3:14:27 PM.

Current events
Post-9-11 events and analyses

daily link  Friday, January 07, 2005

Shades of Gray: Another example of how the war on terror is misnamed; sometimes they are "our" terrorists.  And as it turns out, sometimes the same people were Saddam's terrorists too. (I've seen other articles detail US cooperation with Saddam in supporting anti-Iran groups like these prior to 1991).  "The Duelfer report alleges that Saddam gave funds to a listed terror group. But the claim does little to advance the White House case for war..

Duelfer’s evidence linking the MEK to the burgeoning Oil-for-Food scandal comes from 13 secret lists that were maintained by Iraqi oil officials of favored recipients for vouchers for the sale of oil overseas. Duelfer’s report says the Iraqi government maintained a rigorous high-level process for nominating foreign companies or individuals who were to be awarded the Oil-for-Food vouchers and that Saddam himself personally signed off on every name that was put (or struck off) the list. ..

Saddam is known to have supported the group for years as a potential subversive force against the theocratic mullahs in Tehran. Just last year, the U.S. Treasury Department shut down the operations of an affiliated group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, on the grounds that it was serving as the political front—with an office at the National Press Building in Washington, D.C.—for the MEK.

But at the same time, the MEK has been championed for years by leading members of Congress who, like its spokesman, have described it as a legitimate resistance movement opposing a tyrannical government run by religious fanatics. As recently as four years ago, more than 200 members of Congress signed statements endorsing the National Council’s cause (including prominent Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Missouri GOP  Sen. Kit Bond.) ..

The question of how to view the MEK has intensified in the wake of the war in Iraq. After the invasion, U.S. troops rounded up thousands of MEK militants, viewing them at first as terrorists who had been aligned with Saddam. But the Bush administration was divided over what to do with them. Some Pentagon hard-liners and neoconservative political activists pushed last year to provide the group with secret U.S. backing as part of a broader covert campaign to destabilize the mullahs’ regime in Tehran.

But Bush ultimately rejected that move on the grounds that it would send mixed messages in the war on terror, one administration official said. In the meantime, administration moderates, including officials at the State Department, argued, by contrast, that not only should MEK militants in Iraq be rounded up and disarmed, but that the US should consider some sort of deal with Tehran whereby MEK fighters in Iraq would be turned over to Iranian authorities. In exchange, State Department officials contended, Iranian authorities might be persuaded to deport or extradite Al Qaeda leaders .. Meanwhile, the Bush administration has been methodically reviewing the status of about 3,800 MEK militants at Camp Ashraf, about 60 miles northeast of Baghdad. "

  10:28:32 AM  permalink  

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Copyright 2006 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 5/16/2006; 3:14:27 PM.