The MEK Lobby: Chumming with Terrorists No More
September 27, 2012
The People’s Mujahedin of Iran—or MEK—is a militant organization advocating the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which for many years was listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. In September 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the group would be removed from the terrorist list. The decision was a major victory for the group’s backers, who spent millions on an aggressive lobbying campaign that included a host of prominent former U.S. officials and a crop of longtime neoconservatives. The decision also raised a number of concerns about a potential backlash from Iran, which could have repercussions on efforts to negotiate limits to that country’s nuclear program.
A torture apologist and speechwriter for President George W. Bush, Marc Thiessen is a columnist for the Washington Post who has used his perch to advance a number of right-wing talking points on national security. Thiessen recently publicized a misleading claim about President Obama’s White House tenure alleging that the president skipped half of his intelligence briefings, when in reality the president had simply opted to read them rather than have them delivered orally. It was a claim the Post’s own fact checker called specious and “curious.”
Tommy Thompson, a former governor of Wisconsin and secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush, is the Republican Party’s 2012 Senate nominee for Wisconsin. His record on foreign policy is thin—indeed, the only marginally relevant section on his campaign website concerns the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which he argues will help free the United States from the “manipulation” of “hostile” countries. Thompson has also endorsed the U.S. alliance with Israel (despite his history of making insensitive statements about Jews) and warned that a nuclear Iran could choke off the “Gulf” of Hormuz.
Réalité-EU is a hawkish policy outfit that promotes aggressive European policies toward Iran and other “threats” in the Middle East. The group purports to be based in London, but investigations by progressive blogs have suggested that the group is linked with The Israel Project, a neoconservative-leaning “pro-Israel” advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. The organization’s website no longer lists a London address, but it continues to churn out hawkish analyses and policy recommendations aimed at European policymakers.
Fred Iklé, who passed away in November 2011, was a well known foreign policy analyst and government official who supported a host of militarist foreign policies dating back to the 1970s—including rolling back détente with the Soviet Union and the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. His case, however, presents an interesting reflection on the efforts of militarists today to expand U.S. military engagement in the Middle East. In particular, like many other erstwhile supporters of the Iraq War, Iklé eventually grew disillusioned with the neoconservative-led campaign to reshape the region’s geopolitical landscape and argued that an attack on Iran would be a “catastrophic failure.”
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