The terrorist organizations that for national causes decide to forswear violent campaign and practice of terrorism may be granted the opportunity to accomplish their political demands through peaceful avenues. The groups and organizations that claim to have renounced armed campaign are mostly judged by their actions rather than the words. There are groups that indeed mean what they say and declare it publicly for the world to see and judge. On the contrary, there exist groups that their non-proclaimed but quoted claims of renouncing terrorism corroborate the intention of evading a just judgment rather than adhering to non-violent practices to fulfill the rightful objectives.
The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) is a loyalist paramilitary group in Northern Ireland which was formed in 1966. Formed as an armed group from the very beginning, it declared war on the IRA, and made note of the fact that they were "heavily armed Protestants dedicated to this cause”.
In the course of its forty-year long armed activities, UVF has been reportedly responsible for the killing of some 550 people. Whatever the cause, it had created a nightmare of terrorism threat that led to its proscription as a terrorist group. Although the group had declared a ceasefire 13 years ago, but since then its members have been blamed for more than 20 murders. However, through an officially issued statement, UVF declared that “as of 12 midnight, Thursday 3 May 2007, the Ulster Volunteer Force and Red Hand Commando will assume a non-military, civilianised, role”.
Transformation from a terrorist to a civilian organization includes measures as stated in the statement: “All recruitment has ceased; military training has ceased; targeting has ceased and all intelligence rendered obsolete; all active service units have been de-activated; all ordinance has been put beyond reach and the IICD instructed accordingly”.
The statement seems to be a sensible recognition of a new political reality that the world is no more a place for armed or violent actions, rather any pro-democratic move is welcomed if the repentant armed groups really mean it.
The Iranian Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) is also a proscribed terrorist group with a forty-year long history of violence and the most vicious terrorist activities against Iranian people. There is no exact number of the victims of its atrocities but it is believed to reach thousands. Habilian Association has announced that it has collected a list of 12000 terrorism victims that have been killed and assassinated by the terrorist agents of MKO across Iran.
Failing to accomplish its political ambitions after the Islamic revolution in Iran, MKO declared war against the newly established government and its heads fled to France. In a 54-page booklet entitled “Resistance on the Rise” which was published by MKO as a hallmark of its military operations in 1987, the group gave a detailed account of more than 20 terrorist operations perpetrated by its terrorists teams in various Iranian regions and cities. In these attacks, Mojahedin’s operation teams killed and wounded hundreds of Iranian officials and innocent civilians. The State Department’s report on the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iranpresents an evidential summary of the group’s bloody history although leaves many other details untold.
Expelled by France in 1986, MKO leaders turned to Saddam Hussein who invited them and granted them military base, equipment and training as well as financial support. Settled near the Iran-Iraq borderlines, the group operation teams had the precious opportunity to plan and carry out their terrorist operations across the border onto the Iranian territories. Soon they turned into Saddam’s mercenaries and assisted his regimes in its bloody crackdown on Iraqi Shiits and Kurds who rose up against Saddam Hussein's regime. But it was not the end of the group’ decadence. Desperately attempting to survive the political cul-de-sac, the group underwent a total change and transformed into a cult with an ideologically terrorist infrastructure.
The threat of MKO’s terrorist members at the service of the tyrant Saddam and a great number of them then known as the insiders of a destructive cult being at large in Western countries caused its proscription on the US State Department’s list of the terrorist organizations which was updated on April 30, 2007.
An example of the group’s cult-terrorist operations in the European countries occurred in June 2003 after the French anti-terrorist forces arrested 164 suspected members of the group including the head of the group, Maryam Rajavi, on charges of planning “terrorist activities, association with a terrorist organization and financing terrorist operations”. Immediately following the arrest, the group’s protesting members and sympathizers poured into the streets of Paris and some other European cities and a number of them set themselves on fire. These human torches forced the French authorities to set the she-guru free.
In May 2002 the Council of the European Union, in order to implement the Security Council Resolution 1373 to combat terrorism, proscribed, as the United Kingdom in March 2001 had already done, MKO as a terrorist group whose funds and other financial assets or economic resources had to be frozen. In reaction to the Council’s decision, MKO brought an action against the Council of the European Union before the Court of First Instance of the European Communities on 26 July 2002. In an attempt to win the judicial decision against the Council, MKO claimed that “it and all its members have expressly renounced all military activity since June 2001 and it no longer has an armed structure at the present time”.
However, there are broad evidences of many instances of launching mortar attacks and detonating bombs inside Iran after the claimed renunciation of military activities since June 2001. The The evidences are all rendered as official reports published in Mojahed, the official organ of MKO.
These evidences, along with the self-immolations of June 2003, well indicate that MKO neither has forsworn violence and terrorism nor intends to do so. If MKO is really sincere in its decision to assume a non-military campaign, a legally gifted right to many other political campaigners, then, why it does not issue a statement to declare it forswears violence and terrorism as UVF did? Unless MKO officially declares renunciation of terrorism, its leaders’ wear of pro-democracy in Western countries are doomed to be counterproductive and short-sting.
The people who claim to be supporting the establishment of democracy in Iran should first themselves adopt the principles of democracy. To run a military camp in Iraq, Camp Ashraf, with some 3400 insiders held against their will, in no way corresponds with the tenets of democracy the group advertises in the European communities.
Furthermore, recently we encounter a widespread rallies and demonstrations orchestrated by MKO in a number of European capitals demanding to be removed from the terror list of the EU. The demand might be liable to reconsideration on condition MKO declares renunciation of terrorism and disbands its military bases.
The European backers of MKO, especially those in the UK parliament including Lord Tavern, Roger Gale, Brian Binley, and Lord Corbett of Castle Vale, should give a good account of their backing if they have concluded to support a proscribed group that has bought their support with a pro-democratic wear for whatever collective political cause. The reasons for the inclusion of MKO on the terror list are unquestioned, and if the group’s backers indeed follow peaceful causes, which is appreciated by the public opinion, the best they can do is to encourage MKO to officially forswear terrorism, as UVF did. It is practically a good test for both the group and its backers to prove they mean what they say.