When Terrorism Isn't Terrorism

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Sohrab Amhari highlights what, to simple-minded folk, would seem to be a bit of hypocrisy at the National Iranian American Council, which has functioned, on occasion, as a kind of AIPAC for the Iranian regime. NIAC is arguing that the MEK, an anti-mullah group (some, including friend-of-Goldblog Elizabeth Rubin, say it's a cult), should remain on the State Department terrorism list. But NIAC previously had lobbied to keep the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, arguably a much more brutal organization, off the list:


On August 2, dozens of Iranian-American luminaries and their allies took to the pages of the "Financial Times" with a joint statement denouncing the proposed move. "The [MKO], an organization ... that enjoyed the support of Saddam Hussein lost any following it had in Iran when it fought on Iraq's behalf during the 1980-88 war," they wrote. "Widespread Iranian distaste for the [MKO] has been cemented by its numerous attacks against numerous innocent Iranian civilians."

Which is all very true. The MKO is indeed a bizarre, Islamo-Marxist cult with a long record of gruesome terrorist attacks against civilian targets and little support among Iran's young democrats.

Yet the statement's authors -- which include many prominent proponents of the failed "engagement" strategy for dealing with Tehran -- have missed the bad faith of the outfit spearheading their campaign: the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), often accused of serving as an unofficial lobby for the Islamic republic and led by the enigmatic Trita Parsi.

The NIAC is the last organization Iranian-Americans -- not to mention Washington -- should turn to when it comes to moral clarity on the issue of terrorism.

After all, just a few years ago, Parsi and the NIAC were busy urging the State Department not to add another, far worse organization to its list of FTOs: the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), often called the mullahs' Praetorian Guard.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/08/when-terrorism-isnt-terrorism/243715/