Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

A pretty ho-hum gaggle today, except for one small tid-bit on claims that Iran is hiding a nuclear weapons facility:

Q — report about the dissident group in Europe that said there is a secret installation where the Iranians are actually enriching right now. Have you seen that; can you confirm that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Seen the reports?

Q Yes.

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes. We’re aware of those reports. I mean, that’s been — the report in the press over the last couple of days. And certainly, as you’re aware, that is an organization that we include on our terrorist list. And so it’s not an organization that we have any contacts with, but —

The reporter was of course referring to a press conference in Paris yesterday conducted by the National Council of Resistance, the political front for Mujahedeen Khalq (People’s Mujahedeen).

That’s right, the neocons are relying on reports from a Marxist-Islamist terrorist group and former Saddam Hussein ally to whip up war fever against Iran.

The Mujahedeen Khalq began in the early 1960s, funded by radical university students in Tehran and adopting an ideology that combines elements of Marxism and Islam. Initially, the group declared itself willing to use force to fight the Western influence of the Shah Reza Pahlavi in Iran.

As the only armed and organized opposition group during the final years of the shah’s rule, many historians say that the Khalq played an important role in his eventual overthrow in 1979. But the group, with an ideology that combined elements of Marxism and Islam, soon fell out with its former allies. It then rallied against the government of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s Islamic Republic, staging anti-Khomeini demonstrations.

In 1981 the group was forced to relocate to Paris, where it advocated the overthrow of the Islamic Republic by force. Under pressure from the French, the group relocated to Baghdad in 1986, where Saddam Hussein backed them as allies in his fight against the Islamic Republic in Iran.

In the years that followed, it has been described as a fanatical fringe movement, branded as terrorists by the United States in 1997 and the European Union in 2000.

Though the U.S. bombed the group’s bases during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, it was slow to negotiate the group’s surrender, allegedly because it valued the group’s intelligence on Iran. Since then, the group has reportedly surrendered its weapons to the coalition forces, saying it no longer is a militant organization.

Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows.