Formation of a Militia and Presence in the War
Formation of a Militia and Presence in the War
Following the order of Khomeini, in order to form a 20 million public army, the MKO/MEK, along with its advertising activities, such as holding meetings and publishing the newspaper, relied on weapons that had been confiscated during the revolution, arranged a military organization entitled Militia. Leaders of the Mojahedin organization believed that the Pahlavi regime’s army should be cleaned up altogether and replaced the forces called “Khalq’s Army”. This request by the Mojahedin Organization was not approved by the Islamic Republic. Thus, on the pretext of Imam Khomeini’s command for the formation of popular forces, the Mojahedin organized a new military establishment; which was under the command of the Mojahedin organization. In this way, the semi-professional militias of the organization, called “the army”, independent of government and military institutions were in the streets to parade and to hold a military maneuver. These actions were important in two respects: one was that the order and organizing the militia was a special promotional tool for the MKO/MEK, and many of the next supporters of the organization joined them by observing the parades. But, on the other hand, the armed presence of those who had completed their initial military training courses in the organization, disrupted the city and made it unsafe. This issue could help the MEK to convince the people that Islamic Republic is not able to establish a coherent government and administer the country.
Shortly after the establishment of the Islamic Republic, people and groups were requested to return the weapons which were confiscated by the revolutionaries from garrisons and other military places. One of the examples of these revolutionary confiscations took place on February 11, 1979, When Musa Kheyabani, one of the main members of the MEK, along with a number of other elements of the organization, attacked Tabriz garrison and plundered an important part of the garrison guns and armaments.1
For the sake of security, it was necessary to gather the weapons that had fallen into the hands of the people in the course of the revolution, especially in February 1979. Therefore, the debate about the disarmament of individuals and political groups was raised. But from the very beginning, the Mojahedin refused to return the weapons, on the pretext of maintaining a military establishment and the need for a militia army. This resistance of the MEK was the beginning of violent clashes that the organization would take advantage of it, in order to attract people’s sentiments to their organization.
Following the Iraqi invasion of Iran, the leadership of the MEK presented this analysis for their forces that the Iran-Iraq war is a “reactionary” war, and Iraq would win if war continues. Massoud Rajavi, at number 14 of the Mojahed magazine, declares that since the war is in the interests of imperialism and Zionism, they will refuse to participate in it.
But some of Mujahedin forces who were involved in the war, did not cooperate with other defending forces of the country and they were doing some advertising and demonstrative moves and, in some cases, disrupted the discipline of the forces. For example, the organization’s forces who were busy gathering information and spreading rumors among war victims and photographing the important areas, and when they were charged with espionage in some cases, they controversially propagated against the government2 . Eventually, the MKO’s forces were fired from war and were denied permission to take part in the war.
Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, the first post-revolutionary president who had close relation with the MEK, found more coordination with Massoud Rajavi after these events which their common position was confronting with religious forces. The first months of the presidency of Bani-Sadr coincided with the invasion of the Ba’ath regime of Iraq, and the risk of the advance of Ba’athist forces into Iranian soil was increasing every day. In addition to this foreign invasion, internal conflicts continued to spread. Bani-Sadr’s political positions, in contrast to the majority of the Majlis, gave rise to disputes and conflicts with Imam Khomeini’s religious forces. At the time of the appointment of the prime minister and his proposed cabinet. Bani-Sadr, who sought to concentrate power in the post of presidency, took a stand against Rajaee’s election as prime minister- a member of the religious forces- and heightened internal tensions and disputes 3. On the other hand, while preventing the split between the military forces (the army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) and the unification of the decision-making authority, Imam Khomeini handed over the commander-in-chief to the president. (which, in the conditions of the war Could have been a good way to coordinate the Armed Forces of the newly established Islamic Republic of Iran), but Bani-Sadr, due to the power and lack of understanding of the dangers facing the Islamic Republic, became against the Revolutionary Guards, popular volunteers and the headquarters of irregular wars which was under the observation of Dr. Chamran and with wrong approach and obstinacy could not take advantage of the privilege and, on the contrary, weakened the country’s defenses, and created and widened the disputes between the armed forces. It was at this time, that parts of Iran’s territory fell into the hands of the invading forces, and the Iraqi army succeeded in occupying Khorramshahr and besieging Abadan. The MEK, which see the opportunity to justify of having armed troops, sent its forces to the war zones and, with its widespread propaganda, introduced itself as an effective army which is defending the country:
“Following the September 11, 1980 announcement for the preparations for defending the borders, cities and compatriots who were under the invasion and aggression of the Ba’athist tyrannical regime in Iraq, if ordered by the authorities, while condemning the aggressions of Iraq, request all the members and supporters to get ready to go along with the rest of the people and the army in their defense of the homeland. ”
It was also stated in the September 30, 1980 announcement:
“The forces of the organization, along with the masses of the people and other popular forces in the south and southwest of the country, are actively involved in the ranks of resistance against aggression.”