Terrorists are no longer simply militant groups attempting to take over countries with violence. Numerous terrorist groups have created their own political arms. Many of these political arms actually obtain elected seats in their host nation’s government. Some have duped the United States with their political arms to a point where we are now willing to negotiate with them.
The U.S. State Department Foreign Terrorist Organization List (FTO) currently identifies 49 terrorist organizations. Three standards are used which may place an organization on the U.S. FTO list. First, the group must be a foreign organization; second, they must engage in terrorist activity; and lastly, the group must be a threat to U.S. citizens and national security.
When it comes to the U.S. government’s FTO list, politics is the name of the game and it is obvious that the aforementioned standards are seldom adhered to. The list itself is decided by the most subjective politically induced bureaucratic quagmire and it’s sickening. As an example, why are two of the most ruthless terrorist’s organizations founded in Afghanistan, Hezb Islami Gullbidine and Hezb Islami Khalis, not on the list? Is it because under these two groups rests a political party known as Hezb Islami founded within the Afghan government?
These two groups are not alone. The world’s most notorious terrorists group, Hezbollah, is also nowhere to be found on this list. Interestingly enough, Hezbollah holds eleven out of thirteen Parliamentary seats in Lebanon. Has their political movement safeguarded them from the U.S. State Department?
Under the current administration, U.S. foreign policy has never been so broken. During the recent Qaddafi revolution, the United States worked alongside the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which is identified as an FTO. Today, we are about to negotiate with the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also listed as an FTO, as they set up political headquarters in Qatar.
President Obama believes that not only negotiating with terrorists is feasible; he also has a track record proving his willingness to support them as founded in Libya recently. Somehow though, a very dark world exists within the current administration which allows them to pick and choose the terrorist groups desired versus detested. As an example, it is clear that the current administration despises the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MeK).
MeK has been on the State Department’s FTO list since 1997–even the Huffington Post objects. During the 2003 Iraq war, the United States used many MeK operatives as intelligence sources and assets. We even went as far as safeguarding their people in Camp Ashraf in return for their continued assistance only later exposing its members and their families to the newly formed pro-Shiite mini-Iranian state of Iraq–their fate rests in the hands of God. While many former U.S. military officers and even some of today’s politicians demand Mek to be taken off the FTO list, the Obama administration refuses de-listing them.
The State Department Foreign Terrorist List is nothing more than a politically induced international feel good sandwich. It has proven itself nothing but worthless and the current U.S. administration obviously could care less about it especially when groups create their own political parties. Well, MeK has an internationally recognized political party too–the National Council of Resistance of Iran. These are the very people who assisted the U.S. in Iraq and are more than willing to assist the U.S. in defeating the current Iranian regime.
When will the American government finally wake up and realize the very terrorists who we attempt to negotiate with are our true enemies yet those we refuse to even blink an eye towards are the ones who are more than willing to assist us in defeating those who threaten our national security? It is obvious that for the past three years, America’s foreign policy has gone backwards. With 2013 soon near, there is still hope.
Kerry Patton, a combat service disabled veteran, is a senior analyst for WIKISTRAT and owner of IranWarMonitor.com. He has worked in South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, focusing on intelligence and security and interviewing current and former terrorists, including members of the Taliban. He is the author of Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies and the children’s book American Patriotism. You can follow him on Facebook.