Ilhan Omar Signs on to AIPAC-Backed Letter Against Iran(!)

Yup, not a typo.

It’s no secret that Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., has had an acrimonious relationship with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The freshman lawmaker has quickly become a lightning rod of criticism for AIPAC and its supporters, who have gone so far as to accuse Omar of using anti-Semitic tropes to describe the group’s lobbying activities.

That hasn’t stopped her from signing onto a key AIPAC lobby item for this year. Omar’s signature in particular stands out among the 391 House members who have jumped onboard an AIPAC-backed letter bolstering the Donald Trump administration’s efforts to extend the United Nations arms embargo on Iran, which expires in October as the first sunset provision under the nuclear deal.

The letter, spearheaded by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and top Republican Mike McCaul, R-Texas, calls on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “extend these provisions in order to prevent Iran from buying and selling weapons.”

While the AIPAC letter has some support from some other progressive lawmakers, many other prominent left-wing members have not signed on, including the rest of Omar’s self-styled “squad” — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.

“Congresswoman Omar has consistently, for a long time, supported arms embargos against human rights abusers,” her office told Al-Monitor. “However, that is not to say that she supports Pompeo’s tactics or that her position on sanctions has changed, or that she is not in support of the [nuclear deal]. It was just a narrow ask that we couldn’t find anything wrong with.”

Omar, who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee, has introduced legislation that would place arms embargoes on human rights abusers, including Iran.

The AIPAC letter says, “Iran routinely violates this [embargo] with impunity, particularly in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.” The letter also calls for the United Nations to place travel restrictions on Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani, the new head of Iran’s Quds Force.

And if you want some hilarious reading, check out antisemite Ali “Abumination” Abunimah’s seething post about it. Q-Ball is mighty pissed! Excerpt:

Rather than peacefully resolving international disputes, America’s ruling right wing, and Israel and its hardline lobby, want to see Iran destroyed by sanctions, and if necessary war, to stop the country becoming an effective check on American and Israeli regional dominance.

Under the cover of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel is escalating its direct attacks against Iran-allied forces in Syria.

In other words, Omar has signed on to a letter whose goal is to preserve and protect American empire and shore up its reactionary and undemocratic client states in the region.

The letter also calls for sanctions against Esmail Ghanni, the Iranian general who replaced Qasem Soleimani as head of the country’s Revolutionary Guard. General Soleimani was extrajudicially executed in an American air attack on his convoy in Iraq in January.

Soleimani was on a mission to promote a peaceful rapprochement among regional powers at the time he was killed, according to Iraq’s prime minister.

Under Soleimani’s military leadership, Iran played a key role in defeating ISIS, as well as al-Qaida-linked groups, in Iraq and Syria.

Israel, the United States and certain Gulf states armed and financed al-Qaida in Syria, helping to spawn ISIS, which at one point threatened to occupy Baghdad.

I knew we would get her in the end!



David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media