Sunday, 20 May, 2018

Republican congressman praises ISIS attack in Iran, says US should consider supporting ISIS


On Thursday, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) praised the recent ISIS attack in Tehran as a “good thing” and suggested that maybe the United States should work with the militant organization.

Rohrabacher’s entire line of reasoning for why the United States should work with a militant group accused of human rights violations and war crimes like ethnic cleansing is astonishing. Here it is verbatim:

“We have recently seen an attack on Iran, and the Iranian government, the mullahs, believe that Sunni forces have attacked them. This may signal a ratcheting up of certain commitments by the United States of America. As far as I’m concerned, I just want to make this point and see what you think, isn’t it a good thing for us to have the United States finally backing up Sunnis who will attack Hezbollah and the Shiite threat to us? Isn’t that a good thing? And if so, maybe this is a Trump — maybe it’s a Trump strategy of actually supporting one group against another, considering that you have two terrorist organizations.”

Iran witnessed its first attack claimed by the ISIS on Wednesday. Attackers stormed the parliament building in Tehran as well as the shrine of the country’s first Supreme Leader, Ruhollah Khomeini, a notable symbol for the Iranian government. At least 17 people were killed in the twin attacks, and dozens were injured. The attack was a notable achievement for the ISIS , which according to the Iranian government, has been trying to plan an attack in the country for some time.

There are multiple issues with Rohrabacher’s logic. The most obvious, of course, is that it is not in the interest of the United States to see the ISIS expanding across the Middle East. The United States is actively involved in reigning back the extremist group in Iraq and Syria. On Saturday, the U.S. Embassy in Manila announced that U.S. Special Operations Forces are working with the Philippine military in a battle against ISIS affiliated fighters on that front as well. Thus, the attack in Tehran this week— the first time the ISIS has successfully planned something in Iran — can certainly not be a “good thing.”

It’s not clear why Rohrabacher views the Iranian government and the ISIS as one and the same, but it’s even more baffling that he thinks the recent attack was thanks to the Trump administration. The Trump administration’s foreign policy has been completely incoherent, especially when it comes to the Middle East. But for the most part, Trump has been very vocal in his criticism of the ISIS . If Rohrabacher has some intelligence that the administration is abetting the ISIS, while the U.S. military is fighting it on multiple other fronts, he should probably share that intelligence immediately.

Experts at the House hearing where Rohrabacher made the comments immediately refuted his comments.

“Those attacks were claimed by the Islamic State,” said Matthew Levitt, director of The Washington Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at the conservative Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “It’s never in our interest to support a terrorist group like the Islamic State. We should condemn the attacks in Tehran, as we would condemn any act of terrorism, even as we hold Iran accountable for its sponsorship of terrorism.”

Rohrabacher wouldn’t listen to the experts on the panel, however.

“So that’s like Joe Stalin was a horrible guy, we must never associate with horrible guys like that, even against Hitler,” he said, talking over Levitt. “And so maybe it’s a good idea to have radical Muslim terrorists fighting each other. I’ll leave it at that.”

Rohrabacher’s comments come a few days after a short White House statement that implied that Iran deserved the attack in Tehran. “We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times,” the statement read. “We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”

It’s no surprise that Rohrabacher is so anti-Iran he is willing to praise the ISIS for conducting an attack in the country. The congressman is a vocal supporter of regime change as well as a huge advocate of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), a cult-like group known for human rights abuses which wants to overthrow the Iranian government and which was classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government until 2012.

Rohrabacher, who has been has been previously called “Putin’s favorite congressman,” has also brushed off human rights abuses by the Russian government, calling them “baloney.”

Dana Rohrabacher Must Apologize for Suggesting ISIS Attacks on Iran “A Good Thing”

Jamal Abdi, Executive Director of NIAC Action, issued the following statement in response to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s (R-CA) suggestion that the ISIS terrorist attacks on Iran be viewed as “a good thing”:

“Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) must immediately disavow and apologize for his outrageous suggestion that the ISIS attacks on Iran should be viewed as ‘a good thing.’ After Trump’s heartless message to Iran blaming the country for being attacked by ISIS, it was hard to believe that any lawmaker could find a way to go lower. Yet that is exactly what Rep. Rohrabacher did with his outrageous and deplorable line of questioning yesterday.

“While Iranians held candlelight vigils for Americans after the September 11th attacks, lawmakers like Rohrabacher and our President appear incapable of showing any remorse or humanity for victims of terror.

“In Thursday’s hearing, Rohrabacher noted ‘we have recently seen an attack on Iran, and the Iranian government – the mullahs, I believe that Sunni forces have attacked them.’ Then he asked the panel, ‘Isn’t it a good thing for us to have the United States finally backing up Sunnis who will attack Hezbollah and the Shiite threat to us, isn’t that a good thing?’ Of course, the ‘Sunni forces’ he referenced are ISIS and their targets were innocent Iranian civilians.

“The U.S. cannot credibly lead the fight against ISIS if lawmakers like Rohrabacher are cheerleading for ISIS terrorism. His comments also pose a risk of feeding into anti-American conspiracy theories in the region that will ultimately undermine our ability to unite disparate forces against our common enemy in ISIS.

“Rep. Rohrabacher’s statement defending ISIS terror attacks prove that he is unfit to represent his constituents, in particular his Iranian-American constituents, and the US-led fight against ISIS and global extremism.”

Think progress contributed to this report

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