‘Extremely Disappointing’: Ilhan Omar Signs AIPAC Letter Aimed at Pressuring Iran

US Rep. Ilhan Omar. (Photo: via Facebook)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

A once-fierce critic of US foreign policy in Iran and of the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. took her supporters by surprise when it was revealed that she signed the Israeli lobby’s letter calling on Washington to renew arms embargo on Iran (part of US-led UN sanctions on Iran).

The Israeli lobby group AIPAC is known for being the main architect of US policies throughout the Middle East, and has been criticized repeatedly for wielding disproportionate influence on US policies in the region.

What is particularly surprising in Omar’s signature of the letter, which was also signed by 391 House members, is that Omar herself has repeatedly locked horns with AIPAC in the past. 

“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,” renowned writer and blogger, Ali Abunimah wrote in the Electronic Intifada.

“Omar’s signature is all the more baffling, given her forceful criticisms of US sanctions policy against various countries.” he added.

Equally interesting is that Omar chose to part ways with other progressive members of Congress. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley, who reportedly did not sign the letter.

The AIPAC letter, sponsored by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and Republican Mike McCaul, calls on hawkish US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “extend these provisions in order to prevent Iran from buying and selling weapons,” and to bolster “the Donald Trump administration’s efforts to extend the United Nations arms embargo on Iran.”

The first to reveal Omar’s decision was Al-Monitor on May 4, a report that immediately reverberated throughout Israeli media.

Al-Monitor’s Bryant Harris quoted a statement by Omar’s office saying that “Congresswoman Omar has consistently, for a long time, supported arms embargoes against human rights abusers.”

“No explanation by Omar’s office could possibly suffice, or morally justify this shameful decision,” Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle Ramzy Baroud said.

“Omar’s deserved credibility was predicated on her ability to introduce morality and common sense to American politics and to present a new political discourse on foreign policy with courage and articulation,” Baroud added.

“But to line up behind one of the most destructive foreign policy agents in American history, AIPAC, and to further push down a country that is already on its knees because of prolonged US sanctions, compounded with the horrific death toll of the coronavirus pandemic, is extremely disappointing, to say the least.”

Last January, Omar introduced a resolution aimed at blocking US military force against Iran without Congressional authorization. The move was motivated by the US assassination of a top Iranian military leader, Gen. Qassem Soleimani a week earlier.

“Let’s not mince words: the assassination of Qasem Soleimani was an act of war undertaken without Congressional authorization, in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America … We in Congress must exercise our Constitutional duty — and do everything in our power to stop another disastrous war,” Omar said in a statement on January 5.

It is unclear whether Omar’s succumbing to the wishes of AIPAC will further compromise her position on US policies towards Iran and other foreign policy issues.

(The title of this article has been slightly edited for clarity)

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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8 Comments

  1. You wrote this:”The Israeli lobby group AIPAC is known for being the main architect of US policies throughout the Middle East,….” Not true. US Imperialism and US Congress (on behalf of Wall St. is main architect.

  2. Disgraceful…I’m posting this to social media and encouraging it to be widely spread.

    • Erdogan’s quarrel is with the Kurds. Assad is fighting ISIS. So Ilhan’s joining forces with AIPAC to thwart Iran is supposed to make some kind of sense thereby? I think your rocket is a dud dude.

  3. apartheid nation Israel / AIPAC THIS is horrible. just shows these Terrorist AIPAC can by anyone, VERY SAD TO SEE Ihan Omar sold her soul…I did not want to believe this, as in the past I admired her stand against the AIPAC Mobsters. all politicians speak with 2 mouths. silly me for thinking she would be better. Pray for Iran, Syria, Pray for the Palestinians and all these nations under the Zionist boot.

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