US Representative Ilhan Omar tweeted support for the Syrian people who revolted against the regime of President Bashar Assad on Friday. In response she was accused of supporting the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the CIA, and was slammed for her views by pro-Assad activists and online trolls.
Omar, a critic of Israel who has spoken out against US foreign policy, tweeted that “the people of Syria revolted against Assad’s repressive dictatorship eight years ago today, demanding a more just and free government. Peace loving people around the world stand in solidarity with them in this struggle.”In response, Omar faced harsh critique on Twitter by well-known activists who are critical of the US or support the Syrian government. “Ilhan, you claim to oppose AIPAC but on Syria you’re in lockstep with them. Israel wanted war with Syria, they backed AlQaeda, as to annex the Golan heights,” wrote PartisanGirl, who has more than 100,000 followers. “The CIA is very much in agreement with you,” wrote another man named Enrique.She was also critiqued by several Kurdish voices for her previous support for the Turkish government. “What about those war crimes and ethnic cleansing?” Pir Kurdi asked, a reference to Turkey’s role in Afrin after its 2018 operation when hundreds of thousands of Kurds fled.Patrick Henningsen, who calls himself a critic of mainstream media, wrote that Omar was “parroting CNN’s version of history… which is wrong. Do your homework, there was no ‘revolution’ in Syria. It was violence sectarian Salafists.” Others who have previously supported Omar’s harsh criticism of the Trump administration’s policy on Venezuela were surprised to see her views on Syria. This is because many of those who support the Assad regime tend to think that opposition to Assad is a US “regime change” operation and they think the US is doing the same in Venezuela. Venezuela’s regime is closely linked to Russia and Iran, both allies of Syria’s Assad. However, Venezuela’s regime is also supported by Turkey, which has supported the Syrian rebels.Omar received support from those who are sympathetic to the Syrian rebels, particularly voices who are also commemorating eight years since the Syrian revolution began in 2011. The rebels have been largely defeated today. Aboud Dandachi responded to Omar’s tweet by noting that Israel has supported Syrians during the conflict. “I will point out that few countries risked so much to help Syrians in need as Israel did,” he wrote.Omar sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, so her comments on foreign policy carry more weight. She has also been outspoken recently on Saudi Arabia, tweeting on March 14 that “the Saudi royal family has literally helped fund Al Qaeda,” and pointed out human rights abuses in the kingdom. She recently supported an amendment that would prohibit lobbying on behalf of countries that violate human rights, and she singled out Saudi Arabia.
The people of Syria revolted against Assad's repressive dictatorship 8 years ago today, demanding a more just and free government. Peace loving people around the world stand in solidarity with them in this struggle!— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) March 16, 2019