Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

In Russia, U.S. lawmakers assail radical Islam

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, left, Rep. Steve Cohen, center, and actor Steven Seagal mill about after a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on Sunday.

Associated Press

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, left, Rep. Steve Cohen, center, and actor Steven Seagal mill about after a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on Sunday.

MOSCOW — Russia has an enthusiastic and perhaps unlikely friend in Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, the Republican leader of a congressional delegation that traveled here, who said Sunday that radical Islam has both the United States and Russia "by the throat" and the two countries had better learn to cooperate.

"The fact is, we face the same major challenges," said Rohrabacher, a Californian who chairs the House subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and emerging threats, and who brought House members here for nearly a week of meetings on the theme of Islamist terrorism, with a little fear-of-China thrown in.

Spurred by the bombing at the Boston Marathon in April, the delegation's members met with the hard-line deputy prime minister, Dmitri Rogozin, and with top officials of Russia's security service, the FSB, and then made a quick trip engineered by action-movie star Steven Seagal, who has a following in Russia, to Beslan, site of a 2004 school massacre that left more than 380 dead.

At a briefing by the FSB, they were told about the agency's efforts to warn U.S. authorities about bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who the agency said harbored extremist views. Tsarnaev visited Russia's Dagestan republic last year for six months.

At a Sunday news conference, Rohrabacher and another Republican, U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa, fully endorsed the long-held Russian argument that Russia, Europe and America face a common enemy: radical Islam.

King said the United States should study the FSB's antiterror tactics and adopt those that work. He lamented that Russia seems to have a better intelligence operation in Boston than the United States does in the North Caucasus.

Republicans have not always been so inclined toward Russia. Last year the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, called Russia America's No. 1 geopolitical adversary. "That was an absurd statement," Rohrabacher said Sunday.

Rohrabacher once worked as a speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, who called the Soviet Union an "evil empire." Now he thinks Russia and the United States, jointly facing religious terrorism, also have an antagonist in common in China — an argument that would find few adherents among Russian foreign policy experts.

Seagal, dressed in black and sporting a deep tan, said he arranged the Saturday trip to Beslan, in North Ossetia. Members of the group laid wreaths at the cemetery and the school gym, said Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., and were treated to a "sumptuous" lunch. Then they returned to Moscow.

The Republicans said they wanted to take up Seagal's offer of a trip to Chechnya, to meet with leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who has eradicated his Islamist opponents and brought stability to the once war-torn region. Seagal — who said, "I consider myself an antiterrorist" — dismissed complaints about the murder and mayhem Kadyrov has been accused of.

"I'm friends with many presidents of many countries," he said, "and there are rumors about all of them."

Cohen said he wouldn't have gone to Chechnya because of Kadyrov's human rights record.

"We are at war against radical Islamic terrorists," retorted King. "Anyone who eliminates our enemies, that saves lives."

In Russia, U.S. lawmakers assail radical Islam 06/02/13 [Last modified: Sunday, June 2, 2013 11:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh


    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case


    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  5. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.