Make us your home page
Instagram

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

Loading...
  1. Clearwater eyes hiring new downtown director within two months

    CLEARWATER — Now that the city director tasked with revitalizing downtown has resigned after his arrest on a battery charge during Oktoberfest, City Manager Bill Horne said the goal is to not leave the position vacant long.

    Clearwater Assistant City Manager  Micah Maxwell will oversee downtown until the city hires a replacement for Seth Taylor.
  2. Tampa Bay's Top 100 Workplaces deadline extended to Nov. 17

    Business

    Think you work at one of the best places in Tampa Bay? You've got a little more time to make a pitch.

    Penny Hoarder and Gregory, Sharer & Stuart were among those at an event in Tampa last May honoring winners of the Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces awards. Nominations are now open for this year.  
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  3. Little separates McElwain and Muschamp eras of futility at Florida

    College

     Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain watches the second quarter of the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville.
  4. Tampa-based Checkers testing delivery, aims for record expansion

    Retail

    TAMPA — Tampa-based Checkers Drive-In Restaurants continues to fly under the radar compared to dominant burger chains like McDonald's and Burger King.

    Checkers Franchisee Shaji Joseph, of Tampa, hoses down the front walkway of his store at 6401 Park Boulevard, Pinellas Park. The business has a new look including signage and exterior tile. One drive through has been eliminated for an outdoor dining area, right. Joseph owns nine Checkers and is planning to open his tenth in Tampa.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times ]
  5. Advice for presidents from military families they've tried to console

    War

    One family returned the letter because it was full of errors. Another was left cold when the letter they got screamed "robo-pen." Still another was puzzled to find 17 copies of their letter in the mailbox.

    Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Aaron Cowan, 37, was killed in a helicopter training accident in South Korea on Feb. 26, 2005. [Courtesy of Kari Cowan]