As insane as it is, this was inevitable: now the left’s fantasy about “terrorist Trump supporters” has gone international. Rockets hit coalition forces near Erbil International Airport in Iraq last Monday, killing a civilian contractor and a member of the U.S. military. The following day, Iraqi Sheikh Mohammad Al-Basry, a former official of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU), which are primarily Shi’a groups that fought against the Islamic State, appeared on Iraq’s Iraqiya TV to blame “Trumpist sleeper cells” for the attack. No, you are not reading Stephen Green’s Insanity Wrap. This is just a bit of miscellaneous insanity.
The host of the show said to Al-Basry, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI): “Some people say that the rocket attack (on Erbil) was a terrorist act, and a malicious one at that.”
Wait, what? A terrorist act that was also malicious? What does a non-malicious terrorist act look like? I hope that will be a matter for another Iraqiya TV program. In the meantime, the host immediately started into his audition for MSNBC, saying: “The Biden administration has been talking in a calmer and more reasonable fashion with regard to Iran, and wants to resume negotiations with Iran (over the JCPOA). Therefore, it is unreasonable, at this stage that Iran would carry out such an act, the reaction for which could influence Iran’s nuclear program, to say the least.”
Mohammad Al-Basry responded: “Let me tell you my opinion, which could sound a bit exceptional [no kidding], but take it as it is and look it up [where?]. Biden’s rise to power has definitely opened new horizons for negotiations, whether in the Middle East, with China, or with the rest of the world, in order to (counter) decisions taken by Donald Trump. Before Trump left office, he warned and threatened, because he did not want the new administration to succeed.”
So far, neither the host nor Al-Basry said anything that couldn’t form the basis for the next Cuomo Brothers skit. But then Al-Basry added that Trump “has old alliances in the Middle East, and specifically in the Gulf and in Iraq. It is inconceivable that Trump would just leave things as they are and get out. Through these alliances, he established Trumpist sleeper cells that are trying to cause disturbances for the Biden administration and to cause a crisis between Washington and Tehran.”
Trumpist sleeper cells! You can just see them out there with their red MIGA hats, chanting “The election was stolen!” as they set off these rockets.
Despite having a severe case of TDS himself, this was too much even for the interviewer, who replied: “It’s a very strange thing to say that Trump, or Trumpist groups, targeted Erbil.”
To that, Al-Basry pointed out that “in the second day after the Biden administration took office, an explosion happened in Tayaran Square [in Baghdad], followed by [ISIS] attacks in the Diyala and the Salah Al-Din governorates.” Rather than ascribing this to Iran taking advantage of a weak puppet and appeaser in the Oval Office, Al-Basry asked: “Is it difficult for Trump to recruit militias? He had wanted to attack Iran.”
As ludicrous as all this is, it is also ominous. This represents the first attempt to portray the supposed “right-wing terrorists” who support Trump as an international organization. It will almost certainly not be the last. After all, jihadists are found worldwide, and we’re supposed to believe that they’re not as big a threat as “Trumpists.” So to support this narrative, an international network of violent Trump supporters has to be concocted. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres joined the act Monday when he warned that “white supremacy and neo-Nazi movements are more than domestic terror threats. They are becoming a transnational threat. Today, these extremist movements represent the number one internal security threat in several countries.”
That might sound almost reasonable until one realizes that the left in the U.S. and Europe is now fully committed to smearing everyone who dares oppose its agenda as a “white supremacist” and “neo-Nazi.” Remember failed CNN host and cannibal Reza Aslan’s hysterical rant of August 2019: “The President is a white nationalist terror leader. His supporters – ALL OF THEM – are by definition white nationalist terror supporters. The MAGA hat is a KKK hood. And this evil, racist scourge must be eradicated from society.”
This was crazy talk then, and it is now. But it is increasingly mainstream on the left. Mohammad Al-Basry in Iraq may be just a conspiratorial paranoid, but he wittingly or unwittingly played into what is a genuine initiative to stigmatize as a terrorist anyone and everyone who is not a leftist, and to destroy all political dissent. Insanity – you have to be suffering from it to get anywhere these days.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.