Comrades in “The Squad” have bent over backwards in the House of Representatives to defend Vladimir Putin, voting against sanctions on Russian oil and parroting Kremlin talking points.
At least one member of the far left bloc — Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) — has family with business interests in Russia and its oil industry.
Omar’s father, Nur Omar Mohamed, was a colonel in the Somali army during the 1970s and 1980s under the Soviet-backed regime of dictator Siad Barre. During that time he received a military education in the Soviet Union, according to an obituary.
Omar’s brother-in-law, Mohamed Keynan, served as a government spokesman and then later as chief of staff to former Somalian Prime Minister Hassan Khaire. Khaire is known in the west for all but giving his country’s oil reserves to Putin, according to news reports.
The Somali pol previously worked as a senior executive for the Russian energy company Soma Oil & Gas. The company was backed by Russian billionaire and Putin ally Alexander Djaparidze. Khaire negotiated a sweetheart deal for the company to access up to 90% of the country’s perspective prospective oil wealth, Bloomberg reported in 2015.
The UN later cited the deal as having “transparency and accountability issues,” and accused the company of “payoffs” to top Somali leaders. Khaire was later investigated by the UN for “possible links” to the terrorist organization Al-Shabab. He was later cleared, BuzzFeed reported.
“The efforts of companies such as Soma Oil and Gas are both essential and greatly appreciated,” Omar’s brother-in-law told Reuters at the time, defending the company.
When Khaire became Prime Minister in 2017, he promptly resigned from Soma and Keynan was tapped as his chief of staff.
Omar strongly condemned the Russian invasion, but ripped sanctions on Russia as “economic warfare.”
“I don’t support broad based sanctions on any country. They are economic warfare and we should all oppose them like we oppose military actions. Also, as humans who are interconnected to other humans globally, we will directly or indirectly be impacted by it,” Omar said in a tweet explaining the decision.
Before his sudden and meteoric rise in Somali politics, Keynan worked as a contracts manager at the local Hennepin County Government in Minnesota, according to his LinkedIn.
“The stink of corruption and conflicts of interest is strong with this one,” Michael Rubin, a regional expert and senior fellow the the conservative American Enterprise Institute told The Post. “In Somali culture, family is everything. The idea that Ilhan wouldn’t know what her brother-in-law was doing is about as realistic as suggesting she doesn’t know the sun rises in the east.”
Omar has been joined by fellow squad members who have been soft on the Russian strongman.
In a since deleted tweet, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Queens) urged the US to “avoid sanctions,” saying they would “hurt the Ukrainian people.”
That position echoed Russia’s own propaganda network, RT which blared in February that “Anti-Russia sanctions are threat to Ukraine too.”
“The Congresswoman has long opposed overly broad sanctions that hurt working people but has spoken and voted consistently in support of targeted sanctions such as those being leveled against Putin,” Lauren Hitt, a spokeswoman for Ocasio-Cortez said, noting the congresswoman had condemned the invasion.
Omar and Cori Bush (D-Missouri) were the only two House Democrats to vote against sanctioning Russia’s oil industry.
The concern for sanctions on ordinary civilians does not extend to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel — which all Squad members either openly support or have expressed sympathy toward.
“The fact that Members of the Far Left Squad oppose enacting crippling sanctions on Russia and Vladimir Putin and continue their vocal support for the anti-Semitic BDS movement speaks volumes about today’s Democrat Party. Disgracefully, these are the voices hailed as the leaders of today’s Democrat Party,” upstate GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik told The Post.
Bush said she was against sanctioning the autocrat’s fossil fuels without “a clear diplomatic process for de-escalation, incentives for a ceasefire, and a condition of withdrawal of Russian military forces in Ukraine.”
The pair joined 15 Republican House members who also voted against the bill and put them in league with far-right voices like GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-North Carolina) who has blasted Ukrainian President Zelensky as a “thug” ruling an “evil” government.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) argued against providing legal aid to Ukrainians in the run-up to the Russian invasion.
All four women are closely aligned to the Democratic Socialists of America, which has stood steadfastly with Russia during the conflict and blamed the war on US Imperialism. None have moved to distance themselves from the organization’s stance.