US Senator from Connecticut Chris Murphy held a behind the curtain meeting with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Sometime after the meeting, Murphy ran into a wall in the person of Mollie Hemingway, after which a Zola on his staff wrote up, very late in the day, an extensive apologia that very likely will fizzle, even among Connecticut’s Murphyites.
The Journal Inquirer took Murphy to task in a February 22 Editorial, “Murphy was wrong to meet with Iranian official,” that is worth quoting in full:
“Sen. Christopher Murphy’s recent meeting with Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif was a mistake. Murphy’s rationalization that we need to keep doors open with Iran is faulty. Iran is a clerical fascist state and is a sworn enemy of the United States. It will remain so as long as Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei remains in power.
“Iran’s so-called democracy is a farce. Upcoming elections there have seen the disqualification of almost 100 candidates running for office on the grounds that they are ‘moderate’ — they are not even liberals in our sense.
“Murphy is meeting with representatives of a country that has sworn to eliminate its Middle Eastern enemies, such as Israel, and supports terrorists throughout the Middle East. Its Revolutionary Guard has assassinated enemies as far away as Argentina. And Iran’s leadership scoffs at alleged attempts at peace efforts in Yemen, Gaza, and Syria.
“Murphy’s meeting will only embolden Iran’s leadership to work harder to dominate the Middle East, thinking there might be a split in anti-Iranian feelings in our country.
“Murphy should apologize to his constituency for his actions.”
There certainly is time for Murphy to straighten out his eccentric private foreign policy. The senator is not up for reelection until 2024, and memories are perishable. Twice elected to the Senate, Murphy has over any effective Republican challenger an inbuilt incumbency advantage – a large and intimidating campaign coffer. In addition, he can call upon political chits in his home state. Murphy has been credited with progressivizing the Democrat Dominated General Assembly. Almost fifty percent of the Democrat caucus in Connecticut’s legislature is made up of eager-beaver progressives, many of whom owe their positions to Murphy’s political patronage. In the not too distant past, members of Connecticut’s all-Democrat U.S. Congressional Delegation had been prudent enough, apart from the usual party sanctioned endorsements, to steer clear of direct action in state campaigns, but the fearless Murphy has rushed in often enough where even the politically prudent angels of the usual politician’s better nature might fear to tread. And his exuberance has lifted him effortlessly over the usual political hurdles.
The Murphy-Zarif secret meeting was roundly denounced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who characterized Zarif as “the foreign minister for a country that shot down an airliner and has yet to turn over the black boxes. This is the foreign minister of a country that killed an American on December 27. This is the foreign minister of a country that is the world's largest state sponsor of terror and the world's largest sponsor of anti-Semitism." Pompeo added that Zarif had been designated by the United States as the Iranian regime's chief propagandist.
Murphy’s secret meeting with Zarif was first disclosed by Hemingway in The Federalist. In a hastily written apologia, Murphy claimed he had discussed with Zarif various issues such as U.S. prisoners held in Iran, belligerent actions from the Iranian-aligned Houthis in Yemen, and Iranian responses to what the senator called “assassination" of Major General Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, a division primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations. The Iranian terrorist-in-chief, any diplomat worth his salt knows, is to assassinations and terrorist mayhem in Iraq and the Middle East what Typhoid Mary was to typhoid.
Murphy defended his Zarif meeting by quipping, "If Trump isn't going to talk to Iran, then someone should. And Congress is a co-equal branch of government, responsible along with the Executive for setting foreign policy." In his apologia, Murphy wrote "I have no delusions about Iran—they are our adversary, responsible for the killing of thousands of Americans and unacceptable levels of support for terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East. But I think it's dangerous to not (sic) talk to your enemies."
These generic allusions do not do justice to the menacing posture of Iran in the Middle East, as the Journal Inquirer has noted, or to the part played by Soleimani, a casualty of an American drone strike. The Jerusalem Post notes that Hasan Fark, who worked with Soleimani for 44 years, disclosed in a recent interview that Bashir Assad, the butcher of Syria, was “on the verge of giving up his reign in Syria and intended to take refuge in another country, likely Russia,” when Soleimani convinced him to continue his unrelenting oppressions of Syrians. Fark “confirmed the presence of Quds Force operations in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, in addition to Afghanistan and countries in Central Asia.” Soleimani viewed with disdain U.S. military capabilities. He thought the American’s were "a paper tiger, and that Americans have bird brains."
Murphy’s secret diplomacy in Iran is, in fact, a continuation by other means of former President Barack Obama’s eccentric Middle East foreign policy, and Murphy’s ritualistic assertion that Congress should have a hand in developing foreign policy through its powers of the purse – perfectly constitutional -- is too little deployed by Democrats. When Obama secretly shipped midnight planeloads of disposable funds to Iran, he did not consult Murphy or Connecticut’s Senior Senator Dick Blumenthal. Soleimani was doubtless pleased to have laid his hands on funds with which he was able to buy the services of his Quds Force cultivated terrorists in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen – up until the moment he was dispatched by a "bird-brained" built American drone.