Survivors of a 1996 terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. servicemen are offended that an Iraqi official with ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was welcomed to the White House this week.
“Outrage at the visit to the White House really doesn’t describe what I feel,” said William M. Schooley, who survived the June 25, 1996, bombing of the Khobar Towers.
“I watched outstanding airmen die that night and witnessed horrific carnage. The survivors of Khobar Towers have been swept under the rug and now have received the greatest insult,” he added.
The Washington Times first reported Tuesday that Hadi Farhan al-Amiri, who serves as Iraq’s transportation minister, was part of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s delegation to the White House on Monday.
The FBI linked Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to the terrorist attack on the Khobar Towers. No Iranians were named in the indictment, and the Saudi Hezbollah was blamed for the blast.
The Revolutionary Guard also has supported Shiite militant groups that have attacked U.S. troops in Iraq, Western officials say.
As a commander of the Badr Corps, Mr. al-Amiri would have known Brig. Gen. Ahmad Sherifi, the Revolutionary Guard general who is suspected of conducting the attack, he added.
Mr. al-Amiri was commander of the Badr Corps, which was the armed wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.
The Badr Corps was made up of thousands of defectors from the Iraqi army and refugees who fled Saddam Hussein’s regime. It received military and financial support from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
In 2003, the Badr Corps changed its name to the Badr Organization of Reconstruction and Development and pledged to disarm. Western officials and analysts are skeptical about whether the group kept its promise.
Mr. al-Amiri remained active in the Badr Corps during the late 1980s and 1990s, when he was working on resistance efforts against Saddam’s regime.