Syrian Islamist Group Steers U.S. Policy
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Alarming evidence has surfaced that indicates a U.S.-based group that advocates for Syria’s rebels is defining and steering policy in the Obama White House and perhaps in Congress as well.
This insanity is circulating among conservative media and blogs as the mainstream press largely ignores it. It’s so crazy that it’s almost unbelievable. Pushing for U.S. military intervention, a 26-year-old woman (Elizabeth O’Bagy), considered a Syria expert, has convinced the president, secretary of state and some federal lawmakers that Syrian rebels are mostly moderates and not terrorists.
O’Bagy has accomplished this by claiming to be an objective analyst at a Washington D.C. think-tank that studies military affairs while concealing that she’s the political director for the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF), a group that advocates for Syria’s rebels from Washington D.C. In a recent exposé, a conservative news magazine calls SETF a Syrian Islamist Organization. When it hired O’Bagy in May, the group bragged that she has a “reputation as the leading expert on the armed opposition in the Syrian revolution.”
As the Syria crisis escalated, O’Bagy became a regular on a number of television news shows, including CNN and Fox. A few days ago the Wall Street Journal published a lengthy piece where O’Bagy makes a case for U.S. military intervention in Syria by asserting that concerns about Al-Qaeda terrorists running the rebel operations are unfounded. After all, the United States doesn’t want to support the very jihadists that want to murder its citizens. O’Bagy’s opinion piece made such an impact that Arizona Senator John McCain read a chunk of it during a recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
Here is a portion of the excerpt that McCain read at the hearing: “Contrary to many media accounts, the war in Syria is not being waged entirely, or even predominantly, by dangerous Islamists and al Qaeda die-hards. The jihadists pouring into Syria from countries like Iraq and Lebanon are not flocking to the front lines. Instead they are concentrating their efforts on consolidating control in the northern, rebel-held areas of the country.
“Moderate opposition forces—a collection of groups known as the Free Syrian Army—continue to lead the fight against the Syrian regime. While traveling with some of these Free Syrian Army battalions, I’ve watched them defend Alawi and Christian villages from government forces and extremist groups. They’ve demonstrated a willingness to submit to civilian authority, working closely with local administrative councils. And they have struggled to ensure that their fight against Assad will pave the way for a flourishing civil society.”
When he finished, Senator McCain asks Secretary of State John Kerry if he agrees with that assessment. Kerry responds that he does and confirms that Syria is a secular state. Of interesting note is that the now-famous opinion piece only identifies O’Bagy as a senior analyst at the Institute for the Study of War and completely omits her position at SETF.
In the midst of this madness a British newspaper confirms this week that in Syria “jihadists” are “now the largest and best armed faction in the opposition.” The report goes on to say that the “more moderate elements have become progressively weaker through a lack of supplies and defection of members.”