Al-Qaeda Learns How To Lobby Congress? UPDATED

Elisabeth O’Bagy, researcher of “moderate opposition” in Syria.

Just put together an American 501(c)(3), nonprofit corporation, call it the Syrian Emergency Task Force, and get busy swaying the opinions of seat holders in the House and Senate, writing op-ed pieces in the big papers, etc. One of my senators, Bob Corker (R-TN) was totally hoodwinked by them.

But they made a mistake in hiring a person who lied about having a doctorate. Oops.

 Politico explains how this revelation occurred.

The Syria researcher whose Wall Street Journal op-piece was cited by Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain during congressional hearings about the use of force has been fired from the Institute for the Study of War for lying about having a Ph.D., the group announced on Wednesday.

“The Institute for the Study of War has learned and confirmed that, contrary to her representations, Ms. Elizabeth O’Bagy does not in fact have a Ph.D. degree from Georgetown University,” the institute said in a statement. “ISW has accordingly terminated Ms. O’Bagy’s employment, effective immediately.”

O’Bagy’s Aug. 30 op-ed piece for the Journal, “On the Front Lines of Syria’s Civil War,” was cited by both Kerry and McCain last week. McCain read from the piece last Tuesday to Kerry, calling it “an important op-ed by Dr. Elizabeth O’Bagy.” The next day, Kerry also brought up the piece before a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing and described it as a “very interesting article” and recommended that members read it.

But the piece had also come under fire for misrepresenting her affiliations. Originally the op-ed only listed O’Bagy, 26, as only “a senior analyst” at the ISW, later adding a clarification that disclosed her connection to a Syrian rebel advocacy group.

“In addition to her role at the Institute for the Study of War, Ms. O’Bagy is affiliated with the Syrian Emergency Task Force, a nonprofit operating as a 501(c)(3) pending IRS approval that subcontracts with the U.S. and British governments to provide aid to the Syrian opposition,” the WSJ added in its clarification.

Read the rest.

Elisabeth O’Bagy was all over the airwaves, too. And Senator Corker’s “vetted, moderate, opposition” is looking like a fiction cooked up by a Syrian “rebel advocacy group” who lobbied our lawmakers on Capitol Hill.  Funded by al-Qaeda, you think?

You just never know what a universal day of fasting and prayer can do.

Which reminds me to point President Obama, and all of those who sided with him in Congress on the proposed misadventure in Syria, to recall the three main reasons why most Americans are 100% against intervening in Syria:

This,

this,

and this.

Because launching strikes in Syria would help al-Qaeda, and al-Qaeda was responsible for what took place on September 11, 2001.

Keep up with the citizens lobby, and the prayers for peace that Pope Francis set in motion on September 7, 2013. We the people have never forgotten what happened 12 years ago. Pray Congress never forgets either, though the enemy may be attempting to peddle its influence in the halls of power on Capitol Hill.

UPDATE:

Washington Post,

The Senate is formally dropping consideration of a resolution authorizing U.S. military force in Syria and deferring instead to diplomatic attempts to end the crisis.

“We’ve agreed on a way forward based on the president’s speech last night,” Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) announced on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon.

Read more.

  • Maggie Goff

    You are like a dog with a bone. And that is said in a very admiring way. Seriously. Thank you.

  • Brian Ulrich

    Umm…the SETF was founded in Spring 2011. JN, which is what you mean when you talk about al-Qaeda, was founded in January 2012. Your statements here are both wrong and potentially libellous.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/yimcatholic/ Frank Weathers

      JN? You mean the Jabhat al-Nusra (JN)? Is it libellous to use inductive reasoning?

      No. But I’m still reading up on the situation, as the ISW has other researchers working the problem. This, for example.

      Al-Qaeda Shows its True Colors in Syria

      • Brian Ulrich

        You say the SETF was “put together” by al-Qaeda. That seems demonstrably false and defamatory. Yes, al-Qaeda in in Syria, though, especially in the Euphrates valley.

    • Nordog6561

      >>JN, which is what you mean when you talk about al-Qaeda, was founded in January 2012.<<

      You know, I've tried to parse this sentence many times, but it is the perfect grammatical analogue to the president's foreign policy: It makes no sense.

      Could you give it a re-write so I can figure out what your point is?

      Thanks.

  • henry

    I’m less worried about al-qaeda lobbying than I am about AIPAC lobbying.

  • Brian Ulrich

    OK, I know nothing about you except what’s in your bio linked at the top, and I have never read your work, finding this only as it circulated around social media, but this is what upsets me. You seem to think that because you disagree with the SETF about Syria policy, it is acceptable to accuse them of working for al-Qaeda, as opposed to the simpler explanation that they are just Syrian-Americans concerned about their homeland. The timeline isn’t even right. The rebels didn’t start fighting back violently against Assad until maybe summer of 2011, at which point SETF was already in existence, They seem a bit amateurish, but that’s a long way from your declaring them a terrorist front linked with images of 9-11. It seems like the worst sort of political polarization in the country right now, where those who disagree with you aren’t even worthy of consideration and can be accused of all manner of vile things from whatever platform you possess.

  • Brian Ulrich

    And now that I look through your archives, I’d say my initial impression was off a bit, so I apologize. I’d just suggest caution before accusing people of things like having formed their organization as some sort of al-Qaeda front unless you really do have evidence to back that up.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/yimcatholic/ Frank Weathers

      I took your comments to heart, Brian, and I’m glad you raised the issues you have here.

      100,000+ people have been killed in this tragic civil war, and some 2 million are refugees as a result of it. My prayers and hopes are that an amicable and just peace may result in Syria sooner, rather than later.

      With the ascendence of al-Qaeda though, the situation may spiral further out of control. Stories like what the “Free Syrian Army” did when they occupied Maalula, including the destruction of several Orthodox and Melkite churches there, through the acts of Chechen foreigners, does nothing to bolster the case that Syrian moderate fighters are even capable of being supported by the United States with any confidence.

      It is unfortunate that the US, Russia, and other UN member countries, have waited this long to get involved in the plight of the Syrian people.

      • Brian Ulrich

        I sometimes wonder about the usage of the “FSA” – it once properly meant soldiers who defected from Assad’s army plus some who joined ad hoc units associated on them. Sometimes it still means that, but in others it is used broadly for everyone fighting Assad. I have no idea who was in Maalula, so don’t know how to interpret it there.

        I have no strong views about Syria policy, though the existence of Syrian friends keeps the issue in my consciousness. I guess the driving force of my reaction was just an immediate reaction to the SETF as an institution with human employees whose names and photos are on their web site, and who seem like the sort of idealistic 20- and 30-somethings who populate DC’s international NGO’s, but whom a social media storm could open to persistent and intrusive harassment, as these things can if they get out of control.

        I actually attempted to find out about their funding via Google, though I decided not to post yet another comment on the fact. I didn’t find anything official, but there’s a certain mass of reportage asserting that they get a lot from Western governments, which might be its own sort of story. Since Google privileges recent news in its search results, I found it hard to cut back deeper into the past where there might be some sort of donor disclosure.


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