Photo of Elizabeth O’Bagy, a 26-year old research analyst and paid contractor for Syrian rebels, is an advisor to John Kerry, Barack Obama, and John McCain. She opposed labeling al-Nusra a terrorist organization in December.
Elizabeth O’Bagy, the research analyst who advises the president and others in the administration and in Congress has been firmly opposed to declaring the al-Qaeda faction of the rebel forces as terrorists. It might give all the rebels a bad name.
However, The Free Syrian Army did choose to include al-Nusra in their army.
Proclaiming the disastrous consequences of labeling al-Nusra a terrorist group should have set off a very loud alarm which even the Obama administration and the McRINOs could hear.
Apparently not! They continued to listen to her persuasive arguments and McCain even went with her to visit with the rebels in May.
They all want to believe that it is not too late to help the Syrian rebels who are heavily infiltrated with Al Qaeda (al-Nusra is al-Qaeda)
Dr. Elizabeth O’Bagy is a Senior Research Analyst and the Syria Team Lead at the Institute for the Study of War, where she focuses on Syrian politics and security. She is also the Syrian rebels’ greatest advocate.
She claims to be impartial but she doubles as a spokesperson for the Syrian rebels – SETF or Syrian Emergency Task Force, a Syrian advocacy group.
She said she is merely a paid contractor in an advisory role to the rebels, but Foreign Policy news reported back in June that SETF has extensive contracts with the rebels and they are effective and aggressive congressional lobbyists for the rebels. Besides she advocated when she said it would be disastrous to label al-Nusra a terrorist group.
There is a decided conflict of interests here.
Neither Kerry nor McCain believe most of the rebels are ‘bad guys’ but look at who they get their advice from – O’Bagy? Should this instill confidence.
O’Bagy opposed Obama’s attempts to designate al-Nusra – a group that pledged allegiance to al Qaeda – as a terrorist organization last December. Mr. Obama did declare them a terrorist group.
She said, “I’m not saying they aren’t a terrorist group, but given the circumstances and given their cooperation with the opposition as a whole, designating them now would be disastrous.” [McClatchy]
The only thing disastrous is that we have the administration listening to O’Bagy.
The Institute for the Study of War employs Elizabeth O’Bagy as a senior analyst on its Syria portfolio. They have complete confidence in her despite her heretofore unknown-to-the-public role in the Syrian Emergency Task Force. I’m glad they have confidence because I don’t.
Ms. O’Bagy has issued this statement to clarify her role:
“The Syrian Emergency Task Force has filed with the IRS to register as a 501 (c) 3, and has been an important subcontractor for the United States and British governments in providing aid and assistance to the Syrian people. I work with the Syrian Emergency Task Force in an advisory capacity on a number of humanitarian aid and governance building contracts. I am hired on a contractual basis in my role as the Political Director and Humanitarian Aid Coordinator, but do not receive a salary from the organization. In this role with the Task Force, I have worked on a number of contracts with the United States Department of State to provide an evaluation of the current aid and assistance programs inside Syria and provide guidance on how to better implement these programs.
“The Syrian Emergency Task Force does have a registered 501 (c) 4 and does engage in political advocacy. However I do not work with this office and I do not lobby on their behalf. My role within the organization has been limited to humanitarian efforts funded through the United States Department of State and the British Foreign Office.”
Is Ms. O’Bagy being played?
You decide as to how serious this is as a conflict of interests but consider the fact that Kerry and McCain think only 20 to 25% of the rebels are al Qaeda while our own US intelligence sources are telling other members of Congress that it’s more than 50%. Bad advice?
A little side note, Major General Idris is an anti-semite and he’s the ‘good’ guy in this fight. There are 1200 groups fighting in the disorganized rebel ranks.
In the meanwhile, Assad is threatening repercussions for a US strike and won’t rule out the use of nuclear weapons.