Disagree with Greenfield on 2 points:
POINT 1: "OBagy doesnt matter much."
O'Bagy matters very much. Even before the WSJ article I had been hearing her name a lot. Her name came up during the Syria hearing at least once (McCain). All of Congress is being pointed to her research as THE authority on the Syria rebels.
Yesterday, Frank Gaffney interviewed Marc Thiessen, of American Enterprise Institute, about Syria. Thiessen said he gets his info on the FSA from O'Bagy and Kimberly Kagen [more on Kagen later] because they are the most knowledgeable experts. Gaffney demurred and said "One question is to what extent might her assessment (on the rebels) be influenced by the favt that she seems to be working with some of these Syrian opposition forces at the moment. I will talk about that on another occasion."
"A few days ago, the Wall Street Journal ran a high profile article from one Elizabeth OBagy arguing that the majority of the Syrian rebels were actually moderates."
That lie has been pushed by McCain and Kerry and others for weeks. That lie influences senators and congressmen.
House Homeland Security Committee chairman Mike McCaul was "stunned" by Kerry's assertion. The briefings members of Congress had been getting stated that the number was closer to 50% - and that may be lowballing it too.
Reuters calls Mr. Kerry out for his lie:
Secretary of State John Kerry's public assertions that moderate Syrian opposition groups are growing in influence appear to be at odds with estimates by U.S. and European intelligence sources and nongovernmental experts, who say Islamic extremists remain by far the fiercest and best-organized rebel elements.
At congressional hearings this week, while making the case for President Barack Obama's plan for limited military action in Syria, Kerry asserted that the armed opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "has increasingly become more defined by its moderation, more defined by the breadth of its membership, and more defined by its adherence to some, you know, democratic process and to an all-inclusive, minority-protecting constitution.
"And the opposition is getting stronger by the day," Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.
U.S. and allied intelligence sources and private experts on the Syrian conflict suggest that assessment is optimistic.
While the radical Islamists among the rebels may not be numerically superior to more moderate fighters, they say, Islamist groups like the al Qaeda-aligned Nusra Front are better organized, armed and trained.
Kerry's remarks represented a change in tone by the Obama administration, which for more than two years has been wary of sending U.S. arms to the rebels, citing fears they could fall into radical Islamists' hands.
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...
I can't link to the American Thinker article. Has it been pulled?
meant to ping to you this Greenfield article (and post 10)
Looks like it was pulled.
Here is an alternate link.
Syria is a “very attractive place to go and fight” from the Islamic point of view. “There is a lot of historical and religious importance attached to Syria, and to Damascus especially, the place where, it is said in the Koran, Jesus Christ is going to come back and there will be Armageddon and so on,” Al-Abdeh said. “Many of the jihadists that go to fight in Syria actually believe in these things, and that Syria has special religious significance.”
Every 5 to 10 years there is a “particular location or a battlefield” where radical Muslims could go to war, Al-Abdeh explained. In the 1980s, it was Afghanistan against Soviets; in the 1990s, it was Bosnia against the Serbs and Chechnya against the Russians; today, it is Syria.
Among other good questions, Cavuto challenged her on her affiliations with the rebels and exactly who is paying her.
"I don't represent the SETF. I'm not one of their employees, nor do I lobby on their behalf. I work with them as an independent contractor specifically to use my research and my knowledge base to help improve US govt contracts."
"I get a contract fee through these US govt contracts where I am written into the contract as an independent contractor."
Same old, same old with her, and I don't trust her analysis---never have---even though she has spent much time in Syria. She always marginalizes the jihadi rebels and magnifies her (and the CIA's) fave rebels---I am assuming FSA, but she did not mention them by name---as champions of a secular democracy.
"...There is no underestimating the atrocities that have been committed on both sides, but I think it's important to really keep in mind that even while there may be some extremists, kinda foes running around the country, there is a large moderate force that is looking to not only kinda further US interests in the region and to work as an allied partner, but actually could serve as a reliable governing partner if built and given the kind of resources and capacity building it would need to serve as that partner."
"Personally I would hope that our intelligence agencies have been closely following this, and I know that the CIA has been working on a long vetting process and are finally at the point where they have kinda picked a group or an organization that they feel comfortable working with."
I suspect she is going to be making the rounds on the talk-show circuit because her affiliations have finally been disclosed and her bias is being questioned.
We discussed the WSJ piece and her analysis from the Institute's website on the Live Syria Thread.
That statement caught my attention because I recently heard the name Kimberly Kagen in the context of crediting her and husband with Petraeus' Surge strategy [I can't recall the source].
Gen. David Petraeus posing before the U.S. Capitol with Kimberly Kagan, founder and president of the Institute for the Study of War. (Photo credit: ISWs 2011 Annual Report)
How tight Petraeuss relationship was with two neocons in particular, Frederick and Kimberly Kagan, was explored Wednesday in a Washington Post article by war correspondent Rajiv Chandrasekaran who described how Petraeus installed the husband-and-wife team in U.S. offices in Kabul, granted them top-secret clearances and let them berate military officers about war strategy.
Though the Kagans received no pay from the U.S. government, they drew salaries from their respective think tanks which are supported by large corporations, including military contractors with interests in extending the Afghan War. Frederick Kagan works for the American Enterprise Institute, and Kimberly Kagan founded the Institute for the Study of War [ISW] in 2007 and is its current president.
According to ISWs last annual report, its original supporters were mostly right-wing foundations, such as the Smith-Richardson Foundation and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, but it now is backed by national security contractors, including major ones like General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and CACI, as well as lesser-known firms such as DynCorp International, which provides training for Afghan police, and Palantir, a technology company founded with the backing of the CIAs venture-capital arm, In-Q-Tel. Palantir supplies software to U.S. military intelligence in Afghanistan.