Mouaz Moustafa is the executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force. An examination of his social networking raises more questions about him and the State Department-funded task force that he leads.
Moustafa goes by the handle @SoccerMouaz on Twitter. In the tweets below, dated June 5, 2013, he is chatting with departed SETF staffer Cassie Chesley and left-wing provocateur Max Blumenthal. Until this week, Chesley was the SETF’s communications director.
The genesis of the conversation is this blog post at The Passionate Attachment, which attempts to connect the Syrian Emergency Task Force with pro-Israel AIPAC, via a speech Moustafa delivered, an association he has with a web site connected to pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and a URL — syriantaskforce.torahacadembr.org. Moustafa and Chesley blamed the URL issue on their web designer. But in the tweets above, Moustafa goes much farther, identifying himself with the Palestinians and saying that “nothing hurts me more than being called anything pro Zionist.” Even being called “al Qaeda” is not as hurtful to Mr. Moustafa. In another tweet cited at The Passionate Attachment, Moustafa says that even being called a Nazi would not be as harmful to him as being called a Zionist.
The exchange raises a number of questions. The openly anti-Israel Moustafa worked on staff for two Arkansas Democrats in Congress: former Rep. Blanche Lincoln and former Rep. Vic Snyder according to his SETF bio. The SETF has by now been exposed as a pro-Syrian rebel advocacy group that until this week had a staffer connected to Muslim Brotherhood fronts, yet Elizabeth O’Bagy, whose work casts the Syrian rebels in a positive, non-jihadist light, is still listed as one of its two employees.
Moustafa appears to tell various audiences what he believes they want to hear, and which will advance his personal causes. He slams Zionism to deflect Blumenthal, but posts on the AIPAC-sponsored Fikra Forum, which bills itself as an online forum for Arab democrats. Here he is, as of September 13, 2013, at 10:30 am central time, on Fikra’s contributors page.
Left-wing provocateur Blumenthal, who is the son of longtime Clinton associate Sid Blumenthal, seems not to have a problem with Moustafa’s anti-Zionist defense. He does not respond to it publicly.
For her part, Chesley tweeted a link to this article of hers that appeared on Foreign Policy’s blog on May 3, 2013, in which she bases a case for intervening in the Syrian civil war on Obama’s “red line.” This was more than three months before the August 21 attack that has precipitated recent events including Secretary of State Kerry’s meeting with his Russian counterpart over the issue of Syria’s chemical weapons. Her author bio states her connection to the Syrian Emergency Task Force, which raises more suspicion regarding Elizabeth O’Bagy, who claims not to have engaged in advocacy to persuade the United States to intervene in the war. Such advocacy is the Syrian Emergency Task Force’s reason to exist. And while Chesley has left the group, O’Bagy remains its political director.
The United States Department of State continues to fund the Syrian Emergency Task Force.