The PJ Tatler

Why Do John Kerry and John McCain Believe that Syria's Rebels Are Mostly Moderate?

Most of the thinking that Syrian’s rebellion is mostly moderate comes from a single source. Both Sen. John McCain and Secretary of State John Kerry have publicly cited that source, and if you’ve been watching cable news this week you’ve seen that source. Her name is Elizabeth O’Bagy, and she works at the Institute for the Study of War. She penned a piece for the Wall Street Journal that has become the basis for the idea that Syria’s rebels are more moderate than jihadist.

O’Bagy has been all over the Fox News Channel and CNN this week, out of nowhere, to tell America that Syria’s rebels are mostly moderate.

The Institute for the Study of War bills itself as non-partisan and appears to have lived up to that since its founding in 2007.

Dr. O’Bagy, on the other hand, is also connected to an organization called the Syrian Emergency Task Force. As its political director, she is one of its four top officers according to the group’s web site. This is her.


Political director, by the way, means that O’Bagy is an activist. Her activism includes promoting the bombing of Assad’s forces.

Here’s a jaw-dropper: O’Bagy criticized Israel for killing Hamas leader Ahmed al-Jabari last November. But enough about her.

The SETF’s executive director is one Mouaz Moustafa. This is Moustafa.


And look, here he is in Syria. That’s Sen. John McCain there in the middle, and a couple of Islamist kidnappers behind him.


Moustafa and O’Bagy arranged McCain’s trip to Syria through the Syrian Emergency Task Force.

You probably have guessed where this is going by now. Mr. Moustafa is a Palestinian Arab, and was involved in the Libya war before he turned up in Syria. He openly hates Israel. He opposed the overthrow of Mohammed Morsi in Egypt. He hearts Hamas. Connect that dot to O’Bagy’s take on the strike that killed Ahmed al-Jabari, above.

In short, the man behind the source for the notion that Syria’s rebellion is moderate is, himself, an Islamist among Islamists, according to FrontPage.

One member of the SETF’s Board of Trustees/Board of Directors, Dr. Jihad Qaddour, was also a trustee of the Muslim American Society, which is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Another, Bassam Estwani, appears to have been the Imam of the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center, also known as Al-Qaeda leader Anwar Al-Awlaki’s former mosque. The mosque was considered a front for Hamas and other “Islamic extremists” by the Treasury Department.

A third, Zaher Sahloul, appears to be the Chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Chicago, an organization with terrorist links which is involved in organizing a boycott of Israel.

“Syria’s rebels are moderates,” according to the disinformation very effectively spread by the Syrian Emergency Task Force.