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1875 I St. Nw
Washington, D.C., District of Columbia,20006
The Syrian Emergency Task Force is a D.C. based non-profit organization created in March 2011 to convey the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people to Americans and the United States government. SETF also seeks to bring perpetrators in the Assad regime to ... more.
Senior Research Analyst and the Syria Team Leader
Regime Syria Adviser
Arabic and political science
joint Master's/PhD program
Arab Studies and Political Science
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The growing controversy following the Senate vote Thursday authorizing the White House to arm "moderate Syrian rebels" returns a spotlight on Elizabeth O'Bagy, the graduate student who was credited with conceiving the strategy. O'Bagy was fired from her Washington think-tank job after WND in September 2013 exposed that she falsely claimed to have earned a Ph.D. WND reported the strategy advocated by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Secretary of State John F. Kerry to represent the Free Syria Army, or FSA, as "moderates" among the rebel forces opposing the government of Bashar al-Assad was advocated by O'Bagy. O'Bagy was then a 26-year-old graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in Arab studies and political science at Georgetown University. Five days later, WND reported the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War think-tank fired her for lying about her qualifications. "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 statement said. "ISW has accordingly terminated Ms. O'Bagy's employment, effective immediately." The Daily Caller reported later that month that immediately after being fired by the Institute for the Study of War, she was hired as a legislative assistant in McCain's Senate office in Washington. McCain's deputy press secretary, Julie Tarallo, confirmed Friday that O'Bagy still works in the senator's office. In his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sept. 3, 2013, Kerry cited O'Bagy, arguing that the war in Syria is "not being waged entirely or even predominately by dangerous Islamists and al-Qaida die-hards" but rather by "moderate opposition forces - a collection of groups known as the Free Syria Army." In 2013, in her capacity as a senior research analyst and the Syria team leader at the Institute for the Study of War, O'Bagy authored a March 2013 report titled "The Free Syrian Army." In 2013, O'Bagy also worked as the political director of the Washington-based Syrian Emergency Task Force, or SETF, chaired by Mohamed Kawam. O'Bagy organized McCain's trip to Syria WND also disclosed that O'Bagy played a central role in organizing McCain's controversial trip to Syria in May 2013 during which he was accused of meeting with operatives of the Free Syrian Army that had ties to ISIS. On May 27, 2013, the Los Angeles Times reported O'Bagy, in her capacity as political director for the Syrian Emergency Task Force, said in a telephone interview from Turkey that McCain's office approached the task force two weeks earlier to ask if it could arrange for him to meet with Syrian rebel leaders in Syria. O'Bagy, who accompanied McCain on the senator's May trip to the Middle East, told the newspaper McCain met with FSA commanders in two meetings in Gaziantep, Turkey, and in one meeting about a half mile inside the Syrian border at the Bab Salameh border crossing. O'Bagy further confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that Gen.
John McCain, Elizabeth O'Bagy, and 'Allahu Akbar'
Elizabeth O'Bagy Senator John McCain's foreign policy staffer Elizabeth O'Bagy was cited in a once-influential Wall Street Journal op-ed titled, "Elizabeth O'Bagy: On the Front Lines of Syria's Civil War," where she attempted to dismiss the threat that US arms may end up in the hands of Syria's radical Sunni terrorist groups. O'Bagy, as a senior analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, utilized her now-disproven credentials as a 26-year-old Ph.D. She was also found to have been working as a paid-employee of an organization that advocates on behalf of the Free Syrian Army. O'Bagy wrote in the WSJ: "Contrary to many media accounts, the war in Syria is not being waged entirely, or even predominantly, by dangerous Islamists and al Qaeda die-hards." She continued: "Moderate opposition forces-a collection of groups known as the Free Syrian Army-continue to lead the fight against the Syrian regime." The left-wing Washington Post's Editorial Board was thrilled with O'Bagy's analysis, which in effect created a bipartisan coalition for intervention on behalf of the Syrian "rebels" in the elite media. The Post's Editorial Board wrote, "Both U.S and independent intelligence estimates show that the 11 jihadist groups identified in Syria make up a small minority of the anti-government forces. U.S officials say they constitute 15 percent to 25 percent of fighters. Elizabeth O'Bagy, an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War who has travelled extensively inside Syria, reports that al-Qaeda and mainstream rebel forces are largely separated from each other and control different pieces of territory." O'Bagy's analysis turned out to be completely off-base. Journalist Charles Johnson first uncovered that O'Bagy had not disclosed her work as a paid-employee of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, which lobbied on behalf of the Syrian opposition forces. Additionally, O'Bagy, a registered Democrat and big Obama supporter, had also grossly overstated her credentials, falsely claiming that she had acquired a Ph.D. from Georgetown University. John McCain, Elizabeth O'Bagy, and 'Allahu Akbar'
Michael Weiss and Elizabeth O'Bagy
Elizabeth O'Bagy is a senior research analyst at the Institute for the Study of War and the policy director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force.
The veteran lawmaker is enamored with a controversial young "Syria expert," Elizabeth O'Bagy, who has managed toconvince him as well as the president and secretary of state that Syrian rebels are mostly moderate and not terrorists.
While persuading the U.S. of this, O'Bagy concealed that she was a political director for the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF), a group that advocates for Syria's rebels from Washington D.C. Before getting exposed by conservative media outlets, O'Bagy claimed to be an objective analyst at a Washington D.C. think-tank that studies military affairs when in fact she had a "reputation as the leading expert on the armed opposition in the Syrian revolution," according to SETF. "Elizabeth is a talented researcher, and I have been very impressed by her knowledge and analysis in multiple briefings over the last year," McCain said in astatement to the political news publication that broke the story in late September.
Elizabeth O'Bagy, political director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force said, "This was the start of a really important engagement between various forces in the U.S. government and people in the civilian and armed opposition who are working together to fight for a free Syria."