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Syrian Opposition Group Ties to MB

September 27, 2011

It’s not hard to be opposed to a leader who willingly kills his own citizens.  We can all agree, I think, that Syria’s Bashar al-Assad is not the best choice for a free and democratic Syria.  Likewise, though, one must know who we are allying ourselves with, as we oppose the current bad guy.

In the rush to support freedom and democracy in Libya, the U.S. unwittingly has been backing Salafist rebels whom it is a stretch to call “freedom-loving” (in the Western sense of the term, anyway).  As things unfold in Syria, the U.S. needs to express some caution.  Given that, it is interesting to see who the State Department is already leaning towards.

At a recent Syrian American Council townhall meeting, in Los Angeles, a State Department official shared the stage with Dr. Najib Ghadbian, a member of the newly formed Syrian National Council and a professor of political science at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.  The townhall was endorsed by the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Dr. Ghadbian has a significant history with the State Department regarding Syria.

An initial contact between the White House and NSF was forged by Najib Ghadbian, a University of Arkansas political scientist. In 2005, Mr. Ghadbian and other Syrian-Americans had set up the Syrian National Council in a bid to influence the U.S. policy debate. Meeting that fall with a senior State Department official, he suggested the U.S. work with his group and its contacts, including the Brotherhood.


Mr. Ghadbian, a professor at the Saudi-affiliated King Fahd Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies at the University of Arkansas, said yesterday that he prefers for Baathists, Islamists, and the Muslim Brotherhood to be included in a post-Assad Syria. Mr. Ghadbian said that an individual he described as being “close to the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Obeida Nahas, had been invited to the conference and that he would be “happy to have him there.” Mr. Ghadbian also said yesterday that he felt it was important for a democratic Syria to preserve its Muslim identity.

The GMBDR report goes on to show relationships between Ghadbian and Georgetown University’s Center for Study of Islam and Democracy, which is affiliated with IIIT, AMC, MPAC, all of which are tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.

We may have a shared goal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we should be buddies. Read the whole thing here.

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