EXCLUSIVE: Former White House Syrian Intermediary And Muslim Brotherhood Supporter Appears At CAIR Event With State Department Official

Najib Ghadbian

Local media is reporting that a member of the newly formed Syrian opposition council has appeared along with a U.S. State Department official at an event co-sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). According to the report:

The focus of the international media may have switched from Syria to Israel-Palestine (for now), but that won’t stop the Los Angeles chapter of the Syrian American Council from holding its third town hall meeting in Anaheim Saturday to examine the current situation and future outlook for members’ homeland. Speakers include Frederic C. Hof, special coordinator for regional affairs at the Office of the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace and the U.S. State Department, and Dr. Najib Ghadban, a member of the newly formed Syrian National Council and a professor of political science at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. The program is scheduled to include presentations, a question-and-answer session and an overview of the nonprofit SAC-LA’s projects for the local Syrian American community. “As Syrian Americans we stand in solidarity with the peaceful protestors in Syria who are giving their lives daily in the pursuit of freedom and liberty,” says SAC-LA board member Susan Misto in the event announcement. “We ask the U.S. and international community to put an end to bloodshed and send Bashar Assad to the International Criminal Court.” The event, which is endorsed by the Syrian Emergency Task Force-Los Angeles and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Greater Los Angeles Area, is scheduled to run from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Anaheim Hilton, 777 West Convention Way.”

In 2007, the Wall Street Journal report identified Najib Ghadbian as the point of contact between White House officials and the National Salvation Front, a newly formed Syrian opposition coalition at that time, and as an advocate for a U.S. relationship with the Syrian Brotherhood:

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. U.S. officials confirm they were initially resistant to talking with Syrian groups tied to the Brotherhood. …Mr. Ghadbian’s group, however, decided to join the NSF. Syrian-American activists, he explained, “wouldn’t be taken seriously” in the Arab world without ties to arguably the largest group opposing President Assad. As 2006 progressed, Washington became increasingly concerned about Syria’s military alliance with Iran, and the threat it posed to U.S. interests in the region. Damascus and Tehran backed Hezbollah, which fought Israel to a virtual draw that summer. The White House also worried about the threat Syria posed to Lebanon’s pro-Western government.

The New York Sun had reported in 2006 that Ghadbian had expressed support for an individual said to be “close to the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood,” implying that he would like to see him play a role in a “democratic Syria”:

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.

GhadbIan is also a board member of the Center for the Study of Islamic and Democracy (CSID), founded in 1998 largely by the efforts of Georgetown University academic Dr. Esposito who during the 1990’s served in the State Department as a “foreign affairs analyst” and who has at least a dozen past or present affiliations with global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas organizations. Many members of the early CSID board were associated with IIIT, the American Muslim Council, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). For example, past CSID board members included Jamal Barzinji and Taha Al-Alwani, both associated with IIIT and both important leaders in the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood who helped to establish many of the most important U.S. Brotherhood organizations.  From its inception, CSID has argued that the U.S. government should support Islamist movements in foreign countries and has received financial support from the U.S. State Department, the National Endowment for Democracy and the United States Institute of Peace.

A previous post reported that Louay Safi, along with GhadbIan a leading member of the recently established Syrian National Council, is also a leader in the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.

Documents released in the Holy Land Trial have revealed that the founders and current leaders of CAIR were part of the Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as identifying the organization itself as being part of the US. Brotherhood.

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