John Kerry's Syria Expert Works for Pro-Syrian Rebel Lobbying Group

| by Michael Allen
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A so-called "Syrian expert," who has been cited by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, has reportedly lied about her education and hidden her ties to a pro-Syrian rebel lobbying group, the Syrian Emergency Task Force.

O'Bagy wrote an op-ed article in the Wall Street Journal on Aug. 30, but did not disclose her independent contractor ties to the task force, which aids in negotiations between U.S. and U.K. governments and others that provide aid to Syrian rebels, noted The Huffington Post.

O'Bagy wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the Syrian rebel forces aren't controlled by terrorists:

The conventional wisdom holds that the extremist elements are completely mixed in with the more moderate rebel groups. This isn't the case...

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. The jihadists pouring into Syria from countries like Iraq and Lebanon are not flocking to the front lines. Instead they are concentrating their efforts on consolidating control in the northern, rebel-held areas of the country.

According to The Daily Caller, while testifying in front Congress last week, Sec. of State Kerry said: "A woman by the name of Elizabeth Bagly just wrote an article, she works with the Institute of War. She’s fluent in Arabic and spent an enormous amount of time studying the opposition and studying Syria. She just published this the other day. Very interesting article, which I commend to you.”

According to Buzzfeed.com, Elizabeth O’Bagy was fired today by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a non-partisan Washington D.C. think tank.

“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. ISW has accordingly terminated Ms. O’Bagy’s employment, effective immediately," the organization wrote on its website.

Mouaz Moustafa, the executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, told Buzzfeed.com: “Elizabeth is one of the best experts on Syria and her field work inside Syria along with her extensive networks on the ground makes her one of few people that can help inform policy makers on the reality on the ground.”

O’Bagy currently holds a Master of Arts in Arab Studies from Georgetown University, but has only submitted a dissertation for her Ph.D., reports Politico.com.

Sources: Buzzfeed.com, The Huffington Post, The Daily Caller, Politico.com. UnderstandingWar.org