U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Likely Influenced Senate Defense Bill
The Panama City Florida connections suggests a significant U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leadership element still operating in that area.
A recent report in the Al-Monitor advised that Syrian opposition lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill were “paying off”. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) now, “authorizes the Secretary of Defense to provide equipment, training, supplies, and defense services to assist vetted members of the Syrian opposition.”
According to the article:
“This is a momentous occasion,” Syrian National Coalition (SNC) adviser Oubai Shahbandar told Al-Monitor. “This is the first stop in clearly defining the convergence of American national security interests with strengthening the Free Syrian Army [FSA], which is actively fighting al-Qaeda and actively fighting Iranian-backed international terrorist forces in Syria.”
The details of the aid were not clear at the time the article was written.
The lobbying efforts mentioned come from a variety of Syrian special interest groups with strong U.S. Muslim Brotherhood ties:
National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces – This group includes the Syrian National Coalition as well as representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood controlled, Syrian National Council including Syrian-American Louay Safi. The U.S. lead representative is Najib Ghadbian. Ghadbian has been identified as having U.S. Muslim Brotherhood ties through his membership with the Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID) in Washington, DC, and the Syrian American Council (see below).
Syrian Support Group (SSG) – The group is licensed by the U.S. Government to provide a range of aid and support to moderate opposition in Syria. According to a report by The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch (GMBDW), SSG Chairman Mazen Asbahi has numerous ties to U.S. Muslim Brotherhood groups – strong enough to cause him to resign from then-Senator Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. SSG Vice-Chairman Majd Abbar is reported by the Clarion Project to be associated with the Qatar Foundation, a group closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Syrian American Council (SAC) – One of the largest American based Syrian lobbying organizations. It’s president is Talal Sunbulli. Sunbulli is listed as the Syrian coordinator in the international phone book of Muslim Brotherhood members seized by federal investigators during the Holy Land Foundation investigation. SAC’s chairman, Hussam Ayloush, is the executive director of CAIR California. SAC Board member Mohammed Nahas (Dr. Mohammad N. Al-Nahhas) is a former board member of the Bay County Islamic Society (BCIS)**
Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) – composed of Syrian American professionals from across the United States. SETF Director Mouaz Moustafa facilitated Sen. John McCain’s May 2013 trip to Syria. The GMBDW reported that of seven board members named, four are known to have a history of close ties to the US Muslim Brotherhood. SETF Board member Dr. Hashem Mubarak served as a past president of the Bay County Islamic Society (BCIS)**
In addition to the two doctors mentioned above, Panama City, Florida is home to Syrian-born Dr. Yahia Rahim (Y. Abdul-Raheem), identified as the economic head of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood from documents seized during the Holy Land Foundation investigation. As previously reported by Cultural Jihad, Dr. Rahim is currently listed as the NAIT contact for the Bay County Islamic Society and is a director of the the Panama City Advanced School Corporation. The school’s head, Rashid Karaman (Qurman), was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, attachment A, part III, no. 46.
COMMENT/ANALYSIS: The Panama City Florida connections suggests a significant U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leadership element still operating in that area. As reported here, Tampa’s OakTree Institute, another Brotherhood affiliated group, also has a BCIS member on it’s Board of Directors – Ahmed Abobaker Mohamed. It would be a safe assumption that the above groups will have significant input with the vetting of Syrian opposition members receiving assistance under the NDAA.