Updated om Sept. 19 to add comment from Kim Kagan.
It was, in Washington terms, great PR. Questioning Secretary of State John Kerry during a Sept. 3 hearing on Syria, Senator John McCain read extensively from a Wall Street Journal op-ed by “Dr. Elizabeth O’Bagy” about the growing moderate Syrian opposition. The next day, testifying before the House Kerry himself cited O’Bagy’s work in explaining how only 15% to 20% of the 70,000 to 100,000 fighters on the ground Syria were “bad guys.”
It would be easy to imagine that Elizabeth O’Bagy was a venerated Syria expert with decades of experience. In fact, O’Bagy turned out to be a 26-year-old who had first begun to research Syria 20 months ago as an intern at the Institute for the Study of War, a hawkish Washington non-profit. Over the summer, O’Bagy had become the celebre of the Syrian rebel cause. Cable television…
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