Thursday, February 02, 2017

Tulsi's Road To Damascus Runs Through... Cleveland?


Cleveland restaurateur Tony George, who has long been a lonely voice  in support of brutal Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, now has some powerful company in his crusade in Washington.

To the dismay of many in Ohio’s close-knit Syrian-American community, including some of his own relatives, George last year hosted a successful fundraiser and rally for Donald Trump after discovering they were kindred spirits. By all accounts, George and Trump bonded at the event.

George, a Christian activist opposed to refugees, helped Trump win Ohio and hence the presidency. After the election, George led Trump’s effort to oust the disloyal chair of the Republican Party. He's been rewarded with access to Trump, according to Washington insiders. Most recently, George vouched for Trump’s moral character to a Cleveland TV station. 
 George is rumored to have worked on Trump’s behalf to facilitate Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s meeting with Assad in Syria in early January. Gabbard has denied any White House role as she clumsily explains her trip, despite her obvious admiration for Trump and his neo-Nazi adviser Steve Bannon.

The "Dame of Damascus" undermined President Obama in the waning days of his presidency by serving as President-elect Trump’s unofficial ambassador to Syria. The move hasn't played well at home in Hawaii-- Obama’s birthplace and strongest state-- where Gabbard is said to be considering a primary challenge to Sen. Mazie Hirono, an actual progressive, next year. 
 In response’s to Gabbard’s self-styled, pro-Assad, pro-Putin foreign policy, local residents are circulating a petition demanding that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi strip Gabbard of key committee memberships.

The state’s largest daily newspaper, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, has intrepid investigative reporter Sophie Cocke digging for more information on the Gabbard-Trump-Assad partnership.

Hawaii’s leading online newspaper, Civil Beat, broke the story Tuesday night that Gabbard has personally reimbursed the mysterious Ohio-based charity that funded her trip, as she seeks to avoid further "distraction."

At the national level, the Daily Beast, The Atlantic and Josh Rogin at the Washington Post have all published stories on the trip-- and Gabbard’s vague and contradictory explanations of it-- that call into question her judgment and veracity. 

How Tulsi Gabbard Became Assad's Mouthpiece In Washington -the Washington Post, January 29
One Syrian American who was close to Moustapha and would often visit his Washington residence was Cleveland businessman Bassam Khawam, according to three Syrian Americans who saw them together but do not wish to be identified for fear of retribution. Five years later, Moustapha is nowhere to be seen, but Khawam is still active. He organized and joined the trip to Damascus for Gabbard and arranged a meeting with Assad.

“This guy has been lobbying on behalf of Bashar Assad in the U.S. even before there was a revolution, and we are deeply troubled he would try to help a war criminal build relationships with sitting members of Congress,” said Mohammed Alaa Ghanem, director of government relations for the Syrian American Council, a nongovernmental organization that works with the Syrian opposition.

Gabbard, a veteran of the Iraq war, has long advocated that the U.S. should focus its efforts in Syria on Islamist groups instead of ousting Assad, whom the Obama administration had called on to step down. She had even criticized Obama for not using the term “radical Islam” to describe groups such as ISIS. And she introduced legislation that would bar the U.S. government from supporting groups allied with or supporting terrorist organizations, some of which are fighting against the Assad regime. Her views on Syria appear to align more closely with those of President Trump, who says the U.S. should focus its efforts on defeating ISIS.
It's indeed strange a Congresswoman from Hawaii would have a relationship with a charity in Ohio that would lead her all the way to Syria. The rumored connection to Tony George, if proven, would be especially damaging because it would suggest Trump’s direct involvement.

George didn’t go to Syria with Gabbard. But he’s an associate of Bassam Khawam, who brought Gabbard to her meeting with Assad. The two Cleveland businessmen, when not working together to protect the Syrian regime, serve on the executive committee of the Syrian Cultural Gardens Association.


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At 6:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With DINOs like Tulsi, who needs Republicans?

At 7:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are a lot of progressives who have been duped because she supported Bernie. They think she's the bee's knees.

At 11:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone will have to explain to me the actual (alleged) problem with "legislation that would bar the U.S. government from supporting groups allied with or supporting terrorist organizations."

This article seems to validate regime change. The pre-Herr Hair US govermental establishment is certainly inured to that as US foreign policy but why is this essential tool of brutal imperialism now acceptable since one can make a case Herr Hair is against it?

Obumma's twist at regime change in Syria was to insult us with the notion (was that HRC's idea?) of "moderate" terrorists as a smokescreen to accomplish it. (Of course, this apparently was simply to distract from the fact that he/we supported ISIS as the US's Hessians on the ground to topple Assad.)

If Putin had recruited, outfitted and transported terrorists to topple Mexico does anyone have a doubt we would send troops to quell that civil war?

Why any "progressive" would support our new formula of terrorist v. terrorist proxy war is beyond me.

John Puma

At 3:01 PM, Blogger Elizabeth Burton said...

And yet someone I know, a Hawaiian resident who is the next thing to a foam-lipped revolutionary, defends her and is shocked at the suggestion she's not a progressive. I'm not sure what he bases it on, other than her campaign rhetoric and the fact she gets a big chunk of the vote.


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