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Farid N. Ghadry

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Farid N. Ghadry (also Farid al-Ghadry and Frank Ghadry; the latter commonly used in the US) is co-founder and current president of the Reform Party of Syria (RPS), a "'US-based opposition party' of pro-democracy Syrians" [1], and the president of the Syrian Democratic Coalition. [2] Ghadry is heavily involved with US-based neoconservatives, and is close to Liz Cheney and Wurmser.[3] Ghadry heads organizations, that despite their lofty sounding names, exist mostly in the United States and were created with an helping hand of several pro-Israeli organizations. Ghadry is openly “pro-Israel”[2] and positions his organizations with a similar allegiance; Ghadry is even a member of AIPAC.[4] [5]

Ghadry was born in Syria[6] and, in 1964, at the age of 8, emigrated to Lebanon with his family. Ghadry came to the United States in 1975.[7] Ghadry "graduated from the American University in Washington DC in 1979 with a degree in Finance and Marketing. He worked at EG&G, Intertech, Inc., the subsidiary of a Fortune 500 U.S. defense contractor, for two years before starting his own business in 1983 called International TechGroup, Inc.[8]

Wannabe Chalabi clone

Robert Dreyfuss refers to Ghadry:

Today Wurmser, Hannah, Liz Cheney, and her father are pushing hard for confrontations with both Iran and Syria. Liz Cheney, who exercises enormous power inside the State Department, has secured millions of dollars to support opposition elements in both countries, and she has met with Syria's version of Ahmad Chalabi, a discredited businessman from Virginia named Farid al-Ghadry. Hannah sat in on the meeting with Ghadry, which was arranged through Meyrav Wurmser, a friend of the would-be Syrian leader. [3]

In January 2006, Volker Perthes, Director of the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs, stated: "Analysts also warn that the U.S. experience in Iraq is adversely affecting U.S.-based Syrian exiles considered too close to Washington neoconservative circles," which includes Farid Ghadry. "Ghadry wants to be the Chalabi of Syria, "Chalabi is a role model for Ghadry." Perthes said. [9] Just like Chalabi has addressed the Knesset several times, as of 27 May 2007, Ghadry has been invited to address the Israeli Knesset.[10]

The Jack Abramoff connection

Trish Schuh writes:

"Syria may become America's 53rd state, if Farid Ghadry's NGO, the Reform Party of Syria rushes through that opened door... Ghadry's Reform Party coordinates with the Syrian National Council, and transmits Radio Free Syria from Cyprus and Germany to destabilize Syria. The CIA and Mossad have long used Kurds to target nations in the region,"
... Reform Party of Syria’s Farid Ghadry has been a featured speaker at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, and is himself a member of AIPAC. When repeated calls to his organization went unanswered, I visited the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the RFP. Reform Party of Syria is the office of "super-Zionist" lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Middle Gate Ventures, Abramoff’s ‘political advisory company’ partners with RFP. Abramoff is a top Beltway lobbyist now under intensive FBI investigation [11]

Justin Raimondo restates this:

"The Reform Party of Syria is a front organization for Israeli interests in the Levant, and is supported by an impressive constellation of neoconservative stars. Regime change, effected by a U.S. invasion and occupation of Syria and Lebanon, is the one and only item at the top of this gang's agenda, and it comes as no surprise that Abramoff's ill-gotten gains went to funding it."[12]

The neo-con connection

Eli J. Lake comments:

"It seemed like a match made in neocon heaven," "Less than one week after the United States accused Syria of allowing terrorists to enter Iraq and Saddam Hussein's henchmen to leave it, Farid Ghadry informally unveiled his Reform Party of Syria. He used the occasion of the American Enterprise Institute's second to last weekly briefing on Iraq – a series the institute organized to coincide with the war – to go public with his opposition efforts. Ghadry – who plans to announce a Syrian government in exile in the coming months – asked the panel of Washington hawks, from the audience, the question on everyone's mind: 'What about regime change for Syria?'"[13]

H.D.S. Greenway comments:

MY HEART SANK when I read that Syrian exile Farid Ghadry met recently with Ahmed Chalabi, Iraq's deputy prime minister, in a Washington suburb. Ghadry heads something called the Syrian Reform Party. The party was formed three years ago, and is made up almost entirely of exiles, such as Ghadry, who left Syria when he was 10. "Ahmed paved the way in Iraq for what we want to do in Syria," Ghadry told The Wall Street Journal.
The real heart-sinker was that the two met in the living room of Richard Perle, whom George Packer, author of "The Assassins' Gate," calls the impresario of the neo-cons. Perle was among the leading intellectual lights urging forceful regime change in Iraq.[14]

Bush-Cheney '04 Inc. Endorsement

As an 23 October 2004, signatory for the Middle Eastern American National Conference (MENAC) endorsement of President George W. Bush for a second term in office, Farid Ghadry [...] identified himself as an "Arab Syrian American".[15]

Exclusion within the Opposition

There is an issue about the Syrians allowed to work within the organizations set up by Ghadry. Here are a few exclusion with commentary. Most of the operators in the so-called Syrian opposition in exile are run by people like Ghadry who have no recent contact with Syria; Ghadry and the like are suspicious in the eyes of the Syrian opposition within Syria. References to this fact within SourceWatch are constantly erased by Farid Fakry himself.[16]

Joshua M. Landis reports:

It does raise the question, however, of how the US can support reform in Syria. Analysts are always carping that the government should not waste their time supporting foreign opposition groups such as Ghadry’s Reform Party of Syria, which are happy for foreign funding. Rather, they argue it is smarter to concentrate on the “civil society” movements now active in Syria. Now that the government is actually moving in this direction, however, the implementation will not be easy. Will they give it to the now outlawed Kurdish parties? Will it go to the Committees For the Defense Of Democratic Liberties And Human Rights In Syria? The head of the organization, Aksam Noaisse, was arrested a year ago. Other Civil Society leaders, such as Riad al-Turk, have spoken out against reform groups working with the United States. He was attacked for this position by Nazir Nayouf, one of the founders of the Committee for the Defense of Democratic Liberties, who spent a decade in prison before being pardoned by Bashar. He now lives in France and has been a vocal critic of the Syria government. (It was Nayouf who originally made the claim that Syria had taken in WMD from Iraq. He has been working with Ghadry.) He recently called Riad al-Turk an aging toady of the system. The accusations between the inside and outside groups have grown uncivil and nasty.[17]

Readying for (U.S.) Regime Change in Syria

According to Jürgen Cain Külbel:

"After September 11, 2001, [Ghadry] saw the time had come to help his far off homeland 'with economic and political reforms in order to obtain democracy, prosperity and freedom'. That is why he joined the US-Committee on the Present Danger, with members like Newt Gingrich and the former CIA boss James Woolsey. Under the influence of the events in Lebanon, Ghadry wrote in a newspaper article in February 2005, 'Democracy (in Syria) will remain an illusionary dream as long as the USA government is unwilling to publicly support and decently finance the reforms. A White House meeting with a democratic Syrian leader could send a clear message towards Damascus that changes are on their way.’’
By the end of March his prayers had already been answered by Elizabeth Cheney, daughter of the vice president and the person responsible for Near East affairs at the State Department. Together with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, she at once installed the 'Middle East Partnership Initiative' (MEPI), which under the mask of 'economic, political and educational reforms' contributes monies to opposition forces in the Arabian world. In 2003 alone, 100 million dollars flowed. The 36-year old hardliner led an 'unofficial' meeting in Washington, where Farid Ghadry took part with his 'Syrian opposition'. Ghadry’s crew, all US-based dissidents and united back then under the umbrella organization the 'Syrian Democratic Coalition' (SDC), discussed with officials from the vice president’s office, the Pentagon and the National Security Council, how the “regime in Damascus could be weakened” and how to “prove criminal conduct by Syrian officials”. After the talks, Ghadry, who was pushing for the US president to lean on Damascus personally, summed it up by saying that the call for democracy in Syria “is being taken very seriously at the highest level of the Bush administration”. He was going to “work closely with the US administration and the EU” from his end so that 'Syria’s oppressive Baath-regime' could be toppled. However, Ghadry, who was closely cooperating with Abdelnour, disappeared from the scene after he lied to the European Parliament and was dispossessed by his own party for “dubious conduct”.[18]

Robin Wright and Glenn Kessler report:

A meeting Thursday, hosted by new State Department "democracy czar" Elizabeth Cheney, brought together senior administration officials from Vice President Cheney's office, the National Security Council and the Pentagon and about a dozen prominent Syrian Americans, including political activists, community leaders, academics and an opposition group, a senior State Department official said. The opposition group comes from the Syria Reform Party, a small U.S.-based Syrian organization often compared to the Iraqi National Congress led by former exile Ahmed Chalabi. The INC, which led the campaign to oust former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, had widespread U.S. financial and political support from both the Clinton and Bush administrations, as well as Congress.
...
Ghadry said the Syrian opposition was encouraged by the "open and constructive" meeting, which was attended by key players in the administration's democracy policy such as John Hannah from Cheney's office, Robert Danin from the National Security Council and the Pentagon's David Schenker.
"They wanted to hear from us how they can help in extending the message of freedom and democracy in Syria," said Ghadry, who left his homeland 30 years ago, when he was 10, and formed his party after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "They listened and took a lot of notes. We felt from the responses that they understand these are important issues."
Some U.S. analysts and other Syrian Americans warned that the Syrian Reform Party and its allies are unrepresentative and too small to have any impact. [19]

In September 2005, Ghadry that he and Doran "discussed the 'transition from an autocracy to a democracy and why a transitional parliament is an important element' of that change."[20] This was Ghadry's "second meeting with U.S. officials,", as Ghadry had met with the State Department in March 2005 "to discuss Syria's future." [21]

Campaign Contributions & Political Capital

Ghadry has made campaign contributions to Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-FL), a neocon Congressperson who is the Chair of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia, and Eliot Engel (D-NY), who has served on the same House Subcommittee, for several years. Ros-Lehtinen and Engel have "spearheaded the anti-Syrian legislation in congress."[22] Ghadry also made campaign contributions to Rick Santorum (R-PA).[23] Engel introduced the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003 – intended "To halt Syrian support for terrorism, end its occupation of Lebanon, stop its development of Weapons of Mass Destruction, cease its illegal importation of Iraqi oil and illegal shipments of weapons and other military items to Iraq, and by so doing hold Syria accountable for the serious international security problems it has caused in the Middle East, and for other purposes." – to the House of Representatives on April 12, 2003.[24] Ghadry applauded the introduction of the bill.

Early Frank Ghadry, the "serial entrepreneur"

"Frank" Ghadry launched his "Washington-based defense contracting business [in 1983] to write software that would allow the U.S. Navy to digitize the paperwork in aircraft carriers, letting them go a couple of knots faster and save millions of dollars in fuel costs with the extra weight removed." [25] Ghadry sold this business in 1989. In 1990, Ghadry "decided to launch a business in Russia, buying antiquated Soviet computers and stripping them for the gold plating Soviet engineers used instead of nickel... The company then recycled the gold and other precious metals in the West, the first time the Russian government had issued an export license for gold. But the lucrative venture soon caught the eye of Russia's less savory business types"[25] In 1992, Ghadry and his partners left the country. Ghadry owned Hannibal's Coffee Co., a chain of American coffee shops that went bankrupt in 1996."[26] In April 1999, Frank Ghadry founded Bizee, his eight business.[27]

Contact Information

Reform Party of Syria
1700 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Suite 400
Washington DC 20004
Website: www.reformsyria.org
Email: info@reformsyria.com

Related SourceWatch Resources

External links

References

  1. Kathryn Jean Lopez, A Loosening Grip, National Review, 2 March 2005 (Accessed: 11 February 2012)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Farid Ghadry, Israelis deserve better, YNet, 11 November 2006. (Accessed: 11 February 2012)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Robert Dreyfuss, Vice Squad, The American Prospect, 17 April 2006.
  4. [1]
  5. Eli J. Lake wrote, The National Review, 15 May 2003. She writes: "a Syrian who belongs to one of Israel's main lobbying groups is not exactly a strong political candidate in a country that remains one of the most rabidly anti-Israel in the region. As Ghadry himself admits, “The Syrians are not ready for someone who wants to make peace with Israel.”
  6. The place of birth is sometimes stated as “Lebanon”, but now that Ghadry is involved in politics, the place of birth has now mostly become “Syria”.
  7. The original link source for this info has since scrolled (Updated 11 February 2012).
  8. ditto, but info was from his ReformSyria.org profile.
  9. Leela Jacinto, Ex-Insider Sends Shock Waves Through Syria, ABC News, 12 Jan. 2006. (Accessed: 11 Feb. 2012)
  10. Shahar Ilan Exiled Syrian opposition leader to visit Knesset, Haaretz, 27 May 2007.
  11. Trish Schuh, Faking the Case Against Syria, CounterPunch, 18 November 2005.
  12. Justin Raimondo Abramoff and the Israeli Connection, Antiwar.com, 11 January 2006.
  13. Eli J. Lake [2], The New Republic, 15 May 2003. (Link no longer live on 12 February 2012)
  14. H.D.S. Greenway, A hungry eye for Damascus?, Boston Globe, 13 December 2005. (Accessed: 11 February 2012)
  15. [3]
  16. Farid Fakry has frequently sought to edit this SW article, and it is instructive to determine what he sought to edit out. First, references to the location of his office: in Abrahamoff’s office; and the fact that most of the Syrian opposition within Syria distrust and dislike Ghadry.
  17. Joshua M. Landis, Co-Director of the Center for Peace Studies at the International Programs Center and Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies in the School of International and Area Studies at the University of Oklahoma US Foreign Aid to Syria 16 July 2004.
  18. Jürgen Cain Külbel interviewed by Silvia Cattori, The Assassination of Rafik Hariri: A Biased Investigation, Silvia Cattori.net, 15 September 2006.
  19. Robin Wright and Glenn Kessler, Bush Administration Probes Syria's Future With Assad's Opposition, Washington Post, 26 March 2005.
  20. Barbara Slavin, U.S. pressures Syria to fall in line on Lebanon, Iraq, USA TODAY, 20 September 2005.
  21. Note that, although Ghadry had met with State Department official Elizabeth Cheney in 2003, long before March 2005, the March 2005 meeting referenced here is most likely the same as that mentioned above by Wright and Kessler.
  22. [4]
  23. According to Rockville, Maryland, "Political Contributions by Individuals", on September 10, 2004, "Ghadry, Farid (Stoney Investments/Businessman), (Zip code: 20853)" contributed $1000 to ENGEL FOR CONGRESS. [5]
    • On November 1, 2004, Ghadry contributed an additional $1,000 to Engel's campaign. [6]
    • According to Potomac, Maryland, "Political Contributions by Individuals", on October 10, 2004, "Ghadry, Farid N. Mr. (Stoney Inv./Businessman), (Zip code: 20854)" contributed $2000 to ROS-LEHTINEN FOR CONGRESS.
  24. Ros-Lehtinen was a co-sponsor. The law was signed by President George W. Bush and became Public Law No: 108-175 on December 12, 2003.
  25. 25.0 25.1 BizForward March 2000. (as of 11 Feb. 2012, the link to that source no longer exists)
  26. (as of 11 Feb. 2012, the link to that source no longer exists)
  27. Janet Gross, [7], December 2000. (As of 12 February 2012, this link has scrolled)