The Syrian rebellion against the government of Bashar al-Assad has gotten much support – mostly political – from western nations, while at the same time, the rebellion consists of terrorist-related groups and individuals. One of those individuals, Yaser Tabbara, is located inside the United States, and he is currently a top spokesman for the entire Syrian opposition.
On November 11, 2012, at a meeting taking place in Doha, Qatar, a deal was signed to bring together all factions, political and military, of those opposing Bashar Assad. The result of the deal was the creation of the Syrian National Coalition for Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SNCROF).
Previous to the SNCROF, the main umbrella for the rebellion was the Syrian National Council (SNC), which still exists and is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Over a quarter of all SNC members are from the Brotherhood or Ikhwan. Under the new umbrella agreement that was signed, out of the 63 seats in the coalition, 22 were given to the SNC.
One of the members of the SNC is a Chicago attorney named Yaser Tabbara. Tabbara, who is originally from Damascus, has devoted a good part of his recent life towards fighting Syria’s Assad. Previous to his involvement with the SNC, he was the Executive Director of the Syrian American Council (SAC), which in its declaration recognizes the SNC as Syria’s “main political opposition body.”
Indeed, Tabbara assisted in the shaping of the SNCROF, possibly in coordination with the Obama Administration, which was working behind the scenes to help orchestrate the event. As reported in the media, Tabbara has been named the legal advisor and English-language spokesperson for the new opposition umbrella. According to him, all of the opposition groups have joined the coalition. In his words, “Everyone has signed our names to this.”
These opposition groups, of course, include the Muslim Brotherhood, which has control over Tabbara’s SNC, and the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a violent organization which admittedly contains jihadists linked to al-Qaeda.
Last March, on al-Jazeera, Tabbara complained about the international community’s lack of involvement in assisting the militant FSA. He stated, “[A]s far as the relationship between the Syrian National Council… and the Free Syria Army… there has been a number of very high level contacts, there have been a number of agreements that have been signed… and we are still waiting, again, for the international community to get serious about supporting the armed opposition through the Free Syria Army…”
As well, 2500 Hamas fighters recently descended upon Syria to war against Assad, and the government has responded by shutting down all of Hamas’s Syrian-based offices. For over a decade, the global heads of Hamas enjoyed a safe haven in Damascus, but as Hamas is part of the Brotherhood, the group took a strong anti-Assad stance.
Question: When Tabbara used the word “everyone,” with regard to joining the SNCROF, was he also including Hamas? It’s an interesting question, as Tabbara, himself, is presently involved with a Hamas-related group.
Tabbara is a board member of the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago). He co-founded the group shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks and has acted as its Executive Director from then till April 2006.
CAIR-National was established in June 1994 as part of an umbrella organization created by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. In November 2001, at the time CAIR-Chicago had purchased its official website address, www.cairchicago.org, the national office was asking people to donate money to the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), a Muslim charity that had raised millions of dollars for Hamas.
When CAIR was named a co-conspirator by the U.S. Justice Department to two federal Hamas financing trials dealing with HLF, in 2007 and 2008, Tabbara was sitting on the board of CAIR-Chicago, as he is today. And CAIR-Chicago had a close relationship with CAIR-National, bringing the National Executive Director of CAIR, Nihad Awad, to speak at its annual functions.
Days before his March al-Jazeera interview, Tabbara tweeted the following, “Today, our revolution offers us a rare opportunity to die for a truly pan-human cause.” With all of his participation and leadership within radical Islamist groups, one has to wonder what he will do in order to obtain this “opportunity” and if or how many others’ lives will be lost in the process.
Yaser Tabbara is one case of how extremist elements have attached themselves to the Syrian opposition against Bashar al-Assad. It is also an example of how this movement has terror-related tentacles which reach far into the West.
It is further a concern as to, if and when Assad falls, what will be there to replace him.
Joe Kaufman is a former candidate for United States Congress. He is an expert in the fields of counter-terrorism, foreign affairs and energy independence for America.
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