Farid Ghadry

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Farid N. Ghadry (also Farid al-Ghadry and Frank Ghadry) is a Syrian, co-founder and current president of the Reform Party of Syria (RPS), a US-based exile group[1][2], and the president of the Syrian Democratic Coalition[3]. RPS coordinates with the Syrian National Council, and transmits Radio Free Syria from Cyprus and Germany to destabilize Syria. Ghadry also worked for EG & G, a Department of Defense contractor.

Background

Ghadry was born in Syria and, in 1964, at the age of 8, emigrated to Lebanon with his family. Ghadry came to the United States in 1975.[4]

Described as a "discredited businessman from Virginia" who is "Syria’s version of Ahmad Chalabi" by Robert Dreyfuss[5], in The American Prospect, Ghadry is "a secular, pro-democracy Sunni from a majority-Sunni country. He is charming and articulate, enjoys driving his kids to soccer practice, and favors a Syrian peace with Israel," Elizabeth Eaves wrote February 7, 2005, in Slate.

Israel Lobby Nexus

Ghadry has been a featured speaker at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, and is himself a member of AIPAC.[12] The address for the Reform Party of Syria is the the same as the office of the disgraced Zionist lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Abramoff's 'political advisory company' Middle Gate Ventures partners with Ghadry's party.[6]

On 15 May 2003, Eli J. Lake wrote in The National Review: "His organization is only now getting off the ground," and "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.'"

Being Chalabi

In January 2006, Volker Perthes, Director of the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs, told ABC News' Leela Jacinto that "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. [13] "Ghadry wants to be the Chalabi of Syria," Perthes said. "Chalabi is a role model for Ghadry." [14]

Just like Chalabi has addressed the Knesset several times, as of 27 May 2007, Ghadry has been invited to address the Israeli Knesset.[7]

The Jack Abramoff connection

The Address for the Reform Party of Syria is the office of 'super-Zionist' lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Middle Gate Ventures, Abramoff's 'political advisory company' partners with RFP, according to Trish Schuh.

"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," Justin Raimondo wrote January 11, 2006, in antiwar.com.

The neo-con connection

"It seemed like a match made in neocon heaven," Eli J. Lake wrote May 15, 2003, in The New Republic Online. "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?'"

H.D.S. Greenway wrote in a December 13, 2005, Boston Globe editorial that his "heart sank" when he "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," Greenway wrote, "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."

"As for Chalabi, he is often accused of seducing the administration with false intelligence into invading Iraq. But the fact is that the Bush administration desperately wanted to be seduced. If you are feeling charitable, you can say that Chalabi, having lived in exile for so many years, may just have been out of touch with the real situation in Iraq. But one suspects that Farid Ghadry may be no better informed about his homeland than was Chalabi," Greenway wrote.

Ghadry is known to be close to the US VP's daughter, Elizabeth Cheney.

"Frank" Ghadry, "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," BizForward reported in March 2000. Ghadry sold this business in 1989. [15]

In 1990, described in BizForward as "Lebanese-born" Frank Ghadry, 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" and, in 1992, Ghadry and his partners left the country.

Since then he has tried his hands at several other businesses which have all ended in failure.

Ghadry also falsified his origins in his earlier ventures, claiming to be born in Lebanon, and eschewing his Arabic name Farid for the americanized 'Frank'. [16] All went well till his nth business went bust and he realized that 9/11 is a goldend opportunity to capitalize his connections as a defense contractor and lobbyist along with other conmen, Pipes and Abdelnoor and company.

Syrian Democratic Coalition

The Syrian Democratic Coalition was launched by Ghadry in a November 17, 2003, press conference held at the National Press Club. Ghadry, accompanied by former Lebanese General Michel Aoun, announced that the group was "being financed by Syrian businessmen."—Geopolitique.com.


Bush-Cheney 2004 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 of Maryland identified himself as an "Arab Syrian American". [8]

MENAC is "a coalition of Americans of Middle East descent who hail from various religious and ethnic backgrounds including: Arab, Maronites, ChaldoAssyrian, Persian, African, Copt, Berber, Sunni, Shiite, Orthodox, Melkite, Syriac, Jews, Druze, Lebanese, Iraqi, Syrian, Egyptian, Libyan, Sudanese, Palestinian, Jordanian, Algerian, Yemeni, Arabian, Kuwaiti, Afghani, Iranian, Turk, Moroccan, Mauritanian, Ethiopian, and others." [9]

Readying for (U.S.) regime change in Syria|Regime Change in Syria

On 15 September 2006, Silvia Cattori interviewed Jürgen Cain Külbel, a "former criminal investigator of the GDR, who became a journalist after the reunification of Germany." [10]

According to Külbel: [11]

"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'."

In the 26 March 2005, Washington Post, Robin Wright and Glenn Kessler reported that "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 ... which led the campaign to oust former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein," Wright and Kessler wrote.

"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 [sic; see below] from the National Security Council and the Pentagon's David Schenker", Wright and Kessler wrote. "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. ... 'Its membership is extremely thin and is not taken seriously. It's almost unheard-of in Syria,' said Murhaf Jouejati, director of George Washington University's Middle East Studies Program."

However, word had leaked out in 2003 about Ghadry's meetings with State Department officials. At the 18 November 2003, U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing, Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman, was asked whether Ghadry, "a Syrian-American", who, "along with a number of other Syrians, held two-day meetings over here, opposition meetings for the Syrian opposition" and had "conversations" at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (also see speeches below) and "other places", had met with officials at the State Department and whether the State Department was encouraging Syrian opposition.

Mention of Ghadry's meet-ups with Elizabeth Cheney at the World Economic Forum and elsewhere can also be found here, here, and here. Also see Iran-Syria Operations Group.

Ghadry reported via an 31 August 2005, RPS news release that he had met the day before with Michael Scott Doran, Director of Policy at the National Security Council regarding Baschar al-Assad's upcoming arrival in New York for the United Nations World Summit "and the day most of the pro-Syrian Lebanese ex-intelligence officers were detained for questioning in Lebanon." Discussions, Ghadry wrote, "centered around the Human Rights situation in Syria and specifically the release of Riad Seif from prison as well as all the other prisoners of conscience languishing in Syrian jails under abhorring and inhumane conditions" and the "importance of pressuring the Assad regime to allow the Atassi Forum, a pro-democracy group, to conduct business free from intimidation and harassment." Additionally, Ghardry wrote, he had "also discussed the anticipated Syrian National Conference to take place soon in Europe that would unite all the opposition political parties and figures."

In September 2005, Ghadry reported via USA TODAY's Barbara Slavin 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." This was Ghadry's "second meeting with U.S. officials," Slavin wrote, as Ghadry had met with the State Department in March 2005 "to discuss Syria's future."

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.

"Ghadry is proposing to set up a provisional parliament-in-exile to negotiate a ''Bremer-less' transition out of Baathism. He is anxious not to repeat what many think to be the errors of Iraq, namely backing a ruling minority into a corner: he would allow the Alawites to remain in the armed forces pending a new democratic constitution," Dean Godson wrote in the September 10, 2005, Times Online (UK).

"His party claims to have offices in 18 countries, including an underground office in Syria, and operates a Cyprus-based radio station that broadcasts into Syria," Slavin wrote. [17]

Kenneth Katzman, a "Middle East expert at the Congressional Research Service, told Slavin that "Appropriations bills for the fiscal year that begins in October promote democracy in Syria" and that a "House version allocates as much as $1.5 million; the Senate version does not specify an amount." [18]

At the end of December 2005, Ghadry met at the residence of Richard Perle in a suburb of Washington, DC, with Ahmed Chalabi, who is "often accused of seducing the [Bush] administration with false intelligence into invading Iraq," earning himself the reputation of being Syria's Ahmed Chalabi, H.D.S Greenway reported in the December 31, 2005, Boston Globe.

Külbel continued: [12]

"Everybody thought [Ghadry] was out of business, but then he popped up again. Between June 16 and 18, 2006, the Beaver Creek (Colorado) World Forum of the neo-conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) took place. As is commonly known, this was supposedly where the American-Israeli air strike on Iran was planned. Moreover, Cheney gave the green light to Israel’s former Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who was present there, for the latest war of aggression against Lebanon. Included among the 64 members of the AEI conference were Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and other members of the Bush administration. And at this conference Cheney also met with Farid Ghadry. That’s certainly not a good sign."

In a 19 June 2006, RPS [13], Ghadry reported that he had met with Vice President Dick Cheney on June 17, 2006, while attending AEI's World Forum conference in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Ghadry reported that he "took the opportunity to convey to Vice President Cheney the situation and aspirations of Syria's growing democratic opposition" and "urged the United States to increase its support for democracy and human rights in Syria, and stressed in particular the importance of vigorously defending these activists inside Syria who have recently been the target of a systematic and brutal crackdown by the Assad regime."

Campaign Contributions & Political Capital

Ghadry has made campaign contributions to two of the Israel Lobby's favorite congresspeople: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Eliot Engel (D-NY). Both have "spearheaded the anti-Syrian legislation in congress." [19]

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. Ros-Lehtinen was a co-sponsor. The law was signed by President George W. Bush and became Public Law No: 108-175 on 12 December 2003.

On 7 June 2006, Ghadry made a statement and provided comments before the Subcommittee. See George Ajjan and Joshua M. Landis for commentary on the hearing.

Ghadry has also made contributions to Rick Santorum (R-PA). See Federal Election Commission records [20]

Afflitiations

Contact, References and Resources

Contact

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

Resources

This section includes Testimony & Speeches by Farid Ghadry, Interviews with Farid Ghadry, and Profiles of Farid Ghadry.

References

  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. [3]
  4. [4]
  5. [5]
  6. Trish Schuh, Faking the Case Against Syria, Counterpunch, 18 November 2005
  7. [6]
  8. [7]
  9. [8]
  10. [9]
  11. [10]
  12. [11]
  13. press release