Heading the Middle East program at ICG is Robert Malley, one of the staunchest advocates of “engaging Assad” prior to 2011. In fact, Malley repeatedly visited Assad in Damascus, and was often invited to dinner at the residence of Syrian Ambassador in Washington Imad Mustafa. A picture that Mustafa posted on his blog, and later removed, shows Malley and Seymore Hersh, famous for his New Yorker article in which he accused the Hariri Movement of supporting radical Islamists who fought the Lebanese Army in the Nahr Al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in 2007.

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