<>April 12, 2018
“Al Qaeda’s MASH Unit”: How the Syrian American Medical Society Is Selling
Regime Change and Driving the US to War

*Longtime SAMS President Zaher Sahloul at a rally by the exiled Iranian MEK
cult promoting regime change in Iran*

By Max Blumenthal

Reports on unproven allegations of a chemical attack in Douma, the Syria
city formerly occupied by the Army of Islam insurgent group, invariably
rely on a key source: The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS). Together
with the White Helmets
SAMS has been cited by the Washington Post
, New York Times
virtually every Western media organization reporting on the incident. In
Douma, SAMS staff have claimed
<> that they treated more
than 500 people for symptoms “indicative of exposure to a chemical agent.”

The group also played a central role in shaping the narrative of a sarin
attack in Al Qaeda-controlled Khan Sheikhoun in April, 2017, providing
samples to the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW),
which violated its stated protocol by accepting evidence without a
verifiable chain of custody. That incident prompted the launching of 57
cruise missiles at a Syrian air base by the American military. Almost
exactly a year later, a strikingly similar event is said to have tripped
the “red line” again, and is likely to trigger a more robust assault by the
US and its allies.

SAMS claims <> to be a “non-political,
non-profit medical organization,” and is cited as a credible authority by
media reporting on the incident in Douma. Scant published material is
available on the organization’s origins as an exile arm of the
Islamist-oriented Syrian opposition, its involvement in sophisticated
influence operations from the Turkish-Syrian border, or its close
relationship to neoconservative elements in Washington and Al Qaeda’s
affiliate in Syria.

SAMS is not merely a group of Syrian doctors tending to the wounded in war
torn areas, nor can it be considered a objective source on chemical attacks
and other atrocities. The organization is a USAID-funded lobbying
powerhouse that functions with a single-minded determination to stimulate a
US-led war of regime change that will place Syrian Islamists in power in

SAMS was founded in 1998 by members of the Syrian American exile community,
which is concentrated in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. Prior to the
2011 armed rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad, the group led
several medical delegations to Syria, presumably cooperating with the
government to gain access. A former member of SAMS approached me to
complain that the armed revolt prompted a takeover of the organization’s
board of directors by sympathizers of the Muslim Brotherhood. She said she
and other secular and Christian members resigned from the group as it
transformed into what she described as “Al Qaeda’s MASH unit.”


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