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Obama Aide Plouffe Profited Off Company Tied to Syria

And Iran.

1:31 PM, Aug 7, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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One of President Barack Obama's top advisers, David Plouffe, took money for speeches from a company with ties to Iran, the Washington Post reported yesterday.

David Plouffe, a senior White House adviser who was President Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, accepted a $100,000 speaking fee in 2010 from an affiliate of a company doing business with Iran’s government," the paper found. "A subsidiary of MTN Group, a South Africa-based telecommunications company, paid Plouffe for two speeches he made in Nigeria in December 2010, about a month before he joined the White House staff."

But MTN Group does not just have ties to Iran; the company Plouffe profited from also has ties to the Syrian government, a state sponsor of terrorism.

Considering MTN's extensive ties to Syria, and considering the Obama administration has not done anything substantial to help prevent the mass slaughter of civilians who are protesting the Syrian regime, Plouffe's relationship with the telecom group does not reflect well on him or his boss, President Obama.

Starting in January 2001, Syria signed a 15-year contract with what is now MTN Syria to build and operate communications infrastructure that would eventually be handed back to the Syrian regime. The agreement between the state telecommunications company and MTN is a revenue sharing split wherein both parties slip the revenue equally. 

And while the Syrian regime has been using vicious means to put down protests for more than a year and a half, MTN has still been meeting with the regime. Indeed, MTN's CEO, Sifiso Dabengwa, is seen here, pictured with high-ranking officials from Bashar al-Assad's government:

"In purpose of enhancing the communication between MTN Syria with the head of the Group in South Africa, MTN Syria has welcomed Mr. Sifiso Dabengwa, the CEO & president of MTN Group, who has come to visit Syria for lasted two days, while he met during it Dr. Adel Safar the Prime Minister, Dr. Imad Saabouni Minister of Communications and Technology and in presence of South African’ Ambassador in Damascus, Where the meeting has discussed the ways to develop the communications’ services, operating systems and settlement some of administrative aspects which allow the company to expand its activities, investments and contribution to the local development process," says a press release from February 9, 2012 announcing the meeting between Syrian officials and MTN Group (via Google translate).

Mr. Anas Al-Khani, Corporate Services General Manager at MTN Syria, Says: “This visit came to ensure the importance of the company position within the group in the Middle East & North Africa, as a result of the efforts of our staff throughout the couple past years, also, this visit gave us an important opportunity to have a discussion about the company business’ strategy, and the best tools to improve the offered service quality in the Syrian market, and bringing it up to the highest levels in light of regional and global experiences.

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