Fred Hof is presently a Senior Fellow at the Rafik Hariri center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council. Parenthetically, Rafik Hariri and his son Saad were/are Sunni Lebanese politicians with deep ties to the royal family of Saudi Arabia. IMO, the Hariris have always been implacably hostile to the Alawi dominated government in Damascus. It seems reasonable to assume that Hariri money funds the Hariri Center.
It is an infrequent event when a tinkerer with history and people's lives comes out of the shadows and into the light so that the the population can see for themselves who the Borgist dwarves are and have some idea of what they have wrought.
I have a lot of history with Hof. I have known him for something like 30 years. I first met him when he was an Army LTC or major serving as assistant army attaché in the US embassy in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War. He was shot by someone among the many "player" groups at a road block in Beirut while driving. I handled his evacuation and wrote him up for a Purple Heart for the wound. I was then the DIA manager for a number of ME attaché posts.
It seems to have been during his adventure in Beirut that Hof developed a virulent hostility toward the Syrian government. The Syrians then had 30,000 odd troops in Lebanon at the request of the Arab League. They were there supposedly to try to referee among the Lebanese sectarian and political factions, but clearly they enjoyed the experience of lording it over the Lebanese, especially Lebanese politicians and played that role with a swaggering crudeness that was unwise. Syria finally withdrew its forces from Lebanon after the death of Assad pere, and the accession to power of Assad fils.
In the diplomatic community of Beirut and among the Lebanese upper classes during the Syrian semi-occupation, the opinion was generally held that the Syrians, their army and police were the lowest of the low and that Hafez al-Assad was the guiding spirit in all this evilness. The Americans on post in Beirut were more or less besieged in the embassy and became subscribers to this idea set through constant association with the moneyed Lebanese they had access to. These people bitterly resented the attitude that the Syrian "occupiers" displayed toward them. The same anti-Syrian perspective permeated the larger network of diplomats, media, academics, think tankers, erc. throughout the world. This was part of a general attitude among the foreign policy intelligentsia of the West concerning existing governments in the Arab countries. The FP intelligentsia professed to believe that the autocrats; Mubarak, Assad, Saddam, etc. were the worst thing imaginable and that they personally were responsible for all the ills that afflicted the various states of the ME. The belief somehow was common among the FP intelligentsia that if the rulers could be removed and replaced with locals who professed to admire Western values, all would be well. Well, we have seen how badly flawed that idea really was. In Iraq, Egypt, Syria, what happened was that the more or less secular autocrats were removed from power and the raging demonic passions of sectarian fury were released when they were no longer suppressed.
Hof was eventually assigned to be the military assistant (aide) of Richard Armitage, then Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (ISA). In other words, he sat in Armitage's outer office as gate keeper. I was then the senior Middle East/South Asia person in DIA and of necessity spent a lot of time working with Hof and others among Armitage's staff. I found Hof to be very aggressive, disdainful of others' opinions and increasingly willing to throw Armitage's weight around. Politically, I would have described him as a liberal internationalist who shared the belief common in those circles that the ME badly needed reform. Hof retired from the Army as a LTC. He followed Armitage into the consulting world of Washington where he was made a partner in Armitage's company. He and Armitage were appointed to negotiate several international problems including one for sharing the waters of the Yarmuk river among Jordan, Syria and Israel. The Yarmuk is a stream that one can wade across just about anywhere.
Hof next appeared in the Obama Administration where he worked as a consultant on Syria policy. It appears to me that he has been one of the leading cheerleaders and policy drivers for regime change in Syria. In this oped piece he seems to me to mock both Obama and Kerry for their lack of resolve in getting rid of Bashar Assad.
Well, pilgrims, they deserve it for listening to him. pl