Walid Phares

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Walid Phares
وليد فارس
Born (1957-12-24) December 24, 1957 (age 58)
Batroun, Lebanon
Alma mater Lebanese University
Saint Joseph University (BA)
University of Lyon (MA)
University of Miami (PhD)
Political party Republican
Website Official website

Walid Phares (Arabic: وليد فارس‎‎ IPA: [waˈliːd ˈfaːres]) is an American scholar of Lebanese Maronite Syriac Christian descent.[1] He is a commentator on global terrorism and Middle Eastern affairs.

Phares has testified before committees of the U.S. Departments of State, Justice, Defense and Homeland Security, the United States Congress, the European Parliament, and the United Nations Security Council. He has served as a commentator on terrorism and the Middle East for NBC from 2003 to 2006, and for Fox News since 2007.

In 2011, Phares was appointed by Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney as an adviser on foreign affairs. He was subsequently recommended to and chosen by the 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump, as an expert on terrorism, counter-terrorism, and Middle Eastern Affairs. Phares is a Senior Fellow of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.[2]

Biography[edit]

Phares is a Christian Maronite Lebanese American citizen. He was born in Lebanon on December 24, 1957, grew up in Beirut and in his native village of Ghouma (Batroun district), and emigrated to the United States in 1990. He holds undergraduate degrees in law, political science, and sociology from Saint Joseph University and the Lebanese University in Beirut. Following his undergraduate studies, Phares practiced law in Beirut for a period of time, then went on to obtain a master's degree in international law from the Université de Lyon in France[3] and a PhD in international relations and strategic studies from the University of Miami.[citation needed]

Phares taught at the Department of International Relations at Florida International University (FIU) in 1992 and was a visiting professor of comparative politics at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Palm Beach County from 1993 to 1994. He was hired as a full-time professor of Middle East studies and international relations in the Department of Political Science at FAU in 1995.[citation needed] While at FAU, Phares sponsored several student organizations focused on human rights, including Haiti Watch, Human Rights Organization, the Latin American Student Association, and the Society for the Study of the Middle East.[citation needed] In 1995 he launched the Florida Society for Middle East Studies (FMES), the second-largest of its kind in the US.[citation needed]

Phares is a visiting fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy [2] in Brussels. In 2008 he became Coordinator of the Trans-Atlantic Parliamentary Group on Counter Jihadi-Terrorism.[4][5]

Phares has served as secretary general of the World Maronite Union,[6] and secretary general of the World Lebanese Cultural Union.[7][8]

Political activism in Lebanon[edit]

Soon after finishing his graduate degree in Public Law, Phares joined in 1981 the "MECHRIC Committee", a federation of Middle Eastern Christian NGOs.[citation needed] In 1984, Phares adhered to a small Lebanese political party of the center-left, the "Social Democratic Christian Union" – Union Sociale Démocratique Chrétienne (USDC) (in Arabic الاتحاد الديمقراطي الاجتماعي المسيحي transliterated as Al Ittihad al Dimoqrati al Ijtima'i al Masihi).[9][10]

Phares was a visiting lecturer on the history of the Middle East and Lebanon at three Lebanese universities, the Saint Joseph University (USJ) in Beirut, Lebanon, Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik (ESEK), and the Lebanese University (LU) from 1979 to 1989.[citation needed]

In 1986, he represented the Social Democratic Christian Union (USDC) in the political council of the Lebanese Forces, the umbrella organization for the right-wing Christian Resistance parties and independent personalities during the Lebanese civil war.[citation needed] He served as the head of External and Diaspora affairs in the Lebanese Forces during the years 1986 and 1987. In 1988 Phares revamped the USDC and was elected as Secretary General for the new Democratic Socialist Christian Party (PDSC) - Parti Démocratique Socialiste Chrétienne (in Arabic الحزب الديمقراطي الاشتراكي المسيحي transliterated as Al Hizb al Dimoqrati al Ishtiraki al Masihi)[11] and was a vocal defender of the notion of Christian particularity (الخصوصية المسيحية) in Lebanon in a confederal system of government. He was a close confident and adviser of the Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and an ideologue in the Lebanese Forces advocating the hard-line view that Lebanon's Christians should work toward creating a separate, independent Christian enclave in Lebanon.

However his attempts to democratize the Lebanese Forces coalition by demanding its leaders to go through a transparent electoral process put him on a collision course with the ruling warlords and led him to resign from the political council of the Lebanese Forces in March 1989.[citation needed] After his departure from the broad coalition of Lebanese Christian movements under the umbrella of the Lebanese Forces, he expressed support to the movement of General Michel Aoun until the fall of the Baabda Presidential Palace on 13 October 1990 and Aoun's political exile in Paris.

Put on a list of most wanted opponents in the ensuing Syrian hegemony in Lebanon after Aoun's exile, Phares left Lebanon in 1990 via Israel to get established in the United States where he married a US citizen, eventually obtaining US citizenship.

Political activism in United States[edit]

After establishment in USA, he continued his political activism in opposing the Syrian rule in Lebanon. In the States, Phares reinvented himself as an academic and positioned himself as a speaker on issues related to terrorism. Phares has testified before committees of the U.S. State, Justice, Defense and Homeland Security and the United States Congress.

He briefed and testified to international bodies like the European Parliament and the United Nations Security Council on matters related to international security and Middle East conflict. He called for example for the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1559 on 2 September 2004 that called upon "foreign forces" (Israel and Syria) to withdraw from Lebanon and to cease intervening in the internal politics of Lebanon. He staunchly supported the 2005 Cedar Revolution, the positions of the Lebanese center-right March 14 Alliance and strongly criticized Hezbollah's hegemony and Iranian influence in the region. Professor Phares also serves as an adviser to the Anti-Terrorism Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2007 and is a co-secretary general of the Transatlantic Legislative Group on Counter Terrorism, a Euro-American Caucus, since 2009. He has served on the Advisory Board of the Task Force on Future Terrorism of the Department of Homeland Security in 2006-2007 as well as on the Advisory Task force on Nuclear Terrorism in 2007. He lectures at defense and national security institutions and serves as a consultant on international affairs in the private sector.[12]

Academic work[edit]

From 1993 to 2004, Phares taught at the Department of Political Science at Florida Atlantic University.[12] He has been a senior lecturer at the Lifelong Learning Society since 1994. His courses include Middle East Politics, Political History, Ethnic and Religious Conflict, and International Terrorism. He has lectured throughout North America and Europe.

He also spent time at the Ariel Center for Policy Research in Jerusalem as a researcher. He wrote in a 1997 paper for the Ariel Center in support of a pro-Israeli Lebanese Christian enclave in South Lebanon secured by Israel. He wrote: "[Israel's] only rational and historical choice is to link up once more with the Christian community of Lebanon. This may represent a choice which may not be appreciated among many Israelis, for various reasons, but it remains one which cannot be avoided", he added. "The Christians of Lebanon are the only potential ally against the advance of the northern Arabo-Islamic threat against Israel", Phares concluded.[13]

He has lectured since 2008 at the National Intelligence University in Washington DC, at the Center for Counterintelligence and Security Studies (CI Center) in Virginia, and at the Daniel Morgan Academy, a Graduate School of National Security in Washington DC. He teaches at BAU International University in Washington, D.C.[14] also serving as a university provost and as Director of Graduate Studies at the university.[15]

Phares is the president of the Global Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., a think tank dedicated to the study of international relations, particularly between the US and the Greater Middle East

Although Phares is often described as a scholar on terrorism, Stanford University terrorism academic Martha Crenshaw stated that Phares was "not in the mainstream as an academic".[16]

Political appointments[edit]

Phares was appointed as foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney for his 2012 presidential campaign.[17] His appointment was met with criticism from the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR), which described him as "an associate to war crimes" (due to his ties to the Lebanese Forces) and a "conspiracy theorist".[17] The appointment also provoked negative reactions from Islamic studies academics Ebrahim Moosa and Omid Safi,[17] however both scholars were described as militant Islamists by several pieces, including "Walid Phares vs the Middle East Studies" as well as the Center for a New American Security's Andrew Exum, who said that Phares was "widely viewed as an extremist".[16]

The US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump picked him in 2016 as an expert on terrorism, counter-terrorism, and Middle Eastern Affairs. Trump's choice of Phares renewed scrutiny and speculations about Phares' past alleged role as an ideologue to Lebanese Christian fighters during the Lebanese Civil War and his perceived far-right views as an academic and analyst of the Middle East region. His supporters on the other hand argue that Phares presciently discerned the threat of jihadist ideology and that he is eminently qualified for a senior post. They also point to a strong pro-Israel track record by Phares.[13] Abed Ayoub, on the other hand, the national legal and policy director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, criticizes Phares saying: "If you look at his history, he was a warmonger and he shouldn't be near the White House. He was part of a militia that committed war crimes and, if anything, he should be tried for war crimes."[13] Mother Jones published a picture of a young Phares lecturing in front of a Lebanese Forces banner in 1986.

But others say opposition to the appointment of Phares is a smear campaign on a number of appointments made by President-elect Trump. Tera Dahl, executive director of the US-based Council on Global Security, came to Phares's defense after Ayoub's organization attacked Phares in March 2016 when he was first appointed by Trump. "Phares was never in any military organization, he led a small social democratic group and was a publisher and author," she wrote on the far-right Breitbart. "He represented his left-of-center party within a coalition of parties that oversaw the local government of the Christian community when it was surrounded by the Syrian army and the terrorist groups between 1986 and 1988. Phares is being attacked because he is on the right side of the issues and is fearless in speaking out the truth." Sarah Stern, president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth adds: "[Walid] is in a caliber of his own. He understood the rise of radical Islam in the Middle East. He understood very early on what ISIS is, that it's a real threat. He understands that Islam is more than a religion, that it's also an ideology and an ideology of conquest."[13]

Authorship[edit]

Since 1979 and over three decades, Phares published fourteen books in English, French, Arabic, some translated into Spanish, Russian and Serbo-Croat. His first book in Arabic Al Taadudiyya (in Arabic التعدُّدية , meaning Pluralism) was described by the US Congress Arab Area specialist in 1996 to be "a precursor to Samuel Huntington paradigm", published in an article in 1993, and as a book in 1996. Phares' publishing history can be divided in three eras: The 1980s in Lebanon, the 1990s in the States, and the post 9/11 era also in the States.

The 1980s[edit]

Phares' Arabic books and essays of the 1980s included Hiwar Dimuqrati (in Arabic حوار ديمقراطي meaning Democratic Dialogue, 1980), Al Fikr al Masihi al Demuqrati (in Arabic الفكر المسيحي الديمقراطي or Christian Democratic Thought, 1981), as well as several short essays some under his name, some under a pseudonym. In 1987 he published Ab'aad al Thawra al Khumainiya al Islamiya al Iraniya (in Arabic أبعاد الثورة الخمينية الإسلامية الإيرانية or The Dimensions of the Khomeinist Islamic Revolution of Iran).

In 1981, Phares published a history essay initially in French under the title "Treize Siècles de Lutte", which was translated into English in 1982 as "Thirteen Centuries of Struggle", and in 1983 in Spanish as "Trece Siglos de lucha".

During the 1980s, Phares published a large number of Op Eds and articles in Arabic and French in dailies in the Middle East including An Nahar (النهار), Al Ahrar (الاحرار), Al Amal (العمل), ِAl Massira (المسيرة), Le Reveil, etc. as well as in publications in France and Switzerland. He published academic articles in Panorama: Journal of Geopolitics.

The 1990s[edit]

In the 1990s Phares published a series of academic essays at the IRP Press of the University of Miami, titled as A History of the Middle East in 1993, Ethnic Conflict in the Middle East in 1994, and The Middle East under Radical Islam in 1994. In 1995, Phares published his first academic book in the United States with Lynne Rienners Publisher Lebanese Christian Nationalism: Rise and Fall of an Ethnic Resistance. He published several Op Eds in English including in the Lebanese American Journal, Beirut Times, the Jerusalem Post, and Le Devoir in Montreal, Canada.

He published numerous journal articles such as "The Syrian-Iran axis" in Global Affairs: American Journal of Geopolitics in 1991; "Sudan's Battle for Public Opinion" and "Middle East Minorities" in the Middle East Quarterly; and a variety of other articles published in The Journal of Middle East and South Asian Affairs as well as many news magazines. He also authored several studies including "An Alternative Policy for South Lebanon" in 1998.

Post-9/11[edit]

As of 2001, author Walid Phares published his largest number of books and articles starting with the Foreign Policy journal's best top ten for 2006, Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies against America (Palgrave) which was published in November 2005. In 2006, another version was published under the title Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies against the West (Palgrave). It was published in Spain under the title of La Futura Yihad by Center FAES, Madrid. A Serbo-Croat translation was published in Belgrade in 2007. In 2007, Phares published The War of Ideas: Jihadism against Democracy (Palgrave). It was followed in 2009 with The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad (Palgrave McMillan).

Phares' most noted book[citation needed] in the decade was The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East published by Simon & Schuster Editions in New York in 2010 in which he predicted the Arab Spring, before the Arab upheavals of 2011. In September 2011, a Russian version of the book was published in Moscow by Cosmos publishing house. In 2013, Phares published his first book in France Du Printemps Arabe a l'Automne Islamiste at Hugo, Paris (meaning From the Arab Spring to the Islamist Autumn). His last comprehensive book was The Lost Spring: US Policy in the Middle East at (Palgrave) 2014. Phares published many essays and studies between 2001 and 2015 in English, including "The Iranian Global Threat" in 2015 on Amazon.

In addition to books and essays, Phares authored numerous op-eds in American publications like The Washington Times; The Wall Street Journal; The Philadelphia Inquirer; The Atlanta Constitution; The New York Post; the Chicago Sun; The Boston Herald; the San Francisco Chronicle; the Seattle Times; The National Review; American Thinker; television networks like NBC, MSNBC, Fox News, BBC and Russia Today plus in international newspapers like L'Orient Le Jour (Beirut); Le Figaro (Paris) and El País (Madrid), and many more.

Writings[edit]

Books[edit]

Year Book Publisher
1979 Pluralism in Lebanon Holy Spirit University of Kaslik
1980 The Lebanese Thought and the Thesis of Arabization Dar el-Sharq Press
1981 Democratic Dialogue Manshurat el-Tagammoh
1985 Thirteen Centuries of Struggle Mashreq Editions (Beirut)
1986 The Iranian Islamic Revolution Dar el-Sharq Press
1995 Lebanese Christian Nationalism: The Rise and Fall of an Ethnic Resistance L. Rienner Publishers
1998, 2001 History of the Middle East: Trends and Benchmarks IRP University of Miami Press
2005 Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies Against America Palgrave Macmillan
2007 The War of Ideas: Jihadism against Democracy Palgrave Macmillan
2008 The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad Palgrave Macmillan
2010 The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East Simon & Schuster
2014 The Lost Spring. U.S. Policy in the Middle East and Catastrophes to Avoid Palgrave Macmillan

Documentaries[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tharoor, Ishaan (March 22, 2016). "The dark, controversial past of Trump's counterterrorism adviser". Washington Post. Retrieved June 7, 2016. 
  2. ^ Interview with Walid Phares: FDD Senior Fellow Walid Phares discusses the future of terrorism, Washington, DC: Foundation for Defense of Democracies, June 7, 2016 
  3. ^ Biography Walid Phares (PDF), United States House of Representatives Document Repository, April 29, 2015, retrieved June 7, 2016 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Biography of Walid Phares". Trans-Atlantic Parliamentary Group on Counter Jihadi-Terrorism. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  6. ^ Phares, Walid (July 17, 2004), A letter to the Maronite Council of Bishops: On the Identity of the Maronites, The World Maronite Union, Washington DC, retrieved June 7, 2016  Walid Phares, Secretary General World Maronite Union
  7. ^ UNSCR 1559:Calling on Syria to Pull Out From Lebanon
  8. ^ "Special Report With Brit Hume". Fox News. March 10, 2005. 
  9. ^ NewLebanon.info: من هو وليد فارس مستشار دونالد ترامب؟ (Arabic)
  10. ^ "Walid Phares under attack". American Thinker. 
  11. ^ Ghassan Saoud (14 November 2016). "وليد فارس مستشاراً لترامب: إسرائيلي من أصل لبناني". Al Akhbar, Beirut. Retrieved 28 November 2016.  (Arabic)
  12. ^ a b FoxNews: Dr. Walid Phares biography
  13. ^ a b c d Ben Lynfield (November 16, 2016). "Who is Walid Phares, Trump's Mideast adviser?". Retrieved November 28, 2016. 
  14. ^ BAUI University official website
  15. ^ Prof. Dr. Walid Phares on BAU International University DC Programs
  16. ^ a b Vary, Jarad (24 October 2011). "Meet Mitt Romney's Radical, Right-wing, Sharia-phobe Foreign Policy Advisor". The New Republic. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c Coppins, McKay (10 December 2011). "Mitt's Muslim Problem". The Daily Beast. 

External links[edit]