Walid Phares

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Walid Phares
وليد فارس
Born (1957-12-24) December 24, 1957 (age 61)
ResidenceUnited States
Alma materLebanese University
Saint Joseph University (BA)
University of Lyon (MA)
University of Miami (PhD)
OccupationProfessor, political pundit
Known for
Political partyRepublican
WebsiteOfficial website

Walid Phares (Arabic: وليد فارسIPA: [waˈliːd ˈfaːres]) is a Lebanese-born American scholar and right-wing political pundit.[1][2] He worked for the Republican presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney in 2012 and Donald Trump in 2016. He has also served as a commentator on terrorism and the Middle East for Fox News since 2007, and for NBC from 2003 to 2006. A Maronite Christian, Phares has gained notoriety for his association with Lebanese Christian militias in the 1980s during the Lebanese Civil War, and for his anti-Islam views.[3][4][2][5]

Early life and education[edit]

Phares is a Christian-Maronite, Lebanese and American citizen. He was born in Lebanon on December 24, 1957, and grew up in Beirut and in his native village of Ghouma (Batroun district). He emigrated to the United States in 1990.[2]

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 Jean Moulin University Law school in France[6] and a PhD in international relations and strategic studies from the University of Miami.[7]



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.[8] While at FAU, Phares sponsored the student organization Haiti Watch.[9] In 2008 he became Coordinator of the Trans-Atlantic Parliamentary Group on Counter Jihadi-Terrorism.[10][11] Since 2008, he has lectured 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.[12] also serving as a university provost and as Director of Graduate Studies at the university.[13]

Phares's resume says that he "taught Global Strategies at the National Defense University in Washington DC since 2006". A spokesperson for the National Defense University noted that Phares was employed as an "expert/consultant" from April 2011 to April 2012.[14]

Political activism[edit]

In 1984, Phares adhered to a small Lebanese political party of the center-left, the "Social Democratic Christian Union" – Union Sociale Démocratique Chrétienne (USDC).[15][16] Phares has served as secretary general of the World Maronite Union,[17] and secretary general of the World Lebanese Cultural Union.[18][19]

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 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.[20]

Advisor to Mitt Romney[edit]

Phares was appointed as foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney for his 2012 presidential campaign.[21] 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".[21] The appointment also provoked negative reactions from Islamic studies academics Ebrahim Moosa and Omid Safi,[21] 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".[22]

Advisor to Donald Trump[edit]

Phares worked as an advisor to presidential candidate Donald Trump;[23] he was paid $13,000 per month by the campaign.[24] 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.[25] His supporters argued that Phares had presciently discerned the threat of jihadist ideology and that he was eminently qualified for a senior post, and pointed to his strong pro-Israel track record.[25]

Phases does not have a government post in the Trump administration.[26]

Views and Controversies[edit]

Association with Lebanese militant groups[edit]

Phares has drawn controversy over his association with Lebanese militant groups in the 1980s during the Lebanese Civil War.[27][28][14][29][30] According to the Washington Post, Phares "was a political adviser to Lebanese militants during their war against Muslim factions during the 1980s".[31] Phares has said that he was only involved with the militants in a political capacity and that he has not been directly implicated in any acts of violence.[14][29]

Abed Ayoub, 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."[25] Sarah Stern, president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, defended his actions for the Lebanise militant group: "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... [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."[25]

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton conspiracy theories[edit]

Phares has asserted that the Barack Obama administration supported the Muslim Brotherhood.[32][14][33] In October 2016, he asserted that "the triangle Clintonmachine-Iranregime-MuslimBrotherhood has unleashed a coordinated propaganda offensive" against Donald Trump.[34]


Phares has said that "[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... The Christians of Lebanon are the only potential ally against the advance of the northern Arabo-Islamic threat against Israel."[25]

2017 Westminster attack[edit]

In March 2017 Phares attracted attention in the UK when he implied in a tweet that London had "shut down" in the wake of the terrorist attack in Westminster, despite most roads and tube stations (with the exception of the adjacent Westminster station) remaining open as normal, and the fact that only the immediate crime scene was cordoned off: many Londoners replied to Phares to refute his claim.[35][36]

Views on Islam[edit]

According to the New York Times, Phares "regularly warns that Muslims aim to take over American institutions and impose Shariah, a legal code based mainly on the Koran that can involve punishments like cutting off the hands of a thief."[37] Phares has also asserted that jihadists are posing as civil rights advocates.[38]

Phares has been described as being part of "the Islamophobia industry, a network of researchers who have warned for many years of the dangers of Islam and were thrilled by Mr. Trump’s election."[26] According to Lawrence Pintak of the Atlantic Council and a member of the advisory board for The Media Majlis at Northwestern University in Qatar,[39] Phares is a "card-carrying Islamophobe".[40] Although Phares is often described as a scholar on terrorism, Stanford University terrorism expert Martha Crenshaw stated that Phares was "not in the mainstream as an academic".[22] Duke sociologist Christopher A. Bail describes Phares as an influential figure in the anti-Islam movement.[41]

According to the New York Times, Phares "is regularly accused by Muslim civil rights groups of being Islamophobic and of fear-mongering about the spread of Sharia law."[42]



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


  1. ^ Rozen, Laura (October 6, 2011). "Mitt Romney announces his foreign policy team". Yahoo News. The Envoy. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Tharoor, Ishaan (March 22, 2016). "The dark, controversial past of Trump's counterterrorism adviser". Washington Post. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
  3. ^ Smith, Ben (October 12, 2011). "Romney and Phares". Politico. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  4. ^ Sidahmed, Mazin (October 21, 2016). "The Muslim cleric who stumps for Trump draws ire and confusion". The Guardian. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  5. ^ Serwer, Adam (October 27, 2011). "Top Romney Adviser Tied to Militia That Massacred". Mother Jones. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  6. ^ Biography Walid Phares (PDF), United States House of Representatives Document Repository, April 29, 2015, retrieved June 7, 2016
  7. ^ AbuKhalil, As'ad (October 7, 2011). "Romney's scary Middle East advisor". Salon. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  8. ^ Ibrahim, Arwa (November 15, 2016). "Trump in the White House: The man advising him on the Middle East". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  9. ^ Saville, Kirk (October 27, 1994). "Students At Fau Keep Watchful Eye On Haiti". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ "Biography of Walid Phares". Trans-Atlantic Parliamentary Group on Counter Jihadi-Terrorism. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
  12. ^ BAUI University official website
  13. ^ Prof. Dr. Walid Phares on BAU International University DC Programs
  14. ^ a b c d "Trump's foreign policy team baffles GOP experts". POLITICO. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  15. ^ NewLebanon.info: من هو وليد فارس مستشار دونالد ترامب؟ (in Arabic)
  16. ^ "Walid Phares under attack". American Thinker.
  17. ^ 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
  18. ^ UNSCR 1559:Calling on Syria to Pull Out From Lebanon
  19. ^ "Special Report With Brit Hume". Fox News. March 10, 2005.
  20. ^ FoxNews: Dr. Walid Phares biography
  21. ^ a b c Coppins, McKay (10 December 2011). "Mitt's Muslim Problem". The Daily Beast. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Rogin, Josh; Rogin, Josh (2016-09-08). "Inside the collapse of Trump's D.C. policy shop". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  24. ^ Hananoki, Eric (July 26, 2016). "The Trump Campaign Is Paying A Fox News Analyst $13,000 A Month". Media Matters for America. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  25. ^ a b c d e Lynfield, Ben (November 16, 2016). "Who is Walid Phares, Trump's Mideast adviser?". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  26. ^ a b Rosenberg, Scott Shane, Matthew; Lipton, Eric (2017-02-01). "Trump Pushes Dark View of Islam to Center of U.S. Policy-Making". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  27. ^ "Bashing Both Iran and Obama, Trump Scores Points at AIPAC". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  28. ^ "Peter King's Witch Hunt". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  29. ^ a b "The dark, controversial past of Trump's counterterrorism adviser". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  30. ^ "One of Trump's foreign policy advisers is a 2009 college grad who lists Model UN as a credential". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  31. ^ "GOP foreign policy elites don't know whether they'll serve if Trump is president". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  32. ^ Rogin, Josh; Rogin, Josh (2016-08-01). "Pro-Trump Muslim groups bash Khan family". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  33. ^ Bobic, Igor; Ahmed, Akbar Shahid (2016-03-21). "Donald Trump Reveals His Team Of Foreign Policy Advisers". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  34. ^ "Donald Trump's team is now floating an evil Clinton-Muslim Brotherhood-Iran nexus". New Republic. 2016-10-18. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  35. ^ "People mock Fox News claim that terror attack 'shut down city'". Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  36. ^ Horton, Helena (23 March 2017). "Londoners fire back at Fox News pundit who claims the capital is 'shut down'". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  37. ^ Lepeska, David (2012-02-23). "Gain Peace in Chicago Aims to Counter Anti-Muslim Sentiment". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  38. ^ "Bannon film outline warned U.S. could turn into 'Islamic States of America'". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  39. ^ https://www.qatar.northwestern.edu/news/articles/2018/02-lawrence-pintak.html
  40. ^ "An Idiot's Guide to Islam in America". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  41. ^ Christopher Bail (2015). Terrified: How Anti-Muslim Fringe Organizations Became Mainstream. Princeton University Press. pp. 67–68, 78–79.
  42. ^ Rappeport, Alan (2016-03-22). "Top Experts Confounded by Advisers to Donald Trump". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-24.

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