Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump recently announced his national security advisory team, naming scholar and terrorism expert Dr. Walid Phares as one of his top advisors for national security and foreign policy.
Dr. Phares immigrated to the United States 26 years ago and is an expert on national security and foreign policy. He has written numerous books on terrorism over the years, has served as an advisor to the Anti-Terrorism Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, testified before Congress, briefs Members of Congress, and is a leading national security expert on major news networks both in the U.S. and internationally.
After the announcement of Dr. Phares to the Trump campaign, a wave of negative and unsubstantiated attacks came against the scholar, which was an evident sign that Trump had made the right decision in choosing him as his foreign policy advisor.
The attacks against Dr. Phares started in October 2011, when Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney selected him to join his national security and foreign policy advising team. The attacks first started from the Hamas-affiliated organization CAIR that accused Phares of being “tied to a Lebanese Christian militia” in the past, an accusation without any substantiation. The far left magazine Mother Jones published an article stating that Phares was “a high ranking political official in a sectarian militia responsible for massacres during Lebanon’s brutal, 15-year civil war.” These ridiculous charges were already debased in 2011. Phares was never in any military organization; he led a small social democratic group and was a publisher and an author. He represented his left-of-center party within a coalition of parties that over saw the local Government of the Christian community when it was surrounded by the Syrian army and the terror groups between 1986 and 1988.
The article quoted Toni Nissi, who they state was “Phares’ former associate.” Nissi was affiliated with a democracy NGO advised by Phares in Lebanon during the 1980’s. Nissi is quoted in the article saying that Phares was “an advisor to a warlord” that “disseminated a Christian ideology,” which may have impacted events in Lebanon. Nissi stated in the article that Phares was never a fighter, saying “I can assure to you [Phares] never shot one bullet in his life”… “He was an ideological man; he was a thinker.”
Recent information has come out that discredits the Mother Jones article and the negative attacks against Phares. Toni Nissi recently sent a letter to Mother Jones accusing them of writing false and misleading information from the interview they had with him about Dr. Phares in 2011. In the letter to Mother Jones, Nissi explains that Mother Jones called him in 2011 and talked him into an interview about a “documentary” on Lebanon and started to ask him questions about Dr. Walid Phares’ years in Lebanon, when Phares was in his 20s. Mother Jones “twisted my words, selected half sentences and kept trying to make me say negative things about Professor Phares,” said Nissi.
Phares is being attacked because he is on the right side of the issues and is fearless in speaking out for truth. A quick research on the bloggers who are engaged in the smear campaign against Phares show some are backers of the Iran Deal, which Phares had opposed and criticized in American, Western, and Arab media. The personal attacks reached the point of being ridiculous as pro-Hamas and Hezbollah. The Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) labeled Phares as a “war criminal,” a smear for which one could be liable in court at the highest levels. That could not be farther from the reality of who Phares is. He has worked tirelessly in speaking out for Muslim civil societies, including in Egypt, Tunisia, Iran and the region as well as protection of minorities in the Middle East, leading NGOs to the United Nations with the goal of protecting their minority communities from ethnic cleansing.
Walid Phares, a courageous and prolific author, has paid the price for five years; his name muddied by the pro Iran regime and Muslim Brotherhood lobbies accusing him with false information. He is being attacked by the two largest Jihadi forces in the Middle East simultaneously. The Muslim Brotherhood blames him for bringing awareness to the US public about the Islamist Salafi threat and the Iranian regime resents him for opposing the Iran deal. The smear campaign against Phares is part of a much wider coordinated slander effort against national security experts, lawmakers and NGO leaders at the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and pro-Iran regime fronts, as researched by liberal writer Issam Abdallah.
Both Mitt Romney in 2011 and now Donald Trump in 2016 did well to select Dr. Phares as his national security advisor. He has been a prophetic voice that has been proven to be accurate and true leading up to the Arab Spring and in the war against terrorism.
Tera Dahl is Executive Director of the Council on Global Security.