It seems as if Rep. King has changed his tune on Walid Phares somewhat. He will no longer be calling him to testify:
A potentially controversial witness, Walid Phares, isn’t expected to appear at Pete King’s hearings on Muslim radicalization, King told POLITICO just now.
Robert Costa’s report this week that the witness included Walid Phares, a Fox News analysts and conservative terrorism scholar, raised some eyebrows.
That’s because King has told us, among others, that he plans to rely on Muslim witnesses. That angered some outside critics of the community, but King hoped it would lend the hearings credibility and avoid some distracting controversy.
But Phares is of Lebanese Christian descent, and Muslim groups accuse him of ties to Christian militias in Lebanon’s brutal civil war (whose sectarian battles echo in various ways through the current American politics of Islam.
“As of now, he is not testifying,” King said through a spokesman.
What is the reason for this sudden turn around, did it have anything to do with our piece exposing Phares’ membership in genocidal and racist Christian militias? Did it have anything to do with our intrepid Loonwatchers contacting the Congressman and their local officials? (Good job guys!):
Rep. Peter King, slated to hold hearings on the threat of “terrorism in the American Muslim community” is well known for his checkered past in regards to terrorism as well as outlandish and overtly bigoted statements against Muslims.
For instance Peter King has claimed that “85% of Muslim leadership in America are enemies among us,” though when pressed he has not provided one shred of evidence on how he arrived at this number. King has also expressed his belief that there are “too many mosques in America.” This is on top of the fact that Rep. King was one of the staunchest supporters of the IRA at a time when they were targeting non-combatants in bombing campaigns, kidnappings and shootings.
Now it has come to light that amongst those expected to address the “Muslim hearings” will be a former Lebanese Forces militiaman and spokesman, Walid Phares. The Lebanese Forces were responsible for some of the most horrific slaughters and pogroms during the Civil War in Lebanon, amongst them the Sabra and Shatila massacres.
As’ad Abu Khalil of angryarab.net reported on Phares’ involvement with the Lebanese Forces as well as the Guardians of the Cedar whose slogan during the civil war was, “Kill a Palestinian and you Shall Enter Paradise,” way back in 2007. (hat tip: Akkad)
I am aware that Phares now likes to deny his past role with the Lebanese Forces (the right-wing, sectarian Christian militia that–among other war crimes–perpetrated the Sabra and Shatila massacres). Somebody yesterday posted a comment challenging my statement about Phares and his association with the Lebanese Forces. These are only two of many newspaper clips that I have in which his affiliation is clearly noted. In the top one, (As-Safir, 12/6/1987), it said that “Member of the Command Council of the Lebanese Forces, [and] head of the Lebanese Immigration Apparatus in the Lebanese Forces, Walid Phares, lectured on “the Role of Free Christianity in Lebanon and the Middle East.” In the lecture, he also “criticized the mechanism of the development of Lebanse Christian resistance over 12 years.” In the second one above, (As-Safir, 27/8/1991), Phares was identified as the “vice-chair” of the Extraordinary Emergency Committee for the Lebanese Front (the political leadership committee of the Lebanese Forces) (the chairperson was Etienne Saqr (who founded the Guardians of the Cedar, which during the civil war raised the slogan “Kill a Palestinian and you Shall enter heaven,” and he now resides in Israel). And it has to be said that his rise in the Lebanese Forces took place at a time when it was aligned with the regime of….Saddam Husayn. (emphasis mine)
Even before Abu Khalil’s revelatory post, Iviews.com reported on Walid Phares’ activities and association with Etienne Saqr, founder of Guardians of the Cedar in 1999. In a piece about ties between an American Jewish Organization and Lebanese Terrorists that is well worth the complete read we learn that:
Walid Phares, who founded the WLO and is now a professor at Florida Atlantic University left Lebanon for the United States in 1990. But during the Lebanese civil war he was himself a Christian militiaman. (12) Phares told iviews.com that he was in charge of foreign affairs for the Lebanese Front, the political directorate of the Lebanese Forces. The Lebanese Forces was an umbrella coalition of several right wing militias, including Saqr’s Guardians of the Cedar and the Phalange, perpetrators of the Sabra and Shatila massacre. The current chairman of the Lebanese Front is Etienne Saqr. (13)
Asked about the atrocities attributed to Saqr, Phares replied, “Everybody did silly stuff, on both hands…but amazingly enough, the Guardians of the Cedars have been the most moral fighters.”
The Jerusalem Post reported that Saqr is a “leading member” of the WLO, (14) but Phares denies this. “The WLO had a strong alliance with Saqr, not anymore though, because Saqr had been advocating extreme positions, asking the Israelis to intervene directly in Lebanese affairs,” said Phares. Asked when the WLO cut off ties with Saqr, Phares replied, “No, there’s no cut-off, but I would say about six months ago, seven months ago.”
But in June of this year, Phares joined Saqr, Baraket, and an Israeli professor at a symposium in Israel to do just what he says caused him to end his “strong alliance” with Saqr. (15) The four urged Israel to set up an independent Lebanese Christian “entity” in South Lebanon, to be controlled by a “vastly expanded and strengthened [Lebanese Christian] militia.” (16) The aim, they said, was to “revitalize ties with Israel at a time when there is a trend of loosening those bonds.”
“If Israel leaves Lebanon, it has an obligation towards us, we have been faithful allies,” Phares said at the symposium. (emphasis mine)
These are not small revelations, they highlight the fact that this hearing is an absurdity. Led by someone whose own hands are muddied in support of foreign terrorists, we are now expected to hear from a so-called expert, Walid Phares, a former member of a terrorist militia that slaughtered thousands of innocents.
The profound irony should not be lost on anyone, these hearings are going to be McCarthyist to its core. The point will not be to effectively combat extremism or domestic terrorist threats, but to intimidate the American Muslim community while inspiring fear amongst the general population. It has all the recipes of a disaster waiting to happen. I call on Loonwatchers to contact their local congressmen, representatives or embassies to expose the sham that this hearing is going to be.
Unfortunately however Rep. King has not distanced himself from Phares or condemned Phares’ long history with a terrorist militia that has killed many Muslims and Palestinians:
Today, U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, issued the following statement on Professor Whalid Phares:
“Professor Walid Phares is a respected author, scholar and expert on Islamist Jihadism. For several months Professor Phares has been advising the Homeland Security Committee staff and me in preparing for Committee hearings on Islamist or Jihadi radicalization. Professor Phares has been extremely helpful and cooperative, even agreeing to my request that he consider being a witness at a hearing, should the need arise. His only caveat was to warn me that certain elements would charge that as a Christian he is not qualified to testify as a representative from Muslim communities. I assured him that would not stop me from asking him to testify.
“I did, for a time, consider asking Professor Phares to be a witness at the first hearing to provide an overview of Jihadi ideologies. Approximately three weeks ago, however, I decided to focus that first hearing on specific instances of radicalization within the American Muslim community from an American Muslim perspective. While Professor Phares will not be a witness at the first hearing on March 10, I certainly expect to call him to testify at future hearings regarding Jihadi ideologies and strategies. My staff and I will also continue to rely upon Professor Phares for his advice and counsel as these hearings go forward.”
Unrepentant as ever. This does not bode well for the future.