Dr. Walid Phares
January 16, 2014
Editor's Note: It is with great satisfaction that we offer the text of an official Congressional Recognition of Dr. Walid Phares, a regular contributor, learned colleague and a friend. The recognition is well deserved, if not well past due. To wit, even the US Congress gets it right every now and again.
It is my great privilege to recognize the patriotism and valor of Professor Walid Phares, who has been an advisor to my office and the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus since 2006. During that time, he has also ably served as my academic advisor on the Middle East, Terrorism, jihadi ideologies, Middle East minorities, Muslim reformers and democratic movements.
I found his enlightening book, Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies Against America, to be highly educational. The wisdom and insight I found on every page when I read it in 2005, led me to conclude that the book was a must-read for every American; it would help them to understand the ideological basis of the jihadi threat at home and abroad and enable them to figure out the best strategies against it. Future Jihad was included on the summer reading list of House Republicans in 2007 and was read by many of them. Dr. Phares’ book, The War of Ideas: Jihadism against Democracy, deepened my understanding of jihadists’ use of propaganda to promote their political ideology, penetrate the West, and recruit members. His third book authored after 9/11, The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad (published in 2008) also enabled me and other global strategists to forge the appropriate alliances and isolate the extremists.
Since 2006, Dr. Phares has taught a unique course at the National Defense University with classes comprised of students from the military, intelligence community, and House staff, including two of my own, whose support to my own outreach efforts excelled as a direct result. Dr. Phares has been a guest lecturer on the Middle East and Terrorism at several national security agencies, including the Intelligence University where he engaged US military allies on cooperation and mutual understanding. For nearly a decade, his rich academic knowledge and experience have informed and educated many of my colleagues and their staffs.
Dr. Phares helped us to develop a strategy to reach out to members of moderate and reformist non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as leaders in the American Muslim community. He organized Congress’ participation in a Moderate Islam Summit in Tampa in 2007, and two Moderate Muslim Summits in Congress in 2010 and 2012. These summits provided a venue for members of these NGOs to communicate with administration officials and added incentive for moderate groups to form national alliances in the United States.
From 2006 on, Dr. Phares helped our staff to understand jihadists’ recruitment and radicalization methods and he reviewed legislation we proposed to counter radicalization, to ensure that it reflected the best possible academic perspective.
As an advisor to the Anti-Terrorism Caucus, Dr. Phares gave several briefings of great strategic importance to the US national security community that addressed topics such as urban jihadism within the West, lone-wolf terrorists, ideological radicalization, Hezbollah’s global reach, and the Iranian threat. In 2007, he projected that Iran would wait before connecting with the Syrian regime and Hezbollah in Lebanon. He presented his “Freedom Borders” briefing, which predicted this Iranian strategy, to the Caucus in June 2007. He has been responsive to many requests by members of the Caucus and their staffers in providing advice and counsel on a variety of issues related to US national security. Many of his contributions have found their way into legislation and Congressional statements. Dr. Phares also helped staffers of several committees in their research and analysis efforts, including The House Committee on Homeland Security, committee on international relations and the Intelligence Committee. His partnership with Congress has enriched lawmakers’ education on crucial topics and buttressed efforts to establish and maintain national security.
Dr. Phares was instrumental in bringing members of the House and European Parliament together for dialogue on common strategic concerns, including terrorism and homeland security. His efforts in this regard were instrumental in establishing the “Transatlantic Legislative/Parliamentary Group on Counter Terrorism” (TAG), a Euro-American caucus. TAG met several times between 2008 and 2012 to bring members of the US Senate and House, European lawmakers, and Canadian Parliament together on critical security issues and issued several formal statements on extremist ideologies, Iran, and human rights in the Greater Middle East. As Co-Secretary General of TAG, Dr. Phares support in preparing for the summit was indispensable, as was his follow-up on agendas and action items. US and European lawmakers incorporated the findings of the TAG meetings in legislative initiatives. Dr. Phares represented the US group in TAG at several important European conferences on security and terrorism, and addressed these conferences in our name.
In 2010, Dr. Phares published his prescient book, The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East, which was unique in foreseeing the Arab Spring and its aftermath. In the book, which includes analysis he had already provided to my office, several committees, and the Anti-Terrorism Caucus, Dr. Phares projected the rise of civil societies in the Middle East against dictatorships and radical movements. He also foresaw the race between the seculars and pro-democracy activists on one side, and the Islamists, Salafists and jihadists on the other. As the uprisings unfolded, Dr. Phares provided timely and accurate analysis that which suggested that the region’s youth, women, and minorities will be the primary energizing force behind the upheaval, while Islamist and jihadi movements would engage opportunistically later to coopt the revolts. During the Arab Spring, Dr. Phares tirelessly briefed our office and others, as well as the Anti-Terrorism Caucus and the TAG on the evolution of the region’s revolts, connected us with representatives from reformist movements and dissident diplomats from the region, including Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, and other countries, to help us understand the changes that were taking place.
Dr. Phares’ professional and academic pursuits, which began in his homeland of Lebanon in 1979, include his service to the public to spread awareness and his research on Middle East ethnic and religious issues. His publications have been an indispensable service to America, his adopted country, where he emigrated in 1990. Dr. Phares achievements during his career in the US, from teaching to briefing Government and international organizations, has been recognized by many of my colleagues, by academia, media and Think Tanks, where he served as a senior fellow. His work for the cause of freedom and democracy in the Greater Middle East over the past decade has been honored with awards received from many well-established Middle East American organizations.
As a member of the US Congress, a co-chair of the anti-Terrorism Caucus in the US House of Representatives, a co-chair of the Transatlantic Legislative Group on Counter Terrorism (TAG), and a chair of the Subcommittee on Intelligence, I wish to recognize the work of Dr. Walid Phares and thank him, in my name and in the name of my colleagues and staff, for the advice and education he has provided to Congress and America.
Representative Sue Myrick (R-NC)
Chair of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Human Intelligence, Analysis & Counterintelligence, US House of Representatives
Co-chair, Anti-Terrorism Caucus, US House of Representatives
Co-chair, Transatlantic Parliamentary Group on Counter Terrorism
Washington DC, US Congress
September 11, 2012
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