It shouldn’t be that surprising that an anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist like Trump is taking advice from Phares, who believes that the Obama administration is “being advised and suggested to by Muslim Brotherhood either fronts or advisers or sympathizers” and “has decided to quit the ideological confrontation” against terrorist groups.
Adam Serwer reported back in 2011, when Phares signed on as an adviser to Mitt Romney, that Phares “was a high ranking political official in a sectarian religious militia responsible for massacres during Lebanon’s brutal, 15-year civil war” and worked as “a close adviser to Samir Geagea, a Lebanese warlord.”
In 1978, the Lebanese Forces emerged as the umbrella group of the assorted Christian militias. According to former colleagues, Phares became one of the group’s chief ideologists, working closely with the Lebanese Forces’ Fifth Bureau, a unit that specialized in psychological warfare.
That ideology, some experts say, helped rationalize the indiscriminate sectarian violence that characterized the conflict. “There were lots of horrendous, horrendous atrocities that took place during that civil war, in part fueled by that fairly hateful ideology,” says a former State Department official and Middle East expert.
It’s almost fitting that Trump would select a person with ties to a militia group that committed atrocities, as the GOP frontrunner has pledged to order the military to commit war crimes if he’s elected president.