Donald Trump has finally announced the names of five of his foreign policy advisers, and at least one member of his new team is sure to raise eyebrows.
Walid Phares, a Lebanese academic who advised Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012, is one of the five names Trump gave to the Washington Post during a meeting with the paper’s editorial board on Monday. As Mother Jones reported in 2011, Phares was a major player in the Lebanese Forces, one of the Christian militias that fought in Lebanon’s brutal 15-year civil war. According to Toni Nissi, a colleague of Phares’ at the time, Phares helped the group’s leader, Samir Geagea, steep its fighters in religious ideology.
“[Samir Geagea] wanted to change them from a normal militia to a Christian army,” Nissi said. “Walid Phares was responsible for training the lead officers in the ideology of the Lebanese Forces.”
The Lebanese Forces are now just one of Lebanon’s many political parties, but the group was responsible for one of the war’s most notorious incidents, the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians in Lebanon’s Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in 1982.
Phares is also well known as an anti-Muslim campaigner. He’s appeared on the radio show of Frank Gaffney, the conspiracy theorist who’s a foreign policy adviser to Ted Cruz.