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It is interesting that the blogosphere attacks the arguments Phares didn't raise and instead substitute with alternative arguments. It is as if the Phares critics wants to take him down by referring to what he hasn't said. This is a short lived tactic, because Phares publishing record is wide and dense and people can check it out easily. For example Phares doesn't say Arab Christians are ethnically different from Arab Muslims, just the opposite he says Arabs Christians and Muslims have the same ethnic identity. But Aramaic, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Copts and other ethnic groups which happen to be Christians in some cases, and Muslims in other cases, such as Kurds and Berbers, are simply not Arabs. That is not Phares' invention that is what these groups are saying. Why to blame Phares for quoting them. The other stretched guilt by association charge is that Phares was linked to a militia whose members have killed other people. Well is Secretary Clinton today linked to the soldiers who committed Abu Ghraib five years ago? Phares was an author and a publisher who represented his group (seocial democrat by the way) in a coalition of parties that oversaw the defense forces of East Beirut in 1986. How can he be linked morally to individual and rogue armed men who did killings back in 1982? This borders defamation. And it is easily verified. Last but not least, Phares' books "The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East," was the only book, which in 2010, predicted the uprisings in 2011. His book and work is praised by Arab and Muslim liberals while of course Phares is criticized by the Islamists both Salafists and Khomeinsts. Phares has been making the case for Arab liberalism and Muslim reform forces. No wonder why the fundamentalists are nervous and are inciting US liberals to attack him. But the room for maneuvering is too narrow. Phares is liked by Arab progressive inasmuch as he is bothering to the forthcoming Muslim Brotherhood forces. The sad part is that the Islamists are dragging so-called US progressive into a clash with Arab liberals. Check the latest from Arab reformist media.

Eli Lake


Would you say the same thing about someone who had ties to the PLO in the 1970s and 1980s, which at the time was a terrorist organization but over time evolved? The LAF committed atrocities, but it was in the context of a civil war where every ethnic group committed atrocities and over time the organization changed and the war ended. Does Phares today defend Sabra and Shetila?




Eli, how certain are you that his views "evolved"? Someone who would make it clear that his former association with violence, indeed, ought to be embraced as reconciled. Someone who fudges the difference -- well, I think you'd agree that such a person ought to be viewed warily, or at least you would if he was a member of the PLO. That goes for an Iraqi Sunni ex-insurgent or Shiite ex-militiaman, a Sadrist, etc.

Second, and more importantly, how confident are you that such a person would be a credible interlocutor for U.S. interests in the Middle East? How might a Sunni Syrian democracy activist view an American envoy linked to Lebanese massacres? I had lunch last week with Ahmed Maher of April 6 Youth and and I suspect he would not want to deal with Phares. And that's more important that what either your or I think about the question you posed, or with what consistency.


Loyola insists that Phares' long history with the LF is of no concern because he was part of an organization "committed to resisting Syria's and Hezbollah’s domination of Lebanon (fully in line with longstanding U.S. policy). www.Failsnap.com " Shorter Loyola: It doesn't matter if an organization committed atrocities, as long as it was on the right side. I'm sure the Arab and Muslim countries the US has to deal with will completely understand the distinction should Phares be placed in a high-level position in a future Republican administration.

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