March 31, 2014 at 7:11pm

On March 21, 2014 author Walid Phares launched his new book “The Lost Spring:  US Policy in the Middle East and Catastrophes to Avoid” at the Heritage  Foundation in Washington DC. The speaker was introduced by John Edward Hilboldt  who welcomed Phares “for the fifth time since November 2005.” Hilboldt said “we  are proud at Heritage to welcome a prolific author whose books have been widely  read and had an impact on readers but also lawmakers and Presidential  candidates, including Mitt Romney who appointed Walid Phares as one of his  senior national security and foreign policy advisors.”

Dr Phares presented his book to an audience including scholars, researchers,  former diplomats, students, media people and community leaders. “I am launching  this fifth post 9/11 book from this same podium. Heritage has become a sort of  an intellectual NASA for my work, a launching pad for my volumes into the space  of ideas. I hope I will find life in this limitless space.”

Phares outlined his book, “which is an extension of a previous book, The  Coming Revolution, published in 2010 and had predicted the Arab Spring. In this  book, we argue that there was a first wave of civil society uprisings, but  thanks to a US policy that didn’t partner with the right democratic forces, a  second wave of Islamist networks were able to seize the revolutions in Egypt,  Tunisia and Libya, while Iran’s allies were crushing the demonstrations in  Syria. But a new spring is coming and we saw some waves in Egypt and  Tunisia already. The next spring will stretch to Iran and beyond. Washington  should be ready to meet the new democratic rise, midway, or so we  hope.”

“In the Middle East, regular people wants a normal life, no ideological madrassas, no terror, no oppression, Moms wants to see their kids go to school, grow up in Peace, find a job and found a family. They don’t want wars and Jihads.”

 

Author Walid Phares: "People in the Middle East wants a normal life, no ideological Madrassas, no terror, no oppression."

Author Walid Phares: “People in the Middle East wants a normal life, no ideological Madrassas, no terror, no oppression.”

 

Author Walid Phares introduced by Hilboldt

Author Walid Phares introduced by Hilboldt

 

Walid Phares presenting "The Lost Spring." "This is my fifth book since 9/11, Heritage has become my NASA into the space of ideas.

Walid Phares presenting “The Lost Spring.” “This is my fifth book since 9/11, Heritage has become my NASA into the space of ideas.

 

Walid Phares chatting with readers

Walid Phares chatting with readers

 

Walid Phares signing his book to participants in the launch at Heritage

Walid Phares signing his book to participants in the launch at Heritage

 

Walid Phares signing the "Lost Spring" but with strong hopes for the next spring

Walid Phares signing the “Lost Spring” but with strong hopes for the next spring

 

Walid Phares: "readers comments are my best rewards. The life of a book is in their hands, literally."

Walid Phares: “readers comments are my best rewards. The life of a book is in their hands, literally.”

 

Walid Phares interviewed about his book "The Lost Spring" - "I hope many students and faculty would read this book to have access to an alternative explanation of the region's events."

Walid Phares interviewed about his book “The Lost Spring” – “I hope many students and faculty would read this book to have access to an alternative explanation of the region’s events.”

 

Author Walid Phares with Turkish student specializing in international relations

Author Walid Phares with Turkish student specializing in international relations

Tuesday, 25 Mar 2014 03:51 PM

By Lisa Barron

U.S. policymakers were wrong in the way they dealt with the Arab Spring and the events that preceded it, says American scholar Walid Phares, an expert on the Middle East and global terrorism.

“First of all, before the Arab Spring, all the waves that indicated that an Arab Spring is about to happen, we mishandled them. In June of 2009, at a time when 1.5 to 2 million Iranians, 60 percent of whom were under the age of 20 … were demonstrating in Iran against the regime … the president made a statement whereby the regime in Iran understood that we would not stand by the Iranian people. We lost a huge opportunity to bring down, to change that regime,” he told Newsmax TV’s John Bachman and J.D. Hayworth on “America’s Forum” Tuesday.

“And imagine, that would have basically created a win for half the war on terror. Then, when the Arab Spring began, the first wave was remarkable — youth, women, minorities in Egypt, Indonesia and Syria … but instead of giving visibility to the seculars and reformers, we began partnering up with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Ennahda in Tunisia, and Salafi militias in Libya, one of which attacked us on September of 2012. So all of these grave mistakes have led to cataclysmic changes in the Middle East.”

Phares’s latest book is “The Lost Spring: U.S. Policy in the Middle East and Catastrophes to Avoid.” He argued that while Obama may have appeared to be advocating change in the Arab world in his June 2009 speech in Cairo, it was more form than substance.

“The American president was addressing an audience in Egypt, but the substance was different. The substance was addressed to the Muslim Brotherhood at the time. Yes, the administration was saying we need to change, but the forces of change were not the democratic ones. We were looking at partnering with the Muslim Brotherhood, their delegations were in Washington, they were paraded in many cities in the West. We ignored completely the real forces of change, of democracy, those who actually did the Arab Spring and those who again came back on the streets of Cairo on June 30, 2013,” Phares said.

“Thirty-three million Egyptians rose not just against Mubarak but again against Morsi, and this is telling us that civil societies in the region do want what we want, but our policy is not connecting with them, it’s connecting, in this case, with the brotherhood in northern Africa.”

He maintained that the United States is making a similar mistake in its approach to Iran.

“There is a hope in Washington, at least political Washington, that the ayatollahs are going to reform. So we are cutting deals with them, and we are unfreezing money and sending billions of dollars to them. These are mistakes that need to be addressed and changed,” he said.

As for what’s happening in Egypt now in light of a court on Monday sentencing to death more than 500 supporters of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, Phares said the Morsi regime had been turning Egypt into an Islamic state, contrary to what the protesters in Tahrir Square fought for.

“The Morsi regime has armed a militia, and the militia, even after the fall of his regime, is still fighting. Fighting the army, fighting the police, fighting the judges, and also trying to destabilize the country. Now, many of these militia have been arrested by the government of Egypt, and these trials basically are going to be long trials. Definitely these sentences, these death sentences will be dealt with at the appeal level. This is just the process of an interim government trying to struggle to get to the other side of stability,” he explained.

“There will be elections in Egypt for a president, for the parliament, and I would say the parliamentary elections would be more important because it’s going to create, to give Egypt an opportunity to have a Congress-like institution where they can do debate, open debate. At least that’s the path that we are seeing for now.”

Asked what needs to be done now to see a change for the better in the Middle East, the Lebanese-born Phares responded, “We need to do a lot of things, and a change of direction in Washington has to take place first, as we all know.

“Second, in Syria, we need to find the right partner on the ground. Assad is linked to Iran, part of the opposition is al-Qaida, and we need to find that third party, and it exists. Those demonstrators who began the opposition in Syria, where are they? Who’s in charge of them? We need to connect with them. There are minorities in Syria that we need to work with.”

He continued, “In Iran, we need to send the money actually to the Iranian opposition. We need to organize them. They are very strong. The youngest in Iran are ready to move. In Egypt, in Libya, and Tunisia, we need to side with civil society, not with the Islamists and not with the authoritarian regime.”

Watch the interview at the Newsmax site.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Walid Phares, a Middle East and terrorism expert, and Fox News commentator, talks about his new book at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. (Photo/David A. Schwartz / March 24, 2014)

Author criticizes U.S. response to Arab Spring

By David A. Schwartz, Staff Writer

3:48 p.m. EDT, March 24, 2014

In his new book “The Lost Spring: U.S. Policy in the Middle East and Catastrophes to Avoid,” Walid Phares, a Middle East and terrorism expert, and Fox News commentator, takes the United States to task for not seeing the rise of civil societies that was evident as early as 2009.

Phares also criticizes the U.S. for intervening too late and siding not with the revolutionaries but with the new authoritarian powers.

The result, he says, was the Arab Spring becoming the “Islamist Winter.”

The Jewish Journal sat down with Phares last week after he spoke at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

Jewish Journal: Why do you blame the Obama administration for what you call the failure of U.S. policy in the Middle East?

Walid Phares: It’s not just about the Obama Administration. It’s also about the Bush bureaucracy. My cause to partner with moderate, democratic, civil society forces in the Middle East has been there since at least 2004.

But with the Obama Administration, something has changed. [Advisers] felt that, and with good intentions, if we partner with already organized forces on the ground, and cut then cut a deal with them, we can bring the region to stability and after stability, we can move later on, on democracy.

Dialogue, but partner with the democrats. Unfortunately, what was happening was we were partnering with the Islamists and not dialoguing with the secular liberals. They did not buy that there is a social force in the Arab world that they could actually partner with.

[In Iran, Obama] was advised not to make a speech and push the youth to revolt and crumble the regime because his advisers told him it’s not going to work. When he said ‘We don’t want to meddle,’ then the regime crushed them.

Now, the good news is those youth are still around. So there is another spring coming. The cycle will be back.

JJ: What do you think of the recent “deal” with Iran?

WP: The deal said the Iranians would lower the production of uranium and they’ll start to get cash from their frozen money. The Iranians are getting that cash. They’re reusing it to support their people in the Middle East. And they are investing it here in America with companies and PR and media so that they would say that the deal is working. The deal is not working. I’m very concerned about that.

I think now we are in a much more dangerous situation than ever before because Iran got much stronger. Iran is still developing its missile fleet. We in America, in the west, have been focusing on the production of the nuclear bomb in Iran.

The Iranians, that’s my view, are not going very fast in the production of the nuclear bomb because if they produce one, it’s going to be hit. So what is it that they’re doing? They’re going very slow in the production and meanwhile, they’re developing all the defenses around that bomb — long-range missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, more bases outside Iran — in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Eritrea, in eastern Arabia.

So what the Iranians are doing is like Israel has this dome, they’re creating a dome over Iraq. And once the dome is solid and they know that it’s going to be costly for us, then we are going to be surprised. Like China, like India, like Pakistan.

JJ: Could Israel and the United States take out Iran’s nuclear arsenal?

WP: Combined, from the air. Of course, they could take it out. But they cannot reverse it forever. If you don’t bring down the regime, the regime will be back in.

The Israelis may strike if they feel the red line has been crossed. That’s they’re own clock.

But for the international community and the United States, I would have recommended a strong support of a position that showed the youth, the younger people in the country that are against the regime.

We were so close in June of ’09 [when there were mass protests of Iran's presidential election results]. We would have won half of the war on terror by Iran. Imagine just Iran going down. You would have Iraq changing. Assad go down. Hezbollah gone. Peace between Israel and every country around it. And Hamas gone. With one mistake we’re done in June ’09.

JJ: What is the likelihood of a peace agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis?

WP: I don’t see it happening. The PA is afraid of Hamas. That’s the secret why Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas], the president of the Palestinian Authority, [is] not making those concessions and moving closer than those strong statements. I don’t think he really believes that being tough is the solution. He’s afraid of Hamas.

Now, Israel and Netanyahu [are] not going to accept the concession to a tough Palestinian position. They are deadlocked. But both could reach a solution if the generators of radicalism, Hamas, would be disarmed.

Now, something may happen to change everything. Egypt may be the one to pressure new forces in Gaza to rise against Hamas.

Mark my words. Nine months, a year from now, you’re going to see Palestinian moderates starting to rise against Hamas, backed by this whole group of moderates — Egypt, Saudi [Arabia].

And I’m not surprised to learn that in the Sinai there is a discrete cooperation between Egypt, Israel, the Saudis and the other Arabs. So that has changed. All because of Iran and their frustration with us.

“The Lost Spring: U.S. Policy in the Middle East and Catastrophes to Avoid” by Walid Phares is published by Palgrave Macmillan.

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