April 17, 2019
Ali Mansour, that notorious Hezbollah propagandist in Detroit, has done it again. Hours after Dr Walid Phares tweeted a call to the US Government to “start investigating Iran regime influence in America,” Mansour published a smear piece against the former advisor to President Trump and to Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, calling him names and re-circulating fake stories, which had been debunked years ago. Mansour who posted the slander on Sada el Watan, a site known for its promotion of pro Hezbollah material, had also trashed Phares last year in a similar attack, before he was quickly rebutted by number of bloggers including Lebanese and Arab Muslims.
According to observers, in his last anti-Phares smear, the Dearborn based pro-Iran operative seemed to have been mobilized to spread the usual old canards but for direct political reasons. Analysts believe that the slander against one of the nation’s leading experts on the Middle East “is out of season.” Meaning that the usual attacks used to happen when Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood feared Walid Phares could be appointed to a position in the Administration as was the case in 2011 when he was named by Mitt Romney and later in 2016 when he was announced by Donald Trump, as a national security and foreign policy advisor. After both appointments, the Iran and Ikhwan lobby machines hit the seasoned advisor with extensive smear campaigns to pressure the candidates to drop him, which never worked.
More than a year ago, the Hezbollah supporter waged a series of posts smearing Phares, claiming that he was “working on appointing a US ambassador to Lebanon, who is anti-Hezbollah.” Though the former Presidential candidates’ advisor wasn’t involved in government selection of diplomats, he naturally would have encouraged the idea of a US ambassador who would follow the lead of Secretary Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
This last week Ali Mansour slandered Phares again, but this time, according to Sheikh Mohamed Hajj Hassan, leader of the Muslim American Alliance, it was due to three major reasons. “One is the fact that President Trump withdrew from the Iran Deal. Two is because of the designation of the IRGC as terrorist organization, and three because Walid Phares called for an investigation of Iran’s tools of influence in the US.” Hezbollah and Iran’s regime believe that Phares is personally behind all of these strategic decisions, and behind leveling economic sanctions on Hezbollah and its allies in Lebanon. Observers acknowledge that the Fox News commentator has had an impact on the foreign policy debate, and some of his positions have eventually been adopted by the White House, but to claim Phares is part of the technical and administrative decision-making system is inaccurate. Phares opines on strategic matters in the press, but isn’t involved in the day to day policy making of the administration.
This year, Ali Mansour slammed Phares with the usual libelous hit piece, though the expert is not even involved in government or in politics currently. Sheikh Hajj Hassan explained that the immediate reason prompting Hezbollah, the Iranian regime and their partners to target Phares in the media, was his tweet calling on the Administration to “close a national security gap, which is Iran’s influence inside the US, deriving most likely from the benefits Teheran reaped from the billions of dollars released by the Obama Administration to the regime, in execution of the Iran Nuclear Deal.”
Hajj Hassan, who has played an important mobilizing role among Arab and Muslim voters in Michigan in 2016 in favor of Donald Trump, said the pro-Hezbollah blogger has concocted fake news against Dr Phares relying on discredited material from years ago. Hassan said the first batch of false reporting goes back to 2011 when a Mother Jones writer invented a story about when Walid Phares was in his early 20s in Lebanon during the civil war. Adam Serwer, a supporter of the Iran Deal, later fabricated a story that the young author was a major player in Lebanon’s conflict! To do so, Serwer quoted a pro-Hezbollah, previously unknown, woman trying to remember phrases Phares allegedly “said” those many years ago. The young scholar had published many books and articles during those years, but these were never once cited by the far-left Mother Jones as they do not fit “the narrative.”
In 2016 a radical blogger, Ishan Tharoor, also supporter of the Iran deal, published a hit piece in the Washington Post re-citing the fake material from 2011. His smear was smashed by rebuttals including from Lebanon. The entire tale about a “Lebanon past,” invented by Iranian propagandists, was sunk by real Middle East experts.
Again in 2019, the Dearborn-based sympathizer of Hezbollah rehashed the same canard in Arabic. Quickly enough, the head of the Muslim American Alliance crumbled Ali Mansour’s lies and drew attention to the tactics employed by Iranian regime supporters in Detroit against the former Trump advisor. Observers also noted that Mansour has posted pictures of himself with Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, explaining perhaps how this attack on US experts may have started. Is it part of the larger offensive on President Donald Trump and his Middle East policies, waged by the pro-Iran and Muslim Brotherhood lobbies?
It deserves a serious review.