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Trump appoints Lebanese academic as foreign policy advisor

Lebanese academic Walid Phares works as an adviser in the US House of Representatives

Published: Updated:

Controversial US presidential candidate Donald Trump has revealed the first members of his foreign policy team, including a Lebanese academic Walid Phares.

The team, meant to counsel Trump on foreign affairs, consists of experts on the Middle East and energy issues.

Republican Senator Jeff Sessions leads the team along with: Keith Kellogg, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Walid Phares and Joseph E. Schmitz, according to a report by the Washington Post.

The appointment of Phares - a Lebanese academic who immigrated to the United States 20 years ago – was announced during the same time he was being interviewed on Al Arabiya’s sister al-Hadath Channel.

Phares told Al Arabiya in Washington that he met Trump last December while he was offering consultancy to five candidates from the Republican Party. Trump was one of them.

He also said Trump’s campaign team contacted him last week and asked him to join the advising team, adding that he accepted “because Trump can do what others cannot.”

Phares clarified that he would like to focus on opposing the Iranian nuclear deal, which Trump has previously voiced his opposition to.

The Lebanese academic believes the Iranian deal should be reconsidered, because Iran earned billions of dollars due to the lifting of sanctions.

He added that Trump was committed to challenging this deal and fighting terrorism in the Middle East.

Phares served part of Mitt Romney's foreign policy team in 2011. He works as an adviser in the US House of Representatives and is also an expert in anti-terrorism affairs.