- Director of Peace and Conflict Resolution Program at Arcadia University
- Urged Americans to accept Osama bin Laden as someone who must be dealt with diplomatically, rather than attempt to bring him to justice
- Espouses rigid pacifism and harbors deep hostility for American foreign policy
Warren Haffar, who received his Ph.D. in “Conflict Resolution and Peace Science” from the University of Pennsylvania, is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Arcadia University. He also serves as Director of Arcadia’s International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program, which aims to indoctrinate students in the view that all anti-terrorism efforts involving military force are morally unjustifiable and are, as Haffar puts it, destined to “failure.” Professor Haffar is a regular speaker on the academic lecture circuit, where he bills himself as an expert on “conflict resolution” and “terrorism and anti-terrorism.”
Arcadia’s International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program was developed with the assistance of Physicians for Social Responsibility. The program’s staff consists of faculty with an unwavering commitment to the premise that all international conflicts, irrespective of their nature or of the parties involved, can be solved non-violently. “War,” Haffar insisted during the lead-up to the Iraq conflict, “is the least desirable outcome. If we go to war, that means we’ve failed. Peaceful efforts are the best way to resolve problems.”
In the aftermath of 9/11, Haffar asserted that Osama bin Laden was a man with genuine and valid grievances, and with whom the United States should try to negotiate. “Demonizing” bin Laden, said Haffar, was counter-productive. Instead, he urged Americans to resign themselves to the al Qaeda leader’s inevitable presence on the international stage. “Oftentimes, these people stick around and we have to look at them, deal with them in a different capacity,” Haffar explained. As the model for his suggested approach to bin Laden, Haffar looked to what, in his view, was the gradual acceptance by American policy-makers of the Palestinian dictator/terrorist Yasser Arafat. He urged the U.S. not to hunt down bin Laden, but rather to “reconstruct his identity in a way that is positive.”
Professor Haffar draws a moral equivalency between Americans — past and present — and Islamic terrorists. Just days after the 9/11 attacks, for instance, he asserted that the American victory in the Revolutionary War had itself represented a triumph for the forces of terrorism. “Look at the strategies and tactics that were used at the time of the Revolution — and that were responsible for our winning,” said Haffar. “Rebels were jumping out of the woods and using guerrilla tactics.”
Haffar also likened the U.S. determination to kill the perpetrators of 9/11 to the wars between early American settlers and Native Americans. Claiming, falsely, that the 18th- and 19th-century attacks of the former had “nearly brought to extinction” the latter, Haffar cautioned Americans against repeating the alleged crime by taking the fight to modern-day terrorists. “I think we’ve reached a consensus in this country that that was an awful thing to do to an entire [Native American] population,” he said. “But they were looked upon as savages. And increasingly in the media, we look upon terrorists as savages.”
In Haffar’s view, the root cause of the 9/11 attacks was a flawed American foreign policy. In a November 2001 interview, he denounced the U.S. for “the propping up of oppressive regimes.” As Haffar saw it, “That plays a role in where this anger toward us comes from.”
In explaining his opposition to a U.S. invasion of Iraq, Haffar cited his concern for the welfare of Iraqi children: “If bombs are flying and troops are marching in, it’s a terrible experience for kids. They might lose their parents. They might lose their house. They might lose their school. They might lose their friends. War is such a horrible option.”
Yet Haffar ignored the longstanding, well-documented abuses of Iraq’s children that already had been taking place for decades under Saddam Hussein‘s watch: Saddam’s deportation and detainment of thousands of children during the Iran-Iraq war; his unleashing of chemical weapons on thousands more in the Kurdish regions of his country; his approval of government-run sex trafficking in children; his prison for four- to twelve-year-olds; his torturing of children in the presence of their parents to extract information from the latter; and his theft of the money earmarked for Iraqi children in the United Nations‘ scandal-ridden “Oil for Food” program.
Of the opposition to the Iraq War by France and Germany, Haffar said, “They believe we [Americans] have fallen off the moral high ground in this situation.” Omitting any mention of the intimate contacts between French businesses and the Iraqi government, Haffar nonetheless charged the U.S. with having a “vendetta” against Saddam Hussein.
In addition to his antiwar pursuits, Professor Haffar is also an active environmentalist. A specialist in “environmental disputes” and “environmental conflict,” he has in the past brought his expertise to bear in declaring against landscape development and highway construction.
In the late 1990s, Haffar worked as a program officer at the Project on Ethnic Relations, a non-governmental organization which operates in Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and regions of the former Soviet Union, and which has long found a sponsor in the billionaire financier George Soros and his Open Society Institute.