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Keyword: michaeljtotten

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  • Don't Kid Yourself About the Muslim Brotherhood

    02/09/2011 5:00:44 AM PST · by nuconvert · 6 replies
    Powerline ^ | February 7, 2011 | Michael J. Totten
    Egypt's dictator deserves to be overthrown even more than Tunisia's did. At least Ben Ali's government didn't ram the country into the ground as Egypt's Free Officers regime has, beginning with Gamal Abdel Nasser and continuing with the improved but still ghastly Hosni Mubarak. If he's forced out--though I wouldn't underestimate his ability to survive just yet--a different man will likely replace him at the top with most of the government remaining intact. The armed forces, which are strongly anti-Islamist, don't appear to be going anywhere, but unless the army maintains a level of oppression consistent with what Egypt has...
  • Michael J. Totten: From Baghdad to Beirut - What Iraq’s capital should aspire to—and what it...

    01/11/2010 2:50:01 PM PST · by neverdem · 6 replies · 348+ views
    City Journal ^ | 10 January 2010 | Michael J. Totten
    What Iraq’s capital should aspire to—and what it should fear I recently made my seventh trip to Iraq to try to answer an important question: Will the country explode after American soldiers withdraw? But the answer may lie 600 miles to the west—in Beirut, where I traveled from Baghdad. The best-case scenario for Iraq may be that it becomes a more backward version of Lebanon. The two countries share encouraging traits that neither has in common with any other country in the Arab world: ethnic and religious diversity, more or less free and fair elections, and at least some degree...
  • The Arab Preference for War + Silencing Dissent, Something is rotten in the state of Egypt

    10/01/2009 9:29:19 AM PDT · by Tolik · 10 replies · 607+ views
    michaeltotten.com ^ | September 25, 2009 | Michael J. Totten + Lee Smith
    The Arab Preference for War Michael J. TottenEgyptian playwright Ali Salem visited Israel in 1994 to “rid himself of hatred,” as he put it, and he wrote a slim volume about his experience called A Drive to Israel. His book was a bestseller in Egypt, but Cairo’s intellectual class ostracized him. The Egyptian Cinema Association and the Egyptian Writers Association canceled his memberships.The Middle East Media Research Institute just translated an interview with him in Kuwait’s daily An Nahar newspaper that makes for depressing reading. His interlocutor harangues him throughout and comes across only somewhat more reasonable than the intellectual...
  • Michael Totten's Conversation with Robert D. Kaplan on Sri Lanka, China, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan

    07/02/2009 12:57:16 PM PDT · by Tolik · 9 replies · 942+ views
    michaeltotten.com ^ | July 2, 2009 | Michael J. Totten
    There are few places in the world Robert D. Kaplan has not visited and written about in his books and magazine articles. He travels to countries hardly anyone else even considers – to Turkmenistan, for instance, during the time of the lunatic "Turkmenbashi" who transformed his post-Soviet republic into the North Korea of Central Asia. He has an uncanny ability to see conflicts looming on the horizon well in advance and – reversing the standard relationship between journalists and officials – U.S. defense policy professionals often ask him for briefings about what he has seen.His regular dispatches in the...
  • A Tall Order for Saudi Arabia?

    06/02/2009 9:49:25 AM PDT · by Jbny · 8 replies · 379+ views
    Commentary Magazine ^ | June 2nd, 2009 | Michael J. Totten
    The New York Times inadvertently highlights how much more intransigent than Israel most Arab states are. President Barack Obama is soon heading to Saudi Arabia, where he will present wish-lists from the U.S. government, from the Israeli government, and from the Palestinian Authority. Israel isn’t asking for much – just a few symbolic tourist visas, meetings between Saudi officials and their Israeli counterparts, and the opening of a Saudi interests office in Tel Aviv. “These would be a tall order for the Arab kingdom,” the Times says.
  • The Mother of All Myths [if only Palestinian conflict were solved, all other ... would melt away]

    06/03/2009 7:14:29 AM PDT · by Tolik · 7 replies · 566+ views
    michaeltotten.com ^ | May 29, 2009 | Michael J. Totten
    Dennis Ross, Special Advisor on Iran for the Secretary of State, has a book coming out next month that inconveniently takes issue with the Obama Administration’s thesis of “linkage.” “Of all the policy myths that have kept us from making real progress in the Middle East,” Ross writes in a chapter titled “The Mother of All Myths,” “one stands out for its impact and longevity: the idea that if only the Palestinian conflict were solved, all other Middle East conflicts would melt away.” Meanwhile, the Obama Administration – which Ross currently works for – is pressuring Israel in part because...
  • Michael Totten: The U.S. Needs a Reset Button for Britain

    03/10/2009 5:37:45 AM PDT · by Tolik · 41 replies · 1,768+ views
    michaeltotten.com ^ | March 9, 2009 | Michael J. Totten
    While President Barack Obama tries to improve U.S. relations with rogue states like Syria and Iran, he might want to ensure ties with our closest ally aren’t strained in the meantime. Damascus and Tehran will remain hostile as long as they’re ruled by Bashar Assad and Ayatollah Khamenei, but Britain has long been a reliable friend no matter who is in charge. President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair forged a strong personal friendship despite their ideological differences, yet President Obama is off to an embarrassing start with his Downing Street counterpart.British Prime Minister Gordon Brown felt half...
  • Michael Totten: A Dispatch from the Border with Gaza

    02/09/2009 6:27:30 AM PST · by Tolik · 7 replies · 448+ views
    michaeltotten.com ^ | February 8, 2009 | Michael Totten
    Not since the Second Intifada, when more than a thousand Israelis were murdered by Palestinian suicide bombers, have Israeli civilians suffered in a way that makes for compelling news copy or TV reports. The southern Israeli city of Sderot sits right next to the border with Gaza, and it is the target of choice for Hamas and Islamic Jihad's Qassam rocket barrages. The first time I visited the city under fire was immediately after the Second Lebanon War in August of 2006. Israeli civilians were still on their way back to Haifa, Kiryat Shmona, and other urban areas that...
  • A Minority Report from the West Bank and Gaza

    02/02/2009 7:40:34 AM PST · by Tolik · 7 replies · 672+ views
    michaeltotten.com ^ | February 1, 2009 | Khaled Abu Toameh via Michael Totten
    Khaled Abu Toameh is not your typical Palestinian journalist. He began his career at one of Yasser Arafat’s newspapers and today he writes for the Jerusalem Post. He has produced video for European TV stations, and even blogged for a while at Commentary Magazine in New York. It’s impossible to cram Toameh into a convenient ideological box, though that doesn't stop some people from trying. I met him briefly a few weeks ago on my trip to Israel sponsored by the American Jewish Committee when he gave a talk to me and my colleagues and answered some questions at...
  • Michael J. Totten: The Mood in Israel Now. The Mother of All Quagmires

    01/27/2009 9:51:25 AM PST · by Tolik · 18 replies · 1,005+ views
    michaeltotten.com ^ | January 26, 2009 | Michael J. Totten
    Michael is back from his brief visit to Israel: "Sorry I haven’t had time to write much in the last week. The American Jewish Committee scheduled back-to-back meetings from breakfast until dinner every day, and I took a token amount of time off to visit the Dead Sea for the first time with Max Boot and Mario Loyola. I met with Israeli military officers, academics, and journalists from the far-left to the far-right and at every point in between. Now that I’m home and can process everything I’ve learned, I can start writing again. Stay tuned. And thanks for your...
  • Michael J. Totten: On the Hunt in Baghdad

    12/15/2008 10:52:10 PM PST · by neverdem · 8 replies · 1,023+ views
    michaeltotten.com ^ | December 15, 2008 | Michael J. Totten
    BAGHDAD -- “If your men conduct any raids,” I said to Captain Todd Looney at Combat Outpost Ford on the outskirts of Sadr City, Baghdad, “I want to go.” “We might have something come up,” he said. “If so, I'll get you out there.” Less than an hour later, one of the most dangerous terrorist leaders in all of Iraq was spotted holding a meeting at a house in the area. An arrest warrant had already been issued by the government of Iraq, and Captain Looney's company was the closest to his location. They would be the ones to...
  • Sending Iran's Regrets (Obama's Iran policy is crazy!)

    10/18/2008 12:41:41 AM PDT · by Dawnsblood · 2 replies · 550+ views
    Commentary Magazine ^ | 10/17/08 | Michael Totten
    Senator Barack Obama hopes to be the first American president to engage in diplomatic negotiations with the Islamic Republic regime in Iran. He even says he's willing to meet with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions. Surely he must understand that what he's proposing is a radical departure from foreign policy as practiced by both parties. Franklin Roosevelt didn't meet with Adolf Hitler or Emperor Hirohito, Harry Truman didn't meet with Kim Il Sung, Ronald Reagan didn't meet with any Soviet leader until after glasnost and perestroika were in place, Bill Clinton didn't meet with Saddam Hussein or Iran's Mohammad...
  • Joe Biden’s Alternate Universe [Hezbullah and Lebanon]

    10/03/2008 7:57:58 AM PDT · by flyfree · 31 replies · 1,302+ views
    commentarymagazine ^ | Michael J. Totten
    In Thursday night’s vice presidential debate between Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin, Biden said the strangest and most ill-informed thing I have ever heard about Lebanon in my life. . . . Nobody – nobody – has ever kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon. Not the United States. Nor France. Not Israel. And not the Lebanese. Nobody. Joe Biden has literally no idea what he’s talking about. It’s too bad debate moderator Gwen Ifill didn’t catch him and ask a follow up question: When did the United States and France kick Hezbollah out of Lebanon? . . . Like...
  • The War Won’t End in Afghanistan [Michael Totten dismantles Obama and the Left's wishful thinking]

    10/03/2008 6:40:38 AM PDT · by Tolik · 18 replies · 1,191+ views
    Commentary Magazine ^ | 09.29.2008 | Michael J. Totten
    Please, forgive me for presenting this article with my highlights. (I could highlight everything actually). I knew I like Michael Totten, but in this article he exceeded my high expectations. Follow the link to the original to bypass my highlights. Senator Barack Obama said something at the presidential debate last week that almost perfectly encapsulates the difference between his foreign policy and his opponent’s: “Secretary of Defense Robert Gates himself acknowledges the war on terrorism started in Afghanistan and it needs to end there.” I don’t know if Obama paraphrased Gates correctly, but if so, they’re both wrong.If Afghanistan were...
  • The War Won’t End in Afghanistan

    09/29/2008 5:01:40 PM PDT · by Dawnsblood · 12 replies · 502+ views
    Commentary Magazine ^ | 9/29/08 | Michael Totten
    Senator Barack Obama said something at the presidential debate last week that almost perfectly encapsulates the difference between his foreign policy and his opponent’s: “Secretary of Defense Robert Gates himself acknowledges the war on terrorism started in Afghanistan and it needs to end there.” I don’t know if Obama paraphrased Gates correctly, but if so, they’re both wrong. If Afghanistan were miraculously transformed into the Switzerland of Central Asia, every last one of the Middle East’s rogues gallery of terrorist groups would still exist. The ideology that spawned them would endure. Their grievances, such as they are, would not be...
  • Michael J. Totten: Al Qaeda's Defeat In Iraq

    09/23/2008 1:00:28 PM PDT · by Tolik · 6 replies · 398+ views
    michaeltotten.com ^ | September 19, 2008 | Michael J. Totten
    Senator Barack Obama’s answer to Katie Couric’s question a few days ago about why he thinks there have been no terrorist attacks on American soil since September 11, 2001, was bizarre. “Well,” he said, “I think that the initial invasion into Afghanistan disrupted al Qaeda. And that was the right thing to do. I mean, we had to knock out those safe havens. And that, I think, weakened them. We did some work in strengthening our homeland security apparatus here. Obviously, the average person knows that when they go to the airport, because they are goin’ through taking off...
  • The Truth About Russia in Georgia

    08/31/2008 10:31:48 AM PDT · by FreeReign · 9 replies · 232+ views
    michaeltotten.com ^ | 8/26/2008 | Michael J. Totten
    [Excerpt]....“So fast forward to early August. You have a town, Tskhinvali, which is Ossetian, and a bunch of Georgian villages surrounding it in a crescent shape. There are peacekeepers there. Both Russian peacekeepers and Georgian peacekeepers under a 1994 accord. The Ossetians were dug in in the town, and the Georgians were in the forests and the fields between the town and the villages. The Ossetians start provoking and provoking and provoking by shelling Georgian positions and Georgian villages around there. And it's a classic tit for tat thing. You shell, I shell back. The Georgians offered repeated ceasefires, which...
  • Report from Tbilisi

    08/20/2008 5:30:26 PM PDT · by Dawnsblood · 49 replies · 388+ views
    City Journal ^ | 8/20/08 | Michael J. Totten
    Russia’s invasion of Georgia has unleashed a refugee crisis all over the country and especially in its capital. Every school here in Tbilisi is jammed with civilians who fled aerial bombardment and shootings by the Russian military—or massacres, looting, and arson by irregular Cossack paramilitary units swarming across the border. Russia has seized and effectively annexed two breakaway Georgian provinces, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It has also invaded the region of Gori, which unlike them had been under Georgia’s control. Gori is in the center of the country, just an hour’s drive from Tbilisi; 90 percent of its citizens have...
  • An Israeli in Kosovo

    08/05/2008 5:10:26 PM PDT · by Diocletian · 39 replies · 269+ views
    Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal ^ | August 4, 2008 | Michael J. Totten
    Imagine what would happen to a handful of Jewish veterans of the Israel Defense Forces who tried to move from Tel Aviv to an Arab country to open a bistro and bar. In only a few countries could they even get through the airport without being deported or, more likely, arrested. If they were somehow able to finagle a permit from the bureaucracy and operate openly as Israelis in an Arab capital, they wouldn’t last long. Somebody would almost certainly kill them even if the state left them alone. Kosovo is a Muslim-majority country, but it isn’t Arab. The ethnic...
  • Michael J. Totten: The Road to Kosovo, Part I

    06/23/2008 9:25:29 AM PDT · by neverdem · 6 replies · 138+ views
    Michael J. Totten ^ | June 23, 2008 | Michael J. Totten
    A gigantic poster of genocidal Bosnian Serb war criminal Radovan Karadzic hung on the outside wall of a hideous communist-style apartment block. “Get a picture of that,” I said to my friend and traveling companion Sean LaFreniere as I drove our rented car through the outer suburbs of Serbia's capital Belgrade. I had the wheel and he had the camera. “Too late,” he said. We were driving fast on a four-lane road and were almost out of the city. Our road trip from Serbia to Kosovo via Bosnia, Croatia, and Montenegro was just beginning. “That’s okay,” I said. “We’ll probably...