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Keyword: michaeltotten

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  • Iran’s Other War (against the Bahais)

    12/09/2010 1:29:50 PM PST · by mojito · 8 replies · 1+ views
    Pajamas Media ^ | 12/9/2010 | Michael J. Totten
    Iran’s most repressed religious minority is also its largest. Members of the community are routinely imprisoned, frequently executed, banned from universities, and ruthlessly repressed economically. Tens of thousands have been murdered by one regime after another. The current government—the Khomeinist “Islamic Republic”—goes farther than any other by vowing to crush these people wherever they live and erase them from the face of the earth. There are only six or seven million in the entire world, and their spiritual home is in Israel. I am not, however, referring here to the Jews, but to the Bahais. Their world headquarters is in...
  • 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...
  • Profile Me If You Must (Michael Totten Looks At Ben Gurion Airport Security Alert)

    12/31/2009 11:39:34 AM PST · by goldstategop · 16 replies · 1,034+ views
    Commentary ^ | 12/31/2009 | Michael Totten
    I don’t want to be profiled at the airport. It has happened before, and I hate it. Volunteering for more isn’t what I feel like doing right now, but our airport security system is so half-baked and dysfunctional it may as well not even exist, and flying is about to become more miserable anyway. So rather than doubling down on grandma and micromanaging everyone on the plane, we might want to pay as much attention to people as to their luggage, especially military-aged males who make unusual and suspicious-looking travel arrangements. That’s what the Israelis do, and that’s why security...
  • 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 ^ | 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...
  • Hands Off Honduras

    10/01/2009 12:34:53 AM PDT · by ErnstStavroBlofeld · 18 replies · 913+ views
    Commentary Magazine ^ | 9/28/2009 | Michael J. Totten
    The United States government, along with the rest of the Western Hemisphere’s governments, is so worked up about returning ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya to power that it hasn’t thought through the long- or even medium-term consequences of its threats and demands. Millions of dollars in aid to Honduras–one of the poorest countries in Latin America–was cut off after Zelaya was arrested by the military and sent into exile in June. The U.S. is not only threatening to cut off hundreds of millions more, it’s threatening to impose sanctions and not recognize the results of the November election if he...
  • 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 ^ | 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...
  • Michael J. Totten: Sadr City After the Fall (Some obscenities, but it's a very good read!)

    04/08/2009 5:59:02 PM PDT · by neverdem · 2 replies · 508+ views ^ | April 8, 2009 | Michael J. Totten
    One year ago, Moqtada al Sadr’s radical Mahdi Army militia strongholds in Basra and Sadr City were two of the biggest threats remaining to the Iraqi republic. Al Qaeda in Iraq had been reduced to a remnant, but the country still was a violent mirror of Lebanon. Hezbollah threatens the Lebanese capital and can start unilateral wars on a whim, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki had to ask himself if that was the kind of country he hoped to be left with as Americans talked of a combat force draw down. Lebanon has neither a capable national army...
  • 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 ^ | 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 ^ | 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 ^ | 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 ^ | 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...
  • 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...
  • Russia faces diplomatic isolation over Georgia crisis

    08/28/2008 2:56:28 PM PDT · by neverdem · 13 replies · 307+ views
    International Herald Tribune ^ | August 28, 2008 | Reuters
    TBILISI, Georgia: Russia faced diplomatic isolation Thursday over its military action against Georgia and accused the West of heightening tension with a naval buildup in the Black Sea. The Group of 7 industrialized nations condemned Moscow's "continued occupation of Georgia," and a group of Asian allies led by China failed to follow Russia's lead on independence for two breakaway regions of Georgia. The crisis flared early this month when Russia began an overwhelming counterattack after Georgia tried to retake by force its breakaway province of South Ossetia. Russian forces swept the Georgian Army out of the rebel region and are...
  • 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...
  • Totten: The War in Iraq is "All But Over"

    07/17/2008 12:42:13 PM PDT · by Ernest_at_the_Beach · 38 replies · 348+ views
    Jawa Report ^ | July 16, 2008 06:26 PM | Dr. Rusty Shackleford
    More on the we've won front from Michael Totten:I’m reluctant to say “the war has ended,” as he did, but everything else he wrote is undoubtedly true. The war in Iraq is all but over right now, and it will be officially over if the current trends in violence continue their downward slide. That is a mathematical fact. Over the past few days al Qaeda has detonated several car bombs in Diyala. So, how is the war "over"? Totten goes on to say that the violence may never actually peter off to nothing in Iraq, but reminds us that violence...
  • The Liberation of Karmah, Part I

    03/24/2008 3:22:52 AM PDT · by moderatewolverine · 2 replies · 348+ views
    Middle East Journal ^ | March 24, 2008 | Michael J. Totten
    KARMAH, IRAQ – Just beyond the outskirts of Fallujah lies the terror-wracked city of Karmah. While you may not have heard of this small city of 35,000 people, American soldiers and Marines who served in Anbar Province know it as a terrifying place of oppression, death, and destruction. “It was much worse than Fallujah” said more than a dozen Marines who were themselves based in Fallujah. “Karmah was so important to the insurgency because we've got Baghdad right there,” Lieutenant Andrew Macak told me. “This is part of the periphery of Baghdad. At the same time, it is part of...
  • Assad Suckers Obama

    02/09/2008 5:39:27 PM PST · by forkinsocket · 11 replies · 195+ views
    Commentary Magazine ^ | 02.09.2008 | Michael J. Totten
    Senator Barack Obama went on the record about the never-ending political meltdown in Lebanon, and for a moment there I thought he might have it just right. “The ongoing political crisis is resulting in the destabilization of Lebanon,” he said, “which is an important country in the Middle East. The US cannot watch while Lebanon’s fresh democracy is about to collapse.” So far so good. “We must keep supporting the democratically-elected government of PM Fouad Siniora, strengthening the Lebanese army and insisting on the disarmament of Hezbollah before it leads Lebanon into another unnecessary war.” This is all excellent, so...