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In Depth: Middle East

6 Dec 2006

Hizbullah holding Lebanese economy hostage

Michael J. Totten's blog By Abu Kais Some people justify Hizbullah’s actions by claiming they represent an impoverished community long neglected by the state. In other words, because the Shias of Lebanon were poor and neglected, somehow Hizbullah ...

5 Dec 2006

How not to run for president of Lebanon

Michael J. Totten's blog By Abu Kais Tony Badran has written a good piece in the LA Times on Michel Aoun’s "puzzling run for president of Lebanon". Here’s an excerpt: There’s a cardinal rule in Lebanese politics that the president must be ...

4 Dec 2006

When death becomes a way of life

Michael J. Totten's blog By Abu Kais It has been gradual but was bound to happen. Hizbullah’s people are turning other Lebanese into enemies. Angry mourners chanting "death" to Premier Fouad Saniora buried Tuesday a young Shiite man killed ...

3 Dec 2006

Syria and Hizbullah to intensify offensive

Michael J. Totten's blog By Abu Kais The Hizbullah supporter that was shot dead on Sunday may or may not have been shot by the Sunni residents of the Beirut neighborhood of Qasqas. The area is infested with pro-Assad Ahbash (Sunni) Islamists, and I ...

2 Dec 2006

Hizbullah leading Lebanon to civil war

Michael J. Totten's blog By Abu Kais Hizbullah, Aoun and Syria’s parties are overstaying their welcome. The patience of Beirut citizens and Lebanese from the opposing camp is wearing thin. LBC is reporting riots involving Sunnis and Shias in the ...

1 Dec 2006

Coup attempt in progress in Lebanon

Michael J. Totten's blog By Abu Kais The (now partial) blockade of the government Serail remains in effect, with Hizbullah security agents refusing to remove their tents because “they only follow orders from Hizbullah”. Bearded Hizbullah singers are ...

30 Nov 2006

The breaking of a country: Hizbullah takes to the streets of Beirut

Michael J. Totten's blog By Abu Kais Hundreds of thousands of Shias from the south have flooded two squares in downtown Beirut. According to LBC, the Christian participation is weak, with even lesser participation by Beirut Sunnis. The Lebanese army ...

29 Nov 2006

Hugging the flag

Michael J. Totten's blog By Abu Kais Tomorrow, Hizbullah’s orcs and friends will invade downtown Beirut in an attempt to topple the government. March 14 is asking its supporters to hug their flags and wait for the storm to pass. Prime Minister Fouad ...

28 Nov 2006

Lebanese paper: Syria to kill 36 Lebanese politicians

Michael J. Totten's blog By Abu Kais The story of a Syrian suicide bomber blowing himself up at a border crossing was not the only bizarre story reported by the media yesterday. Another story was that of a new Palestinian faction breaking away from ...

27 Nov 2006

Terrorist killed on Syrian border

Michael J. Totten's blog By Abu Kais Syrian-born Omar Hamra, a "tawhid and Jihad terrorist and military official", was casually crossing the border with Lebanon today with a suicide belt strapped to his waist, and nine different fake IDs. ...

NY Times: Hizbullah Training Mahdi Army

Michael J. Totten's blog By Abu Kais After Hamas in the Palestinian territories, and Somalian militias (though some doubt the report), Hizbullah is now said to be training the Mahdi Army militia in Iraq. A New York Times report today quoted an " ...

26 Nov 2006

Hizbullah and Communal Coexistence

Michael J. Totten's blog By Abu Kais With Hizbullah reportedly planning “surprise” protests this week to topple the Siniora government, many, including Shias, are not surprised by how far the foreign-funded militia is prepared to take the country, ...

Welcome Abu Kais

Michael J. Totten's blog I’m going to be out of town for a little while and will probably not be able to blog at my usual pace. Last time I was out of town, when I drove from the East Coast to the West Coast, I convinced myself that I could still ...

24 Nov 2006

Childish Foreign Policy

Michael J. Totten's blog Lebanese blogger Tony Badran is not too impressed with the New York Times lately. The NYT editorial board amassed the entirety of its impressive foreign policy genius, and came out with this terrifyingly awesome statement: ...

23 Nov 2006

To Hell in a Handbasket?

Michael J. Totten's blog A chilling essay by Raja at the Lebanese Bloggers : The Syrians feel pretty secure about Hizballah’s ability to hold its own against these waves of protest and fury. So they do what they need to, to gain any sort of advantage ...

22 Nov 2006

Hugh Hewitt Interview

Michael J. Totten's blog Hugh Hewitt interviewed me on his national radio show yesterday about what’s happening in Lebanon now. Go here to listen . At the time of this posting, my interview is the third item on the list. Middle East Lebanon ...

March 14 Wins the Day

Michael J. Totten's blog Blacksmiths of Lebanon reported , and Naharnet confirmed , that Minsiter Hasan Al Sabaa has returned to the Lebanese cabinet after resigning last year in the wake of the Danish cartoon riot fiasco. The axis’s strategy to ...

Shove Your Civil War

Michael J. Totten's blog Hezbollah called off today’s scheduled “festivities” in downtown Beirut as Lebanon mourns the latest victim of assassination, Pierre Gemayel. Lebanon’s hostility to the Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah axis has been re-energized. ...

21 Nov 2006

The Stage is Set – Updated

Michael J. Totten's blog From Stratfor : The Lebanese army already has deployed four brigades to greater Beirut to assume combat readiness in case Hezbollah forces attack Sunnis in West Beirut. Lebanon’s Sunni bloc, led by the al-Hariri clan and ...

Oops

Michael J. Totten's blog I don’t know if this is true, so take it for what it’s worth. From Blacksmiths of Lebanon : Al Seyassah daily learned from authoritative sources in Beirut, that one of the editors of the Syrian National News Agency (SANA) ...

Keystone Terrorists

Michael J. Totten's blog Tony Badran has the latest on Syria’s transparent and laughably clumsy attempts to find a plausible “fall guy” for the murder of Pierre Gemayel. At least Damascus has enough sense to avoid blaming the Israelis for murdering a ...

Burning Aoun

Michael J. Totten's blog Lebanese Christians tore down and burned portraits of Hezbollah’s tactical Christian ally Michel Aoun in Sassine Square (Achrafieh, Beirut) and elsewhere in the city. When I first moved to Beirut, Bashir Gemayel’s portrait ...

Blowback

Michael J. Totten's blog Hezbollah’s tactical Christian ally Michel Aoun has asked members of his party to attend Pierre Gemayel’s funeral in Beirut tomorrow, the same day that Hezbollah is threatening to take to the streets. The “alliance” between ...

20 Nov 2006

Echoes of Zarqawi

Michael J. Totten's blog If you think radical Shias are the only dangerous people in Lebanon, think again . From the SITE Institute: The Mujahideen in Lebanon threaten that the Shi’ites will not have an “entity” in Lebanon, and increasingly warn the ...

Another Assassination in Beirut – Continuously Updated

Michael J. Totten's blog The only thing that surprises me even slightly about today’s political assassination in Beirut is that the victim was Pierre Gemayel, a Christian, rather than Fouad Seniora, a Sunni. All the assassination victims after Rafik ...

18 Nov 2006

Egyptian “Morals”

Michael J. Totten's blog Somehow Egypt has startlingly prudish sex laws on the books and at the same time tolerates despicable sexual aggression against women in public. Egyptian blogger Big Pharoah explains how some of his country’s laws work: If I ...

Thought for the Day

Michael J. Totten's blog “One person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter and VICE VERSA.” — Lebanese blogger Josey Wales in the comments . Updated to add: It’s those last three words that are so often forgotten by those who enjoy the first ...

17 Nov 2006

The New Middle East

Michael J. Totten's blog Michael Young, Opinion page editor at Beirut’s Daily Star , writes a Kiss Goodbye to a Liberal Middle East . Syrian dissident Ammar Abdulhamid, whom Michael sometimes publishes in the Daily Star , has more on this theme on ...

16 Nov 2006

Good Neighbors

Michael J. Totten's blog My Israeli friend Yael has created a group blog unlike any other I know of. It’s a Middle Eastern blog called Good Neighbors where both Arabs and Israelis contribute. So far she has signed up herself (obviously) and Tif from ...

14 Nov 2006

Iran Wants Lebanon Now

Michael J. Totten's blog If you have any doubt that Iran and Syria are bound and determined to seize Lebanon and yank it into their axis, take a look at what Ayatollah Khamenei has to say about it . From Lebanon’s Naharnet : Iran’s supreme leader ...

13 Nov 2006

Pajamas Media Podcast with Tony Badran

Michael J. Totten's blog I have been thinking about getting into podcasting for a while now, and I’ve finally done it. My first interview subject is Tony Badran. He works for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and writes the must-read Lebanese ...

At Last

Michael J. Totten's blog I’ve been waiting for someone from Lebanon to finally say it: Abu Kais, a Shia from the South, accuses Hezbollah of treason . Middle East Lebanon Hezbollah ...

12 Nov 2006

A Perfect Storm?

Michael J. Totten's blog A perfect storm may be brewing in Lebanon. I’ve been under Tornado Watch probably ten times or so in the American Midwest. Not once did a tornado touch down anywhere near me while I was on alert. Several tornadoes, though, ...

10 Nov 2006

Hezbollah Quits the Government

Michael J. Totten's blog Hezbollah and Amal resigned from the Lebanese cabinet after the majority March 14 bloc refused to surrender to their undemocratic demands for more power. I will not even guess what might happen next. UPDATE: Charles Malik has ...

A Few Final Words

Michael J. Totten's blog Yesterday I published an argument between myself and a member of Hezbollah that was generated in the comments. I regret being less polite than he when we first encountered each other. By way of explanation, I will say this. ...

8 Nov 2006

An Argument with Hezbollah

Michael J. Totten's blog A member or supporter of Hezbollah who calls himself Al Ghaliboon appeared in my comments and completely dominated the thread. Normally I don’t let somebody show up and do that, but it’s not every day that a group of ...

7 Nov 2006

For the Record

Michael J. Totten's blog From Lebanon’s Naharnet . U.N. experts have found no evidence to support a press report that Israel used depleted uranium (DU) munitions during its July-August offensive on Lebanon, the U.N. Environment Programme has said. ...

4 Nov 2006

Darkness Everywhere

Michael J. Totten's blog “This is the new Middle East. Not the new Middle East of Ms [Condoleezza] Rice. Darkness everywhere.” — Lebanese Druze chief Walid Jumblatt , August 2006 Syrian soldiers occupied Lebanon the first time I went to Beirut. They ...

31 Oct 2006

Iran’s “Nuclear Facilities” Open to Tourists

Michael J. Totten's blog The Iranian regime is just brilliant. Taking their cue from the Soviet Union’s “potemkin village” tours, they have just opened their nuclear facilities to tourist groups. Under a scheme to encourage more tourists to visit the ...

Why We Should Stay

Michael J. Totten's blog “[T]he coalition forces in Iraq act as the defensive militia for those who have no militia.” – Christopher Hitchens UPDATE: A distrurbing counterpoint . (Hat tip: Double-plus-Ungood in the comments.) Middle East Iraq ...

28 Oct 2006

No Foreign Press

Michael J. Totten's blog Glenn Reynolds argues that there is no “foreign press” per se anymore. “It’s all on the same Internet,” he says. Harold Ford (D-Tenn) made a gaffe about the “threat” of Australia developing nuclear weapons. American ...

27 Oct 2006

Iraq the Movie — To Be Filmed in Beirut?

Michael J. Totten's blog I don’t know if there will be another civil war in Lebanon. Maybe there will be and maybe there won’t be. Predicting Middle Eastern politics and events is a fool’s game. I’ve learned that the hard way and will try not to ...

24 Oct 2006

Argentina (Finally) Charges Iran and Hezbollah

Michael J. Totten's blog One of the most annoying arguments from Lebanon’s Syrian and Iranian stooges is that the disarmament of Hezbollah is an “internal matter.” In other words, the United States, the United Nations, the European Union, Egypt, ...

Islamophobia (for lack of a better word)

Michael J. Totten's blog First of all, I want to publicly commend Dean Esmay for challenging right-wing bigotry (you heard me) against Muslims. It ought to go without saying that I am not referring to opponents, peaceful or otherwise, of Al Qaeda, ...

23 Oct 2006

Berri Crosses Lebanon’s Red Line

Michael J. Totten's blog A few days ago Lebanon’s Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri floated the idea of opening peace talks with Israel . (Hat tip: Bad Vilbel .) Now is the time to raise the issue to returning to peace negotiations…It is possible ...

21 Oct 2006

The Beirut of Europe, Revisited

Michael J. Totten's blog Just under a year ago I wrote the following while Paris burned: They say Beirut is the Paris of the Middle East. Does that mean Paris is the Beirut of Europe? Or is that an insult to Beirut? A week later my mother visited me ...

12 Oct 2006

“Darfur is Rwanda in Slow Motion”

Michael J. Totten's blog I discuss genocide in Africa and the possibility of civil war in Lebanon with Austin Bay and Gerard Van der Leun in a podcast show at Pajamas Media . Africa Middle East Lebanon Rwanda Violence Genocide War ...

4 Oct 2006

Dispatches from the Front Now in Print

Michael J. Totten's blog The first project Doubleday editor Adam Bellow and I worked on together is finished. (The second will take a lot longer.) I told you the project isn’t a book. And it isn’t. But we are releasing something in print. Three ...

28 Sep 2006

Talking, Not Writing

Michael J. Totten's blog I have been making my living as a writer of one kind or another for years, as a technical writer, travel writer, opinionated bloviator, journalist, and reader-supported blogger. It’s the only real skill I have, so thank God I ...

20 Sep 2006

Nasrallah’s Malaise

Michael J. Totten's blog While I’m being slow, here is something to read . Hezbollah really did get its collective ass handed to it. UPDATE: See also Mustapha at Beirut Spring and Abu Kais at From Beirut to the Beltway . Middle East Lebanon Hezbollah ...

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