July 29, 2008

From Counterinsurgents to Peacekeepers

Associated Press Baghdad Bureau Chief Robert Reid and his chief military reporter Robert Burns published a dispatch from Iraq over the weekend that should have made banner headlines.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 10:48 PM | Permalink | 33 Comments »

July 28, 2008

The Bin Ladens of the Balkans, Part II

I met Shpetim Mahmudi at a covered outdoor cafe on a cold day in late spring in the ethnic Albanian region of Macedonia. Black clouds hung low over the city of Tetovo. Fat rain drops pelted the sidewalk and the awning over my head as I shivered in my light black leather jacket.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 1:11 AM | Permalink | 50 Comments »

July 26, 2008

Defining

As recently as the first half of 2007, the idea of an American victory in Iraq seemed like a fantasy to just about everyone, including me. General David Petraeus surged additional troops to Iraq, however, and he transformed the joint American-Iraqi counterinsurgency strategy into what nearly all observers now acknowledge is a remarkable and unexpected success. Few bother to argue otherwise anymore. What remains ambiguous and contested is the definition of an American victory.

It

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 11:23 AM | Permalink | Comments Off

Defining

As recently as the first half of 2007, the idea of an American victory in Iraq seemed like a fantasy to just about everyone, including me. General David Petraeus surged additional troops to Iraq, however, and he transformed the joint American-Iraqi counterinsurgency strategy into what nearly all observers now acknowledge is a remarkable and unexpected success. Few bother to argue otherwise anymore. What remains ambiguous and contested is the definition of an American victory.

It

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 11:23 AM | Permalink | Comments Off

Defining

As recently as the first half of 2007, the idea of an American victory in Iraq seemed like a fantasy to just about everyone, including me. General David Petraeus surged additional troops to Iraq, however, and he transformed the joint American-Iraqi counterinsurgency strategy into what nearly all observers now acknowledge is a remarkable and unexpected success. Few bother to argue otherwise anymore. What remains ambiguous and contested is the definition of an American victory.

It

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 11:23 AM | Permalink | Comments Off

Defining

As recently as the first half of 2007, the idea of an American victory in Iraq seemed like a fantasy to just about everyone, including me. General David Petraeus surged additional troops to Iraq, however, and he transformed the joint American-Iraqi counterinsurgency strategy into what nearly all observers now acknowledge is a remarkable and unexpected success. Few bother to argue otherwise anymore. What remains ambiguous and contested is the definition of an American victory.

It

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 11:23 AM | Permalink | 50 Comments »

July 23, 2008

Lebanon’s Blood Holiday

Lee Smith (who sometimes pens guest columns for this Web site) just published a strong piece in the new British foreign policy magazine Standpoint about Lebanon's celebration of the return of child-killer Samir Kuntar from the prisons of Israel. The whole sordid episode besmirches Lebanon, but, as he demonstrates, plenty of Lebanese are rightly disgusted. More importantly he shows that while Lebanon is in real trouble right now, Hezbollah is doomed in the long run.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 9:37 PM | Permalink | 47 Comments »

Azerbaijan, Here I Come — UPDATED

So I just got invited to a week-long conference in the mysterious country of Azerbaijan in August.

I can't help but wonder how many people even know where it is. (It's between Iran and Russia, and around a fourth of Iranians are ethnic Azeris. One Iranian province is actually called Western Azerbaijan. The former name of the country was the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.)

It should be damned interesting. I'll publish at least one article from there before I return to Iraq, and more than one article if it's interesting enough.

Tell me: what would you like to know about this place?

UPDATE: A reader asked what this conference is all about. It is being hosted by the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, and it is called "Views from America 2008." There will be panel discussions on at least four topics: Elections in the U.S., pop culture's impact on the American image, the role of the Internet in politics, and the future of secularism and moderation in Islam.

The conference will last one day, but I'll be in country for a week. Meetings are being arranged with senior government officials including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, religious leaders, business executives, and think tank professionals.

So if you could talk to these people, what would you ask them? I can think of my own questions, of course, but you're my readers and some of you dontate money to my account, so I want to know what you want to read about.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 4:15 PM | Permalink | 14 Comments »

July 22, 2008

Blog Talk Radio

I was a guest on The Rick Moran Show earlier today, and we spent an hour talking about the Balkans, Iraq, and Lebanon. Rick introduced me as "the most interesting man in the world," which is a hilarious overstatement. Thanks, Rick, but come on, man. Only one person can be that interesting, and it ain't me. Anyway, we had a good time for an hour, and you can listen to the whole thing here.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 11:20 PM | Permalink | 18 Comments »
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Winner, The 2008 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

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