February 25, 2009

Christopher Hitchens and the Battle of Beirut

Last week Christopher Hitchens and I were attacked in Beirut. Less than 24 hours after we landed at the international airport, a half dozen members of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party jumped us on Hamra Street when he defaced one of their signs.

He and I were traveling together because Lebanon's New Opinion Group invited us to meet Prime Minister Fouad Seniora, Future Movement party leader Saad Hariri, Druze chief Walid Jumblatt, and other leaders of the pro-independence

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 9:38 PM | Permalink | 82 Comments »

February 23, 2009

Back from Beirut

Sometimes I

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 2:31 PM | Permalink | 2 Comments »

February 19, 2009

A Third Lebanon War?

The Lebanese-Israeli border has been calmer during the last two and a half years than it has been in decades. Hezbollah replenished its arsenal of rockets after the 2006 war, but has chosen to lay low in the meantime. Not one Israeli soldier has been kidnapped since the war

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 11:36 PM | Permalink | 1 Comment »

All Quiet on the Eastern Front

Many of you -- an almost shocking number of you -- have sent me worried emails after reading rumors on the Internet and even in newspapers about a violent attack against me and two of my colleagues in a country that is known for its occasional violence. I am fine, as are the others. I sincerely appreciate the concern for my safety, but there is no need to worry.

I haven't yet read an account that gets all the details right, and the most compelling details are naturally missing from every second- and eleventh-hand report that's bouncing around. I'll be home in a few days and will publish the real story. Only three people in the world can tell you the real story, and until then I suggest you refrain from taking the global gossip mill at its word.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 10:29 PM | Permalink | 1 Comment »

February 18, 2009

On the Road, Briefly

I told myself I wasn

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 1:29 AM | Permalink | 16 Comments »

February 8, 2009

A Dispatch from the Border with Gaza

Gaza City from Sderot.jpg

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 had been emptied of people when Hezbollah turned the northern sixth of the country into a free fire zone. Lebanese villages were still smoldering, and their dead were still being cleared from underneath rubble. Sderot, by contrast, seemed downright sedate even though rockets packed tight with metal fragments and ball bearings still fell from the sky every day.

The city had been under fire for years before I got there, but the barrages were tolerable, albeit barely. Sderot had never been abandoned. Its residents were never made into refugees. Only a handful of people had been killed by the time I first visited, and not even a dozen more have been killed in the meantime. It's easy to callously ask

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 11:41 PM | Permalink | 26 Comments »

February 5, 2009

It’s a Nice Place, Actually

Beirut, Lebanon, is still the poster child for urban disaster areas in some parts of the world.

A comparison of the Weston Road and Dimbles Lane area in which Mr Eccles lived and died to 'Beirut' was described as 'the last thing the area needs' by Mr Bayliss

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 5:47 PM | Permalink | 4 Comments »

February 4, 2009

The New Backbone of the Sunni Resistance

When Israel retaliated against Hezbollah in July of 2006, something strange and new and unexpected took place. Arab governments blamed Hezbollah for sparking the conflict and didn

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 2:47 PM | Permalink | 29 Comments »

February 1, 2009

A Minority Report from the West Bank and Gaza (Deleted)

I had published the transcript of a talk and follow-up interview with a prominent and respectable Palestinian, and it caused a bit of trouble that neither he nor I anticpated or wanted. The transcript has been removed at his request.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at 6:07 PM | Permalink | Comments Off

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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