April 06, 2007

Published in the Jerusalem Post

Don't miss my feature article in the Jerusalem Post's weekend magazine: Welcome to Hezbollahland.

(A different version of this material appeared on the blog a few months ago, but if you didn't read it then you can read it now in the magazine.)

Posted by Michael J. Totten at April 6, 2007 08:31 AM
Comments

Hey cool Mike. Do you know what print edition of the JPost this article was published in if any?

Posted by: Graham at April 6, 2007 04:33 PM

Well, it is summer. I guess reruns are ok for the time being.

Posted by: Pat Patterson at April 6, 2007 05:32 PM

Graham, it was published in the current weekend edition of the magazine.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at April 6, 2007 10:35 PM

I would love to hear Michael's and Patrick's thoughts on Rep. Pelosi's shenanigans in Syria. She and others like her in the Democratic party leadership are why I changed my voter registration to Independent in 2004, after being a registered Democrat since 1966 when I turned 21. I fear for my country.

Posted by: Maggie45 at April 7, 2007 06:39 AM

Pelosi is a fool. She knows not what she does, as evidenced by the fact that she wore a headscarf to meet with the Alawite-
Baathist regime. Alawites are not Muslims, and the Assad regime fears and loathes conservative Islam.

Wearing a headscarf to impress Alawites is like wearing a headscarf to impress Christians or Jews. Someone in her office needs to brush up on Syria 101.

Here is a photo of Bashar Assad and his wife. It is worth comparing to pictures of Pelosi's conservative Islamic dress code.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 7, 2007 06:49 AM

Thanks for your great reporting and insight into a little-understood section of the world (at least from the West's viewpoint). I'm just hoping we don't abandon the Kurds and pull out too early.
I also appreciate your insight into Nancy Pelosi's visit. I, too, think she's a fool and I'm SO disappointed in the Congress for fooling around with political fighting and neglecting the things that really need to be done. How can we expect others to put aside their differences, when our leaders are at each others' throats and indulging in partisan politics?

Posted by: sallyo at April 7, 2007 10:50 AM

Here is a photo of Bashar Assad and his wife.

That's hillarious, in a dark way.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at April 7, 2007 03:12 PM

Totten, you need a refresher Journalism 101....ya know..basic stuff, where they teach you to check your facts.

Pelosi only wore a headscarf INSIDE the historic Ommayad Mosque. I didn't see her in a scarf anywhere else.

Posted by: Ruby at April 7, 2007 07:39 PM

Ruby, if she only wore a hijab in the mosque, that's great. I didn't know that, and it makes me think her much less a fool.

I didn't "report" on her hijab-wearing, I answered a question in the comments. Answering a question in the comments isn't journalism, so don't tell me to brush up on 101.

If I had written an article about this, which I hadn't, then you would have a point.

Thanks for seeing the difference.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 7, 2007 10:49 PM

You know, I read this article quickly the other day, thought to myself, "this is really good" and planned to go back for a deeper read --but I didn't glance at the byline. No wonder it is good! And it was even better with the deeper read.

Posted by: Yael at April 8, 2007 08:22 AM

Hey Mike... if I went to do a report on nightlife in Germayze but was escorted by 2 Hezbollah minders, and say they told me:

1. The place was a den of alcoholic vice, loose morals, arrogant parking valets and full of economic exploitation -- with sky high New York style prices.

2. Not to talk to anyone local to ask them what they actually thought about the area.

...imagine I actually followed that advice -- and instead of chatting to bar owners and all the sparkly eyed Germayze kids having fun, simply reported what my 2 Islamist escorts told me to say about the area, would you say that I was a good journalist?

Posted by: Microraptor at April 8, 2007 10:28 AM

Someone point these idiots at Michael's articles that involve interviews with Hezbollah so that they shut up with this bullshit assumption that Micheal doesn't know who he's dealing with?

Posted by: Josh Scholar at April 8, 2007 11:44 AM

Pelosi only wore a headscarf INSIDE the historic Ommayad Mosque. I didn't see her in a scarf anywhere else

According to this Syrian writer, Pelosi wore the hijab outside of a mosque too.

As a Muslim, I fully understand respect of our religion by visiting US officials and I applaud that respect. Had Speaker Pelosi worn the Hijab inside a Mosque, this would have indicated respect but for Pelosi to wear it on the streets of Damascus all the while she is sitting with the self-imposed Baschar al-Assad who has come to symbolize oppression and one of the reasons why women are forced to wear the Hijab as they turn to religion to express their freedom is a statement of submittal not only to oppression but also to lack of women's rights in the Middle East. Pelosi just reversed the work of the Syrian civil society and those who aspire for women's freedom in the Muslim countries many years back with her visual statement. Her lack of experience of the Middle East is showing.

..and according to nearly everyone else on the planet, Pelosi's attempt at playing diplomat was an unqualified disaster. Even the Washington Post and the LA Times were shamed.

Michael Young on Nancy Pelosi's trip:

Here was Nancy Pelosi pretending to be Gertrude Bell, but now, it seems, she can hardly make it to the bell. The criticisms of her trip to Damascus earlier this week, but also of what is being seen as the Democrats' effort to hijack U.S. foreign policy, are piling up so high that all I can really offer here is a selected, annotated index of abuse.

The Los Angeles Times wonders if we really need a General Pelosi. The Washington Post confirms that we do not. USA Today says it's not the speaker's role to unfreeze relations with Syria's dictator, Bashar Assad. And the Wall Street Journal mentions a major foreign stake involved, namely that Syria saw the Pelosi visit as a means of wriggling out of the investigation into the murder of the late Lebanese prime minister, Rafiq Hariri, which Syria's leadership almost certainly masterminded...

...The saga will continue, and you can follow all the blogs here. No need for Pelosi to search for eggs in her back yard this Easter weekend; they're mostly dripping from her face.

It was obvious that she paid little attention to the customs or the laws of Syria or any other country she visited. Her only goal was, as Lee Smith noted here, to give President Bush the finger.

Posted by: mary at April 8, 2007 03:57 PM

but for Pelosi to wear it on the streets of Damascus all the while she is sitting with the self-imposed Baschar al-Assad who has come to symbolize oppression and one of the reasons why women are forced to wear the Hijab as they turn to religion to express their freedom is a statement of submittal not only to oppression but also to lack of women's rights in the Middle East. Pelosi just reversed the work of the Syrian civil society and those who aspire for women's freedom in the Muslim countries many years back with her visual statement. Her lack of experience of the Middle East is showing.

Perhaps, but she didn't wear the headscarf when she was "sitting with" the anti-semitic chinless opthamologist.

I'm more worried about whether she stated - or stressed - that negotiations with Syria are contingent upon them finally giving the boot to Hamas, PIJ and Hizballah - which it appears she may have not. I say may, because the reports were conflicting and I can't imagine any delegation with Tom Lantos not conveying that message.

Posted by: SoCalJustice at April 8, 2007 05:14 PM

Some excessively negative comments at the jpost for what I found to be a pretty fair article...

not quite sure what riled their senses.

Posted by: Joshu at April 8, 2007 06:06 PM

Microraptor, you aren't insisting that I haven't interviewed Hezbollah supporters, have you? I have spent far more time with such people than I ever wanted. I know very well that what Said and Henry told me is correct. Just because I didn't interview them on that particular day doesn't mean I have never interviewed them. On THAT day I needed to interview the Christians of South Lebanon who suffered Hezbollah's abuse. That was the whole point.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at April 8, 2007 08:54 PM

not quite sure what riled their senses

I just looked through the comments for a few other articles on the JP site and it seems that vitriolic trolling is the norm for these characters. Too bad. It just makes you appreciate the (usually) high quality of discussion that goes on here.

Good work MJT!

-L

Posted by: lindsey at April 9, 2007 12:20 PM

'Alawites are not Muslims'

What do you mean by this sentence? I was under the impression that Alawites were Moslems. It is a subsect of shia Islam. May be you mean to say that they are not Islamists?

Posted by: Ruth at April 9, 2007 06:12 PM

Pelosi is a fool.

...and she's third in line for the Presidency, as well as the de facto leader of one of the two major political parties in the US.

How on earth did this happen?

:-/

Posted by: rosignol at April 10, 2007 02:37 AM

"I was under the impression that Alawites were Moslems. It is a subsect of shia Islam."

A quick trawl round the web (OK, not necessarily a reliable source) indicates that the Allawi are widely regarded as heretics, which, I suppose, would mean that they're not considered to be Muslim. On the other hand, they are accepted as Muslims by some other Muslims -- especially in Syria, I'd guess!

Posted by: Marge at April 10, 2007 08:45 AM

I think people need to relax about the Pelosi visit to Syria. Western officials visited Czechoslovakia all the time during communism. Some were politicians, sometimes business people etc. Meaningless meeting with chancelrs from west germany or whatever did nothing to legitimize Gustav Husak's position.
In fact I would argue that as many western politicians as possible should visit Syria, Iran etc. When they visit the country and mix with regular people(even indirectly), it gives the (so-called) enemies a human face and deflates propaganda. Why do you think its so difficult for anybody to get into North Korea.
Frydek-Mistek

Posted by: Frydek-Mistek at April 11, 2007 05:46 PM
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