Author Archives: michaeltotten

A Sneak Preview of The Road to Fatima Gate

Here is a preview of the opening pages of my new book, The Road to Fatima Gate: The Beirut Spring, the Rise of Hezbollah, and the Iranian War Against Israel. Introduction: The Beirut Spring “We don’t want the great Syrian prison.” — Kamal Jumblatt “Rafik Hariri is the person who made Lebanon into a nice place from a place that had nothing nice in it.” — Lebanese schoolchild On February »

Nir Rosen’s Career Finally Crashes

New York University fired my media colleague Nir Rosen today for repeatedly using Twitter to mock CBS correspondent Lara Logan after she was sexually assaulted by a mob in Cairo. Karen Greenberg, Executive Director of the Center on Law and Security, accepted his resignation. I’m not sure why it took so long for his career to crash. Not only did he link approvingly to Taliban propaganda on last year’s anniversary »

Iran’s Leaders May Have Nowhere to Run

Iran exploded in revolt again yesterday. Demonstration organizers cleverly announced a march in solidarity with the people of Egypt, whom the government says it supports wholeheartedly. The regime, then, was caught in a bind. It can’t very well cheer the Egyptian street while cracking its own people’s heads. Well, it can, but not without losing even more credibility at home than it already has. The Iranian people will have a »

The Road to Fatima Gate

My book The Road to Fatima Gate: The Beirut Spring, the Rise of Hezbollah, and the Iranian War Against Israel will be available in bookstores on April 5. I’m also taking pre-orders for autographed copies which I will sign and mail personally as soon as the shipment arrives, which could be as early as March. (I will also make five times as much money per copy if you buy it »

Don’t Kid Yourself About the Muslim Brotherhood

Egypt’s dictator deserves to be overthrown even more than Tunisia’s did. At least Ben Ali’s government didn’t ram the country into the ground as Egypt’s Free Officers regime has, beginning with Gamal Abdel Nasser and continuing with the improved but still ghastly Hosni Mubarak. If he’s forced out–though I wouldn’t underestimate his ability to survive just yet–a different man will likely replace him at the top with most of the »

What If There Is No Way Out?

The Middle East is a tragic place. It is a region governed by violence, and it always has been. I was a witness to the non-violent and broadly liberal Cedar Revolution during the Beirut Spring that ousted the occupying Syrian military dictatorship, but Lebanon has been effectively reconquered by proxy. Some Middle Easterners, bless them, have opted to take the gun out of politics, yet they remain pushed around and »

Egypt Needs Liberalism

All this talk about whether democracy in Egypt will be a good thing or a bad thing just goes to show how misunderstood the word democracy is. Democracy refers not so much to elections but to liberalism in the general sense of the word. If Egyptians elect the Muslim Brotherhood in a free and fair election, and the Muslim Brotherhood then rigs or even cancels every election that follows, Egypt »

Sandmonkey’s Last Post

The blogger known as Egyptian Sandmonkey is a friend of mine. Many Americans read him. I actually know him. I met him years ago in Cairo, and he’s one of the good guys. I don’t know if what’s happening in Egypt is a good thing or a bad thing because I don’t know how it will end. All I know is that I hope the liberals like Sandmonkey prevail over »

The Iranian Revolution Echoes in Egypt

Abbas Milani, like most educated Iranians, detested the Shah’s tyrannical regime that ruled over his homeland until it was overthrown in 1979 by a coalition of liberals, leftists, and Islamists. Unlike the vast majority of the liberals and leftists, however, Milani knew in advance what the Islamists were up to. The Shah had cast him into the dungeon at the notorious Evin Prison and for six months his cell mates »