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Michael Totten

Michael Totten

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Michael J. Totten is an American journalist who has reported from the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Caucasus. His work appears in various publications, Web sites, and on his blog. His first book, The Road to Fatima Gate, was published in 2011.

Journalism


Totten's work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is an American English-language international daily newspaper. It is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corporation, along with the Asian and European editions of the Journal....

, The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, City Journal,
the New York Daily News,
The Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post is an Israeli daily English-language broadsheet newspaper, founded on December 1, 1932 by Gershon Agron as The Palestine Post. The daily readership numbers do not approach those of the major Hebrew newspapers....

, the Daily Star
Daily Star (Lebanon)
The Daily Star is a pan-Middle East English language newspaper edited in Beirut. It was founded in 1952 by Kamel Mrowa, the publisher of the Arabic daily Al-Hayat to serve the growing number of expatriates brought by the oil industry...

of Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, Reason
Reason (magazine)
Reason is a libertarian monthly magazine published by the Reason Foundation. The magazine has a circulation of around 60,000 and was named one of the 50 best magazines in 2003 and 2004 by the Chicago Tribune.- History :...

magazine, Commentary
Commentary (magazine)
Commentary is a monthly American magazine on politics, Judaism, social and cultural issues. It was founded by the American Jewish Committee in 1945. By 1960 its editor was Norman Podhoretz, a liberal at the time who moved sharply to the right in the 1970s and 1980s becoming a strong voice for the...

,
LA Weekly
LA Weekly
LA Weekly is a free weekly tabloid-sized "alternative weekly" in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1978 by Editor/Publisher Jay Levin and a board of directors that included actor-producer Michael Douglas...

, Front Page, Tech Central Station, and the Australian edition of Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

.

In July 2007, Totten traveled to Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 to embed with several U.S. Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 units before transitioning to Anbar
Anbar
Anbar was a town in Iraq, at lat. 33 deg. 22' N., long. 43 deg. 49' E, on the east bank of the Euphrates, just south of the Nahr 'Isa, or Sakhlawieh canal, the northernmost of the canals connecting that river with the Tigris.-History:...

 province and embedding with Marines. In late 2007 he embedded with Marines in Fallujah, and he embedded again with the Army in Baghdad in late 2008.

Totten won the 2007 Weblog Award for Best Middle East or Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 Blog, he won it again in 2008, and was named Blogger of the Year in 2006 by The Week magazine for his dispatches from the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

.

Totten has described himself as a "weird combination of liberal, libertarian, and neocon." He has supported the Iraq War, stating during the run-up, "If you don’t join us now, when Saddam’s regime falls and Iraqis cheer the US Marines, you are really going to feel like a jackass. And your jackassery will be exposed beneath klieg lights for all to see.". However, he believed that the critics of the war who noted the lack of progress from 2004 to 2006 were correct while the Bush administration was wrong. He supported the 2007 'surge' strategy.

On June 23, 2010, Totten applauded Barack Obama's decision to accept General Stanley McCrystal's resignation, and Totten labeled it "one of the best decisions the president has made since he took office."

Totten describes himself as an "independent journalist." Most of his trips—to Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, Bosnia, Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, and several other places—are paid for out of his own pocket, although he has also accepted funding from the Government of Azerbaijan, the American Jewish Committee
American Jewish Committee
The American Jewish Committee was "founded in 1906 with the aim of rallying all sections of American Jewry to defend the rights of Jews all over the world...

 and a Lebanese pro-government (March 14) lobby for trips to Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, respectively.

Totten's first book, The Road to Fatima Gate: The Beirut Spring, the Rise of Hezbollah, and the Iranian War Against Israel (Encounter Books, April 2011, ISBN 978-1594035210), reports his experiences in the Middle East, primarily Lebanon.

External links