Seeking hosting solution

OK. This has gotten out of hand. I’m hoping some of you dear readers can point me in the right direction. I’m on Yahoo’s Small Business plan for hosting this blog and it’s less than optimal. It’s slow, and I often can’t get into the blog because of 500 Internal Server Error messages, preventing me from combating comment spam or rebuilding individual archives.
So if anyone can recommend a good host provider, who can make the transfer of files to their servers easy, I’d be most grateful. The provider should understand and support Moveable Type blogs installations and it would be ideal if it supports dynamic publishing. (You bloggy types know what I’m talking about.)
Please drop me a line or leave a comment if you have any ideas on hosting.
Thanks!
The Management

New authors at B2I

I’d like to take a moment an introduce B2I’s newest writer, Johannes Koch, who will be blogging from London and the U.S. on American policy and media analysis for the site.
Johannes is a German/Indian journalist who has been living, studying and working in London for the past five years. After graduating with a BA in journalism and politics went on to complete a masters of international studies/politics at the Universities of Birmingham and Melbourne. He’s moving to New York in August where he will continue to freelance and hopefully write for us!
His political interests include U.S. foreign policy (especially in the Middle East), international law and peacekeeping.
His first entry will be coming later today and will look at the implications of any Turkish actions across the Iraqi border for US policy as well as what it might mean for the U.S.-Turkish relationship.
*UPDATE:* It’s up.
I will be doing minimal editing once he gets the hang of B2I, except for perhaps little style issues, such as blockquotes, italics and the like.
Secondly, another writer will soon be joining us, a top-notch journalist based here in Lebanon with me. She’s Lebanese and brings a unique perspective to B2I. Also, if any of my journo friends from Iraq and elsewhere — and I know you guys read this — want to contribute as a “guest poster” basis, please drop me a line.

Calling Middle East bloggers

BEIRUT — Taking a break from all the news, I’d like to throw something out there and see what gets picked up.
Would you like to be part of the B2I team? (Which, at the moment, is me.) Would you like to blog on Iraq, Syria, Egypt and the rest of the Middle East? Would you like to make some cash while you’re doing it? (Assuming people donate, of course.)
I’m looking for one or two people who can help me out here with covering Iraq, Syria and Egypt, although I’ll entertain other locales or if you move around. Someone to blog from Washington or New York about how news in the Middle East is playing would be great, too.
The ideal candidates should be energetic, hungry and have some journalism training. Fluency in English is a must, as well as the ability to look at things as objectively as possible. I want to continue to give observations and news as it’s seen, not as how most people want it to be seen. No left- or right-wing true believers need apply.
If you’re a freelance journalist in the region and want to have a wider outlet than some of the trade journals might offer, please consider signing up. I’m working out out a donations-sharing system, by which you would reap rewards for your work. It’s not much, but it can help.
Best of all, you get to be part of a blog that single-handedly started the the idea of reader-funded conflict reporting. B2I is still a strong brand and people in the journalism world know it. It’s still read at newspapers and magazines in New York, Washington and elsewhere. Here’s your chance to get some exposure, if you need it.
If you’re interested, please email me with a CV, a cover letter and three writing samples.
Thanks very much,
The Management

A response to the Jerusalem Post

BEIRUT — A response is in order to the Jeruasalem Post‘s story today, in which Michael Totten is interviewed and my name comes up in the article.
The _Post_ says, “Chris Allbritton, who sometimes works for Time Magazine, briefly mentioned on his blog during the war that several journalists he knows were threatened by Hizbullah because of what they were writing.”
Let’s look at what I “actually wrote”:http://www.back-to-iraq.com/archives/2006/07/tales_from_the_south_sort_of.php:

To the south, along the curve of the coast, Hezbollah is launching Katyushas, but I’m loathe to say too much about them. The Party of God has a copy of every journalist’s passport, and they’ve already hassled a number of us and threatened one.

In a “follow-up post”:http://www.back-to-iraq.com/archives/2006/08/silence.php, I expanded on this, as this one comment was taken completely the wrong way by many, many right-wing blogs and publications (Such as Totten’s and the JPost.)
The beginning of my response was this:

Let’s set aside that the Lebanese Internal Security also has photocopies of our passports. The reason for the hassling and the threat was that a reporter had filmed or described either a launching site or Hezbollah positions. (I’m not sure which.) To the best of my knowledge, that’s been the extent of the hassling. I’m going to get in trouble for this, but I think it’s a reasonable restriction. This is the exact same restrictions placed on journalists by the Israeli army and by the Americans in Iraq. I don’t think threatening journalists is cool at all, and it certainly doesn’t endear me to them, but that has been the extent of Hezbollah’s interference in our coverage.

You can read the rest of it, and I hope you do, “here”:http://www.back-to-iraq.com/archives/2006/08/silence.php.

Taking a break

BEIRUT — Hello everyone. Long time, eh? Sorry for the radio silence, but I really had to step away from the blog for a while. Emotionally, it was too much to do one’s best to cover the war here fairly while still maintaining a sense of truth, only to be flayed by people who accuse me of shilling for Hezbollah. Khalas, enough.
One thing I’ve learned from this war is that when it comes to Israeli-Arab relations, most people don’t want the truth: they want words that conform to their preconceived notions. I.e., that Israel is a aggressive, colonial construct with designs on the Litani’s water, or that Hezbollah is full of bloodthirsty savages who don’t deserve to live.
Neither or these caricatures is, of course, accurate. But subtlety doesn’t seem to have much place in the blogosphere anymore, where you get the most attention and the most hits by putting out whatever half-assed opinion one can muster. You only have to shout loudly enough and play to whatever audience you want to get the attention. Blogging these days seems to resemble bad vaudeville rather than thoughtful commentary.
I never wanted that from blogs. I had a vision of blogs standing alongside the so-called _mainstream media_ and being the garnish of a well-balanced media diet, as I said in a lot of radio interviews. I never thought of blogs as a replacement or actively hostile to the Big Guys. Considering my background, that would be ridiculous. I’m a journalist. I’m a proud mainstream media journalist. My background is with the Associated Press, the New York Daily News and TIME Magazine. I’m very proud to be associated with such publications now and in the past and I’m proud of the work they’ve done, with or without my contribution.
But now, it seems the blogosphere has become more concerned with “gotcha” politics and “fact checking your ass,” mantras by armchair photo analysts who have no clue about what happens in a war or how photographs are made and distributed. They just want to score points in what seems to be, at best, a debating club rather than real life and death situations. Congratulations, your team won. Yay. People are still dead, you know. It’s happened in Iraq and it’s happened here, and I don’t really feel like being part of that culture any more.
That said, I’m also proud of the work done on this blog, even in this war, despite some commentators saying I know nothing of Israel or that I only wrote what my “minders” let me. (For the record, there was never any “minder” from Hezbollah that I saw, and certainly not attached to me. Any reticence I exhibited was based on my my own judgment of the situation.)
Which brings up one of the frustrating things about reporting here — or anywhere in the Middle East, for that matter: knowing things but being unable to say them openly. Somethings have to be kept back for security reasons or you don’t want people to know you’ve been to places that would get you in hot water. The Israelis, for example, don’t much like seeing a passport with a lot of stamps from Arab states in it. They’ll hassle you. Hezbollah, likewise, probably wouldn’t look too kindly on a reporter who’d openly been to Israel.
This was a major obstacle in this war for me, but I’d hoped that my reputation and past record — which has been one of honesty, fairness and, yes, accuracy — would have carried me through. That was not the case, however, and a bunch of angry pro-Israel readers who didn’t know my work accused me of saying things that I didn’t know to be true. _This is not accurate on their part._ When I say something on this blog, it’s backed up by reporting. I may not always be able to openly source it — the rules of protecting sources or myself don’t change simply because the work is online — but I know what I’m talking about. Readers can accept that or not; I really don’t care any more.
Which is why I took a break. I got tired of defending myself to anklebiters who frankly had no idea what they were talking about. I got tired of going out every day, risking the life of my driver, translator and myself, only to be told I can’t do anything put parrot Hezbollah propaganda. It was insulting and it pissed me off. To all you people who think you could do better in a war zone, bring it on.
This will be the last entry on B2I Edition du Liban for a while. I’m working on a novel now and I want to focus on that and my other, professional work. I’m also going to focus on rebuilding a life here and taking care of the people I love. Something’s got to give and the blog — or what’s left of it — is it. I have realized that life is short.
To everyone who wrote asking if I was OK, thank you for your concern. It means a lot. But farewell, for now.

Re-subscribe, please

So, the notifications database went kerplunkt and I had to delete. If you want to get notices of new entries, you’ll need to re-subscribe. Sorry for the inconvenience.
(Note, the re-subscription function is in the sidebar on the right.)