Middle East update: October 31-November 1 2017

IRAQ Well this is probably bad news: Iraq says negotiations with the Kurds over the deployment of federal forces along the borders of their autonomous region have failed. The body overseeing Iraq’s security forces said Wednesday that Kurdish forces had delayed talks in an effort to strengthen their defenses, and that as a result, both… Continue reading Middle East update: October 31-November 1 2017

Today in War on Terror history: Osama bin Laden shuffles off the stage (2011)

Obviously it was five years ago today (technically; he was reportedly killed very early in the morning on May 2, local time) when Osama bin Laden was killed by US Special Forces in Abbottabad. Well, maybe. It’s late and I’m writing this to avoid paying attention to the Penguins-Capitals game, which is driving me crazy.… Continue reading Today in War on Terror history: Osama bin Laden shuffles off the stage (2011)

Part of Seymour Hersh’s story gets corroborated

Remember how I said that Seymour Hersh’s big Osama bin Laden story was interesting but needed some serious corroboration before it could really be considered a serious challenge to the official version of events? Well, here’s some corroboration, from Carlotta Gall of the New York Times: The latest contribution is the journalist Seymour Hersh’s 10,000-word… Continue reading Part of Seymour Hersh’s story gets corroborated

About Abbottabad

To preface this, I’ve only read about half of Seymour Hersh’s report on the raid (or “raid”) that ended with the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011, because a) it’s very long, plus b) its publication raised such a commotion online that the LRB’s website crashed for over an hour, both of which matter… Continue reading About Abbottabad

The new Caliphate is really outstripping the old one

Depending on how you count this kind of thing, the OG caliphate kicked off either in 632, when Muhammad died, or in 750, when the Abbasid dynasty took the office from its previous owners, the Umayyads. But it wasn’t until 909, when the Shiʿa Fatimid dynasty declared its own caliphate in the city of Qayrawan… Continue reading The new Caliphate is really outstripping the old one

Abdullah Azzam: The Unmentioned Founding Father of Al-Qaeda and Hamas

I would guess that most people who know the name “Abdullah Azzam” today know it as the name of a terrorist network, the “Abdullah Azzam Brigades,” a group that claimed responsibility for a recent attack in Lebanon and whose leader, Majid b. Muhammad al-Majid, just died of, uh, “natural” causes while in the custody of… Continue reading Abdullah Azzam: The Unmentioned Founding Father of Al-Qaeda and Hamas