Bin Laden and Palestine

by Henry Farrell on October 30, 2004

I’d gone along with the popular wisdom that Bin Laden had only recently expressed interest in the Palestinian cause in order to broaden his appeal – “Juan Cole”: tells us that this conventional view is flat-out wrong.

bq. Bin Laden has repeatedly said that one of the reasons he hit the US was over the Israeli attacks on the Palestinians. Bin Laden has cared deeply about Palestine since his youth. His partner in Peshawar at the Office of Services for 6 years when he was funding the Mujahidin was Abdullah Azzam, a prominent Palestinian Muslim fundamentalist. When he came back to Jiddah from Pakistan after the Soviets withdrew, Bin Laden gave a guest sermon at the local mosque in which he bitterly criticized Israeli actions during the first Intifadah. He declared war on the Zionists and the Crusaders, and has constantly complained about the Occupation of the Three Holy Cities, which are Mecca, Medinah and Jerusalem. Because he did not use traditional Palestianian nationalist language, it has been possible for some to miss his commitment to the Palestine issue.

NB – threads on CT and elsewhere that even mention Palestine or Israel in passing tend to descend swiftly into a repugnant back-and-forth of slurs against Israelis and Palestinians – I’ll be ruthless in deleting comments to this post that even hint at going down that path.

A revelation about the EU

by John Q on October 30, 2004

When I used to read the eschatological works of Hal Lindsey and others, one of the favorite themes was numerological analysis of Revelation, in which the EU figured prominently.

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

At the time the then EEC had six members, so an expansion to seven or ten (which seemed likely) would fulfil the prophecy and signal the impending arrival of the end times. The Whore of Babylon also fitted in, but I can’t remember how. The EU did have ten members between 1981 and 1986, and I remember speculating that Reagan might be the Antichrist – surviving an assassination attempt was supposed to be a crucial sign (Revelation 13:1-2). But the world did not end after all.

Now, thanks to the Economist, I discover that Lindsey was right, except for a reversal of alignment. Arsene Heitz, the designer of the EU Flag advises that it was inspired by Revelation 12:1

A great sign was seen in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

normally taken to refer to the Virgin Mary. I’d be fascinated to see an apocalyptic Protestant response to this revelation.

Captain Josh Rushing

by Ted on October 30, 2004

In the terrific documentary Control Room about the Al-Jazeera network, one of the most appealing figures was Marines spokesman Captain Josh Rushing. With the possible exception of Ken Pollack’s The Threatening Storm, I don’t think that I saw or read a more persuasive spokesman for the war in Iraq. He engaged often-critical Al Jazeera journalists in a fair-minded way, without giving up a point. He simultaneously radiated candor and a deeply-felt belief in the righteousness of the cause. My fiancee said that she wished she could hire him.

He’s recently left the Marines, and he’s given his first interview to Fresh Air today on NPR. You can listen to it online. I haven’t heard it yet, but I suspect that most people who saw Control Room would be interested in what he has to say.

UPDATE: That was really something. He’s deeply pro-military, but critical of the way the war has been conducted. If the election wasn’t days away, I suspect that he’d be in for the full-strength “slime and defend” treatment. More below.

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Ohio Vote Challenges: 10/29/04

by BillG on October 30, 2004

I will try to summarize the current state of play in the Ohio voter challenges. If an attorney will read this summary and post about any errors in the comments, he would be doing me and any readers a real service. Thanks to the great commenters on my last post for some of these pointers.

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