In what is, to me, one of the more improbably awesome developments of internet technology, a Taliban Historiographer has been exchanging e-mails publicly with a Counter-terrorist expert. The whole thing is just fascinating. And the historiographer has a sense of humor.
In any case her focus on academic research will give us a bit of comfort and space so we can work safely in the field (terrorism). Therefore I thought it would be a good to distract her with these dialogues so the rest of the gang can do the work.
The whole thing is just fascinating...only the first letter from Abu Walid al Masri is up, but it's long and worth a read...more will be coming, I'm sure (there are three other ones to read if you want to test your Arabic).
So to recap, one of the best minds on The Other Side, an Arab who came to Afghanistan in the '70s to fight the Soviets and has hung out ever since to aid in issueing fatwas or otherwise doing what he can to create Islamis rule in Afghanistan is corresponding with Leah Farrall, an Australian CT expert who is writing a Ph.D. thesis when she's not living a Tom Clancy dream.
I have to say...A-Yo Technology! Neither of these people could possibly ever dream of contacting each other through traditional, diplomatic or otherwise official, means. But if you have a blog, you have a mailbox. It's a pretty phoenomenal development, two people who are the finest in their diametrically opposed fields having a civil discussion.
al Masri's post is worth a read, just to see what The Other Side has to say about us. I mean, yeah, it has your standard Holocaust denials and 9/11 conspiracy theories. That's part and parcel of the message. But there were a few things I thought were particularly fascinating.
- The use of "beauty" is definitely eye-catching, used for both Farrall and Lynndie England. That's the sort of thing that'll grab eyes, and I'm honestly not sure what to make of it...I'm assuming it's just a weird translation, but I'm open to suggestions.
- Greater Khorasan? Really? I haven't heard that term in forever. I'm assuming it alludes to a goal of moving out from Afghanistan in the future. I'm sure he has some opinions on Balochistan Azadi and lots of other stuff. Something to keep an eye out for.
- al Masri doesn't care about my opinion, quite obviously. He' very clear that he's trying to win over the Arab media, and that he won't get too worked up over the American media. That's probably a wise move on his part, but it's interesting to see how upset he is at Arabic media purportedly just translating "Western" news. His goal is to win over the Arabs (maybe Iranians, too, but I kinda doubt it). Maybe some Indonesians and Malays too, I don't know. But it definitely represents an actual strategy: win over the Arabs to start a bigger insurrection. Get Iraq back into hellhole status, hope that the Saudis don't outlast their oil, all of those sorts of things. The response has to be a lot more than al-Arabiya and military, right?