Friday, December 28, 2007

Birth and death

If yesterday's murder of Benazir Bhutto does anything it reminds us what little cooperation and understanding we have with Islamic factions.

I recommend yesterday's New York Post opinion piece by Ralph Peters who provides some context to those of us who have only read the headlines about Bhutto. It's a two pager so don't overlook page two.

The one slim hope is that this savage murder will - in the long term - clarify their lot for Pakistan's citizens. The old ways, the old personalities and old parties have failed them catastrophically. The country needs new leaders - who don't think an election victory entitles them to grab what little remains of the national patrimony.
Al Qaeda has claimed credit for this most recent murder and so Rob Shearer's recent review of "The Seige of Mecca: The Forgotten Uprising in Islam’s Holiest Shrine and the Birth of Al Qaeda" by Yaroslav Trofimov will certainly help put some context to events which are not at all confined to 'the middle east'.
Trofimov has done an incredible service for all those who want to understand the times and the conflict between Islam and the West which has dominated history for the last thirty years. Penetrating the reticence and secrecy of the Saudi kingdom is a formidable task. That Trofimov was able to track down so many eyewitnesses of the events of 1979 and piece together their accounts is astonishing.

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