“Afghanistan on Tuesday said it has received reports of reclusive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar being killed, but they have not been confirmed. “As spokesperson of our security office announced, we received that kind of reports but they are not confirmed,” Afghanistan’s Minister for Information and Culture Sayeed Makhdoom Raheem on Tuesday said. The Afghan intelligence agency had on Monday said that Omar disappeared from a suspected hideout in Pakistan and has been out of contact with his commanders for days…..….”
The Taliban have denied that their leader, Mullah Omar is dead. I suspect that they are right. A death requires certain ceremonies and procedures that can’t be hidden except maybe in North Korea. If Mullah Omar is dead, and not in North Korea, we will know. But there is speculation about his fate, as there has been in past years, especially in late 2001. I suggest that Mullah Omar, if he is alive, end all this speculation at once by appearing on Oprah or The View. If these venues are considered unmanly chick shows (they are), then he can go on Piers Morgan to prove that he is alive. If he objects to Piers Morgan, then maybe he can do an SNL skit (Sarah Palin did). It would be sad if his death is confirmed on Bob Dylan’s birthday. Although I doubt that he ever was a fan.
Now if he had a Twitter account……
“Saudi Arabia is pursuing a combination of domestic and regional policies that risk destabilizing
the Persian Gulf and that risk undermining the United States interests there. Amid calls for political change, Saudi Arabia is failing to address pressing concerns about its political system and the need for political reform. Instead of responding favorably to calls for more political openness, the Kingdom is pursuing a risky domestic agenda, which ignores the social, economic, and political grievances that might fuel popular mobilization. Saudi Arabia’s military intervention into Bahrain has escalated sectarian tensions in the Gulf. The crackdown in Bahrain is not only provoking Iran and creating the conditions for a regional crisis, but it is also creating new opportunities for Iran to expand its sphere of influence. The United States has reasons to maintain a strong relationship with Saudi Arabia. It also has the leverage to encourage the Kingdom to refrain from escalating tensions in the Gulf and further inflaming sectarian anxieties………” USIP
It is true: the al-Saud brothers, like the al-Khalifa clan, have used sectarian divisions effectively. They have created a poisonous atmosphere of divisions on the Gulf unseen in modern times. In that task they have had help from their Salafi followers. That is how despots and absolute tribal Arab monarchs stay in power, by dividing the people: Sunni vs. Shi’a, Muslim vs. Christian (not many Jews left in the region). They have even managed to carry their sectarian poison to Lebanon where there are actually Salafis allied with their man Saad Hariri around Tripoli. They are still trying disruptions in Iraq.
They are also trapping the United States into an odd position: there are many people now in the Gulf region who believe that the U.S government is behind the divisive sectarian campaign of the al-Saud and al-Khalifa.