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January 24, 2007



Um, haven't we seen this before?. I'll wait.


Of course we have - Abu Roman doesn't claim to have any secret info, either. The value of his piece is the analysis of what will happen when OBL *is* gone, and the internal dynamics within AQ around it.


For some reason it's encoded backwards in my browser (the page title reads 'daghla [ta marbuta]diraj'), so I'll have to take your word for it. At a purely speculative level it seems like there could be a lot of reasons for Bin Laden's absence other than death, including deliberate strategy intended to increase his mysteriousness, and a falling out between him and Zawahiri.

Rebranding from "leader" to "institution" is always something charismatic movements have to deal with, isn't it? Putting this question in a comparative historical framework might be helpful. Shi'a iconography of ghayba would be perfect, but somehow one doesn't suspect Zawahiri will go that route. As for Nazim Hikmet's latter day murids of Sheikh Bedreddin (aka Lenin?), "His words, his gaze, his breath" are slated for resurrection, not his bones, beard and mustache.


I have a notion about this (albeit of most sacriligious variety): we killed some fella named Issa Mariam some 2000 years ago; yet his followers say that he still lives, and he has gained many millions more over the centuries following that believe the story. Absent the evidence that he really did die and is still dead, there's nothing to disprove their belief.

If, indeed, bin Laden is dead, that's really bad news. Since no evidence will ever be produced that will show beyond doubt that he really is dead, he can never die and he will live forever, if he really is dead now and we don't have his body. If he really is dead, he could easily become as dangerous a fella to the Western civilization as this old Issa character.

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