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June 16, 2013


Barry Freed

It is actually the liver that would be the most emotive organ* as it recalls a famous incident during the Battle of Uhud. This was one of the early important battles between the polytheist Meccans and the nascent Muslim community led by Muhammad after going into exile in Medina. During the battle Hamza ibn 'Abd al-Muttalib, who was Muhammad's uncle though very close to him in age, one of the first converts to Islam, one of his closest advisors and a renowned warrior, was killed and Hind bint 'Utbah, the wife of Abu Sufyan who was commanding the Meccans, ate his liver.

She was probably bare-breasted at the time as well as this was a thing that Hijazi women famously did when they accompanied the men to cheer them on the battlefield. So the bare-breasted wife of the general of the Meccan idol worshipers tore out the liver from the freshly slain corpse of the Prophet's uncle and ate it on the battlefield. Veins in her teeth and everything. That's quite an image. As far as I know any Muslim Arab primary school child should be familiar with this story and I've been surprised that it hasn't been mentioned in any of the reports I've seen about it.

Eventually Hind converted along with the rest of the defeated Meccans (and in what seems all too familiar a pattern) was the mother of Muawiyah who became the 5th Caliph and is considered by Shiites to be an usurper as they believe the line of succession should have gone through Muhammad's bloodline via Ali, the fourth Caliph. Incidentally, it was Muawiyah's son and successor Yazid who was responsible for the death/martyrdom of Ali's son Hussein at the Battle of Karbala. This is the holiday commemorated by all that colorful self-flagellation.

Now this is probably reading too much into that incident but given these associations one possible interpretation is that this was a taunt directed at Shiites who knew just what was being implied. Or maybe he was just feeling peckish.

*There is also the association of the liver (root K-B-D) with the seat of the emotions and the will in Semitic languages which is still there in Arabic though I don't know how strong the association is in contemporary Syrian Arabic.

BTW, As much as I despise him I'm loving this Putin story and really hoping it's true. It's just so very mobster.


Opposing intervention predictably translates in some people's minds as pro-Assad and by extension pro-Putin. Not being gung-ho about the idea of hardline Wahhabists being the go-to guys for freedom and democracy would seem fairly reasonable, particularly when their agenda is more about sectarianism than what's good for the Syrian people. Also the odds that arms provided may be used to do nasty things would seem to come with a high level of probability.

The idea that the Americans can arm the 'good guys' to the exclusion of others is sheer bollocks. Al-Nusra Front carries more weight in the field. It's hard to imagine the "good guys" in the Free Syrian Army saying no to sharing.

Chris Williams

I've just remembered the role of 'jarking' in the UK v pIRA spat.


Either the comment above was mistakenly attached to the wrong thread, or the stuff going on in South Armagh was a lot more Lovecraftian than I hitherto thought. "We seek to win their hearts and minds. Let us begin with their hearts!" (nomnomnom)

Chris Williams

Sorry, that sentence belonged to a longer paragraph which I couldn't be bothered to write.

Idiot Prime Minister: "Arming the less-bad baddies would look good, but what if the weapons fall into the hands of the perhaps even worse baddies?"

Advisor on commission: "Don't worry sir, nowadays with our new technologies we can track all the weapons, so that if they fall into the wrong plans, they even become useful aiming points for us."

IPM "Jolly good."


Ah ha. Makes sense.

Though one must admit that, of all the things that went wrong with the Afghanistan effort, the one that didn't was the whole "terrorists get hold of US-supplied Stinger missiles and use them to shoot down airliners" thing.

dick gregory

Is there any evidence that a single weapon has yet been diverted from Syria to fight jihad in Afghanistan, or anywhere else?
I understand that the guy whose organ was munched had been raping and killing children, and the vast majority of the opposition has condemned his actions. But horror stories about the rebels are much more fun to tell.


Is there any evidence that a single weapon has yet been diverted from Syria to fight jihad in Afghanistan, or anywhere else?

Why would they need them? Coals to Newcastle, I'd have thought.


I understand that the guy whose organ was munched had been raping and killing children

If I ever get caught with someone else's viscera dripping off my chin, you can bet that I too will have a story about why my supper had been a really bad guy who basically had it coming.


dick: There's evidence weapons that were first given to FSA types have subsequently ended up in the hands of the al-Nusra front, on the Brown Moses blog.

Chris Williams

on the _immensely good_ Brown Moses blog.

(Although note that BM has shited his Hackgate posts, which are clearly conduits for someone either has insider knowledge or has done their homework, to a differeny location from the RPG-spotting.)


RE: Brown Moses, I remember his posts on the topic at SomethingAwful's current events forum were very comprehensive even before he started the blog, which would have been a very obscure choice to start leaking to.

Granted, he's a good target now, I'm not sure if the shift in the sort of info he posts is cos of leaks or growing expertise


The first of those threads, if you can get past the awful ads they show to guests http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3425129&userid=27232


Er, sorry for the odd posts, I hadn't caught up with BMs hackgate posts in a while and didn't realise he officially had a "mysterious regular contributor".

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