Thursday, February 15, 2007

The actual military plan also involves magic

The website of multinational forces Iraq, giving an example of the civil administration work being performed in al-Anbar --

"Can you fix the damage that was done to my house when Marines were fighting ali-baba (what locals call insurgents)?"

It's not explained why the locals use this term, but it could be a mordant joke giving the trajectory of the fictional Ali Baba and his enemies, or indeed that of the actual historical figure on which the tale is based --

Sudanese saga of king Ali Baba of the Bija tribe ... The king refused to pay the taxes to Al-Mutawakkil, the tenth Abbassi caliph in Baghdad. The rebel king sealed all gold mines in the mountains and stopped central officials from going to the whole Red Sea area. Baghdad did send its army in to keep its power upon the vital gold market in the Islamic world ... and within five years it managed to crush the rebellion. Ali Baba, taken to Baghdad, carried all the gold hidden by his men to the caliph. A public display of the great treasure and the defeated king was shown in all important cities in the road to the capital Samarra creating the legend of the caves and the legend of the thieves. In the end, Ali Baba was granted amnesty in Samarra and upon his return he gave gold to the needy in all major towns in the road as a good gesture to the muslims whom he fought.

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