“Pakistan’s Osama bin Laden report is more cover-up than self-criticism” by Tariq Ali for the Guardian, 10th July 2013
After the US helicopter assault on Osama bin Laden’s quarters in Abbottabad and his assassination by navy Seals in 2011, a shaken Pakistani government set up a commission of inquiry, presided over by a retired judge, Javed Iqbal. Its findings, a part of which was leaked to al-Jazeera this week, reveal the country’s intelligence agencies at loggerheads and in a general state of confusion.
The evidence of General Pasha, the former chief of the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, is particularly interesting, with its account of Bin Laden’s travels in Pakistan following the war on Afghanistan, and explanation of how one of his aides used his Pakistani identity card to buy a plot of land not far from the Pakistan military …
The second installment the epic five volume series of historical novels, The Islam Quintet
A rich and teeming chronicle set in twelfth-century Cairo, Damascus and Jerusalem, The Book of Saladin is the fictional memoir of Saladin, the Kurdish liberator of Jerusalem, as dictated to a Jewish scribe, Ibn Yakub.
Saladin grants Ibn Yakub permission to talk to his wife and retainers so that he might portray a complete picture of him in his memoirs. A series of nterconnected stories follow, tales brimming over with warmth, earthy humour and passions in which ideals clash with realities and dreams are confounded by desires. At the heart of the novel is an affecting love affair between the Sultan’s favoured wife, Jamila, and the beautiful Halima, a later addition to the harem.
Naughty Lateef, a Pakistani housewife who sleeps with powerful men, is “masquerading as a wronged Muslim woman, describing her oppression in lavish detail” in a book of kiss-and-tell memoirs disguised as a denunciation of Muslim norms.
On a French TV show, she finds herself in opposition to a “hijab-clad Maghrebin Frenchwoman”. Unexpectedly Yusufa, who wears the hijab as a “gesture of defiance”, wins the round, moving her adversary when she recites a verse by the 15th-century Persian poet Jami which uses the veil as metaphor.
Dara, the narrator of this novel, has been asked by his artist-friend Plato to tell the latter’s story; but Dara insists he will tell a multi-vocal story and tell it as fiction. Plato serves mostly as …