Osama Bin Laden

Israel, Saudi Arabia and claim that once land is Muslim, that land is always Muslim

Israel, Saudi Arabia and claim that once land is Muslim, that land is always Muslim

The Jewish state of Israel and the Sunni Islamic kingdom of Saudi Arabia have a complicated relationship. Official diplomatic relations between the two are non-existent. Yet unofficial contacts not only exist but appear to be thriving

Why? Because for all the bad blood between them, both consider Shiite Iran the greater threat. It's one of those enemy-of-my-enemy hookups.

Israel would love the relationship to play out officially and in public as a grand sign to the world of its desired acceptance as a sovereign Jewish nation in the heart of the Muslim Middle East.

The Saudi monarchy has a more complex agenda, however.

Whatever it's political goals, the Saudi royals also must mollify their nation's ultra-traditional religious establishment, the staunch support of which has allowed the descendants of King Abdulaziz Al Saud to rule over the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula since the nation's founding in 1932.

Saudi Arabia is the cradle of Islam, containing the holy cities of Mecca and Medina and the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad. Because of the kingdom's centrality to Islam, religious backing is critical to the ruling family's continued reign.

Problem is, those religious leaders show little willingness to compromise their rigid Wahhabi Muslim theology for the sake of earthly political considerations.

Here's an example of how the game is played.

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The Osama raid was a kill job from the start; Saudis were asked about Islamic burial?

The Osama raid was a kill job from the start; Saudis were asked about Islamic burial?

Yes, the article was adapted from a soon-to-be-released book, in this case that would be “Power Wars: Inside Obama’s Post-9/11 Presidency,” by Charlie Savage. 

Nevertheless, the New York Times exclusive that run under this headline -- "How 4 Federal Lawyers Paved the Way to Kill Osama bin Laden" -- was a major coup, creating lots of sizzle in Beltway land.

The content of this news feature raises all kinds of ethical and moral questions, in part because of the revelation that the operation was, basically, a kill job from the get go.

Normally, that wouldn't put this in GetReligion territory. However near the end there is one rather interesting passage that raises all kinds of religious questions, while including a major slap-your-face revelation that I sure has heckfire had not heard before. Hold that thought. Here's the buzz-worthy lede:

WASHINGTON -- Weeks before President Obama ordered the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in May 2011, four administration lawyers developed rationales intended to overcome any legal obstacles -- and made it all but inevitable that Navy SEALs would kill the fugitive Qaeda leader, not capture him.

A few lines later, there is this Times summary of the goods it has landed:

While the Bin Laden operation has been much scrutinized, the story of how a tiny team of government lawyers helped shape and justify Mr. Obama’s high-stakes decision has not been previously told. The group worked as military and intelligence officials conducted a parallel effort to explore options and prepare members of SEAL Team 6 for the possible mission.
The legal analysis offered the administration wide flexibility to send ground forces onto Pakistani soil without the country’s consent, to explicitly authorize a lethal mission, to delay telling Congress until afterward, and to bury a wartime enemy at sea. 

What jumped out at me was the "bury a wartime enemy at sea" reference.

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