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Hangin out in TehranYaser Hamdi was captured in 2001 while he was in Afghanistan. Allegedly, he was fighting for the Taliban against the US and Northern Alliance. However, the truth has never been established. According to his parents he wasn’t part of the Taliban. But then why was he fighting against the US?

He wasn’t.

He was caught in a shootout against the Northern Alliance. The Northern Alliance is run by the same warlords that the people of Afghanistan tried to kick out before the Taliban took over. It’s no surprise that the people of Afghanistan who were already established in their villages would reject the Northern Alliance. It’s possible that Hamdi was just fighting along side them. At any rate, upon his capture, Hamdi was turned over to the US as a Taliban fighter; probably for a reward. No charges were brought against him until 2004, when the Supreme Court finally decided to hear his case. The Bush administration sought to detain Hamdi indefinitely, as an enemy combatant. Thus, even in the US, citizens may be denied rights as “enemy combatants.”

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Reuters reports that Iranian Prez Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is making his first official visit to longtime regional rival, and staunch American ally, Saudi Arabia.

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The implications of this seem to be minimal, both are important oil producing states, and both are regional powers. What is most interesting about this is Iran’s not so subtle attempt to play the role of the conciliatory hegemonic power. It’s no secret that the Sunni dominated Saudi government has serious suspicions about the Shia dominated Iran. A theocratic republic squaring off against an autocratic monarchy is enough to make any poli-sci student wet himself, but Iran’s very public attempts at acquiring nuclear technology make this visit weigh a bit more heavily on his majesty’s shoulders.