Sometimes different stories you’re following twine together in weird and unexpected ways. Today it’s news from MEMRI that former mujahideen commander, Islamic radical, and all-around-asshole Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is taking credit for inspiring Occupy Wall Street.
If you don’t remember Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, he first rose to prominence as commander of the Hezb-i islami faction of the mujahideen fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Fighting the Soviets was pretty much the last decent thing Hekmatyar ever did, and he wasn’t very good at it, especially compared to his chief rival, Ahmed Shah Massoud, commander of Jamiat-i Islami, who was one of the greatest guerrilla warfare commanders of the 20th century. If “Hezb-i islami” sounds an awful lot like “Hezbollah,” that’s because they’re both different branches of the same transnational affiliation of radical Shia Islamic fundamentalism. Hekmatyar the sort of guy who thought the Ayatollah Khomeini was too much of liberal softie. Hekmatyar spent almost as much time fighting Massoud as he did fighting the Soviets, and after the Soviets left he changed sides so many times in the various Afghan civil wars that followed (in the government, out of the government, with the Taliban, against the Taliban, etc.) that it’s hard to keep track. He was also one of Osama Bin Laden’s drinking buddies in the 1990s. Pretty much anytime he showed up was bad news for Afghanistan, and now he’s one of the head jerks fighting the Afghan government.
Now he’s taking credit for “inspiring” Occupy Wall Street. Yeah, right. I think you would be hard-pressed to find anyone at Occupy Wall Street that had even heard of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (or even any foreign political figure before Bush43 that isn’t featured on a t-shirt).