Bahktiyar Sadr-Aideen, a gunsmith in Irbil, Iraq, will probably be dead by the time you read these words. In a twenty-four hours period, I have read no fewer than three articles about Bahktiyar’s workshop in the Kurdish city in northern Iraq. It is a beehive of activity repairing small arms of every description for Peshmerga soldiers.
For those who have not been keeping up, Peshmerga are the good guys. They are Kurdish men and women who formed an irregular fighting force to oppose Saddam Hussain and laid down their weapons after his ouster. However, instead of beating their swords into plowshares, these cagey Kurdish freedom fighters did what any good patriot would do; they stashed their weapons away in anticipation of the next threat to their lives and freedom.
That threat turned out to be ISIS, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world. No…wait…that’s Cobra from GI Joe.
So would that make Jihadi John the Cobra Commander or Destro? For all I know, he might be farther down the organizational chart and simply be Major Bludd. Does ISIS even have an organizational chart? I can guarantee you they don’t have a retirement plan. No need.
Bahktiyar took over the gunsmithing business at age eleven when his father was arrested by Saddam Hussain’s forces and spent the next decade operating the shop while his father was in prison. As I like to point out to my teenagers at home: “So tell me again exactly what you have been doing lately?”
Short on spare parts, but long on ingenuity, Bahktiyar works like a rented mule to keep these tools of liberty and the men (and quite a few women) who carry them in the fight. The majority of his work seems to be on AR and AK platforms.
Christ, when was the last time you heard about an AK that wouldn’t run? Conditions must be rough.
However, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit to find SKSs and Mosin-Nagants coming through his doors since they use standard issue ammunition; 7.62×39 and 7.62x54R, respectively. Yes, boys and girls. A bolt action rifle cartridge created in 1891 Imperial Russia is still manufactured and issued by armies today for use in a medium machine-gun. Looking at photos of Bahktiyar’s shop, I see a PPSh-41 machine pistol, a P-14 (or maybe P-17; it’s the exact same rifle with an identical outline, but in a different caliber, so I can’t tell with certainty), and what looks suspiciously like an SMLE hiding in the corner. Not my first choice of a rifle to carry into a fight mostly due to the difficulty of finding .303 British ammo, but it’s arguably the best bolt action battle rifle ever fielded and it sure beats carrying a spear, if it’s the best you can get your hands on.
As the saying goes: “The best gun in the world is the one I have with me.”
Bahktiyar even goes so far as to make regular trips to the front lines to repair weapons too heavy to transport to his shop; crew-served weapons like the DShK, the Soviet-designed heavy machine-gun counterpart to the Browning M2. Like a doctor making house calls, Bahktiyar packs up his gunsmith gear and what paltry selection of spare parts he has available to visit the front lines of the Peshmerga fight against ISIS.
He visits some of the same battle lines that have devolved from hasty fortifications in a fluid combat situation to dug-in trenches such as found in the First World War, complete with nightly fanatical waves of ISIS coming over the top only to be beaten back and leave their dead where they fell. It’s the type of close in, nasty fighting where the Peshmerga defending their positions have to cook off grenades before dropping them lest the baseball-sized bundles of warm welcome roll past the attackers.
The two sides are so close that on one foggy occasion coalition forces refused to provide air support for inability to tell the good guys from the bad.
He makes these trench calls for free out of sense of patriotism and common cause with his fellow Kurds.
Bahktiyar is not the only gunsmith in Irbil, but he is considered the best. He is also the bravest and most likely to be dead at the hands of ISIS. Not because of the number of repairs he makes or the places he goes to in order to make them, but because he is known internationally. Now that the Associated Press and other news outlets have published his name, face, location, and other sensitive information, such as number of children, family historical data, and travel patterns, Bahktiyar is a dead man. It would not take more than the skills of a Process Server serving a small claims court summons to find this guy. The media have signed Bahktiyar’s death warrant.
It took exactly one photo on Twitter to seal the fate of Rehana, the female Kurdish fighter credited with killing over one hundred ISIS scumbags.
For those not familiar with the story, this Rehana was one bad-ass chick. I use the past tense because despite controversy over her whereabouts, wartime exploits, and whether she is alive, my guess is that she is pushing up daisies. People still report Elvis sightings, but that doesn’t mean he is among the living.
Alive or dead, none of this diminishes Rehana. It is as good a nom de guerre as any; young, hip, and kind of sexy. It certainly beats mine. Honestly, after looking at the photo, if I were single and she weren’t dead, we might make a combat power couple. Now, that my wife is angry at me, let me tell you a little about Rehana, the poster girl for the Kurdish Peshmerga.
In the tradition of the Russian women snipers of World War Two who defended Stalingrad against Nazi forces, she single-handedly created the need for some 7,200 virgins in the hereafter.
Where they get all these virgins is beyond me. I’ll bet all the pretty ones are gone by now.
Come to think about it, has anyone specified that these are female virgins? There have been enough martyrs over the years that I wonder if Allah hasn’t had to resort to passing out mixed lots of virgins. Sort of like buying from an unscrupulous chicken breeder who throws a couple of males into your order of chicks hoping you can’t tell the difference between a rooster and a hen until they grow up. Then again, from what I’ve seen of Mohammed worshipers, a little man-boy action is OK-fine with them.
The phrase “Man-Love Thursday” was not conjured out of thin air. It has basis in reality.
If I were one of the Saracen horde, I would have some serious reservations about the whole seventy-two virgins thing. Not because they might be ugly, male, or both (Hey, you don’t know how I party, so screw you for judging), but because of the bullshit involved. If celestial deflowering is anything like the earthly variety, you can keep my share of virgins.
I’ve been through that silliness a grand total of once and will never do it again. I don’t care how young, nubile, or enthusiastic she is, the headaches of initiating a novice is more than I am willing to deal with. That amount of trouble is best left to those with more patience and ambition that I have.
Forget the seventy-two virgins. I was seventy-two sluts!
I don’t normally care to go to war with women for a variety of reason. However, I am known to have made one exception in the past for a woman so damn good at her job (and keeping my fat ass alive in the process) that I put aside my misogynistic prejudices and biases. From what I’ve seen of Rehana, she was the real deal and would have been the second exception.
Someone disseminated a photo of Rehana via Twitter which was re-tweeted around 5,000 times. Apparently, ISIS has a robust social media presence (I wonder if they are on Tsu, yet) because this chick became famous real fast for the wrong reasons. If you thought drunkenly posting that photo of you partying it up in Cabo San Lucas was a career killer, you’ve got nothing on Rehana.
Reportedly, she was captured during fighting in the Kobani area and recognized among some female prisoners. Whether the entire group of prisoners was beheaded or she was singled out and the rest shot or if they sent some of the more compliant ones to the slave market is a complete mystery to me. What we know with certainty happened is ISIS put out a photo of some goofy asshole looking entirely too excited while holding Rehana’s head at shoulder height with the rest of her body on the ground about five feet below.
I’m no expert, but much past eighteen inches, I’m pretty sure the chances of successfully reattaching a head to its shoulders are somewhere in the vicinity of zero. Any medical folks care to chime in on that to set me straight?
In addition to later media claims that reports of Rehana’s death were greatly exaggerated, the immediate response from the Association of Amateur Imagery Analysts of the Internet was a cry of photo doctoring. Let me tell you why the photo was genuine. ISIS has no need to use Photoshop. They cut people’s heads off for a living. These animals aren’t sitting around the fire at night, while the harem dances saying, “I’ve got great idea. Amir knows how to use the Photoshop. He can make photo for propaganda to look like we cut bitch’s head off. Then everyone think we so crazy.”
We know every single member of ISIS is bat-shit crazy. There is no need for them to make things up. The rest of the world gets it. ISIS is so whacked out that Al-Queda and the Taliban both said, “Hold on, fellas. Tap the brakes. We’re not so sure we can hang with y’all.” Or whatever idioms those dirt worshipers use to distance themselves from a group even crazier than they are.
Short of some independently verifiable proof of life for Rehana (a video of her holding a newspaper or talking about some event that occurred after her reported death would be excellent), my money is on her having shuffled off this mortal coil and joined the invisible choir. And it’s quite a shame, really. The world needs more people like her. Plus, she was young, attractive, reportedly college educated, a stone killer, and probably didn’t speak a lick of English. I can promise you there would be a line of men a mile long just to have the privilege of helping her take her boots off.
I was going to say, “…privilege of cleaning her rifle,” but it sounded kind of dirty when I read it out loud. Besides, who in the world actually cleans an AK?
If a single photo has the ability to being the chain of events that ultimately turned Rehana into a human Pez dispenser, exactly how much hope should we hold out for Bahktiyar Sadr-Aideen surviving the war, much less seeing the next full moon? Congratulations to all the people who contributed to this inspiring human interest story and the media outlets that disseminated it; you just killed a man and his entire family for no better reason than you care more about your deadline than human lives.
There’s a fucking reason you don’t take fucking pictures in a fucking warzone and post them on fucking social media. Can I make my point any more clear?
I have to give President Obama the tiniest bit of credit for describing ISIS as “Junior Varsity.” Compared to the Mexican drug cartels, ISIS are a bunch of amateurs who show precious little creativity. This giving a monologue over a kneeling victim before sawing his head off with a dull knife is getting pretty stale. Where are the chainsaw decapitations? Where are the deaths by wood-chipper? What about skinning someone alive or disarticulating them with a pair of lineman pliers and a double-bit ax?
They really should study up on what the Mexicans do to each other. It’s gruesome stuff, but you can tell they take pride in their work by the amount of thought and effort they put into it.
Quite honestly, I’ve seen enough death. If you haven’t, I’m sure you can find vicious brutality and gore to your heart’s content on the Google machine. Give me a call when it’s time to go back in to solve this problem for good, and I’ll show up ready to dance. Until then, I would like to introduce you to someone special.
Please meet Eve. She had her first litter a couple of days ago. I’m very happy and proud to have been a part of creating life. Of the ten kits she carried, six survived. Speaking with other folks who raise rabbits, first pregnancies have relatively low survival rates, but they usually improve. The fact that she delivered ten makes me hopeful for many large litters in the future for my family to consume. Good job, Eve.
As the Jews say when giving a toast, “L’chaim!”