In 701 B.C. the Assyrian empire was in its ascendancy. It had already vanquished the kingdom of Israel to the north including the capital at Samaria. It then prepared an assault on Judah and its capital at Jerusalem.
But in one of those significant events that changes the course of world history, Assyria was repelled. Jerusalem was saved until 586 B.C. when the Babylonians sacked the city, forcing its leadership class into exile.
Henry Aubin, in a major feat of scholarship, determines that Jerusalem was aided by a Kushite army from Africa which had marched northeast from the Nile valley. While the Bible attributes the Assyrian retreat to an angel and secular commentators cite pestilence, Aubin, in a meticulously documented work, demonstrates that an alliance with the African nation of Kush bolstered Jerusalem’s defences.
Kush, also known as Nubia, was located in what is now southern Egypt and northern Sudan. A monarchy that existed for more than 1000 years, from 900 B.C. to A.D. 350, Kushites held sway over Egypt from 712 B.C. to about 660 B.C. Of Egypt’s 31 dynasties, this, the 25th Dynasty, is the only one that all scholars agree, was black.
The commander of the Kushite expeditionary force was Taharqa (or as the Bible calls him Tirhakah). This Kushite prince, who had his own interests in halting Assyrian expansion, likely caught the aggressors by surprise as they prepared their siege of Jerusalem.
Aubin offers a thrilling military history and a stirring political analysis of the ancient world. He also sees the event as influential over the centuries.
The Kushite rescue of the Hebrew kingdom of Judah enabled the fragile, war-ravaged state to endure, to nurse itself back to economic and demographic health, and allowed the Hebrew religion, Yahwism, to evolve within the next several centuries into Judaism. Thus emerged the monotheistic trunk supporting Christianity and Islam.
Tod Hoffman, author of four books, was an officer with The Canadian Security Intelligence Service for eight years. His most recent book is The Spy Within: Larry Chin and China’s Penetration of the CIA. He lives in Montreal.
Praise for Al Qaeda Declares War:
“Hoffman, a former Canadian intelligence officer, presents a successful, suggestive, and significantly overlooked operation in the U.S. war on terrorism.”
University Press of New England 2014
Al Qaeda Declares War
The African Embassy Bombings and America’s Search for Justice
Three years before the events of 9/11, Osama bin Laden sent al Qaeda suicide bombers to destroy the US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. That dark day, August 7, 1998, more than 200 people were killed and thousands were wounded.
Responding immediately, the FBI launched the largest international investigation in its history. Within months suspects were arrested in six countries. The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York indicted 22 individuals, including the elusive bin Laden. In February 2000, a landmark trial of four of the accused was held in Manhattan in the shadow of the World Trade Center.
Tod Hoffman masterfully recounts the organization behind the 1998 terrorist operation and the horrible carnage it caused. He also reveals the dogged efforts of investigators to gather evidence and elicit statements from suspects by tried and true procedures. The trial makes for a gripping courtroom drama where the robust principles of American justice confront the fanaticism of true believers.
This process is a marked contrast to the illegal detention, torture and abrogation of rights that followed 9/11. Moreover, it is this case that established the legal basis for hunting down bin Laden.
Reverberations from the African embassy bombings continue, with the on-going hunt for perpetrators still at large, targeted killings by drones, and the extradition of two additional suspects from Britain in 2012, who are expected to come to trial in 2013.