[Rushtalk] The Muslim Civil War: Sunni extremist against Shiite extremist Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan

Carl Spitzer Winblows at lavabit.com
Wed Jun 26 07:12:34 MDT 2013


 
 
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/55862
 

The Muslim Civil War: Sunni extremist against Shiite extremist Syria,
Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan

Muslims Killing Muslims



Author
By Alan Caruba (Bio and
Archives)  Wednesday, June 12, 2013 
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Don’t feel bad if you can’t tell a Sunni Muslim from a Shiite Muslim. It
has been a source of confusion for many people outside the world of
Islam. If Bret Stephens, a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for The Wall
Street Journal is right, we are witnessing “The Muslim Civil War.”


Here’s a quick lesson regarding the two sects within Islam. Suffice to
say that the Sunnis are the vast majority throughout the Middle East and
in nations where Islam is the predominant religion. The greatest
concentration of Shiites is found in Iran and Iraq. Both Hezbollah and
Hamas, Palestinians, are pledged to destroy Israel, are Shiite.

Islam was invented by Mohammed in the seventh century, an amalgam of
pagan beliefs common to Arab tribes in Arabia and a light overlay of
Judaism with practices such as the prohibition against eating the meat
of pigs. In its earliest years, Mohammed instructed converts to face
toward Jerusalem when praying. After Jewish tribes in Arabia refused to
accept him as the new prophet of God, he slaughtered them and Mecca
became the center of Islam. He had some knowledge of Christianity but
disparaged it and, in time, embraced a hatred for all
“infidels” (unbelievers) unless they too converted.


Mohammed’s death in 632 A.D. led to what could be called a family fight
because a branch of the family, his direct heirs—now known as Sunnis—
became the first four caliphs, taking over the leadership of Islam and
ruling continuously in the Arab world until the breakup of the Ottoman
Empire at the end of World War I. The Sunnis saw this as a devastating
loss. The Sunnis comprised an estimated ninety percent of all Muslims at
the time and remain the majority.

The conflict within Islam began when those called Shiites, the heirs of
the fourth caliph, Ali, began to insist that only his branch of the
family were legitimate. Without getting too deep in the weeds, when a
mythical “Twelfth Imam” disappeared in 931 A.D., Shiites located largely
in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, insisted that they had been deprived of a
divinely inspired leader. Not until Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini led the
movement to overthrow the Shah of Iran did the Shiites believe that a
legitimate religious figure had emerged.



Schism between Sunni and Shiite

To give you an idea how deeply ingrained the schism between Sunni and
Shiite is, Stephens began his commentary noting that “Yusuf al-Qaradawi,
the prominent Sunni cleric, said Friday that Hezbollah and Iran are
‘more infidel than Jews and Christians.’” Suffice to say that, among the
faithful, it’s a toss-up whether they hate each other more than they
hate infidels.

“That a sectarian war in Syria would stir similar religious furies in
Iraq and Lebanon was obvious more than a year ago, despite wishful
administration thinking that staying out of Syria would contain the war
to Syria alone,” said Stephens. “What should be obvious today is that we
are at the down of a much wider Shiite-Sunni war, the one that nearly
materialized in Iraq in 2006, but didn’t because the U.S. was there,
militarily and diplomatically, to stop it.

One example is the decision by members of the Gulf Cooperation Council
in Jeddah to punish Hezbollah for its “flagrant intervention in Syrian”
against “freedom fighters.” In Kuwait some 2,000 Lebanese Shiite
residents will be deported. It is expected that all six of the Sunni
nations will follow suit. Hezbollah is an Iranian proxy organization.
Iran is a Shiite nation.

Americans, sick of the wars we fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, are
likely content to let Muslims kill Muslims and doubtless want to stay
out of the Syrian conflict. The problem is that what are often called
“extremist” Muslims have exported their internal conflicts.

Osama bin Laden was a Sunni and he declared war on the U.S. in 1986. By
2001 it arrived dramatically in the form of 9/11 and most recently in
Boston. Throughout Europe comparable acts of terrorism have been
occurring for decades. The realization is slowly sinking in that we
cannot sit on the sidelines and watch Muslims kill each other because
their internal wars have become our domestic threats. They are shaping
global power games. Where to intervene is the problem at a time when the
West is mired in its own financial woes.

Writing of the U.S. reluctance to get sucked into the Syrian civil war,
Stephens warned that Americans may feel that, “if Vladimir Putin or
Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei want to play in the Syrian dung heap they’re
welcome to it. But these guys aren’t dupes getting fleeced at a
Damascene carpet shop. They are geopolitical entrepreneurs who sense an
opportunity in the wake of America’s retreat.”



Syria is a humanitarian nightmare thanks to the slaughter of innocents

Syria is a humanitarian nightmare thanks to the slaughter of innocents
and the more than a million who have fled for refuge in Turkey and
Jordan. In Turkey, a nation with a proud secular tradition, one foot in
the Middle East and one in Europe, the efforts of its current government
to impose Sharia law have tens of thousands protesting in the streets
opposing an elected but increasingly authoritarian regime.

Daniel Pipes, the president of the Middle East Forum, took some issue
with Stephens saying, “The civil war in Syria has also benefited the
West until now: It set Sunni extremist against Shiite extremist,
weakened the governments of Iran and Syria, harmed the Hezbollah and
Hamas terror organizations, caused the malign AKP government of Turkey
to stumble badly for the first time in its ten-year reign, and created
troubles for Moscow in the Middle East.”

“More broadly, a region that constantly threatens the outside world has
become so focused on its own travails that its capacity to make trouble
for others for others is reduced,” says Pipes.

There is much to be said for Pipes’ point of view. And for Stephens’ as
well. 

>From where I sit, the conflicts in the Middle East are likely to be
around for a very long time to come. Islam is a failed religion 
 
[ www.thereligionofpeace.com  ] despite being the faith of more than a
billion people. In the way Christianity split between East and West, and
then experienced the Reformation, Islam is experiencing significant
internal deterioration and external resistance.
Islam veers between arrogant spiritual certitude and the constant
evidence of its failure to produce democratic governments with healthy
economies, let along societies in which justice and personal security
exists. We may well be witnessing the beginning of its demise, but none
of us will be around when that finally comes to pass.

© Alan Caruba, 2013


Comments 
 


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