Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Emerging Sunni Shia War

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Egypt Villagers "Proud" of Killing Shiites - Haitham El-Tabei  

Residents of the Egyptian village of Abu Mussalem outside Cairo said they were "proud" of the mob lynching of four Shiite Muslims, after weeks of anti-Shiite rhetoric in the media.

Witnesses and security officials said that hundreds of residents surrounded the house of a Shiite resident after learning that a leading Shiite cleric was inside.

The mob threw firebombs at the house, hoping to set it ablaze, while chanting "Shiites are infidels." Then they stormed the house, dragged the four Shiites out and beat them to death.

"We're happy about what happened. It should have happened long ago," said teacher Mohamed Ismail, to the approving nods of residents.         


Escalating Anti-Shi'ite Rhetoric from Sunni Clerics
  • The Sunni-Shi'ite schism is emerging as one of the most influential factors shaping the Middle East. A major force driving the schism is the escalating anti-Shi'ite rhetoric from Sunni clerics who belong to different schools of thought.
  • Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, considered by many the current spiritual leader of the Sunni world, said that Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi clerics were right to consider Shi'ites as infidels, and adopted their terminology when talking about the Shi'a ("Hizbullah is the Party of Satan").
  • The meaning of this escalation is that, ideologically speaking, the fight against the Shi'a (and its representatives, Iran and Hizbullah) takes precedence over the fight against the West and Israel.
(Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)

America sidelined, barely relevant -Charles Krauthammer

The war in Syria, started by locals, is now a regional conflict, the meeting ground of two warring blocs. On one side, the radical Shiite bloc led by Iran, which overflies Iraq to supply Bashar al-Assad and sends Hezbollah to fight for him. Behind them lies Russia, which has stationed ships offshore, provided the regime with tons of weaponry and essentially claimed Syria as a Russian protectorate.
And on the other side are the Sunni Gulf states terrified of Iranian hegemony (territorial and soon nuclear); non-Arab Turkey, now convulsed by an internal uprising; and fragile Jordan, dragged in by geography.

And behind them? No one. It’s the Spanish Civil War except that only one side — the fascists — showed up. The natural ally of what began as a spontaneous, secular, liberationist uprising in Syria was the United States. For two years, it did nothing.

President Obama’s dodge was his chemical-weapons “red line.” In a conflict requiring serious statecraft, Obama chose to practice forensics instead, earnestly agonizing over whether reported poison gas attacks reached the evidentiary standards of “CSI: Miami.”

Obama talked “chain of custody,” while Iran and Russia, hardly believing their luck, reached for regional dominance — the ayatollahs solidifying their “Shiite crescent,” Vladimir Putin seizing the opportunity to dislodge America as regional hegemon, a position the United States achieved four decades ago under Henry Kissinger.

And when finally forced to admit that his red line had been crossed — a “game changer,” Obama had gravely warned — what did he do? Promise the rebels small arms and ammunition.

That’s it? It’s meaningless: The rebels are already receiving small arms from the Gulf states.

Serious policymaking would dictate that we either do something that will alter the course of the war, or do nothing. Instead, Obama has chosen to do just enough to give the appearance of having done something.
[Washington Post]

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