Sunnis vs Shi’ites–from Caliphs until now

By Avi Lipkin/Victor Mordecai

As the debate rages today regarding a strategic American (intervention) in Syria’s civil war, and particularly neutralizing Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities in killing its own people, one wonders what really may lie behind Obama’s strategy.   In order to understand, one must go back 1,400 years to the original rift that took place in Islam, between the followers of the first three Caliphs: Abu Bakr, Othman and Omar and the fourth Caliph Ali ibn Abu Talib, the first cousin of Mohammed.   Islam was a world-conquering system accumulating gold, silver, slaves, spices and most important of all territories and power.  When the followers of Ali, the fourth caliph started killing off the followers of the first three caliphs, a blood-letting began which continues on to this very day. The followers of Ali, today known as the Shi’ites represent about 15% of Islam today. The followers of the first three caliphs are about 85% of Islam today.  And the war continues to this very day.  It’s all about control of the turf. It has nothing to do with religion though the Shi’ites have turned their martydoms of the last 1400 into a religion all unto itself.  But in the eyes of the Sunnis, lead by Saudi Arabia, these Shi’ites are infidels, heretics and traitors while the Shi’ites for their part look at the Sunnis as infidels, heretics and traitors worthy of death.   Though the Shi’ites are “only” 15% they are concentrated in the oil rich areas of the Persian Gulf as well as Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.   Without oversimplifying, the U.S. and the West support the Saudis and Sunnis while the Russians and Chinese support the Shi’ites.    America’s (or Obama’s) ambition are to stop the use of chemical weapons, especially, Sarin, VX and mustard gases by the Syrian government against innocent civilians.   But under the surface their are other US considerations: Ensuring steady oil supplies and prices, and world economic stability, terminate the Iranian nuclear project, and finally tip the scales in favor of a final and crushing Saudi/Sunni victory over Iranian/Shi’ite Islam after 1,400 years.

In 2003, the US invaded Iraq and, in my opinion, settled scores by overthrewing Saddam Hussein who was later executed by Shi’ite hangmen. During the hanging, his executioners last words were: “Blessed are those who bless the family of the Prophet (Mohammed), and cursed are those who curse the family of the prophet.” Saddam Hussein killed Shiites and Kurds and even his own Sunni Arabs but during the Iraq-Iran War 1980-88 was considered an ally of the US and Saudi Arabia.  But with the invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 became the “enemy” and was deposed and executed.

Egypt, under President Mubarak, participated in Desert Storm at the head of the Arab forces allied with the US.  But after the death of Saddam, Mubarak came to the following conclusion: These Americans are crazy! They destroy their best friend, the Shah of Iran and turn their ally #1 into enemy #1.

Then the Americans take their next ally, Saddam Hussein, who fought a bitter 9-year war with Iran “defending the West” and handed him over to his Shi’ite executioners and converted Iraq into a second fanatic Shi’ite state after Iran, to the exclusion of the Sunnis and the Kurds.

The Arab (Sunni) mind then thinks: “The Americans don’t know what they are doing.” They turn their allies into enemies and at the cost of thousands of their own soldiers!”

Now that the American troops have left Iraq, we see an Iranian backed Shi’ite government in Iraq excluding the Kurds and Sunnis (Saddam was a Sunni) with the Saudis backing Al-Qaeda terrorists blowing up the Shi’ites in Iraq while Iran backs the Shi’ite terrorists blowing up the Sunnis in Iraq.

Now, with the civil war in Syria, we see not only Iraqi Shi’ites of Iraq killing Iraqi Sunnis and vice versa, we see Iraqi Shi’ite volunteers flocking to Syria to kill Syrian Sunnis and other minority groups while Iraqi Sunnis are flocking to Syria to kill the Alawites, Hizbollah, and other minorities.  And this civil war can now be seen in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

This is truly a regional collection of Sunni-Shi’ite wars maybe the culmination of 1400 years of never ending war and killing.

We can also look at Turkey and Iran for more developments.  Turkey’s population is primarily Sunni, but 31% of the population is Alawite (Shi’ite) and about a quarter of the population is Kurdish, so this war between rival ethnic and religious groups could spread there too.

In Iran, 50% is Persian, the remainder is made of different ethnic and religious minorities, such as Kurds, Azeris, Arabs, Baluchis, Zoroastrians, etc.  So Iran is also in danger down the road of insurrection of these different groups.

Souces in the Turkish government have been blaming the Iranians for inciting the Alawites against the regime at Taksim Square.

And while the US State Department, the UN, and Europe condemn Israel, for whatever reason, God constantly “reshuffles the deck” amongst our ever-suffering neighbors.

Definitely interesting times we are living in! Recommended reading II Chronicles Chapter XX.

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