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28 April 2017

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William R. Cumming

A highly interesting post. Fundamentally correct that the Sunni/Shia split now if not before in MENA drives the politics of that region. I would like to believe SECULARISM a third force but that is dreaming.

The President's campaign guess that MENA a no-man's land for Christian armies probably correct. So choose up?

turcopolier

AC

I think you are correct in maintaining that Sunni claims of an eternal and long standing right to dominance in northern Arabia is a serious case of factional self-delusion. Until the high medieval period (11th Century CE?), various forms of Shiism, their derivatives as well as Christians and Jews were dominant until the arrival of; the Seljuks, the Ayyubids, the Mamelukes and then the Ottomans. To subscribe to the triumphalist claims of the Sunnis at this late date is foolish and is probably related to the Saudism of Sir John Philby. pl

Babak Makkinejad

AC:

Salah al Din, a Kurd, who liberated Jerusalem from the Crusaders, expelled all the Shia (Fatimid) Doctors of Religion from the Al Azhar - itself named after "Al Zahra", the daughter of the Prophet by Khadijah.

His son, at the behest of Sunni Doctors, executed one of the greatest philosophers of Islam - Shahab al-Din Yahya ibn Habash Suhrawardi(please see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shahab_al-Din_Yahya_ibn_Habash_Suhrawardi) - in Aleppo. His philosophical school continued among the Shia, all the way to Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers.

In my opinion, just like the eight-year long Iran-Iraq War separated Iran from the Sunni Arab world (for the most part), the 6-year long war in Syria has separated the adherents of the Party of Ali from the Sunni World.

Among the Party of Ali I include the 12-er Shia, the 7-er Shai, the 5-er Shia, the Alevis/Alawites, the Ali Allahis and a few others that I do not even know.

These populations span Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Yemen, UAE, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and a few other places in smaller numbers.

I do not see any upside to the friends & allies of the Fortress West in the revival of the struggles of Imam Ali against Muawiya (like the way this German Offical came to Iran a few years back and threatened Iran with something analogous to the 30-year War.)

Just to be concrete: 35 million souls in Turkey are Kurdish or Alevi (Party of Ali); Turkey faces destruction in its current configuration her leaders persist in pursuing in their current path.

Babak Makkinejad

All:

Which Countries Support and Which Oppose the U.S. Missile Strikes in Syria

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/04/07/world/middleeast/world-reactions-syria-strike.html?_r=0

The Porkchop Express

Crooke is a unique character. I got to know he and his wife quite well in Beirut. He wrote a fascinating tome called "Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution," where he touched on many of these issues before in a much broader fashion and which I would highly recommend to those of you who enjoyed this article.

Kooshy

It is interesting to see what a little room Iraq has to play, and how tough politics are there not to get tilted again.

Bill Herschel

Isn't this really very simple? The United States went to war with Iraq on account of WMD. Went to war. Invaded. Conquered.

Some said at the time that it would make more sense to go to war with North Korea who actually had WMD. Problem was, North Korea could fight back and was probably able to strike the 28,500 "tripwire" American troops in South Korea.

For whatever reason, the US did not choose the "sure thing" target.

Now, the U.S appears to be gearing up to go to war with North Korea. Sure. Just like Iraq had WMD. The Affordable Care Act will be repealed and replaced long before we go to war with North Korea.

DT is a joke.

YT

Y'all:

A young Veteran speaks.

http://www.salon.com/2017/04/21/how-do-we-lose-the-next-war-in-the-middle-east-the-short-answer-fight-it_partner/

Annem

If given the choice, I don't believe that Sunni Muslim Syrians would opt to live under the rule of the Saudi-backed jihadis who have made life miserable for all who had to endure their governance over the last years. Certainly all those families whose sons fight in the Syrian military and staff the government bureaucracy will want to live that way. It is likely though that the Russians would have to work with the Syrian regime to minimize the Iranian influence. It is worth remembering that one of the factors that led the Russians to get so deeply involved in the Syria conflict was the Iranians burrowing into the regime institutions, especially the military and intelligence services. Likewise, the Russians would have to reassure the Sunnis that the regime would not want to take vengeance on them along sectarian lines.

mauisurfer

I read Landis' blog all the time, hold him in high respect. So I was greatly disappointed that he refers the gas attack as having been perpetrated by the government of Syria, with no qualification
or discussion, as though there is no other possibility.

DC

As a cultural parochial, the Shia / Sunni divide seems an analog of that between Anabaptists and Calvinists in 17th century Europe, a divide which persists to this day in America between Evangelical-Baptists and Westminster-Presbyterians. For the former, an unconstrained individual response to God is paramount, while for the latter such response may only take place in a determined manner. Might the human mind default one way or the other?

BraveNewWorld

From time to time the MSM accidentally stumbles into the truth.

"When Secretary Mattis did not even raise the issue of Qatar's support for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood—measured in both billions of dollars over the past 20 years and in thousands of hours of airtime on Al Jazeera over the same period—he sent the Qataris a clear and sad message: The Trump Administration has no problem with Qatar housing U.S. forces while financing the same people that America regularly bombs."

https://www.forbes.com/sites/richardminiter/2017/04/28/why-is-our-ally-qatar-hosting-terrorists-like-hamas/2/#79d161b77b74

Out of curiosity does any one remember which administration signed the original deal to put the big base in Qatar?

Kooshy

IMO, the bigiest threat to Iran, and grater west Asia, is not US or Israel, the bigest threat is a true street level war between Shia and Sunnies, which IMO in that context a true street deep war has not been matrilized yet. The ongoing sectarian war in Syria and Iraq is a attritional proxy of West and Israel, for some reason, beside some paid wahabbies the rest of Sunnis have avoid to get involved and Shia head of religions Margaret) have forbid any punished retaliation to bombing, although the KSA and Qatar wahabby kings have been haveliy paying and pushing for a inter religion war.

Jack

Mr. Crooke

Thank you for this very enlightening post.

It seems the Shia-Sunni divide and the conflicts therein have been in place for millennia. Why does the US political, media and governmental establishment believe it is a US national interest to meddle in this millennia old theological and ideological conflict, when most Americans including me know very little about Islamic culture? Is it really about the money that flows to the foreign policy think tanks from the Sunni oil states? Can it really be due to the outsized influence of the Likudnik wing in our politics? If that is so, why aren't those that oppose this meddling, counter these influence operations in a similar vein? After all it would seem that if a powerful case can be made by the opponents of this policy, about how interfering in this religious conflict is detrimental to US interests the American people who are by and large uninformed about this subject, would get it.

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, I agree, that type of street war has not yet started.

Babak Makkinejad

Ah, but you are forgetting that comely female called Palestine; she is abducted and the Knights of Party of Ali are the only ones left who remain fighting to restore her to her former station and place of honor.

On the other hand, the Sunni Knights are gone home to play with their glass beads and other trade goods supplied to them by the King of the West; thinking that they have finally "arrived"

In the meantime, the Red Tsar and the Yellow Emperor are gradually recovering their previous strength; all the time hoping that the King of the West would reprise the folly of Crasus.

Babak Makkinejad

But did you notice the fracture inside EU; even Spain - in spite of all the lies that El Paise prints - did not endorse those attacks.

Neither did any East European country save Poland.

kooshy

I would say the reason there is no blood in the streets it's all due to grand ayatollahs, Sistani and Khamenei if it was not for them Shia would have retaliated and everything would go south to US and Israel liking, this is one war Saudi's and wahhabis tried but failed, this war can be started only if is asked for in Najaf and Qom. The proof of this assertion is, how fast the hashd al shaabi was formed.

kooshy

IMO, The Sunni majority, Syrian Arab Army is a big reason and contributor to show that this struggle, is not about a inter religion sectarian war, but rather it's the usual anti colonial war with the west conducted true their local client kings and paid proxies. IMO, today the SAA is the true heros of muslim middle east, with their loyalty to their country, they have for all reason broken possibility of a real sectarian war between shia and Sunni, my hats off to all SAA.

Lurker

What if China didn't believe this threat is geared against NK? The THAAD installation that is being rushed is placing radar eyes on China. China is placing barriers on SK - China Trade and developing alternative industrial base on Chinese soil. China is developing and possitioning assets to strike at the SK THAAD deployment. One thing to consider is that past and present administrations say one thing and do another. Obama said the Aegis Ashore deployments in Poland and Romania strictly defensive against Iran. But Putin says they can be offensive and same tubes can launch Tomahawk cruise missiles and since the iran deal, Iran is no longer a threat. Thus, Russia believes it is the target. Same idea with THAAD and NK. China believes it is the real target. I do not think that Xi and Putin believe anything that Trump says because he has outsourced his foreign policy to Jared and the Pentagon.

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