Can you name two previous wars that have been fought between the Shia and the Sunni?”

Can you name two previous wars that have been fought between the Shia and the Sunni?”Hugh Fitzgerald has written a great deal here about the fact that the Sunni/Shi’ite conflict is 1,400 years old, and as it was not created (contrary to fashionable claims) by the American presence in Iraq, it cannot be ended by continuing that presence.

Now Dinesh D’Souza begs to differ:

Ask youself this question: can you name two previous wars that have been fought between the Shia and the Sunni? I didn’t think so. Neither can I. Because there aren’t any. The Shia and the Sunni have not been fighting for centuries. Historically speaking, they have not been fighting at all.

Oh, pick me, Mr. D’Souza! Over here! My hand is up. Let’s see. Two previous wars between Sunnis and Shia? How about these, sir? Leaving aside the massacres at Karbala that mark the definitive split between Sunnis and Shia in 680, here are a few highlights:

754: Plans to enthrone the Shi’ite Jafar As-Siddiq as caliph, thus ending the schism, were disrupted when Jafar was murdered by the Sunni Al-Mansur, who himself became caliph.

972: Shi’ite Fatimids conquer Sunni Egypt, and continue fighting Sunnis until they rule much of North Africa and the Middle East.

1040s: Sunni Zirid revolt in North Africa against Shi’ite rule.

1169: The Sunnis Nuraddin and Saladin seize Egypt, ending Shi’ite Fatimid rule.

Early 1500’s: Shi’ites take control of Persia, violently suppressing Sunni ulama.

1514: War between the Sunni Ottoman Turks and the Shi’ite Persian Safavids.

1623: More war between the Sunni Ottoman Turks and the Shi’ite Persian Safavids. This conflict was centered in Iraq. The Safavids captured Baghdad in 1624; the Ottomans recaptured it in 1638.

And here’s one you’re old enough to remember, Mr. D’Souza:

1980-1988: Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-controlled Iraq fights a protracted war against the Iranian Shi’ite mullahocracy.

And right now, today, far from Iraq:

Yemen Declares Jihad on Yemeni Shiites

There are plenty more where those came from, Dinesh. No, don’t thank me. I’m happy to help.

Iraq President: “There is a big change in the mentality of the Sunni. They are now considering Iran is the danger and no longer considering America the danger.”

Iraq President: “There is a big change in the mentality of the Sunni.

 They are now considering Iran is the danger and no longer

considering America the danger.”

Secret talks with Sunni rebels are making allies out of enemies

brit-iraq.jpg

British military officers in Iraq have been party to secret talks with Sunni insurgent leaders there, Iraq’s president said in an interview published today, Tuesday, May 15.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph while in London, Jalal Talabani added that Sunni rebels were shifting their perceptions to view Shiite-dominated Iran as more of a threat than foreign forces.

(Read More)

Posted by Pat Dollard 5 Comments

The War Within Islam The growing danger of the Sunni-Shiite rivalry.

London-based Sunni historian: Iran plotting to annihilate the Sunnis, establish global Shi’ite government

London-based Sunni historian: Iran plotting to annihilate the Sunnis, establish global

 Shi’ite government

The Shi’ites, according to Mahmoud Al-Sayyed Al-Dugheim, are even worse than (gasp) the Zionists! The fervid conspiracy theorists are beginning to trip over their Protocols. “London-Based Syrian-Born Historian Mahmoud Al-Sayyed Al-Dugheim on Al-Jazeera: Iran Established Global Shiite Government, Operating in Accordance with the Protocols of the Mullahs of Qom, to Annihilate the Sunnis,” from MEMRI:

The following are excerpts from an interview with Syrian-born historian Mahmoud Al-Sayyed Al-Dugheim, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on January 30, 2007.TO VIEW THIS CLIP: http://www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=1380.

Mahmoud Al-Sayyed Al-Dugheim: “We consider the Zionist plan to be dangerous to the Arab nation, but even more dangerous is the Safavid Sassanian Iranian plan to restore the Empire of Cyrus, which would range from Greece to Egypt, and the Arabian Peninsula, in addition to other regions. The Zionist plan was unable to penetrate the ranks of Islamic unity, the way the Safavid Iranian plan did. The collaborators with the Zionists throughout the Arab and Islamic world are too ashamed to reveal themselves, while the collaborators with the Sassanian Safavid plan boast about it in public. Wasn’t it one of their leaders who said yesterday: ‘We are a Lebanon in Iran, and an Iran in Lebanon?'”

[…]

“While the Zionist plan targets Jerusalem, which is holy to us, the Safavid plan targets Mecca and Al-Madina. If you go back to their books – which they do not mention in the media, yet these books exist and are accepted by them – they claim that their Hidden Imam will come to Mecca and Al-Madina, destroy the Al-Haram Mosque and the Mosque of the Prophet, and dig in the graves of Abu Bakr and Omar and burn them both, and then he will command the wind to blow them away. He will also dig in the grave of Aisha, the Mother of the Believers, and will execute her. All this is part of their plan.”

[…]

“The Shah was most definitely one of the sworn enemies of the Arabs, but he did not legislate a law to persecute the Sunni Muslims, who constitute one-third of the Iranian population. The new Iranian constitution persecutes Sunni Muslims in Iran, while it gives constitutional rights to the Zoroastrians, the Jews, and the Christians. This constitution denies the Sunnis these rights. There is no Sunni mosque in Tehran, even though there are over two million Sunni Muslims there.”

[…]

“All these actions are part of the 50-year plan of the Protocols of the Mullahs of Qom. This plan has been published and is well known. It aims to infiltrate the Sunni Muslim countries, to annihilate them, and to sow civil strife between the ruler and his subjects, all within fifty years.”

[…]

“Listen to the following secret communiqué: ‘At the command and with the guidance of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Guide of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and under the title ‘The Shi’a of Ali Are Victorious,’ the extended conference of the world’s Shiites was held in the holy city of Qom. It was attended by the leaders of all Shiite parties and religious authorities. The conference decided that a global organization must be established to annihilate the people who are left, to examine and analyze the current regional situation, to build a military force, to infiltrate governmental institutions through the women’s organizations everywhere, and then to infiltrate intelligence agencies, and to finish off the Sunni leaders, even by assassination.’ This is the plan of the Hashashin, which still exists.

[…]

“While the American target is economic oil, the Iranian Persian goal is to massacre the Arabs, as is evident in all their writings.”

Turkey and Saudi Arabia forge new ground

Turkey and Saudi Arabia forge new ground

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Turkey and Saudi Arabia, former foes, are getting to be close friends. The two countries are cooperating on Palestinian-Israeli dispute and Iraq and planning to hold a meeting of Iraq’s neighboring countries in Cairo in March

DUYGU GÜVENÇ
ANKARA Turkish Daily News

  During a last-minute meeting over the weekend, the onetime regional rivals Turkey and Saudi Arabia determined areas of common action on regional problems in the Middle East and Iraq. They also decided to hold a foreign ministers meeting of Iraq’s neighboring countries in Cairo in March, said diplomats in the wake of the Turkish ministerial visit to Riyadh.

  During the talks, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül and his counterpart Saud Al Faisal agreed on the need to hold the foreign ministers meeting of Iraq’s neighboring countries as soon as possible if all of the participants could agree to convene in Cairo in March. “The first meeting of high-level officials is expected to take place in Baghdad but the foreign ministers meeting most probably will take place in Cairo,” ministry sources told the Turkish Daily News yesterday.

  The TDN had reported earlier this month that Gül was not eager to go to Baghdad for the foreign ministerial meeting of Iraq’s neighboring countries. None of the participants are eager to go to Baghdad because of security concerns, but Turkey, however, has added political concerns. Ankara wants to see concrete steps taken regarding the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) issue from Iraq before any official travel to the country. They also touched upon the problems in Iraq and the plans for a future meeting between Iraq’s neighbors.

  In recent days Gül has confirmed his reluctance to hold the meeting in Baghdad. He and his counterpart agreed that a high-level committee meeting can still be held in Baghdad but the foreign ministers’ meeting could be held in Cairo in order to gain Egypt’s support for holding the meeting outside Iraq.

  The foreign ministers of Iraq’s neighboring countries meet periodically to discuss how to contribute to the establishment of peace and security in Iraq.

  Gül’s visit to Saudi Arabia came six months after the visit of Saudi Arabian King Abdullah to Turkey. Local commentators attributed the visit of the Saudi King in August 2006, the first in decades, as a “gift to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.”

  

Diplomatic gestures mark visit:

  The same royal treatment King Abdullah enjoyed in Turkey was extended to Gül. A brief telephone call from Erdoğan assured the King’s reception of Gül. This marked a sharp contrast to the previous trips when the Turkish foreign minister, again on an official visit to Riyadh, had returned without being received by Abdullah.

  More diplomatic gestures continued throughout the visit, such as a lavish ceremony for Gül at the airport by his counterpart and accommodation in teh foreign minister’s guesthouse, a courtesy normally extended to heads of state, diplomatic sources told the TDN.    

  

Political content goes parallel with gestures:

  The diplomatic gestures also went hand-in-hand with an expressed desire of common action on regional problems and issues.

  The two sides have said that their immediate concern was the Middle East peace process, as concrete moves there would have an overall effect on the volatile region.

  But the most concrete prospect of cooperation was over the Turkish support of a Saudi-initiated plan that pledged to Israel recognition by seven states in exchange for its working with the new Hamas-al-Fatah government expected to form in Palestine by the start of the foreign ministers meeting. The Jewish state categorically refused to recognize or work with the Hamas government that was established after the election in January 2006. The Hamas government could not survive under the economic embargoes and sought a coalition partner in al-Fatah in a move for international acceptance.

  Gül delivered a personal message from Erdoğan to King Abdullah in support of the plan and said Turkey, which has strong diplomatic ties with Israel, would seek to obtain the Jewish state’s support.

  Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been regional rivals in the past due to the balance of power and the state systems of the two countries are also different. Turkey is a secular republican country while Saudi Arabia is a monarchy ruled by Shariah law. The two countries have also pursued different policies on the U.S. military action in Iraq.

  But their relationship improved when the AKP came to power and the visit of King Abdullah was seen as the beginning of a new chapter in Turkish-Saudi relations.

44 dead in attacks on Shi’ite ceremonies in Iraq

44 dead in attacks on Shi’ite ceremonies in Iraq

More attacks on Ashura ceremonies. Sunni/Shi’ite Jihad Update. “On Shiites’ holiest day, 44 dead in Iraq,” by Kim Gamel for Associated Press:

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Assailants struck Shiite worshippers in three Iraqi cities Tuesday, killing at least 39 people in bombings and ambushes during the climax of ceremonies marking Ashoura, the holiest day in the Shiite calendar. In apparent retaliation, mortar shells slammed into predominantly Sunni neighborhoods in Baghdad hours later, killing at least five people and wounding 20, officials said.

Tens of thousands of Shiites Muslims converged on the holy city of Karbala — where the 7th-century battle took place that cemented the schism between Sunnis and Shiites — beating their chest and heads to mark the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson. The entire city was sealed off, all vehicles were banned, and pilgrims were searched at numerous checkpoints, a day after the Iraqi army said it had foiled a plot by a messianic Shiite group to storm the nearby city of Najaf.

The bloodiest attack Tuesday occurred when a suicide bomber blew himself up among a crowd of worshippers entering a Shiite mosque, killing 19 people and wounding 54 in Mandali, a predominantly Shiite city northeast of Baghdad and near the Iranian border.

To the north, a bomb in a garbage can exploded as scores of Shiites — most them Kurds — were performing rituals in Khanaqin, a majority Kurdish city also near the Iranian border. At least 13 people were killed and 39 were wounded, police Maj. Idriss Mohammed said.

“I was participating in Ashoura ceremonies with my son and all of a sudden the bloodshed hit,” Abdul Jasim Hassan said, holding his 11-year-old son, Hussein, whose right leg was bleeding.

Nawal Hasson said she pleaded with her husband not to go to the ceremonies but went with him when he refused to stay home.

“I had a feeling that something might happen, because terrorists are always targeting Shiites,” she said.

The two bombings occurred on the edge of Diyala province, not far from Baqouba, where fighting has raged for weeks between Sunni insurgents, Shiite militiamen and U.S.-Iraqi troops.

[…]

Last year’s Ashoura commemorations were largely peaceful, but suicide bombers killed 55 Shiites in 2005 and twin blasts killed at least 181 people in 2004.

Did the Mullahs destroy the Golden Mosque of Samarra?

Did the Mullahs destroy the Golden Mosque of

 Samarra?

James Lewis
For many months Al Qaida in Iraq has tried to stir up a civil war between Sunnis and Shi’as. They have told us so. In order to provoke the usually apolitical branch of Iraq’s Shi’a Islam, a truly sadistic Al Qaida network has blown up hundreds and hundreds of Shiite worshippers at mosques and outdoor markets with car bombs.

The single most notorious act blasted the top off the minaret of the Great Mosque of Samarra on April 1, 2005. More than any other barbarity, this act of vandalism is responsible for the near-civil war now going on between Sunni and Shi’a militias.

Because the Great Mosque is a Shi’a site of worship dating back to the Abbasid Dynasty of the 9th century, it was always assumed that the Sunni extremists did it — Al Qaida or the Baathists. But that assumption is now in doubt. Last week it was revealed that Ahmadinejad’s regime in Tehran has been actively supporting and training both sides in Iraq  to commit atrocities in order to stir up a civil war.
According to the UK Sunday Telegraph,

…the Shia-led Islamic regime (i.e., Ahmadinejad) is backing Sunni insurgents in Iraq, as well as the murderous militia operated by its fellow Shia clerics.
Iran’s policy of pursuing “managed chaos” in Iraq is mainly conducted by the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds (Jerusalem) Force… Shia and Sunni armed factions have for months been fighting a vicious sectarian conflict, murdering thousands of civilians. But the top Quds commander arrested late last month – known by the alias Chizari – was carrying documents that showed links with both sides, according to a senior official. ….
Iran has worked with individuals linked to al-Qa’eda-related groups responsible for some of the worst atrocities against Iraqi Shias, including the attack on the Golden Mosque in Samarra last February.” (Italics added)

Sunnis and Shi’as consider each other to be heretics, and both claim to be the only  true heirs of Mohammed. US intelligence sources therefore tend to assume that Tehran would never support Sunnis against the Shiites. Last week’s intelligence catch shows they were wrong.

A straightforward explanation can be found in the writings of Ayatollah Khomeini himself, the fountainhead of Tehran’s radical ideology. As far as Khomeini was concerned,  it was fine to destroy Iran itself in order to promote his brand of radical Islam. This may be the single most important thing Khomeini ever wrote:

“We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah. For patriotism is another name for paganism. I say let this land [Iran] burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world.” (1)  (Italics added)

That passage was quoted in Peter Wehner’s excellent primer on Islamist ideology written for President Bush.
It explains why Ahmadinejad would want to stir up civil war in Iraq so badly as to possibly blow up one of the holiest sites of his own creed. “With martyrdom everything is possible” is Ahmadinejad’s slogan. (It is worth remembering that at the end of World War Two, the suicidal faction of the Japanese regime also threatened to assassinate the Emperor himself if he surrendered to the Americans. It is the mad logic of martyrdom war.)
This news doesn’t prove that Ahmadinejad ordered the Golden Mosque of Samarra to be decapitated. The Telegraph, however, claims that he has paid those who did so to stir up civil war afterwards. So we know with reasonable certainty that the destruction at the Golden Mosque hasn’t stopped the Mullahs from paying off those who did the deed.
In the nuclear age, the single most important question is: Are our opponents rational, in the sense that they do not want to commit national suicide? Rational nations will not use WMDs to the point of self-destruction. However, if they are psychologically equal to Hitler in his bunker or the most extreme Japanese suiciders, then all bets are off.
(1) Quoted by Matthias Kuentzel’s “From Khomeini to Ahmadinejad,” Policy Review, December 2006 & January 2007.
James Lewis blogs at dangeroustimes.wordpress.com, whenever possible.

Shi’ite-Sunni rift laid bare by hanging

Shi’ite-Sunni rift laid bare by hanging

As predicted here by Hugh Fitzgerald.

By Lauren Frayer for AP, with thanks to Jeffrey Imm:

BAGHDAD — As Iraqis awoke yesterday to television images of Saddam Hussein’s neck twisted by a hangman’s noose, Shi’ites cheered, Sunnis vowed revenge and at least 80 persons died from bombings and death squads — not far from the daily average.In Baghdad’s Shi’ite neighborhood of Sadr City, victims of Saddam’s three decades of autocratic rule took to the streets celebrating, dancing, beating drums and hanging Saddam in effigy.

Celebratory gunfire erupted in other Shi’ite neighborhoods across the country.

Outside the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Ramadi, west of the capital, loyalists marched with Saddam pictures and waved Iraqi flags.

Defying curfews, hundreds took to the streets vowing revenge in Samarra, north of Baghdad, and gunmen paraded and fired into the air in support of Saddam in Tikrit, his hometown.

“He’s gone, but our problems continue. We brought problems on ourselves after Saddam because we began fighting Shi’ite on Sunni and Sunni on Shi’ite,” said Haider Hamed, 34, a candy store owner in east Baghdad whose uncle was killed in one of Saddam’s many brutal purges….

There was no immediate sign of a feared Sunni uprising in retaliation for Saddam’s execution.

But the London Sunday Telegraph reported that 400 to 500 Shi’ites had been kidnapped in the past two months and messages to relatives said they would be killed if Saddam died.

The responses within Iraq to Saddam’s death echoed the larger reaction across the Middle East, with his enemies rejoicing and his defenders proclaiming him a martyr.

Iranians and Kuwaitis welcomed the death of the leader who led wars against each of their countries.

Some Arab governments denounced the timing of the 69-year-old former president’s hanging just before the start of the most important holiday of the Islamic calendar, Eid al-Adha.

Libya announced a three-day official mourning period and canceled all celebrations for Eid.

String of bombings kills more than 150 in Sadr City

String of bombings kills more than 150 in Sadr City

Sunni-Shi’ite Jihad Update. “150 die in deadliest attack of Iraq war” by Thomas Wagner for The Associated Press:

BAGHDAD, Iraq – In the deadliest attack since the beginning of the Iraq war, suspected Sunni-Arab militants used three suicide car bombs and two mortar rounds on the capital’s Shiite Sadr City slum to kill at least 150 people and wound 238 on Thursday, police said.

The Shiites responded almost immediately, firing 10 mortar rounds at the Abu Hanifa Sunni mosque as Azamiya, killing one person and wounding seven people in their attack on the holiest Sunni shrine in Baghdad.

The Interior Ministry imposed a curfew on Baghdad until further notice.

Beginning at 3:10 p.m., the three car bomb attackers blew up their vehicles one after another, at 15 minute intervals, hitting Jamila market, al-Hay market and al-Shahidein Square in Sadr City. At about the same time, mortar rounds struck al-Shahidein Square and Mudhaffar Square, police said.

As the fiery explosions sent up huge plumes of black smoke up over northeastern Baghdad, and left streets covered with burning bodies and blood, angry residents and armed Shiite militiamen flooded the streets, hurling curses at Sunni Muslims and firing weapons into the air.

Ambulances raced to the scenes and police Col. Hassan Chaloub said at least 145 people were killed and 238 wounded in the blasts, which destroyed many outdoor food stalls and parked automobiles and buses.

[…]

Sectarian fighting also broke in another part of northern Iraq on Thursday, when 30 Sunni insurgents armed with machine guns and mortars attacked the Shiite-controlled Health Ministry building. After a three-hour battle, during which Iraqi soldiers and U.S. military helicopters intervened, the attackers were repulsed. But at least seven guards of the ministry were wounded, said police 1st. Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razaq.

The Sadr City and Health Ministry attacks were the latest example of widespread sectarian fighting involving Sunnis and Shiites that is leaving Iraq either on the verge of a civil war or already fighting one.

At about noon Thursday, heavy clashes broke out between about suspected Sunni insurgent gunmen and guards at the Shiite-controlled Health Ministry building in northwest Baghdad, security officials said.

State-run Iraqiyah television said the Health Ministry was being attacked with mortars by “terrorists who are intending to take control of the building.”

Security officials said about 30 gunmen, believed to be Sunni insurgents, had launched the attack. Iraqi troops were being rushed to the area and all roads leading to the ministry in Bab al-Muadham neighborhood were closed, said the security officials on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

Police Lt. Ali Muhsin said the attack began at 12:15 p.m. when three mortar shells hit the building, causing damage. After that, gunmen on the upper floors of surrounding buildings opened fire.

Ministry workers were trapped in the building.

“The gunmen fled as American helicopters and Iraqi armored vehicles arrived. Employees were able to leave starting about 3:15 p.m.,” Health ministry spokesman Qassim Yehyah said.

Health Minister Ali al-Shemari is a follower of al-Sadr, the radical anti-American Shiite cleric.

Iranians praise Saddam’s death sentence — The Iranians are hoping this won’t mean that the Iran-Iraq war will not be discussed in court — which would be a chance for them to advance their cause of establishing a Shi’ite Arab client state in Iraq. From AP:

Iranians praise Saddam’s death sentence

The Iranians are hoping this won’t mean that the Iran-Iraq war will not be discussed in court — which would be a chance for them to advance their cause of establishing a Shi’ite Arab client state in Iraq. From AP:

Tehran, Nov. 5(AP): Iranian officials praised Sunday’s death sentence against ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and said they hoped he would continue to be tried for other alleged crimes against humanity.“The death sentence for Saddam was a matter of happiness for me. He was a war criminal and a vampire in the current history,” said Kazen Jalai, a spokesman for Iran’s parliamentarian committee of national security and foreign policy.

Just after Saddam was sentenced in a Baghdad courtroom, Iran’ state-run television interrupted its regular program to announce: “A court in Iraq sentenced Saddam, the collapsed dictator to death.”

Saddam and two others were convicted and sentenced to death by hanging for war crimes in the 1982 killings of 148 people in the town of Dujail. The former Iraqi leader shouted out in the court, condemning what he called the occupation of Iraq by U.S.- and British-led coalition forces, and his attorney vowed to appeal the verdict.

For many Iranians, the memories were still fresh from of the destruction they suffered after Saddam invaded their country in 1980, setting in motion a deadly war that would last eight years.

Before Saddam’s verdict was announced, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said he felt that execution was the minimum sentence expected.

“Of course, it (the verdict) doesn’t mean that other issues like the Iran-Iraq war should not be reviewed in court,” Hosseini said.