Pending calamity: Sectarian war between Shiites and Sunnis

By Rauf Naqishbendi:

Ahrar Islam fighters in Syira

Ahrar Islam fighters in Syria

A tumultuous cloud hovering over the Islamic world is ominously unprecedented. Sectarian contention between Shiite and Sunni Muslims is on its way to consuming the entire Middle East with calamitous bloodshed and conflagrations. Clashing groups who advocate to this mishap are claiming their righteousness on the light of divine principles, while in realty they have engaged themselves in hideous endeavors, moral delinquencies, and self-destruction. Their continued persistence on this path will bring doom and gloom to the entire region and beyond, marking fulfilment of the biblical prophecies with tribulation never witnessed afore, as elucidated more than once in God’s holy Scriptures.

Alliances have come to pass between old-time enemies, as they found a common new enemy to further ignite vengeance and the power struggle. Last November London’s Financial Times reported Saudi Arabia’s corroboration with the Israelis by granting Israel’s air force usage of Saudi’s airbase in their preemptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. This wouldn’t be ornamental for Saudi’s stand in the Islam world, but the Saudis are unshaken by it, for their evil Wahhabi brand of Islam has been rejected by the Islam world.  Besides, the Saudis aren’t popular, regardless of being opulent. To the Iranian opponents’ consternation, if this occurs, it will enhance the credibility and recognition of Iranian’s ruling clergies. Yet the Saudis aren’t doing this to appease Israel, but rather they are against the Iranian regime and their Syrian ally, whom the Saudis consider a threat to their establishment and the Sunni sect of Islam.

The Lake of Fire is pending to burn the region when all nations in the Middle East region will be affected by sectarian war between Shiites and Sunnis. At present, Turkey, Saudi, and the Emirate Gulf states are supporting Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda associate operating in Syria. It has been described as the most aggressive and successful arm of the rebel force opposition to Bashar in Syria. On the other side of Iraq, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah are supporting Bashar Al Assad’s regime. Meanwhile, Syrian Kurds under the leadership of The Kurdish Supreme Committee are demanding an autonomous Kurdish state.

Reuters reported on January 20th that Abu Sayyaf al-Ansary, one of the Sunni leaders in Lebanon, announced that Lebanon would be a gateway for Al-Qaeda to strike at Israel. This is the beginning of establishment of the Al-Qaeda franchise in Lebanon.

The fall of Assad’s regime is imminent, but assistance from Russia, Hezbollah, Iran, and Iraq may defer the regime’s collapse for an indefinite period. So far, Al-Qaeda seems to be the most powerful group amongst Assad’s opponents, and having Al-Qaeda take over Syria will create a nightmare scenario for Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon.  Also, Israel’s security will be greatly affected, and Israel will retaliate; thus Israel will be drawn into this nasty war.

Lebanon is another problem, considering the 400,000 Palestinian refugees, in addition to Lebanese Sunnis.  Should they decide to join Al-Qaeda, that would bode ruinous to Hezbollah. At this juncture, Al-Qaeda is at an early stage, and once they commence their violence it can protract with never-ending violence. Al-Qaeda’s aim is not only behind cleansing Lebanon from its Shiite population but also utilizing Lebanon as a gateway to strike at Israel. Sure, Israel can defend itself, but at a high economic cost.

Iraq is another mess, as Iraqi Shiites, along with Iran, are aiming at Sunnis, while Al-Qaeda has been busied targeting government posts and Shiites civilians. The question remains as to what the fate of the Kurds will be in Iraq, as Iraq is going to be central in the confrontation between the Sunnis and Shiites to settle their historical scores. Should the full-blown bloodshed between Shiites and Sunnis mature, it might well be an opportunity for the Kurds to detach themselves from Iraq and declare their sovereign state, but that is predicated on the willingness of the Kurdish leaders and of Iraq, Iran, and Turkey not ganging up against them.

The sectarian fray started in Iraq after the American invasion. It relented for some time; then the Syrian civil war renewed Iraq’s sectarian bloodshed. The Sunni Iraqis have been marginalized by the Shiite regime.  In addition, the sweeping corrupted mentality of Iraqi leadership from south to north has left the majority of Iraq’s population disenchanted with their government. In both of Iraq’s regions, south and Kurdistan, the ruling family leaders and their cronies have been elevated to opulent status, while the rest of the Iraqis are struggling hand to mouth.  The corrupted government in Iraq, lack of social services, high unemployment, and marginalization of Sunnis and Kurds are a nesting comfort for the growth of Al-Qaeda and for the Iraqi Sunnis, along with Saddam’s remnant, to join Al-Qaeda forces.

The sectarian war, as bad as it looks at present, is at its early stage and soon will be widespread, which will engulf the region with a bloodbath. The seriousness of this war must be understood, for when it realized, the battlefield will include Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon and might cascade its ugly face into Jordan, with the Israelis being forced to join. The reason for the seriousness of this war is that it is supported by the most powerful nations in the region: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Arab Emirates, with Al-Qaeda on one side, and on the opposing side are Iran, Iraq, and Syria, with Hezbollah.

The wildcard is the United States, which has been silent toward Al-Qaeda in Syria, implying that the U.S. endorses Al-Qaeda by turning blind eyes on the Saudis and Turks who are solemn supporters and sponsors of Al-Qaeda. Should the U.S. be true to its public denouncement of terrorism? The Kurds in Syria have been fighting Al-Qaeda, and yet the U.S. has not only refused to help them, but rather is trying to undermine them. Well, President Obama will reign at the helm should he decide not to meddle, for the U.S.’s interference in the Middle East’s affairs has historically proven to make things not better but worse.

The ground is percolating for full-fledged war. Should this war not be averted, it will open a bloodiest chapter of the history of the Middle East, with unmeasurable human casualties, unthinkable social chaos, and deplorable human tragedies.  This intolerable and insane war seems to be imminent, for the differences amongst the main players are seemingly irreconcilable.

Rauf Naqishbendi is a contributing columnist for Kurdistan Tribune,,  American Chronicle, – 2011),,, and has written Op/Ed pages for the Los Angeles Times.

Books by Naqishbendi:

(1)   His memoirs entitled “The Garden Of The Poets”. It reads as a novel depicting his experience and the subsequent 1988 bombing of his hometown, Halabja with chemical and biological weapons by Saddam Hussein.  It is the story of his people’s suffering, and a sneak preview of their culture and history.

One Response to Pending calamity: Sectarian war between Shiites and Sunnis
  1. Kuvan Bamarny
    February 19, 2014 | 08:38

    Diversion of ideological schools is the product of the natural change process of human beings occurred during the course of history.The problem that creates clash and conflicts among different ideological schools is the adaptation of a type of extreme ideological school.Talorance ,respect, moderation is the solution to the peace and coexistence of diversified ideological schools in the world.

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