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Response to scarletwoman (Original post)

Mon Sep 9, 2013, 01:24 PM

102. It's not simply "Sunni" versus "Shiite" as we

in the US like to label these religious aspects without really knowing anything about either. The principal divergence of belief between mainstream Sunnis and Shiites is in who the "official" heirs of the legacy of the Prophet Muhammad actually were. There are some smaller differences, but this is the main one. It's not even as big a "schism" as that existing between Catholics and Protestants. http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2013/05/economist-explains-19

The problem with Saudi Arabia is that the official and dominant form of Sunni Islam there is Wahhabism, which is often described as 'puritanical', 'intolerant' or 'ultra-conservative' Islam, which makes it exactly as intolerant as similar puritanical religious beliefs in the most intolerant of Jewish or Christian ultra-conservative religious communities. Wahhabism has only been the dominant form of religion there for 200 years or so, consolidating its strength in the early 20th century.

Many Muslims dispute that Wahhabism is even a form of Sunni Islam. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/saudi/analyses/wahhabism.html

Iran's version of Shiite Islam, since the ayatollahs came to political power in 1979, is more akin to Wahhabism than it is to mainstream Shiite Islam. It is every bit as puritanical, intolerant and ultra-conservative.

Insofar as Saudi Arabia and Iran are concerned, it is not simply the religious aspect that usually has them at political odds, although we in the West like to focus rather simplistically on that. It is also that Iran and Saudi Arabia have different peoples, cultures and languages, different histories, different geopolitical concerns and different agendas. What they share is that the West covets the resources of both and has thus interfered in the internal politics of both, especially since the discovery of OIL in both.

I concur with the "proxy war" focus in the case of Syria. But I think that BOTH Iran and Saudi Arabia would be absolutely overjoyed to see the US interfere militarily in Syria and squander any hope of ever regaining international goodwill, along with all the other adverse consequences including the real potential for being dragged into WWIII.

That is all the more reason for us to stay out of this fight ... except in meaningful diplomacy to ensure that whoever used chemical weapons NEVER uses them again and to end the fighting, and also to join in meaningful humanitarian relief efforts that will help the displaced to return to their homes or to relocate to neutral areas. All of these are, of course, much more difficult that simply bombing away, which seems to be the only thing that will satisfy US blood lust.

Yes, PNAC and Likud (fwiw, there are many individual Israelis who feel exactly as we "Peace Purists" do; please do not tar them with the same RW brush) are both standing by cheerleading and egging on "war" efforts. Perhaps even worse. But in doing so, they are exceedingly short-sighted. They are literally cheering on their own destruction. About the only "friend" with any clout that Israel has is the US. If the US is no longer in a position to protect Israel on the global stage after squandering any remaining international good will that we have by using military force when the world overwhelmingly does not support it and letting our own domestic concerns go down the tube, that will be curtains for Israel. Perhaps not militarily, at least for a time. But certainly economically.

The US needs to address its own problems meaningfully. If only Prez Obama would use the same "full court press" he is using to sell his efforts to bomb Syria to address our own problems. If only ....



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scarletwoman Sep 2013 OP
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LineReply It's not simply "Sunni" versus "Shiite" as we
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