Now that the US is openly arming the so called rebels in Syria, Sunni Muslim clerics from the Gulf Cooperating Council countries have issued a fatwa calling for a “holy war” against Syria and its Shiite allies. To understand what’s happening, we need to know two things; we need to know what the difference is between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, and also go back few years, when we witnessed the beginning of what was hailed as the Arab Spring.
When Muhammad died in 632, tribal Arabs who followed him were split over who should inherit both the political and religious office. The majority, now known as the Sunnis, backed Abu Bakr, a friend and father of his Muhammad’s youngest wife Aisha. Others thought Muhammad’s relatives should be the rightful successors, and claimed the he had anointed his cousin Ali, so they became known as the Shia. Those who supported Abu Bakr won however, and although Ali did briefly rule later as what was called the 4th Caliph, the title given to Muhammad’s successors. The split between Sunnis and Shiites was made permanent when Ali’s son Hussein was killed in 680 in Karbala by the ruling Sunni caliph’s troops. Sunni rulers continued to control political power, while the Shia instead looked to their imams, the first of whom were descended directly from Ali, for direction. All Muslims believe that Allah is their only god and Muhammad his messenger. They all follow five ritualistic pillars of Islam and read the Koran. Sunnis rely mostly on the practice of the Prophet and his teachings, the “sunna”, the Shia see their ayatollahs as representatives of God on earth. Sunnis accuse Shia of heresy and most Shia sects place importance on the belief that the twelfth and final imam is hidden and will reappear one day to rule the world. The Shiites claim Sunni dogma has led to extremist sects such as the Wahhabis, which are the sect of Islam that unified the modern Saudi Arabia, the House of Saud and is still dominant today. Many Sunnis do not consider Shia to be proper Muslims.
In 2008, Col. Thomas F. Lynch wrote a lengthy, yet important paper called Sunni and Shi’a Terrorism: Differences that Matter. In it he states the differences between the sects describing, “The Salafi-Jihadist variant of Sunni terrorism pursues the broad ideological aims of reactionary Sunni Islam. Its orientation is toward a stateless, Sunni Islamic Caliphate stretching from Morocco to Indonesia and even the Philippines. Its methods tend to feature boundless violence and terror, while its declared approach since Usama bin Ladin’s 1998 fatwa has been to drive out the western “far enemy” from Muslim lands in order to expose and topple the corrupt “near enemy” of Islamic state leaders from power… The Salafi-Jihadist movement continues to pressure vulnerable state regimes in Islamic states with an objective to establish itself in a safe haven from which to plot wider global terror. It is from this framework that Salafi-jihadi terrorists pose an ongoing threat against western targets in and out of the Muslim world.”
In describing Shi’a, Lynch goes on:
“Agents of Shi’a-inspired terror do not display as deep an ideological grounding. With the exception of Hezbollah’s longstanding, continuous terror campaign against Israel, Shi’a terrorism has not rivaled the relentless and unending character observed in Sunni terrorism. Shi’a group terror in non-combat zones appears to spring from specific Iranian or Hezbollah policy objectives, running a campaign course that ends when the policy objective is realized…It is motivated by distinct policy objectives and features discrete start and endpoints linked to achieving purposeful political objectives. Moreover, it will use an array of techniques from suicide bombings to kidnapping to targeted assassinations to achieve success. American and western leaders should anticipate an intense non-combat zone terror campaign when Tehran or Hezbollah feels truly threatened by western policies in the immediate region.”
The recent revolutions in the region have brought on the recent Fatwa, and Western nations including the US have done much to cause it by arming terrorists who are no better than Assad.
What happened during the Arab Spring in many cases were spurred by militant groups as well as citizens, and cheered by Obama and others in the west. Obama supported regime change in Tunisia, which is predominantly Sunni, Egypt, also Sunni, as is the Muslim brotherhood that controls Egypt now. He supported change in Yemen, which is also dominated by Sunnis. He did not support calls for regime change in Bahrain however, which interestingly enough is an overwhelming Shi’a Muslim majority yet since the 19th century, the country has been ruled by the al-Khalifa royal family who profess Sunni. The US even provided security training and intelligence, including some that was used against protesters, and supposedly blocked several Bahraini human rights activists from its territories.
Obama remained silent when people in Iran were being murdered in the streets as they were begging the west for help in their desire for regime change. Iran is about 90 percent Shi’a. While now in Syria, which is predominantly Sunni, President Assad is a Shiite Alawite, and we are arming the terrorists who are Sunnis.
Both Sunni and Shia follow Sharia law, but it varies a bit because neither follows the exact same Hadiths. Even for Sunnis, Sharia differs a bit from ifferent forms (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali). The most conservative branches of Islam, Salifi/Wahabi are sunni. Sunnis version of Sharia is more strictly adhered to and groups such as the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood desire to establish the Caliphate in Muslim held African and middle eastern states. It seems as though the Obama administration is favoring those who would impose the Caliphate. Considering his relationships with the Brotherhood, and his administration’s open arms policy of hiring people with ties to the Brotherhood in high security positions in our own government, this is proving to be a dangerous precedent where Sharia, which is antithetical to our Constitution, has been introduced into the US already in various forms.
Obama and the west are supporting the rebels who are fighting against Assad in Syria. These people are terrorists with known ties to Al Qaida and others. They are also backed by the GCC countries, which include Saudi Arabia, Jordan (where we now have Marines training), Turkey and Qatar. Iran and Hezbollah oppose the Western ally arrangement, as do Russia and China. Some in our government seems to believe that they can arm the rebels without weapons falling into the hands of the terrorist rebels. They know there is no better or worse alternative to Assad, and whatever happens in Syria now, none of it can be anything good for the people caught in the middle or for the rest of the region.
Assad has been accused of atrocities by human rights organizations, yet in the past, Christians, Alawites and Druz have supported the Assad regime. The rebels have taken part in violent and brutal acts such as killings and kidnappings while also using children as soldiers and nearly 100 have been killed during combat. They also have set car bombs, one of which killed 100 mostly-innocent people in Damascus, including children and wounding hundreds more. An extremely graphic video recently showed rebels, standing over the corpse of Shiite Syrian soldiers, cutting out one of the soldier’s internal organs and biting into one of them. These are the people our government has decided to supply with more arms.
According to Debkafile, the Obama administration promised automatic weapons, mortars and recoilless rocket grenades (RPGs) to the Syrian opposition that would be prepared for delivery within the next few weeks through Turkey. Weapons being sent by the Europeans are coming from NATO stores in Europe, which contain operational weapons brought in from Afghanistan. More weapons are coming from the Libyan and Serbian black markets. Obama on Wednesday wouldn’t discuss the arms the US will send to the rebels, saying, “I cannot and will not comment on specifics on our programs related to the Syrian opposition,” at a press conference in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Russia is now sending two ships carrying marines along with promised S- 300 air defense missiles to the area, and Iran has been prepared, even with a new President to send 4,000 troops into Syria on behalf of Assad. In Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood-led government formally severed diplomatic ties with Damascus and have accused Hezbollah of starting a sectarian war. Meanwhile, in the Gaza Strip, Hamas criticized Hezbollah for worsening sectarian violence and called on them to instead target Israel. Hezbollah has been openly joining forces in Syria, fighting for Assad, and have helped Assad’s forces retake the Syrian border town of Qusayr from rebels. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese political and military movement, has promised to maintain the fight in Syria. The Hezbollah fighters were also trained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
As millions of Syrians become displaced refugees and the country torn apart, the Obama administration is purposely choosing not to settle the situation with diplomacy. Both Russia and Syria have made recent offers for negotiations. By aiding the rebels instead, Obama is seemingly instead to choose more slaughter. We must not forget that by backing Sunnis when it comes to Syria as it did also in Egypt and Libya, that Al Quaida and other Salafist extremists are Sunnis
Our arming rebels, knowing that anything we send in aid, whether monetary or military will most likely end up in terrorist’s hands has Israel somewhat apprehensive as well, and who can blame them? Israel’s former deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon has repeatedly said it would be a “mistake,” and a couple of months ago, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said such plans “presents the question of which rebels and which weapons?”
Indeed. Many Americans would like to know that answer.