ISIS militants just the latest spark to ignite Iraq's Muslim divide

On a local Iraqi television network, a morning loop of reports about Da’esh — the Arabic equivalent of the acronym ISIS — detailed the horrors of the militant group’s return to Iraq.

Each segment contained a litany of allegations: rape, destruction of heritage sites — especially churches — and wanton violence. Throughout, the ISIS jihadis were painted as outsiders.

The fact is, while many members of ISIS are indeed from other nations, the group was founded in Iraq, and many among its members, including its leader, are Iraqi. And Sunni Muslim.

But to describe their lightening rampage toward Baghdad as divisive would be an understatement.

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Mehdi Army fighters loyal to Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr march during a military-style training in the holy city of Najaf on Tuesday. The reaction to the surprising advances of the al-Qaeda related group, ISIS, was quickly breaking down along sectarian lines.

2 replies

  1. The latest developments in Iraq are reflecting the deepening sectarian animosities within the Middle East which is deliberately planned. This may end in dismemberment of Iraq. The ever present Arab-Iranian rivalry now reached at Sunni – Shia sectarian war. Saudi Arabia’s role in the present catastrophe is apparent. This is Saudi Arabia’s yet another monstrous gift to the people of Iraq, after Saudi sponsored 1991 Gulf War and 2003 American occupation. The Saudi hostility towards Shiaism goes back to the alliance between the extremist and ultraconservative Wahhabism and the House of Saud dating from the 18th century. Iraq was emerged as a major Shia government when Shia parties and personalities achieved political dominance under American occupation. This had caused serious alarm in Riyadh. Against the backdrop of this Shia dominance the Sunni militant outfits have grown powerful by exploiting the Sunni discontent under the sponsorship of Saudi Arabia. Oil-rich Saudi Arabia has funnelled money and munitions not only to Sunni rebels battling Syria’s dictator Bashar al-Assad but also the black-garbed ‘Jihadis’ spearheading the Sunni insurgency now threatening to dismember Iraq. That is why Iraq’s beleaguered Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki lashed out at Saudi Arabia. This also exposes contradiction in American Foreign Policy. Not to forget that Saudis are Washington’s number one ally in the Middle East. While the Americans support Shia government in Iraq, the same Americans demand the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad of Syria and his regime, even though both leaders are now brothers-in-arms against the Sunni insurgents.
    NE Haq

    • In spite of what it looks like I am still of the view that the present upheaval in the ‘Middle East’ is not really a ‘Sunni / Shia’ war, but rather a power struggle between Saudi Arabia and its allies and Iran and its allies. I have not yet seen any attempt by any Sunni scholars (or Shia scholars for that matter) to encourage ‘conversion’ from Shia to Sunni or vice-versa… (have you?). That said I am not excluding the fact that the stupid ‘foot-soldiers’ on the ground believe they are in a Sunni / Shia struggle. But they are used and mis-used and the Princes on top laugh their head off… (together with the secret services of Israel / USA / etc.)

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