ISIS, Maliki and the Sunnis

Two popular mistakes should be identified and avoided:

1. It is not merely ISIS against the Iraqi army. ISIS is the spearhead and the combat wise most experienced and effective single group of a variety of Sunni militias that are fighting the Iraqi armed forces. Not all of these 7 or 8 groups are radical islamists and sectarian. Many are tribal fighters disaffected with the central government which they accuse of having sidelined, oppressed and marginalized Sunnis for years. Others are former Baathists, thus more or less secular minded or nationalists, among them the Naqshbandy army.

2. Though it is true that especially the Maliki government is highly corrupt and has acted in sectarian ways, this is not merely because Malikis regime is backed by Iran or simply hates Sunnis. While ISIS as the name of a specific organization only exists since  a couple of years, the hatred ideology of takfiri salafism in post-Saddam Iraq is not that new. As early as in 2003 systematic and wide scale deadly attacks against Shia police, army recruits and especially ordinary civilians began to occur at least on a weekly basis. Suicide bombers and car bombs killed hundreds of Shia every month, targeting them in mosques, at market places, in Cafes and restaurants and even at funerals. Many Shia clerics were assassinated few months after the US invasion in 2003, e.g. Ayatollah Hakim:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Baqir_al-Hakim#Assassination

Not all but many instances of power abuse at the hands of Shia militias and Iraqi armed forces were a reaction to the relentless and high casualty bombings of Shia areas. Neither Iran nor the Iraqi Shia clergy brought sectarianism to Iraq. It was the „achievement“ – and not an incidental one – of Wahhabi/Salafi ideologues from the GCC countries awash in money and relying on arabic mass media in shape of several satellite channels broadcasting anti-Shia and anti-Iranian hate mongering all around the clock.

It is wrong to declare Sunni opposition to the Iraqi regime as „terrorism“ and not every Sunni insurgent fighting the Iraqi army is a takfiri. The Sunni opposition is legitimate but it suffers from being associated with ISIS and similar minded sectarian jihadists.

 

Iraq will be doomed if Sunnis should gather behind ISIS

For one, it is clear that ISIS alone surely did not capture Mossul and Tikrit within few days. Local Sunni tribal fighters as well as former Baath party officers had also their share, with the latter being behind a long term planning of the events.

At the same time nobody should have doubts that ISIS is the „muscle“ of what many disgruntled Iraqi Sunnis consider a „Sunni revolution“. Trying to play down ISIS´ role as the primary and most lethal fighting force would be a repetition of similar illusory claims regarding the Al-Nusra front in Syria, which western powers and Arab countries behind the Syrian opposition for a very long time tried to detract from.
In Syria the so called „Free Syrian Army“ had tens of thousands of fighters and was even „assisted“ by the already mentioned hardcore Salafi fighters of the Al-Nusra, but still ISIS managed to fight and rout these groups in eastern Syria and inflict heavy casualties on them elsewhere in that country.
There is little reason to assume that ISIS will „perform“ weaker in Iraq. Other Sunni groups including the more regionally interested tribal fighters as well as the more nationalist and secular minded former Baath party forces are welcome to cooperate with ISIS and contribute but ISIS will demand and enforce to have the final say and call the shots.

Should the Sunnis decide to „enjoy“ ISIS and tolerate the leadership of the „islamic state“, this will be the end of Iraq as a sovereign state as ISIS openly and proudly announces it´s firm will to fight the Shia majority of the country. ISIS is not a mere (and legitimate) resistance movement against an unjust, Shia led government but a vehemently sectarian, supremacist and violent movement, which considers all Shia as infidels who deserve death. But Iraq is not Pakistan where the Shia are basically defenseless. In Iraq the Shia make up a majority of 70-75% among the Arab population and have tens – if not hundreds – of thousands of battle-experienced fighters willing to die when existentially threatened.

Sectarian language and threats seems to exclusively come from radical Sunnis

It is interesting that in Iraq Sunnis and Shias are BOTH accused of sectarian language and threats, but I don´t remember a single powerful or influential Shia leader insult and threat the entire Sunni community. Sure, the Shia leaders use the word Takfiri but this applies only to a small extremely radical portion of the Sunnis. When the (radical) Sunnis, however, speak of the „Rafidha“, again they intentionally target and incriminate ALL Shias.
Even the so called „radical“ or „firebrand“ Shia cleric and leader of the Mahdi army at no time spoke in even a remotely sectarian way as one of the ISIS leaders does here:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/06/13/why-the-new-iraq-war-could-be-more-savage-than-the-last/

„the Lord alone who overpowers the Shia. Praise be the Lord who brings terror to their hearts.”“
„Do not concede territory gained to the Shia unless they walk over your dead bodies to retrieve it. March towards Baghdad. Do not let them [the Shia] breath.”
„The Shia are a disgraced people,” he says, accusing them of being polytheists “who worship the dead and stone.”

Interestingly such radicals, call them Salafi or Wahhabi or whatever, consider themselves to be the real, the authentic muslims and to be perfectly familiar with the religion of Islam, but they commit the grave sin of „takfir“ (calling others „unbelievers“) on entirely erroneous grounds.
The Shia „worship“ the dead just as much as football fans „worship“ Lionel Messi or Ronaldo, namely not at all.

 

The distortive and misleading western narrative of the „ISIS crisis“

Major parts of the western media are serving their audience „facts“ which are non or at best half-truths when it comes to the current crisis in Iraq involving ISIS and the Iraqi armed forces.
Here some corrections:
1. ISIS is no real representative of the Iraqi and/or Sunni community. As a matter of fact they have not only massacred many thousands of Shia civilians (but also police and soldiers) in Iraq, they have also killed in total thousands of Sunni arab fighters in Syria and hundreds of Sunnis in Iraq including members of the „Sahwa“, tribal chiefs, politicians and ordinary civilians.
2. For some of the reasons given above ISIS is not waging a „holy war“ against the Shias whom they consider „infidels“ but against the Iraqi state.
3. The Iraqi government and armed forces are definitely Shia dominated and there has been systematic and wide scale discrimination against Sunnis, but it is totally untrue that Sunnis are prohibited from being part of the government or army and police. This is nonsense. The Iraqi system is despite all of it´s corruption and power abuse still definitely less sectarian than the Bahraini government where the Shia majority is totally absent in the security forces.
4. The volunteers who want to fight against ISIS are not entirely Shias and when Shia cleric Sistani urged Iraqis to resist ISIS he did not single out the Shia by explicitly calling on them.
5. Much is said about Maliki and his devastating political mistakes, mainly his marginalization but the violence of the more radical militant elements of Iraqs Sunni community is not merely a reaction to Malikis policies. Deadly large scale attacks on Shia mosques, pilgrims, funeral processions, markets, Cafes…started as early as 2003 short after Saddams loss of power. There were high casualty suicide and car bombings against Shia civilians as well as their religious notables by the hands of Zarqawi and his followers even long before the official start of the 2006/7 civil war.
A good book about those events is this one:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Occupation-War-Resistance-Iraq/dp/184467164X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402684132&sr=8-1&keywords=cockburn+occupation

Iraq: The ongoing carnage and its (mostly) Shia victims

Iraq is a catastrophy, which was initiated by the unjustified US attack and occupation in 2003. Ten days later up to 1000 people a month are dying, most of them Shia being massacred at the hands of Takfiris brainwashed by the sick wahhabi ideology of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis will pay for this crime.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24370037

„Nearly two years of intensified al-Qaeda mass-casualty attacks and sectarian massacres are beginning to severely test Shia patience, resulting in growing evidence of revenge attacks on Sunni mosques, preachers and civilians.“

 

Bahrains King and his „government“ are criminal

Bahrain is really ridiculous, and even more ridiculous is that you will never hear about sanctions against Bahrain or at least serious criticism coming from western countries.
To start with, Bahrain is a tiny country with 70% of the population being muslims. Of these 65-70%, the majority, are Shia.
The Shia however play almost no role in Bahrains political and military landscape:
– The country is ruled by a Sunni monarchy
– All relevant ministers and ruling politicians are Sunni
– The Shia majority is not represented in the military and the police

Now, there should be no „automatism“ that a countrys majority must also constitute the majority in the government and in all official institutions, but it is laughable and discriminatory to sideline the majority in such an obvious way as it happens in Bahrain.

Now, 50 members of the so called „Youth movement“, all of them Shia have been sentenced to up to 15 years of prison for the „crime“ of organizing protests online:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24323939

Nobody demands that Bahrain is bombed by anyone or that the Shia create a „Free Bahrain army“ that gets money and weapons from Iran and Iraq, but the allegedly human rights concerned western governments could at least threaten Bahrains King with sanctions and economic punishment.

For more about Bahrain:
http://radioyaran100words.wordpress.com/?s=Bahrain

 

 

Bahrain: The „international communities“ silence or why suppressing Shia muslims is OK

I don´t think that it is automatically wrong or illegitimate if a country is governed by a person belonging to the minority religious community, because religion itself should not be the benchmark for qualification.

The truth in Bahrain unlike all the lies told about and against Syria is that not only the Shia majority does not rule the country, it does not play a role at all in the higher political ranks, in the military and security services and the judiciary.

The US and UK should be ashamed for their silence on Bahrain:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/journalists-arrested-in-bahrain-as-shia-population-protests-its-sunni-monarchy-8760125.html

Iraqs Shia (and also some Sunni) are constantly targeted by Wahhabi-minded Jihadists

4000 dead in Iraq in 2013, 670 alone in Ramadan. This is both a catastrophy and a shame, but it´s too convenient to just blame the Americans and their unjustified war against Iraq. The islamic world should have the courage to blame the Saudi and Kuwaiti Sheikhs and the al-Qaradawis, too, who for years have been agitating against Shias and inciting hatred against them.
The killings in Iraq are almost entirely sectarian motivated and have nothing to do with „Saddam regime remnants“ who after ten years still want to take revenge for the loss of power.
The anti-Shia violence is strongly related to the one in Syria and vice versa. It is fueled by Saudi/Kuwaiti/Qatari money and Wahhabi/Salafi ideology rained down on the middle eastern arab audience through dozens of hate mongering arabic satellite channels, and it is carried out by (Iraqi and non-Iraqi) Jihadists, collectively called „Al-Qaeda“.
While it is true that the iraqi Shia have also had their share in anti-Sunni violence, a sizable portion of the Sunni victims were Sunni soldiers or „Sahwa“ members who were targeted by the Jihadists for supporting the „infidel Shia regime“.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23651828

Salafis slaughtering Shias and moderate Sunnis

All over the middle East militant Salafis affiliated with the Wahhabi „branch“ of Sunni Islam, which is a radical minority interpretation within Sunni Islam, are killing Shias but also moderate Sunnis whom they accuse of tolerating or supporting Shias.

The rise of these clearly sectarian killings is a direct result of more and more disturbing anti-Shia and anti-Iran fatwas by radical Sunni clerics in Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, among them some high profile people like Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

The incitement towards hatred and violence against Shias is happening with full knowledge and approval of western supported arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf. Hardly any criticism is coming from western politicians, let alone any sanctions. Instead the very same hatemongering jihadist supporting countries are appeased and „rewarded“ with more and more western weapons contracts.

16 lebanese soldiers killed:
This is not the first time armed loyalists of Salafi lebanese cleric al-Assir have killed lebanese soldiers claiming that they are neutral towards Hezbollah:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23025136

Egypt mob attack kills four Shia Muslims near Cairo
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23026865

Attack on Iraq Shia mosque near Baghdad kills 14
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23017518

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22999668
Suicide bomb attack on Pakistan Shia mosque ‚kills 14‘

Western and (gulf) arab attempts to explain or even justify the growing anti-Shia/anti-Iranian violence by pointing towards the role of Hezbollah in Syria and complaining about Irans alleged or real interference are embarassing and invalid considering the fact that the slaughtering of Shia civilians in Pakistan and the continuing deliberate killings of Shia civilians in Iraqi mosques, restaurants, market places and even funeral ceremonies started long before the syrian conflict. In Syria Hezbollah entered the scene long after thousands of salafi or otherwise radical Jihadists had flocked into the country to fight the Syrian army and loyal civilians on purely sectarian grounds.

Below article may help to understand the role of Hezbollah in Syria:
http://radioyaran100words.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/what-hezbollah-is-doing-in-syria-iii/

 

Who promoted sectarianism in the syrian civil war?

It is both irresponsible and factually wrong to claim that the Shia lebanese Hezbollah introduced sectarianism into Syrias civil war by taking side with the regime and later entering the battlefield.

In order to prove why the sectarian claims of the syrian rebels and their arab and euro.american backers are utter nonsense its important to keep the following facts in mind.
For a long time (long before any Hezbollah fighter entered Syria), the rebels – motivated by takfiri ideology and paid and instigated by wahhabi/Salafi backers from the Persian Gulf monarchies – were regularly involved in:

– sectarian anti-Shia slogans

– kidnapping non-syrian Shia pilgrims on several occasions

– besieging and attacking shiite villages in Syria (e.g. Nubbul and Zahra)

– kidnapping and killing (often beheading or otherwise executing) Shia civilians by alleging that they are Shabiha or even worse simply „accusing“ them of rejectionism (Rafidha) and „apostasy“ (Irtidaad)

– targeted destruction of Shia mosques and shrines, vandalization of Shia graves

More and more radical Sunni clerics, among them top-notch influential preachers such as Yousef al Qaradawi started to openly attack the Shia as a faith and community. This is of course the same fascist, anti-human polemic talk that the Nazis used against Jews, but the west prefers to ignore this. While this kind of hate speech has already led to the killings (by the rebels) of Sunni clerics because of their good relations with the Assad regime or with Hezbollah, the rebels western supporters seem to not care for this as long as „arch enemy“ Irans ally Syria is the target and is getting weakened.

On the other side not a single Shia statesman or top-level Shia cleric (in Iran, Iraq or Lebanon) has attacked the rebels for being Sunnis or has used the term „Sunni“ in connection with denouncing the rebels faith. „Sunni“ has not been used as insult or otherwise derogatory against the rebels or the states supporting them. Hezbollah leader Nasrallah clearly used the word „Takfiri“ to attack the rebels and in the same speech said that when he says „Muslims“ he is addressing not only Shias, but also Sunnis, Alawis and others, thus making crystal clear that he is not attacking Sunnis or doubting their islamic belief and loyalty.

Even while reporting a „massacre“ on 60 Shiite villagers in eastern Syria by the rebels, the same BBC article mentions the increased desire of France to arm the rebels. The underlying „logic“ (which is an insult to this words real meaning) is to make the syrian conflict more „balanced“, pointing out that the syrian army has an airforce which the rebels don´t have.

Maybe the rest of the world should use the same flawed logic to arm the Islamists in Mali. After all the French special troops are much better armed. Or „we“ should consider arming the Taliban to make the war in Afghanistan more „balanced“ and „fair“, since the Taliban have no drones. This is of course a fiction scenario but the grotesque analogy should open the eyes of those people who prefer to strengthen the syrian rebels by further (and better) arming them instead of putting them under pressure to enter serious peace talks with the syrian government without demanding brazen preconditions which are solely aimed at sabotaging any negotiations.