Tag Archives: Shiite

Iraq Militants Blast Away

American forces in Iraq are in the process of winding down their operations in order to allow Iraq troops to assume control of security. Militants assume Iraq security personnel will not be as vigilant as Americans so they are resorting to more elaborate ways of placing explosives in cars as part of the suicide car bombing approach. Explosives are being placed in secret car compartments of other places that are not ordinarily searched. This past week, bombs struck Baghdad hotels frequently used by westerners. Ironically, as al-Qaeda employs creative ways of placing bombs in cars, the use of dogs to sniff them out will not be used by Iraqi troops because of Muslim tradition that avoids contact with dogs.

The tragedy of Iraq is an inability on the part of Shiite leaders to reach out to Sunnis and work for reconciliation. Instead, Sunni political leaders are forbidden to run for public office. Surprise, more and more Sunnis who opposed al-Qaeda are becoming more friendly to their former enemies. Old traditions are maintained in an era requiring new thinking.

Sunni Iraqi Women Take Over Family Burden

A persistent failure on the part of the Iraqi government is their treatment of the Sunni minority. During Saddam Hussein’s rule, his fellow Sunni enjoyed many privileges and were awarded jobs and power before those from the majority Shiite population. Now, the tables have been turned and Shiites rule. It is extremely difficult for Sunni men who once had well paying jobs to secure even a low paying job in the world of Shiite ruled Iraq. As one woman commented; “there are no jobs for men. I have four sons and not one of them has a job. they have nothing, no job and no opportunity to join the military.” Instead, women clad in black robes are tilling the fields with their young daughters while men sit around drinking tea and recalling the old days of power.

One can only wonder how long these young men will sit around cafes before they once again take up arms to fight the hated Iraq government. Once American soldiers are gone, then it is between Sunni and Shiite and we can expect considerable violence to occur.

Iraq Terrorism And The Future

There has been a continual rise in bombings within Iraq as al-Qaeda seeks to create sectarian tension between Sunni and Shiites. The vast majority of bombings have been in Shiite areas which is no accident. Al-Qaeda has a plan, it is to make Shiites furious at Sunnis and thus reawaken religious conflict. Unfortunately, terrorism is aided by failure on the part of the Maliki government to reach out to Sunnis. Wednesday witnessed a series of bombings that resulted in over eighty deaths.

Where does that place American forces. US troops withdrew from urban areas and now stand on the sidelines as terrorism begins to grow. General Odierno has already offered to use American troops to assist in northern Iraq which has been the scene of growing conflict between the Shiite government and Kurdish leaders. Central to this growing terrorism is the need for the Maliki government to bring Sunnis into leadership positions and offer them a larger share of military positions. Secondly, there is need to recognize that Kurds want greater autonomy and will not allow Iraqis to control their area.

I wonder if Barack Obama still believes America will be out of Iraq by 2011.

Saudi Arabia Cracks Down On Shiites

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is mainly populated by Sunni Muslims, but about ten percent of the people are Shiites. A cleric, from the Shiite area of Saudi Arabia which is located in the heart of oil and wealth but whose Shiites live in dire poverty, has denounced the government and threatened violence unless Shiites are treated equally. Cleric Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr spoke out during Friday prayers by exclaiming: “Our dignity has been pawned away and if it is not restored… we will call for secession. Our dignity is more precious than the unity of this land.” Since his comments more than 35 people have been arrested and the cleric has gone into hiding. Police are setting up checkpoints leading into Awwamiya, a key area of Shiites. Other Shiite leaders have distanced themselves from the cleric but also insist the government must do more to establish Shiite equality in a land that denies them job opportunities in government or the armed forces or in industry.

The hardline Wahhbi school of Islam is the official state religoin and Shiites are considered to be infidels. There is growing fear as Shiite Iraq becomes more stable it will seek to assist its fellow Shiites in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Shiites warn the government it is time to address prejudice against them in Saudi Arabia or fear growing radical ideas and leaders emerging in the coming years.

Iraq Wars Continue Among Iraqis

The mantra about the success of the famous “surge” has become part of what people believe is the conventional truth concerning Iraq– al-Qaeda has been beaten and things are on the mend and headed for democracy. Unfortunately, the truth is not always what it sounds like on Fox News. Sunni groups which cooperated with American forces in order to deal with al-Qaeda now fear the Iraqi Shiite government is cracking down on their groups in order to destroy Sunni power within the nation. Sunni groups began a two day protest against arrest of one of its leaders and US backed Iraqi troops crushed the Sunni attempt at protesting what they viewed as an injustice.

The Iraq government is attempting to prove that Sunni forces are trying to bring back Saddam military forces. Sunni forces wonder why charges against their leader, Adel l-Maashhadani were never raised when he was working with US troops to crush al-Qaeda. Leaders of Sunni councils are becoming angry at failure to incorporate their forces within the Iraqi army.

If American forces leave and things don’t change there is a high probability that Sunni-Shiite fighting will resume.

Middle Eastern Religious Quarrels Continue

The centuries old conflict between Sunnis and Shiites cropped up once again, but this time in the tiny nation of Bahrain. The native born population of the island kingdom is small and there is heavy dependance on labor from other countries. Thousands of Shiites have flocked to Bahrain, but the government is not interested in granting them citizenship rights because if their numbers grew large they would at some future point in time become the majority. About 12,000 Shiites in Bahrain marched in protest against discrimination and argued the government was more willing to grant citizenship to Sunni immigrants from Syria and other Arab nations which were predominantly Sunni in composition.

The issue of Israel in one sense diverts attention from other divisive potentialities such as a conflict between Sunni and Shiites in the Middle East. It would be interesting as to what would happen if Israel reached peace agreements with Arab nations in the region. Would Israel slip to the back burner as historic religious issues come to the fore front?

Will Awakening Councils Awake To Iraq Nightmare?

The Shiite led government of Iraq has assumed control over the Sunni led Awakening Councils and is transferring members of the Councils into the regular armed force of the nation. It is estimated about 100,000 Sunnis who belong to the Sons of Iraq or Awakening Councils will soon find themselves under control of Shiites. The Iraq government has pledged to respect the Sunnis and integrate them into the army, police or help them find jobs. However, most Sunnis do not trust anything told them by the Maliki government. Saalah al-Ageidi, a member of the Awakening Council, expressed the feelings of many when he declared: “I consider the transfer an act of betrayal by the U.S. Army. I think the government will start to target me and may people after the transfer.”

On the other hand, some Sunnis look forward to being part of an Iraqi army and ending their relationship with Americans. Ali Abdul Jabar, said he preferred taking orders from fellow Iraqis rather then “take orders from the occupation army.” The key aspect ingredient that will determine success or failure of the transfer lies with the ability of the Shiite Iraq government to respect the integrity of Sunnis. If they fail to obtain their loyalty, terrorism may well assume with ferocity.

Iraq Shiite Government Cracks Down On Sunnis

The Iraq government has begun to impose its will on Sunni groups which played an important role in reducing the power of al-Qaeda. The Sunni Awakening Councils were vital to the success of the American”surge” efforts but it appears the presence of armed Sunni groups is threatening to the Iraq government. The United States military which placed many of the Sunni fighters on its payroll has urged Prime Minister Maliki to incorporate them within the regular Iraq army, but this suggestion apparently has been rejected.

Maliki’s decision to wage war on Sunni fighters raises the possibility of a resurgence of militant action once American forces leave the nation. An important belief behind the “surge” was uniting Sunni and Shiite as a combined force to deal with terrorism. it may well be the failure to achieve this goal will result in more terrorism.

No Solution In Sight In iraq

Abdel Rahman Hussein, writing in the Cairo Daily News commented: “As the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion draws upon us, the war torn country is still bogged down with no solution in sight. What was sold as a swift victory would be the basis of the democratization of the region can now be seen as the heart of the region’s troubles.” Bush declared victory within weeks after the invasion was launched and promised the people of Iraq were now free from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. “Whether it is or isn’t is for history to judge, but what is certain is that things did not go according to plan.” Professor Walid Kazziha of the American University in Cairo, pointed out: “Ironically, I think they misread the situation either because of the Iraqis informing them or due to the administration’s willingness to be misinformed in the rush to occupy Iraq.”

Abdel Hussein notes, “Proof of the quagmire is that on Tuesday a conference aimed to reconcile warring factons in Iraq descended into farce when it started because the Sunni representatives felt they were not properly invited. And the violence continues.”

Professor Kazziha points out ironic aspects of the American invasion. “As a result they have ended with the Iranians taking advantage of the situation and the Americans defeating their own purpose. They also reinforced the divisions of the country. Instead of going into Iraq with the perception of unifying it, Iraq became divided and the Americans are in the midst of all this and it is very difficult to change that after five years.

The concluding words of Professor Kazziha speak volumes about the success of the American invasion: “There isn’t much to be optimistic about.”

Shiite Officials Freed After Murder Charges Dropped

Two former senior Shiite government officials who were charged with kidnapping and killing scores of Sunnis have been unexpectedly ordered released after prosecutors dropped the case against them. American and iraq government offiicals who spent a year assembling evidence were shocked at the development. A US legal adviser noted: “this shows that the judiciail system in Iraq is horribly broken. And it sends a terrible signal: If you are a Shia, then no worries you can do whatever you want and nothing is going to happen to you.”

The trial of Hakim al-Zamili and General hamid Alwan Abbas al-Shamari, who led the security force, were supporters of the Shiite cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr. They used ambulances to transfer weapons to Shiite militia and kidnap and torture Sunni patients. The prosecutor suddenly ended the case claiming there was insufficient evidence to proceed.

There is evidence many witnesses were promised their names would be kept secret, but somehow names were leaked and their families threatened. Many did not even show up for the trial. There were rumors one of the judes had promised to render a not guilty verdict.

Mirmbe Nantongo, speaking from the US Embassy in Baghdad, commented in an upbeat tone: “The very fact the charges were heard and investigated show modest progress toward the rule of law.” If that is what the Bush administration considers the triumph of the rule of law we can well understand why it welcomed the fraudulent election in Florida in 2000.