Tag Archives: Sunni

US Can’t Win-Can Iraqis Win?

The Iraqi High Election Commission which a few weeks ago published a list of over 500 Sunnis who were banned from running for office due to their ties to the regime of Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath political party has rescinded the list and will allow the Sunni candidates to vie for public office in upcoming elections. After the ban was implemented, Baghdad was rocked by bombings which may have come from angry Sunnis who decided to ally with al-Qaeda. Within hours after announcing the decision, opponents of the decision made charges the lifting of the ban was caused by pressure from Vice President Joe Biden and members of the American Embassy. One charged, “The Americans obviously still interfere in all Iraqi institutions.”

I frequently wonder if George Bush keeps up with events in Iraq and has come to grips with his stupidity in ever getting America involved in the disaster known as the invasion of Iraq. If there ever was a Hall of Fame for Stupidity, George would be number one in it.

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–Shiite Conflict Escalates In Iraq

It is a well known fact that neither George Bush, Dick Cheney or Don Rumsfeld had a clue as to the difference between a Sunni or a Shiite Muslim prior to ordering an invasion of Iraq. As late as 2008, John McCain, the Republican candidate, fouled up on the question of which was which when asked about Sunni or Shiite. Leading Sunni politicians in Iraq are furious that over 400 Sunni candidates have been banned from running in the upcoming general election on grounds they belonged to the Ba’ath party. Supposedly the United States urged reconciliation between the two groups and US military forces worked closely with Sunni Awakening Councils in order to defeat al-Qaeda. Saleh al-Mutlak, who heads the National Dialogue Front notes sardonically, “reconciliation has always been a farce.’

So, what is in store for Iraq. Preventing Sunnis from being part of the Iraq government ensures anger and hostility. It is an open invitation to force Sunnis into the arms of al-Qaeda. According to Sunni politician, Asama al-Najafi, “there will be a severe public backlash to this, reconciliation will end, and the election will fail. Any results will clearly be seen as illegitimate.”

So, what is the next step for America?

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?

Ways Of Death–Iraqi Suicide Bomber

This writer is not a devout religious person and therefore admits to a lack of understanding how individuals can kill others on the basis of religious differences, particularly, when the object of death is someone of your basic religious faith and nationality. A female suicide bomber was thwarted in her attempt in Iraq to blow herself up and kill dozens of Shiite believers who were on their way to observe the martyrdom of one of their saints. Police arrested a suicide bomber who was getting ready to enter a procession near Baghdad as millions of Iraqi Shiites prepared for their procession. The Iraq government has sent over 30,000 troops to protect people engaged in religious activities.

Most probably these suicide attacks on Shiites are instigated by Sunni Iraqis who have yet to accept the reality that their centuries of dominance in Iraq are over. Perhaps, Sunni Iraqis believe that killing innocent men, women, and children will somehow advance their goal to get rid of the Shiite Iraqi government. All that results from such actions is hate and a resolve to give even less power to Sunnis.

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.