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July 23, 2016

The Sunni-Shia Schism Ain't What It Used To Be [CBD]

The news that we have taken official action (writing their names on a list!) against some al-Qaeda thugs isn't news. Where they are operating shouldn't be news either, if any of us were actually paying attention to that mysterious motivating factor common in essentially all terrorist activity on earth.

U.S. Levies Terror Sanctions Against Iran-based al-Qaeda Leaders

Three senior al-Qaeda operatives landed on the Treasury Department's Specially Designated Global Terrorists list on July 20, joining the U.S. government's international who's-who of terrorist operatives. What's perplexing is that two of the three al-Qaeda figures aren't based in the stereotypical al-Qaeda hangouts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Yemen. Instead, they're hiding out in a country that's seen its relations with the U.S. and the broader international warm considerably in recent years: Iran.

Many people (including me) have understood the schism between Shia and Sunni Islam to be permanent. Oh, they hate us, but they spend a lot of energy killing each other because of differences of opinion as to who should have succeeded Mohammed when he died in 632. Yup...that's the big difference. The Sunnis wanted succession to be decided by selection, and the Shia faction wanted it to remain in Mohammed's family.

That fracture in Islam has prevented concerted action for much of the last 1,400 years, and that is a very good thing. But no less an authority on the fight against the West than some guy name Bin laden (a Wahhabi Sunni from Saudi Arabia) said not to attack Iran, in spite of it being the center of Shia Islam, because so much of his funding and support flowed through there. As he wrote:

I have some notes about your threats against Iran. I hope you and your brothers take this well. You did not consult with us in this dangerous matter that harms everyone's interests. We expect you would consult with us for these important matters, for as you are aware, Iran is our main artery for funds, personnel and communication, as well as for the matter of hostages. There is no need to open a front with Iran.

The point? Islam has huge internal issues, but the external enemy, The West, can unify them. Not all of the time, and with luck they will continue to kill each other. But Iran, which truly is the nexus of terrorism in the world, is willing to work with anyone who hates America and who will attack us. They have sublimated a 1,400 year old religious-cultural fight in furtherance of their goal to humble, and perhaps destroy America and the West.

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posted by Open Blogger at 04:00 PM

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