and Shiites

at War

Related Sites    

Concise History of Iran

Concise History of Iraq

Islamic Fundamentalism     

War On Terror Who Are We Fighting

Economist Magazine

One internal argument between Sunnis and Shias concerns an ancient disagreement over the primacy of the many successors of the Prophet. It has become deeper and enhanced by sectarian killing in Iraq and  worry over powers such as Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran.

A more complicated internal argument concerns how Islam should adopt to the modern world. Westerns like to split Muslims into modernizers and traditionalists, but the later group is very small. One strain of traditionalists pushed by Wahhabi preachers and Saudi money feel Islam has been corrupted by infidel ideas and must return to the Koran. A second strain feel the Koran was given  to nomadic tribes and needs to be put into context. This idea, which would  the center of any Islamic reformation, is still dominate at the great universities of Cairo and Damascus. However, this strain has lost to the Wahhabi strain of countless mosques and Madrasah around the world.

Reformation counts for little in the current Islamic world battle. Rather, it is a battle between the martyrs and the traitors.  The martyrs believe the failures of Muslim countries has been caused by moral dissoluteness and secularism. Relatively incorrupt/democratic organizations like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood provide strength in their battle to center life around the Koran. Traitors are the deeply undemocratic regimes often propped up by of Western might and oil money. Some, like Egypt, use secularism as the reason to suppress Islamists and other, like Saudi Arabia, placate the radicals.

Recent History    Summarized from A Concise 20th Century History of Iraq
1) In 1979, the Sunnis Saddam Hussein assumed the office of President of Shiite Iraq.
2) In the late 1970s, Iraq purchased a French nuclear reactor, dubbed Osirak or Tammuz 1.
3) Territorial disputes with Iran, a Shiites nation,  led to an inconclusive and costly 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War which devastated the economy. The war left Iraq with the largest military establishment in the Persian Gulf region but with huge debts and an ongoing rebellion by Kurdish elements in the northern mountains. The government suppressed the rebellion by using (chemical?) weapons on civilian targets.
4) In 1990 Iraq invaded Sunni Kuwait resulting in the Gulf War which was quickly lost.
5) After the war, United Nations economic sanctions were imposed at the urging of the United States.
6) During the latter part of the 1990s the UN considered relaxing the sanctions imposed because of the hardships suffered by ordinary Iraqis. According to UN estimates, between 500,000 and 1.2 million children died during the years of the sanctions. The Unites States used its veto in the UN Security Council to block the proposal to lift the sanctions because of the continued failure of Iraq to verify disarmament. However, an oil for food program was established in 1996 to ease the effects of sanctions.
7) After the terrorist attacks by the group formed by the multi-millionaire Sunni Saudi Osama bin Laden on the United States in 2001, American foreign policy began to call for the removal of Iran's government.
In March 2003, the United States and the United Kingdom, with military aid from other nations, invaded Iraq.

Middle East Religious Populations
USA Today 4/10/07 

*insignificant numbers

Jordan 92%
Saudi Arabia 90%
UAE 85%
Afghanistan 80%
Pakistan 77%
Syria 74%
Kuwait 70%
Yemen 70%
Iraq 35%
Lebanon 23%




















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