What’s The Fight Between Shiites And Sunnis About?
Prophet Muhammed may have been God-sent to the Muslims of the world, but the split among his followers into Shiites and Sunnis was God-sent for European colonizers and more recently US and European imperialism. The animosity towards Shiites in predominantly Sunni states of the Persian Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia, has increased since the Iranian revolution of 1979 led to the formation of the Islamic Republic in that country, where the vast majority are Shiites. In fact, their animosity towards Shiites seems to be much more intense than towards those who don’t share their prophet, their holy book or their calendar. Such zealot hostility is also on display in Syria, where Sunni fighters, including ultra-fundamentalist Salafis, Vahabis and Al Qaeda followers, from several countries, have descended on the nation to try to topple Assad’s regime and install a Sunni government.
From the above description, it would seem as though: 1) the hostility is all about religion and religious differences, even though their differences are quite minor, and 2) that the followers of the two branches can’t get along or live together. Neither of those two assumptions or conclusions is true. Though on the surface, it appears to be about religious differences, at the root, it’s really about politics, power and rule. Such distorted explanations serve to hide real motives and objectives of local corrupt and brutal kings and rulers on the one hand, and colonial powers who make pacts with them for their own imperial interests, on the other. The second conclusion is also popular with imperialist ideologues who often use such infighting as justification for their intervention and efforts at dividing nations and people along religious or ethnic lines.
Beyond the occasional fake and disingenuous rhetoric in support of Palestinians, the fact is the Saudi ruling family who sell oil to the West and turn around and give the money back by purchasing billions of dollars worth of fighter jets, bombers and other weapons, which they don’t need, and who live in obscenely decadent luxury and extravagance, are strong allies of the US and no less of israel. The Saudis and other Gulf kingdoms depend on US military prowess for their continued rule and couldn’t care less what happens in Gaza, the West Bank or about the Jewish settlements on stolen land. If every once on a while you see Saudis or other Gulf kings defend or support Palestinisns, it’s because the “Arab Street” is strongly for them and against the apartheid state.
Coming to power of Islamic Republic posed no threat to Sunni tradition or following. Nor did it threaten to convert Sunni population to Shiite. Heck, they wouldn’t care even if it did, as long as they were given their security and gold palaces and thrones they covet like a child does candy. Nor does Assad regime pose any danger to world Sunnis. Their fear and opposition was and is purely and strictly political.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, as oppressive and anti-working class as it itself is (as is also Assad’s regime in Syria), is a threat to the region’s balance of forces, to the detriment of imperialism (and Israel). It, along with Syria and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, have created an anti-Israel and anti-imperialist front with the potential to rock the golden boats of the corrupt kings of the region. They could set an example to their people to overthrow their pro-imperialist kings, as did the Iranians when they overthrew the Shah. That’s why Saudi Arabia fretted the “Arab Spring” (as did the US) and sent in troops to Bahrain two years ago to help the Sunni dictator crack down on the revolting Shiites who happen to be the majority there, and that’s why they are now actively helping the so-called “rebels” who are trying to topple Assad’s regime. They do it to maintain their own rule, but also because imperialism expects them to, as part of the deal. That’s the real reason, not because they’re Sunnis and Iranians are Shiites. But, no matter, that’s how it’s sold to their people in order to incite them against those who are their political adversaries. So, too, the public in imperialist countries, especially in the US, are told the story about the religious differences being the cause of fightings and animosity because it helps cover their policies and political alliances.
Finally, there is also the bogus and racist argument, even by some liberals, that “those people aren’t ready for democracy”; that they need or want a dictator. I suppose a dictator who answers to Washington, right?