This conflict is not going on forever as stated by many people who lack the knowledge and hence oversimplify and trivialize. Less than two decades ago there was not such a violent conflict. Hence this is not an endless conflict and we can go back to the situation that we had not too long ago.
We have to take a look at the beginnings, analyze the ones who profited most and stop to listen to their rhetoric
Another interesting article on this topic is the following one written by Seymour Hersh the Pulitzer Prize winner for the New Yorker in 2007. What he wrote then can explain a lot of things that are happening today in the middle east:
If you ask me the Sunni Shia conflict as it has gotten momentum after the Iraq war had three main reasons:
- It was a “good” way of divide and conquer used by the US who had big problems fighting Sunni and Shia insurgency. Violence between these two groups took the load off the US army in Iraq.
- After the invasion of Iraq, Iran had emerged as the winner of the happenings, neither the self called “leader of the Arab world” Saudi Arabia nor their partners, the US, could be happy about this outcome. Saudi Arabia as country that is suppressing its own Shia minority was not happy to have a Shia dominated Iraq, and a democracy as a neighbor. Democracy in Iraq would indeed be poised to put a Shia leadership on Shia majority Iraq.
- Arab public polls in 2006 (as effect of the war between Israel and Hezbollah) had shown that the Arab public was in fact favorizing non Sunni leaders. The most favorite politicians were Hassan Nasrallah, Bashar Assad and Ahmadinejad. (Two Shia and one Alawite).
This was a major blow back for the wannabe “leaders of the Arab world”. Strengthening sectarianism seemed to improve Saudi Arabia’s position in a Arab world that was favorizing non Sunni leaders that were in contrast to the leadership of Saudi Arabia not appeasing to the West and to Israel.
Iran was in its best position right after Saddam was removed. A huge military threat next to Iran was removed making Iran the undisputed power after Israel in the region. With the start of the sectarian conflict Iran has only lost, as this conflict has inflicted huge costs on Iran. It is also interesting to point out that Iran was in its policies mainly opposed to Israel was never going against Sunnis. Infact Iran’s opposition to Israel was on behalf of Sunni Palestinans, who were supported by Iran and Syria more than by any country in the Persian Gulf region (mostly crazily rich countries that never took any Sunni refugees while advocating them selves as truly Sunni nations).
So, who profited:
- Saudi Arabia: With the US worried about Iran as emerging power in the region, arms sales to Sunni monarchies took off, making Saudi Arabia the biggest importer of US and European weapons. the result is a more and more aggressive foreign policy by Saudi Arabia. The positive or at least neutral views on Shia and the anger on Sunni monarchies are replaced with fear and hate mongering towards Shia, making Saudi Arabia the protector of Sunnis in the region, though Saudi Arabia has refused to take any Syrian refugees, leaving the load on the shoulders of much poorer nations in the region and on the shoulder of Christian European countries.
- USA: Through divide and conquer, the insurgency against the US turned towards violence between the insurgents.
- Israel: The opposition and hate towards Israel was replaced with hate between the two main factions of Islam, fighting off each other at heavy costs, while Sunni Arab countries and Israel moving closer together than ever before.
Israeli official: Israel quite content if Syria war goes on
Jerusalem Post: Israel treating al-Qaida fighters wounded in Syria civil war
The biggest opposing Arab power and most dangerous neighbor set back for decades and thrown into a devastating civil war.
But how would these profiteers fuel the conflict and keep it rolling:
- Use proxies in Iraq to start attacks on Shia, trying to provoke counter attacks. Thanks god for the most part counter attacks remained quite rare, also because Grand Ayatollah Sistani the most important Shia leader called for Iraqi unity and discouraged counter attacks for almost a decade until finally calling for resistance, not against Sunni Iraqis but against IS.
- Declare a for the Arab world NOT uncommon way, of putting down demonstrations in Syria, as a sectarian war towards Sunnis, even though Assad had been the most secular leader in the Arab world and the only one standing up against Israel. Hosting the biggest share of Sunni Palestinians for years, having a Sunni wife he was hardly some one fighting Sunnis. Using opinion building tools like Al Jazeera and Al Arabia (controlled by the Qatari and Saudi monarchs) the Syrian conflict was miss portrayed of an Army of Alawites fighting the Sunni people of Syria. 5 Years into the conflict it is clear that the Syrian Army is consists of a big share of Sunnis who rather fight against the opposition who is more and more non Syrian with the biggest and most mighty groups (IS and Al Nusra) being mainly foreign mercenaries from Chechnya, Tunisia, … , where as Sunni Syrians often flee from rebel owned areas to Government controlled areas.
Read more about this: here
“In 2003, under the pretext of a war on terror, the US invaded Iraq. Eleven years later, it is the Jihadists of ISIS who can say “mission accomplished.” Iraq and Syria are in ruins, soaked with the blood of several hundred thousand people, and millions of their nationals are scattered to the wind as refugees. ”
“Isis regards Shia as apostates or heretics who have betrayed the faith and deserve death. Where Shia cannot defend themselves they have fled, in places such as Tal Afar, with a population of 300,000 Shia Turkoman, west of Mosul where fighting is still going on. Isis is primarily an anti-Shia movement in Iraq and Syria, its violent sectarianism so extreme that it was one of the reasons why it was criticised by al-Qa’ida. There are reports the few Shia who lived in Mosul and stayed have been given 24 hours to convert to Sunni Islam or die.”
“…nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have long bolstered extremist groups operating in the Middle East and beyond. They include the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and the latter’s most recent incarnation, the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).”
“Cooperation is needed to see Maliki depart as Prime Minister when the Iraqi parliament meets and the installation of a new and effective Iraqi government.”
“Witnesses on the ground in Iraq say that multiple groups with significant political differences have set those divisions aside to unite against the sectarian government of Nouri Al-Maliki. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is one of those groups, but they are playing a smaller role. Mosul and Tal Afar are in the hands of the General Military Council of the Iraqi Revolutionaries, liberated from Maliki’s brutal sectarian rule. Only a strong, coordinated military organization—not 1000 or even several thousand undisciplined extremists—could take and hold a city the size of Mosul (1.4 million) and continue to advance.”
“In October 2007 General Wesley Clarke recounted how, in late 2001, a Pentagon source informed him that US State Department goals were to “to attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years. We are going to start with Iraq, and then we’re going to move to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.”
Perhaps even more significantly, General Clarke recounted a conversation he had had with Paul Wolfowitz in 1991, in which the then number 3 in the Pentagon told Clark: “one thing we did learn [from the First Gulf War] is that we can use our military in the region [in the Middle East] and the Soviets won’t stop us. And we’ve got about 5 or 10 years to clean up those old Soviet regimes – Syria, Iran, Iraq – before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us.” “
“At least 21 insurgents have been killed in central Iraq after a car bomb was detonated accidentally”
“In a discussion with Al-Monitor, Iraqi writer and journalist Abdul Amir al-Majar said, “The culture of suicide, which wasn’t known in Iraq, is a new [jihadist] trend that has swept the Arab countries. Some young Arabs are being influenced by this distorted model and lured under the pressure of various feelings. But any political or ideological disagreement, regardless of how significant, cannot justify a man blowing himself up among innocent people just because he disagrees with them ideologically, unless such a person has been brainwashed.”
“Sunni Muslim tribesmen backed by Iraqi troops are fighting al-Qaida-linked militants for control of the western province of Anbar”
Saudi Wahhabi Sheikh Calls on Iraq’s Jihadists to Kill Shiites
“Saad al-Durihim, a Saudi Wahhabi sheikh, posted a tweet on Twitter in which he said that jihadist fighters in Iraq should adopt a “heavy-handed” approach and kill any Shiites they can get their hands on, including children and women.”
“To undermine Iran…the Bush Administration…has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran.”
“Condoleezza Rice…pointed to the Sunni states as centers of moderation, and said that Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah…have made their choice…to destabilize.””
Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House…It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.”
“A suicide bomber in Iraq has rammed a car packed with explosives into a bus, killing at least 10 Iranian Shia pilgrims…Shia pilgrims have frequently been targeted by Sunni militants in Iraq.”
The sick (takfiri) ideology behind these inexcusable crimes comes from Saudi Arabia and God will hold the Wahhabis accountable for this.
“On one morning eight bombs went off in an hour in Shia districts of Baghdad. On another there were 11 almost simultaneously – again in Shia neighbourhoods.
There was an attack too on a Sunni mosque in Baqubah and another close to a funeral procession.
Speaking to Iraqis at the bombsites and in hospitals, what surprised me was the very apparent lack of hatred towards the other sect.“