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
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). http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7347613.stm http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Poll-Nasrallah-most-admired-leader-in-Arab-world
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.
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
US condemns shelling of UN school in Gaza but restocks Israeli ammunition
White House issues unusually strong rebuke after 16 deaths
But Pentagon confirms that US resupplied Israel with ammunition
The United States issued a firm condemnation of the shelling of a United Nations school in Gaza that killed at least 16 Palestinians on Wednesday, but also confirmed it restocked Israel’s dwindling supplies of ammunition.
The White House expressed concern that thousands of civilians who had sought protection from the UN were at risk after the shelling of the girls’ elementary school. Some 3,300 civilians were taking shelter there, after being told by Israel to leave their homes.
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, which runs the school, said its initial assessment was that it has been struck by Israeli artillery.
“The United States condemns the shelling of a UNRWA school in Gaza, which reportedly killed and injured innocent Palestinians – including children – and UN humanitarian workers,” said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the White House’s National Security Council.
“We are extremely concerned that thousands of internally displaced Palestinians who have been called on by the Israeli military to evacuate their homes are not safe in UN designated shelters in Gaza.”
Meehan and other US officials that condemned the attack did not specifically accuse Israel of responsibility for the shelling, saying there were conflicting reports about the circumstances of the incident that required further investigation. They did not specify the nature of those conflicting reports.
A 9-year-old girl is covered in shrapnel wounds at Al Shifa hospital in Gaza City Photo: Rex
More than half of 15 to 18 year olds in Gaza show signs of full or partial post-traumatic stress disorder after seeing dead bodies and witnessing heavy shelling, according to a new study.
It found 91 per cent of the teenagers reported seeing mutilated bodies on television, 88.5 per cent had heard artillery shelling, 86.6 per cent had seen the aftermath of shelling, and 86 per cent had heard the sound of war planes overhead.
Professor Panos Vostanis from the University of Leicester’s Greenwood Institute of Child Health, one of the co-authors of the study, said: “The toll on the mental health of these young people tends to be exacerbated by poverty, which is endemic in Gaza. It’s a double whammy for many of them.
Nothing is more deeply etched into US foreign policy than standing by Israel, and suggestions made by some conservatives last week that Mr Obama was chafing at that compact were hardly to be taken seriously. Nor is America about to join in any call for Israel to be brought before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity for its actions in Gaza – if only because, as the main supplier of its arms, that would be a risky tack.
Yet there are times when the friendship can be uncomfortable, and that was on full display through most of last week when civilian casualties in Gaza were soaring and, in particular, when destruction came to a UN school in Gaza with the loss of as many as 20 lives.
When it is not at war, Israel has tested not just Mr Obama, but also George W Bush and Bill Clinton before him, with its settlement building in the West Bank.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll last week confirmed what he could have guessed: 52 per cent of Americans disapprove of his handling of the Gaza emergency, while 39 per cent approve. And a Pew survey, released before the attack on the school, found that only 19 per cent of Americans blamed Israel for the current violence while twice as many, 40 per cent, placed the blame on Hamas.
But there is another interesting divide in the US which, when this crisis has settled, the Israeli leadership might at least want to heed. A new Gallup poll finds that while Americans aged over 65 support Israel’s actions by a margin of 24 points, those under 30 oppose them by a margin of 26.
American tolerance with Israel, in other words, might be weakening.
Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu has said, with regard to his government’s assertion that Hamas carried out the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers, that, “we know Hamas did it.” Mr. Netanyahu, the world must see the evidence.
Hamas denies any responsibility for the kidnap and murder of the three Israeli teens. What would Hamas gain by carrying out the crimes Israel accuses them of? Let’s say that Hamas kidnapped the teens to hold them for a ransom of release of a number of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons. Why would they kill the teens and lose their bargaining position? These are questions having to do with conjectures, but according to Israeli officials, they “know Hamas did it”, so where is the information which led to that certainty?
Why is it important that Israel show the world their proof? Because Israel is…
“Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel, was selected by Secretary of State John Kerry for the role of Special Envoy for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority…
…the Americans were hardly honest in their dealings with both parties. In fact, the US was not a third party at all, but was and remains steadfast in the Israeli camp. ..Martin Indyk, the prospective harbinger of peace, worked for the pro-Israeli lobby group AIPAC in 1982. AIPAC is a rightwing outlet that has invested unlimited funds and energy to impede any just and peaceful resolution to the conflict…Indyk’s most important contribution to Israel, however, was the founding of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) in 1985, another Israeli lobby outlet..” http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/24/moral-crisis-at-heart-of-obamas-peace/
This is because in Yemen (just as in Afghanistan or Pakistan) Al Qaeda fighters or those with almost identical attitude and methods are considered terrorists. Not however in Syria, where their existence and relevance is either denied or belittled. Thus, it is tolerated by the US, UK, France, Turkey and implicitly also by Israel that the Syrian Nusra Front is non other than the local branch of Al Qaeda and that most supposedly “moderate” rebel groups closely and regularly cooperate with the Nusra.
“When a rebel was shot and severely wounded during a new offensive on Syria’s southern front, his colleagues knew the only hope of saving his life was to get him to Israel…Israeli soldiers checked the patient for booby-traps and weapons, and then whisked him over the border and rushed him to hospital.
This scenario from last week has played out more than 200 times in the past six months, rebels in southern Syria said…“More than 250 of our people have gone across, they get amazing medical care there,” said a rebel commander in Deraa”