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, and a huge military threat next to Iran was removed make 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 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
“An overwhelming Shia Muslim majority is ruled by a Sunni Muslim royal family who bestow privileged, expedited citizenship on (Sunni) foreign nationals. These non-Bahrainis are then employed in the security sector to enforce authoritarian rule and skew the island’s demographics…“
“In the last two years scores of children have been arrested and detained in connection with ongoing anti-government protests in predominantly Shi’a towns and villages in Bahrain. In a number of cases children have reportedly been tortured or otherwise ill-treated to force them to sign “confessions” which were then used in court to incriminate them and others.”
“The demolition of Shia mosques occurred right at the onset of the government’s crackdown, numbering over 30 in just a few months. This included the historic, 400-year-old Amir Mohammed Barbagi Mosque which was completely leveled. ”
“Make no mistake, this is not a “resurgence” of the Syrian revolution…It is simply a cutthroat struggle for power, between jihadist groups of similar ideology, distinct only in name and the identity of their backers, albeit with slightly differing methods of imposing their doctrines on the ground…The Islamic Front, the alliance of jihadist groups now fighting ISIS, were more subtle and less murderous in dealing with citizens, even though they imposed harsh Sharia rules according to their strict interpretation, for example the public flogging of two men who missed Friday prayers in Sukkari, Aleppo by Ahrar al-Sham. It is also important to note that many factions that make up the Islamic Front have been implicated in serious war crimes such as the mass sectarian killings in rural Latakia and more recently in Adra, as well as the summary executions of captured soldiers.”
“Talk to any Syrian you meet on the Syrian-Turkish border these days, and in less than five minutes the conversation is likely to turn to Da’ash—the Arabic acronym for the rebel organization known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, or ISIS…he group beheaded three Alawites in the city’s central square, and established sharia courts and policing…Women have been told to cover up, smoking banned, and girls and boys segregated in school. Minorities have been hounded out of the city, and foreign journalists and aid workers are no longer welcome: dozens are currently in ISIS captivity…ISIS originated as an Iraq-based al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Qaeda in Iraq…ISIS’s vision is phenomenally popular with hardline jihadists and their supporters…Fundraising campaigns on Twitter…indicate that significant money is coming to ISIS from private donors in the Gulf…A large majority of foreign fighters who have entered Syria come through Turkey”
On Al Qaeda affiliated foreign fighters on the side of the syrian rebels, see also:
Private Donors’ Funds Add Wild Card to War in Syria:
Syrian FSA fades in shadow of Saudi-backed opposition front:
The West’s Alliance with Jihad Warriors in Syria
…the Saudis dubious role:
“At both the FBI and CIA, there were files thick with memos and other documents detailing connections between the Saudi hijackers and Saudi officials and agents in at least seven US cities…There was so much Saudi-related evidence that it took 28 pages just for Hill investigators to summarize it all…The Saudis have a history of turning a blind eye to the extremists among them, funding radical mosques as a way of placating their population and keeping themselves in power…”
More about Saudi-enabled and funded Jihadi terrorism in the Middle East:
“Donors in Saudi Arabia have notoriously played a pivotal role in creating and maintaining Sunni jihadist groups over the past 30 years.”
“Saudi Arabia was most important in sustaining these groups, but it was not quite alone since “al-Qa’ida and other groups continue to exploit Kuwait both as a source of funds and as a key transit point”
“For Osama bin Laden the chief enemy was the Americans, but for the great majority of Sunni jihadists, including the al-Qa’ida franchises in Iraq and Syria, the target is the Shia. It is the Shia who have been dying in their thousands in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and even in countries where there are few of them to kill, such as Egypt.
Pakistani papers no longer pay much attention to hundreds of Shia butchered from Quetta to Lahore. In Iraq, most of the 7,000 or more people killed this year are Shia civilians killed by the bombs of al-Qa’ida in Iraq, part of an umbrella organisation called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), which also encompasses Syria. In overwhelmingly Sunni Libya, militants in the eastern town of Derna killed an Iraqi professor who admitted on video to being a Shia before being executed by his captors.”
“The proposed weapons deal, which the Pentagon notified Congress of in early December, would provide Riyadh with more than 15,000 Raytheon anti-tank missiles at a cost of over $1 billion. ”
“The problem is: What’s the threat?”
“But one Saudi ally could desperately use anti-tank weapons — the Syrian rebels. ”
“What may be happening, analysts say, is that the Saudis are sending their stockpiles of anti-tank weapons bought from elsewhere to Syria and are purchasing U.S. missiles to replenish their own stockpiles. ”
“From 2004 to 2011, according to a 2012 report by the Congressional Research Service, Riyadh signed $75.7 billion worth of arms transfer agreements…”