The origin of the “modern” Sunni Shia conflict

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

http://qz.com/476191/remembering-the-bomb-that-started-the-middle-easts-sectarian-war/

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:
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection

If you ask me the Sunni Shia conflict as it has gotten momentum after the Iraq war had three main reasons:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. USA: Through divide and conquer, the insurgency against the US turned towards violence between the insurgents.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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

 

Tag team effort

and that's the way it was

Putting two and two together, Mohammad Javad Zarif’s recent travels and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s recent chat with Saudi FM Adel al-Jubeir point to a coordinated push by Bashar al-Assad’s two biggest allies, Russia and Iran, to follow-up the nuclear deal by recharging some kind of peace process in Syria. In fact, Zarif is supposed to be in Moscow on Monday to meet with Lavrov and discuss, you got it, Syria.

So far, Russia’s efforts at building consensus on a Syrian deal that allows everybody to focus their fire on ISIS have been decidedly less successful than Iran’s, though to be fair Zarif has been mostly talking to friendly audiences in Lebanon (Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah) and Damascus (Assad himself), while Russia has been talking to the Saudis and the “legitimate” Syrian opposition. Lavrov’s meeting on Thursday with Khaled Khoja, the head of the Syrian National Coalition, apparently…

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Is Iran pushing a diplomatic solution for Syria?

and that's the way it was

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is on a bit of a diplomacy jag in the aftermath of reaching the nuclear agreement with the P5+1. On Tuesday and Wednesday he was in Lebanon, where he met with Lebanese Prime Minister (and acting President, on account of they don’t currently have one) Tammam Salam and other top Lebanese politicians, to talk about finding a way to end the Syrian civil war and to collaborate on regional security issues. He also met with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, and what makes that interesting is that Zarif’s chat with Nasrallah immediately preceded the announcement of a 48 hour ceasefire in the Syrian border town of Zabadani, where government/Hezbollah fighters have been pressing a force of Syrian rebels (mainly Ahrar al-Sham) pretty hard for the past several weeks. Talks on that ceasefire have reportedly been going on for a month, with Turkish

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Was not the “Southern Front” supposed to be dominated by “moderate, pro-western” rebels?

<<“The spokesman…said in a phone interview from Daraa that Al-Nusra’s higher salaries and high-quality weapons have spurred many local FSA soldiers to break ranks and join the Islamist group. He estimated that 80 percent of Al-Nusra’s fighting force in Daraa is currently comprised of Syrians, and the other 20 percent of foreign fighters.

“Daraa is partially controlled by Al-Nusra Front and affiliated groups, but it could fall entirely to their hands,” he said.>>
http://www.timesofisrael.com/jihadists-capturing-southern-syria-local-fighter-warns/

 

 

If the “broad majority” of Syrians hates Assad, why do Syrian rebels shell Aleppos polling stations?

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/06/syria-aleppo-elections-rebels-strike-shell-assad.html

“Aleppo has borne the brunt of rebel anger, as shells and rockets fired from their positions in the east of the city fell heavy as rain in the days leading up to the vote, and continue to do so as I write this and as the voting gets under way. The mayhem and slaughter is unprecedented in the regime areas as hundreds of shells left no neighborhood unmolested. Streets became deserted as people stayed indoors and shops closed, hoping to avoid random death from above. Of course, dozens were not so lucky, and the civilian death toll from just two days of rebel shelling stood at over 50, with scores more wounded and large areas devastated, especially in the Midan neighborhood, an Armenian quarter adjacent to the Bustan al-Basha rebel stronghold. The scenes of death and carnage, especially among children. were so shocking and horrific that even staunchly pro-opposition groups had to speak out against them and demand they stop.

Yet, the bombs ceaselessly continue to fall, claiming even more lives as students attended exams at colleges and schools where ballot boxes were placed”

Further good articles regarding the Syrian elections and it´s implications:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/06/11/the-syrian-vote/
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-27599868
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/05/syrian-expats-divided-over-presidential-vote-2014528102522416850.html
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/30/why-are-they-afraid-of-the-syrian-elections/

Syria rebels´setback in south / Government still pays employees even in rebel areas

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/security/2014/05/syria-rebels-setback-south-national-council.html

“The real competitor for the local administrations is considered to be with the Syrian regime. The regime continues to spend nearly $3 billion a year on employees’ salaries, something that the local administrations and the development budgets cannot do. The regime pays the salaries of employees in all areas, without exception, even in areas outside its control. This means that many employees and their families are still subordinated, in one way or another, to the central government.”

The true fa(r)ce of the Syrian “revolution”

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/23/the-revolutionary-face-of-the-syrian-conflict/

“Schools, universities, hospitals, health clinics, churches, mosques, religious monuments, power grids, railways, bridges, oil fields, historical sites, museum assets, police symbols of public safety and order and other infrastructure were targeted by the rebels with unprecedented level of destruction and civilian plight.”

“All factions of the rebels claim they are the representatives of the Muslim Sunni majority, but the overwhelming majority of some six million Syrians who are displaced internally are Sunnis, now hosted by non-Sunni compatriots in safe havens under government protection…”

A disillusioned Syrian fighter’s story

<<“This is not a revolution in the true sense of the word,” he says.

Not all segments of the population rose up against the state. The intellectuals who are needed in any revolution to succeed didn’t participate.”>>

“The so-called moderate fighting forces have been outnumbered and outgunned by brigades who operate under the “Islamic Front” banner.”

<<“…many of those people who spontaneously took up arms to defend the people against the regime are long gone. Those men had no other interest apart from defending themselves and the people.”>>
http://blogs.aljazeera.com/blog/middle-east/disillusioned-syrian-fighters-story

Iran sends Syria 30,000 tons of food supplies

BEIRUT (AP) — Iran delivered 30,000 tons of food supplies to Syria on Tuesday to help the government deal with shortages due to the civil war, state media said.

Last May, Iran extended a $3.6 billion credit line to Syria, enabling Assad’s government to buy oil products and help shore up the diving value of the Syrian pound.

Before the conflict started in March 2011, Syria produced most of the food needed to feed its 23 million inhabitants and even exported wheat. Over the past year, the country has experienced massive shortages because the fighting has been concentrated in opposition-held, rural areas around Syria’s major cities, including the capital, and along the border with Lebanon, where most of the agricultural land is located.

In Rome, the U.N. World Food Program said Syria is facing a drought that will have “a major impact on the next cereal harvest.” With the rainy season ending in mid-May and the rainfall since September at the level of less than half the average, millions of lives could be at risk, the WFP said in a statement Tuesday.

The agency is currently feeding 4.1 million inside Syria, WFP spokeswoman Bettina Luescher told the AP in New York. Funding shortfalls meant the WFP had to cut the number of calories in each food basket by 20 percent in March, and the agency projects the April baskets will be 16 percent below the optimum number of calories. She said it costs the WFP $40 million a week to feed Syrians and refugees from the civil war.

The number of those in need of food assistance is likely to rise in the next months as the dry conditions, compounded with the impact of the civil war, will result in the breakdown of the agricultural sector, the WFP statement said.

The U.N. agency estimated that the wheat production in Syria will be at 1.7 to 2 million tons this year — a record low. Syria’s wheat needs were at 5.1 million tons last year, the WFP said.

According to WFP’s figures, the areas most affected by drought are in Syria’s northwest that account for half of the country’s wheat production. In addition to the lack of rainfall, the provinces of Aleppo, Idlib, Hassakeh as well as Raqqa and Deir el Zour in the northeast have seen some of the worst fighting in the past two years.

http://news.yahoo.com/iran-sends-syria-30-000-tons-food-supplies-154410291.html