Shia / Sunni blood letting

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by LostBoss, Jul 10, 2006.

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  1. Now I've read that the split into these two factions of Islam happened early and centred on succession to the Prophet (may his name be praised etc)

    I also understand that the Shia's endured a right kicking under Saddams' Sunni centric regime.

    What I don't understand are the motors that continue to drive the Sunni/Shia conflict.

    What is at stake and what are the "goals"?

    I read that killing fellow muslims is a very bad thing for a good muslim to do - so unless the other faction don't count how is it justified by the clerics?

    Can't we all be nice to each other?
  2. I should imagine that it is justified in the same way that the protestents and catholics burning each other at the stake was justified
  3. The other sect are "not real Muslims"...
  4. Is that true, is that the line that is used to justify / allow it?
  5. Yes, some sects do consider other sects not to be real Muslims, and the real extremists even go as far as considering other sects as apostates.
  6. To be fair, this does not only happen in Iraq. Sunnis are forever kicking the Shia population in Pakistan, for instance - there was a bomb outside a Shia mosque earlier this year
  7. I'd imagine a lot of it has to do with the struggle for political power both locally and nationally.

    Just like the Catholics and Prods in NI - there's a basic religious disagreement but it gets caught up with conflicts between particular families, tribes and political factions. It also gets stoked by people from outside the region, which leads to finger-pointing in both directions. Sunnis will accuse Shias of being the puppets of Iran, Shias accuse Sunnis of being backed by radical Saudis and other nationalities.

    Religion is a factor for sure but it's also ethnic cleansing and political conflict.
  8. Throw the Kurds, who can be either Sunni or Shia, but are universally hated, into the mix, and you have a farcical trilateral orgy of killing and retribution.

    "Splitters!" :roll:
  9. Religion is a convenience for many people throughout the world to justify their abject hatred for someone similar to themselves for no other good reason.
  10. RTFQ


    They are obeying the one eternal paradigm of nation building - someone has to win.

    Just as we failed to convince a bunch of scared, poverty-stricken, pre-enlightenment arabs and persians about the Bruckheimer-esque joys of Democracy, so too we forgot to tell them that (since 24 Oct 1945) we no longer slaughter our enemies in order to gain the upper hand and ensure we retain it for the next thousand years.

    Come to think of it, we forgot to tell a lot of people that over the years. Ooopsy. Pretty much every nascent nation has gone through a bloody struggle for power at some point or other. Sorry, they're wiki links - but to illustrate a point, they include a certain handful of fracas between 1642-51 and another set at 1861-65.

    The only thing that has changed is that we plant a couple of thousand blokes in between the factions nowadays and say "Stop that - it's naughty. Yes it may bring you unfettered power, but how about trying democracy? What's that Ahmed? Well of course you'll still be dirt poor, but look how pretty your politicians would be! mmmm hairspray....."

    The only way that option works is if we keep the factions apart long enough and get them to (re)build their communities and infrastructures sufficently for them to see the light themselves. "Splendid - that's exactly what we're doing!" Yes, but...

    Mandela, for all his faults, came up with an idea that in order for sectarian/interfaction warfare to cease, an entire generation has to drop its weapons and stand still until the sense of victimhood and desire for revenge has passed by and the next generation is born without the preprogrammed need to wage war on the next door neighbour. A generation - 25 years? And that's from the moment they decide to stop slotting each other, we're nowhere near that yet.

    So, if we can't pull out (and we absolutely cannot) and if this paradigm stands, we either need to pick a side and by Bungle make sure it wins (neither pretty nor particularly moral), or stick it out. For a long time.

    For us to do that, the politicos need to stop playing Celebrity Strictly Come Dancing and start preparing this country for a couple of long wars, otherwise the population won't get why we're there and will buckle. Then we'll have two failed states, well armed and very angry, and many more terrorists that will exploit the western multicultural ideal to give us a proper kicking.
  11. Man alive, RTFQ, funny stories AND incisive geopolitical analysis!

    You're spot on that, to some extent, this is a natural stage in the process of state formation. I think the religious aspect also needs to be incorporated - there is a theologiographical (sic) process going hand in hand with the political one here. Just as Christianity went through a stage of violently exporting its ideology (the Crusades), so Islam is undergoing the same process, at a roughly comparable stage in its development. It's probably exacerbated by the martial origins of Islam, in contrast to the early development of Christianity, which did not become congruent with the state until the conversion of Constantine in the early C4th.

    Obviously, this is a highly processual approach, and many other factors can be added to the mix - the effect of globalisation, the interaction of two religions/worldviews at different stages of their development, the role of the media and of modern technology, just as a few examples - but it seems to have some sort of analytical utility.

    In sum, Shi'a and Sunni continue to be split because splits are a natural part of the development of a religion, and of a nation (I'm happy to talk about 'the Islamic nation', to a certain extent; 'the Islamic state' is a misnomer); the problem is that the effects of these natural processes are spilling into the rest of the world, as 'the West' becomes cast as 'the Other' for Muslims, particularly Arab Muslims, and as the Enlightenment ideal of 'liberal democracy' becomes entangled with other geopolitical objectives for 'the West' - particularly the importance of the oil supply.

  12. RTFQ


    I agree with everything you said bar this. I'm no apologist for Islam - those feckers need to wake up and do some housecleaning, just as non-muslims need to apply some windoline to their world-view - but i don't think we're seeing a culture-wide violent take-over bid.

    Violent extremism of all types, religious in particular, is the mad/bad&sad's reaction to an encroaching irreligious world that is modernising faster than they like (particularly if it takes their power away in the process). Just as the potential suicide can look to his religion and find a reason to put the razorblade down, the attention-seeking narcissist can look to his religion in the face of being slighted, diminished and invaded by an 'evil' new world and find reason to pick up his AK and kill children. It's the reaction of a particularly mental antibody, not a widely held agenda.

    Jihad in its pacifist form is different, that's a form of struggle against the evils within and those of the rest of the world and it includes a type of evangelism that, although certainly culture-wide and an 'agenda', is not really different from christian evangelism: "The world is bad, you've got to fight to keep that badness at bay - and try to turn those around you to the 'joys' of God(SWT or otherwise)."

    The rest is one tribe trying to get its kicks in to the other side whilst it's down, so it can set itself up as the daddy for the forseeable future. The religion/state struggle is certainly one big comparable hoop they've yet to jump through, and whoever wins that will dictate what comes next.
  13. Fair point smithie.

    However, I don't know if you can talk about Islam being in a "roughly comparable stage in its development" as European Christianity in the Middle Ages because that raises the danger of regarding Islam as backward and medieval. Let's not forget that Christianity (despite starting off with a man who got nailed to a tree for telling us all to love each other) can be pretty bloodthirsty too. :)

    Besides which, who's to say we're not still violently exporting our own "religion" of democracy and free markets to people who are already put off by the whole caboodle?
  14. "Out Group" psychology is critical in allowing for the vilification and categorisation along prejudicial lines of whole groups of people. Obviously the "in-group" / "out-group" dynamic is obvious to anyone in a uniform.

    My original post was asking how the apparent "in-group" homogenity of Islam could be so fragile as to allow for the intra nicene conflict we see. Stoatman makes the point the within the Broad church/mosque of Islam there is still space of "out-grouping" as Yellow Devil et al pointout was characteristic of Christian denominations / cultures / nation states.

    So with so many fault lines and lack of empathy (to allow for the lowering of group boundaries) will we see 25 years worth of group on group conflict or what would the catalystss be for change?

    Obviously the idea that a democratic government will lower "out-group" boundaries is a start it's clearly not immediately impactful.

    editud fur shot spilling
  15. There's no easy answer to this question