CBN News posted a story today that provides a little bit of background about the continuing conflict in the Middle East. It seems rather ironic that ISIS and Iran, (Shia vs. Sunni) Islam agree on “death to America” and “death to Israel,” but are fighting each other to the death. So what is going on?
The article explains:
“The Sunni and the Shia now are very much at loggerheads,” he (Matthew Levitt, with the Washington Institute) explained. “And while they may share hatred of Israel, they may share hatred of the West — certainly, suspicion of the West, this sectarianism is the dominant issue right now.”
The main battleground right now for this intra-Islam conflict is Syria.
On the Sunni side, there are ISIS, al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups. These groups, who’ve also been known to battle each other, have been supported to various degrees by Sunni governments in the region, such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
On the Shia side are Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah, both of whom are propping up the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
This Sunni-Shia conflict is also raging in Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen.
Mr. Levitt explained that Sunni Muslims make up about 85 percent of the world’s Muslim population, while Shia make up about 15 percent.
Although the Islamic governments in the Middle East all tend to be repressive, not all of these governments support terrorism. One of the interesting consequences of the ongoing conflict between Sunni and Shia and of Iran’s continuing push to obtain nuclear weapons is the alliance that is growing between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Egypt has dealt with the Muslim Brotherhood, and Jordan and Saudi Arabia are in the sights of the Brotherhood. The plan the Brotherhood voiced a few years ago was to take down the dictatorships in the Middle East, then take down the governments ruled by royal families. That was to be the basis of the new caliphate which both the Sunni and Shia Muslims would like to establish. The debate is not about establishing the caliphate–the debate is over who will control it once it is established. All things considered, ISIS is no more brutal than the government of Iran–they are simply more pubic about it. It won’t matter whether the Sunnis or the Shia control the caliphate–the caliphate will be brutal.