US policy as a prerequisite for future confrontation
It must be said that one of the main factors of tension that arose between Sunnis and Shiites at the present stage (despite the fact that hostile relations in general have existed for many centuries), was American policy in the Middle East. It was the United States that brought Al-Qaeda and the Taliban into the political arena of the Sunni radicals, during the period of global geopolitical confrontation with the USSR on the territory of Afghanistan. It is they who support the Persian Gulf monarchies, whose political elites also adhere to radical versions of Sunni Islam and sponsor their exports far abroad.
It is noteworthy that in this case, it was the United States that became, perhaps, the involuntary cause of the kind of “Shiite Renaissance” that has been going on in recent years. Washington has the merit of eliminating the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, which not only brutally suppressed representatives of Shiite Islam inside the country, but also was a counterbalance to the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Middle East. In particular, the Arabian monarchies viewed Saddam’s Iraq as a “bastion” in the spread of the influence of the ideas of the Islamic revolution, closely intertwined with Shiite theology. The fall of the Baath regime in Baghdad quite logically led to the strengthening of the Shiite majority in the country, which currently has the majority of seats in parliament, and also led to the post of Shiite prime minister Nuri al-Maliki.
This strengthening of the Shiites in Iraq was made possible largely due to the activities of their religious leaders. In particular, the great Ayatollah Ali Sistani is not only the "architect" of modern Iraqi statehood, but also the man who successfully organized the "non-violent" withdrawal of American troops from the territory of Mesopotamia. At the same time, it was Sistani who openly abandoned the concept of a theocratic state for Iraq, like neighboring Iran. Ali Sistani was even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, which testifies to the wide recognition of the merits of the scientist. There are more radical characters among the Shiite spiritual leaders of Iraq. In particular, he came from the family of great theologians Muktada al-Sadr (due to the long imprisonment under Saddam, who only in recent years acquired religious knowledge and authority) not only advocated for accepting the Iranian concept of velayat al-fakih in Iraq, but also led his attacks supporters of the American troops and Sunni armed groups. Previously, there was even a clash between two Shiite militants. In 2003, while attempting to establish control over the shrines in the holy city of Kerbella, the Mahdi Army al-Sadr was defeated by parts of the Badr Army Ali Sistani. Despite this open armed rebellion against himself and numerous sacrifices, the great Ayatollah did not publicly criticize his young opponent, consistently advocating for the unity of the Shiites and all Iraqis in the face of American occupiers and in the future construction of a normal life in the country. At the present time, after the Americans left, the two leaders brought together their positions and abandoned the radical confrontation.
The Shiite government of Iraq, the rise in the country of the Shiite majority and the unprecedented growth of the authority of the Shiite leaders in the country eloquently demonstrate that from the anti-Shiite bastion Iraq has become a country ruled by a majority - the Shiites.
The ideology of "justice" and the miscalculation of Americans
It is unlikely that the Americans, as well as their allies in the Persian Gulf, did not expect that the fall of Saddam Hussein would lead to an increase in Shiism in Iraq. At the same time, it appears that Washington hoped that secular politicians would take power in the country. This is what happened. However, this did not prevent Iraq from becoming a sworn enemy becoming, in fact, the second (after Syria) ally of Iran in the Middle East. Moreover, a whole “Shiite Axis” has emerged - Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus, to which the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon also joins, the Shiite minorities of Afghanistan and Pakistan targeted at Iran, as well as the oppressed Shiites of the countries of the Arabian Peninsula.
Such a situation could not but cause the American administration and the medieval, both in letter and in fact, the regimes of the Persian Gulf of justified concern. In addition, the gentlemen representing them seemed to “see” that Shiism was the most revolutionary (but not associated with terrorism), anti-imperialistic and justice-oriented movement in Islam.
The fact is that in Shiism, the concept of Adalat is of paramount importance - justice that God manifests in relation to man. The latter is also obliged to implement the "fair" model in collaboration with their own kind. The concept of Adalat, in addition to issues of domestic relationships, also touched upon social and political issues. Just justice was the leitmotif of the actions of the most revered Shiite Imams - Ali and Hussein.
The combination of the concept of justice with a kind of cult of martyrdom in the name of it, established since the death in an unequal battle of Imam Hussein and his supporters under Kerbella, has provided Shiites with ideological “nourishment” in various political actions.
In the 20 century, Shiism reaffirmed itself first on an ideological and philosophical level - in the writings of Ali Shariati and Ruhollah Khomeini, and then - in practice, during the Islamic revolution in Iran. The latter was held under the slogans of achieving social justice, as well as the destruction of the influence of the imperialists - the Americans.
Subsequently, the “baton” from Tehran was picked up by the Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, in addition to arming their supporters, solving and continuing to solve pressing social issues in Lebanon, as well as stopping the invasion of another conductor of colonialism and imperialism - Israel.
The implementation of the same concept Adalat can be traced in the speeches of the Shiites for their rights in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. A similar trend is taking place in Yemen. All of these events undermine the influence of the United States and its Middle Eastern allies. Even in Iraq, whose Shiite government prefers to maintain good relations with Washington, he managed to gradually force the Americans to withdraw their troops from the country.
As a result, the “Shiite belt” not only suddenly turned out to be a significant subject of regional and even world politics, but also received the prerequisites for further expansion of its influence. At the same time, the sympathies of a significant part of the Arab “street” turned out to be on the side of the Shiites - it was Iran that consistently opposed the United States throughout stories The Islamic Republic, namely Hezbollah, the first of the Arab countries, movements and associations, was able to succeed in confronting the formidable Israel, namely Ayatollah Sistani and Prime Minister Maliki provided the Americans withdrew from Iraq ...
The United States corrects its "mistakes", the Gulf of the Middle East with the blood of interfaith war
Such a “fair” and, moreover, geopolitically successful confession turned out to be beneficial for neither Washington nor any of its Middle Eastern allies. This explains the urgent attempts to find an antidote to the “Shiite recipe”. As the latter, the old, albeit well forgotten American allies - Islamic radicals were chosen. It would probably be simply impossible to put them on the role of fighters against the "Shiite threat" - ideologically, the Salafi al-Qaeda, and their various allies do not consider Shiites as Muslims, considering their killing permitted, economically, politically, or even related to the political elites of the Gulf countries. And the fact that it was Islamic Sunni radicals killed American soldiers and diplomats in Iraq and Afghanistan, and even destroyed the World Trade Center on the territory of the United States itself, as it turned out, not an obstacle.
In the fight against Shiite influence, Washington and its allies began to strive to plunge the Middle East into chaos, an all-out civil war with possible political and even military confrontation between states. In the beginning, there was demonization of the most powerful military, political and ideological Shiite state - Iran. The country, in fact, was deprived of the right to develop its own nuclear energy. Gradually tightened from 2010 to 2012. the sanctions regime has become a serious test for the Iranian economy, which it has so far, although not without problems, coping with. At the same time, the Americans began to arm the monarchies of the Persian Gulf - in recent years they have been receiving the latest weapons in huge quantities: Patriot missile systems, guidance systems aviation bombs, F-16 fighters, Apache helicopters, artillery pieces and more. Free US military aid to Saudi Arabia alone in 2010 was $ 1,7 billion - and that's not including military supplies. Their total sum for all countries of the peninsula from 2005 to 2010. equals $ 40 billion. It is clear that the monarchies of the Persian Gulf were so seriously armed and are arming themselves in the event of an armed conflict with only one state - Iran, which has a powerful army, navy and air force in the Middle East.
Another, perhaps, “innovative” method of combating the spread of Shia ideology and Iranian influence was provoking civil confrontation. A series of revolutions swept through the countries of North Africa and the Middle East, called the Arab Spring, helped his “designers” to do this. After the fall of the Tunisian, Egyptian and Libyan regimes, “revolutionary” events broke out in Syria.
About this country needs to be said. Not being a Shiite by the confessional affiliation of the majority of the population, it is, nevertheless, controlled by members of a minority who profess the Alawite branch of Shiite Islam. Nevertheless, the Syrian regime is emphatically secular - in the best traditions of Arab secular nationalism of the 60-70 model. Despite the fact that the Baath party, to which most of the Syrian ruling elite belongs, was once part of the Iraqi Baath structure, which was led by Saddam Hussein, the Syrians did not have a relationship with the Saddam regime. In fact, Hafez Asad, the father of the current president, was the only Arab leader who supported Iran during the 1980-1988 war. This line was continued by his son Bashar, who not only signed a treaty of alliance with Iran on 2007, but also moved from Alawite Shi'ism to the two-priests in Iran.
It was the secular regime of Asad that was attacked by “revolutionaries”, among whom for some reason turned out to be not only (and, as it turns out, not so much) supporters of democracy, but also those very Sunni Islamic radicals that were discussed above. In particular, in the ranks of the militants fighting against Bashar al-Assad there are already thousands of members of the Jabbat al-Nusra organization - the Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda. From the settlements captured by supporters of the Free Syrian Army, the Shiite population migrates en masse, and with it the Christian population, rightly fearing reprisals. The latter take place in huge numbers - the Shiites themselves, their mosques and the Husaynians are being destroyed. The anger of the radicals comes to the Sunnis, who do not share their point of view and methods of struggle. The highlight of this series was the recent assassination of Sheikh Saeed Ramadan al-Buti. Syrian events have turned into a slaughter where Salafis completely hide this, are fighting for the creation of an Islamic emirate. It must be assumed, at least on the basis of the actions of the radicals, that there will be no place for Shiites in this state.
However, Syria was a “hard nut to crack,” and its president, Bashar Assad, supported by Iran, is not going to give up. Meanwhile, the front of the interfaith war between Shiites and Sunnis is expanding. The local elections held a few days ago in Iraq became a detonator for rampant terrorism, similar to which took place only in 2005-2006. Last week, a checkpoint of the Iraqi army was attacked by Salafis in the Kirkuk region, killing a soldier. When the military attempted to arrest the perpetrators of the murder, the Sunni militia fighters resisted them. This led to the death of 25 militias and three military. Later, militants captured two checkpoints in the cities of Rashad and Riyad. The local command managed to knock them out only by requesting reinforcements. And on April 25, Sunni militants managed to seize the whole town of Suleiman Beck in 160 km north of Baghdad for a while.
Iraq is quite confidently sliding into the “Syrian” scenario. Given the events of six to seven years ago that have already taken place in this country, this scenario is quite real. The magnitude of the wave of interfaith violence that has swept the country can be assessed by looking at the data only for April 23-24. These days, 128 people were killed and 269 was injured.
Violent violations of Shiite rights in the Gulf countries continue. Bahrain was particularly “distinguished” in this row, where troops and police, loyal to the royal family of al-Khalifa, from the performance on Pearl Square in 2011, to date, scores were killed and hundreds were wounded and were in prison. Representatives of the Shiite majority are tortured and mocked in prison. In such measures even Princess Nura from the house of Al-Khalifa was noticed. At liberty, Shiites are constantly accused of participating in a conspiracy arranged for the money of Iran. Despite the fact that the charges have not been confirmed for a year, they provide some excuse for the royal family to continue in power and pursue the same policy as before.
Scary news increasingly come from Pakistan. The Shiite community, numbering about 30 million people, has not felt completely safe before, occasionally undergoing acts of violence. However, the systematic massacre of people organized by the militants of the Sunni radical group "Lashkar-e-Jhangvi" in Quetta is surprising and suggestive to its terrible thoughts with its scope. In January, 2013, as a result of the action of suicide bombers who blew up a billiard club in the Shiite district in this city, killed 92 and injured 120 people. A month later, February 17, an improvised explosive device worked in the Quetta market quarter, where the Shiite Hazaras lived. The 81 man died and 200 was injured. And on March 3 in Karachi there was a blast that killed 55 and crippled 150 people. The local authorities were so scared that they could not take any adequate measures for several days after each of the attacks. Apparently, Pakistan has a very real prospect of a religious war.
What will the slaughter between Shiites and Sunnis lead to?
Did the United States want all this blood, hatred and chaos? Perhaps, one can only say that such a situation is profitable for them. The Americans and their allies openly support the Syrian opposition and, in speaking of an alliance with the Iraqi government, do not prevent the Arabian sheikhs from arming his radical opponents. It seems that the United States does not feel danger to itself in the already begun confrontation, believing that such chaos can be controlled. A controversial point of view for a country in which the once-controlled Islamic radicals also destroyed the buildings of the World Trade Center.
Without a doubt, the religious war in the Middle East is terrible in itself - rampant cruelty, terrorism and ordinary obscurantism can not please anyone. However, the current situation is a serious danger for Russia. It should be recalled that both Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims also live in our country. And their relationship has already been marked by bloody actions. For example, on August 18, two masked men entered the Shiite mosque in Dagestan’s Khasavyurt, who opened fire on the worshipers. As a result, one believer died from gunshot wounds, and another seven required medical assistance. In case such actions are repeated, the already not calm North Caucasus can be thrown into the opposition from a new angle. This confrontation can easily spread to the streets of Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities where hundreds of thousands of Muslims who practice both branches of this religion - Shiite and Sunni - are living.
The development of sectarian strife in the Middle East is not beneficial to anyone. In the future, it may lead to the most unpredictable consequences far beyond the region. It seems that the United States and the West as a whole have a sense of being more selective in their choice of allies and foreign policy priorities. Resolving issues with such “dirty” methods, as is the case now, more than once, as already mentioned above, was reflected in the lives of the Americans themselves. However, they received another wake-up call just the other day ... The Tsarnaev brothers accused of terrorist attacks in Boston, according to investigators, professed exactly that radical and aggressive version of Islam used by Americans in the fight against Shiites in the Middle East - Salafism. Can one be surprised at the similarity of the methods of the organizers of the Boston terrorist attack with those practiced by the organizers of the bloody anti-Shiite campaigns? ... I want to believe that at least the blood of American citizens will force the US government to reconsider some of its points of view.