The New Horizon

A new world explored with a rational view

Shia-Sunni Clashes Worldwide and My Views

with 2 comments

I am not very sure that I am a good person to have a write up on this debated topic, still I tried to come up with a non-partial view.

Ever since Saddam Hussain had been hanged, a new secreterian difference has come up in the already-split world. It is the Shia-Sunni split among Muslims. Is it a new split that started with Saddam’s hanging or a long stading dispute raised it’s head once more? As listed in the wiki, the relation was never a sweet one.

To know about the faiths and key differences, one can look around wiki, and would amaze that the difference is almost zero. The demographic distribution is also continuous, Shia and Sunnis are neighbours.

The outcome of the spat is visible everywhere, may it be a religious summit, a suicide attack or a riot. In Lebanon, where Muslims are half of the population, with slight Shia majority, the actual rift is between Hezbollah and anti-syrian Lebanon Govt. The Lebanon Govt is backed by the Christians and Sunnis alongwith Saudi and USA while the opposition Shias are backed by Iran and Syria. It is actually a ‘trial of strength’ for the outsider forces. The riots are reported even in USA. In India, the rift of personal laws started earlier, and now

For Iraq, the facts themselves talk about the rift. After Saddam’s execution, the reaction in Sunni and Shia faces tells the truth that they had separate interests. The clash of interest resurfaced in repeated suicide bombings in Iraq over last few weeks.

Globally speaking, the neo cold war(verbal war) in the Middle-East is actually between Saudi and Iran, with the former backed by USA. The more unstable the Middle-East, more the threat would be on the oil-price, a concern for India. The cold-war is to attain a politically coveted powerful position in the oil-rich region. Saudi Arabia discovered the biggest oilfields in the world. But 70% of its oil lay in the Shia-majority region on the Gulf shore. This made the Saudi royal family paranoid about the possibility that these Shias, abetted by Iran (and now Iraq), would secede and take the oilfields with them.

Internationally, people are less concerned since it’s less likely to affect the countries outside the Middle-East. And of course, there is a punching bag, USA, to blame for the internal rift. The situation is comparable with Indian Partition riots, which is blamed on Britishers but fully executed by the Indian people. It’s shameful for the society to indulge in secreterian riots and then blame it on others despite the sects living almost together for hundreds of years.

Strategically, from US and Israel, this rift can become their biggest weapon. As it is very difficult to distinguish a Shia from a Sunni, a group of trained Spies can easily penetrate the opposite sect terror organizations. Major world powers were in search of spies after the 9/11 debacle. And, the rift is a gift of God to them.

Is there an end to this problem? I guess it’s not so soon. In deeply religious Middle-East, it can only get more polarized. Would it ever be possible for a Shia in Iraq to accept Saddam as a Martyr? Or otherwise, would it ever be possible for a Sunni to displace Saddam from the position of Hero, who fought against a super-power? I guess it’s not. Sometimes it requires a person or country to be more practical and less religious, I feel. The people of Middle-East missed that very point. One example you can find in Turkey, where the Shia-Sunni clash is not present, where people and politics are indeed less religious. Let’s see when others can understand and can actually reconcile the two sects.

Updated :
1) A suicide bomb blast in Peshawar killed 15 people. It was meant to target a Muharram pocession although both Shias and Sunnis died at the end. Today another suicide bomber fails to reach the site and killed three in the blast.
2) Cold war in Middle-East.


Written by Diganta

January 27, 2007 at 6:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Wiki is not a very good source for information. It occassionaly leaves out very important things.

    In this specific case, which is complex and moreover I don’t know the history of it very well.

    But one thing is very true: two very differnt cultures in contact generally causes less friction than two similar ones. So similar that one culture becomes threat to the other.

    For example the Christians have a lot against the Muslims, who have common basis of their religion. On the other hand, they are more receptive and curious about Hinduism and Buddhism, both of whom are far removed from their religion/culture.


    January 28, 2007 at 6:44 am

  2. Manas, I think you’re right in what you’re saying, but your example doesn’t quite fit. I have researched both Christianity and Islam and they are two very different religions. The only two consistent similarities that I see are that they both acknowledge one God and that they both have a one book as a guideline for their followers.


    February 26, 2009 at 4:47 pm

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