Thursday, June 06, 2013

The Battle Between Sunnis and Shiites- by Bret Stephens

The Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens pens an interesting article about the Sunni Shiite civil war that is playing out all over the Muslim world, and the dangers of just sitting it out.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the prominent Sunni cleric, said Friday that Hezbollah and Iran are "more infidel than Jews and Christians." Coming from the guy who once lauded Hitler for exacting "divine punishment" on the Jews, that really is saying something.

That the war in Syria is sectarian was obvious almost from the start, despite the credulous belief that Bashar Assad ran a nonsectarian regime. That a sectarian ruling minority fighting for its life would not fold easily was obvious within months, despite happy guarantees that the regime's downfall would come within weeks. That a sectarian war in Syria would stir similar religious furies in Iraq and Lebanon was obvious more than a year ago, despite wishful administration thinking that staying out of Syria would contain the war to Syria alone.

What should be obvious today is that we are at the dawn of a much wider Shiite-Sunni war, the one that nearly materialized in Iraq in 2006 but didn't because the U.S. was there, militarily and diplomatically, to stop it. But now the U.S. isn't there. What's left to figure out is whether this megawar isn't, from a Western point of view, a very good thing.
Regarding Syria, and referring to Barack Obama:

Had he armed Syria's rebels early in the conflict, he could have empowered a moderate opposition, toppled the regime, sidelined Sunni jihadists, prevented the bloodbath we now have, stemmed the refugee crisis and dealt a sharp strategic setback to Iran—all without any U.S. military involvement.

He's absolutely right.  At the beginning, before the foreign Islamist extremists started pouring into Syria, it was just the ordinary seculars crying out for help. The West's help. Not the jihadists.  Remember the "We Miss Bush" banners in Kafrandel?  The world should have stepped in (and I don't mean physically) long before Syria turned into a battleground for the jihadists.

Read the whole thing here.

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