Divide and Rule.
It is often said that the number one rule for any occupying force to adhere to in order to control the masses is to 'divide and rule'. In the Post 9-11 world, it is alarming to find the pace with which the west has achieved this, with regard to the muslim world. Just over 4 years after the attacks in Washington and New York, it has not become uncommon for muslims meeting each other for the first time to ask 'are you sunni' or 'are you shia', even in the west. This newly emboldened sectarianism within the Ummah (the global muslim brotherhood) is referred to as 'fitna', something which is forbidden by the Holy Quran.
The Western media, 'independent' or not, contributes to this with ridiculous articles such as Nancy Youssef's:
The mistakes she makes are so obvious you could be forgiven for thinking they are deliberate. The title itself is ridiculous; 'Many Sunni Muslims diverting anger from Israel to Iran'. She writes as if she is speaking for the 90% of the 1.3 billion muslims who would identify themselves as sunni, when firstly she is only refering to sunni's in Iraq. She also doesn't consider that sunni kurds in Iraq hold no ill-will towards Iran. It's true that some sunni arabs in the middle east are suspicious of Iran but it's pushing the boat out to suggest that the majority of these arabs have now decided to forgive the Israelis for their crimes and are instead hating the Iranians. And even the Iraqi sunni arabs would say that Israel is the main target of their hatred. Nancy, with her suspiciously mis-spelt muslim surname (I have NEVER met anyone who spells Yousef with 2 S's), quotes TWO people. It hardly constitutes the 'many sunni muslims' her article claims to represent. I know for a fact that the sunni arabs in Iraq ultimately blame Israel for pushing this war which unseated them in the first place. Are we going to conveniently forget that the Neo-cons who pushed for this war were almost all Jewish-Americans with extremely close ties to Israel? Are we going to believe that the Iraqi sunni arabs are going to just forgive Israel for the US push to war? How can this woman sit there and seriously expect us to believe that the sunni's generally have decided to forgive Israel for everything thats happened in the last 58 years in the middle east? Her article is of such a poor standard that quite frankly I'm a little disappointed that Antiwar.com (a very good site) ran with it.
One of the Iraqi sunni's she quoted thinks that the Israelis would be more merciful than the Iranians. I'm sure the sunni arabs of Palestine would disagree. Even the most notorious and extreme arab of recent times, Osama Bin Laden endorsed the Iranian Regime and warned muslims against indulging in 'fitna' that would separate them. Any hatred of Iran is a result of arab nationalism so it would be a mistake to say sunni 'muslims' hate Iran, as this would suggest that it is a hatred born out of religious differences. Rivalry between the persians and the arabs goes back hundreds of years and I'm sure there is an element of this competition here. This arabism, encouraged by Saddam and the other arab regimes is dying out as an ideology in the face of a new-born Islamist current of thought, brought about by the 9-11 attacks and the west's response to them. Iran's new President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is currently doing his best to unite this Islamism under Iranian leadership, with his recent tirades against Israel. For most of the muslim world, only Ahmadinejad is speaking out against Israel's crimes, while the sunni arab regimes do the complete opposite by seeking 'normalisaton' with the Israeli's. This is doing plenty of good for Iran's standing amongst the sunni muslims, with Islamic Jihad and Hamas already declaring that they will attack Israel should Iran come under attack. Even Baathist Syria finds itself getting closer and closer to Tehran everyday, in the face of growing Israeli and Western pressure. But the majority of muslims aren't even arab and I fail to see why a sunni from Indonesia, for example, would now hate Iran more than Israel. Is Iran oppressing muslims? No. Is Israel? Yes. That's all there is to it for these people.
The sunni arab governments are just getting antsy because the balance of power in the middle east has shifted in Iran's favour. The majority of their people, however, are quietly praying that Iran acquires nuclear weapons and delivers a fatal blow to Israel, because they know there's no chance of their own leaders doing it. Not that this is what the Iranians would do, should they get these weapons, but im sure there are some who want to see this outcome.
I don't want to waste much more time on this blatant attempt to cause discord amongst the muslims. The article is mis-leading, uninformed and poorly-written, and to such an extent that it leads me to conclude that maybe the US hasn't limited itself to planting stories in the Iraqi media only and is indeed broadening its scope!
There have been, and will be, many stories of this nature, trying to highlight the percieved strains within the muslim community. Now while shia-sunni relations are strained in Iraq, the emergence of Iran as the voice of the muslims, will surely temper these tensions, and lead to a more unified Ummah. I just urge all muslims to ignore the nature of these articles and to remain vigilant in the face of such trouble-making.