Islam and Great Sectarian Divide Essay

1102 Words May 8th, 2013 5 Pages
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Brothers at war

FOR two sects united by their belief in one Maker, one Book and one Prophet, the amount of blood spilt in the name of their respective faiths by Shias and Sunnis is truly staggering. This is specially so when one considers the tiny differences that define and divide them.
Since the earliest days of Islam in the 7th century when the schism first tore the young Muslim community apart, the two sects have been warring incessantly. Untold thousands have been killed over the years, and this internecine war continues to devastate communities and nations.
I am not qualified to go into the rights and wrongs of this old conflict. However, as a student
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Together with its nuclear aspirations, the Iran of the ayatollahs sent alarm bells ringing in Sunni capitals in the region.
Thus, when the Arab Spring reached Syria a couple of years ago, protestors were supported by Sunni Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. And seeing an opportunity to cut a hostile Iran down to size, western powers have now thrown their weight behind the anti-Assad forces.
But supporting Sunni fighters is proving tricky, given the penetration of the Syrian opposition by Salafi groups that have flooded into the country. Indeed, they are proving to be the most effective and organised among all those currently trying to overthrow their Alewite rulers. The presence of these extremists has made western powers wary of supplying them with lethal anti-aircraft missiles. The fear is that these weapons could be turned against Israeli and western aircraft.
Both Iran and Hezbollah are doing their best to keep the tottering Assad regime in power. They know that a hostile, Sunni-dominated government in Damascus would make life difficult for both of them. Increasingly, the secular Syrian resistance is being sidelined by extremist forces.
The real danger is that Syria will fragment along sectarian and ethnic lines. This would cause chaos in the region, with the spill-over being specially lethal for Lebanon, a country delicately poised over several religious and sectarian fault-lines. Although the great

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