Jihadist vs. jihadist

Remember the Badr Brigade, the vicious jihadists that were the bane of our existence in the Iraq War?  Remember Iran, the vicious jihadists that have been the bane of our existence ever since the hostage crisis during the Carter administration?  Well, the Badr Brigade and Iran are both our allies in the struggle against the even more vicious jihadists known as the Islamic State.

The fact is, the struggle in the Middle East is not just against the West or even Israel.  We are seeing a religious war between the two major sects of Islam, the Sunni and the Shi’a.  Their relationship is about the same as that of the Catholics and the Protestants during the Thirty Years War.  While they are both arrayed against the West and Israel (just as Protestants and Catholics were both arrayed against the Muslims in the 17th century), these two groups consider each other heretics and apostates and wage jihad against each other.  After the jump, a rough guide as to who is on what side. [Read more...]

Why blow up Jonah’s tomb?

The radical Iraqi Muslims that call themselves the Islamic State, a.k.a. ISIS, blew up a site that has been venerated for centuries as the tomb of Jonah.  This was in Mosul, the site of what used to be the Biblical city of Nineveh.  Some characterized this act of vandalism as an attack on Christians, but Muslims venerate Jonah too, and the site was, in fact, a mosque.

The reason has to do with the particular theology of the group, which holds to the Salafi brand of Sunni Islam.  Mark Movsesian gives a fascinating explanation, linked and excerpted after the jump. [Read more...]

Shi’ite militias defend Baghdad

The U.S. trained and equipped Iraqi army is much bigger and better armed than the ISIS insurgents, but in combat they have been running away in droves.  So the chief Shi’ite cleric has called for volunteers and a reconstituting of the militias to fight back against the Sunni insurgents.  And that seems to be working.  The ISIS forces have been stopped for now on their march to Baghdad and some of the territory they won is being recaptured.

In the meantime, Iran is offering to help their Shi’ite brethren.  And President Obama has said that we won’t send in troops, but leaves the door open for air strikes. [Read more...]

Iraq and the war between Sunnis and Shi’ites

It looks like we are approaching the helicopter-on-the-roof phase in Iraq, as Americans are being evacuated as the rebel army moves closer and closer to Baghdad.  (To add insult to injury, the rebels are apparently making use of American equipment that was left behind.)

But the situation there is not just about us.  The rebel organization is called ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. They are Sunni Muslims, which was Saddam Hussein’s denomination, seeking to overthrow the Shi’ite Muslims, who make up 60% of the population and who assumed power in the American-imposed democracy.  The Sunnis are also opposed to Iran and to the Shi’ite dictatorship in Syria.  Iran might actually support the existing government, as ISIS–which includes Syrian rebels ostensibly supported by the United States–seeks to create a pan-Sunni state in the region.  Both factions have their jihadist terrorists and consider the USA their enemy, but they also hate each other.  So this is not only a war against the West, but also an intr-Islamic religious war.    [Read more...]


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