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1912MYTH OF SUNNI-SHIITE WAR

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  • ummyakoub
    Mar 7, 2004
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      MYTH OF SUNNI-SHIITE WAR
      Haroon Siddiqui, The Star, 3/5/04
      http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?
      pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1078355409872&call
      _pageid=968256290204&col=968350116795

      Shiites are slaughtered in separate incidents in Iraq and Pakistan on
      the same holy day. Western pundits pronounce the start of Shiite-
      Sunni intra-religious war. Iraqi Shiites blame American occupiers
      responsible for the safety of the occupied. The Americans blame the
      Sunni Al-Qaeda, specifically a Jordanian terrorist, whom they had
      also named a year ago when linking Saddam Hussein to terrorism to
      justify the Iraq war.

      The confusion suggests nobody really knows what they are talking
      about.

      There is no discernible connection between the incidents in Pakistan
      and Iraq, except that the attackers chose the day Shiites hold
      parades to mark the death of a revered imam 1,400 years ago, not
      unlike Christians re-enacting Christ's agonizing walk to the Cross.

      Shiites - also called Shias or Shi'is - are a minority in Pakistan
      but a majority in Iraq.

      Pakistani Sunni extremists have been targeting Shiites, some of whom
      have formed their own retaliatory militias. Shiites, as also
      Christians, have had inadequate state protection. President Pervez
      Musharraf promised, and delivered, increased security. But obviously
      not enough.

      The multiple attacks in Baghdad and Karbala constituted the bloodiest
      day since the fall of Saddam Hussein. But on the second bloodiest
      day - last month - the victims were Sunni Kurds.

      Other terrorist attacks have been directed at the newly recruited
      Iraqi police, Shia and Sunni alike. In fact, Sunni clerics have been
      circulating a fatwa, calling the attacks on all fellow Muslims haram,
      or religiously prohibited.

      Other attacks have been aimed at foreigners, Muslims and non-Muslims
      like - at the Jordanian embassy, at the United Nations headquarters
      and the Red Cross offices.

      The Sunni-Shia divide, therefore, does not explain the killings of
      more than 900 people, so far, in such incidents, or the death of more
      than 500 Americans since the fall of Saddam.

      If there is a single reason, it is the American invasion and the
      botched occupation since. Beyond that, the truth is not that easy to
      pin down...

      Haroon Siddiqui is The Star's editorial page editor emeritus. His
      column appears Thursday and Sunday. hsiddiq@...

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