A recent poll showed that the majority of US Politicians couldn’t tell a Sunni from a Shiite Muslim, and this raised a question on their ability to interpret let alone discuss the war in Iraq.

Essentially this would be like ignoring the Protestant versus Catholic difference in Northern Ireland, which has both tribal and historical reasons but these differences are largely defined by religion.

So my advice is to read this article from the Christian Science Monitor, which discusses the split in Islam, and how many Arab and Ottoman governments discriminated against local Shiites, and why the politics of religion is partly behind the Baathist/Sunni “insurgent” rage at the largely Shiite government of Iraq.

And things get more complicated.

Take Saudi Arabia, whose government allows no freedom of religion for the estimated one million overseas workers who are Christian. That country has a large Shiite minority living in the oil rich eastern provinces, who also are not allowed their own version of worship.
In contrast, the oil rich state of Bahrain has from 75 to 90% Shiites population, and allows more freedom for their Sunnis and overseas workers. Could Iran pressure them and a Shiite government of Iraq to form an alliance? Not a pretty picture if you are a Saudi prince.
On the other hand, the Shiite Farsi are a majority in Iran, but there are large non Farsi populations, including Sunni Arabs in the western provinces who could cause trouble.

Translation: When you hear about the Iranian bomb, it is not merely a danger to the US, but to Saudi Arabia. That’s why there were rumblings from Saudi about making their own bomb.

A Shiite alliance of Iran, Iraq and other Gulf states, could lead to a Shiite control of the oil producgtion of the Gulf. LINK

And in case of war, it is Iran, not Iraq or the Gulf states, that control the Straits of Hormuz Map…block the straits with landmines, and no ships could transport oil from much of the Gulf region.

Essentially removing Saddam Hussein has removed much of the balance of Sunni Shiite power…and now into this powder keg, US troops are trying to damp down the TNT to stop an explosion. So the latest surge in US troops were not to hit the “insurgents” (read Baathists, who are slowly losing, or AlQaeda foreigners who are becomeing more and more hated by local Sunnis as they get killed by Sadr’s Shiite militia) but to dampen down Sadr’s overenthusiastic militia from killing needed moderate Sunnis who have more education and skills needed for a new Iraq to thrive.

The latest news says that Sadr just might let his militia disarm, but don’t hold your breath.

Are your eyes glazing over?

Well, don’t worry. The radical left in the US has simplified it all to “It’s evil bushy Halliburton’s fault” and will be marching on Washington this weekend to emphasize their simplistic viewpoint.

Too bad that Americans, both the administration supporters and the moonbats, preferred a fantasy world full of men of good will to the messy reality of the real middle East.

Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket

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