“Sunni Anxieties and the Rise of Shiite Power,” by Shahin M. Cole, Informed Consent, http://www.juancole.com/2005/01/guest-editorial-sunni-anxieties-and.html, 31 January 2005.
“Iran Expects to Benefit from Iraq Election,” by Nasser Karimi, The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-4766740,00.html, 31 January 2005.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran strongly criticized the U.S. invasion of Iraq that toppled Saddam Hussein and opposed the American occupation of its neighbor, but with Iraqis voting Sunday for a new government, Iran stands to reap huge benefits.
“This is a unique opportunity, not seen for centuries, for Iraqi policy to go in Iran’s favor,” said political analyst Hamid Reza Jalaipour.
Iran’s state-run television hailed the vote as “the beginning of democracy and the end of occupation and insurgency in Iraq.”
Iran has good reason to celebrate. A sun of the Sunna is now a Shia satellite.
The election is likely to propel Iraq’s majority Shiites into power for the first time since modern Iraq came into being in 1921, giving them the leading voice in shaping the country’s future, which Shiite-dominated Iran hopes will lead to friendly relations between the two nations that fought a brutal war two decades ago.
Some Sunni Arab countries worry a new Iraqi government will form a Shiite alliance with Iran, but Iranians say they would be happy with a secular Iraqi government that will simply establish good relations. Most importantly, some said, Iraqis need to decide what they want.
But if the First and Second Battles of Iraq threw Iraq out of the Sunni solar system, for the Salafists it supernovad
Far from seeing the elections as a good thing to be emulated, the Sunni Arab neighbors of Iraq are likely to be alarmed at the rise of Shiite dominance. They will also be disturbed at any close Shiite-American alliance. Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and Salafi fundamentalists elsewhere in the Gulf (including Iraq itself), deeply disapprove of Shiite doctrine and practice.
It gets better
The Gulf monarchies are afraid of the Khomeini-inspired trend in Shiism to say that “there can be no kings in Islam.” If these Sunni hardliners had an “axis of evil,” the Shiites of Iraq and Iran would be in it. Many Sunnis fear Shiite power more than they ever feared Saddam’s predations. Many of them also view the United States as an imperial power in the region. A Shiite-American alliance is their worst nightmare, and many of them will see the Iraqi Shiites as puppets of the US. The elections, which the Bush administration sees as the solution to a whole host of problems, have upset the sectarian balance of power in the Middle East, and may well bring new kinds of instability in their train.
Madame Cole believes this is a bad thing
The differences and conflicts between the Wahhabi branch of Islam (prevalent in Saudi Arabia and Qatar) and Sunnis (who account for ninety percent of the world’s Muslims) are not widely appreciated. Sunnis and Wahhabis have often been at odds. The rise of a Shiite-dominated Iraq supported by American power could well create new alliances between Sunnis and Wahhabis that will radicalize both. The US CIA is already predicting that Iraq is becoming the new training ground for international terrorism.
Attacking radicalizes. Germans were much more prepared to shoot down Allied Aircraft after we bombed their cities. FDR’s declaration of war on Imperial Japan had a similar effect on the Pacific.
We are at war with an ideology of murder. We wrestle with principalities and powers that oppress their citizens. We fight for a connected and global world — an end to national ghettos.
Every struggle must be fought differently. The war of ideas is a different type of confrontation than walking with slowly liberalizing regimes or supporting content flows. But this not an excuse for us to shy away.
The wahabis are salafists are already radicalized. Under al Qaeda and affiliated groups they have the will and capacity to bring war to our shores and death to our skies. We have decided not to appease our enemies, so they we must destroy them. We have identified radical wahabism as an ideology of death, and we know how to deal with those. State Shinto, the National Reich Church, and the Ku Klux Klan are just three of the cults we have destroyed. We can do so again.
When Iran preaches freedom, they are right. When the Wahabis see a free Iraq as a threat to their rule, they are right. When they see American intervention as protecting rituals and beliefs they deeply disaprove of they are right.
Our big bang strategy has forever altered the constellation of the most repressive region of the world. They tyrants hate this. Good.