by K. Gajendra Singh 23 March, 2007 , Bucharest(Romania)
Of course the grateful Shias of South Iraq ,masters of the remaining oil wealth would fall in line. The disenfranchised Sunni rump without any oil as yet, could stew in its own anger. It was most surprising that, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others were surprised by the Iraqi resistance, which they first tried to wish away as composed of dead enders, disgruntled remnants of the old regime and in its last throes in Dick Cheney's famous words. Only if they had read long Iraqi resistance to the British colonial rule in 1920s and 30s who finally got rid of the British and killed the Hashemite ruler foisted on
The whole process shows total bankruptcy of those who muscled themselves into White House in the 2000 fraudulently won elections. They would not even make good corporate takeover artists unless it was by force. They could learn a lesson or two in takeovers from the new boys on the block say
Kemal Ataturk, who forged a modern Turkish state from the ruins of the
The continued divisions in and exploitation of the Arabs and Kurdish problems in the region are the consequences of British policy of divide and rule after the First world war, now being pursued by USA. Like the British then, now George Bush never tires of bringing liberty and democracy to the Arabs. Pentagon even called US led illegal naked 'shock and awe' invasion of
Established to cut into the profitable East Indies trade on silk rotes controlled by Arabs and Turks, the British East India company (and others in Europe), having explored new sea routes, first nibbled at the decrepit Moghul empire piece meal and after the Indian war of independence against the English company forces in 1957, most of the Moghul empire passed on to the British crown. In the wake of the rebellion and resistance the citizens of
British historians and colonial rulers then successfully sold the theory to Brahmin and other upper castes Hindus that all their problems could be traced to the rule of Muslims. At least like Hindu Aryans and others from central
After the second world war, the British realized that there was no option but to quit the subcontinent. But India being a vital strategic asset, "a base for Britain to continue their domination of the Indian Ocean and the oil-rich Persian Gulf with its wells of power," it was partitioned, as Mahatma Gandhi opposed to violence and war in principle and Jawaharlal Nehru with his idealism and vision of spreading friendship and understanding among colonized and exploited people of Asia , Africa, Middle east and elsewhere, would not join Western military pacts. The aim was to retain parts in the North and West of India, "for defensive and offensive action against the
Following the second world war President Marshal Joseph Tito created a composite secular and socialist state of southern Slavs and others in
When the fulcrum of imperialism shifted from
Four years of US led occupation of Iraq
'After centuries of vibrant interaction, of marrying, sharing and selling across sects and classes,
"Sunnis and Shiites in many professions now interact almost exclusively with colleagues of the same sect. Sunnis say they are afraid to visit hospitals because Shiites loyal to the cleric Moktada al-Sadr run the Health Ministry, while Shiite laborers who used to climb into the back of pickup trucks for work across the
Real violence and fear has led to internal migrations. Displaced Sunnis push out Shias, who in turn push out the Sunnis in their areas. While three million have been internally displaced, almost 2 million have left
Who is responsible for this civil war and Shia and Sunni conflict. If you watch CNN or other US Channels and even BBC or glance through western media, the emphasis is on Iraqis on Iraqis. They do not deserve democracy. Just more lies and spins.
Those who believe so might ponder that if some rampaging and barbaric 'extra-territorials' (ETs) were to invade America and by their superior destructive power nuke a major city, threaten others and then enforce 'equity and justice' and weighted elections and more rights to the Blacks and Hispanics to compensate for their past inhuman treatment and exploitation. What would be the reaction of these anger seething communities against Jewish and white Anglo-Saxon Protestant (Wasp) ruling oligarchy. After all, are not
No wonder Patrick Cockburn said in Counterpunch last month, "The U.S. has a very weird policy--the Shia and
Seymour Hersh revealed last month that US military and special operations teams have escalated activities in
In Riyadh, the emergence of a "Shia crescent" from Tehran to Damascus and Hezbollah in Lebanon (and Hamas in Palestine) raises the nightmare of a shift in the balance of power not only in the Arab world but also in the Middle East and beyond "That Iran should control Lebanon through Hezbollah is a red line that Arabia cannot accept," say Saudi officials .This was also echoed by Hashemite King Abdullah II of Jordan and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt at the time of the Israeli/Hezbollah war last year. Hezbollah's victory and crescendo of popularity for Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah and Mahmud Ahmedineijad caused fears of
The warm reception and contracts for economic and even defence cooperation during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to
Iran- Saudi Summit in Riyadh
It was to bridge the Shia-Sunni confrontation that the first official visit to Riyadh of Iranian President Ahmadinejad came about after months of diplomatic efforts to ease the political standoff in Lebanon between Hezbollah, backed by Iran and Syria, and the government of Fouad Siniora, supported by the United States, France and Saudi Arabia and other Sunni regimes.
Earlier, to counter
Both sides want to calm the sectarian violence in
Skeptics point out the absence of any tangible resolutions or initiatives after the visit. But at least the ice was broken. "The two parties have agreed to stop any attempt aimed at spreading sectarian strife in the region," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al- Faisal, told Reuters.
Saudis did not comment on this, instead official Saudi Press Agency claimed that
The Sunni-Shia Divide
It is necessary to look at the historic Shia-Sunni divide in depth to comprehend the problem and the inherent dangers. Not only Christians, even many Sunnis know little about Shias and their history.
The fissures in Islam are almost as old as the faith itself. In the Muslim community (Ummah) of over a billion faithfuls spread almost all around the world nearly 12 % are Shias. Majority of Shias are Twelvers – believers in 12 Imams (as in Iran, in a majority), but there are others too, like the Ismailis (of Agha Khans, Mohammed Ali Jinnah), from whom emerged the "Assassins" in early 2nd millennium, Alevis in Turkey (around 15%), ruling Alawite elite (12%) in Syria, Hezbollah and Amal in Lebanon (over 40%), and Bahrain (perhaps a majority), Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan. In
Tangled Sunni-Shia history
The Shias emerged out of seeds of disunity in the embryonic Muslim Ummah , sown as soon as Prophet Mohammed lay dead in
According to Shias, Prophet Mohammed had given enough indications for Ali to be his successor and cite many hadiths in support of this claim. The Prophet had lived with his uncle Abu Talib, Ali's father and Mohammed's only child Fatimah was married to Ali. Ali also became Muslim before Abu Bakr and had decoyed for the Prophet when he escaped from
Ali's election as the Caliph would have denied a chance to the older generation of power brokers, so they played politics and got their way. Ali was overlooked twice with Omar and Uthman succeeding Abu Bakr in cleverly manipulated successions to keep Ali out. As a result Ali mostly kept to himself and stayed aloof.
Following the murder of Uthman, Ali was invited by the Muslims of Medina to accept the Caliphate; reluctantly, he agreed but only after long hesitation. His brief reign was marked by problems of inheriting a corrupt state, as the Quran and the traditions of Mohammed had been neglected. Ali based his rule on the Islamic ideals of social justice and equality which clashed with the interests of the Quraysh aristocracy of
Ali was a devout Muslim with an outstanding reputation for justice, unlike Uthman or the Umayyad dynasty that followed him, mired in nepotism with worldly and autocratic ways. Many Muslims feel this way about the Umayyad Caliphs except for Omar II. To many it was a betrayal of the Quran, which enjoins creation of a just and equal society as the first duty of Muslims.
Those opposed to Umayyads called themselves the Shia't-Ali (partisans of Ali) and developed a doctrine of piety and protest, refusing to accept the Umayyad Caliphs, and regarded Ali's descendants as the true leaders of the Muslim community. This schism became an unbridgeable chasm and remains so, when in 680, Shias of Kufa called for the rule by Ali's second son Hussein and invited him. Hussein set out for
But Umayyad Caliph Yazid dispatched his army, which slaughtered Hussein and most of his followers on the plain of Karbala with Imam Hussein being the last to die, holding his infant son in his arms. This event is now commemorated as Muharram. Both
For Shias, the
Imagery and this Shia passion informed Khomeini's Iranian revolution, which many experienced as a re-enactment of
There is no agreement among Muslims on the Caliphs. Shias do not recognize the first three and in many places curse them. For them Ali is the first rightful Caliph and the Imam. For Sunnis, Imam is only a prayer leader and could be any one. But for Shias, he is a spiritual leader with the divine spark and juris-consult (Vilayet-el-Faqih). The sacred Islamic law Sharia enacted under different situations and times has many schools among Sunnis, who unlike the Shias have closed ijtihad, independent reasoning in Islamic Law to meet new situations .The Shia Iranians (Aryans) perhaps created the office of Imam (like Shankaracharya among Indo–Aryan Brahmins) as only an Arab from the Quraysh tribe could become a Caliph. Later the Turks, who came as slaves or warriors to the Arab lands, captured power by the sword and raised the minor office of the Sultan to a powerful one, by now protector of a hapless Caliph. Then Turkish Ottoman Sultans in
After the first dynastic Umayyad Caliphate based in
Evolution of Shiism
There are two things to note. First, political Shi'ism indicates a belief that members of the Hashim clan in the Quraysh tribe are the people most worthy of holding political authority in the Islamic community, but has no belief in any particular religious position for the family. As for religious Shi'ism, it is about the belief that some particular members of the house of Hashim were in receipt of divine inspiration and are thus the channel of God's guidance to men whether or not they hold any defacto political authority. This view was augmented by the Iranians who believe in the tradition that the mother of fourth Imam Zaynul-Abdin was Shahrbanu, the daughter of Yazdigird, the last Sasanian King of
From the very beginning all the Shia Imams, descendants of Ali, every single one was imprisoned, exiled or executed or poisoned by the Caliphs, who could not tolerate an alternative centre to their rule. So by 8th century, most Shias held aloof from politics and concentrated on the mystical interpretation of the scriptures. Says scholar Karen Armstrong "Long before western philosophers called for the separation of church and state, Shias had privatized faith, convinced that it was impossible to integrate the religious imperative with the grim world of politics that seemed murderously antagonistic to it. --
"The separation of religion and politics remains deeply embedded in the Shia psyche. It springs not simply from malaise, but from a divine discontent with the state of the Muslim community. Even in
The picture of early Shi'ism was created (as not much is available from records) from the point of view of Twelver Shias, ignoring the Ismailis, Mutazilites or orthodox Sunnis. Modern scholars believe that this picture was retrospectively imposed over the facts by historians of 3rd and 4th Islamic century for doctrinal reasons.
It is only after 6th Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (died 765) that there is any firm evidence that any kind of religious leadership was being claimed for Twelver Imams. He was a well-known and influential figure in the Islamic world. Several of his students later became prominent jurists and traditionalists even among non-Shia Muslims. Jafar as-Sadiq did not make an open claim to religious leadership, but his circle of students evidently looked to him as Imam, including some leading figures such as Abu'l-Khattab, who held beliefs of a ghuluww (extremist) nature regarding him, indicating that as-Sadiq was a focus of religious speculation and leadership in his own time.
Evolution of Islam into Shia and other forms
The number of ghulat groups, increased dramatically especially in Kufa during as-Sadiq's lifetime. It is therefore useful to consider the origin of the ghulat. When the Arabs arrived in the
In the initial years the Arabs lived in their military camp cities and avoided intermingling with the native populations and their disturbing religious speculations but as more of the native populations embraced Islam, such discussions increased. In this spiritual and religious ferment ideas were injected into the Muslim community and intensively discussed by people interested in such matters which could be considered by the majority of Muslims heterodox concepts and called ghulat or extremists.
Among the ideas injected were such concepts as tanasukh (transmigration of souls), ghayba (occultation), raj'a (return), hulul (descent of the Spirit of God into man), imama (Imamate, divinely-inspired leadership and guidance), tashbih (anthropomorphism with respect to God), tafwid (delegation of God's powers to other than God), and bada (alteration in God's will). But the ghulat needed a priest- god figure onto which to project their ideas of hulul, ghayba , etc., a role admirably suited to the persona of' Ali.
While the ghulat adopted Ali and his family as the embodiment of their religious speculation the Shias of' Ali always looked on the ghulat with a certain amount of suspicion. However, the martyrdom of Hussein and the pathos of this event gave the family of Ali a cultic significance. It bestowed on Shias, earlier primarily a political party, a thrust into a religious orientation directing it firmly towards the ghulat, and giving the ghulat milieu a hero-martyr and a priestly family with which they could associate much of their speculations.
Can OIC counter the Western game!
Muslims now gather under the umbrella of Organization of Islamic Conferences (OIC), Munazamat al-Mutamir al-Islami, to give its full Arabic name, which was institutionalized in 1971 by the Saudis, following the summits of Muslim heads of state and government in 1969, after the fire in the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, the third most revered Islamic site after Mecca and Medina.
The OIC aims to promote Islamic solidarity by coordinating social, economic, scientific and cultural activities. It is also pledged to eliminate racial segregation and discrimination. Unfortunately, it has not evolved into a responsible and creative body. A main reason for the failure is the location of OIC offices in Jeddah, with
Many countries like Egypt, Algeria and many in Central Asia and elsewhere are victims of fundamentalist violence incubated and unleashed from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, a monster financially supported and created in the 1980s by Kingdoms and Sheikhdoms in the Persian Gulf, with full financial and other support from US led West and even China, until September 11, when the majority of the hijackers turned out to be of Saudi origin.
The OIC has had little autonomy as the secretary generals were more or less paid employees of
Many members have been accused of conspiring against each other and fought wars with each other. Many OIC members and diplomats from secular countries like
Very little is naturally said in OIC resolutions about Turkey, where democracy is shored up by its secular military, which has dismissed Islamist-led coalition governments, closed Islamic parties and even jailed its leadership, till Islamic oriented AKP won two-third seats in the parliament in 2002 albeit with only 36% votes. There has been discrimination and persecution of Kurds in
The OIC should set its house in order and look at the grievances of Kurds in
But then how can any one in OIC do anything against USA, which in return for exploitation of Arab oil wealth for decades protects the Saudi dynasty, which itself has a nexus with Wahabbi form of austere and early form of Islam.
OIC has failed to live up to its potential. It is not been even all inclusive; it has given Observer status to
The latest poll on
In my article of
provinces of the
"Today the world faces a single man armed with weapons of mass destruction, manifesting an aggressive, bullying attitude, who may well plunge the world into chaos and bloodshed if he miscalculates. This person, belligerent, arrogant, and sure of himself, truly is the most dangerous person on Earth. The problem is that his name is George W. Bush, and he is our president: " said Yale Law Prof Jack M. Balkin, on
There were many learned men and objective experts and analysts in