Americans tend to think that the Middle East is a basket case and fiery cauldron of evil because it's Muslim and that those Muslims are terrorists who want to kill us and rain terror upon us. Is it true? The answer is an emphatic NO. However, to understand the Middle East, one has to first understand Islam, the dynamics of its feuding sects, the geo-politics attached thereto, oil and US/Western interventionism because they are all very significant.
The two major sects of Islam are Sunni and Shiite and Sunni Islam is far more dominant than Shiite Islam. Roughly speaking, it's estimated that 75-90% of the world's Muslims are Sunni and 10-20% are Shiite. The Shiites are largely concentrated in Iran and about 2/3 of Iraq is Shiite. The Sunni and Shiite Muslims have been engaged in a Holy War with each other ever since the Arab Sunni invasion of Iran and Iraq that resulted in the Sunni-Shia rift that commenced around the 7th century.
Globe and Mail did an excellent analysis on the Sunni-Shiite rift.
The Clash Within Civilisations: How The Sunni-Shiite Divide Cleaves The Middle East
In the 18th century, a Sunni fanatical cleric name Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab teamed up with the House of Saud to violently deliver power to the House of Saud and forcibly impose a new, strict and draconian form of Islam upon the folks on the Arabian Peninsula - Sunni Salafist Wahhabism. It's this virulent strain of Sunni Salafist Wahhabism is is spawning Islamic terrorism today and the US and western leaders are in bed with them because of one thing - OIL. For more on the the history of the modern Middle East and Islam see:
The Making of the Modern Middle East
A Cruise Through History: Islam, the West and the Rest of the World
Fast forward to today. Oil wealth in Saudi Arabia has not only made the filthy and degenerate House of Saud hugely rich, the oil wealth of Saudi Arabia and other oil rich Arab nations with majority Sunni populations have facilitated the substantial radicalization of Sunni Muslims all over the planet. Osama bin Laden and 16 of the 911 terrorists were Saudis; all were Wahhabists. The US intervention in Egypt has resulted in the Sunni Salafist Wahhabist Muslim Brotherhood taking over Egypt. Nuclear armed Pakistan is teeming with radical Wahhabists. After oil, Saudi Arabia's greatest export is its religion and radical interpretation of Islam.
What's going on in Syria? It's all part of the age old Sunni-Shiite rift. Western and Sunni nations goaded Saddam Hussein, a Sunni who ruled over Iraq's Shiite majority, into a long and miserable war with Iran that lasted from 1980-1988 and was fought to a standstill. Hussein borrowed heavily for the Iraq-Iran War, a war that bankrupted Iraq and ruined its economy. Hussein demanded debt forgiveness which was refused. The west and its cozy relationship with Sunni oil producers, notably the oil kingpin Saudi Arabia, deliberately overproduced and flooded the world markets with oil to hurt Iran. Oil prices just kept falling and falling. But it backfired (Iran wasn't defeated) and Iraq became a victim of plummeting oil prices. Hussein was so furious that he invaded Kuwait, a nation that some have persuasively argued did in fact have a legitimate claim to Kuwait but that's an entirely separate issue.
Hussein did not invade Kuwait without US permission. The US Ambassador to Kuwait was April Glaspie. Hussein consulted with her on several occasion because he FEARED a US intervention if he invaded Kuwait. Glaspie was instructed by the George H.W. Walker regime to assure Hussein that the US would do nothing. Based on what Hussein perceived as a US green light to invade Kuwait, he did.
Hussein, who was once a well respected middle eastern strongman and ruthless tyrant, became a pariah. He failed to win the war against Iran and claim Iran's oil for his western and Sunni oil pals during a period when the global oil cartel (Sunni oil producers and western oil companies) suffered massive declines in oil revenue from a nearly 10 year glut of oil from overproduction to bankrupt Iran. From hero to a failed bad buy, the world turned on Hussein. Hussein was easy to manipulate; after all this was a dude who loved drinking western whiskey and watching the Godfather movies over and over. Hussein was extremely easily to manipulate psychologically - a very easy mark. So Bush lied, goaded Hussein into invading Kuwait and intervened after he assured Hussein that he would do no such thing. Anti-war.com documents the Glaspie fiasco, here.
After 911, the US lied again and falsely accused Hussein of having WMD's which he did not. We knew it and invaded Iraq anyway. The 2nd US invasion of Iraq unleashed an even bigger nightmare that Arab Sunni leaders greatly feared - the takeover of Iraq and its oil by the Shiite majority, something the Sunni world clearly opposed. With a Shiite majority now in power in Iraq, it's natural ally is Iran - they share religion, culture and a long history of fighting the Sunnis.
Besides being one of the most monumentally stupid things the US ever did, the 2nd invasion of Iraq was another US led big foreign policy fail. Iraq is now an incredibly violent place that nearly constitutes a full blown civil war between the Shiites (southern Iraq) the Sunnis (central Iraq) and the Kurds (northern Iraq) who try to steer clear of the Sunni-Shiite feud. Violence has escalated and bombings are chronic.
Saudi Arabia, other Sunni Arab nations and western nations driven by oil interests have all been conspiring for years (decades) to get their hands on Shiite oil in Iraq and Iran. It's not just a religious civil war, it's also a war for resources wherein Sunni leaders have conned the West into leading the Sunni fight against the oil rich Shiites.
Although many have speculated for years that Saudi Arabia is running out of oil, it's also true that its oil reserves have never been independently verified. Saudi Arabia may be running dry, not in the near term but definitely in the long term. CNBC listed top oil nations and their reported oil reserves, here.
1. Saudi Arabia - Proved oil reserves: 262.6 billion barrels, Proportion of world total: 17.85%
2. Venezuela - Proved oil reserves: 211.2 billion barrels, Proportion of world total: 14.35%
3. Canada - Proved oil reserves: 175.2 billion barrels, Proportion of world total: 11.91%
4. Iran - Proved oil reserves: 137 billion barrels, Proportion of world total: 9.31%
5. Iraq - Proved oil reserves: 115 billion barrels, Proportion of world total: 7.82%
6. Kuwait - Proved oil reserves: 104 billion barrels, Proportion of world total: 7.07%
7. United Arab Emirates - Proved oil reserves: 97.8 billion barrels, Proportion of world total: 6.65%
8. Russia - Proved oil reserves: 60 billion barrels, Proportion of world total: 4.08%
9. Libya - Proved oil reserves: 44.3 billion barrels, Proportion of world total: 3.15%
10. Nigeria - Proved oil reserves: 37.2 billion barrels, Proportion of world total: 2.53%
11. Kazakhstan - Proved oil reserves: 30 billion barrels, Proportion of world total: 2.04%
12. Qatar - Proved oil reserves: 25.38 billion barrels, Proportion of world total: 1.72%
13. United States - Proved oil reserves: 20.68 billion barrels, Proportion of world total: 1.41%
14. China - Proved oil reserves: 14.8 billion barrels, Proportion of world total: 1.01%
15. Brazil - Proved oil reserves: 12.86 billion barrels, Proportion of world total: 0.87%
So how does Syria come into play as the object of America's obsession with regime change? Syria is ruled by the Assad family that is religiously Alewite, a minor Islamic sect that is closely aligned to Shiite Islam. Hence, Iran and Syria have always had close ties and are natural allies.
Bahrain is ruthlessly ruled by Sunnis but has a Shiite majority at 65-75%. Kuwait is ruled by Sunnis and has a substantial Shiite minority at 20-25%. The Saudis sent troops into Bahrain to suppress Shiite uprisings against Sunni tyranny. In Syria, the situation is reversed. About 75% of Syrians are Sunnis but are ruled by the minority Assad, a member of the Alewite sect and ally of Iran. Assad runs a fairly secular and tolerant government because of the delicate balance of Sunni-Shiite-Alewite.
Saudi Arabia wants Assad out of power because it considers him a non-Sunni Muslim apostate, an ally of its Shiite enemy Iran and Saudi Arabia can't bear the thought of an Alewite-Shiite ruling over Sunni Muslims, most of whom reject Saudi styled Sunni Salafist Wahhabism. The US and Saudi Arabia are arming and funding Wahhabist radicals in Syria to secure Wahhabist control of the nation. Why? Because Saudi Arabia doesn't have the military power to do it, it likes to pretend that its on good terms with its Shiite neighbors and it prefers that the US do its dirty work. This has been going on for years because the House of Saud happily jumped in bed with western Big Oil and when the House of Saud demands something, western nations jump to do Wahhabist bidding and ask 'how high'.
The entire Benghazi fiasco was nothing but a cover-up to funnel arms and money to Wahhabist jihadist in Syria.
Lies, Lies and More Lies: Benghazi is pure political theater as well as a cover-up.
Geopolitically speaking in the context of oil and Islam, Syria is just an expendable pawn in the war to feed the Sunni Wahhabist oil cartel and its western partners, and to expand dangerously violent Wahhabism in the Middle East. Syria is also part of the plan to encircle Iran and the End Game is to invade, occupy, neutralize the Iranian Shiites and control Iranian oil.
On May 16, 2013, Obama met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House, here. The story went unnoticed except for the US Marines umbrella flap over the Marines holding umbrellas over the heads of Obama and Erdogan during the pouring rain.
The significance of the meeting was ignored. Turkey is a most interesting player in the conflict. Turkey became a sovereign nation after WW I dealt a death blow to the Ottoman Empire. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was the first president of Turkey and he intended for Turkey to develop along the western secular model. It worked for a while but the Saudis and Wahhabism managed to infect Turkey and its Sunni majority; oil money buys a lot of mosque power and influence. Erdogan, who was always a devout Sunni Muslim and once imprisoned for his affiliation with a radical Islamist party, rose to elected power in Turkey in 2008. Many feel that the reforms of Erdogan are abolishing Turkey's tradition of secularism and strengthening Sunni styled Wahhabism. Turkey is close to 100% Sunni Muslim and the potential for radicalization is quite high despite the fact that many in Turkey oppose the Islamist regime.
That Obama was meeting with Erdogan is not surprising, especially in light of the fact that Erdogan supports regime change in Syria and has been a Sunni US alley for many years. Erdogan is also a very close ally of Saudi Arabia. Undoubtedly, Obama and his Wahhabist Saudi masters along with Erdogan were planning for the Wahhabist Sunni takeover of Syria after a US led military intervention.
The folks in Turkey are not happy with Erdogan's support for a military intervention and regime change in Syria. RT.com is reporting that Erdogan's support for the Syrian Sunni rebels, funded and armed by the US, is resulting in anger and protests.
'Turkey to see more bombings as Erdogan's support for Syrian rebels backfires'
Terrorist attacks on Turkish soil won’t stop until the country’s Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan, gives up on his support of rebel forces in Syria, British broadcaster, Neil Clark, told RT.It's entirely possible that Turkey could bust into civil war as its moderate Sunni Muslims collide with the Sunni Salafist Wahhabists.
Turkish police have fired tear gas at protesters in a town near the Syrian border, which was the scene of a deadly double car bombing a week ago.
Demonstrators are angry over Ankara's support for the Syrian rebels, which they say is putting Turkey in the firing line.
Meanwhile, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to fund and arm the Syrian rebels and Rand Paul summarized it accurately.
Rand Paul: My colleagues just voted to arm the allies of al Qaeda
Rand Paul (R-KY) blasted members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday, which voted overwhelmingly to arm elements of the Syrian opposition in a bill co-sponsored by Sen.Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN). "This is an important moment," Paul said, addressing his Senate colleagues. "You will be funding, today, the allies of al Qaeda. It's an irony you cannot overcome."Finally, the really big question should be: Why are western nations conspiring to militarily force a significant swath of the human population behind the 21st century Iron Curtain of Sunni Salafist Wahabbist Islam, a religion that is perhaps the most cruel, oppressive and intolerant of any religion created by mankind and its gods?
The legislation, which would authorize the shipment of arms and military training to rebels "that have gone through a thorough vetting process," passed in a bipartisan 15-3 vote. Paul offered an amendment that would strike the bill's weapons provision, but it was rejected along with another Paul amendment ruling out the authorization of the use of military force in Syria. (Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy was the only senator to join Paul in support of the weapons amendment.)
More to the point, Western nations have been flooding their countries with radical Sunni Muslims, radical Sunni mosques, radical Sunni clerics and folks that simply are not assimilating into Western society.
Stockholm had entered its 5th straight day of violent Muslim rioting, here.
The world is aghast over a British Muslim publicly murdering and chopping off the head of a British soldier. The Boston Bombing tragedy continues to unfold as the America National Security State or Nazified Police State has utterly failed.
Western governments are broke and the burden of entitlement dependent immigrants who have no use for their host country except for the generous welfare programs is stressing economies, budgets and taxpayers.
As the West continues to collapse into a smoldering heap of statism, endless wars and failed multiculturalism, all that is left of the once prosperous and free West is the distant memory of liberty, prosperity and civilized society. Soon, that memory will also be vanquished.
The Muslim world is a crazy quilt ancient resentments, religious intolerance and an unwillingness to embrace liberty and natural rights. It's ruled by oppressive dictators that are embraced by the West. None of this is good for the West or the Muslim world that has its own challenges in figuring out how to survive in a world that is far beyond the 7th century.