Thursday, March 04, 2004

The Shi'ite Factor in Gulf Politics: "The Shi'ite / Sunni conflict underlies Gulf politics.
Saddam Hussein's regime tried to show a pan-Arabic face to the world. In Iraq, that ideology meant Sunni dominance over the Shi'a. The Shi'a saw Saddam's pan-Arabism as an attack on their version of Islam.
The discourse in the Gulf is full of coded speech that masks the depth of this Sunni / Shi'ite conflict from those that miss the coding. Arabic language websites demonstrate the virulent nature of the conflict.
One Sunni extremist, affiliated with Al Qaeda, wrote a pamphlet listing the threats to Sunni Islam. He identified four threats of equal danger.

1. Jews
2. Christian Crusaders (the United States and Great Britain)
3. Secularists
4. The Shi'ite heretic threat
The Sunni extremists call Shi'ites refusers � they refuse to accept the successors to the prophet. The word 'refusers' is a slur, akin to a racial epithet. "

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