Sectarian Conflicts in the Arab Conflict Spots ..Its Courses of actions and Scenarios

09 - Nov - 2014

 Arab arena were not to wait for the Jewish Orientalist Bernard Lewis theories in order to ignite sectarian conflicts; as the readiness of sectarianism is a genuine and rooted feature in human cultures and communities. The presence of such a readiness needs only a spark to ignite it. The issue of sectarianism appears from time to time, surpassing the surrounding silence, and its stagnation, as a result to blocked political tracks, and aggravated problems. In fact, sectarianism lie very deep   in the souls of individuals, and constitutes a portion of every culture in various communities in most eastern and western countries. It does stop before a closed door, that is why its explosion is very violent and even catastrophic to an extent that would threaten states entities, territorial integrity and the future of their peoples. Thus, the role of  the state is important to eliminate whatever stirs this sectarian readiness, which represents the seed of the sectarian conflicts in the communities. Such conflicts are fiercer and deadlier than foreign wars against neighboring countries, for example, It has been said that the sectarian wars cause more death than any other war. History witnessed ethnical and sectarian conflicts that is considered as the worst in the history of mankind, because they do not expire as easily as they started out, and no party can achieve victory, moreover, both parties are defeated.

Do any of you remember the Thirty Years War that torn Europe, from 1618 to 1648; when about eight million people were killed in battles, not to mention the massive destruction in villages and cities, displacement and asylum; so-called "The tragedy of Europe,". The war broke out in the beginning as a religious struggle between Catholics and Protestants and ended as a political struggle to control the other states.
Today, history repeats itself; but in the eastern Arab world, as if ominous wind has brought sectarianism breezes from west to the east, to recall all the sectarian black extremist scenes. As a result, new generations step deep into a dangerous swamp that seriously threatens their present and destroys their future, and even pushes the future of the whole region in an unknown bet.

 

Courses of sectarianism establishment in the Arab region

Sectarianism came to the Arab region, with the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and particularly since the US General Paul Bremer, the Iraq's military governor has established a ruling council. The seats of this council were distributed on sectarian and ethnic basis, which is clearly reflected on the overall political process in Iraq, which emerged from the womb of the occupation, and brought Nuri Al-Maliki, a Shiite background and Iranian-backed to the prime minister seat. Al-Maliki has worked throughout his term to promote sectarianism in favor of Shiites at the expense of Iraqi Sunnis. When Americans left Iraq, the arena was ready for sectarian incitation and bilateral polarization between the major Islamic religion teams "Sunnis and Shiites"; the America recipe in the Arab region to guarantee the continuation of its internal crises and drive its countries into civil cold wars to eliminate their hopes and ambitions.
Strangely enough, in this matter; that the American recipe for the destruction of the Arab arena through sectarian tension, is the same recipe that was used in Lebanon during the last century and introduced to Lebanon in the midst of deadly sectarian war that lasted fifteen years. This war was about to terminate the existence of this country from the Arab map, according to a plan set by colonial forces in the centre of the Arab nation, by stirring  emotions; namely sectarianism and doctrine and religious conflicts.
 And just as in the current reality; Arab region is witnessing a wave of sectarian incitation; reflected via situations, statements, and security activities and events taking place in some Arab countries.
From Iraq to Syria to Lebanon to Yemen as well as Bahrain and the other countries, the tempo of this incitation is accelerating; taking the shape of security tensions sometimes, through armed confrontations, bombings or repression to the extent of  daily assassinations, according to the disguise  will of several parties aimed at driving a wedge in the region and drag it towards the abyss. 
This sectarian incitation associated with US policy, which used according to the experiences of the past and the evidence of history to play on this tender chord to weaken the countries that oppose its policies., and it appears clear that The role of the US administration clearly appears in encouraging sectarian division in these countries. This role has been revealed lately from US support to the state of hostility between Arabs and Iran, as well as working to increase and deepen it.
Colonial powers have worked to establish a theory of "sectarian incitement" and push to ignite sectarian strife between the people of one nation, although these colonial powers are not sectarian, and call for strengthening the secularism and limiting the role of religion to the individual level. Colonial powers depend on sectarianism to pass the "divide and rule" the old and new colonial policy.
After the Gulf War and the end of the Cold War, the Zionists wanted to exploit the right moment in order to formulate the region to suit them. Shimon Peres spoke about the new Middle East, led by Tel Aviv instead of Cairo. The Middle East of development and well-being apparently, while secretly, it is a fragmented Middle East on the ethnic and sectarian and doctrinal basis; where everyone is grappling with each other, and they make peace with, and perhaps ally with the Jewish state (1).

In an interview with the French magazine "Le Figaro" days before the Jewish famous writer George Steiner said: "The salvation of the Jews in Israel is in war between Sunnis and Shiites." (2), reflecting the involvement of Israeli intelligence in fueling those rabid campaign targeting the Arab region sectarian and doctrinal manner.
 At this moment, there is no issue more serious than the issue of fueling sectarian divisions and sectarian conflicts across the land of all Arabs without exception. In this crazy atmosphere. We can not talk about a national unity, civil peace, or solidarity at the level of the nation, or even about any kind of political and economic development. It is hard to achieve any meaningful progress towards resolving any problem without stripping sectarian body and then extinguish its fire  (3).
It is no longer a secret that the sectarian landscape is mostly in the Arab arena these days, depending on what is happening in some Arab countries, Syrian crisis which sounded the drums of sectarian war and crumbled with other countries in the region. There is no doubt that a new spring is coming to the region inevitably, in which sectarian will be the fuel of a long raging war, the region will be engaged in for a certain length of time, rather than discovering the plans set by others by day and night.

 

Syrian crisis .. sectarianism threatens the State

 
The Syrian revolution is still ongoing, and gained two characteristics along time, one of them is the political peaceful movement; represented by the defenseless Syrian people, and the other is violent; represented by the Syrian free army; that arose in reaction to the brutal repression pursued by the Assad regime to confront the SPLM, and factions of the armed opposition, as well as Islamic organizations militant which entered on the front line with the escalation of open confrontations, such as: Front victory and the movement of free-Sham and the organization of the Islamic State "ISIS". All these interventions have led to the escalation of the military situation in the Syrian territory in general, and even exceeded the Syrian border to the neighboring countries such as Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey.

What is happening today in Syria from the bloody events sparked by the outbreak of the popular revolution to overthrow the ruling regime in Syria. Those events roamed the Syrian territory east and west, were not only a popular revolution led by the Syrian people themselves for freedom, dignity and eliminating the injustice perched on the Syrians decades ago; represented by Al-Assad regime. After few days Bashar Assad described it as conspiracy against Syria, aimed at destroying the country and eliminating the opposition in the region. Assad has warned then of the country's slide into sectarian civil war burn everything and everybody, that speech that Assad and his face to the Syrian people his words had sectarian tone, in a clear defiance of the revolutionaries against his regime, that Al-Assad family members are not alone in their fight and without them, Al Assad family members or nothing. 
With the popular revolution explosion, authoritarian regime renewed its campaign and activated its propaganda tools for straining the social climate and stimulating the obsessions and sectarian fears. The regime planned, to defend his authority, to push the situation into a sectarian war courses for several considerations including: rallying minorities in general, especially Alawies, around the regime, so that they have the same doomed destiny, along with intimidating the Syrian and community of the revolution, and to intimidate the international community of the results of the victory of the revolution and its impact on the members of religious minorities, especially Christian minority; in courting the western countries, who had played the card of minorities protection as a cover for their colonial ambitions. These ambitions were not only seeking to take advantage of the sectarian and ethnic in Syria, but also in all the countries in the region, which suffers from similar religious and sectarian divisions. So it was not a coincidence that they leaked videos depicting killings, torture, rape, massacres and slaughter of children, elderly and women; The "heroes" of these videos are recognized explicitly through their accents, in an apparent attempt to lure a similar reaction leads to heating up the situation and push communities to engage in a deadly war (4) .
Assad wanted a sectarian war to gain more time in power, but this officially declared sectarian war will save Assad or anybody else. not keep the lion or the other. Moreover, it will not let green or crusty in Syria. The only dangerous success achieved by Bashar al-Assad, with an Iranian pure help, is transforming  confrontation with the revolution, into Sunni-Shiite sectarian war, which is welcomed in some Arab and Islamic countries that suffer from this deadly bilateral crisis (5). 
Sectarianism was, and still, one of the most effective weapons to the Assad regime, in his tireless attempts to control the popular opposition movements, as well as political parties, civil movements. He did this through overrating family and tribal relations in the joints of the state, instead of  civil and institutional relations. These policies aimed to draw attention away from corruption, economic differences, repression and persecution, with the absence of democracy deliberately.    
There is no doubt that Hezbollah's involvement in the Syrian battle, especially in the first instance, and under the title of "the protection of the Shiite shrines" exclusively has fueled the sectarian dimension of the conflict, which met interaction in Lebanon, in which the State structure is mainly based on sectarian and religious dimension, when Assad regime reached a dead end. (6).
These spheres provided a suitable climate for some militant organizations to enter the front lines in the Syrian arena that has become an open battlefield between  Sunni and Shiites. atmosphere and into the armed militias flowed from everywhere, and led to the involvement of some countries in the region to get involved in those battles , for the defense of the regime and not the people, such as Iran, who sends men, materiel and money for the Army to prevent the fall of the Syrian regime. It is a proven certainty that there is armed soldiers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard fighting in Syria alongside the regime.
It is no doubt that the current conflict in the Syrian territory, which has become a sectarian struggle par excellence and the will of the parties in conflict, may extend in the entire region and become a cross-border struggle, with transit of terrorist organizations to the region depending on the course of the actions. If the sectarian violence is less in countries other than Syria such as Lebanon, for example, the Syrian sectarian issue remains the hottest.

 

Sectarianism in Lebanon .. from breaking the state power to war and division 

History does not forget what happened in Lebanon in 1975, where Lebanese entered into a raging fifteen-year-old civil war, which claimed hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded, as well as massive destruction in cities and infrastructure of the state. It was triggered by sectarian strife that ignited the arena in Lebanon between the communities. 
Certainly, that sectarianism is the main engine of political and military life in Lebanon, and it controls the prevailing political system there. It flooded Lebanon with a lot of political and military constitutional crisis, which we are still watching its phases till this moment. 
For this, the Lebanese political system is a sectarian system in all its provisions, laws and practices, which is reflected on the overall developments of events in Lebanon, so that the Lebanese political system has become only expresses the interests of the various sects in Lebanon, and is not expressing the independent Lebanese national interest (7).
However, this sectarian scene in Lebanon is nothing new, but it is authentic and rooted in Lebanese history. Lebanese political system, since independence in 1943 and until now, is a sectarian system of first-class, sectarianism intervene in every big and small in the Lebanese political system. The political parties are sectarian constitution was put on a sectarian basis. The executive, legislative and judicial authorities are sectarian as well as, and President of the Republic is elected on a sectarian basis. The government is formed and parliament is elected and divided on a sectarian basis. Sectarianism is everywhere in Lebanon.
We also can not understand the nature of crises that take place in Lebanon currently in isolation from sectarian tone, that is the main cause of these crises; The withdrawal of  a sect from power is enough to stop the political system, freeze and the power and cripple the movement, because an essential component of sectarian components of society has withdrawn out of power. This is what has happened in the previous phase of the Doha agreement, 2008, as the state broke down more than a year and a half, just because the ministers of a specific  sect left the government, and this is a logical fact in a power based on sectarian quotas. This applies to all state institutions, not only the political institutions. When people need the army, it can not do something, it does not protect them or their homes, arguing that the sectarian composition of the army may split it apart if intervening to protect the people. Here are the judiciary can not move against this or that under  sectarian cover, which is called a political cover. How many disputes, conflicts and discounts cost the state a lot of money, and the state is helpless, just for sectarian considered (8).
It is not surprising in this case that the sectarian readiness rampant in Lebanon is the motive behind the involvement of this country in the heart of the Syrian crisis, given the geographical and geopolitical between the two countries; where sectarian trends prevail. Today, Lebanon is the theater of the infighting due to reflections in the large neighbor (Syria). Lebanese spectra were split into pro and opposition the Syrian leadership, and each party aligned to the sect it belongs to in Syria.
In the same context; Lebanon is feared to be a prey of the cross-border terrorism, because of sectarian ground experienced by that country and flammable at any moment and with any minor accident. The Financial Times has reported, in an article by Erika Solomon entitled "ISIS progress threatens to provoke sectarianism in Lebanon", where she said that the ISIS fighters  now control about a third of the area of Syria, Iraq and declared the Islamic Caliphate in the region that they control, and fear Lebanon flammable sectarian balances, and vulnerable government to be the next target for ISIS (9). Considers that, until now there is no weight to large ISIS in Lebanon, but extremism is growing in the small state, and the power struggle between the Shiite majority, Sunni minority, Maronite and Druze makes it easy to destabilize Lebanon (10).
In light of alarming security situation, the military situation in the border town of Arsal explosion came, after a military operation of air strikes artillery and shelling from the Syrian side. In the first day August, which marks the Lebanese army Festival, news spread about ISIS groups gathering in eastern Lebanon series, waiting for an attack (11), "newsletter" site referred that there is big preparations in the region.
Here, ISIS ability to launch attacks in Lebanon will be lower compared to the attacks waged in Syria and Iraq, and perhaps the most difficult and complex, because Lebanon is the center of the powerful Shi'ite Hezbollah, which receives support and supply of Shiite Iran, which will push the organization to influence the people of Lebanese Sunnis who are suffering from discrimination, marginalization and the lack of strong leaders, the same thing that prompted many Sunnis in Iraq and Syria to accept ISIS and support it in some cases, and therefore, this is one of the bombs circles on the Lebanese arena, that State which is still suffer from vacancy in the head, and soon the vacancy will be the fate of the House of Representatives. Till this moment, Lebanese parties could not agree on a president because of sectarianism that is tearing entity of the country and threatening its future with fragmentation and division. In a word; the long termed project  of «ISIS», has goals up to the extent of fragmentation of the region or «creative chaos» we have heard about in the past few years.
What worries the Lebanese are two key issues: First, will we go in the same direction, which the region may take? Second, does the Lebanese meet these enormous changes in case, amid bloody internal disorders?

 

 

Houthis and Yemen: sectarian militia ascend State

 
Yemeni arena Witnesses grave events rise to the self-determination of the Yemeni state, like the Huthi sweeping to the state and controlling of the capital Sanaa late last September, and dominating the military and security system of the State and holding education, banking, health and other institutions posts. Houthi militias continue in the military infiltration in the country's north and west up to the Yemeni-Saudi border.
 
Albeit Houthis did not face military resistance by the army or fragile President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, lax and accused of the "delivery" of Yemen to the group "Ansar Allah" Huthi, but they are facing fierce resistance from armed groups calculated and Administration the Brotherhood of the Reform Party in the governorate of Ibb, backed by tribes rejecting the presence of armed Houthis in their areas. This confrontations resulted in number of dead, wounded and displaced dozens of families from the center of the province (12).
In Yemen, the Houthis control creates a deepening sectarian conflict in the future, amid increasing levels kindness to organize «Al-Qaeda» among Sunni tribes. The importance of Yemen springs from its direct effect on the Saudi street. Saudi throne and betting on the Saudi street to exceed its contradictions, and to be united behind his leadership, because of developments in Yemen. The death penalty against the Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr may be resulted in this context (13).
Yemen's problem is not the Houthi armed militia, but the problem associated with "Iran" that does not provide effort in intervening into the Arab arena, as Yemen is a strategic platform to the Iranian influence in the Gulf axis, which is the fourth country in the succession Iranian bridgehead to the Arab region after Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut, according to reports by the representative of Tehran in the Iranian parliament, Ali Reza Zakani: "Three Arab capitals are dominated by Iran, today, and a subsidiary of the Iranian Islamic Revolution," pointing out that Sanaa has become the fourth Arab capital, which is on its way to join the Iranian revolution (14). It does not end up there; but also to be considered Zakani that the Yemeni Revolution "Huthi" a natural extension of the Iranian revolution, and the 14 provinces Yemen will become under the control of the Houthis soon out of 20 counties, and they will stretch and reach inside Saudi Arabia, saying: "Certainly, Yemeni revolution will not be confined to Yemen alone, and will be extended after its success into Saudi Arabia. Yemen- Saudi vast border will accelerate access to Saudi depth ", as he claimed (15).
However, some people may believe that what happened and is happening regarding this current conflict in Yemen has nothing to do with Zaidi or Alhadoi doctrines, as the direct effect of "Ethna Ashria" thoghts Jaafari doctrine, coming from overseas, after the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, in order to find common ground to the stretch of the Shiite political image.
And it seems, the features of sectarian strife are plain to see in the course of the Yemeni conflict, according to observers saw that the Houthi incursion in Sunni Shafie strongholds can stir sectarian conflict in the fragile country living in poverty, violence and arms (16). Where in the Sunni provinces of Ibb, Hodeidah and Baydaa, the incursion of  Houthi militias led to violent clashes that left dozens dead and wounded, as armed clashes are still going on in some of those areas. So that the movements of the Houthis in Sunni areas offset angry armed reactions, sectarian tyranny characterizes the conflict gripping the country. Especially with the entry of al-Qaeda in Yemen to fierce clashes with the Houthi militias in the incursion areas, while al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula threatened to move the battle with the Houthis to the province of Saada, the stronghold of the group in northern Yemen.
There is no doubt that the Houthi choice  for al-Qaeda as political opponent, would uncover them as a religious group. The need to achieve victories in this battle, or to stay balanced, and Nada Al-Qaeda to the predominance of militancy and sectarian character of the leadership and structure of the group itself. They may retreat to protect their borders from Al-Qaeda attacks.

 

General characteristics of the sectarian conflicts

 
The scope of sectarian conflict is widening every day in our Arab region, and it lives on every drop of blood that falls in this conflict. If you want to stand on the size of the sectarian tragedy unfolding in front of us, look at the following numbers: The number of victims of the current sectarian conflict in Syria in 3 years, is about 140 thousand people, and this is more than 15 times the number of Syrians victims in all their wars against Israel in the past 66 years the number (17). 
The number of victims of sectarian clashes in Iraq in 2013 alone, is 7818 civilians only, according to United Nations estimates, and 9500, according to the estimates of Iraqi, equivalent to 3 times our victims in the tripartite aggression against Egypt (3 thousands martyr) and about half of all the martyrs of the Arabs on all fronts (18300 dead) in the October War in 1973 (18).
 
With regard to the number of the victims of sectarian conflicts in Lebanon and Yemen at the moment, the researcher could not get documented official statistics stating so.

Table (1) shows the previously  mentioned numbers.

Victims Country
7818 dead Iraq
140.000* Syria
Undefined Lebanon
Yemen Yemen

 

   * Figure stating the number of victims of sectarian conflict in Syria during the 3 years

 

Scene analysis and future scenarios

 
So; Arab region is witnessing unprecedented sectarian tension in terms of its strength and motives, due to the will of the great powers. They aim at tearing and fragmentation of the Arab region, not by using nuclear deadly arms, but through the most dangerous channels lethal and stressful for the peoples and communities, namely the sectarian conflicts.
 
An American writer raised the issue explicitly, and said in an analysis entitled (to play the card of Sunni): "From the standpoint of war team in America, if we look at the sectarian situation in the Middle East, we will find that Sunni rulers allied with the United States are united in the face of odds Shiite tide. If we in a civilization war with Islam –from the standpoint of war team- the deepening of the sectarian split in the ranks of the enemy must be viewed as an effective strategy "(19). This has already been applied in Iraq, to a large extent, according to the US military magazine "Armed Forces Journal,". The magazine stresses that this strategy will be applied progressively on all Arab and Islamic countries.

 In such a situation; it is does not stop at Iraq, Syria, Lebanon or Yemen, but exceeds them all to the entire Arab region, so it depends on the great international desire, seeking to break up the Arab world as a prelude to draw a new Middle East map, in which this Middle East is composed of sectarian mini-states. 
The Middle East has already been to this dangerous swamp; starting from the war on terrorism (Afghanistan and Iraq), then freedom and dignity (the Arab Spring) in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen, then Human Rights (Bahrain and Sudan), then the current war on the organization of the Islamic State "ISIS" in Iraq and Syria, and building alliances to confront it. All these implications suggest sectarian conflicts to come in those spots, running the Arabs and Muslims against each other, and their global influence will recede, their economies collapse, their resources are drained, and millions of their population become homeless. As a result, they become weak and unable to cope with all plans against them. This situation leads to the division of the divided and who is already fragmented.
In this regard, the pace of this sectarian violence will continue to several generations, similar to what happened in the period after the First World War in Europe. It may take the region ten years in order to enjoy relative calm, and attaining security and stability becomes the first priority of the peoples.
 Thus, the state remains the only solution to prevent falling in the mud of the sectarian crisis, because denying  or neglecting the root of the problem, or continue to bet on it would create new spots of conflict; which is the same absent evil, waiting for the Arab region.

 

To Read The Artical In Arabic Link here 

References


(1) Abdul-Wahab al-Jubouri, Monday, March 4th, 2013. 
See the link: Link

 (2) the Lebanese newspaper "Al-Nahar," October 8, 2014. 
See the link: Link 

 

 (3)Al Arabia News, Friday, July 27, 2014. 
See the link: Link 

(4) Ali Al-Abdullah of September 19, 2012. 
See the link: Link 

(5) Al Arabia News, Tuesday, December 24, 2013. 
See the link: Link 

(6) Munir Shafiq, Thursday, October 3, 2013. 
See the link: Link 

(7) Khalid Al Aaraj, October 26, 2013. 
See the link: Link 

(8) Omar Hammoud, Monday July 14, 2014. 
See the link: Link 

(9)"BBC" Arabic site, Saturday, September 6,2014. 
See the link: Link

(10) Ibid himself.

 (11) Naseeb Shams, October 14, 2014.
See the link: Link 

(12) wefaq Benkirane, Sunday, October 19, 2014. 
See the link: Link 

13) Johnny Munir, Thursday, October 23, 2014. See the link: Link 

"Arabic 2" site," Monday, September 22 ,2014. 
See the link: Link 

(14) Ibid

(15) Almustagbal site, Tuesday, October 21, 2014. 
See the link: Link 

(16) elwatannews site, April 22,2014. 
See the link:  Link 

(17) Ibid
(18) alarabalyawm newspaper, Thursday, May 30, 2013. 
See the link: Link 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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