I guess the news is taking a holiday this weekend, too. The only real news is coming from Iraq and the area. Reuters reports that the Yemeni air force is trying to beat back a Shi’ite rebellion inspired by events in Iraq;
The fighting in northern Yemen, which has taken on a sectarian tone, is further destabilising a country struggling to overcome many problems, including a secessionist movement in its restive south and the nationwide spread of al Qaeda insurgency.
Shi’ite Houthi fighters, officially known as Ansarullah, blamed army units linked to the rival Sunni Muslim Islah party for breaking the June 23 ceasefire on Friday when government troops advanced on an area in al-Jouf province.
As I understand it, the whole rift between Sunnis and Shi’ites goes back to the death of the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century when folks disagreed about who should take over leadership of Islam. Sunnis think that leadership should reside among Muhammad’s students while Shi’ites think that only descendents of the Prophet are qualified. The Economist explains;
[T]he Shia see their ayatollahs as reflections of God on earth. This has led Sunnis to accuse Shia of heresy, while Shia point out that Sunni dogmatism has led to extremist sects such as the puritanical Wahhabis.
So, according to the Associated Press, the Sunni Nation of Islam, formerly ISIS or ISIL, the Sunnis in their newly acquired role in northern Iraq have begun destroying Shi’ite holy sites. Yeah, that’s something that they can’t walk back from;
Images posted online show that Islamic extremists have destroyed at least 10 ancient shrines and Shiite mosques in territory – the city of Mosul and the town of Tal Afar – they have seized in northern Iraq in recent weeks.
Associated Press also says that a man purportedly claiming to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the supposed leader of the new Islamic Nation, has ordered all Muslims to obey him.
In the video, the man said to be al-Baghdadi says that “the mujahedeen have been rewarded victory by God after years of jihad, and they were able to achieve their aim and hurried to announce the caliphate and choose the Imam,” referring to the leader.
“It is a burden to accept this responsibility to be in charge of you,” he adds. “I am not better than you or more virtuous than you. If you see me on the right path, help me. If you see me on the wrong path, advise me and halt me. And obey me as far as I obey God.”
Speaking in classical Arabic with little emotion, he outlines a vision that emphasizes holy war, the implementation of a strict interpretation of Islamic law, and the philosophy that the establishment of an Islamic caliphate is a duty incumbent on all Muslims.
So, apparently there is going to be no peaceful resolution of this situation since all sides don’t see any wiggle room between the two alternatives here – I know, it’s hard to believe that two extremes can’t come together. The West thinks that replacing Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki will change things, but according to Agency France Press, Iraqis still support him.
Category: Terror War