The Sunni Divide

(inFocus-Jewish Policy Center) Harold Rhode - Arabic-speaking Sunnis may loathe Syria's Assad, but they also hate each other. There are many divisions among the Sunni Islamists and they are spending a lot of effort, not only killing the regime's forces, but also killing fellow Sunnis. Qatar and Saudi Arabia passionately hate each other and support different groups within the Islamic opposition groups in Syria. The Qataris, along with the now only nominally secular Turkish Republic, support the Muslim Brotherhood. The Saudis support Salafi fundamentalists. While they disagree on the nature of the future Muslim Caliphate that they believe will rule the entire world, all of these Sunni groups are passionately and aggressively anti-Western, anti-Russian, anti-Chinese, and anti-Israel. Not every Arabic-speaking Sunni is an Islamic fundamentalist. Many, especially a significant portion of Syria's business elite and the tribal sheikhs, have as much to fear from the Sunni fundamentalists as do the non-Sunni groups. Nevertheless, it appears that the vast majority of non-fundamentalists still believe that Sunni Islam must rule and others must know their place, which is politically and socially inferior to the Sunnis. The writer served from 1982-2010 as an Advisor on Islamic Affairs in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

2013-08-16 00:00:00

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