Zawahri vs. Iran Exposes 1,300-Year-Old Tensions

From an AP article, we learn that:
Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's deputy, has stepped up his denunciations of Iran in recent messages in part to depict al-Qaida as the Arabs' top defense against the Persian nation's rising power in the Middle East.
I find this fascinating because it highlights that the animosity between Sunni and Shia that has existed since Mohammed's death in 632AD is alive and well, even when two of the most evil organizations on earth -- Iran and al-Qaeda -- have a common sworn enemy in America.

Just as the original conflict arose between two groups of power lusters vying for control in the vacuum left by Mohammed's death, so goes the battle between two power-hungry and fanatical groups jockeying for position in preparation for the American departure from Iraq.
Al-Zawahri appeared intent on exploiting widespread worry in the Arab world over Iran's influence, particularly in Iraq, to garner support for al-Qaida. At the same time, he sought to denigrate Iran's ally Hezbollah, which has gained some popularity even among Sunnis in the region for its fight against Israel.

In an audiotape last week, al-Zawahri denounced what he called Iran's expansionist plans, saying Tehran aims to annex southern Iraq and Shiite areas of the eastern Arabian Peninsula as well as strengthen ties to its followers in southern Lebanon. He warned that if Iran achieves its goals, it will "explode the situation in an already exploding region."

The rhetoric is a stark change for al-Zawahri, who in the past did not seek to exploit Shiite-Sunni tensions. When the former head of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was waging a campaign of suicide bombings against Shiites in Iraq, al-Zawahri sent messages telling him to stop, fearing it would hurt al-Qaida's image. [ed: WHAT?!?!]

Al-Qaida doesn't have the strength to launch attacks in Iran, but it intends to do so "in the future," [terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna] said. "If al-Qaida becomes strong in Iraq ... Iran believes al-Qaida in Iraq could become a major threat." [bold added]
This just rehashes millennia of conflict between the rival factions, and even evokes the religious wars between Catholics and Protestants in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries (and beyond). There are no fundamental ideas at the root of the conflicts, and instead the fighting is grounded in power lust and fanatical religious whim.

The Iranians and al-Qaeda are more alike than they are different, and though they may squabble with each other, they are both hellbent on the destruction of the West. Here's hoping they simply blow each other up as their in-fighting intensifies.

1 comment:

Monica said...

Thanks for addressing this. I've often wondered about it, and I think you make a good analogy with the Christian religion.