America finds itself fighting on both sides of a religious war in the Middle East. In Iraq, US troops are helping the Shia government purge the ISIS infection. In Yemen, a US destroyer is firing missiles at the rebels supported by Iran’s Shia government.
That’s the way it is all over the region.
The Shia and Sunni Muslims are in an age-old struggle for supremacy, and the US seems to be on one side in one country and the other side in another.
Complicating the situation is the fact that ISIS is a Sunni sect. And Saudi Arabia has been a major source of funds for ISIS and other extremist terror groups that threaten America.
Meanwhile, Iran has been funding Shia militias, and is supporting the Shia rebels in Yemen.
The Kurds have been the West’s most reliable ally in Iraq and have borne the brunt of the campaign against ISIS. But in Turkey, the US supports President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is bombing the Kurds at home and in Syria.
Incidentally the Turks are devout followers of Islam, and Erdoğan is apparently abandoning Turkey’s traditionally secular posture. Nearly 75 percent of Turkey’s Muslims are Sunni.
Russia is unequivocally in the Shia camp, allied with the Iranians and with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad (who belongs to the Alawite Islamic group but is politically aligned with the Iranians).
Then. there’s Israel, America’s traditional ally. And the only thing Sunni and Shia seem to agree on is that Israel should be gone.
To me, the mess seems to have no solution. But innocent lives – hundreds of thousands of innocent lives – are being snuffed out in an endless and worsening religious war.
And religious groups that have nothing to do with the Shia-Sunni struggle, such as the Christians in Syria and the Yezidi in Iraq – are caught in a deadly crossfire
On purely humanitarian grounds, something has to be done to restore peace in the region.
I think it’s a job for the UN. Unilateral American involvement looks like a no-win strategy to me.
And it’s really, really dangerous. Russian hard liners are already talking about World War III.