Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Religious extremism in Middle East mainly from "our" side

Maybe I should have been clearer in my previous post on the exaggeration of sectarian motives in the Syria and Lebanon conflicts. Religion, of course, is playing a big role in the Syrian civil war that is spilling over the border into Lebanon -- and perhaps the entire Middle East region in a so-called "battle between the Shia and the Sunni."

It's just that the sectarian rhetoric and calls to holy war are only coming from one side in the conflict -- "ours."  It is Sunni-led states like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and Turkey --along with Sunni clerics like Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi that are mobilizing religious hatred toward their enemies: 
60%of Free Syria Army fighting for Islamic State
The Shia in Hezbollah, Iran, and the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Asad generally speak in political and strategic, not religious, terms about the conflict.

Religious extremists are also causing splits -- and sometimes violence -- among the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.  The various Palestinian factions are already struggling to maintain their precarious position within Lebanese society and focus their energies on confronting Israel rather than infra-Arab disputes.  Maintaining unity in the camps is challenging under these circumstances.

Meanwhile, in NATO-member Turkey, where the Islamist-leaning regime is strongly supporting the rebels in Syria, opinion polls show that its interventionist policy is opposed by a strong majority of the public.

No comments:

Post a Comment