Nebraskans for Peace has long called attention to the dangers implicit in the growing confrontation between the Sunni powers in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, and the bloc of Shiite nations and militia powers extending from Iran through Iraq and the Alawite Shiite-ruled nation of Syria to the Hezbollah Shia armies in Lebanon.
A few months ago, Nebraskans for Peace hosted Sr. Agnes Miriam of the monastery of St. James the Mutilated from Syria. She warned us about the jihadists organizing in eastern Syria and Iraq, an organizing that has culminated in the march of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant on Baghdad. Unfortunately Sister Agnes Miriam did not receive the attention that she deserved from the media press.
The United States has been largely indifferent to the tensions between Sunni and Shia in the Middle East since the détente of 2005 when Sunni tribes in Anbar province decided to cooperate with the U.S. and the de facto government in Iraq. After they did this and were promised inclusion, they were increasingly excluded from power by a Maliki government dominated by Shiites and exclusionary of other groups, especially of Sunnis. This failure by our ally in Iraq has created the organizing momentum for the Sunni ISIL group in Iraq. The same sort of failure has fueled the rebellion against the Assad government in Syria. The U.S. needs to cry out loud and long at the Iraq government’s exclusionary policies and its failure to rid itself of corruption.Read more