In keeping with their constant quest to saddle the USA with the fault for the growing unrest in he Middle East, the Washington Post has unleashed another article, replete with some efforts to blame-the-USA-first, titled "Across Arab World, a Widening Rift".
In the first paragraph, writer Anthony Shadid illustrates the traditionally intertwined nature of Egypt's Sunni and Shiite communities showing us how they have so easily coexisted in the recent past but quickly gets to the warnings of the danger of the Shiites "rising".
Naturally, this is the fault of the USA who has left Arabs with a sense of "powerlessness and a persistent suspicion of American intentions." The rise of unrest is also blamed on the "United States and others for inflaming it".
Later in the piece, Shadid takes further aim at the USA in particular and the West in general.
"There's a proverb that says, 'Divide and conquer,' " Mohammed said. "Sunnis and Shiites -- they're not both Muslims? What divides them? Who wants to divide them? In whose interest is it to divide them?" he asked.
"It's in the West's interest," he answered. "And at the head of it is America and Israel." He paused. "And Britain."
That sense of Western manipulation is often voiced by Shiite clerics and activists, who say the United States incites sectarianism as a way of blunting Iran's influence. In recent years, some of the most provocative comments have come from America's allies in the region: Egypt's president questioned Shiites' loyalty to their countries, Jordan's king warned of a coming Shiite crescent from Iran to Lebanon, and last month King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia denounced what he called Shiite proselytizing
This illustrates the prosaic penchant for Muslims to resort to overarching and mostly absurd conspiracy theorizing. Blaming everyone but themselves is epidemic in Islam. After all, they are "God's people" so they couldn't be wrong, it is presumed.
Shadid does, however, delineate how embroiled the Sunni/Shiite rift has been since as far back as the 7th century.
The schism between Sunnis and Shiites dates to the 7th century, Islam's earliest days, when a dispute broke out over who would succeed the prophet Muhammad.
Really, this article is quite useful in many ways, when all is said and done. One gets a good measure of much of the blindness to its own troubles endemic in Islam today -- though perhaps the writer didn't realize he had revealed it so himself. While still blaming the US and Western forces, this article clearly shows that these rifts and internecine troubles have been infesting Islam for thousands of years. And, if you read between the lines, you can see how Shiites have been oppressed by Sunnis for generations giving reason for this rift to grow, making it a bomb ready to go off.
"People in the region always complain about a Shiite crescent. You always hear, 'Shiite crescent, Shiite crescent.' That's just a crescent. What about the full Sunni moon?" said Nimr al-Nimr, a Shiite cleric in the eastern Saudi town of Awamiya, who spent five days in police detention for urging that a Shiite curriculum be taught in his predominantly Shiite region.
There is one aspect of the Sunni/Shiite rift that is left somewhat undeveloped by Shadid, though it is given brief mention a few times in the article. And that is the role Iran is playing to enflame sectarian clashes as the Shiite Clerics ruling Iran flex their muscles in the region with their attacks on American forces, their growing Nuclear efforts, and their plan for a "Shiite crescent" of influence in the oil rich regions of the Middle East.
In the background is the growing assertiveness of Shiite Iran as the influence of other traditional regional powers such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia diminishes.
But, as Muslims of both Shiite and Sunni lineage look to the west as the problem, they too often avert their gaze from the problems closer to home, preferring to focus on the outsiders, ignoring their own culpability.
All in all, while this article does fit the general blame-the-USA line of thinking the Washington Post has settled upon, this article does, if you can overlook the blame-the-USA bits, a fair job giving a brief overview of the chief trouble of the Islamic world and it is an internal one that has been roiling for generations.
Now if only we can get American and Western leftists to see that we are not at fault, we'll be on the road to helping them solve this problem. But, don't look to the MSM and the Washington Post for much help there.