A BRITISHER’S VIEW-Engulfed in the Gulf by Islam’s divide

By Shavana Abruzzo

As an undeclared civil war rages in Iraq between the Sunni minority and the Shiite majority, Americans cannot be blamed for thinking, “What the hell have we got ourselves into?”

Despite its naysayers and dissenters, the United States is a role model for a Free World now caught between a rock and a hard place after wresting the Persian Gulf nation from the clutches of a murderous thug whose love affair with terrorism cannot be ignored as fabrication.

Much to its unrecognized credit, the home of the brave will go down in history for accidentally spotlighting Islam's horrible side at a time when progressive nations are striving for peace on the planet.

Naturally, we didn't find Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in Iraq. We publicized our invasion months before the first sortie was even conducted, giving the Butcher of Baghdad ample time to flout international law and relocate his arsenal elsewhere in the sprawling, mostly barren, gulf circumference.

What Saddam and his henchmen were up to for decades before karma caught up with him is anybody's guess. Why should a sub-human, who forced his people to adore him while he tortured, raped, pillaged and killed them, be trusted at his word? When he did finally allow the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission to enter Iraq in 2000, he chose milksop Swedish diplomat Hans Blix to conduct the search and led him only to sites he had hand picked himself.

Moreover, in 1995, Hussein's own son-in-law, Lieutenant-general Hussein Kamel al-Majid, the head of Iraq's open weapons of mass destruction program, defected to Jordan and later confirmed not only the existence of Iraq's WMD program but stated that Hussein had imported close to 39 tonnes of growth media for biological agents. To be used how? As mechanisms for peace? Against this deadly landscape, was the world really supposed to believe that the butcher had destroyed his perilous arsenal after the first Gulf War, particularly given the later circumstances of Blix's micro-managed investigation?

Unbeknownst to it, five years into its invasion of Iraq – which decent civilians there cannot help but agree was with good reason – America is at war with an unshakeable ideology that has, historically, pitted its Sunni and Shiite (or Shia) believers against one another, smearing their much-touted unity of Islam with the blood of the fellow faithful.

Just who are the Sunnis and Shiites, whose rancor harkens back to the early days of Islam when they began warring (even back then) about who should lead the flock after their Prophet Mohammed died in 682 AD? Both sects are brethren of the same faith, but their major difference – for those of us who have known both of them – is that Shiites (mostly in Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain) think Sunnis (comprising the majority in the rest of the Muslim world) are wayward, and Sunnis think the Shiites are nutty. Think of the Shiites as Oliver Cromwell's Puritans and the Sunnis as Charles I's Cavaliers. It becomes even much more confusing when one recalls that Saddam was a Sunni, Osama bin Laden is an ultra-conservative Sunni and Iran's strict mullahs are Shiites.

Despite their fervent proselytizing, there doesn't appear to be much difference between the palpable insanity of Sunnis and Shiites, who, judging from the turpitude in the Muslim world, are not adhering to the Koran's calls for unity: “The believers are but a single brotherhood. Make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers and fear God so that you may receive mercy” (49-10).

Muslim ardor is further given a kick in the pants by cowardly believers, such as the 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and cops who fled ship last week and refused to fight Shiite militias in the oil-drenched city of Basra, whose roots travel back in time to 636 AD. Like the rest of the Islamic world, its future lies in the hands of Muslim trouble-makers, who are quick to blame mankind for their woes but much to lax to craft a lasting peace with anyone – not even their own kind.

E-mail”A Britisher's View” at BritView@courierlife.net. All letters become the property of Courier-Life Publications and are subject to publication unless otherwise specified; please include your name, address and daytime telephone number for verification.

More from Around New York