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Al-Qaeda majority Sunni or Shiite?

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posted on Dec, 11 2006 @ 07:43 PM
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One question, can you answer it without searching on Google?

More questions?

Does it matter which Islamic sect Al-Qaeda belongs to?

Can you tell me and anyone who reads this what the differences between the Sunnis and Shiites are?

As the struggle between Sunni and Shiites in Iraq continues to worsen this thread may prove educational for all.

If Al-Qaeda majority is Sunni, wouldn't that lean more toward the theory that Al-Qaeda did indeed have ties with Saddam's regime?

Why is there such a strong sectarian struggle between these two religious sects currently in Iraq?

Which side does Al-Qaeda support in Iraq, Sunni or Shiite?

If Shiites take over in Iraq, what does that mean for Al-Qaeda?

Answer any one or all if you can.


Applause for quality answers.




posted on Dec, 11 2006 @ 08:40 PM
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This site have a good view by Dr. Marc Sageman about Common Myths of Al-qaida, but it doesn’t tell from which tribes the majority comes from, but it does tells some information about from what part of society many comes from.

usinfo.state.gov...

Al-qaida follows Sunni fundamentalist views, but their members can be from any tribes, because of that they are been linked now with also minority Shiites all following the same purpose specialy in Iraq.

www.globalsecurity.org...



posted on Dec, 11 2006 @ 08:47 PM
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Al-Qaeda was heavily influenced by Bin Laden, who's in the ultra-orthodox Wahhabi sect, which rules Saudi Arabia. Most Muslims in the world are Sunni, though Iran and Iraq are Shia. The difference was explained to me once, but I really can't remember, although if anyone was watching much TV just after the invasion they may have seen footage of an extraordinary and scary festival (this seems like the wrong word... you'll see what I mean) that Saddam had banned during his rule.

The "festival" was to commemorate the fact that one of the early Caliphs, I think, had been defeated in battle, and the Shias would go into the street and cut themselves up with big knives. It was while I was watching this that I got the first creepy feeling that the invasion, bad as it already was in my view, was going to open a truly hideous Pandora's box in Iraq.

If you want a good insider's view of what's going on with the various militias in Iraq right now, I'd heartily recommend reading the article by, and watching the interview with, Nir Rosen in this thread I prepared earlier.

Broadly, what you've got operating in Iraq is (in no particular order):


  • The Badr brigades (Shia resistance militias who also target Sunnis)
  • Al-Qaeda in Iraq (not as significant as US media would have you believe)
  • CIA and MI6 covert action teams fomenting trouble
  • Shia death squads run by the Iraqi government
  • Blackwater death squads (contractors) run by the US government
  • local militias who are just trying to defend their neighbourhoods from everyone else
  • the US army
  • the British army
  • gangs of marauding criminals out to make money through the chaos


This list is of course by no means exhaustive.

At the moment the site I linked to for the Nir Rosen article is down, but you can find it here instead. Rosen is an American who can pass as a middle easterner and has written extensively about Iraq and Afghanistan. His perspective is unique and the information he can get is invaluable in trying to understand what is going on out there. He has other articles and they all contribut to a bigger picture.



posted on Dec, 11 2006 @ 09:03 PM
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If Al-Qaeda majority is Sunni, wouldn't that lean more toward the theory that Al-Qaeda did indeed have ties with Saddam's regime?

No. This whole attempt to tie Al-Qaeda and Saddam together made me quite cross at the time. Propagandist distortions have that effect. Saddam was a secular nationalist. He was, nominally, a Sunni, but this has more to do with tribalism than anything else. Under his rule, Iraq was moving away from fundamentalism, and since the invasion, it's moved back. He did, however, use Wahhabis to control the Shia, as the Rosen article I linked in my previous post makes clear:


Saddam had used Sunni Islam to legitimize his power, building one large Sunni mosque in each Shia city in the south; these mosques were seized by Shias immediately after the regime collapsed. During the 1990s Saddam also used the donations that Shia pilgrims make to the shrines they visit—totaling millions of dollars a month—to finance his Faith Campaign, which spread Sunni practices in Iraq and even declared official tolerance of Wahhabis for the first time, perhaps because of their deep hatred of Shias. Wahhabism is an austere form of Sunni Islam, dominant in Saudi Arabia, that rejects all other interpretations and views Shias as apostates. Wahhabis had traveled up from Arabia in centuries past and sacked Shia shrines. Now Shias were terrified of a Wahhabi threat. They feared that Wahhabis would poison the food distributed to pilgrims. According to a cleric in Najaf, Sheikh Heidar al Mimar, “There were no Sunnis in Najaf before the 1991 intifada, but Saddam brought Wahhabis to the Shia provinces in order to control the Shia. These Wahhabis were very bad with us, and all Shia were afraid of them.” Again and again I heard Iraq’s Shias refer to all Sunnis as Wahhabis.


Saddam was a politician, not a religious fundamentalist. While tolerating the more extreme Wahhabis, he was using them to control the majority Shia.

Just before the invasion, Saddam's generals tried to establish links with Al-Qaeda, but he disapproved of it to the last. It's only since the invasion that AQ has become a force in Iraq.

Why is there such a strong sectarian struggle between these two religious sects currently in Iraq?

There are real differences between them, and Saddam was guilty of keeping the Shias in check using at times brutal methods. However, in spring 2003 there were signs that the two sides were uniting against the invader. It was at this point that a series of mosque bombings began, and there is reason to suppose that this was part of a covert campaign run by MI6 and the CIA to divide and rule. British soldiers, if you remember, were arrested by the Iraqi police: the soldiers were in disguise and the car they were in was full of explosives. There are also reports of the US planting bombs to sow religious dissent, as documented in this thread and this thread on suicide bombers

This is from the second thread referenced (written in the summer of this year):


The Americans, my interlocutor suspected, are trying to provoke an Iraqi civil war so that Sunni Muslim insurgents spend their energies killing their Shia co-religionists rather than soldiers of the Western occupation forces. "I swear to you that we have very good information," my source says, finger stabbing the air in front of him. "One young Iraqi man told us that he was trained by the Americans as a policeman in Baghdad and he spent 70 per cent of his time learning to drive and 30 per cent in weapons training. They said to him: 'Come back in a week.' When he went back, they gave him a mobile phone and told him to drive into a crowded area near a mosque and phone them. He waited in the car but couldn't get the right mobile signal. So he got out of the car to where he received a better signal. Then his car blew up."

Impossible, I think to myself. But then I remember how many times Iraqis in Baghdad have told me similar stories.

Source


And this is from the first thread (from within the past week or so):


Sommer recalled one instance in which he helped a CIA officer and a Delta Force sergeant load two 105 mm howitzer shells into a vehicle in Baghdad's Green Zone. He learned later that they detonated the shells, killing four men -- one of whom was a radical Islamic politician who was the front-runner for elective office.

www.informationclearinghouse.info...


I don't know the answers to your two other questions. It's late and I need to sleep. I hope the foregoing has been of help.

[edit on 11-12-2006 by rich23]



posted on Dec, 11 2006 @ 09:06 PM
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Does it matter which Islamic sect Al-Qaeda belongs to?
No it doesn't, because Al-Qaeda represents the fundamentalist idealogy of the Sunnis and Shiite combined.

Can you tell me and anyone who reads this what the differences between the Sunnis and Shiites are?
The major difference is whom they chose to follow after Mohammed, the Sunnis followed Mohammed's closest friend who teached relied strictly to the Koran for guidance and the Shiites followed Muhammed son or was it his son in law, relying on the direct lineage of Muhammed as their source of guidance.

If Al-Qaeda majority is Sunni, wouldn't that lean more toward the theory that Al-Qaeda did indeed have ties with Saddam's regime?
Not necessarily, the whole Al-Qaeda thing is deeper than a Sunni fellowship. The opportunity presented itself, they are only taking advantage of it, remember we wanted to deal with Al-Qaeda in Iraq instead of on our shores.

Why is there such a strong sectarian struggle between these two religious sects currently in Iraq?
Other than the whole senseless centuries of nonsense..Because it will determine the type of islamic state Iraq will become.

Which side does Al-Qaeda support in Iraq, Sunni or Shiite?
Neither, the entity called Al-Qaeda is trying to instigate hostilities between the two.

If Shiites take over in Iraq, what does that mean for Al-Qaeda?
not much, I think Al-Qaeda will just continue to try to disrupt any government there until an islamic state is formed or the country is broken up.


on a side note, I think it needs to be mentioned that regardless whether a Muslim is sunni or shiite, they are still Muslim and they will unite against a common enemy.


[edit on 12-11-2006 by worldwatcher]



posted on Dec, 11 2006 @ 09:32 PM
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Saddam did not have ties with Al-qaida because . . . Saddam’s regime was a secular regime. Our government had intelligent reports that it was some communication about setting camps for Al-qaida in Iraq but until this times it have been no prove of it.



Bin Ladin apparently requested to establish training camps and for assistance in obtaining weapons from Iraq. The Iraqi government, however, never responded. Moreover, two senior Bin Ladin associates have confirmed that there was no collaborative relationship between al Qaeda and Iraq.


www.globalsecurity.org...

Who side is Al-qaida supporting in Iraq?

Well it seems that the Iraqi government that is mostly Shiite also has Shiite majority in the police and military, the persecution and death squats are taking toll on the Sunnis.

Countries like Saudi Arabia are calling for other countries like Jordan and Egypt to help their fellow Sunnis against the Shiite hold in Iraq.

However, in the beginning of the war it seems that Sunni Al-qaida member killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was the one organizing and training Al-qaida Camps in Iraq.

That was the link that US had of Al-qaida and Sunni Iraqis but . . . after he died, the Shiites are now blamed to most of the killings and sectarian violence.

On June 7, 2006, coalition forces killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in an air strike north of Baghdad. His spiritual advisor, Sheik Abd-Al-Rahman, was also killed.

www.globalsecurity.org...

It seems that the blame is on Iran and Hezbollah financing Shiite militias in Iraq to keep the sectarian violence.

However, one thing to understand is . . . that blames has been transferred from Al-qaida to Hezbollah.

If Hezbollah is mostly Shiite and Al-qaida is, mostly Sunni . . . is difficult to understand what is going on with who is supporting who in Iraq.

Perhaps in order to understand who is financing and helping who we most see which groups is support by whom.

It seems that Sunnis have Al-qaida while Shiite has Hezbollah in Iran.



posted on Dec, 11 2006 @ 09:54 PM
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Ill try to answer a couple of the easier questions without too much option adding.

Al qaeda is 99% Sunni.

Al qaeda in iraq is for the Sunnis, but only those not working with the Govt.

Al qaeda in iraq is also currently having a mini civil war among Sunnis with the former baathist sunnis from Saddams regime who had alot of them jailed or killed in the 1990's, family members etc. this is happening in anbar province.

there are many other Sunni insurgent groups other than Al qaeda in Iraq, infact a majority of Sunni insurgents are not Al qaeda directly. Many may or may not have ties of varying degrees. The umbrella organization representing most of the Sunni insurgent groups including Al qaeda to a degree in Iraq is called the Mujahedeen Shura Council. They too want an islamic caliphate and act as the Judges and Court of the Sunni insurgents, often condemning innocent hostages to death by beheading.

Al qaeda in iraq was behind provoking the sunni vs shia sectarian violence as a strategy against the coaltion forces. This is proven by intercepted letters to and from terrorist leadership like Zarqawi etc discussing it as a current strategy. All fingers point to them blowing the Al-Askariya mosque, which started the escalation of sectarion killing bigtime.

Al qaeda wants to drive the coaltion out, then create an islamic sunni caliphate in western, northwestern, and central iraq. theyll do this with sunni vs shia civil war. Shia will then have their south and southeast regions, which will be known as Iraq, if this happens. In the north, the Kurds will then declare de facto independance as a mini Kurdistan to the disdain of Turkey and Iran. Iraq as we know it would cease to exist. They want to use that caliphat as a launchpad for further operations against US interests in the mideast and abroad, as well as coaltion interests (Europe).

Iran is Shiite, East Iraq is Shiite, Lebanon has a sizable Shiite population, an Bahrain has a sizable Shiite population. The rest of the Islamic countries are Sunni. The majority of muslims are Sunni by about 80% of the total Muslim population, with Shia 20% of the global muslim population.

[edit on 12/11/2006 by runetang]



posted on Dec, 11 2006 @ 10:07 PM
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I am fairly certain Al Quaeda is 100.00% Sunni.
As Wahabbi they consider the Shiites heretics.



posted on Dec, 11 2006 @ 10:36 PM
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On reflection... I'm not sure how important the Sunni/Shia divide is to AQ. Most mulims are Sunni, so most recruits will be Sunni. But the point is that AQ has political ends, foremost of which is ending US influence in the ME. And let's not forget the austere Wahhabi influence. It's interesting that there are no tales of indulgence or womanising surrounding Osama, yet the hijackers had a coke and strip clubs lifestyle while they were in the US.

Oh, and the self-harm practised in the Shia festival I mentioned earlier was because they felt guilt over the military defeat of this would-be Caliph, whoever he was. The Shia abandoned him several hundred years ago and to this day, go round cutting themselves up as a result. And they were really pleased with the invasion (to begin with, before they found out what was really going on) because they could now go out in the street to spill their own blood.

I'd like to think I'm fairly tolerant and broadminded, but I find the whole thing rather creepy and disturbing, like the way Christians handle poisonous snakes or speak in gibberish... but with big, sharp knives instead.

EDIT - in my list of the factions operating in Iraq I forgot:


  • the Mahdi army - Shiite resistance forces against the US
  • Israelis training Kurdish militias



There are more, I'm sure... but the situation is so complex and fluid it's hard to know when to stop.

[edit on 11-12-2006 by rich23]



posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 06:16 AM
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Originally posted by UM_Gazz
Does it matter which Islamic sect Al-Qaeda belongs to?


Nope an extremist nut job is an extremist nut job it dosnt matter what relationship of conveyance they have.



Can you tell me and anyone who reads this what the differences between the Sunnis and Shiites are?


its probably the same reason there are to different branches of Christianity people have different interpretation's of alleged historical events and the divine word of a non existent higher power.



If Al-Qaeda majority is Sunni, wouldn't that lean more toward the theory that Al-Qaeda did indeed have ties with Saddam's regime?


Hmm well if Saddam connections to Al-Qaeda are as real as the non existent modern WMD stock piles then you have your answer.



Why is there such a strong sectarian struggle between these two religious sects currently in Iraq?


A combination of factors the Middle East we know only exits on a map. One only needs to take a look at where the people of the region have come from in the last 80 years. Oil gave the means of a bunch waring tribes to govern there political boundaries. I suggest that members read up on the Arab revolt in WW1 if they want more background info on where the people of the Middle East have come from.



Which side does Al-Qaeda support in Iraq, Sunni or Shiite?


Probably what ever suits there cause. Iraq isn't that important to Al-Qaeda due to the number of insurgent groups in Iraq Al-Qaeda only needs to maintain a small presence in the country in order to tie down large numbers of coalition troops.


If Shiites take over in Iraq, what does that mean for Al-Qaeda?


I guess that depends on what Al-Qaeda has to lose or gain from the situation.

Note I haven't Googled rather I have tried to convey my impressions.



posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 08:00 AM
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I disagree with a lot of what's being said here.

Al Quaeda's sect is very important, it's crucial to figuring out their motivations.

They are explicitly a Sunni Islamist organization - in fact it was Al Quaeda that took the lead in promoting the current sectarian violence, with Abu Musab Al Zarquawi openly declaring war on the Shiite "heretics"...

The idea that militant Islamists main goal is "defeating the West" distorts their true goal - which is establishing fundamentalist states in the Islamic world, with the eventual goal of unifying the Umma (the community of all Muslims) under one Islamic state or Caliphate that reflects their ideology.

Their campaign against the West is only a means of accomplishing this goal, not the end in itself.



posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 08:12 AM
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Originally posted by UM_Gazz
One question, can you answer it without searching on Google?

More questions?

Does it matter which Islamic sect Al-Qaeda belongs to?

Can you tell me and anyone who reads this what the differences between the Sunnis and Shiites are?

As the struggle between Sunni and Shiites in Iraq continues to worsen this thread may prove educational for all.

If Al-Qaeda majority is Sunni, wouldn't that lean more toward the theory that Al-Qaeda did indeed have ties with Saddam's regime?

Why is there such a strong sectarian struggle between these two religious sects currently in Iraq?

Which side does Al-Qaeda support in Iraq, Sunni or Shiite?

If Shiites take over in Iraq, what does that mean for Al-Qaeda?

Answer any one or all if you can.


Applause for quality answers.


Al Queda is a Sunni Muslim organization founded by Osama Bin Laden. Al Queda views Shi'ites as being heretics to Islam and have a deep hatred of their more liberal Islamic views. Hizbollah, on the other hand, is a predominantly Shi'ite Muslim group.

The way I understand it is that after Muhammed dies in the 6th Century, there were no successors named and this caused a division in the rank and file Muslim community. The majority began to elect Caliphs (Caliphs were elected because there could be no other "Prophet" according to Islam as Muhammed was the only True Prophet) based on popular vote and this happened for the first 4 Caliphs, known as the Righteous Caliphs. The People of the Sunna, or the People's of Tradition, wanted to continue this rite and they became known as the Sunnis.

Another smaller faction viewed the leadership of Islam as a type of blood succession regime and began to insist that only a true blood relative of Muhammed could succeed the highest authority of Islam as they were the only ones truly blessed by Allah. They lobbied vehemently for Muhammed's cousin, Ali Talib to become the Supreme Leader. They were known as the Shi'a Ali, or Party of Ali, and later became the modern day Shi'ites.

The two parties followed traditional Islam together for decades with Ali eventually being named as the 4th Caliph, the final of the Four Righteous Caliphs.

This is where things get political and the two groups fractured. The third Caliph, Uthman, had been murdered and didn't support Ali as his rightful successor. The Uthman family and followers believed that the Shi'a Ali had something to do with Uthman's death and challenged Ali throughout his entire Caliphate. Eventual,ly this lead to a type of Civil War with the leader of Damascus fometing the violence and ultimately, Ali's assasination. The leader of Damascus hijacked Islam, moved it's capitol to Damascus and named a hereditary successor which began a new Musil Dynasty which lasted for over a Century.

The Shi'a Ali refused to recognize the new leadership and retreated to what is now Iraq and reformed a new tradition of Islam which disregarded Caliphs and instead named Imams as their leaders. They started with the slain Ali and named as his heirs his progeny. Even within this new tradition there suffered another political split. There were those who recognized only 7 Imams as the legitiamte leaders and those who recognized 12 Imams as the legitimate successors to Ali. The "12s" are the predominant Shi'ite group found in the Middle East today, mostly Iraq and Iran. The "7s" are predominatly found in Asia and India.

Today the predominant difference between the Shi'ites and the Sunnis has to do with leadership. The Shi'Ites view their Imams as having sacred powers handed down from Muhammed himself and having a sacred relationship with Allah. In the case of the "12s", they believe that the 12th Imam had disappeared and will return again only to introduce the coming of the Mahdi or Messiah. The Sunni, however, reject the notion of a line of successors to Muhammed and instead recognize their Caliphs to be political leaders and figureheads to the lone leadership of Muhammed the Prophet.

To answer a few of your questions, Gaz. Yes, it does matter which group Al Qaeda belongs to. The Sunni, which Al Qaeda is, reject the 12th Imam prophecy and therefore are not focused on an "End-times" scenario. They do espouse a very militaristic and conservative approach to Islam which drives their ideology. They act on behalf of the Koran and what they literally interperet their rights to be. The Shi'ites, on the other hand, DO follow the 12th Imam prophecy and work toward that end-game; the return of the 12th Imam to usher in the the Mahdi or Messiah. Hizbollah believes that they are the army of the 12th Imam and that they will cleanse the Earth for the introduction of the Mahdi.

Al Qaeda did have ties to Saddam's regime, although many doubt this. Intelligence has linked several figures of Al Qaeda with Saddam and persons within his regime. Understanding this is why you have Al Qaeda fighting in Iraq, to restore Sunni rule in Iraq. The Shi'ites, a minority under Saddam sustained incredible oppression by his regime and as a result, Shi'ite militia are carrying out revenge attacks against Sunni and foreign Al Qaeda fighters in the country as the Shi'ites see Iraq as their legitimate homeland. If the Shi'ites succeed in controlling Iraq, it will mean much death for the Al Qaeda Sunni remaining in the country.

FYI, NONE of this came from Google or the Internet. I wrote a lengthy paper on the topic in a College Theology course. Most of this is pure recollection and may not be 100% accurate, but I can assure you that it's as close as one can come without having access to research materials. Anyone reading this that can either elaborate or correct any innaccuracies, I would greatly appreciate it. Gaz, I hope this helps out! Great idea for a thread!



posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 08:19 AM
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Yes Al-qaida was important to Sunnis losing hold of Iraq after US invasion, and perhaps they welcomed them into their homes to fight back.

And opportunity hard to let go, by Al-qaida members and wannabe.

But now has been a shift of blames by US side, noticing that After Abu Musab Al Zarquawi's death, the toll on casualties have shifted to the Sunnis population.

Now . . . Hezbpllah has been brought to the picture to link Shiites militias to Iran and Hezbollah to be now main culprit on instigating the sectarian violence.

What is happening is . . . that we here in the US has been preached so much about the evilness of Al-qaida and its hold on the Iraqi insurgency that the now subtle blame game of linking Hezbollah to Shiites militias is just starting to be introduced by the spinning machine.

Just keep listening to the hints and links and you will see that Al-qaida and the war on terror in Iraq is going to become like finding Bin-laden, NO a priority anymore.



posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 08:31 AM
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Dear UM_Gazz:

The majority of Al-Qaeda is a cluster of IBM VAX (Virtual Address Extension) mainframe computers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Call Langley, Virginia to open an account. www.lookingglassnews.org...

Greetings,
The Wizard In The Woods



posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 08:33 AM
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Originally posted by kozmo

Al Qaeda did have ties to Saddam's regime, although many doubt this. Intelligence has linked several figures of Al Qaeda with Saddam and persons within his regime. Understanding this is why you have Al Qaeda fighting in Iraq, to restore Sunni rule in Iraq.


I can agree with most of your post, but this part here Kozmo.

Bin-laden and Al-qaida where against Saddam secular regime. The quote below tells how much of the connection with bin-ladden the US intelligence was able to gather.



A senior Iraqi intelligence officer traveled to Sudan three times before finally meeting with Bin Ladin in 1994. From reports, Bin Ladin apparently requested to establish training camps and for assistance in obtaining weapons from Iraq. The Iraqi government, however, never responded. Moreover, two senior Bin Ladin associates have confirmed that there was no collaborative relationship between al Qaeda and Iraq.


www.globalsecurity.org...

So as by government reports, Saddam was to full of himself to allow others take hold of his reign.

In my opinion it was to dangerous for him to have this training camps in his own backyard that could one day turn against his regime.

Saddam was no stupid.



posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 08:40 AM
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Al Qaeda is not linked to Saddam but is in fact a creation of the CIA and is used as leverage to wage their bogus "War On Terror"

www.oilempire.us...

the CIA-Al Qaeda connection
www.wsws.org...

www.whatreallyhappened.com...



posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 04:14 PM
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Originally posted by UM_Gazz
One question, can you answer it without searching on Google?

Predominately sunni, wahhabist sunni infact.


Does it matter which Islamic sect Al-Qaeda belongs to?

A bullet that can kill a sunni can kill a shia.

BUT, it does make some differences. The Wahhabi are highly dependant upon clerical councils. Control the councils, control the wahhabist sect. Whereas the shia, they are much more loose on these sorts of matters, and can't be as centrally controlled. Also, in terms of addressing their fundamentalism, you'd need to have a different response for any sunni group, than you would for a shi'ite group.


Can you tell me and anyone who reads this what the differences between the Sunnis and Shiites are?

Its complex. When islam started, there were followers of mohammed. After mohammed died, there was a question, who's in charge? The Sunni are like the orthodox, they think that a council of religious scholars should get together and decide who is in charge, who is the Caliph. Today, there is no caliph, but the councils still have major power amoung the Sunni. The shi'ites started as a faction within islam, the supporters of Ali. Ali, in some shia branches, reaches near deified status. Some sects change the shahaddah to 'there is no god but allah, mohmmed is his prophet, and ali is the greatest' or some such. Further, the sunni expect that there will be a Judgement Day, as do the Shia. They beleive that a figure will arise at the end of days called the Mahdi, and that he will prepare the way for the return of Prophet Jesus. The shia say that the Mahdi will be their 12th Imam, or religious leader, Mohammed Mahdi. They beleive that Imam Mahdi Mohammed vanished into thin air one day, he didn't die, he didn't get kidnapped, he just was made invisible by god and snatched away by god, to protect him. He will return at the end of days as the Mahdi. To take command of his army. And in the meantime he talks to a representative on earth, sometimes called 'the door'.
This is why al-sadr's militia is "The Mahdi Army". The ayatollahs, sort of like Patriarchs or Popes, talk to the 'occulted' (hidden) Mahdi.
More differences have arisen over time. When the arabs expanded their empire into what is now Iran, the iranians reacted agianst arab rule over time, and came into self rule, and picked up the shi'ite faith.
Because of this, there are many conspiracy theories within Islam that the shi'a are infact the dupes of satan, and that they are secretly allways at the ready to infiltrate the sunni governments and overthrow them from within.
Of course, there are other sects within islam, like the khajarites (i beleive that is the spelling), who 'split' from the other parties, the sunni and shia, in the early years, or the Sufis, a sort of islamic freemasonry.



As the struggle between Sunni and Shiites in Iraq continues to worsen this thread may prove educational for all.

The situation is fascinating. During the british period of rule in iraq, the army was facing an insecure situation, they couldn't prop up the baghdad government. The politicians at home started pretending that everything was ok, and started scaling back their criteria for success. Meanwhile, sunni insurgents from the south (in arabia) would raid into iraq and attack the shia. Public pressure eventually forced the british to withdraw. The government fell, the region became unstable, and the british had to come back years later and fight a bloody war.

When Hussein wanted to ensure control of the northern oilfields, he didn't just send in more troops or crack down on the kurds (who are shia, but not quite like the arab shia), he moved in full populations of Sunni Arabs into Kirkuk.

Thats how things are done in the middle east, tribes and sects and populations.


If Al-Qaeda majority is Sunni, wouldn't that lean more toward the theory that Al-Qaeda did indeed have ties with Saddam's regime?

Al qaidia are religious fanatics. The Baathists are secular nationalists. When the baathist syrians started having trouble with religious fanatics, they wantonly attacked the towns that were supportive of it to destroy and weaken the sect. Hussein struck down any power structure that wasn't subsumed within the B'aath Structure, sunni, shia, sufi, jewish, etc. Secular, ecclesiastical, it made no difference.

Also, recall, when Hussein invaded Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia was threatened, Bin Ladin appealed to the Monarchy to allow his troupe of jihadis to protect the kingdom. Hussein represented the very things that al-qaida was opposed to.


Why is there such a strong sectarian struggle between these two religious sects currently in Iraq?

Consider that when the Roman Catholic pope went to Greece, the Greek Orthodox started freaking out, protesting, carrying banners that called the pope the anti-christ, etc. People thought it was the end of the world.

With things like 'the mahdi army' running around, people want to make sure that they are on the right side, god's side.
Since religions deal with ultimate reality, the afterlife, they generally can't tolerate each other. That leads to violence in general.

As far as iraq in particular, there have been lots of problems. Infact, I think that Ali, the guy who people broke from the orthodoxy for, his sons, Hussein and Hassan, who are themselves extremely important in shi'a religious theology, were killed in Iraq. One of them was beheaded in iraq, and I think his head was variably held there and in syria. THink about the importance of John the Baptist and that he was beheaded, and you get an idea of the religious import to the faithful. So while when we here 'shi'ite muslims', we tend to think of Iran, thats only because in the modern age the shiites have come to power in iran. In iraq, there are lots of shia, and their most holy sites, like the tombs of their greatest martyrs, are in iraq, like at Karbala and Najaf.

So there's a history of religious strife because these groups, and deep suspicion from the sunni that the shia are the pawns of the devil, jews, and unbeleivers, secretly conspiring to overthrow the state and god. And add to that the bombing of the Golden Mosque, second only to Mecca and Medina perhaps amoung the shia, and you can see why the religious fanatics would stop at nothing to wipe out the 'evil others'.


Which side does Al-Qaeda support in Iraq, Sunni or Shiite?

Al qaida supports chaos. The al-qaida strategy seems to be to create as much chaos as possible, to topple the existing states, all of which are traitors to the faith, and replace them with radical sunni governments operating under the rule of sunni religious authorities and koranic religious law, shar'ia. Clearly, that means working with the shia where it aids chaos. But in the end, they will exterminate them. In saudi arabia, where bin ladin was raised, its illegal to even be a shia. Arabia is a militantly sunni enclave. THey consider themselves to be the orthodox, the 'trully faithful', and the rest to be corruptions and errors and temptations of the devil.


If Shiites take over in Iraq, what does that mean for Al-Qaeda?

Al-qaida will cause chaos, everywhere and anywhere, until its people are in charge. If the shia get control of all of iraq, likesay, sadr comes to power, or something like that, then al-qaida will work with them to destabilize syria, and arabia, and egypt, and jordan, lebanon, turkey, bosnia, serbia, etc etc. When all of them have fallen, it will work to unseat the ayatollahs in iran. It won't stop or consider its job completed until there is a large wahhabist state in the middle east.

This thread:
www.abovetopsecret.com...

is predominately about the druze, but there is good insider information about the shia and sunni.



posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 04:26 PM
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Just to comment on what might've spurred this thread, the recent interview with an intelligence committee nominee.

Apparently, he thought that al qaida were mostly shiite. Which, of course, is utterly wrong. Its so utterly wrong that its frightening. Imagine if the person on a committee thats largely tasked with dealing with the IRA thought that they were protestant.

But at the same time, people have stated that this guy really knows the intelligence game.

So perhaps an analogy is that he's in charge of football. And he knows football damned well. BUt he thinks that the New York Giants are a running team, not a passing team. Its not as bad as if he thought they were a basketball team, but its still pretty disturbing that he doesn't know about the players, regardless of the game.

Perhaps the intelligence committee should be headed by an intelligence expert, like he supposedly is, but also have a middle east expert on it.





Originally posted by worldwatcher
on a side note, I think it needs to be mentioned that regardless whether a Muslim is sunni or shiite, they are still Muslim and they will unite against a common enemy.

I think that iraq shows just the oppositte. If the sunni and shia militias were united in defense of the country, then they'd be focused on attacking the coalition and its collaborators. As it is, the vast majority of deaths in iraq are iraqi civilians, dying at the hands of iraqi militias. WIth sunni groups hitting shia targets, and shia targets hitting sunni targets. The attack on the Mosque of the Golden Dome was a major demonstration of this. The people that did that, they werent' interested in killing americans, they wanted to killed those 'damned, evil, conspiratorial and downright unislmamic shi'ites'.



posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 06:58 PM
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Amazing replies from all, Thank you one and all.


One thing I'd like to add, anyone can also post any thoughts or opinions that they may have on the subject matter in this thread.

If you disagree with anything tell us why, or just have thoughts to share. Feel free to do so.


It is important to know and learn more about the "enemy" in this war on terrorism. The more we understand them, and their true goals and motives, can give us valuable insight into what may happen in the future, both in Iraq and on a global scale.



posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 07:04 PM
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Lets keep in mind though that the sunnis and shia aren't the enemy. Al-qaida certainly is in opposition to the US, but not all muslims are. Even wahhabi sect muslims aren't necessarily against us. Indeed, there are lots of wahhabi in saudi arabia, but we don't see all or even a substantial majority of them leaving arabia for global jihad.


I say, we should fight fire with fire though. If the sunni and shia sectarianism is part of teh problem, introduce an outsider sect, like the Sufis, into the equation. Though the Sufis are thought to be an outgrowth of shia islam, at least in certain parts of the middle east, they might be considered outside of the system enough to be of use.

Also, interestingly, the people that run syria, the Assads, they're neither sunni nor shia, nor sufi. They are Nosairi, more often called Alawis. They have a much more secretive theology, and at times aren't considered to be muslims by the mainstream muslims. Though they've been working in recent decades to be considered mainstream. Their religion is extremely secretive, it used to be thought that it was a 'crypto-pagan' religion (a religion pretending not to be pagan when observed by the non-pagan rulers, but then in private, is pagan).

The Yezidi of iraq are an exmple of this. They pretend to worship allah and the muslim holy men, but in private, they worship Malik Taus, the Peacock Angel, and a heavenly host.


Whats really amazing is that, groups like the yezidi, nosairii, druze, etc, they were persecuted by the muslims, even thought technically this isn't allowed. And yet, they haven't risen up against them in iraq. The violence isn't nearly as great between religions, as it is within a religion!



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