posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 07:54 AM
These reports of Al Qaeda threatening Iran unsurprising and nothing new.
Al Qaeda's ideology and those linked to them is composed from Extreme Sunni thought, that is that Shia Muslims are not Muslims, but idol worshippers,
or in Al Zarqawi's purported words: "Worse than dogs, Jews and Americans."
The split in Islam into Sunni and Shia Islam respectively occured after the death of The Prophet Muhammad, and who it was thought should rightly
succeed him in leading Muslims.
Those Muslims later to become known as Shia believed those with the knowledge of Islam and The Prophet Muhammad's teachings to succeed Muhammad in
leading Muslims could only come from Muhammad's descendants, and in their view after which they say Muhammad wished, this should be a man by the name
of Ali, who was Muhammad's cousin.
Those Muslims later to become known as Sunni meanwhile, without any proof Muhammad stated Ali was to be his successor in leading Muslims, believed the
leader of Muslims to follow The Prophet Muhammad could come only from the decision took by Shura, a council which decided who be elected leaders.
After a deliberation, the Shura settled upon a man by the name of Abu Bakr, and he became the first Caliph of Muslims.
Following this decision, the followers of Ali, in not accepting the Shura's decision going against who they saw as rightly succeeding The Prophet
Muhammad, namely Ali, did not recognise Abu Bakr as Caliph, and they did not recognise his Caliphate.
The followers of Ali became known as Shi'iat Ali, meaning 'The Party of Ali', although they are called today as Shia or Shiite Muslims.
Those who accepted Abu Bakr as the rightful successor to Muhammad in being the leader of Muslims became known as Sunni, short for 'Ahl as-Sunnah
wa’l-Jamā‘h' which means 'people of the example of The Prophet Muhammad'.
The Shias meanwhile, came to saw Ali as divine second only to The Prophet Muhammad.
Those of the extreme view within Sunni Islam saw, and continue to see the Shias as heretics for not accepting Abu Bakr as Caliph, and for the Shia's
reverence Ali as blasphemous, following an usurper and worshipping an idol when Islam states that no idol should be worshipped.
The split in Islam, into Sunni and Shia lead to an Islamic Civil War, and the bitterness therein from the causes and the split reverberate within
Sunnis and Shias have killed each other over periods in Pakistan's very recent history.
And we have seen this with devastating effect, in Iraq.
In the late 1990's, Iranian journalists who visited Afghanistan to report on life in Afghanistan were rounded up by the Taliban (who are extreme
Sunni) and executed the journalists, leading to Iran to mass it's troops on Afghanistan's border.
Following September 11th 2001, Iran, whose government is Shia Muslim, and in realising the US were going after Al Qaeda, which as a movement, seeks to
kill all Shias, handed over suspected Al Qaeda members it had caught to the US, as a token of friendship.
In doing this, Iran was saying to the US "You and I are both against the same enemy, Al Qaeda, extremist Sunnis. Let us work together."
But this chance, this opening of doors, that offered the end of hurt and mutual distrust on both sides, was thrown away, cast aside, by Bush's 'Axis
of Evil' speech.
Again Iran offered friendship to the US in the face of a mutual enemy, Al Qaeda.
In 2003, Iran's supreme leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, sent a letter to the US.
In doing this, Khamanei was realising the US had toppled the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, enemies of Iran, and realised the US was on the
verge of toppling another enemy of Iran, Saddam Hussein.
In the letter, Khamanei offered better relations with the US, an end to Iran's support of Hezbollah, and other concessions.
It was a moment that should have been grasped by the US Government, a chance for US-Iran relations once more, friendship, a building of trust, a
moment that had not come to fruition since before the Revolution of 1979.
It was not to be.
It was not to be.
The US Government cast aside the letter, ignored it, and built up rhetoric against Iran, confident in 2003 after toppling Saddam in what was the early
days of the Iraqi insurgency.
And so a chance, a chance of US-Iran co-operation was destroyed and obliterated perhaps for another 20 years or so.
Iran's government, humiliated by the US reacting with hostility to the letter, in turn returned the US's rhetoric.
Meanwhile, the Al Qaeda inspired view Iran's government being Shia as blasphemous, especially the Ayatollahs, who the extreme Sunnis view as
repulsive for claiming to lead and guide as the Koran dictates.
Impossible and blasphemous, the extreme Sunnis say, for the Shias did not recognise the succession of Abu Bakr to Muhammad as the leader of
Extreme Sunnis like Al Qaeda and the radical Shias leading The Islamic Republic of Iran will never unite against the US.
The mutual hatred goes back many hundreds of years, it is deep and goes to the heart of who was the true successor of The Prophet Muhammad, no light
matter for Muslims.
Shias and Sunnis who are moderate get along quite well, but extreme and radical elements of either? Never.
The emergence of the US in recent history as what they perceive to be a imperialist threat can not overcome this ancient mutual hatred, not unless the
US does something horribly stupid to unite them, which would in my view, equate to a war on Islam which would be undeniable, like destroying Mecca or
something akin to this.
[edit on 9-7-2007 by Regensturm]