Detail of the Alhambra, Spain-- where Moslems ruled for over 700 years

THE MIDDLE EAST SECTARIAN WAR: Modern-day Shia-Sunni conflict, twelve years and counting

Once Moslems arrive– they tend to stay. In Spain they stayed for more than 700 years… something to think about as we examine modern-day sectarian violence in the Middle East– vis-à-vis the election of the next president of the United States.

By Marielena Montesino de Stuart

Detail of the Alhambra, Spain-- where Moslems ruled for over 700 years
Detail of the Alhambra, Spain– where Moslems ruled for over 700 years

Sectarian violence among Moslems began in the 7th Century AD. But twelve years ago an event took place which marked the beginning of modern-day Middle Eastern sectarian violence: a bomb was set off in the perimeter of the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf, Iraq, a holy site for followers of Shia Islam and the place where their first Imam,  Ali ibn Abi Talib, is buried.

The blast took the life of Ayatollah Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim, one of the leaders of the Shiite Moslems in Iraq. He opposed Saddam Hussein (a Sunni)– but his approach to opposing the former dictator was considered moderate by observers of Islamic sectarian tensions.

What the world did not realize, as bodies were being pulled out from the rubble at the shrine in Najaf, is that this violent event set off the Shia-Sunni sectarian war in the Middle East. Shia Moslems are the majority in Iran and southeastern Iraq, while the Sunnis have lived predominantly in the northern and western region of Iraq.

Ten days earlier, a bomb was set off at the United Nations location in the Canal Hotel in Baghdad. While some consider that the UN blast was the beginning of the current sectarian war, it really was not. That blast was aimed at Americans and Europeans– while the blast at the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf was aimed at Iraqis.

The terrorist activities of Hamas (Iran’s terrorist group) and the Houthi Shia rebellion in Yemen are an extension of what began that bloody Friday in Najaf, twelve years ago.  The birth and rise of ISIS, a Salafi jihadist group made up mainly of extremist Sunnis from Syria and Iraq, is another violent ramification of what took place in Najaf.

So, what are we to make of this ongoing nightmare in the Middle East, vis-à-vis the election of the next president of the United States?

Are Americans prepared to ask tough questions of the presidential candidates, regarding the Middle East nightmare?

What solutions do these presidential candidates bring to the table– considering the violent Islamic theater that includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Indonesia– and the world at large, through jihadist internet recruitment?

Wars, protracted conflicts, and dictatorships begin with a single act of violence. As a Cuban who suffered the ravages of communism I must remind my readers that Fidel Castro’s “revolution” began with his brutal assault of the Moncada Barracks on July 26, 1953.  His Marxist terrorist activities continued until he took control of Cuba on January 1, 1959. Nearly 57 years later Cuba remains a communist island prison– in spite of Obama’s recent cowardly diplomacy with Cuba’s communist thugs. But there’s no denying that for over half a century the United States and the world have taken a passive and collaborative stance– which has allowed Castro to internationalize his Marxist agenda.

The exact same thing that happened in Cuba is happening in the Middle East– or has the world forgotten that history repeats itself?

It’s time to lift the fog… someone has to say the truth.

Copyright © Marielena Montesino de Stuart. All rights reserved.

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Marielena Montesino de Stuart

Marielena Montesino de Stuart Conservative Columnist and Speaker. Republican Candidate for the U.S. Senate (on the ballot 2012 - Florida). New Leadership and Courage for America.