The Danger of Targeting Holy Shrines in Iraq

  • 21 June 2007

The explosions  targeting  Sunnites and Shiites shrines in Iraq have resurfaced after a period of calmness that was maintained by huge efforts from inside and outside of Iraq to prevent a Sunnite – Shiite civil war that could devour everything in its path.  However,  it seems that the brutal forces that seek to keep the Iraqi scene aflame and to provoke Iraqi infighting, have realized that arousing sectarian differences and blowing up sectarian mines is the way to create confusion and  push matters towards anarchy, with consequences so difficult to control.  For that reason, these forces resort always to exploiting and exacerbating sectarian issues every time peaceful signs loom in the horizon, or calls for dialogue and  reason are voiced, turning the situation to square one.

Radical and violent groups thrive on chaos and, similar to nocturnal bats, can only survive in the dark..   Their chief project is killing, destruction, and demolition, and they do not refrain from doing anything in order to sustain their life-line.  They will keep inciting religious and sectarian feuds and exacerbating them to create an endless state of blood and violence.

What is dangerous in the matter is that the same scenario is being played out in the whole area, where the primary and dangerous conflict is revolving around sectarian, religious, and ethnic lines more than political ones, as mostly obvious in Lebanon and many other Arab countries, where conflicts and rivalries  are characterized by similar aspects. The significance of this danger in this context is that the Al-Qaeda” organization’s current hostile discourse- unlike its previous one which was directed primarily towards the West and the USA- has shifted  to clear sectarian and religious tones, as evident in its hostile attitude towards the Shiites of Iraq and the Lebanese Christians;  one of Al-Qaeda factions recently threatened to target the Lebanese Christians in light of the ongoing conflict between the Lebanese army and the fighters of “Fateh Al-Islam” in the “Naher Al-Bared” camp.

Despite all the problems of the Arab area and its complicated crises on different levels, the most dangerous crisis it could face is the eruption of religious and sectarian conflicts. However, if the radicals are pushing the area towards this conflict, it is not necessarily an inevitable destiny that cannot be avoided. For despite all the sectarian and religious tensions, there are wide and large foundations for coexistence, and the callers for conflict are a minority and the periods of tension have always represented an aberration in the history of the area.  But what remains is that the wise, who express the reality of  the majority of the people , should move earnestly  to cope in manner appropriate to the severity of the situation and not to give any room for agitators and  conspirators.