The days of the Quraysh feud – revisited 14 centuries later
The Russian media and some peace activists in Syria claim that chemical weapons now in the hands of some opposition factions may have come from Turkey. A New York Times article recently was among many to claim that Ankara’s Esenboğa Airport was now a major hub for arms supplies to Syrian rebels.
A leading member of a U.N. commission inquiring into the “Syria Affair” has testified that the rebels have used the nerve gas, sarin, in their fight against the regime. “Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!” replied Turkey’s foreign minister.
Iraq’s acting defense minister, Saadoun al-Dulaimi, accused Turkey of controlling Sunni anti-government protests in Iraq. Mr. Dulaimi, whose boss is unsurprisingly Shiite, says the demonstrations are “a haven for terrorists and killers.”
A Lebanese newspaper, Ad-Diyar, has reported that Turkish authorities have the habit of transferring young, injured Syrians to hospitals where they are left to die, and their organs are removed. The dead are later sent back to Syria where they are buried. Ad-Diyar quotes “European scientific data” acknowledging that organ transplant operations have increased in Turkey since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.
The Sunday Times has reported that Israel (everyone else’s nemesis in the Middle East) has been working toward an agreement in compliance with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan to allow an allied system of detection technologies to defend against Iranian ballistic projectiles. The plan, brokered by the United States (everyone else’s nemesis-patron in the Middle East) aims to create a “moderate crescent” against the “fundamentalist crescent” that is Iraq, Iran, Syria and the Lebanese Hezbollah.
Meanwhile, according to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, “if God permits, we will see this butcher, this murderer [Bashar al-Assad] receive his judgment in this world... and we will praise [God] for it.” And according to Mr. Erdoğan, the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against rebels.
To better understand this modern-day political Aleppo earthquake of 1138, we must first ask ourselves why King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia fiercely supports the Syrian opposition when in March 2011 he sent troops across the border into neighboring Bahrain to help stamp out a similar uprising there. Or why al-Qaeda’s leaders have called on jihadists to join the fighting in Syria. Or why, for Prime Minister Erdoğan, the butcher of Syria is a butcher and killer but the butcher of Sudan is just an innocent friend.
Still too irrelevant? Perhaps too obscure? Then ask yourself why tens of thousands of Muslims were killed by fellow Muslims in Iraq between 2006 and 2008. Or try to understand why should Muslims bomb other Muslims’ holy mosques en masse, wherever and whenever they can.
Or ask yourself why Wahhabis are virulently anti-Shiite and vice versa. Why are the Shiite simply satanic “rejectionists,” and why, for the Shiite, are the Wahhabis simply perverted, or why, for each sect, the other is simply “not Muslim.” Is it a coincidence that Saudi schools teach pupils that Shiism is simply a Jewish heresy? Is it a coincidence that in 2006, senior Wahhabi cleric Abdul Rahman al-Barrak released a fatwa which stated that the Shiite are “infidels, apostates and hypocrites ... [and] they are more dangerous than Jews or Christians?”
Why did al-Qaeda’s younger twin, al-Nusrah, declare in 2012: “The blessed operations will continue until the land of Syria is purified from the filth of the Nusayris [Syrian Alawites] and the Sunnis are relieved from their oppression?”
This is a 14-century-old schism not even sparked by a theological dispute although that too came later into the picture, along with various political deliberations of different times. No doubt this part of the world would have been much more tranquil and peaceful, much less violent, perhaps much less fun to observe, much tougher to divide for the outsider but a much more decent place to live in had rival clans in the Prophet Muhammed’s tribe, the Quraysh, never started a feud that would survive beyond their imagination.
But is this how big angry Muslim men will live in peace with adherents of other faiths when they worship to death a feud which would embarrass their own Prophet?