Will Russia take sides in Shiite-Sunni conflict?

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The Sunni-Shiite war is a tragedy, but it would burn itself out if Saudi Arabia and Iran were not using the two Islamic factions are proxies in their struggle for power in the Middle East.

The lineup is Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and the Shiite militias on one side, and Saudi Arabia, the Gulf emirates, Turkey and the Sunni militias on the other.

The U.S. government has inflamed the conflict further by taking the side of Saudi Arabia.  This has undermined our “war on terror,” because Al Qaeda and ISIS are among the Saudi-backed Sunni militias warring against Syria.

Now Russia is befriending Iran and giving military assistance to Syria, and the Shiite-dominated government of Iraq is thinking of calling in Russian help.  All this is in the name of fighting ISIS, which is a good thing, not a bad thing.  But if Russia is lining up permanently with Iran’s proxies against the U.S.-backed Saudi proxies, this is quite another thing.

A U.S.-Russian proxy conflict would increase human suffering in the Middle East, and be of no benefit to the American or Russian peoples  It would be dangerous for the world..  Washington should open negotiations with Moscow to keep the conflict from escalating further.


Isis in Iraq: Shia leaders want Russian air strikes against militant threat by Patrick Cockburn for The Independent (via the Unz Review)

The Return of the Syrian Army by Robert Fisk for The Independent (via Counterpunch)

Putin Forces Obama to Capitulate on Syria by Mike Whitney for Counterpunch.

Turkish Whistleblowers Corroborate Seymour Hersh Report of False Flag Syrian Gas Attack by Peter Lee for China Matters.

U.S.-Russia wrangle over Iraq sphere of influence; Parliament to weigh in by Juan Cole for Informed Comment.  [added later]

Even heard of ‘Putin the Shiite’? Well, he is hugely popular in Iraq by Jean-Marc Majon with Raji Nasser for Your Middle East (via Informed Comment)  [added later]

War and Peace—revisited by Pepe Escobar for Asia Times [added 10/24/2015]


I added some sentences and phrases a few hours after the original post, in order to clarify my meaning.

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5 Responses to “Will Russia take sides in Shiite-Sunni conflict?”

  1. socialinform Says:

    Iran as well as Russia are not fighting Sunnis, they are defending the Assad regime and with it all minorities including Sunni Kurds.
    The Kurds are sunni but do not fight against Assad’s army (which is BTW also mostly Sunni)
    While the Saudis, and their proxies are clearly Anti-Shia, and state this openly in their videos (singing Anti-Shia hate songs) and treatment of captured Alawite or Shiite civilians who are tortured and brutally killed just because they are not Sunnis. No Shia group (not even Hezbollah) is Anti Sunni: No anti Sunni slogans no arbitrary killings just because some one is Sunni.
    Hezbollah even trained the Sunni Hamas. Iran supported Hamas and Sunni Palestinians over years. Assad has Sunni generals, ministers, a Sunni wife and hosted the biggest group of Sunni civilians in the middle east, while Saudi Arabia is overall hosting less than 500 refugees.
    So the Sunni-Shia conflict is just a one sided conflict mostly incited by the Sunni Gulf states:
    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection (written by Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh)
    Russias intervention might be the only way to protect non Sunni minorities in Syria from Genocide (same fate as Yazidis and Shia in IS conquered regions in Iraq)


    • patricknelson750 Says:

      You are an Iranian propagandist. Both Hezbollah and the Iranian Republic have a habit of persecuting, torturing and killing Sunni Muslims when it suits them – just as they persecute the Shiah Sufis.

      Russia is involved in the Middle East for oil – America is involved in the Middle East for oil – that is the reality.


      • socialinform Says:

        If you would know anything about Shia and Sunnis, you would know that radical Sunnis see Shia as heretics, that deserve to die. Shia on the other hand do not see Sunnis in the same way. This also manifests itself in attacks on the other group, while you read every week about bombings of Shia mosques or districts/market places in Iraq, Pakistan and more and more also in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bagladesh, …

        Where did a Shia ever detonate himself in a Sunni mosque?

        When did Hezbollah ever persecute someone because that someone was Sunni?

        You stated that there is a habit, can you answer my questions above please?!

        The Iranian regime never persecuted people because they were Sunnis. Actually you are right with Shia Sufis, they are really persecuted. Sunnis, no! Bahais are persecuted (persecuted means here they are barred of entering universities).

        The Iranian regime fights every resistance, it has nothing to do with religion. Almost all of the victims of the Iranian regime are Shia Muslims. Singling out Sunnis, is just a way for Arab Monarchies and their Media (Al Jazeera, Al Arabia, …) to distract from their own sectarian policies, where Shia are really third class citizens with almost no rights.


  2. patricknelson750 Says:

    It is easy to project the present onto the past, but I think it is more a case of..

    Russian proxy Iranian Republic versus American proxy Saudi…

    More simply Russian proxy vs American proxy…just like in the bad old days of the Cold War.

    The Wahhabis and the Iranian Republic have whipped up a Sunni-Shiah conflict for political reasons, however, most of the world’s Muslims believe in Sunni-Shiah friendship – not hostility.


  3. philebersole Says:

    I think the best outcome would be for the American and Russian governments to agree to join forces against ISIS and Al Qaeda, but otherwise refrain from interfering in Middle East conflicts.

    The second best outcome would be for the American and Russian governments to agree to refrain from intervening in Middle East conflicts, period.

    I see little likelihood of this happening. I see none at all unless the U.S. government takes the initiative. I don’t think that Vladimir Putin will stand aside and allow the United States to use the Middle East as its own private firing range and military proving ground.

    In 1973, the United States and the old Soviet Union came to the brink of war based on U.S. support of Israel and Soviet support of Egypt and Syria. A war between the two countries would have been a catastrophe not just for the USA and USSR, but for the whole world, including the people of the Middle East

    I hope the United States and Russian Federation are not building up to another such confrontation today.


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