The Sunni-Shiite Divide Explained In 100 Seconds

Tyler Durden's picture

The battle between Islam's two major branches began over 1400 years ago when the Islamic prophet Mohammad died and the two sides clashed over who should succeed him. This centuries old 'war' is once again threatening Iraq's (and indeed the Middle East - and thus the world's) stability. The Washington Post's senior national security correspondent Karen DeYoung explains in 100 seconds just how we got here...


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Headbanger's picture

We need another General Pershing !

sushi's picture

Saddham Hussein would have dealt with these problems singlehandedly. Time to put him back in charge.


Oh wait!


Joe Davola's picture

They'll kill each other for the priviledge of ridding the world of the infidels.

DaddyO's picture

Ah, let's see 100 seconds to explain a divide hundreds of years in the making.

Look, unless you're willing to swear allegiance to their god, you're nothing more than a resting place for their sword.

We are not going to solve this, so let's get the hell out and protect our own boarders and solve our own issues before dictating to the world how they should live.

The hubris of the current stack of pols and banksters is nauseating...


BKbroiler's picture

it takes a certain type of idiot to believe in an invsible man in the sky who is biased towards certain groups of people but not others.  The divide between Shia and Sunni is no more illogical than most of the bible, torah, etc...


I am more equal than others's picture




There is a 'who' being cloaked here.  Religion is the mask that covers the 'who' (not talking about the british band).  When we find out the who we will know what we are truly up against.  ISIS has leadership.  Who is the ultimate leader?  The story of their conflict - history - is used to leverage fodder for cannons. 

BKbroiler's picture

I think the truth is starting to show through the cracks.  The Saudis created Isis and AQ and with help from the US use it to destabilize the region.  The US could give a shit who they're backing as long as no strong popular leaders are allowed to emerge to oppose them, which is made easier by the ethnic tensions in the area.  Iraq, Syria, Lybia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, all clusterfucks resulting from US intervention.  If it wasn't so evil it would be brilliant.

0b1knob's picture

Listen Sunni, no one in the USA gives a Shiite about it.

Thought Processor's picture



After watching this one thing is certainly evident-  we on this planert need to transition to green energy asap.  Whatever the cost to the economy at large.


Wishful thinking perhaps.

pakled's picture

Unfortunately it is wishful thinking. But it should be thought of anyway. My best take after following this over time is that we already do have (or are close to) have green technologies (better than solar/wind) that simply aren't getting to market because they are a threat to the oil revenue stream.. and the pockets that stream goes into. Hopefully (wishfully), a way can be found to bring new technologies online without having to wait until the existing system collapses and we spend a generation or two in the 19th century.

DaddyO's picture

Let's take the argument to the individual and personal responsibility. I have reigned in my lifestyle over the years and am taking steps to insulate myself and my family from this madness as much as possible. I am currently building the system to take my well off the grid, thereby being able to pump water without the costs of power from the grid. I already grow quite a bit of my own food, have chickens and fresh eggs, and a host of other things to be more self reliant.

The notion of green energy is only wishful thinking if viewed in terms of whole house systems and commercially available systems linked to the current lifestyle paradigm. Take it piecemeal and little by little you become more self reliant and less attached to the system.

my .02, for what it's worth.


pakled's picture

Doin' the same as you friend. Since 2004. That is exactly what I meant by 19th century. Agrarian existence. Except a bit more for those who plan.

The two concepts are not mutually exclusive.

chinoslims's picture

The ironies of modern convenience wrapped in technology means less freedom and more regulation (in term so using monopolies/oligopolies such as telecom, nat gas, water and gasoline)  Going back to the stone ages (which I admire) is the only surest way to ensure liberty.  What a fucking sad state of affairs.  

The_Dude's picture

Replace 'green energy' with 'safe nuclear' (not 1950's tech built on fault lines and exposed to tsunamis) and we are likely to get somewhere.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

I read an interesting take where an author speculated that Semitic people are more closely related to Neanderthals than the rest of us.

Neanderthals were of course suspicious, protective, aggressive...

ParkAveFlasher's picture

I've met many neaderthals, so I can confirm the author's speculation.  Oh wait, no I haven't.

Duffy's picture

That would mean Arabs, and not, for the most part, Ashkenazi Jews, you know...


Freddie's picture

And who are the House of Saud (really) and who created them?

Manthong's picture

“The Association of Muslim Scholars” ..

izzat anything like jumbo shrimp, military intelligence, living dead or guest host?

Islam lost its credibility  as a religion the moment the "prophet" penetrated a 9 year old girl (or maybe when he beheaded 600 or so Jews .. take your pick of atrocities).

Manthong's picture

Oh, F me with your left hand.

Got towels or rags for the head.. how about a burka for your subservient women?

Just shut up and clip a kid’s clit or whatever.

Religion of pieces, yes.. strap on a bomb belt.. there is carnal paradise waiting for you.

Dublinmick's picture

A mohel sucking on a circumcision is the ticket to paradise.

Redneck Makin-tosh's picture

To be fair, without witnesses to the contrary, the "prophet" could have made up some shit about consumating the marriage in order to keep the peace/ power/ conversation going. 

The behaviour of Aisha's father in the whole affair (the character the wikipedia says the Sunni's accept as the big Ms legitimate successor) appears to be far more sinister.

Dublinmick's picture

"The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles? ~John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, 20 June 1815"

Unfortunately the more ordinary style of consciousness will always use the the fables presented to the masses to discredit all pathways to truth, (religion means pathway to truth). The more advanced thinkers, Mayans, Natie Americans,  Buddhists etc of the ancient systems realized the fundamental nature of the universe is the life force, nature or the light we see when the atom is split.

The Hindu understands this as well as others. The sounds of the universe or Shruti can be heard by simply placing a sea shell to ones ear. They were always there and always will be there even after man and the earth or no more. This life force will continue on building more planets, univertses and creatures of the finite world.

It is really so simple but unfortunately a pure truth that is always under attack.

MidwestJester's picture

I'm sorry, but you're using logic and are going to have to stfu. Thanks! /sarc

layman_please's picture

"We are not going to solve this, so let's get the hell out and protect our own boarders and solve our own issues before dictating to the world how they should live."


if you wouldn't have the whole world to exploit, your corrupt rulers will make you their slaves. good luck with that!

Duffy's picture

typo there - you meant "hoarders," I'm sure.

Jumbotron's picture

"Saddham Hussein would have dealt with these problems singlehandedly. Time to put him back in charge.


Oh wait!"


Yep....too late.  That genie is out of the bottle....because we saw our future going into the toilet due to Peak Cheap Energy and the need to have a forward base of operations in the Middle East in order to secure whats left of Cheap Energy.

Now we have unleashed Hell over there....we have a convenient excuse to always have a Boogyman to secure further military spending and adventures over there....without having to look like we are ALWAYS going to be there due to the above reasons of securing the last remains of Cheap Energy.


Manthong's picture

Outside of a few architectural achievements and some language and math stuff 1000 years or so ago, it’s been downhill for those clowns ever since.

RaiZH's picture

It's okay!!! Gaddafi will unite the Arab world and we will have stability.


Oh fuck! 

john39's picture

not as simple as sunni vs. shiite.  whatever isis is (spawn of evil CIA/Mossad/SA), it is not Sunni Islam:

Jumbotron's picture

It is......but it's the difference between Southern Baptists and Snake Handling Baptists.  They're all Protestants.  But even Southern Baptists would say that's not OUR kind of Baptists.

And Sunnis vs Shiite is Catholic vs Protestants.  Or the other way get my drift.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Catholics and Protestants figured out a way to settle their differences after a few hundred years. Muslims have been slaughtering each other continuously, in an escalating fashion, since the moment the "prophet" died over a millennium ago. The Iran-Iraq war was an absolute bloodbath of senseless killing and highly representative of what this deranged ideology is all about: death, ignorance, destruction, and insanity.

NihilistZero's picture

The Iran-Iraq war was an absolute bloodbath of senseless killing...

To be fair the bloodbath was between two psychotic regimes that were put into power directly by US/British interests.  It is hard to say what the leadership of the Middle East would look like if not for constant Israeli/US/European intervention.  I'm of the belief that most people just want to get by and live life, and that includes the majority of Muslims.

The Saudi RF and all the other despots have been forced on the Middle East.  The radicals who grow from tehir tyranny ensure that the folks just trying to live over there never have a decent option.

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

Unless I'm way out to lunch, the Iran Iraq war had the fingerprints of the west ALL over it, which automatically throws ideology on religious grounds out the window. The US has never gotten over Iran getting the Western backed tinpot dictator out of power and the iran iraq war at least in my view had an echo of that in it.


The fact is Iran hasn't attacked anyone pre emptively since they were Iran. Despite the media narrative Iran isn't anywhere near as brutal as the west says. As far as I know they have the largest population of jewish residents in the area outside of Israel, and they were offered to be paid to move there and they chose not to.


THe savage muslim meme is an easy point to take. The only hitch is, at least in the last 100 years the West has been intimately involved in "Radical Islam" so that alone says there is more to the story than a group of people fighting over who gets Mohammed's job after he dies.

Duffy's picture

The Iraqi attack on Iran had little to nothing to do with a Sunni/Shia religious war - you just don't know what you're talking about.

also, there were long periods without signficant inter-Muslim conflict, for example, under the Ottomans.  Most of the last millenium featured conflicts between Christian sects.  The feuds between England and Spain and England and France had much more to do with the Protestant/Catholic schism than the US-engendered {and supplied} Iraq-Iran war had anything to do with Sunni versus Shia per se.

 As for a deranged ideology - guess which religion represents the Creator as directing the following:\

‘You are a holy people unto the LORD thy God and He has chosen you above all others upon the face of the earth…Therefore when the LORD your God brings you into the land you are to possess and casts out the many peoples living there, you shall slaughter them all and utterly destroy them…You shall make no agreements with them nor show them any mercy. You shall destroy their altars, break down their images, cut down their groves and burn their graven images with fire…"

What happens when that religion gets power, money, and nuclear weapons?

Arguably, Jewish colonialist treatment of the indigenous people of Palestine is merely fundy/orthodox Judaism free to practice itself.



Canadian Dirtlump's picture

"not as simple as sunni vs. shiite.  whatever isis is (spawn of evil CIA/Mossad/SA), it is not Sunni Islam:"


indeed not, and as a fan of zerohedge, I'm embarrassed by their coverage of this. I would expect this superficial drivel on everything from mslsd to faux news, but not here.



Payne's picture

Is it really any different than Irish Catholics and English Protestants ?  big difference is resources OIL, buy lots of weapons, tv time soldiers etc.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

That conflict is less about religion, and more about how the English have been shitting on the Irish for 400 years, and the resulting consequences.

losses mount's picture

I think what we need is a new religion, one based on a Planck energy density limit.

This automatically leads to a "source" of negative mass that exhibits the properties of omni presence, and omnipotence, amoungst others; everything else having positive mass comes into being and again passes out of being and is set initially at one Planck mass to decay over space-time until it eventually ends up nothing again.

In doing so one eliminates the "big bang" thinking based on the premise of singularities. In my view singularities are far more far fetched than the existance of a God.

If God had calculable properties there would be nothing to argue about.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

If man could calculate the properties of God, then man would BE God.

Since man has very limited sensory and reasoning faculties, that will NEVER happen.

losses mount's picture

I disagree; if I can calculate the properties of sand does that make me sand?

Secondly, although our capacities are limited, the capacity of mathematical reasoning knows no bounds. I suggest.

Thirdly, maybe it already has happened.

Freddie's picture

Good analysis here.  ISIS is designed to be a threat to Iran.

Counterpunch appears to be pretty awesome like ZH. I think Alexander Cockburn had founded Counter Punch. 

This is also good:

NihilistZero's picture

Thanks for the link Freddie.  That counterpounch article was exceptionaly interesting and they are definitely getting added to my reading list.

Sudden Debt's picture

no, that would be cruel.

Just castrate the entire male population and detroy all the mosques.

It's that easy and we'll have resolved all those issues in a peacefull manner.


Surging Chaos's picture

What the hell is going on with all these accounts that have been popping up these last few days saying the government should nuke it all? The only person I think would actually support such a repulsive idea would be Krugman, because it would be broken windows going full retard.

Statists gonna state.

NotApplicable's picture

Frustration of impotence?

(Though hedgely might be using over-the-top sarcasm.)

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Don't be absurd. There is no profit in nuclear war, only in limited war! That's why we have so many small wars going at all times.