Tuesday, October 17, 2006

How to Tell a Sunni From a Shi'ite

The New York Times has a little fun sticking out its tongue, or giving a Ted Turner Bronx Cheer, at government officials concerning Sunni/Shi'ite differences.

Based on my experiences living for years in two separate countries in the Middle East with sizeable numbers of both Shiites and Sunnis, the difference is:

The Shiites drive like they're trying to kill themselves. The Sunnis drive like they're trying to kill you.

Seriously, while in Lebanon I witnessed a Shia celebration of Ten Muharram or Ashura, when the celebrants flagellate themselves with whips and cut with knives to commemorate the death of Ali, or rather his son Hussein at Karbala in the year 680. Pretty gruesome, and I grew up in a Catholic tradition of abstemiousness and self-denial.

While in Saudi Arabia, I saw Shiites in the roofless red school buses on their way to Mecca. The Shia and the Sunni imams always see the first sliver of the crescent moon on a different day, which makes their religious calendars a bit different from each other.

The Caliphate that GWB talks about is the Sunni tradition advocating world conquest.

UPDATE: If you think this is a problem just with the Bushies, here's an interesting comment on Captain's Quarters thread:
I was an Intel Officer, I worked that problem; I was in Iraq, I know what they were up too; I've seen it with my own eyes; I was working the Islamic Fundalmentalism problem for the IC before they even knew what it was!

I was in a "meeting" at Quantico/FBI HQ in June of 95; the entire IC had sent their top Islamic Fundalmentalism CT experts to this meeting; we met for 4 days, to discuss the problem!

We tried to warn the bigwigs from the FBI/CIA about bin Laden, the ties to the Blind Sheikh, and the fact that they were going to strike us again, until they killed THOUSANDS of us!

The State Dept Rep; RIPPED, and I mean RIPPED into the senior CIA/FBI guys persent, over the "wall" between them, and sharing, and I'll never forget what he said "You guys are going to get THOUSANDS of Americans killed because you refuse to share Intel with each other, and us....?"
How prophetic was he!

I Ripped into them, for their complete LACK of understanding of Islam in general, what they think like, why they do what they do, and the fact that they had declared war on us, and were going to keep attacking us until they killed THOUSANDS of us!

(Read this, if you want to be scared about how LITTLE we've actually learned since then:


Anyway, after I get done ripping this CIA guy, he looks me in the eye, and in front of 40+ other IC analysts, says: "I hear what you are saying, but the Oval Office is NOT interested in your message!"

That was the first week of June 1995; guess who was President, and guess who he was talking about?

That was the end of that!

That was the Jamie Gorelick/Janet Reno DoJ erecting that wall that resulted in THOUSANDS of Americans killed. And Billy Jeff and document-poacher trade lawyer Sandy Berger and feckless nitwit Maddy Albright all colluded and are now lying through their teeth on how hard they tried. According to Dr. Scheuer of the CIA, Berger and Clarke refused to authorize killing Bin Laden after Billy Jeff allowed UbL to escape from Sudan.

Lawyers are the problem when it comes to an effective foreign policy. And the Clinton crew was overlawyered from top to bottom.

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