The Religious War Raging in Syria (and now Lebanon) Between Shi’ites and Sunnis

UPDATES 10 am Israel time Wednesday:

In the last few days there has been an extraordinary amount of talking in Israel about so-called “price tag” incidents in which Israeli-Arab cars (primarily in Abu Ghosh) have had graffiti sprayed on them and their tires punctured–supposedly by orthodox Jews from Judea and Samara.

Politicians of all stripes led by Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu have knocked themselves out to condemn these criminal acts of vandalism.

What always seems odd to your humble servant, however, is that no politician, especially not Peres and Netanyahu, condemn any of the multitude of terrorist acts committed against the Jews in Israel everyday.

Here is a short list of incidents which took place between  9:06 pm Tuesday morning and 12:28 pm Monday afternoon:

9:06 am Tuesday: Palestinian terrorists assaulted Jewish vehicles at Anun with “rocks”.

7:00 am: Palestinian terrorists threw 2 Molotov cocktails at Border Police in Abu Dis. Dozens more threw “rocks” at security personnel.

5:57 am: Palestinian terrorist opened fire at–and hit–an Israeli bus near Hawara.

11:06 pm Monday: Palestinian terrorists threw “rocks” at Israeli motorists in Wadi Haramiya near Ofra.

10:17 pm: Palestinian terrorists lit burning tires in the road near Ofra to slow down Israeli cars in order to assault them.

9:34 pm: Palestinian terrorists pelted an Israeli bus near Gush Etzion with rocks.

8:16 pm: Palestinian terrorists threw “rocks” at Israelis in Kiryat Arba beside Hebron.

7:00 pm: Palestinian terrorists attacked a bus in Gush Etzion with “rocks”.

6:40 pm: Four Palestinian terrorists were captured after carrying out attacks against Israelis in Mt. Carmel and Maon Hebron.

6:30 pm: Two Arabs attacked and wounded a Jewish youth in Armon neighborhood of Jerusalem.

5:00 pm: Palestinian arsonists set fire to the area around Har Bracha.

1:42 pm: Negev Regional council agricultural areas were set ablaze by a missile fired by Palestinians in Gaza.

12:28 pm: Palestinian terrorists attacked a group of Jewish girls in Hebron.

Where are the condemnations from Shimon Peres? Benjamin Netanyahu? Israeli politicians in general? They are nowhere to be heard.


Your humble servant has been amused of late by the extraordinary contortions that political analysts use to explain the war in Syria which is now exploding across the increasingly nonexistent border into Lebanon. Of course the war has now become an international “playground” on which the Russians and their allies can try out their new weapons against the U.S. and its allies and vice versa.

But the simple fact is that it the Syrian war has become a Muslim religious war being fought tooth and nail against Muslims.

More specifically, it is a religious war largely being waged by the Shi’ites against the Sunnis. 

Take a look at the following graphic:

On this map, the light green color (Libya, Egypt, Jordan) indicates a Shi'ite population of less than 1%. The percentage of Shi'ites living in other countries is given. (source: Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life)

On this map, the light green color (Libya, Egypt, Jordan) indicates a Shi’ite population of less than 1%; darker green (Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Syria) indicates of Shi’ite poulation of up to 20%. The percentage of Shi’ites living in the darkest green and black countries is given (source: Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life).

Looking at the above map, it is easy to see why the Gulf states are afraid of what is happening in Syria.  What they see is Iran and its proxy Hezbollah attempting to export Shi’ite Islam into the country. To do so the Iranians have latched onto Bashir Assad and his ruling Alawite minority to fight against the majority Sunnis.

The following map shows the Syrian ethnic situation in detail:

Note how tiny the Alawite section (the base of Assad's power) actually is. Remember that "Sunni-Dominated" means that about 20% of the population is Shi'ite.

Note how tiny the Alawite section (the base of Assad’s power) actually is. Remember from the first map that “Sunni-Dominated” means that about 20% of the population is Shi’ite.

On Syria’s southwestern border, Lebanon seems like a small, peacefully united country. As we all know, this is anything but true:

The religious divisions of Lebanon.

The religious divisions of Lebanon.

If anything, Lebanon is more wracked by religious division than Syria. Most of the fighting in the last few days which has left more than 20 Lebanese Army soldiers dead has occurred between the Army and the Shi’ites in the city of Sidon (which is just on the periphery of Shi’ite Hezbollah controlled southern Lebanon).

However, the nonexistent border that I referred to at the beginning of this blog is the long border between the Shi’ite region in northern Lebanon and Syria. This is where Hezbollah fighters and material are transported into Syria, and Assad’s weapons are grabbed and secreted out. 

In sum, the purpose of this blog today is merely to describe the basic reason for the war in Syria that is spilling over into Lebanon. It is not to suggest that Israel should be supporting the Sunnis against the Shi’ites. After all, it is the Sunni monarchy in Saudi Arabia that has been spreading Wahhabist terrorism against Israel for decades.

Which is better for Israel? A Syrian Alawite regime now completely dominated by and indebted to Iran and Hezbollah, or a Syrian government run by extremist Sunnis dominated by Al-Qaeda groups.  I leave it for you, dear reader, to make the call.





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