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As the Middle East reverberates towards yet another conflict, few people remember that in June 1982 when Israel invaded Lebanon to drive out the Palestinians, the IDF was welcomed by cheering Shia Lebanese crowds in South Lebanon.
Today that same area is home to Hezbollah, sworn enemies of the Jewish state.
What happened in just one generation?
It seems the academics and scholars in Israel, North America and Europe have a very shallow understanding of the phenomenon of fissures within Islam. It is not their fault for they look at us Muslims from the outside, not from within. And Muslims who do advise policymakers in the West do so for contractual reasons, leaving out some of the truth so as not to be the bearers of bad news to future funders of conferences, tours and seminars.
Shia Muslims have been hunted to death by the all major Sunni caliphates and dynasties; from the Umayyads of Damascus to the Abbasids of Baghdad, the Ottomans of Constantinople to the Central Asian Moghuls who occupied and ruled India for over 300 years.
The crucial source of division between the two is rarely discussed.
Throughout Islamic history, mainstream Sunni Muslims have painted the Shias as Jewish (meant as a slur).
This is because one of the major protagonists of Shia Islam was one Abdullah ibn Saba who was a Yemenite Jewish convert to Islam. Ibn Saba’s Jewish origin and his dark skin from an Ethiopian Falasha mother fuelled a contempt for him as well as accusations by Sunni writers that Shia’ism is originally based on Judaic doctrines.
Here are two Islamic scholars from different eras declaring the Shia as Jews or those who reject Islam, the Rafida.
Imam Ash-Sha’bi, a seventh-century scholar said: “The Rafida (Shia Muslims) are the Jews of this nation. They hate Islam as the Jews hate Christianity. They embraced Islam, not because they longed for it or because they feared Allah, but because they detested the Muslims and intended to overpower them.”
Ibn Taymiya, the 14th-century scholar who is considered the founder of present-day Wahabism, and the ideological guru of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda and ISIS, considered Shias more heretical than Jews and Christians.
So today if Shias sound particularly anti-Semitic, it may be their attempt to shed what is considered the ultimate insult to a Muslim — being a Jew in hiding.
And so no approach to resolving Hezbollah and Iranian threats towards their neighbours or ‘enemies’ can work unless we understand the psyche that drives them to such suicidal behaviour.
Iran today is governed by the most vicious of Islamic theocrats who have the blood of thousands of their fellow citizens on their hand. Christians, Bahai’s, Zoroastrians, Marxists, Sunnis and ethnic minorities such as the Kurds and Baloch have suffered immensely and the sooner the Ayatollahs are toppled from within, the better it will be for the world.
However, any attempt by the U.S. to pull off a coup is bound to have the opposite effect. Few, if any, people in the developing world trust America after its ‘weapons-of-mass-destruction’ disaster in Iraq.
As for the recent concerns about oil tankers damaged in the Middle East, CBS reports “the scale of the alleged sabotage remained unclear.” A report from Sky News Arabia, a satellite channel owned by an Abu Dhabi ruling family member, showed the allegedly targeted Saudi tanker Al Marzoqah afloat without any apparent damage.” 
Despite this, The New York Times reveals President Trump plans to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons.
Stop it Mr. Trump. A barking dog never bites. Watch out for the Saudis; they have raised being a bad friend to an art form.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019