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80 percent of all Muslims are Sunni Muslims. This means that out of the approximate 1.6 Billion folks only about half a billion are Shiite Muslims. So, every American wants to know: How many of both of these groups are Radical Islamic Terrorists? They say that there are only about 30,000 ISIS fighters in their new created Caliphate in Syria and Iraq. They have seem to have spread out all over the world and recently have “cells” in the major cities of Europe. Approximately 5000 have returned to Europe after fighting in Syria. We have no idea how many have come to the United States, but we did have a man and his wife in San Bernardino create some terror recently at a Christmas party last year.
Well, it might be well to try to understand some of the basics about Islam and the differences between the Sunni’s and the Shiite’s. The US and Global media is pretty bad at explaining much about any religious organizations. Few people even know that the Hindu’s of India and the Muslims of Pakistan have been fighting over the Sikh region of Kashmir for over 100 years. But that is off the subject. Let’s talk about Iraq for example to begin. Saddam Hussein was a Sunni strongman in Iraq before the United States went to war with him. Iraq is a combination of three main groups: The Kurds in the north (which Saddam gassed indiscriminately – with his henchman Chemical Ali) who one might consider the most liberal of all Arabs in the region. Some are Sunni, Shiite, Zoroastrianism, Azzidi, Shafi, Fayli and more. The Kurds like almost anyone that doesn’t not want to take their land. However, their influence spans three nations: Turkey, Iraq and Syria. They in fact need to have their own country and to name it: The New Kurdistan! The Kurds are mountain fighters and may be the best in the world. The United States needs to keep the Kurds on our side in the Middle East.
As everyone knows by this time, Syria is a total mess. Sunni’s from Iraq (old Saddam Hussein Army/Bureaucrat folks joined forces with Syrian elements trying to overthrow Assad and wound up creating ISIS). ISIS holds two main population centers: Mosul and Roqqa, considering it their ISIL Caliphate. They get their money for operation and war and terror in mysterious ways. Does it come from Saudi Arabia? Abu Dabi? The Emirates? Turkey (by way of stolen discount oil)? Elsewhere in the world?
Then we have the Shia…Shiites! These folks inhabit parts of Iraq, Syria and Iran. In Yemen, half of the country is Sunni – in the north and half is Shia….in the south. In Iraq, the leaders of the Shia movement are Grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani and Muqtada Al-Sadr who both have called for Jihad against ISIS. These are the same guys that wanted US Forces out of Iraq a few years back. Let’s just say that this is a very complicated area of the world and friends one day may become enemies the next. ISIS cuts off the heads of Shia and western media types!
Most Americans have no idea about what a Muslim Cleric is. What a Muslim Mufti might be! What a Fatwa is! What a Mulah is! What a Burka is! Or even who and where the Belly Dancers come from and are today! Our current array of Presidential Candidates have no clue apparently. Global Strategy? None! Long term plan for peace in the middle east? None! How to institute a two state solution in Israel? None! No, it seems it is all about going to war…. The question is: If you want to go to war – go to Somalia and take out the Somali Pirates associated with ISIS. Go and take out Boko-Haram and recapture the kidnapped slaves of these criminals. Take out Al-Shabbab or other nasty groups that like to cut the heads off of people. The bad groups in Libya and Algeria area also problem areas.
However, let’s cut to the chase: ISIS. They control two major population centers; one in Iraq – Mosul (with about 1 million population) and Roqqa in Syria (a town of 220,000 – and an area of about 1 million people). By taking away these population and money centers their Caliphate will have to withdraw back into the shadows for a time! The ISIS folks may be compared to extreme right wing fringe Christian groups like the Jim Jones Group. The answers to Radical Islamic Terrorism start at the Mosque and at the local food markets. As can be seen so easily – even the Shia can be put into the fray when terror comes from other sources such as the invasion of Gaza…when Hamas and Hezbollah had to come to the aid of the Palestinians. These are complicated issues which require a diplomatic elegance and a swift corrective action when needed. Using blunt force does not work. Attacking the entire Muslim World is not going to work either.
There is little doubt that the atrocities of ISIS and their affiliates need to be thwarted. The Europeans need to adjust their intelligence gathering and get into those neighborhoods – their Mosque and Food Markets. They need to attack on the internet. They need to find the bad guys early and incarcerate them or deport them….over and over and over again! When you put the numbers together, you are really looking at a sect and philosophy of Islam of less than 200,000 folks throughout the world – out of 1.6 Billion. Putting every Muslim into a Joe Arpaio tent city….is probably not going to work. Making friends with folks like the Kurds….might be a very important idea. Finding those Americans in our Muslim community that want to protect our country and are willing to share their knowledge might be even better!
Understanding 1.6 Billion Muslims? We are for it!