JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE WAY RELIGIOUS DIVISIONS FLOW OVER INTO POLITICAL AND GEOPOLITICAL DIVISIONS – MUSLIM WORLD NOT UNIQUE – EUROPE’S HISTORY FOR CENTURIES WAS MARKED BY THE CATHOLIC-PROTESTANT DIVISION – AND PEOPLE OFTEN FORGET THAT “THE WEST” IS ABOUT CONTROL OF OTHER PLACES AND DIVISIONS CAN ASSIST IN THE TASK – POSTED TO AN ARTICLE REMINDING THAT MANY MIDDLE EASTERN INFLUENCES LABELLED AS “IRANIAN” ARE REALLY “SHIA”   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PATRICK COCKBURN IN THE UNZ REVIEW

 

“The West Is Still Buying into Nonsense About Iran’s Regional Influence”

 

I welcome Cockburn’s analysis as a needed corrective to much Western thinking, and I especially like this:

“Much the same nonsense is being uttered today about an Iranian hand being behind anything the west and its allies do not like in the Middle East. When they claim to be targeting Iran, they are in practice targeting the Shia community as a whole – a mistake for which both they and the Shia are likely to pay a high price.”

But I do think many aspects of the Middle East’s religious division are just naturally blurred into politics and geopolitics, and perhaps it is unavoidable.

I regard the Shia-Sunni divide as something akin to the Catholic-Protestant one that dominated Europe from the 16th century.

It permeated all of European politics and generated wars. There was bloodshed for a very long period in Europe, actually a bit of it extending right into the 20th century in places like Northern Ireland.

The division drove all kinds of violence in a number of European countries, including wars of succession and massacres, and it was a key part in Britain’s “Glorious Revolution.”

It played an important role, often now unrecognized, in America’s revolt when Britain put parts of what would become the American Midwest, then regarded as Indian Reserve lands, under the jurisdiction of Quebec Province with the Quebec Act of 1774.

America’s colonials resented the well-intentioned Act deeply, both for cutting off their opportunities to exploit those lands and for putting them under the control of “popery,” a word very much heard then in New England.

So, for Europeans, political and religious matters were largely indistinguishable and remained that way for centuries.

If you understand that history, you do not look at the Muslim world’s situation as anything mysterious or unusual.

It likely reflects a basic division in human psychological make-up when we see vast religious movements divide into factions, just as people divide themselves into political factions. Indeed, in Britain’s early 18th century Parliament, there were no political parties as we know them, and when they began to emerge, they were called factions.

I think I might identify the Shia a bit with the early Protestants in that some of what they represent is regarded as revolutionary or at least upsetting to the old order.

In any event, a lot of what is said about Muslims in the West is inaccurate and self-serving.

Remember, “the West” is really a global imperial power, the United States, with loyal satraps like Britain or France scurrying along behind.

The primary interest of “the West” in the world at large is control, not understanding or cooperation.

So, the Muslim world’s natural divisions are exploited towards control.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: