Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Cruel Intentions

I was reading about the difference between Sunni muslims and Shia muslims on one of BBC's wonderful quick guides (I already knew the difference but I thought I might read about it anyway).

Now I have read that US and British forces are just as responsible for killing Iraqi civilians as much as the Sunni "death squads". But one thing that occurred to me was how influential the Saudis could be in diffusing a large portion of the violence in Iraq...if they wanted to. Having been long under the "mentorship" of the United States, I wouldn't be surprised if Saudi Arabia (where the majority of muslims are Sunni) decided to rebel by using the sectarian violence in Iraq as a future "negotiation" tool with the United States. The Saudis could just be seeing this as a way to "restart"
Wahhabism. I mean, why not? Americans are starting to realize that fossil fuels will not be around forever and many Western companies are (avidly) researching alternative fuels to meet the demand for the west's energy needs. If such fuels were found and implemented widely, oil would probably lose the luster that it now has (we probably won't be around to confirm that).

Of course, for all I know, Saudi Arabia might truly want the violence in Iraq to end as well. After all, a quiet neighbor is a good neighbor. But we have also seen that the influence of religious beliefs in certain parts of the world almost always overtakes any semblance of common sense.

1. So what can be done to drastically reduce the amount of violence in Iraq?
2. Should the US pull out?
3. What needs to be done to ensure that the Kurds and Turkmen do not get antsy a few years down the road?
4. How can Iran contribute to a solution? And even if Iran can, will it contribute if given a chance...especially within the context of the pressure the international community has on it to give up its nuclear "energy" ambitions?
5. And what will Israel have to say...no let me rephrase. How would Israel feel about the West working with Iran?