How can we possibly affect the Sunni-Shia schism?

Keith Hudson

The Taliban attacks the Parliamentary Building in Kabul today — while its parliament is in session, too — killing nine and injuring many more.  Last week the Taliban attacked several police posts in Helman province, killing 20 police officers.

Only last year we were told that 400-odd of our brave troops had given their lives to protect this country (exactly how is not stated) but at least having ‘brought democracy to Afghanistan’.  Many hundreds of our soldiers, recruited at impressionable ages, have now been injured with losses of varying number of limbs, some blinded and some brain damaged.  How much longer has this sort of pretence to go on — that is, that the Western nations can have any beneficial effect whatsoever on dysfunctional Islamic countries?

Iraq alone should have taught us that.  We’re now spending hundred of millions of pounds sending Typhoon fighter-bombers every day against Isis. And the Americans several times more with drone attacks in addition. How many civilians and children have been killed. Hundreds?  More like thousands. Are we winning against Isis?  Possibly, possibly not.  And even if we win, how can we possibly imagine that we can somehow guide Syria and Iraq any better afterwards than we (mainly the Americans) have tried before?

The Muslim world won’t get any better until they’ve sorted out their Sunni versus Shia problem in just the same way that we in Europe had to sort out our Roman Catholic versus Reformed Churches problem. It will be brutal, just as ours was, but is there the slightest scrap of evidence that there’s any other way?

And when they’ve resolved their problem, Muslims broadly will probably come to the conclusion within a generation or so that either schism wasn’t worth fighting for anyway.  The mosques will start emptying just as our churches have been and still are.  Is it not time for our government politicians and army generals to see sense?

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