Monday 22 January 2007

Don't ignite the Shiites (UPI)

M.D. Nalapat

MANIPAL, India, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- The origins of al-Qaida can be traced to the decision taken by the British sometime in 1911 to back the raggedy assembly of Bedouins led by the al-Saud clan against the Turks. The add-on to this was the support it gave to Wahabism, a creed that had originated two centuries before, and which sought to smother the Muslim faith in its primitive desert beliefs and practices.
In 1932, London served as midwife to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a Wahabi outpost in a sea of moderate Sufi peoples, and has backed it ever since, being joined by the United States soon after World War II. If then the reason for this support was Turkey, from the 1960s till 1979 it was Arab nationalism, exemplified first by Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt and by the secular if thuggish Baath regimes in Syria and Iraq.
That year, Moscow made the mistake of invading Afghanistan, and then-CIA Director William Casey, followed by Zbigniew Brzezinski, accepted the Saudi suggestion that they use Pashtun Wahabis trained in Pakistan to drive out the Soviets, rather than the far more numerous Pashtun nationalists. Of course the nationalists loathed Pakistan, while the Wahabis were dependent on that state's jihadi army.