Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Reference: Bin Laden denounces Arab leaders, Bangkok Post, May 20, 2008

In a recent taped message Osama Bin Laden, a Sunni, not only took on Arab leaders but also fired a salvo at the Shiites apparently jostling with them to be the bearer of the mantle for the Palestinian cause. He appears to be fearful that the fall of Saddam and the rise of Iran and Lebanese folk hero Nasrullah may cede too much power to the Shiites.

His message contains the surprising revelation that the historical schisms among the tribes and clans of the Muslims are still festering even as they try to rally against a perceived common enemy in Israel. Without a common enemy they would surely self-destruct by re-igniting centuries old clan warfare. In that sense, peace with Israel would be a disaster for them because they need a common cause to maintain a semblance of unity and to keep from killing each other.

The fear and loathing in the Middle East is not just a two way thing. It is a three-way hate triangle. President Bush may have accidentally played the right card in the Middle East. By removing Saddam he has moderated Sunni power in the region and balanced the hate triangle.

Cha-am Jamal

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