Eric Zuesse explains the difference between Sunni and Shia

Jerry Russell

Staff member
Eric Zuesse explains the difference between Sunni Muslims (such as the Saudis) vs. Shia Muslims (Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Houthis in Yemen, Assad government of Syria). Historically, he says: 'Sunni' means 'supporter' of hereditary monarchy, while 'Shia' were 'opponents' who believed that religious clerics or scholars should be leaders.

And, this is why today's Anglo-American-Zionist establishment has a natural preference for the Sunnis over the Shiites.

Whereas Islam started as one faith in 610, the separation into Shia Islam and Sunni Islam started in 680, at the Battle of Karbala, where “Hussain (or Husayn) ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, along with many other prominent Muslims, not only disapproved of Yazid's nomination for Caliph (or leader of Islam) but also declared it against the spirit of Islam (because only an imam or cleric, a scholar of Islam, should lead the faith).” Yazid was the first hereditary Caliph; and Hussain, on principle, rejected hereditary dynasties. This Battle was between supporters (Sunnis) of monarchies (hereditary caliphs, or “kings”), versus opponents (Shia) of monarchies. “Husain ibn Ali believed the appointment of Yazid as the heir of the Caliphate would lead to hereditary kingship, which was against the original political teachings of Islam. Therefore, he resolved to confront Yazid.”

Obviously, then, the Sauds, and the other hereditary monarchies in the Islamic world (all of whom are major importers of U.S. weapons), are frightened by Shia, and by Shiism itself — Shia belief. There also are many Sunni followers who reject monarchy (hereditary/dynastic rule), even though Sunni Islam itself doesn’t reject it. Unlike with Shiism, the rejection of monarchies isn’t part of the Sunni faith. Furthermore, in Sunni monarchic countries, the aristocracy are funding clerics who accept monarchies. Therefore, the split that was initiated in 680, escalated greatly after the 1979 Iranian revolution, which actually carried out a monarch’s defenestration — it therefore terrifies today’s Islamic monarchs. They are determined to conquer it. To protect their dynasties, for themselves and their descendants, they aim to destroy Iran and conquer all Shia.

Here’s what happened at that seminal event in 680:

The Caliph, Yazid I, was opposed by imam Husayn ibn Ali, whose forces became massacred at Karbala; and, as the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations correctly noted:​

Karbala became a defining moral story for Shias, and Sunni caliphs worried that the Shia Imams — the descendants of Husayn who were seen as the legitimate leaders of Muslims (Sunnis use the term “imam” for the men who lead prayers in mosques) — would use this massacre to capture public imagination and topple monarchs. This fear resulted in the further persecution and marginalization of Shias.

Kevin Barrett, a scholar of Islam, tells me, further, that the founder of Iran’s 1979 revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, didn’t reject only the Sunni acceptance of monarchies but also what Khomeini perceived to be the injustice of those Sunni monarchies, where the royal subjects are treated as intrinsically inferior beings. This injustice is, of course, part of monarchies, royalty, and all other forms of aristocracy. Consequently, Khomeini, and the Islamic republic that he created in 1979, raised, to the forefront, in a way that never had been done before, the Shiite threat that had been created against monarchs. This is a threat against the very same regimes that are the U.S. aristocracy’s key allies, and that now buy, more than ever before, the weapons which are made by the U.S. aristocracy’s firms such as General Dynamics and Boeing. The more fear that those monarchs have, the better are the profits of U.S. weapons-manufacturers. So, America’s aristocrats benefit from those Arab aristocrats’ increased fear of Shia. Whereas Israel is afraid of Iran for its being not U.S.-allied and therefore not following U.S. guidance against the Palestinians, America’s Sunni monarchs are afraid of post-1979 Iran for its having been born from a repudiation of monarchy itself. Iran thus is considered “an existential threat” by the rulers in both Israel and Saudi Arabia (and in the other Arab monarchies), and this causes them all to buy lots of U.S.-made weapons.

The Middle-Eastern conflicts are thus very profitable for America’s weapons-firms, because they fuel the biggest foreign market for American-made weaponry. And, of course, America’s oil companies also profit from the U.S. Government’s alliance with fundamentalist Sunnis against Shia.

So: the historical roots of the war in Yemen are deep. The origins go back to the founding of Shia Islam, and of Sunni Islam, in 680, and to the great intensification of that split, in 1979.

Therefore, even the U.S. (which claims to be a democracy) acknowledges that it supports monarchies in the Islamic world. It does so despite the fact that those monarchies (and their subordinate aristocrats including such people as the bin Ladens) are the main financial backers — the people who hire and pay, train and buy the arms for — Islamic terrorists such as Al Qaeda and ISIS, in order to placate their local clergy, who, as fundamentalist Sunnis, don’t consider non-believers (in their particular fundamentalist-Sunni faith) to be “people of God.” The aristocracy and the clergy thus jointly share power in these monarchic countries. (By contrast, in Shia countries, the aristocracy are less strong, because there is no monarch; and, thus, hereditary status — which is the basis of any aristocracy — is lacking in Shia countries.)​

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
How does one, then, explain the hereditary Ismailis (Shia), and the related Fatimid dynasty (Shia)? I suppose one can dismiss the Ismailis as being 'real fakirs'. Or 'real' - as in regal 'royals'? The colonial era Brits did proclaim the Ismaili Aga Khans, whether true or not, to be the lineal descendants of Ali, and the Sunni Husseins of Jordan as well, and in contrast, coming from Mohamed, I believe.