I doubt that many Americans, understand today’s Muslim world. I certainly don’t. So, I have decided to try to gain some understanding. For whatever it’s worth, here are the results of my research. My sources are available to anyone, and I’ll list them below.
Islam is divided into two major denominations, Sunni and Shia, just as Christianity is divided between Catholic and Protestant. Shia is decidedly in the minority: 10 to 15 percent; Sunnis are 85 to 90 percent. No one has taken a census of the entire Muslim population, which spans many countries. There are a few other minor denominations, such as Kurds and Ibahdi.
Note that even Iran has some Sunnis, about 5-10%, Shia is given at 90-95%.
Iraq is (or was) Shia 60-65%, Sunni 32-37%.
Sunnis often view Shiites as heretics, and vice versa. The split between denominations goes back to the death of Muhammed and has to do with which faction inherited his legacy.
There are a few countries in which Shia are the majority: Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, and Bahrain. There is a large minority of Shia in Lebanon. In most other countries Shia are in the minority.
If we’ve named the Shia countries already, the remainder must be majority Sunni. Examples:
Afghanistan, Sunni 80%, Shia 19%;
Algeria, Sunni 99%.
Egypt, Sunni 90%, Christian 10%;
Jordan, Muslim 97%, predominantly Sunni;
Oman, majority Ibahdi Muslim, some Sunni and Shia;
Pakistan, Muslim (official) 96.4% (Sunni 85-90%, Shia 10-15%), other (includes Christian and Hindu) 3.6%;
Saudi Arabia, Sunni 85-90%, Shia 15-10%;
Syria, Sunni 74%, Other Muslim including Shia 13%, Christian, 10%;
Tunisia, Sunni 99%, other 1%;
Turkey, Muslim 99.8%, (mostly Sunni);
West Bank, Muslim 80% (mostly Sunni), Jewish 12-14%;
Yemen 65% Sunni, 35% Shia.
The source for these estimates is the CIA World Fact book, the estimates seem surprisingly vague for some of the above countries.
Lebanon is a peculiar Middle Eastern Country: Christian, 40.5%, Sunni 27%, Shia 27%.
From the above, I notice every Muslim country has a different mix of religious denomination.
Now, let’s look at the principal Islamic terror organizations:
Muslim Brotherhood – Sunni.
ISIS – aligned with the Wahhabi movement of Sunni Islam. Theoretical roots also derive from Salafi Jihadhism (literal, strict, puritanical interpretation of Islam).
Al Qaeda – also aligned with the Wahhabi movement of Sunni Islam.
Taliban – Racially Pashtun, who follow the Sunni denomination.
Hamas – Sunni.
It would seem from the preceding that the most logical course for the West to follow would be to kill off the entire Sunni population in the world. However, there are an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims, and if (conservative estimate) 80% of them are Sunni, that would be 1.28 billion. The ammunition costs might be prohibitive.
Further, unless they all wear uniforms or signs, you really can’t tell by looking who is Sunni and who is Shia.
My conclusion from looking at all this is that the Muslim world, particularly the Middle East, is a real mess. No wonder our politicians don’t have a clue as to how to handle them. Obama, clueless from birth and probably a Muslim himself, came along at the worst possible time and really screwed things up when he pulled our troops out of Iraq.
One might think that a Shiite country such as Iran would be our friend, but of course we know that isn’t even remotely true. Like the Sunni terrorists, they want to bury us.
Saudi Arabia, a country with which the United States has had good relations, is majority Sunni, and is said to be the birthplace of Wahhabi and Salafi sects, which are philosophies that led to the formation of terrorist organizations. The King and the nobility are keeping terrorists down there, and that is shaky at best.
Many people ask the question, how should we attack ISIS? Here are my ideas, carefully thought out at least 20 seconds prior to writing them down.
Take no ISIS prisoners, unless we need them to torture and gain information therefrom.
Bomb their mosques, especially at the hours when they are in use. This seems heartless, but recently, ISIS set off suicide bombs in Shia mosques. Bomb their funeral processions too.
Flood their territory with drones. Watch everything they do. When we identify a target, hit it from the air.
Allow no pickup trucks in their territory. Bomb every one we find, even if legally parked.
There supposedly is a coalition of 60 countries against ISIS. Get the other 59 to do something.
Cut off their funds and supplies, to the extent possible.
Put boots on the ground, if necessary, even American ones.
Take out cell phone towers in their territory.
To besiege a large city such as Mosul, offer a bounty for every ISIS head. Bomb every large group of people visible from the air. Bomb all vehicle traffic into and out of the city.
Iraq forces are currently in Iraq, battling ISIS. Give them air support.
For the larger battle against terrorism:
We should put friendly Muslims, (if we can find any) on the Voice of America, have them debate against the Wahhabi and Salafi doctrines.
On the Voice of America, we might be able to argue that Allah doesn’t really like Arabs, by pointing out a lot of bad things that have happened to them.
The above are just my uneducated thoughts.
- Wikipedia – numerous articles.
- CIA World Factbook.