All Sunnis and Shias must read Luttwak’s article in order to understand how Saudi-Ikhwan-Wahhabi lobby in USA wants to create a fresh wave of anti-Shia violence in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other parts of the Muslim world.
To understand the Saudi-Wahhabi-Ikhwan influence on US lobbyists/strategic analysts, read Edward Luttwak’s anti-Shia hate article in Foreign Policy. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/12/07/revenge_of_the_sunnis
Luttwak’s piece is equally offensive to moderate Sunnis and Shias.
Misrepresentations in Lutwak’s FP article
1. Stereotyping of all Shia Muslims as Iranian stooges. Same problem in Abbas Daiyar’s piece in Guardian. Pl don’t stereotype every practising Shia Muslim as Iranian. Abdul Khaliq Hazara-esque!
2. Rabid hate speech against Alawite & Twelvers
3. Specimen of Lutwak’s Fatwas: “Alawites are extremely heretical Muslims.”; “Shiite pilgrimages to Hussein shrine in Iraq is idolatrous ”
4. “Mufti” Luttwak also objects on Shia Muslims belief in 12th hidden Imam and “dubious “temporary marriage,” invented by Iran’s clerics”
5. Luttwak cries for democracy in Syria but doe not express any such sentiments for people in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, for obvious reasons.
6. Luttwak fails to acknowledge that Saudi Wahhabis do NOT represent the moderate Sunni majority. http://cdn.criticalppp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/mideastreligion2.gif
7. Luttwak is presenting Shia = Iran and Sunni = Saudi Wahhabis. Both propositions are faulty and very dishonest.
8. His comments about Alawite Shias are particularly offensive.
9. He does not distinguish between Wahhabis (a tiny minority) and Sunnis (a dominant majority).
10. The article is replete with with inaccurate information. For example, according to Luttwak, Imam Hasan’s shrine is in Iraq. The Saudi influenced writer does not know that his own financiers, Saudis, demolished Imam Hasan’s mausoleum in Madinah in 1925.
11. The author faces an arduous task of finding evidence of mainstream Shiite devotion that leaves the Prophet Muhammad by the wayside. This simply is not true.
12. On a fundamental level, the problem with the cultural and religious understanding is who is being termed as a ‘Sunni’ and a ‘Shiite’ in this article. The idea of “rigorous Sunnis” who find Shiite practises “disgusting” and prayer rituals “downright menacing” is flawed. The understanding of “rigorous” individuals is referring to the Wahabi sect. A fringe element who happen to have some elite level access to Saudi ideology – loosely masking the US proxy power calculation. The idea that Sunnis as a whole now, suddenly getting angry at these cultural practises which they’ve lived alongside for centuries has no backing. At an elite level, yes, there is a power competition. The belief that this has seeped into the cultural has no founding. (Source)
13. In reality, the Shiite crescent which you mention is highly factionalised with some loose alliances. Iraqi-Iranian Shiite cooperation is based principally on a fear and distrust of the US amongst Iraqi Shiites. That alliance is likely to disintegrate as the US slowly begins to pull out of the country. In a similar sense, the Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah cooperation is not based on a hierarchical structure with Iran as top dog as this article implies. In reality, it’s a coalition of actors with mutual interests. Rather than seeing this conflict in a sectarian conflict, an undoubtedly important aspect, take for instance the fact that these groups are all in opposition US hegemony in the region. It’s as much an “Anti-US crescent” as much as it is a Shiite crescent.(Source)
14. Mut’ah is Nikah for a specefied time. Did the Sunni commentators of the Quran including Ibn Kathir, along with Imam Tabari, Qurtubi etc have no understanding as to what they were doing when they were advancing their arguments about Mutah under the commentary of 4:24? http://www.answering-ansar.org/answers/mutah/en/chap7.php But more importantly why is a non-Muslim with little to no understanding of Islamic ideology and diversity of interpretations writing on a topic, uncritically propagating the Saudi-Wahhabi views?(Source)
Some facts about Luttwak: an American military strategist; confesses to be an independent intelligence operative http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Luttwak
Luttwak’s FP article is a sad reminder that not unlike Pakistan’s Jinnah Institute, US too has ideological prostitutes posing as think tanks
A counter-view to Luttwak’s FP piece:The Shia Crescent in the Middle East is a good news for Islam, democracy, the West http://criticalppp.com/archives/40718
Another counter-view to Luttwak’s FP piece: What Arab Spring? This is Saudi Winter! – by Abdul Basit http://criticalppp.com/archives/60345
A specimen of reaction from Twitter and other media
The extremist Kharji mentality of Saudis & their predecessors has done more damage to Islam than any enemy can even think of. The Saudi Wahabis have perhaps out sourced the institution of Fatwasazi to the westerns like Lutwak
One question: Would the Sunni Arab states be supporting the Sunni uprising in Syria if it were not for the U.S. and other western states pushing them? It seems the Arab League is acting only after being cajoled by the West.
Being a Shite doesn’t automatically imply that I take my orders directly from Iran or agree with iranian nationalist agenda or with the Ayatollahs about their messianic sermons.This is a reductionist and myopic suggestion,based on historical stereotypes, and is racist and false.
Shite Muslims are individuals,who form their own political and religious opinions quite independent of Tehran.Many of us actually hate the Iranian ayatollahs and their moth eaten rigidity more than sunni’s.
But the struggle for political rights is the right of every citizen and my religion should not be used to deprive me of my rights ( a crime many sunni states commit against their Shite citizens).So if shite Arab citizens hate their rulers-its not because Iran told them to-But because their rulers forced them to.
So I would say to the writer…..Its about POLITICS STUPID NOT RELIGION!!!
First of all this guy doesn’t even have his facts striaght. He says “Shiite pilgrimages to the Hassan and Hussein shrines in Iraq ” are competing with visits to Mecca and Media. Hasan and four other Imams are buried in Medina not in Iraq. This guy needs to pick up a book or visit wikipedia. Then he claims that Mutah is a new thing started recently. Honestly this is the most misleading superficial reporting ever. Divide and Conquer, thats what i see here
Luttwak’s calling Assad’s Syria “heretical” gives away his rabid Suni anti-Shia sources. He should have been aware that while Syria is ruled by a minority Alawite (Shia) regime, it’s ruling the country under Sunni Sharia laws and Sunni civil administrative and educational systems.
Shia empowerment in the ME did not start in 2003 but 24 years earlier with the Shah’s abdication and it wasn’t the Americans that gave anything to Iraq’s Shia other than the destruction of their country.
For an academic and expert on military matters, and being a bragging American government spy, Luttwak is sloppy about his facts . Laura Rozen profiled him in the JDF 3 years ago; he has an obsession with Iran and it explains the aim of his Shia-disparaging article:
How’d Al Qaeda get into Iraq?
At the same time that Syria served as a conduit between Iran and Hezbollah, they kept the flow of Al Qaeda fighters into Iraq, who not only killed Americans but Shiites too. Who can forget the bombings in Karbala. And I don’t remember Iran objecting.
In 1991, or even 2003, did any Sunni states back up Saddam? These regimes don’t actually care for fellow members of their sect, and will allow them to be killed as much as they can without losing face. Did Syria or Iran lift a finger to help Hezbollah in 2006, when at first it appeared they were on the ropes?
The pattern so far has been to promote conflict where possible to one’s advantage, but there has been no true ally like behavior. They don’t really cover each other’s backs. So my guys vs your guys multistate war is unlikely, based on past precedent.
Interesting that Luttwak leftout Turkey, which of course has also promoted revolution in Sunni states, and said peep about Bahrain.
is edward Luttak a saudi puppy?
this moron has basically been spoon fed the same saudi wahabbi nonsense, that all shias are ar iranian stooges. first of all, if u had ur facts straight you would see that majority of shia in the world follow the teachins of ayatullah sistani and not khameni. second, of all the terroist groups out in the world today, how many are shia? u consider hezbollah a terrorist group, but when was the last time they attack the U.s? now let me remind you about al qaeda, taliban, lashkar e taybah, lashkar e janghavi, just to name a few. not to mention the many other sunni groups from chechnya, indonesia, phillapines, nigeria, etc. are all wahabbi (sunni) groups., how many shia were innolved in 9/11? or the attacks on the U.S.S cole? train bombings in madrid and london? its the saudi and UAE sponosred wahabbi islam that is a cancer and disease on the world and yet, its their positions that U.S and europe support. u are digging your own graves by supporting these savages. former CIA agent and middle east expert Robert Baer said it best, in this conflict you are much better of siding with the shia than the sunnis. listening to guys like edward luttak (his last name tends to have some sort of a saudi-wahabbi tilt in it, maybe one of the parents was a saud) is only to lead to deception and betrayal.
You are wondering about Luttwak; he is not Saudi, Wiki has this on him, which makes his ignorance of the Shia so odd:
“Luttwak was born into a Jewish family in Arad, Romania, and raised in Italy and England. He attended the London School of Economics and Johns Hopkins University, where he received a doctorate. His first academic post, before moving to the United States, was at the University of Bath. He became a professor at Georgetown University in 1975. In 2008, he became a Senior Advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C..
He has served as a consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council, the United States Department of State, the United States Navy, United States Army, United States Air Force, and several NATO defense ministries. He was a member of the National Security Study Group of the United States Department of Defense, and an associate of the Japanese Finance Ministry’s Institute of Fiscal and Monetary Policy. With three other partners, he established and operated a self-sufficient forest-conservation ranch in the southern Amazon basin.
Luttwak has been a frequent lecturer and consultant, and is known for his unorthodox[says who?] policy ideas, suggesting for example that major powers’ attempts to quell regional wars actually make conflicts more protracted.
He served on the editorial boards of Geopolitique (France), the Journal of Strategic Studies, The European Journal of International Affairs, and the Washington Quarterly. He speaks English, French, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish and other languages.
In addition to his persona as a “public intellectual,” Luttwak is also an independent intelligence operative who is involved in clandestine activities that include “field operations, extraditions, arrests, interrogations (never, he insists, using physical violence), military consulting and counterterrorism training for different agencies of the U.S., foreign governments and private interests,” he told Laura Rozen of the weekly The Forward newspaper.
In May 2008 the New York Times published an opinion piece by Luttwak in which he argued that then-presidential candidate Barack Obama “was born a Muslim under Muslim law as it is universally understood” and would be considered an “apostate” by the world’s Muslims if he were to become president (see Apostasy in Islam). Luttwak was widely criticized by those authors who consider this analysis a misrepresentation of sharia, or Islamic law, including by the public editor of the New York Times, Clark Hoyt
It’s about the perception
I think that Luttak is expressing the Saudi perception, rather than facts. He is explaining that some Sunnis think this way, and that this explains their actions. I never get the sense that he believes what these Sunnis believe. I also get the sense that he disapproves, but that his job is to understand and interpret. So please don’t go too ballistic on him.
Interesting column… But…
Interesting column, but a few details left out. Having followed the Iraq situation all along, I am aware that the active hostility in Iraq between Sunni and Shia is mainly based on Sunni attacks on Shiite communities.
The great majority of attacks on US forces in Iraq have been Sunni in origin. The attacks of 9-11 were totally Sunni, Wahabi to be specific.
Reading the annual report of the National Counter Terrorism Center I find they list aproximately 14000 terror attacks, worldwide, each of the last couple years. Of those attacks they credit over 9000 to Sunnis. Not one is credited to Shiite groups or individuals. There are several attacks listed against Shiite targets, several against targets in Iran, none by Shiite perps or by Iran.
Time to pull back and get a better view of the real world situation.
And yet U.S. officials all go around touting Iran as the “number one state-sponser of terrorism”. I’d wager more Shia have died in terrorist attacks than Americans.
Time to pull back to get a better view of what Luttwak is really up to. He’s got too much of a background to be making such simple mistakes so we’d have to conclude that his article demonizing the Shia is another torpedo aimed at Iran.
Why exactly are we listening
Why exactly are we listening to Edward Luttwak? He might have some points but this is the same man who wrote in an NY Times op-ed that if Obama became president it would be apostasy to Muslims
Luttwak is a general of the neoconnery tribe who has the predictable Zionist agenda…. one of the most visible drummers for both wars on Iraq. A faix historian whose knowledge of matters Muslim, Shia, Sunni, Arab, Persian and Iran, is superficial, limited to the conceit that these 1.5 billion are a homogenous lump of violent anti American morons.
On Iraq, before the invasion, one third of all families were mixed. The secterian violence is the consequence of the total breakdown of civil society orchestrated by the US occupation and the civil war thereon has been deliberately incited by the US, especially by Bremmer, a managing director at Kissinger Associates.
Besides Saddam’s persecution, the Shia were the front line troops in Saddam’s (not Iraqi) war on Iran backed by the US. Losses were terrible but very few Sunnis were casualties. In the gulf war, Bush the Father of democracy urged the Shia to rise against Saddam, with promises of support but when Saddam launched his genocide on them post hostilities, Gen Schwatznegger did nothing, basically backed him, deliberately stabbing the Shia in the back. Only Iran helped. The Shia remember this and will never forget the betrayal.
But they are Arabs and do not take orders from Persians..never have even befrore Islam.
Too bad Luttwak, a Hungarian Jew, cannot have any empathy for people that have suffered as much as the European Jews have under European Christians.
The strong suppress the weak, who suffer as they must. (Source)