Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | Middle East | Newsmax Prime | Robert Rabil | middle east | sectarian | divisions

Mideast Expert Rabil: Theological, Geographic Rifts Divide Region

By    |   Tuesday, 26 May 2015 07:06 PM

The fight to retake the Iraqi city of Ramadi has a dangerous sectarian feel, a Middle East Expert tells Newsmax TV.

The rifts dividing the Middle East are a combination of centuries-old sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shiites combined with geopolitical issues, Dr. Robert Rabil, professor at Florida Atlantic University, said Monday on "Newsmax Prime."

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"On the historical theological problems, the Shiites exposed certain doctrines that are not shared by the Sunnis who consider themselves the orthodox of the Muslims.

"Then there is the fact that there is no regional order in the Middle East, as Iraq and Syria are being contested by the Islamic State group (ISIS) for control of the area. But Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the governments of Syria and Iraq also want a role in deciding the parameters of this new regional order, Rabil said.

"We are seeing sectarian conflict and on top of that sectarian conflict, we are seeing geostrategic consideration pursued by different countries," led by Sunni Saudi Arabia on the one side and Shiite Iran on the other.

ISIS is exploiting that rivalry and sectarian conflict, he said.

Rabil called it a "very valid concern" having Shiite militias attempt to help retake the city of Ramadi that fell to ISIS earlier this month.

"The Iraqi government now cannot go ahead and retake Ramadi or Al-Anbar province," he said. "That's why today they launched a huge campaign to retake it without certain help from the Iraqi Shiite and of course, without help from the United States."

The Iraqi government is in a "double bind," he said because it must balance its cooperation with the United States with how it handles the Shiite militia.

Rabil says he hasn't heard it mentioned in most news reports, but the operation's code name, Labaik Ya Hussain, points toward sectarianism. The term means "Ready to Obey Hussain," and carries an anti-Israel connotation.

"I'm extremely worried because the campaign now has taken a sectarian character and should have been Labaik Ya Iraq, (We are ready to go ahead and save Iraq), not save Hussain or go back to the sectarian issues between the two," he said.

Another concern, Rabil said, is that leaders in Egypt and Saudi Arabia say ISIS is bad, but still in their discourse blame the West for many of the Middle East's problems.

"The West is not at the root causes of what's happening in the Middle East," Rabil said.

Also, he said some ideological tenets between Wahhabism, Salafism and ISIS overlap.

"You also have to deal with the root causes," he said. "Some Muslims, they do speak up, but their voices are muffled. They don't want to be in the spotlight."

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The fight to retake the Iraqi city of Ramadi has a dangerous sectarian feel, a Middle East Expert tells Newsmax TV. The rifts dividing the Middle East are a combination of centuries-old sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shiites combined with geopolitical issues, Dr....
Robert Rabil, middle east, sectarian, divisions, ISIS, exploits
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2015-06-26
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 07:06 PM
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