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The ‘Arab Spring’ Culminating in a Bloody ‘Sushi’

With Iran and Hezbollah openly supporting the anti-Sunni side in Syria, the battle lines have been redrawn, this time according to ancient and familiar traditions.
Hamas officials in Gaza City last month welcomed Egyptian cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who leads the anti-Hezbollah wave in the Muslim world.

Hamas officials in Gaza City last month welcomed Egyptian cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who leads the anti-Hezbollah wave in the Muslim world.
Photo Credit: Eyad Al Baba / APA images

But Qaradawi is not alone. When 1200 Kuwaiti jihadists were about to leave Kuwait and go to Syria to join the jihad against Hezbollah, the Kuwaiti Sheikh Shafi al-‘Ajami encouraged them to slaughter their enemy and asked the jihadists to save ten Hezbollah fighters for him to have the pleasure of beheading personally.

Even Sheikh Ra’ed Salah, head of the northern branch of the Islamic movement in Israel, openly speaks against Hezbollah, which acts against “our brothers” in Syria. It is important for us to remember that “our brothers” to Sheikh Ra’ad Salah might mean the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, but it could also mean the Palestinian refugees in Syria, several hundred of whom were killed and injured in battles between Assad and his opposition, and many thousands of whom fled to Jordan and Lebanon.


The increasing tension between the Sunni and Shi’a takes its toll in Iraq as well. In the month of May this year, more than a thousand men, women and children were killed in Sunni attacks against Shi’ites, and in revenge attacks of Shi’ites against Sunnis. The increasing tension between the factions in Iraq has generated mutual declarations, each side against the other: “You had better get out of Iraq before it is too late,” meaning before our knives separate your heads from your shoulders. Iran arms and equips the Iraqi army as well as the Shi’ite militias such as the Mahdi Army, while Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Emirates support the Sunni minority with weapons, ammunition and funds. The “sushi” tension in the Land of the Two Rivers is increasing and a conflagration resulting in an all-out civil war is apparently just a matter of time.


Many Lebanese object to the activity of Hezbollah in Syria because they fear that the civil war will overflow from Syria into Lebanon, and they will be its victims. This week the Sunnis held a demonstration in front of the Iranian embassy in Beirut where the demonstrators called on Iran to bring Hezbollah out of Syria. Armed Hezbollah activists attacked the demonstrators with clubs and sticks and beat one of them to death. The fighting continues in Tripoli in the north of Lebanon between the Sunni neighborhood of Bab al-Tabana and Jabal Mohsen, whose residents are Alawite, and this week too, people were injured there. About two weeks ago Grad rockets fell in a southern neighborhood of Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold, and all signs point to a “sushi” heating up in the Land of the Cedars too.

There are reports that Hezbollah has demanded the Hamas movement to take its people out of Lebanon because Hamas no longer supports Hezbollah.

The Sunni-Shi’a tension might result in a conflagration in many countries: Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and perhaps even Turkey, which also has a significant Shi’ite minority.

In Israel, we must take into account that in the Middle East the rule “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” does not always work. Just because the Sunnis and the Shi’ites relate to each other with hostility and hatred, that doesn’t result in love for Israel. In the best case, it may lead to a short-term coalition between Israel and Sunni countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, but we cannot rely on such a coalition, because we are still the “Zionist entity” which, according to Islam – Sunni and Shi’a alike – has no right to exist.

About the Author: Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Ph.D. Bar-Ilan U.) Served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. A lecturer in Arabic at Bar-Ilan U., he is also an expert on Israeli Arabs.

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4 Responses to “The ‘Arab Spring’ Culminating in a Bloody ‘Sushi’”

  1. Good for Israel, this "sushi" will take many years, like it was between christians, christians-muslems wars.

  2. Ron Kall says:

    That muslims are back to slaughtering each other on a grand scale, is surely a gift from allah!

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is an excellent article by Dr. Mordechai Kedar. This kind of insights are absent from the media in general. It raises the very thorny issue as to a possible intervention of the West, which President Obama is contemplating. On the other hand, Dr. Daniel Pipes is of the opinion that the West should not intervene on either side. This is a typical example when human tragedy is faced with political paralysis.

  4. Rachamim Dwek says:

    I appreciate Dr. Kedar’s view but I believe that he has over-emphasised the Sunni adulation of Hizbollah after the 2006 War. There was no downward spike in Sunni-Shi’a communal violence following the war. Iraq, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia (Dr. Kedar did acknowledge the last) continued their bloodletting unabated.

    As for Lebanon itself, the Sunni have been biding their time eversince they were defeated in their efforts to limit Hizbolli power in the Telecom Showdown. In fact, the brief love affair between Sunni and Shi’ lasted less than 2 months. By September of 2006 Hizbollah and Lebanon’s other Shi’a powerbase, AMAL, began threatening violence against the Sionora Government over the Hariri Investigation. The threats led to the 6 Shi’a Cabinet Ministers resigning that November. This in turn led to Siniora moving against Hizbollah by illegalising the organisation’s parallel fiberoptic telecom network- in effect, a pillar of a burgeoning parallel infrastructure entirely controlled by Hizbollah, in 2008. This of course caused the Sunni-Shia tensions in Lebanon to erupt into a low intencity conflict that narrowly escaped becoming yet another Lebanese Civil War.

    Still, it’s great to see time and attention paid to an important, yet largely unknown facet of Israeli national security.

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