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British-Saudi Drive for
Religious War Is in High Gear

Dec. 30, 2011 (EIRNS)—For a number of months now, EIR's Washington sources have reported that the British strategy for chaos and destruction in the so-called Middle East, has shifted from utilization of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to the instigation of religious warfare, in particular, between the Shi'a and Sunni sects of Islam. Conflict between these two factions holds the potential for a bloody confrontation throughout the Arab world, the Indian Subcontinent, and up into Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

Indeed, in an interview with Reuters news service on Dec. 23, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pointed to this danger:

"Attempts to bring the religious factor into regional confrontations are especially troubling. If there were an open rift between Sunnis and Shi'ites—and such a threat is fully realistic—then the consequences could be catastrophic."

A look at what has occurred in Iraq immediately following the withdrawal of U.S. forces gives a picture of the dynamic. Similar such mayhem between Shi'a and Sunni has also erupted recently in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and is definitely on the British agenda, should Syria's President Bashar al-Assad be overthrown.

Following the killing of 70 people and wounding of 180 others in Baghdad by several booby-trapped car explosions and explosive-charge blasts on Dec. 22, it became evident that Iraq has been plunged into a serious political crisis. Again on Dec. 26, four people were killed and 37 injured in an attack against the Interior Ministry building in Baghdad. And two Iraqi civilians have been killed and another injured in a booby-trapped car explosion close to the Technical Institute of northern Iraq's oil-rich city of Kirkuk, the city's police director reported.

Sensing the urgency of the situation within the country, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has confirmed support for the Arab League's efforts to settle Arab problems, according to a statement issued by the Council of Ministers on Dec. 26.

The statement, a copy of which was received by Aswat al-Iraq news agency, quoted the Prime Minister as having confirmed, in a phone call that day with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi, the "necessity for the settlement of the Arab problems within the 'Arab House.' " It quoted Maliki as having called for "a more active role by Iraq to confront challenges facing the Arab region nowadays."

Meanwhile, the political party loyal to radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on Dec. 26 for the dissolution of Iraq's parliament and for new elections, in another move that could escalate the country's growing sectarian crisis. The Sadrist bloc is a partner in the Shi'ite-dominated government of Prime Minister Maliki. Bahaa al-Aaraji, the head of the Sadrists' bloc in parliament, said the elections are needed because of instability in the country and problems that threaten Iraq's sovereignty. Adding to the sectarian fracturing, two Sunni governors have demanded increased autonomy from the central government for their regions.