Historical Overview of The Present Crisis in Iraq
Therefore, the Shiites do not accept the Sunni leadership and have been severely persecuted by the Sunni community wherever they have been found weak.
There are today about 19,000,000 – 22,000,000 Shiites in Iraq who amount to about 65-70% of the Muslim population in the country and to about 11-12% of the global Shia population. They stand next in number only to Iran who has the highest number of concentrated Shiites in the world (66,000,000 – 70,000,000; 90–95% of Muslims in that nation). Sunnis in Iraq amount to only 32-37% of the Muslim population. Shia community shared power during the incumbent years of the Baathist regime under the leadership of Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr and Saddam Hussein. However, their position in the Baathist party drastically declined. It is said that a number of Shiites were executed by the Baathist regime (See Wikipedia Article. After the US led 2003 invasion of Iraq, the tension between Shiites and Sunnis is said to have escalated (SeeWikipedia Article). According to one Wiki entry:
Some of the worst sectarian strife ever has occurred after the start of the Iraq War, steadily building up to the present. Deaths from American and allied military collateral damage have become overshadowed by the cycle of Sunni–Shia revenge killing—Sunni often used car bombs, while Shia favored death squads.
According to one estimate, as of early 2008, 1,121 suicide bombers have blown themselves up in Iraq. Sunni suicide bombers have targeted not only thousands of civilians, but mosques, shrines,wedding and funeral processions, markets, hospitals, offices, and streets. Sunni insurgent organizations include Ansar al-Islam. Radical groups include Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad, Jeish al-Taiifa al-Mansoura, Jeish Muhammad, and Black Banner Organization. (See Article)
After the fall of the Baathist regime and the end of Saddam Hussein, the Shiites rose to power. However, it has been said that the present prime minister, "a Shiite, has failed abysmally in creating a formula to share power with the Sunnis" (Robert Wright as quoted). This has only helped to aggravate the tension.
Possibility of Peace
But, there may be a way for peace between both communities without expense of any: political secularism - the non-interference and non-influence of any religion or religious sect or denomination in political matters. But, can political secularism in its healthy form (that protects also the freedom to conscience and faith) be practical in the Islamic countries? If yes, then to what extent? The question still remains to be answered. However, at the moment, the main concern is that no inhumane acts of military brutality are committed.
Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. (Matthew 26:52)