The myth and reality of sectarianism in Iraq


Iraq sects mapby Musa al-Gharbi
On Aug. 14, embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stepped down and accepted the candidacy of his successor, Haider al-Abadi, who was nominated last week by the Iraqi president in an effort to end months of political stalemate in Baghdad. Maliki’s ouster has been a key demand of the Sunni opposition and United States. His resignation was welcomed, remarkably, by both Saudi Arabia and Iran. In fact, the end of Maliki’s reign was heightened by a coup from within his Shia alliance that had been brewing for some time. However, his removal alone — more symbolic than substantial — will not resolve the deeper political crisis that threatens Iraq’s unity and long-term viability.

This threat is often framed in terms of sectarian tensions among Iraq’s Shias, Sunnis and Kurds. But sectarianism in Iraq is also easy to misunderstand or overstate. The current turmoil results not from the centuries-old feud between Sunnis and Shias but from a revolt against very specific governmental policies — most of which have their origins in the U.S. invasion and occupation.

Prewar social relations

While Iraq certainly had ethnic tensions prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion, Saddam Hussein’s regime did not allow overt sectarianism to flourish. As a result, Sunnis and Shias led a fairly well-integrated existence in Iraq, especially in the larger cities. For example, nearly a third of marriages were between members of different sects. Iraq also had thriving populations of Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities.

Saddam co-opted Islamic discourse when it suited him politically, beginning in the 1980s (to maintain legitimacy in the wake of the Iranian revolution) and particularly toward the end of his reign in response to a potential U.S. invasion. But throughout, he was ruthless against all Islamist organizations, regardless of whether their movements were peaceful or violent, Sunni or Shia.

Political affiliation in Iraq was largely based on secular ideologies. In fact, it was considered taboo to inquire about or divulge one’s religious persuasion. Saddam’s Sunni-dominated regime boasted a significant Shia presence even in the upper echelons of power. He ensured that no one group or person grew too strong. His security forces would indiscriminately purge anyone perceived as a threat. Whenever possible, he also attempted to co-opt leaders of socioeconomic minority groups, striking deals with them to keep a lid on indigenous resistance.

Even during the early stages of the U.S. occupation, the insurgency was fairly broad-based, with Sunni and Shia militias united around driving out the occupiers. To undermine this trend, Paul Bremer, the U.S.-appointed head of the Provisional Authority of Iraq, deployed a divide-and-rule strategy in negotiating the new Iraqi state. The consequences of his colonial-era stratagem continue to reverberate throughout Iraq and the region.

Postwar sectarian politics

In Bremer’s Iraq, citizens were forced to declare a sect on all state-issued documents. Sectarian identity formed the basis of political organization: Each sect was allocated a quota in the governing council on the basis of this new social contract. Islamism became the primary (and nearly exclusive) mode of political expression. Politicians vying for political power pitted Iraq’s ethnic and religious groups against one another, carrying this precedent into the new government.

On the one hand, the realignment gave the majority Shia population a radical stake in the elected government. As long as the Shias remained a united political bloc, their dominance of Iraqi politics could not be meaningfully challenged. This was a watershed moment for the Shias, who despite accounting for more than 60 percent of Iraq’s population, were long relegated to political disenfranchisement. Shia marginalization in Iraq dates to the Ottoman era, through the British mandate and the monarchy and into Saddam’s Baathist regime. In fact, although Shias account forroughly half the Muslim population in the Middle East, the regional power dynamic favors the Sunnis. This imbalance continues to manifest itself even in Shia-majority countries such as Bahrain. Iraq’s transformation into a Shia state promised to radically upend the balance of power in the region — a prospect that Washington was not entirely comfortable with, given its fears about Iran.

In 2006 the U.S. chose Maliki to lead the new Iraqi government. He was shrewd, nonzealous and cast himself as a pragmatic strongman who could hold the country together when the U.S. eventually drew down its troops. However, in a system in which both the political process and alliances are based on religious identifications, Maliki struggled to shore up and expand coalitions, deal with rivals and build a network of supporters without taking on a distinctly sectarian stance.

On the other end of the spectrum, Bremer’s ham-fisted policies of de-Baathification of Iraq’s military and bureaucracy disproportionately affected the Sunnis, who were overrepresented in Saddam’s Baathist regime. It removed overwhelmingly Sunni social and military elites from positions of power and limited their stakes in the new Iraq. The move also left them with plenty of means to undermine the political process. The broader Sunni population found itself disempowered, with little political recourse to rectify its grievances. As a result, it grew increasingly susceptible to calls for armed resistance from disgruntled Sunni elites.

As a result of these dynamics, the insurgency against the state and its foreign patrons grew increasingly sectarian and radical. These trends culminated with the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) — a group so radical that even Osama bin Laden chastised it for expending so much energy and resources attacking ethnic and religious minorities at the expense of Al-Qaeda’s primary mandate to drive out foreign powers and depose Middle East tyrants.

The ISI’s reign of terror led to the purge of Christians and Assyrians from Iraq. Shias and Sunnis grew segregated geographically, intermarriage rates dropped and political discourse became overtly sectarian. The 2007 U.S. surge temporarily halted its advance, capitalizing on a growing Sunni disaffection with its excesses — but ultimately the measure failed to resolve Iraq’s underlying sociopolitical dysfunction, resulting in the implosion that followed the U.S. withdrawal.

This was amplified in the wake of the 2011 Arab uprisings, with regional powers jockeying to expand their influence and undermine rivals amid its revolutions and counterrevolutions. This surge in sectarian competition across the Middle East had particularly fateful consequences for Iraq. Seeing the success of Al-Qaeda affiliate Jahbat al-Nusra in Syria, the ISI moved to expand its sphere of influence. It established an emirate in Raqqa, Syria, in defiance of Al-Qaeda leadership, and changed its name to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to reflect its new regional ambitions. Then it made a triumphant return to Iraq after pillaging unprecedented levels of wealth and resources from Syria.

As Maliki and his Shia alliance struggled to form a new government, the ISIL began to capitalize on Sunni disenfranchisement to secure a wider territory, declaring a caliphate under the leadership of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. It has since rebranded itself as simply the Islamic State (IS), occupying a territory that transcends the borders of Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the challenge posed by the IS cannot be resolved by military means. While extremist groups have a tendency to alienate the communities that initially welcome them, the government will have to leverage this disaffection by offering an alternative vision that the populations can endorse rather than merely tolerate (even as it squeezes the IS financially and tactically). Anything short of this would simply be a prelude to the next revolt. Similarly, the new government will have to convince the Kurds that they would fare better in a unified Iraq than in an independent state. And it will have to accomplish both these tasks while maintaining the strong Shia allegiance and participation that renders the state solvent.

It is too soon to say whether the new government is up to that challenge.

Al Jazeera



12 responses to “The myth and reality of sectarianism in Iraq”

  1. $89733098 Avatar

    “This threat is often framed in terms of sectarian tensions among Iraq’s Shias, Sunnis and Kurds.”

    I love how they keep referring to the Kurds as a sect.

    1. 5thDrawer Avatar

      Got a point there, barabie.

      1. $89733098 Avatar

        Their way of making shites the majority, coz if they include the sunni kurds as just sunnis then the majority in iraq would be sunni.
        Secondly, the west complains about the rise of sectarianism but who put in place this sectarian politic system which is very similar to lebanon’s?

        1. Actually, there are more Shii than Sunni and Kurds combined, amounting to about 60% of Iraq’s population. So it really doesn’t matter if one considers Kurds as Sunnis or not.

          It would probably be more accurate to say “Kurdish Sunnis” v. “Arab Sunnis,” the distinction is important because they are radically disparate socio-political groups, in the case of the Kurds, by their own choosing. So they would be unlikely to form a political bloc with the Arab Sunnis, but even if they did, they would not be the majority:

          1. $89733098 Avatar

            And I would believe the CIA coz?
            “Surveys by ABC News found between 47% and 51% of the country identifying as Shia between 2007 and 2009”


  2. $89733098 Avatar

    Don’t let that old broom read this. The yanks couldn’t b responsible for all this sectarianism. Bremmer was a good man as is every yank.

  3. The chaos and wars in Iraq planed by Jews in America.Jews bribed America politicians and they let white Americans die for Jews,on behalf of Jews survival in the midst of Arabs.Like at the past Jews still lead America.Jews killed Abraham Lincoln and keneddy.Both tried to get rid from Jew,s hand

  4. MekensehParty Avatar

    “Saddam Hussein’s regime did not allow overt sectarianism to flourish” Hahahaha
    another shifter of blame…

    1. 5thDrawer Avatar

      It was there … just not allowed to be ‘overt’. Like Russians on the Chechens, etc.
      Lift the thumb, and here they come. 😉

  5. Shiism related to Zionism, was created by a Zionist?

    The Dajjal, the Shia “Mahdi” & the masonic nature of the Safawi-Rafidi Republic.

    Shia Mahdi = Zionist Mashiach = Dajjal = Anti-Christ
    Shiism = Zionism
    Shiism Founder = Jew named “Abdullah Ibn Saba”
    Shia Ayatullahs = Crypto Jews
    Shia Teachings = Zionist Talmudic
    Iran = Masonic/Dajjal State
    Shia Mahdi/Dajjal/Zionists Mashiach will come from Isfahan, Iran
    Shia Mahdi = NWO King

    Check the Saba’ite-Jewish-masonic reality of this “Imam Al-Zaman” Rafidi-Safawi state.

    The PARLIAMENT of the non-Islamic, pagan-Rafidi regime:

    The amount of windows (big and small) is 33 on the Iranian Parliament… a holy number for freemasons.. and the whole building looks like a pyramid…another holy site for freemasons. Why does a “religious”, Shi’ite leadership use such an obvious masonic design for their “Imam Al-Zaman” state?

    Masonic obelisks all over the Rafidi-Shi’ite “Imam Al-Zaman” (in fact Dajjaal) state.
    Rafidi-state company symbols (insurances, Banks etc.)
    Masonic symbols everywhere in the Satanic Republic of Iran.
    “All seeing eye”, everywhere!
    And of course masonic pyramids wherever go, even on top of “Mosques”!
    Bank (most STATE owned Banks are PURELY based on Riba).

    There is a saying that “The enemies of Islam never change, but they come wearing different cloaks.”

    Israel carry the banner of Zionism, claiming to be Jews, and they massacre Ahlus Sunnah. Iran carry the banner of Shi’ism, claiming to be Muslims, and they too massacre Ahlus Sunnah.
    Each carry the banner of two different ideologies, both claiming to represent two different religions, but in their actions we see that they are in fact the same.

    Shiaism is mixture of Judaism, Christianity & Zoroastrianism.

    Shia Ayatollahs are Zionist creation. They are picked by them to lead Shia Maraji’s.
    Self appointed Grand rabbi Kamal al-Haydari and son of Grand rabbi Ayatullah Abul Qasim al-Khoei leaked top secrets about shiaism and marji`iyya system which has been kept hidden from common shias for ages. They both admitted that top ranking shia religious authorities (maraji’) are chosen by zionist americans and british.
    Kamal al-Haydari even admits that jews, majos and christians were the ones who founded the religion of shiaism.

    70,000 Persian Jews from Isfahan will follow the Dajjal.
    Indeed, the founder of Shi’ism was the Jewish Abdullah ibn Saba and the so-called “savior” of the Shia will be the Jewish Dajjal. Of course, we don’t know this for certain and it is only a theory, but the evidence suggests that it is a highly likely scenario.

    Jewish Law
    The “Qaem” or Imam Mahdi of the Shia will rule according to the Laws of David and the family of David, according to the Shia Hadith in Al-Kafi, the most reliable of the four books of Shia Hadith. All of the following Shia Hadith come from the same section in Al-Kafi reported by Al-Kulyani, located in Al-Kafi (Volume No.1, p.387-398):

    1. Shia’s Imam Mahdi will rule according to the laws of the family line of prophet David, using the Talmud.
    2. Shia’s Imam Mahdi will use Hebrew language in his prayers.
    3. Jews will be among the followers of Shia’s Imam Mahdi (Mehdi).
    4. Shia’s Imam Mahdi learns from the Talmud which is contained in the “Jafr.”
    Some of the Jews are expecting two Messiahs for them in the End Times. They refer to first Messiah as Son of Joseph and the second Messiah as Son of David.

    Christians are expecting 2 Witnesses in the End Times. They tend to expect one of the witnesses will be Elijah.

    The first Dajjal Messiah, in the End Times, will probably falsely claim to be Son of Joseph of the Jews and Elijah of the Christians. He may claim to also be paving the way for Shia’s Mahdi, if no Shia person emerges. However, it is more likely that a Shia person (such as President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejjad) will emerge and claim to be paving the way for the Mahdi. The Shia have many narrations about individuals whom they expect to appear and pave the way for Shia’s Mahdi. Most likely, there will NOT be anyone in the beginning of the End Times who will claim to be Shia’s Imam Mahdi, but only claim to be paving the way for Shia’s Imam Mahdi.

    The last Dajjal may also claim to be Shia’s Imam Mahdi.

    The Sunnis’ Mahdi, who is the real Mahdi for all Muslims, will only identify himself as a Muslim, not a Sunni and not a Shia. Many of the Shia will hopefully accept the Sunnis’ Mahdi. However, it is possible that some of the wicked individuals among Shia may practice Taqiya and accept Sunnis’ Mahdi only outwardly temporarily, while rejecting him in their hearts. When the last Dajjal (Anti-Christ) appears, the wicked Shia may follow of the Dajjal.

    This evidence leads us to believe that the evil founders of Shiism, mostly Jews who pretended to convert to Islam outwardly while remaining Jews in their hearts, have purposefully portrayed, in their books, Imam Mahdi as someone similar in many ways to the last False Mashiach (Messiah) of the Children of Israel, son of David, in order to:

    (a) motivate the Shia to reject the real Mahdi when he appears because he is a Sunni Muslim and does not fit into their expectations, and

    (b) deceive the Shia into following the False Messiah of the Children of Israel, thinking that he is the Mahdi.

    According to Shia’s books, the Shia’s Imam Mahdi will be someone who rules based on the Laws of David. He will rely on scriptures, other than the Quran. So, Shia’s Mahdi fits the characteristics of the Dajjal/False Masiach.

    Shiaism is a deviated cult founded by the jew Abdullah ibn Sabah and oriented by talmudic teachings and zoroastrianism(or magianism) principles.

    These are the unique similarities:
    The Shii qoutes are in bold whereas the similar Jewish qoutes are in italics.
    Mohammed bin Al-hassan Toosi reports on the authority of Ishhaq bin Ammar, that Abu Abdullah said “The wealth, the property and everything which belongs to a Sunni is actually yours (is legal for you)” (Tahzib-ul Ahkam, Vol. 2 Kitabul Makasib, p. 116, published in Iran) above in this Shi’ites book it states that all Shi’ites can steal from any Sunni Muslim and that there is nothing wrong with that.
    Let us now look at what Jews have to say with regards to non-jewish(gentile) properties
    O.K. to Cheat Non-Jews, Sanhedrin 57a . A Jew need not pay a Gentile (“Cuthean”) the wages owed him for work
    Jews May Steal from Non-Jews, Baba Mezia 24a . If a Jew finds an object lost by a Gentile (“heathen”) it does not have to be returned. (Affirmed also in Baba Kamma 113b).
    Sanhedrin 76a . God will not spare a Jew who “marries his daughter to an old man or takes a wife for his infant son or returns a lost son.

    They try to completely reject the existence of a personality called ‘Abdullah Ibn Saba’ the Yemenite Jew, the founder of Shiism.

    Shia Ayatullat: We are Zionist, Masonic Bastards and our followers are Kuffar!
    Rafidi ayatullat Ja’far Ibrahimi admits that he and his ayatullat crew are Zionist, Masonic Bastards who preach to their shias the importance of facing graves and pray two Rakats upon visitation (Ziyara). He also admits that facing graves and praying is Kufr thereby makes takfir of all shias who do this act near the graves of their infallibles.

    The ornate tomb of Daniel in Susa, 450 miles (750 kilometers) southwest of the capital Tehran, is cited by Iranians as an example of the historic bonds of Jews and Muslims in the country. The site is popular among both Muslims [in fact Rafidite Shi’ite heretics] and Jews, and some of the pious credit their prayers at the site for healing sick relatives or bringing rain for crops. Hundreds visit ever day, including high school students on field trips from around the country. The grave is in an underground crypt that is usually open only to Jews…while both they and Muslims can visit an above-ground shrine over it, dazzling with mirrored tiles. In a sign of respect to the Jewish community, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered an inscription put on the grave reading, “This is the shining tomb of the sagacious prophet Daniel, who directed believers while tolerating difficulties for the sake of God.”

    The Rafidi (twelver Shia) sect has it’s own interpretation of this PAGAN, WATHANI (polytheistic) symbol. They take it as a symbol for the chopped hands of Abal-Fadhl Al-Abbas (rahimahullah) the half-brother of Al-Hussein whose hands had been cut off at the battle of Karbala. This pagan-Jewish symbol can be found in SHI’ITE religious centres, festivals etc. all over the world:

    “Ayatollah” Al-Khoie centre in New York/Brooklyn proudly declaring their Saba’ite origin:

    And since Shi’ism is of Jewish origin, there is no wonder that this Jewish symbol is an ESSENTIAL RELIGIOUS symbol of Shi’ism, to such an extent that the following unbelievable news, is sadly true:

    ^ Hand of “Abal-Fadhl”, commonly hold up in pagan-rafidite self-flagellation ceremonies (in Ashura). The same thing can be found among Jews in the “Hamsa/Khamsa” with the All Seeing Eye in the middle.

    Its nothing but superstition and according to Islam a form of heresy, for the believe in amulettes was condemned by the noble Apostle of Allah peace be upon him. This symbol can also be seen among many north-africans (Tunisia, Marocco etc.), yet unlike the Rafidah Imamite Shia sect it is not considered part of their religious belief, in fact the Muslim scholars warn against it, and the simply reason why this can be found in some Sunni nations, is because the Rafidite-SHIA Fatimids used to control north Africa for a period of time. As for the Imamite Rafidah and their scholars, then of course this Jewish symbol is an ESSENTIAL part of their cult and ceremonies.

    One wonder, why they both are hidden allies and open enemies?

    1. wargame1 Avatar

      Thank you for Some great information.

  6. The ISIS-Zionist-Iran-Syria Axis, ISIS A Zionist, Iranian, and Syrian ruling elites creation?

    Immediately after ISIS emerged in Syria, sources in the Syrian opposition said, “We are familiar with the commanders of ISIS. Once they belonged to Assad’s intelligence, and now they are operating on his behalf under the name of ISIS.”
    Why would Shiite Iran support a Sunni jihadist organization like ISIS? Iran wants to be certain that a strong Iraqi state does not emerge again along its western border.
    The notion that Shiite Iran would help Sunni jihadists was not farfetched, even if it seemed to defy the conventional wisdom in Western capitals.
    It is unreasonable to expect Iran to fight ISIS. If Iran does so, it would be turning against a movement that has been a useful surrogate for Tehran’s interests.

    The ISIS connection with the Syrian leadership, and hence with Iran, raises serious questions. It was President Assad who released ISIS operatives from his prisons and for the most part left it alone, sparing it from attacks by the Syrian army.

    After the revolt against President Bashar Assad erupted in Syria, the organization emerged in Syria under the new name of ISIS. There it quickly clashed with its former al-Qaeda branch, already active in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra or the al-Nusra Front headed by Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani. The head of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, subsequently decided to eject ISIS from the al-Qaeda network, even though ideologically they remained virtually identical groups.

    What would Iran’s motivation be to support a Sunni jihadist organization like ISIS? In Syria, ISIS has forced the West to choose between the regime of Bashar al-Assad or an al-Qaeda like organization. Given that choice, it was assumed that the West would back Assad, as did the Russians and the Chinese.

    The situation in Iraq is more complex but nonetheless understandable. Given the scars left by the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), the Iranian leadership wants to be certain that a strong Iraqi state does not emerge again along its western border. To avert that possibility, the Iranians prefer Iraq to become a subservient client state or alternatively, that it be divided along sectarian lines into Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite states. Presumably, Iran would control or annex the Shiite sector containing the Shiite holy cities of Najaf and Karbala. In either case, ISIS would serve Iran as a useful tool for advancing its goal of achieving regional hegemony.

    The idea that the West could make common cause with Iran against ISIS, against the background of the Iraqi crisis, is based on the assumption that Tehran is implacably hostile to al-Qaeda and its affiliates, and to ISIS in particular. There is ample evidence, however, that this assumption is wrong. Going back to the 9/11 Commission Report, it has already been established that Iran even “facilitated the transit of al-Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, including future hijackers. Iran, according to the report, wished to conceal any past evidence of its cooperation with Sunni terrorists’ association with al-Qaeda,” but these connections continued.

    Expecting Iran to fight ISIS entails turning it against a movement that has served it, at times as a useful surrogate. Any such alliance between the West and Iran could easily break down, given Middle Eastern realities on the ground, giving the Western powers a share of responsibility for whatever courses of action Iran ultimately decides to pursue.

    It is actually deeply ironic that the biggest winner in the creation of a “fanatic” Islamic state in the Middle-East by Khawarij’s is no less than the enemy of virtually every state in the region: namely Israel! When you put all the pieces together, it’s very clear that the rise of ISIS must have been choreographed in Israel. It is so obvious.

    But what is now abundantly clear – with the invasion of Gaza – is that the strings of support for ISIS were actually held in Israel. Gaza confirms what the underlying strategy has been, all along.

    We all know that a truce in Gaza is NOT the end-game. This invasion will continue into Lebanon – with Hamas being defeated – and a pro-Israeli (secular) government put in place there. And, we have reports today that ISIS is planning a major offensive on Aleppo in Syria (with a vision of eventually capturing all of Syria between Lebanon and Turkey)! The whole map of the region will be redrawn.

    In politics you always have to ignore rhetoric and see what is done! In the immortal words of Deep Throat – follow the money.

    It’s all about Pipelines. Israel is planning to connect into Turkey’s Nabuco pipeline (across Lebanon and Northern Syria (in ISIS territory). And Saudi Arabia and Qatar will be doing the same (across ISIS territory) to Turkey! Russia’s stranglehold on European gas sales will be choked off – and new ‘friendly’ suppliers will be established from the Middle East! That is the plan. Trillions of dollars are at stake.

    Iran is developing a controlling regional dominance – from Iraq through Syria to Lebanon. Stopping Israeli, Saudi Arabian and Qatari pipelines. And also, constraining Turkey’s income from what is now an underused (40% utilized) Nabuco Pipeline.

    But if the grand plan involves invading Lebanon – and smearing Hezbollah. Then Iran too would be pushed into a phony war with Israel. Israel then would be forced to take on Hezbollah, Syria and Iran in one shot – and at the same time fight a war on its other border with their ally Hamas in Gaza.

    The creation of ISIS – beyond grabbing key strategic territory for pipelines – completely retards Iran’s ability to put men and armaments on the ground and take on Israel. It simply neutralizes Iran. Iran didn’t and won’t do a damn thing about Gaza! And Hezbollah doesn’t dare get involved too – fearing a war on two fronts. No-one can do a damn thing about Gaza – while ISIS is around controlling key strategic territory.

    Gaza is the test case of ‘involvement’. Israel’s calculations have been brilliant – and all its allies have done their part. Mark the words, Gaza is the beginning – not the end. And the creation of ISIS plays beautifully into their regional strategy.

    In the final analysis, Iran’s recent “Shiite” façade and alliance with other “Shiites” in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq is simply a façade. And Israel’s plan will surely win. The prediction is that Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, and ISIS’s control of Northern Syria will come to pass. Inaction and impotence versus Israel on the invasion of Gaza proves it.

    How easy it would be if ISIS could be pushed to Iran! But Israel seems to be controlling the whole region beautifully. And right now, no one can do a damn thing about it.

    And for now, we also have definite proof that the Israelis have truly cemented their alliance with Iran. And if you already did not know, the intelligence agencies have turned out to be an extension of Israel’s military operation, by arming ISIS. So when Iranians think that ISIS is an “American” creation, lets edit that statement a little – they are an “Israeli” and “Iranian” creation – and as Netenyahu so elegantly put it, he has America wrapped arround his finger!

    The best and only solution for the protection of the Jewish state is to create an enemy near its borders and who else can do a better job than Assad, Hezbollah, ISIS, and their master Iran!

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