The inevitable struggle?

The article in last week’s Time magazine¬†was quite certain of it. Iraq’s ISIS conflict was an ongoing thing between Sunni and Shi’i factions in the Islamic world. An inevitable struggle that the US and the West should never have meddled with.
But is it?The evidence for that conclusion appears to be sound. Under Sunni leader Saddam, the Shi’i were oppressed and sometimes attacked. For instance, in 1991 and 1992 after they rebelled against Saddam in the wake of the First Gulf War. Sunni led Iraq was at War with Iran for 8 years. Iran is the most important Shi’i nation in the Middle East. And they have been enemies of Saudi Arabia, the leading Sunni nation, for many years. Time magazine also produced some interesting historic parables.
But if Sunni and Shi’i are sworn enemies, why did Shi’i lead Syria support Sunni organization Al Qaida in the previous decade? And why did they condone the ISIS movement for so long, fighting rebels in Aleppo and Homs while they could have bombed ISIS barracks in Raqqa? Though the desire for clarity is understandable, the waters in the Middle East seem to be murkier than Time, and probably leaders in the West, would like.

Sources:
The End of Iraq, Time June 30 2014
In strijd tegen ISIS stuiten VS op vreemde bondgenoten, de Volkskrant, June 27 2014

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