Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Can You Tell a Sunni From a Shiite?

Jeff Stein wrote in NYT For the past several months, I’ve been wrapping up lengthy interviews with Washington counterterrorism officials with a fundamental question: “Do you know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?”

The split occured immediately following the death of Mohammed, and related to who should be his successor. Shias feel that Imam Ali, cousin of the Prophet, husband of his daughter Fatima, father of Hassan and Hussein and the second person ever to embrace Islam. should have been the first caliph and that the caliphate should pass down only to direct descendants of Mohammed via Ali and Fatima. Sunnis gave their allegiance to Abu Bakr, who lead prayers in prophet's mosque in the last few days of prophet's life, as the first caliph because they felt his old age would be a wiser choice to the young Ali.
A “gotcha” question? Perhaps. But if knowing your enemy is the most basic rule of war, I don’t think it’s out of bounds. And as I quickly explain to my subjects, I’m not looking for theological explanations, just the basics: Who’s on what side today, and what does each want?
They all want power. Iranian Shias want Tehran to be the center of the world caliphate; Iraqi Shias want Bagdad to be the center, The Muslim Brotherhood (Sunni) want it to be Egypt, the Wahabbis (Sunni) want it to be Mecca. Everyone wants power.
After all, wouldn’t British counterterrorism officials responsible for Northern Ireland know the difference between Catholics and Protestants?
They would, but the conflict is really about independence. Most of Ireland is Catholic, and the Protestants in Northern Ireland fear being a minority in a Catholic Ireland, and so want to remain a part of Britain, which is Protestant.
In a remotely similar but far more lethal vein, the 1,400-year Sunni-Shiite rivalry is playing out in the streets of Baghdad, raising the specter of a breakup of Iraq into antagonistic states, one backed by Shiite Iran and the other by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states.

21 comments:

Kevin N. Haw said...

FYI, an excellent primer on the Shia/Sunni differences can be found at http://www.slate.com/id/2105120/

Muddy Mo said...

Hooray! You know the difference between Shiites and Sunnis.

Do you know the difference between a government run by ignorant hillbillies and one that is not?

Don Singleton said...

Do you know the difference between a government run by ignorant hillbillies and one that is not?

Yes, the former was the Clinton Administration, the latter is the Bush administration

Anonymous said...

Come on guys if you're into invasion and occupation do it right. Have a pre and post plan. Be able to keep the lights on.

Anonymous said...

and oh yeah I would take the Clinton hillbilly over the ex-drunken fratboy Bush any day.

Freudian Slip said...

Shiites, Sunnis, Democrats, Republicans it all comes down to the mighty $$$
Matt

say said...

They all want power. Iranian Shias want Tehran to be the center of the world caliphate; Iraqi Shias want Bagdad to be the center, The Muslim Brotherhood (Sunni) want it to be Egypt, the Wahabbis (Sunni) want it to be Mecca. Everyone wants power.

First there are differences between Iranian and Iraqi, Iraqis fought Iranians for 8 years were Iraqi military and troops were Shiites this should be not forgotten from your mind.

Iranians still holding their Persian attitude toward the Arabs, same as the Turks this gives you the answer why the tensions between the two of them.

In regards to “The Muslim Brotherhood” just for the records, Muslim Brotherhood party crated by CIA/Mossad in Iran in 1930-40, then spreads in the Arab land as a tool for CIA against the Arab nationalist movement during that time and after.
Many Arab states banned this party because its links with CIA/Mossad.

In the end why you bother if the Arab trying to govern themselves with any politic system or structure, I think its not your business to interfere their desire what they like to do, its their right to do so and what you said just looks odd and pathetic thoughts

Don Singleton said...

First there are differences between Iranian and Iraqi, Iraqis fought Iranians for 8 years were Iraqi military and troops were Shiites this should be not forgotten from your mind. Iranians still holding their Persian attitude toward the Arabs, same as the Turks this gives you the answer why the tensions between the two of them.

That is why I said Iranian Shias want the caliphate to be in Tehran, and Iraqi Shias want it to be in Baghdad.

In the end why you bother if the Arab trying to govern themselves with any politic system or structure, I think its not your business to interfere their desire what they like to do, its their right to do so and what you said just looks odd and pathetic thoughts

My only objection is when each wants a worldwide caliphate centered in his country. I prefer living in a Democratic country, and prefer to remain a Christian, and not have to be a Dhimmi to do it.

say said...

That is why I said Iranian Shias want the caliphate to be in Tehran, and Iraqi Shias want it to be in Baghdad.

Who tells you Iraqis went “caliphate” in Baghdad? Where is your prove?

If you talking now days what’s coming from Iraq, simple answer there is no Iraq now thank To US,
What you see its Iranian promoting and domination by few like ugly Al-Hakem and Asistani who thinks they speak on behalf of the Iraqis which not true.

My only objection is when each Dhimmi wants a worldwide caliphate centered in his country. I prefer living in a Democratic country, and prefer to remain a Christian, and not have to be a Dhimmi to do it.

Again where is your prove for this claims?
Are you distributing the fear and Islamphopia here or some thing driving you to say this?

History tells us from 1097 till now Muslim’s world suffers from crusades wars and colonial imperialism war and invasions and distractions till now for imposing “Democratic” ideology which we never seeing it from that time till now in any peace of the Muslim world.

Did you see your single sided views and unjustified claims here?

What you call US invasion of Iraq, or Afghanistan, or those supported and protected poppets’ regimes in the Gulf and others in Arab land, they have no support whatsoever from their people they living in “Green Zones” rule people in Arab Land under US administration orders? Isn’t imposing imperialism on those Arabs and Muslim? Why it’s OK for you to do such things and NO for other even it’s their right to govern themselves that striped from them by Western world? Is this your “Democracy” you believing in?

Islam never ever been forcing any Jew, or Christian to be converted to Islam its up to them to do so, for the records in 1948 there are tens of thousands Jews left Iraq, Egypt, and other Muslim land toward Israel during the creation and after they never been converted or massacred because they are non Muslims neither they lived under “Dhimmi” regime as you saying.

In regard in “Dhimmi” which is many of westerns writing and answering in a poisonous way that Islam imposed on non-Muslims in fact with these conditions

1- Dhimmi fees paid by only non-Muslims men who are in age capable of defending the nations, that’s mean Women, Kids and Older not in title to pay any thinks.
2- The money collected from those with above condition for their self protection and saved by Muslims they do not need to go with them to the wars.

Is it the looting of Arab oil from early 1900 through In 1945, Franklin D. Roosevelt agreement with Al-Saud, is it exactly same like “Dhimmi” paid to you but by Muslims with your protecting and supporting of those regimes?

Don Singleton said...

Again where is your prove for this claims?

Name one country where the people want a world wide caliphate, and don't want it's capital to be in their country.

History tells us from 1097 till now Muslim’s world suffers from crusades wars and colonial imperialism war and invasions

The crusades lasted a very short period of time. Some of the European countried did have colonies, but with the exception of the US War of Independence, most granted their colonies independence without wars.

The US invasion of Afganistan was to remove the people that attacked us, and the regime that supported them. We did not colonize Afganistan, but turned it over to the rule of the people that live there, as we did in Iraq.


Islam never ever been forcing any Jew, or Christian to be converted to Islam

False

Anonymous said...

The crusades lasted a very short period of time

False
Its very short time, 176 years

The Crusades lasted from 1095 until 1271
http://www.kyrene.k12.az.us/schools/brisas/sunda/ma/1kyle.htm
And then from 1900 till now
With the plantation of Israel.

The US invasion of Afganistan was to remove the people that attacked us, and the regime that supported them. We did not colonize Afganistan, but turned it over to the rule of the people that live there, as we did in Iraq


Oh yah OBL and Al-Saud regime yes well he is on the run and Al-Saud there in the desert enjoying high oil prices sharing and serving you....

Same as Iraq handed to Iranian not to Iraqi what a False vomitive statements here.

This the democracy that headed by WH lire occupants and liars believers

Don Singleton said...

The Crusades lasted from 1095 until 1271

First Crusade 1095–1099
Second Crusade 1145–1149
Third Crusade 1189–1192
Fourth Crusade 1201–1204
Fifth Crusade 1217–1221
Sixth Crusade 1228–1229
Seventh Crusade 1248–1254
Eighth Crusade 1270
Ninth Crusade 1271–1272

None were longer than 6 years, and some just a year or two


And then from 1900 till now
With the plantation of Israel.


The Balfour Declaration, saying they deserved their own country, was in 1917 and 1926, but the Partition Plan by the UN General Assembly was on November 29, 1947, and the The State of Israel was proclaimed on May 14, 1948

Anonymous said...

The Balfour Declaration, saying they deserved their own country

He already made his declaration and promises to Sharif Hussein bin Ali to rule his king dome include All Arab desert and Palestine Jordan Syria, that the condition he joint Britt’s for the war against the Othman and fighting them.

Reference #3
Sir Henry McMahon:
Letter to Ali ibn Husain,
October 24, 1915

“As for those regions lying within those frontiers wherein Great Britain is free to act without detriment to the interests of her ally, France, I am empowered in the name of the Government of Great Britain to give the following assurances and make the following reply to your letter:
(1) Subject to the above modifications, Great Britain is prepared to recognise and support the independence of the Arabs in all the regions within the limits demanded by the Sherif of Mecca.
(2) Great Britain will guarantee the Holy Places against all external aggression and will recognise their inviolability.
(3) When the situation admits, Great Britain will give to the Arabs her advice and will assist them to establish what may appear to be the most suitable forms of government in those various territories.
(4) On the other hand, it is understood that the Arabs have decided to seek the advice and guidance of Great Britain only, and that such European advisers and officials as may be required for the formation of a sound form of administration will be British. “
As a bribe to Sherif Hussein his son Faisal the Hashemite set to Iraq as Iraq's first king.


" although many Jews who came brought with them a Western arrogance that made it possible for them to see Palestine as "a land without a people for a people without a land," and hence to virtually ignore the Palestinian people and its own cultural and historical rights, the vast majority of those who came were seeking refuge from the murderous ravages of Western anti-Semitism or from the oppressive discrimination that they experienced in Arab countries. The Ashkenazi Jews who shaped Israel in its early years were jumping from the burning buildings of Europe--and when they landed on the backs of Palestinians, unintentionally causing a great deal of pain to the people who already lived there, they were so transfixed with their own (much greater and more acute) pain that they couldn't be bothered to notice that they were displacing and hurting others in the process of creating their own state."
By Rabbi Michael Lerner

BTW, The Two Jews Kingdom in Promiss Land short lived kingdom there

Don Singleton said...

Then you are very lucky that Israel did not get all of the land promised in the Balfour Declaration.

Although they probably deserved it

Agathocles said...

Uhmm, Don... He wasn´t citing the Balfour declaration, he was citing the document in which the british promised the arabs full independence, provided they fought and defeated the Ottoman (turkish) empire in the 1st world war! Which they did.

After all, wouldn’t US counterterrorism officials responsible for Iraq know the difference between Shia and Sunni?

They would, but the conflict is really about independence. Most of Iraq is Shiite, and the Sunnis in central Iraq fear being a minority in a Shiite Iraq, and so wanted to keep the Saddam Hussein regime, since he was sunni and guaranteed their priviledges.

The notion that the leaders of Iran or Iraq believes it to be possible to create a worldwide caliphat is just preposterous. The only islamic movements who really believes this are smaller groups like the hizb ut-Tahir in central Asia. A realist like Saddam would never even dream of it (and besides, he was the leader of the secular Baath-party, so even if he would have believed it he wouldn´t have wanted it). To try to imply, like you do, that the Iran-Iraq war was a war to decide where the future capital of a worldwide caliphate should be located is laughable. How can there be a worldwide caliphat when the leaders of the muslim world can hardly agree on anything? How would you get all of the leaders of the muslim world to give up their power to some caliph? There sure ain´t no country in the world with the military might to impose caliphat-rule by force, not even the US, and certainly none of the muslim nations. So do you think that the leaders of the muslim world can´t figure this out? No-one believes in a world-wide caliphat except small groups of islamic extremist dreamers and US conservatives.

Do you know which islamic country is most deeply involved in trying to missionize their version of islam in other countries? It´s Saudi Arabia, the US´ closest arab ally. And their version of islam is one of the most extreme there is, wahabbism. Women aren´t allowed to drive or even leave home without the company of a male relative, for example. The Taliban founded their state on a version of wahabbism. By the way, the Taliban would never have been able to take Kabul if it wasn´t for the support from US´ allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, even the Council on foreign relations admit that (See Barnett Rubin: "US policy in Afghanistan", Muslim politics report, Council on foreign relations, New York, January 1997). Iran supported the Northern alliance all through the 1990s. I guess they´ll be good and ready to form a caliphate together any day now...

I recommend you read, for example, Ahmed Rashids excellent books about the Taliban and central Asia, and get some straight facts about the realities of the world instead of spreading ridiculous assertions...

Don Singleton said...

He wasn´t citing the Balfour declaration, he was citing the document in which the british promised the arabs full independence, provided they fought and defeated the Ottoman (turkish) empire in the 1st world war! Which they did.

And Britain did provide them their full independence. They have no colonies in arab lands (or anywhere else). They may not have drawn very good borders for the independent countries (for example Iraq with Kurds, Sunnis, and Shia), but they gave them their independence.

The notion that the leaders of Iran or Iraq believes it to be possible to create a worldwide caliphate is just preposterous.

True, but who said they were realistic?

Saddam would never even dream of it (and besides, he was the leader of the secular Baath-party, so even if he would have believed it he wouldn´t have wanted it).

He certainly wanted to expand his power in the area, just not for religious reasons.

Do you know which islamic country is most deeply involved in trying to missionize their version of islam in other countries? It´s Saudi Arabia, the US´ closest arab ally. And their version of islam is one of the most extreme there is, wahabbism.

I agree completely. And Iran is not far behind, and with a different version.

Agathocles said...

When, in an earlier comment, someone asked you for your proof that "Iranian Shias want Tehran to be the center of the world caliphate; Iraqi Shias want Bagdad to be the center, The Muslim Brotherhood (Sunni) want it to be Egypt, the Wahabbis (Sunni) want it to be Mecca" (since ALL "iranian shias" and "iraqi shias" share the same view of and vision for the world in your little universe) you responded: "Name one country where the people want a world wide caliphate, and don't want it's capital to be in their country."

Thus you avoided the key point of the question; How do you know that the shiites of Iran or Iraq, or any substantial portion of those groups, wish for a world-wide caliphate?

To think that some muslim farmer toiling away on the countryside of Iran/ Iraq/ Egypt/ Morocco/ Indonesia (take your pick) wanders about dreaming of the day when the great caliphate will be realized, is just corny. The grand marxist-leninist visions of a world-wide communist paradise was something borgeouise intellectual marxists indulged in, while most factory workers just wanted decent working conditions and wages that could support a family - these dreams about a world wide caliphate works in the same way, some muslim scribes certainly believes in it, and some movements use these 'visionary thoughts' to inspire and attract naive young people to their ranks. But in Indonesia alone there are 200 MILLION muslims, most of them dirt poor, and I can guarantee that their hopes and dreams are to get a decent living standard, not to be part of a world-wide caliphate (after the caricatures of Mohammed was published in danish daily "Jyllandsposten", it was reported that 3 or 400 muslims protested outside the danish embassy, but they didn´t mention that the city has over 8 000 000 inhabitants. if 400 people demonstrates in the city where I live, with a population of about 600 000, not many hardly even notice).

"And Britain did provide them their full independence."

Excerpt from Wikipedias article about Iraq´s history;

"Britain imposed a Hāshimite monarchy on Iraq and defined the territorial limits of Iraq without taking into account the politics of the different ethnic and religious groups in the country, in particular those of the Kurds to the north. During the British occupation the Shiates and Kurds fought for independence. Britain used phosphorus bombs against Kurdish villagers in the revolt. Legal experts consider phosphorus bombs chemical weapons when used as an anti-personnel weapon."

"The British resorted to military force when their interests were threatened, as in the 1941 Rashīd `Alī al-Gaylānī coup. This coup led to a British invasion of Iraq using forces from the British Indian Army and the Arab Legion from Jordan."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Iraq#Modern_History

"True, but who said they were realistic?"

Oh, come on! Even if you think Ahmadinejad is dangerous and an anti-semite, it doesn´t mean that he believes in fairy-tales and is out of touch with reality! He IS, obviously, a a staunch realist. A realist with objectionable views, but still a realist!

"He certainly wanted to expand his power in the area, just not for religious reasons."

Yes, and here´s the rub: IN THE AREA. Saddam, as well as any other leader of any other muslim nation, knew damn well it´s not possible to create a "reich" that reaches from Morocco to Papua!

Don Singleton said...

How do you know that the shiites of Iran or Iraq, or any substantial portion of those groups, wish for a world-wide caliphate?

They have said so.

To think that some muslim farmer toiling away on the countryside of Iran/ Iraq/ Egypt/ Morocco/ Indonesia (take your pick) wanders about dreaming of the day when the great caliphate will be realized, is just corny

But dictators, kings, and other leaders dream of different things than farmers.

Britain imposed a Hāshimite monarchy on Iraq and defined the territorial limits of Iraq without taking into account the politics of the different ethnic and religious groups in the country

I believe I indicated that while they granted them independence, they did nit do a very good job creating countries from the land.

Even if you think Ahmadinejad is dangerous and an anti-semite, it doesn´t mean that he believes in fairy-tales and is out of touch with reality!

He believe he is going to trigger the return of the 12th Imam, is that realistic?

Agathocles said...

"They have said so."

So...I guess you heard it from 1 billion muslims, or was it just from 500 million of them...OR was it from a few leaders of a few fractions? Who exactly are "they"?

"But dictators, kings, and other leaders dream of different things than farmers."

Yes, but as we discussed, I think it would be hard to reach the rank of dictator if you were THAT out of touch with reality. Look at Khaddaffi, he wanted to create unity among the underpriviledged nations of the world, but he turned to Africa instead of the arab world and it´s petty squibbling. Unite the nations from Morocco to Indonesia? Some might DREAM of it, but I tell you, not one single world-leader, muslim or non-muslim, believes it possible!

"I believe I indicated that while they granted them independence, they did nit do a very good job creating countries from the land."

Oh... oh! Now I get it. You think a country is independent when they receive a piece of paper that says "you´re independent", even though the former colonial regime impose on them a non-democratic puppet government that does excactly what the former colonial power asks of them, and resort to military force when their interests were threatened in the country. Ok, now I understand it if you see the Iraq war as a crusade for freedom and liberty...

"He believe he is going to trigger the return of the 12th Imam, is that realistic?"

About as realistic as the thought that George W. is on a mission from God to bring freedom and liberty to the world... That doesn´t mean that either Ahmadinejad or Bush is as unrealistic concerning the realities of world politics as to believe it to be possible to unite Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Saudia Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Parts of China, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia under a single ruler! They can´t even 'speak with one voice' on the Palestine issue, mind you, maybe the most unifying issue of the muslim world, how would it be possible to centralize the governing of these vast regions in ALL matters?

Don Singleton said...

was it from a few leaders of a few fractions?

a few leaders of a few fractions

Look at Khaddaffi, he wanted to create unity among the underpriviledged nations of the world, but he turned to Africa instead of the arab world

He does not like the fact that Arabs want to rule over other Muslims

You think a country is independent when they receive a piece of paper that says "you´re independent", even though the former colonial regime impose on them a non-democratic puppet government

As Bush has discovered Muslims don;t seem ready for Democracy

About as realistic as the thought that George W. is on a mission from God to bring freedom and liberty to the world

I have heard others accuse him of that, but I have not heard him say that, but Ahmadinejad did speak of bringing back the 12th Imam.

Agathocles said...

OK... So, when you in your original post wrote "They all want power. Iranian Shias want Tehran to be the center of the world caliphate; Iraqi Shias want Bagdad to be the center (what about iraqi sunnites?), The Muslim Brotherhood (Sunni) want it to be Egypt, the Wahabbis (Sunni) want it to be Mecca. Everyone wants power." You actually didn´t mean iranian shias, or iraqi shias in general, but, as you wrote, " a few leaders of a few fractions". That´s a big difference, thanks for clarifying that, since it was a bit unclear if you just read the original text.

You also wrote "He [Khaddaffi] does not like the fact that Arabs want to rule over other Muslims", and thereby underscored another one of the many many differences in the muslim world (the split between arab muslims and none-arab muslims) which makes the thought of a caliphate so completely unrealistic that not even the most diluted leader would not believe in it.

"As Bush has discovered Muslims don´t seem ready for Democracy"

No, what Bush discovered was that muslims in Iraq are not willing to subject to sham democracy aimed at supporting the interests of the United States and not the iraqi people. This is clearly demonstrated by the US imposition of so called "production sharing agreements" - a form of foreign investment predominant in the first decades of post-colonialism, nowadays repudiated by almost every state, since the foreign investors might reap profit rates up to 75% of total.

Please read this article about Iraq:
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IB28Ak01.html

In Afghanistan the chaotic state of the nation is the result of foreign interests meddling in Afghani affairs ever since the Soviets started supporting the socialist government in the seventies. Then there was invasion, then there was war, were the enemies of the Soviet union supported the most extreme islamist elements, then the soviets left, then a whole lot of warlords sat there with lots of high-tech weapons received from the enemies of the Soviets - the US and large portions of the muslim world - then the infighting begun and didn´t end for many years with the Taliban - a movement who would never have gained power if not for two things; the support they received from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, a support never protested by the US who, when the Taliban started winning, hoped for them to create calm in the nation so it would be possible for UNOCAL to build a pipeline from Turkmenistan (reaching all of central asia, where the world´s largest remaining oil-reserves are thought to be found) to the Arabian sea without passing Iranian territory (funny coincident: Hamid Karzai is an ex-UNOCAL consultant) and the fact that the population was so sick of war that they would have accepted almost anybody who could bring some law and order to the country.

"Not ready for democracy" - Yeah, the afghans aren´t ready for democracy, it has nothing to do with the fact that Iran and Russia has been delivering weapons to the Northern alliance the decade preceeding 9/11, Pakistan has set up a string of madrasas along the Afghan-Pakistani border where poor pakistani and afghan boys can come and study for free and get fed (in a country where food is hard to get by and education just a dream for many) brainwashing them with wahabbism and sending them back to fight for the Taliban, and now, with US bombs killing more and more civilians, regular people starts turning to the Taleban, a country where uzbeki insurgents moves back and forth over the northern border, offering afghanis a years salary in a month to come fight for them, thanks to their Saudi sponsors. In short, a country where pakistani, saudi, US, UK, russian, iranian and indian "hands" try to influence politics to move in a direction favorable to them, and no-one cares about the people (just imagine the corruption all these foreign interests bring to the country). But in your view it´s the incompetence or lack of "democratic maturity" of the afghan people that´s the main problem of afghan democracy...

Iran had a functioning democracy already in 1953, but, just as today, british and american leaders decided that they weren´t ready for democracy. Why? Because their politicians made decisions based on the will of their peoples, and not the will of UK and US governments.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_ajax

The next year, 1954, the US once again decided that a people with the crazy idea of trying to develop their own nation instead of acting as a banana-plantation for the US market, was NOT "ready for democracy". Jacobo Arbenz newly elected government in Guatemala enacted an agrarian reform program modeled on the 1862 Homestead Act in the U.S. The new law gave the government power to expropriate only uncultivated portions of large plantations. Estates of up to 670 acres (271 hectares) were exempted if at least two thirds of the land was cultivated; also exempt were lands that had a slope of more than 30 degrees (a significant exemption in mountainous Guatemala). The land was then allocated to individual families in the attempt to create a land-owning yeoman nation reminiscent of the U.S.'s own goals in the 1800s. Owners of expropriated land were compensated according to the worth of the land claimed in May 1952 tax assessments. Land was paid for in twenty-five year bonds with a 3 percent interest rate.[1] Arbenz himself, a landowner through his wife, gave up 1,700 acres (688 ha) of his own land in the land reform program. The main railroad in Guatemala was owned by United Fruit. Arbenz did not expropriate it, he built a highway parrallell to the railroad instead. The US used the "communist threat" as a pretext to oust Arbenz in 1954, but Arbenz was not a communist. The direct contacts between the Soviet Union and the Arbenz Government consisted of one Soviet diplomat working out an exchange of bananas for agricultural machinery, which fell through because neither side had refrigerated ships - and United Fruit was unlikely to help. The only other evidence of contact the CIA found after the operation were two bills to the Guatemalan Communist Party from a Moscow bookstore, totalling $22.95.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbenz

Those examples illustrate how much I give for the "muslims are not ready for democracy" argument. I guess that means it would have been better if Soeharto had stayed in power in Indonesia, practicing cronyism and corruption, rather than them embarking on the long journey to democratize and get rid of the rampant corruption of the Soeharto-era. I mean, they´re just not ready for democracy! (You don´t remember how modern democracy got started in Europe, do you? A little project called the french revolution, which ended up in tyranny and terror. Oh, how I wish there would have been stronger powers surrounding us back then, declaring that we weren´t ready for democracy and taking the wind out of any new attempts in that direction).

"I have heard others accuse him of that, but I have not heard him say that, but Ahmadinejad did speak of bringing back the 12th Imam."

Sep 2000 George W Bush tells a George magazine interviewer: "I've heard the call. I believe God wants me to run for President."

4 Jun 2003 Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen meets with President George W Bush at a summit in Aqaba, Jordan. According to an article in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, Bush informs Mazen: "God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."

2 Nov 2003 According to an article in the London Observer, then-governor George W Bush told Fort Worth, Texas televangelist James Robison in 2000: "I feel like God wants me to run for President. I can't explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen[...] I know it won't be easy on me or my family, but God wants me to do it."

9 Jul 2004 While meeting with a group of 60 Old Order Amish at the Lapp Electric Service offices in Smoketown, Pennsylvania, President George W Bush declares: "I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn't do my job."

9 Oct 2004 CNN airs an interview with First Lady Laura Bush, in which she denies reports of the President's divine commission: "You know, it's just a very important part of our life. My husband has never said -- I think this is some extrapolation from his critics, maybe -- that he felt like he was called to this. He's never said such a thing."

http://www.rotten.com/library/bio/presidents/george-w-bush/

Bush believes he was called by God to lead the nation at this time, says Commerce Secretary Don Evans, a close friend who talks with Bush every day. His history degree from Yale makes him mindful of the importance of the moment. He knows he's making "history-changing decisions," Evans says. But Bush doesn't keep a diary or other personal record of the events that will form his legacy. Aides take notes, but there's no stenographer in most meetings, nor are they videotaped or recorded.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-04-01-bush-cover_x.htm

Bush sr.:

"That George H W Bush has such a long-term alliance with the theocratic Reverend Moon, who for all of his flag waving is on record as hating American constitutional democracy, is disturbing and will no doubt come to be seen as a defining aspect of Bush's political career, before, during and since his presidency," Fred Clarkson added.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/ID14Aa01.html

...