Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah and Iraq's Sunni Al-Qaeda, both Muslim; both hate Israel; both hate the United States; both on America's list of terrorist groups ... One would think they could get along.
There is a growing divide in the Middle East between Sunni Muslim extremists, including Zarqawi's group, and Shiite Muslim militants personified by Hezbollah.
Many see the emerging tensions as a dangerous trend that could lead to violent Shiite-Sunni conflict not just in Iraq but around the Persian Gulf.
What's unknown yet is whether Zarqawi's death could help ease the tensions. source
Zarqawi's death will not help the situation, as Abu Ayyub al Masri (a/k/a Abu Hamza al-Muhajir), the new leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq who now has a $5 million dollar bounty on his head, has already begun his campaign against the Shiites in Iraq. Also not a good sign is Osama Bin Laden's second tape in one week yesterday, where he complains about the Sunnis being killed. He calls upon Shiites to fight against them both in Iraq and in Somalia.
His [Zarqawi] goal was to create a Sunni Muslim religious-based government in Iraq, and he believed "that could only be achieved with the defeat of any Shiite-led Iraqi government," Richard Evans, terrorism editor at Jane's Information Group in London, said. Thus, he tried to kill Shiites in Iraq, which is now ruled by a Shiite-led government.
Zarqawi also may have worried that Hezbollah was too popular among Arab Sunnis - that it was his rival for Sunnis' affections across the region - because of its fight against Israel.
Hezbollah has wide political support among Arabs because it spearheaded the guerrilla warfare against Israel's 18-year occupation of a buffer zone in southern Lebanon, which ended with an Israeli withdrawal in 2000. source
Hezbollah doesn't want this Sunni--Shiite war that Zarqawi tried to instigate. Hezbollah's political bureau member in charge of international relations, Nawaf al-Mussawi said, "His [Zarqawi] criminal acts are aimed at igniting civil wars and inciting sectarian fighting, ... We will not permit the United States, Israel or its tools [Zarqawi] to kindle any kind of conflict in Lebanon, between Christians and Muslims or between Shiites and Sunnis."
Osama bin Laden tells fighters in Iraq that they are "God's trusted soldiers who will liberate [Muslims] from the serfdom of the crusaders", while he also begs for more fighters and more money.
Bin Laden is now instructing his fundamentalist Sunni strain, called Wahhabi or sometimes called Salafist, followers to fight against the Shiites. He warns the world community against sending troops to Somalia where the Council of Islamic Courts has taken control and already set up sharia law.
"We will fight [US] soldiers on the land of Somalia... and we reserve the right to punish it on its land and anywhere possible," the speaker says.
"We warn all of the countries in the world not to respond to America by sending international troops to Somalia."
The speaker condemns Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, president of Somalia's secular interim government, as a "traitor" and "renegade".
The Council of Islamic Courts is led by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys who has been on the US list of people "linked to terrorism" since shortly after the 11 September 2001 attacks. source
It is not clear whether the Islamists in Somalia will welcome any connection with bin Laden, since they are trying to convince the world they are not 'terrorists'.
Cross posted at In the Bullpen