World View: Sunni vs Shia Sectarian Violence May Be Approaching a 'Red Line'

This morning's key headlines from

  • Pakistan Shias continue protests across the country
  • Sunni vs Shia sectarian violence may be approaching a 'red line'
  • Hugo Chávez tweets a return to Venezuela

Pakistan Shias continue protests across the country

Riots and demonstrations in Karachi on Sunday (AFP)
Riots and demonstrations in Karachi on Sunday (AFP)

Demonstrations and protests were held in cities across Pakistan on Monday, including Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. In Quetta, where the terror carnage took place on Saturday, thousands of Shias blocked the roads in a sit-in, and refused to bury their dead. They're making three demands:

  • That the army launch a targeted attack on those responsible for Saturday's carnage.
  • That the army or security services provide protection for Shias, and insure that no more are killed.
  • That the government pass a law making it a crime to discriminate against Shias.
The Shias in Quetta made some of these demands after the horrific January 10 terrorist attack that killed over 100 people. At the time, they ended their protests and buried their dead only after the government had promised protection. However, once the protest ended, the promises were forgotten. It seems the most likely scenario is that none of the demands will be met, the protests will end anyway, and another big terrorist attack will take place in a month or two. Dawn (Karachi) and Al-Jazeera

Sunni vs Shia sectarian violence may be approaching a 'red line'

Sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims appears to be approaching a "red line." Currently, the violence takes the form of sectarian clashes in Syria and Iraq, or in terrorist acts by Sunni terrorist groups targeting Shias in Nigeria and Pakistan. However, the most frightening scenario is the unrestrained complete jihad between the two sects of Islam which would cross state boundaries. This could occur by the gradual spread of existing clashes across national boundaries, or more directly by a high-level religious leader in either sect calling for sectarian jihad. Saudi Arabia and Iran serve as national exemplars of Sunni and Shia faiths, respectively. Both are historic centers to their faiths. However, Iran is the only Shia state with the position and real obligation to protect and expand this variant of Islam. Thus, funding Syria's regime and Hizbollah are seen as important not only for political reasons, but also as religious duty. This increases the chances of a "red line" being crossed, resulting in broader sectarian war. Eurasia Review

Hugo Chávez tweets a return to Venezuela

Supporters of Venezuela's ill president Hugo Chávez were cheered on Monday when he returned from Cuba in the middle of the night and tweeted:

"We have arrived again to the Venezuelan homeland, Thank you my God!! Thank you my beloved people!! We will continue the treatment here."

"Thanks to Fidel, to Raul and all of Cuba!! Thanks to Venezuela for so much love!!"

"I continue clinging to Christ and confident in my medicine and nurses. Onward to victory forever!! We shall survive and we shall overcome!!"

Chávez will continue to be treated in secrecy, and there were no photos of his return. The nature of his cancer has never been revealed. He's unable to speak because he is breathing through a tracheal tube.

Perhaps Chávez will make a miraculous recovery, but many suspect that Chávez does not have long to live, and that he is returning to Venezuela to spend the last few weeks of his life with his family and friends. Deutsche-Welle and ABC Univision

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