World View: Sectarian Violence Continues to Grow in Central African Republic

This morning's key headlines from

  • Gaza conflicts open old wounds in the Arab world
  • Iran offers full support to Hamas
  • Sectarian violence continues to grow in Central African Republic

Gaza conflicts open old wounds in the Arab world

Egyptian columnists were furious a few days ago when Khaled Mashal, the leader of Hamas, criticized the Egyptian army for failing to come to the aid of the Palestinians in Gaza. Many pointed out that Mashal was living in luxury in a high class hotel in Doha, Qatar, instead of fighting in Gaza. According to one column, translated by Memri: 

Where is your spirit of heroism, Abu Walid [i.e., Khaled Mash'al]? Join your brothers. Leave Doha's hotels, which you have enjoyed, and go down into the trenches and fight the Zionist enemy that murders the fruits of our loins. Mash'al, we are tired of defending the [Palestinian] cause that you have sold for cheap to an MB gang whose way you followed even though they have lost their [own] way. We want neither a reward nor gratitude from you. Brother Mash'al, Egypt is in a state of war. We have enough problems [of our own]. We are sufficiently [busy with] the plots of your brethren, the members of your movement. You have bankrupted us. We are starving for bread while you eat delicacies on the tables of Doha's lowlifes... Egypt understands this message well and intends to extinguish the war you sparked, Mash'al... Remember the stature of the commander of the Egyptian army, who loses sleep to defend our children in Gaza and who opened the [Rafah] crossing to save them, while you languish in your bed in Doha!

Besides the personal mocking of Mashal, the point of this and many Egyptian columnists is that Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is supported by Qatar but which is considered a terrorist organization by Egypt's government. Numerous terrorist acts in northern Sinai, near the border of Gaza and Israel, are being blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood and on Hamas itself. For this reason, the tunnels underneath the wall separating Egypt from Gaza have been shut for years by Egypt's army. Even during the presidency of MB leader Mohamed Morsi, before he was ousted in an army coup, the tunnels and crossings were rarely opened because it was too dangerous for Egypt. 

When Egypt made its proposal to mediate the war between Gaza and Israel, almost everyone (myself included) were certain that Hamas would reject the proposal, not just because it came from Egypt, but also because they've been totally humiliated in the war because they launched thousands of missiles into Israel and have almost nothing to show for it. 

As we reported in March, the Gulf Arab states have had a major split over issues ranging from the Muslim Brotherhood to Iran. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain went so far as to recall their ambassadors from Qatar. 

Those differences have been exacerbated by the current Gaza crisis. On Wednesday, leaders of Tunisia, Turkey, and Qatar, joining with France, denounced the Egyptian regime as "unfit" for the role of mediator and said that they're going to lead the mediation efforts between Israel and Gaza. 

As it turned out, Israel has agreed to a five-hour cease-fire on Thursday on humanitarian grounds, but many reports indicate that the cease-fire may be a prelude to a full scale ground invasion. Memri and Middle East Monitor

Iran offers full support to Hamas

Iran is promising to support Hamas with "all might," saying that they will make all efforts to serve the "Palestinian nation." A parliamentary delegation is poised to leave for Gaza. According to one MP:

A Majlis [parliamentary] delegation will be dispatched to Gaza Strip to express sympathy with the families of Gaza martyrs and deliver donations from the Iranian people to the residents of this region.

Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani called on Muslim countries to stand united against Israel. Press TV (Tehran) and Press TV

Sectarian violence continues to grow in Central African Republic

For the last few months, sectarian violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) has been centered in the capital city, Bangui, in the southwestern region of the country. However, new reports indicate that the violence has been moving east and has now reached the region surrounding the central city of Bambari and farther east. 

After a coup last year by Muslim leader Michel Djotodia, Muslim Seleka militias began killing tens of thousands of Christians and drove hundreds of thousands from their homes. This year, Christian anti-balaka militias have retaliated with vengeance, massacring hundreds of thousands of Muslims and driving millions more from their homes. ("29-Mar-14 World View -- Christians versus Muslims in Central African Republic"

As I've explained in the past, CAR's last generational crisis war was the 1928-1931 Kongo-Wara Rebellion ("War of the Hoe Handle"), which was a very long time ago, putting CAR today deep into a generational Crisis era, where a new crisis war is increasingly likely. 

The Kongo-Wara rebellion was nominally an uprising against the French colonialists, but it also had it share of the same kind of tribal violence that we are seeing today. After a crisis war like that ends, the survivors on both sides look back in horror at the acts that were perpetrated on both sides, and vow to devote the rest of their lives to making sure that nothing like that happens to their children or grandchildren. They succeed at that, but once the survivors have passed away, there's no one left with a personal memory of the last crisis war. There's nothing to stop a new crisis war from starting, and that's what's happening now. 

New reports by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) indicate that the sectarian violence that's occurred in the last few months is more extensive than previously believed. And reports by Human Rights Watch are documenting the spread and escalation of tit-for-tat sectarian violence into eastern parts of the CAR. Most of the victims were men who were chopped to death by machetes. According to an HRW director: 

Sectarian violence is moving eastward, engulfing new communities. The limited numbers of French and African Union peacekeepers deployed in Bambari are unable to adequately protect civilians and end the killings – although without their presence, the bloodshed would likely have been worse.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, CAR is headed for a genocidal generational crisis war, which will be just as bloody as the generational crisis war that occurred in Rwanda in 1994. It's becoming increasingly evident that this war will go beyond a civil war between Muslims and Christians in CAR and will end up involving the French peacekeeping forces as active participants in the war, as well as other tribes and ethnic groups. Doctors Without Borders and Human Rights Watch

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Egypt, Gaza, Israel, Khaled Mashal, Abu Walid, Mohammed Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, UAE, Bahrain, Tunisia, Turkey, Iran, Central African Republic, Michel Djotodia, Seleka, anti-Balaka, Kongo-Wara Rebellion, War of the Hoe Handle, Bangui, Bambari, Doctors Without Borders, Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF, Human Rights Watch 

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