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

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 cometo the aid of the Palestinians in Gaza. Many pointed out that Mashalwas living in luxury in a high class hotel in Doha, Qatar, instead offighting 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, whichyou have enjoyed, and go down into the trenches and fight theZionist enemy that murders the fruits of our loins. Mash’al, weare tired of defending the [Palestinian] cause that you have soldfor cheap to an MB gang whose way you followed even though theyhave lost their [own] way. We want neither a reward nor gratitudefrom you. Brother Mash’al, Egypt is in a state of war. We haveenough problems [of our own]. We are sufficiently [busy with] theplots of your brethren, the members of your movement. You havebankrupted us. We are starving for bread while you eat delicacieson the tables of Doha’s lowlifes… Egypt understands this messagewell and intends to extinguish the war you sparked,Mash’al… Remember the stature of the commander of the Egyptianarmy, who loses sleep to defend our children in Gaza and whoopened the [Rafah] crossing to save them, while you languish inyour bed in Doha!

Besides the personal mocking of Mashal, the point of this and manyEgyptian columnists is that Hamas is an offshoot of the MuslimBrotherhood, which is supported by Qatar but which is considered aterrorist organization by Egypt’s government. Numerous terrorist actsin northern Sinai, near the border of Gaza and Israel, are beingblamed on the Muslim Brotherhood and on Hamas itself. For thisreason, the tunnels underneath the wall separating Egypt from Gazahave been shut for years by Egypt’s army. Even during the presidencyof MB leader Mohamed Morsi, before he was ousted in an army coup, thetunnels and crossings were rarely opened because it was too dangerousfor Egypt. 

When Egypt made its proposal to mediate the war between Gaza andIsrael, almost everyone (myself included) were certain that Hamaswould reject the proposal, not just because it came from Egypt, butalso because they’ve been totally humiliated in the war because theylaunched thousands of missiles into Israel and have almost nothing toshow for it. 

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

Those differences have been exacerbated by the current Gaza crisis.On Wednesday, leaders of Tunisia, Turkey, and Qatar, joining withFrance, denounced the Egyptian regime as “unfit” for the role ofmediator and said that they’re going to lead the mediation effortsbetween Israel and Gaza. 

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

Iran offers full support to Hamas

Iran is promising to support Hamas with “all might,” sayingthat they will make all efforts to serve the “Palestiniannation.” A parliamentary delegation is poised to leave forGaza. According to one MP:

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

Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani called on Muslim countries tostand 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 AfricanRepublic (CAR) has been centered in the capital city, Bangui, in thesouthwestern region of the country. However, new reports indicatethat the violence has been moving east and has now reached the regionsurrounding the central city of Bambari and farther east. 

After a coup last year by Muslim leader Michel Djotodia, Muslim Selekamilitias began killing tens of thousands of Christians and drovehundreds of thousands from their homes. This year, Christiananti-balaka militias have retaliated with vengeance, massacringhundreds of thousands of Muslims and driving millions more fromtheir 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 wasthe 1928-1931 Kongo-Wara Rebellion (“War of the Hoe Handle”), whichwas a very long time ago, putting CAR today deep into a generationalCrisis era, where a new crisis war is increasingly likely. 

The Kongo-Wara rebellion was nominally an uprising against the Frenchcolonialists, but it also had it share of the same kind of tribalviolence 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 wereperpetrated on both sides, and vow to devote the rest of their livesto making sure that nothing like that happens to their children orgrandchildren. They succeed at that, but once the survivors havepassed away, there’s no one left with a personal memory of thelast crisis war. There’s nothing to stop a new crisis war fromstarting, 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 fewmonths is more extensive than previously believed. And reports byHuman Rights Watch are documenting the spread and escalation oftit-for-tat sectarian violence into eastern parts of the CAR. Most ofthe victims were men who were chopped to death by machetes. Accordingto an HRW director: 

Sectarian violence is moving eastward, engulfing newcommunities. The limited numbers of French and African Unionpeacekeepers deployed in Bambari are unable to adequately protectcivilians 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 agenocidal generational crisis war, which will be just as bloody as thegenerational crisis war that occurred in Rwanda in 1994. It’sbecoming increasingly evident that this war will go beyond a civil warbetween Muslims and Christians in CAR and will end up involving theFrench peacekeeping forces as active participants in the war, as wellas 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 

Permanent web link to this article

Receive daily World View columns by e-mail


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.