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Splittelsen mellom shiaer og sunnier går nå så dypt at jihadister av Al Qaida-typen tar avstand fra Hizbollah og ber om at muslimer ikke støtter dem i deres kamp mot Israel.

Det heter så fint at «the Arab street» holder med Hizbollah, selv om lederne i Egypt, Saudi-Arabia og Jordan ikke gjør det. Men den ekstrem fløyen av islam er nå dypt splittet. Det er både et resultat av Zarqawis åpne kamp mot shiaer, og maktkampen i Irak m,ellom shiaer og sunnier.

Maktkampen i Irak ville ha kommet uansett hvis Saddam var bitt styrtet, men Zarqawis moderiske kampanje ga den en ekstra vri: ved å erklære at shiaer var for vantro å regne. En finner ekko av dette på nettet, der salafaister, dvs. purist-sunnier, tar avstand fra Hizbollah.

consider this posting about Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah: «Let us explain that the party of Hassan Nasrallah, for us, is a party which has a Shia ideology. Thus, he is considered our enemy like our enemies the Jews, the Christians.»

«So what should we do now?» wrote the somewhat confused author, a Sunni jihadist known as Saif al-Din al-Kanani. «What side shall we take? Who shall we support?»

Det har vært antydninger om at Hamas ikke er bare forbauset over at Hizbollah stjeler all oppmerksomheten. Det stikker kanskje dypere enn som så.

Accusing Palestinians of being anti-Shiite, one Iraqi Shiite militant bitterly wrote, «It is better to concentrate one’s efforts on helping the Shiite kinfolk rather than the Sunnis.»

About 80 percent of the postings this week on jihadist sites concern the question of supporting Hezbollah, according to the SITE Institute, a group in Washington that tracks and translates the messages. (The group’s translations were used for this article.)

Suspicions among Sunnis over growing Shiite power — and a backlash by Shiites — have come to the fore during the Iraq war and fighting in Lebanon. Animosity is especially virulent among Sunni militants who adhere to a conservative strain of Islam that views Shiites as infidels. And like many of the region’s Sunni leaders, they see Hezbollah as a puppet of Iran, whose Shiite Persian majority has traditionally been seen by Arabs as a mortal enemy.

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A prominent cleric in Saudi Arabia, Sheik Abdullah bin Jabreen, issued an edict that said of Hezbollah: «The support of that Shiite party is not allowed, and to supplicate for their victory and their establishment is not allowed. We advise the Sunni people to disown them, desert whoever joined them and to reveal the Shiite enmity to Islam and the Muslims.» A Shiite fighter wrote in response: «God damn this Zionist guy. He clearly supports the Zionists.»

Grensene er ikke absolutte. Det var Hizbollah som lærte opp Hamas og Islamsk Jihad i selvmordsbombing. Men utbruddene på internett viser at det hersker motsetninger mellom de to retningene og at avstanden ser ut til å øke. Shiaenes voksende regionale makt, og særlig Irans rolle, vekker reaksjoner, ikke bare blant sunni-eliten, men også den militante salafistbevegelsen a la Al Qaida.

On Web, a Sunni-Shiite Split on Hezbollah