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Karbala all over again
25,000 Indian Shi'a Declare Readiness to Fight in Iraq

Indian Shiite groups have announced that they have thousands of adherents standing ready to fight ISIS in Iraq and “defend Shia holy sites,” reports the Telegraph:

“We have 25,000 volunteers who have filled in the forms and given their passports and are ready to go any moment. Another hundred thousand have got in touch with us and have pledged their support. We are looking at a million volunteers to form a human chain around the holy shrines of Karbala and Najaf, in case the Isis attacks. We will do everything to stop the advance of the enemies”, said Syed Bilal, spokesman of Anjuman-e-Haideri which protects Delhi’s own ‘Karbala’ shrine.

As Peter Berger wrote earlier this week, the schism between Sunni and Shi’a has a long and bloody history that is as vivid for many followers today as it was a thousand years ago. Karbala, one of the holy sites mentioned by the Indian group, is the site of a fierce battle the Shi’a lost and still commemorate yearly. The struggle between these two branches of Islam threatens to envelop the entire Middle East—and, as this story shows us, perhaps countries outside it as well. Is the second Battle of Karbala in the offing?


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  • Andrew Allison

    Just how will 25,000, let alone a million, Indian Shiites get to Baghdad and be housed and fed, and what are their military skills? Meanwhile, next-door Iran has thousands of well-trained troops available. The Levant is already enveloped in a religious war; let’s try and maintain a little perspective.

    • Corlyss

      Probably the same way a lot of Levant and Maghreb fighters get to Syria and Iraq: Iran and Saudi facilitators.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Every time the Jihadists throw more resources into killing each other, westerners grow safer as those same resources are no longer available to murder innocent westerners.

  • Corlyss

    If we had a government with any sense, it would revoke the citizenship of everyone leaving this country to fight jihad as inherently treasonous. I hope the Indians aren’t as dumb as we are, because they have a real problem with Muslim extremists and weak or ineffectual policing.

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