>The US has been trying to engineer a split between the Sunni and Shia regimes .
All of the muslim countries are controlled by Sunnis except for 2: Iran and Iraq. In the Sunni-controlled countries, they are most often shut out of power. In KSA , the sunnis live mostly in the northern and eastern regions (where most of the oil it located), and are treated as barely muslims.
>When the people have protested - peacefully they claim - the riot police have come in with tear gas, truncheons and rubber bullets.
>When I told a senior government minister, Hassan Fakhro, about the riots in Malkiya, he expressed surprise. And he denied it was evidence of discrimination against the Shia.
>But many among the Sunni elite believe Iran is behind the unrest.
To try to fool the US/UK public, as well as to rationalize the discrimination in the muslim world, any case of "uppity" shiites will automagically be blamed on Iran. Whether those uppity shiites are located in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Bahrain, or any other location.
>I can only wonder how long after the sale of arms to SA before some of them end up in the hands of Sunni insurgents in Iraq and/or in the hands of Hamas soldiers.
Well, today's wall street urinal has an interesting article on that point:
>When the Islamist group Hamas conquered  the Gaza Strip in June it seized an intelligence-and-military infrastructure created with U.S. help by the security chiefs of the Palestinian territory's former ruler.
>According to current and former Israeli intelligence officials, former U.S. intelligence personnel and Palestinian officials, Hamas has increased its inventory of arms since the takeover of Gaza and picked up technical expertise -- such as espionage techniques -- that could assist the group in its fight against Israel or Washington's Palestinian allies, the Fatah movement  founded by Yasser Arafat.
>Hamas leaders say they acquired thousands of paper files, computer records, videos, photographs and audio recordings containing valuable and potentially embarrassing intelligence information gathered by Fatah. For more than a decade, Fatah operated a vast intelligence network in Gaza established under the tutelage of the Central Intelligence Agency.
>Close ties between Hamas and the governments of Iran and Syria also mean that intelligence-and-spying techniques could be shared with the main Middle East rivals of the Bush administration. As the White House prepares to lead an international effort to bolster Fatah's security apparatus in the West Bank, the losses in Gaza stand as an example of how efforts to help Fatah can backfire.
>The compromised intelligence Hamas says it now has ranges widely. The group alleges it has videos used in a sexual-blackmail operation run by Washington's allies inside Fatah's security apparatus. But the group also says it has uncovered detailed evidence of Fatah-controlled spying operations carried out in Arab and Muslim countries for the benefit of the U.S. and other foreign governments. Hamas also alleges that Fatah intelligence operatives cooperated with Israeli intelligence officials to target Islamist leaders for assassination.
When our previous beloved dictator  in the region was deposed, similar reconstructions of intelligence and fascist control organizations  were taken over by the rebels. We've propped up KSA and Egypt in a manner similar to how Iran was propped up, and I don't have a lot of confidence in their stability except at gunpoint. Egyptian presidents only leave office feet-first, and the latest crook managed to "pass"  a referendum that outlaws all political parties except the one in power.
1 - The distinction between Sunni and Shia would more accurately be described as a difference in interpreting "the word of god" and the lineage of who is entitled to adjudicate "the word of god"; and is analogous to the distinction between Catholic and Protestant. In the UK, it is forbidden for a Catholic to ascend to the throne, or for one who is married to the throne to remain on the line of succession. Folks listed as "skipped" are ineligible mostly because they are Catholics or married to one (39 on that list are listed as "legitimated" meaning they were "bastards" in the legal sense: parents unwed at time of birth).
2 - the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Also known as "the magic kingdom" because like Disney, KSA is surprisingly devoid of logic and reason while being held together by religous fanatics.
3 - Fatah lost the elections and chose not to leave office/power. So they're really engaging in a coup/treason. I've pointed out in the past that the Arab world doesn't have a precedence for leaving office when your time is up. The legend of Cincinatus was made popular by Geo Washington, and that became the standard in the US, although I believe that bush/cheney will concoct some atrocity to cancel the 2008 elections and remain in power forever.
4 - The more correct name for Fatah is Palestine Liberation Organization. It still has the destruction of Israel clause in their charter.
5 - Shah Reza Pahlavi.
6 - Such as SAVAK.
7 - Independant election observers state that the turnout for the referendum was 7-8%. There are reports that government workers were offered approx $100 to vote *for* the change.