IS the Syrian war really a fight between the Shia’s and Sunnis- historical two factions in Islam. Many are jumping to pronounce Syria as a sectarian war- a war between the minority shia government controlling a large sunni population- albeit through brutal dictatorship.
While Assad hails from the minority shia sect Alawites and his govt’s main supporter in the middle east are Iran and Hezbollah- a shia nation and group. And those funding and arming opposition groups comprising mainly Sunni arab countries Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
This is however not the case. For a lazy academician sitting in the US think tanks or universities may be. However things on the ground say otherwise.
Most of the Syrian soldiers and generals in the Assad government are Sunnis, even when the ruling political elite belong to the minority Alawite sect. In fact majority of the Syrian army is sunni. There are well number of Sunnis in the government machinery and also at the echelons of power in Syria.
As for why Saudi Arabia and Qatar supports the opposition groups like Free Syrian Army, Jabhat Al Nusra is because Asad is anti american and not part of the NATO- hence doesn’t serve american interests in the middle east.
There isn’t any Sunni coalition which exists between them.
Saudi Arabia had no problems with Iran when Reza Shah Pahlavi the ally of of American and British interests in ME was there. Their anti Shia and Iranian propaganda increased only when his govt was toppled by Khomeini.
There is another reason why Saudi Arabia is arming and funding ISIS- and those who are opposed to Assad and Iran because it fears that there is a gradual shift of American policy towards Iran and majorly towards shia groups in ME. It feels the west has put its weight behind Shia Islam which until now was backing Sunni Arab dictators. This has become a cause of major concern for Saudi Arabia.
The recent beheading of 47 shias and a prominent Shia Cleric just shows their paranoia and their fear of Shia uprising backed by Iran in Saudi Arabia. Hence they want to perpetually keep a check on Iran and it’s allies. They are ensuring that by fueling the ISIS phenomenon.