A civil war is taking place within Islam. The presence of the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan is acting as a catalyst. It can be argued both ways that our presence is positive or negative. (Probably both, to some degree) The overall point is that the Islamic civil war is HUDGE. The Muslim population is over 1 billion people. By comparison, the population of all the major combatants during World War II was about 1 billion. The issues within the Islamic Civil War (Among many others) that are being fought over:
1) The penalty for leaving Islam is death. (An Apostate) (Fighting qualifies for Jihad.)
2) The worldwide obligation to kill ‘occupiers’ of Muslim land. (Fighting infidels also qualifies for Jihad)
3) The Islamic electoral policy of ‘One man (Men only) one vote, once’.
4) The common interpretation of ‘Jihad’. Bernard Lewis: "For most of the fourteen centuries of Islamic history, Jihad has been most commonly interpreted to mean armed struggle for the advancement or defense of Muslim power." Individuals who fight in the Jihad qualify for booty. This means that property can be seized. Throughout history, this issue has helped trigger countless wars. These issues can also be seen as being contributors to the causes of the constant Arab-Israeli wars.
The cultural changes going on in the Palestinian areas can be seen as being indirectly connected to the war in Iraq. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are speeding up cultural changes throughout the Islamic world, yet the war is still relatively small. It amazes me how small the amount of fighting is when compared to the number of people impacted. Compared to most of the modern wars that the United States has engaged in, the war in Iraq is a small one. Vietnam and Korea by comparison were much larger affairs. Yet the populations involved were miniscule in comparison to the war today. So far, this is a classic guerrilla war on a global scale. The largest concern is that this war can easily become a much, much larger war if not handled well.