Sectarianism in the Middle East

Great Decisions 2015 | Topic 3

How does sectarianism fit into a larger narrative of the Middle East? How have governments manipulated sectarian differences? And finally, what is the U.S. doing about it?

Many of the current conflicts in the Middle East have been attributed to sectarianism, a politicization of ethnic and religious identity. From the crisis in Iraq and Syria to the tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the struggle between Sunni and Shi‘i groups for dominance is tearing apart the region and shows no signs of abating. But for all the religious discourse permeating the conflict, much of its roots are political, not religious. How does sectarianism fit into a larger narrative of the Middle East? How have governments manipulated sectarian differences? And finally, what is the U.S. doing about it?

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  • USIP Series on Sectarianism

    The United States Institute for Peace's series on sectarianism consists of five briefs on sectarianism in Syria, Iraq, the Gulf, Lebanon and the role of foreign states.

     

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  • Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights

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