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Old 05-03-2007   #1
tequila
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Default Vali Nasr: The Shia Revival

Article by Vali Nasr summarizing his book in the latest MR, arguing that the American invasion of Iraq and the subsequent election of a Shia-dominated religious government has empowered Shiism throughout the Middle East.
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Old 02-02-2008   #2
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FIIA, 1 Feb 08: Sectarian Identities or Geopolitics? The Regional Shia-Sunni Divide in the Middle East
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The purpose of this study is to enhance understanding of the new geopolitical situation currently unfolding in Middle Eastern politics that has emerged since the onset of the United States-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The paper focuses on the notions of the Sunni-Shia divide and the Rise of the Shia.

In this study it is argued that the present dynamics of the regional-level Sunni-Shia divide are reinforced and catalysed by both geopolitical considerations and the national security interests of states. History and identity alone are not sufficient to explain the logics of the divide at the regional level. The study seeks to explain how and why geo- and power politics reinforce the present-day sectarian divide in the Middle East. It also suggests that the divide has the potential to become an era defining feature of the post-Saddam Middle East in the way pan-Arabism and pan-Islam have defined the past decades of the region.

The study takes as its point of departure the division of Middle Eastern politics into two levels of analysis: the domestic level and the regional level. Different kinds of geopolitical readjustments and power balancing take place at the two levels, on which different fault lines can be identified. The analysis in this study is concentrated on the regional level, where the sectarian dynamic or rhetoric is not yet as apparent as at the domestic level (in some states), where sectarian struggles have brought two states, namely Iraq and Lebanon, almost to breaking point....
Complete 62 page paper at the link.
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Old 04-16-2008   #3
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Parameters, Spring '08: The Mythical Shia Crescent
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Sometime in late 2006, America awoke to the realization that, by deposing Saddam Hussein and toppling his Ba’athist regime, it had inadvertently removed a major obstacle to Iranian dominance in the Middle East. Assessments of the associated events reached hyperbolic levels. Dire warnings of a growing Iranian hegemony began to surface. Sunni leaders such as Jordan’s King Abdullah II began to warn the West of an emerging “Shia Crescent,” led by Iran and encompassing Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. The idea caught fire in American media and became the dominant narrative in discourse on Middle East policy.

But how realistic is this amalgamation? Is a Shia Crescent really emerging that is capable of challenging more than a millennium of Sunni domination in the Islamic world? Will Iran lead it? On the surface, the idea appears plausible. Yet, a more in-depth examination of the prospective members of this geopolitical realignment raises numerous questions. This intellectual shorthand may be blinding the United States to opportunities that could yield tangible progress on several strategic fronts in the Middle East, while providing a new ally in the global war on terrorism.....

Last edited by Jedburgh; 04-16-2008 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 11-08-2008   #4
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ISN, 15 Oct 08: Conceptualizing the Sunni-Shi'i Encounter in the Modern Period

This study examines the issues of religious authority and legitimacy in Islam. The author compares and contrasts traditions of jurisprudence and juridical authority in Sunni and Shia Islam. The author considers the major related points of discussion among Islamic religious scholars, especially on the issue of interpretation. The study also considers the Islamic Revolution in Iran, its impact on Islamic ideology and the revitalization of the study of Islam.
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Old 11-23-2008   #5
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NPR, 20 Nov 08: Speaking of Faith: The Sunni-Shia Divide and the Future of Islam
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We seek fresh insight into the history and the human and religious dynamics of Islam's Sunni-Shia divide. Our guest says that it is not so different from dynamics in periods of Western Christian history. But he says that by bringing the majority Shia to power in Iraq, the U.S. has changed the religions dynamics of the Middle East......
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Old 06-08-2013   #6
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Default Sermons 4 war

IMHO an update on the original 2008 theme, an article in The Guardian 'Is the Middle East heading for a full-blown religious war?':http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013...war?CMP=twt_gu

Vali Nasr is cited too and near the end:
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Nasr, who is more optimistic than most, suggests, too, that the current tensions can be seen as marking the final unravelling of the shape of the region first conceived in the Anglo-French Sykes-Picot agreement that foresaw the dismemberment of the Ottoman Turkish empire.

"Those structures are now coming undone: first under the boots of US soldiers in Iraq and more recently under the heels of the democracy protesters of the Arab spring."
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