How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future
W. W. Norton
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The critical struggle between Shia and Sunni for the
future of the Middle East.
To most Western eyes,
all Islamic movements look alike, and the central conflict
in the Middle East is one between religion and secularism.
Shockingly little has been written about the bitter divide
between Shia and Sunni. Yet without understanding their
ancient conflict�and its modern embodiment in the power
struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia for political and
spiritual leadership of the Muslim world�it is impossible to
comprehend events across the so-called Shia Crescent, from
East Africa through Iraq and Pakistan to India.
provocative rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini, the Saudi
pressure on the United States not to unseat Saddam Hussein
in 1991, the critical role of the Ayatollah Sistani and the
religious establishment in Najaf (Iraq), the volatility of
Pakistan today, and the consequences of the shift toward
Shia power through American intervention�all this and more
is explained in the light of the Shia/Sunni divide.
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