The Shi'ites of the Middle East: An Iranian fifth column?

Reuters

Supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad burn a photo Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, during a demonstration at the Avenue Habib Bourguiba in Tunis, April 20, 2013.

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As sectarian violence rages Iraq and Syria and simmers across the broader region, the role of the Middle East’s diverse Shi’ite communities has become increasingly important for regional stability.

Growing sectarian divisions present dilemmas to Shi’ite communities, regional Sunni rulers, and to the United States, including how to preserve communal security and religious freedom while rebuffing outside forces — be they Sunni or Shi’ite — who might try to destabilize or undercut the independence of Shi‘ite religious communities. Iran’s apparent intervention in the ongoing crisis in Iraq highlights another quandary for American policymakers: how do they rebuff Iranian ambitions to speak on behalf the diverse array of Shi’ite communities beyond Iran itself?

To help address these questions, AEI resident scholar Michael Rubin and senior research associate Ahmad Majidyar have released a booklet highlighting the diversity of Shi’ite communities in the Middle East, the political and diplomatic issues unique to each one, and efforts by each to resist Iranian political and religious domination. 


Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION: DOES AMERICA GET THE SHI'ITES WRONG?       1
    Michael Rubin

► HAS IRAN OVERPLAYED ITS HAND IN IRAQ?       6
    Michael Rubin

► IS SECTARIAN TENSION PLUNGING LEBANON INTO A NEW CIVIL WAR?       21
    Ahmad K. Majidyar  

ARE BAHRAINI SHI'ITES PUPPETS OF IRAN?       45
    Michael Rubin

► SAUDI ARABIA'S FORGOTTEN SHI'ITE SPRING       58
    Ahmad K. Majidyar 

► HAS KUWAIT REACHED THE SECTARIAN TIPPING POINT?       74
    Michael Rubin

► IS SECTARIAN BALANCE IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, OMAN, AND QATAR AT RISK?       95
    Ahmad K. Majidyar

► AZERBAIJAN'S IRAN PROBLEM       112
    Michael Rubin

► THE SHI'ITES OF PAKISTAN: A MINORITY UNDER SIEGE       126
    Ahmad K. Majidyar

► CONCLUSION: WINNING THE SHI'ITES CAN CHECKMATE IRAN       140
    Michael Rubin

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