The Middle East's Great Divide Is Not Sunni-Shiite

(New Yorker) Hussein Agha and Robert Malley - Sunni versus Shiite sectarianism is blamed for chaos, conflict, and extremism in the Middle East. But the vast majority of recent violence has occurred squarely inside the Sunni world. The region's most ferociously violent Sunni actor, the Islamic State, claims Sunnis as the overwhelming majority of its victims. The fierce battles for the Iraqi city of Mosul or the Syrian city of Raqqa pitted Sunni against Sunni. ISIS attacks in Egypt, Somalia, Libya, Nigeria, and elsewhere almost always have Sunnis as prey. Sunnis in the region still perceive Iran as a strategic threat. But the American belief that bellicose U.S. rhetoric can unite Sunni Arabs in an anti-Iranian alliance comes at a time when Sunni regimes are increasingly absorbed by the challenge posed by Turkey. Hussein Agha is a senior associate member of St. Antony's College, Oxford. Robert Malley, a former White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf region under President Obama, is president and CEO of the International Crisis Group.

2019-03-14 00:00:00

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