Fears of Mideast "Shiite Bloc" Rise

[Kuwait Times] The fear of a powerful "Shiite bloc" has reached almost fever pitch across the Middle East and some of America's crucial allies are among the most worried. The violence in Iraq and the growing power of Shiite Iran are the main factors, while the Shiite Hizballah's new influence, after the summer war with Israel, is also key. Together, the trends are prompting a backlash from Sunni Arab governments, says Vali Nasr, an Iran expert at the Naval Postgraduate School in the U.S. In Saudi Arabia, newspapers are full of warnings from Sunni Muslim clerics who contend that Sunni Muslims across the Mideast are converting to become Shiite Muslims. In Jordan, authorities have rejected plans for a new Shiite mosque, while Sunni clerics speak darkly of Shiite plots to convert Sunnis and overtake the region.

2006-11-21 01:00:00

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