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.
► INTRODUCTION: DOES AMERICA GET THE SHI'ITES WRONG? 1
► HAS IRAN OVERPLAYED ITS HAND IN IRAQ? 6
► IS SECTARIAN TENSION PLUNGING LEBANON INTO A NEW CIVIL WAR? 21
► ARE BAHRAINI SHI'ITES PUPPETS OF IRAN? 45
► SAUDI ARABIA'S FORGOTTEN SHI'ITE SPRING 58
► HAS KUWAIT REACHED THE SECTARIAN TIPPING POINT? 74
► IS SECTARIAN BALANCE IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, OMAN, AND QATAR AT RISK? 95
► AZERBAIJAN'S IRAN PROBLEM 112
► THE SHI'ITES OF PAKISTAN: A MINORITY UNDER SIEGE 126
► CONCLUSION: WINNING THE SHI'ITES CAN CHECKMATE IRAN 140