July 6, 2014

EXCEPT THAT THE FIRST BLOSSOMING OF THE ARAB SPRING...:

Power Struggles in Middle East Exploit Islam's Ancient Sectarian Rift (DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK, JULY 5, 2014, NY Times)

RIFFA, Bahrain -- Black and yellow concrete barricades block the roads entering this wealthy Sunni enclave, where foreign-born Sunni soldiers in armored personnel carriers guard the mansions of the ruling family and the business elite.

Beyond the enclave are impoverished villages of Shiites, about 70 percent of Bahrain's more than 650,000 citizens, where the police skirmish nightly with young men wielding rocks and, increasingly, improvised weapons like homemade guns that use fire extinguishers to shoot rebar.

Their battles are an extension of sectarian hostilities nearly as old as Islam. But they are also a manifestation of a radically new scramble for power playing out across the region in the aftermath of the United States invasion of Iraq and the Arab Spring revolts.

This island nation off the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia was the first place where Arab Spring demands for equal citizenship and democratic governance degenerated into a sectarian feud, and at first it seemed to be an anomaly. But Bahrain's experience now appears to have been a harbinger of what was to come as centuries old but newly inflamed rivalries between Sunni and Shiite Muslims tear apart much of the region -- threatening to erase the borders of states like Syria and Iraq, destabilizing Bahrain and Lebanon, and accelerating a regional contest for power and influence between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia.

...came in Iraq, where we deposed the Sunni minority in favor of majority Shi'a rule.   Posted by at July 6, 2014 7:17 AM
  
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