Sunday, July 06, 2014

Power Struggles in Middle East Exploit Islam’s Ancient Sectarian Rift

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK, NYT
JULY 5, 2014

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.

(More here.)

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