facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Shiites on a roll; may muddle U.S. policy

Aug. 20, 2006 at 3:33 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. policy in the Middle East faces new challenges as the minority Shiite Muslims experience a resurgence of influence, a report says.

The Washington Times said Sunday the strong showing Shiite-dominated Hezbollah put on in its recent conflict with Israel gave it increased status in a region where most moderate governments are run by the rival Sunnis.

Middle East scholar Vali Nasr told the newspaper that Sunni governments were made to look somewhat feckless in their dealings with the hated Jewish state.

"The Shiites can say, 'We performed better than the Sunnis in standing up for our interests,'" Nasr said. "Hezbollah defended little villages in southern Lebanon better than Saddam Hussein defended Baghdad."

The closest Arab U.S. allies in the region, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, are run by Sunnis and have long-running internal opposition from Muslim militants who carry a dislike of the United States.

Iran, considered the primary troublemaker in the Middle East, is considered a Shiite regime as is even the fledgling government in Iraq, the report said.

Despite the gloomy possibilities of an increasingly unfriendly Arab bloc, scholars reminded the Times that the historical schism between Shiites and Sunnis often has local roots and can wax and wane depending on local politics.

Topics: Vali Nasr
© 2006 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Six Flags fight leaves boy critically injured, may have been organized on Twitter Six Flags fight leaves boy critically injured, may have been organized on Twitter
2
Body of missing Realtor Beverly Carter found Body of missing Realtor Beverly Carter found
3
One shot in Albemarle High School shooting, shooter in custody One shot in Albemarle High School shooting, shooter in custody
4
Patient admitted to hospital with potential Ebola virus Patient admitted to hospital with potential Ebola virus
5
$900,000 Porsche Spyder catches fire at gas station $900,000 Porsche Spyder catches fire at gas station
Trending News
x
Feedback