sectarianism   1166

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Social Engineering in Samarra - TCF
Some local Sunnis see eye to eye with the Shia security forces. Mohamed Izzat, a journalist at the privately owned Al Sharqiya television station, said that the Islamic State, and before it, al-Qaeda, cultivated a wide following among the governorate’s rural residents and police forces. Approximately 90 percent Samarra’s police officers, he said, were fired after 2014 for suspected Islamic State ties. “Uneducated rural people accept the ideas of al-Qaeda. They only trust religious leaders,” Izzat said. “Change should start from the early stages of elementary school.”34

Sadr’s gamble in Samarra is that it is possible to create new facts on the ground and new loyalties. Reformist and nationalist Iraqis, in turn, argue that the Sadrist experiment can create a blueprint for Iraq to move forward, regardless of whether that is Sadr’s true intention. Paralysis and consensus dominate national negotiations. On a local level, however, powerful figures are freer to act. In Samarra, a new authority has shaped a new local order, pushing aside some individuals and tribes that were accustomed to greater power, and investing in new alliances that are committed to cooling sectarian allegiances and forging new ideological and economic networks. As several Iraqis noted in interviews, corruption and violence aren’t problems for Sunnis, Shia, or Kurds: they are problems for all Iraqis. A mess of militia fiefdoms and political infighting—pushed to the breaking point by a generational crisis of politics, security, and the economy—has produced a raft of experiments in collaborative rule. New partnerships are forging new communities and identities, continuous with existing blocs and identities but diverging in significant ways. The nationalist and other trans-sectarian formations under development are precarious and deeply flawed; none are likely to transform Iraq. They do, however, suggest the shape of models for reversing the fragmentation and sectarian mobilization that began in 2003, and build a more inclusive and malleable political community of interests, rather than of identities.
Iraq  sectarianism  Sadr  Shia  Sunni  ISIS 
may 2019 by elizrael
Sudan protests: Omar al-Bashir exploited ethnic division for decades. Now Sudan is united against him. - The Washington Post, Jan 20, 2019
But interspersed among the ­anti-Bashir chants that have become the soundtrack of this uprising is a bitter phrase that underlines the unprecedented power of these protests: “Oh, you arrogant racist, we are all Darfur.”

After decades of successfully exploiting Sudan’s racial divides between ethnic Arabs who live along the Nile River and ethnic Africans in Sudan’s Darfur region, a new generation is fed up and is hoping ethnic solidarity against Bashir will lead to his downfall.

“It just does not work anymore,” said Osman Ahmad, one of the young protesters on the streets of the capital, Khartoum. “They may have successfully divided us in the past, and it worked on our parents and grandparents. But it’s not working on us, the new generation. We are on to them.”
Sudan  protests  sectarianism 
february 2019 by elizrael
Everyday Experiences of Sectarianism in Kuwait and Bahrain - Maydan, Aug 2018
Most academic literature focusing on sectarianism suggests that key (and often elite) agents, so-called ‘sectarian entrepreneurs,’ use sectarianism to form alliances, play a game of divide and rule, or claim legitimacy vis-à-vis others. One of the most important contributors to the study of sectarianism in the Gulf, Toby Matthiesen, the author of Sectarian Gulf, defines the ‘sectarian identity entrepreneur’ as a particularly strong individual who ‘capitalizes on certain forms of identity [seeing how] collective identities can be used as a political resource.’ This perspective certainly grasps a key issue in regards to sectarianism, which shows how central agents use it to gain power. But while I also explore sectarian experiences in my research, I rather focus primarily on what may be termed ‘sectarian non-entrepreneurs.’ Thus I zoom into how ‘ordinary’ people – rather than particularly strong individuals –  experience, accept, and reproduce sectarian dichotomies in their everyday interactions. While they might do so unwillingly, these quotidian experiences still reveal the importance of sectarian identifications and imaginaries in the society, particularly in the  contemporary Gulf. Bahrain and Kuwait may be low-conflict zones compared to Iraq and Syria, but still sectarian identification forms a key part of the structure of these societies.
Kuwait  Bahrain  Shia  sectarianism  poli-sci  identity 
december 2018 by elizrael
Identity and State Formation in Multi-Sectarian MENA Societies: Relations between Nationalism and Sectarianism | Middle East Centre, Sep 9, 2018
The identity patterns in a society can be seen as ranged along an inclusionary–exclusionary continuum, with for example civic nationalism (coexisting with banal sectarianism) high in inclusion, while a society polarised by militant sectarianism is highly exclusionary. Arguably more inclusive identities focused on the territorial state enable and foster more inclusive, hence robust, state institutions and vice versa. In the middle cases typical of the MENA region, hybrid versions of state building such as neo-patrimonialism build on and then reproduce mixtures of instrumental sectarianism and nationalism. The stability of states depends on the latter containing the former.
nationalism  middle_east  sectarianism  elite  poli-sci 
december 2018 by elizrael
How to Encourage Shiites and Sunnis to Get Along? Lessons from a Study in Lebanon. – Political Violence at a Glance, Nov 1, 2018
The study took place in Beirut, Lebanon’s capital, and entailed interactions between 360 Shia and Sunni residents of the city in 60 small mixed-sect groups. We wanted to establish whether cooperation across sectarian lines might increase as a result of exposure to an appeal to cooperate from experts and, separately, as a consequence of debating the benefits of cooperation in mixed-sect groups.

We found that a pro-cooperation appeal by experts does indeed increase cross-sectarian cooperation but only of the unconditional, selfless variety, whereby participants become more willing to transfer financial resources to a person from a different sect and to support candidates from the opposite sect in simulated elections. Conditional cooperation—that is, cooperation that entails calculations about the likelihood of reciprocal action—is unaffected by expert appeals. This is probably because trust is a pre-requisite for expectations of reciprocity, and expert appeals fail to increase cross-sectarian trust, as we demonstrate in the study.

Surprisingly, participation in a mixed-sect discussion about the benefits of cooperation does not increase either conditional or unconditional cooperation.
coexistence  poli-sci  Lebanon  Shia  Sunni  sectarianism 
december 2018 by elizrael
Yemen on the brink: how the UAE is profiting from the chaos of civil war | Ghaith Abdul-Ahad | News | The Guardian
In fact, it is no longer even a single war. It began as a conflict with two clear antagonists – the Saudi-led coalition allied with the government versus the Houthi militia supported by Iran. But the force and funding of outside intervention – especially from the UAE – has helped to fragment the war into multiple conflicts and local skirmishes that will not necessarily be ended by any peace agreement. Yemen is now a patchwork of heavily armed fiefdoms and chaotic areas, where commanders, war profiteers and a thousand bandit kings, like Ayman Askar, thrive.

There is a regional war between the north and the south – which were separate and often warring states before 1990. There is a sectarian conflict between Zaidi Shias, such as the Houthis, and Sunni Salafis. Beyond these major fault lines are many smaller conflicts, inflamed and aggravated by the money and weapons supplied by outside forces to anyone seen to advance their agenda.

The government of Yemen – with scores of ministers and deputy ministers – is dysfunctional and corrupt, and since 2015 has been in exile in a Saudi hotel compound. It has an army of more than 200,000 troops, although many of them haven’t been paid, or exist as ghost soldiers – names on a list, whose salaries are siphoned off by their commanding officers.

The Saudi-led coalition itself is riddled with conflicts and rivalries, with each of its principal members following a separate agenda and plotting against the others. In Taiz, a city in central Yemen that has been besieged and shelled by the Houthis for more than three years, the fighters on the coalition side are split into more than two dozen separate military factions – including local militias backed and sponsored by the UAE, as well as al-Qaida and other jihadis. Some fighters switch sides according to who is offering funds.
UAE  Yemen  civilWar  al-Qaeda  SaudiArabia  Houthis  separatism  sectarianism  MiddleEast 
december 2018 by petej
Mohammed Bin Salman; A Prince Who Should Not Become A King » Deep State Radio Network
In a meeting with current and former U.S officials in Washington during his last visit in the Spring, crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman said that he was interested in spending up to a hundred million dollars to arm the “Lebanese Forces”, the civil war Christian militia turned political party to transform it from a political adversary of Hezbollah into a lethal enemy. According to a participant in the meeting, the crown prince found no interest in this scheme either in Washington or in Beirut. Contrary to its name, this political party does not have an armed wing and its leadership has disavowed publicly the use of force.

Last year Mohammed Bin Salman sought to recruit The Palestinians residing in refugee camps in Lebanon in his efforts to check Hezbollah, arguably the most effective non-state actor in the world and Iran premier Satrapy in the region. Reasoning that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would join the informal regional anti-Iranian alliance of Saudi Arabia, its Gulf allies, Egypt and Israel, now that the Hamas movement, his rival in Gaza has moved to restore its military and financial relations with Tehran. In a hastily arranged meeting with Mr. Abbas in the kingdom last year the crown prince broached his scheme. Unconfirmed reports say that the Palestinian leader demurred, and then politely rejected the proposal. An Israeli article claimed that confronting Hezbollah and Iran in Lebanon were the main reasons for the meeting, adding “Playing on these sectarian tensions, the Saudi leadership is looking to recruit the more than 300,000 Palestinians living in Lebanon refugee camps to take part in any future conflict with Hezbollah there.” These wild schemes are consistent with the crown prince’s anger at his Lebanese ally Prime Minister Saad Hariri, because of his supposed failure to take a strong stand against Iran and Hezbollah, which led him to force Hariri’s resignation.
Egypt  Lebanon  sectarianism  Yemen  Iran  Saudi-Arabia  MbS  civil_war  ForeignFighters  foreign_policy  reform 
december 2018 by elizrael
Tracing the Rise of Sectarianism in Iraq after 2003 | Middle East Centre, Sep 13, 2018
The arguments developed have sought to move beyond the instrumentalism central to the sectarianisation thesis. For example, although Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has long been deeply committed to a unitary political field in which a civic Iraqi nationalism was meant to marginalise sectarianism, his backing of the UIA as a vehicle for Shi’a empowerment inadvertently led to the interpolation of Shia’s as Shia’s and increased the sectarianisation of Iraq’s political field.
sectarianism  Iraq  politics  Sistani  al-Alawi 
november 2018 by elizrael

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