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Raymond Hinnebusch

Persian core flanked by Azerbaijanis, Kurds, Turkomans, Arabs and Baluchis. Religious pluralism is even more striking: Sunni Muslims are the majority community in the Arab world, but not in particular states (Lebanon, Iraq) while Shi’a Muslims, the majority in Iran, spill across the Arab region where they are pivotal minorities or deprived majorities in Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, and Lebanon. Several Shi’a offshoots, notably the Druze, Ismailis and Alawis are historically important in Syria and Lebanon, while the Zaydis dominate Yemen. Offshoots of the purist Kharijites

in The international politics of the Middle East
Open Access (free)
Simon Mabon

political space. While serving as a means of ensuring that all groups can express their views and grievances amid historical conditions of extreme poverty, marginalisation and violence,80 the system is flawed in the sense that it constitutionalises and enshrines sectarian difference in the political realm, creating a system that is easily deadlocked by veto powers.81 Although religious values have provided some actors with the ability to shape regional affairs, context remains central to such capacity. Some Shi’a Muslims in Lebanon, aware of the need to operate within a

in Houses built on sand
Simon Mabon

, different contexts and their socio-​ economic, historical, cultural contingencies only serve to facilitate transgression and diffusion; for example, a Muslim in the UK has a different set of experiences and context-​specific practices to a Muslim in Indonesia, while a Muslim in Israel has a different way of life to a Muslim in Oman. At a more micro level, a Sunni Muslim in Saudi Arabia will have a different set of beliefs, practices and experiences to a Shi’a Muslim from the same state. The nomos then becomes the arena for the interaction of a set of normative structures

in Houses built on sand
Simon Mabon

methods of control used by rulers that were argued to be necessary to prevent a spiral into chaos similar to the Lebanese civil war. There is little doubt that political life in Lebanon was shaped by the fifteen-​year long civil war that drew in all aspects of society. During the civil war, Shi’a groups gained greater representation as seen in the establishment of Hizballah in 1982, reflecting both the socio-​economic conditions facing Shi’a Muslims in the country but also the failings of Amal who, at that time, dominated political representation of the Shi’a.31 As we

in Houses built on sand
Susanne Martin
Leonard Weinberg

-Russian separatists is another example. Violence within larger religious communities – for example, Sunni Muslims battling Shi‘a Muslims in Iraq – suggests the relevance of differences within these communities in addition to differences between them. Conflicts have not arisen in all places where the borders of civilizations intersect. The arrival of the “new” terrorism has coincided with these developments.75 Observers saw this “new” terrorism as exhibiting certain distinctive features.76 First, while the groups belonging to the earlier manifestation of terrorism “wanted a lot of

in The role of terrorism in twenty-first-century warfare