Sunni–Shi'a relations and the Iran–Saudi security dynamic

Authored by: Simon Mabon , Nic Coombs

Routledge Handbook on Middle East Security

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138749894
eBook ISBN: 9781315180113
Adobe ISBN:


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In the years after the Arab uprisings, the rivalry between Sunni and Shi'a has become increasing viewed as the source of all geopolitical uncertainty that has characterized the region. Underpinned by the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, this view suggests that religious identities have been mobilized as part of a broader theological struggle. In contrast, this chapter refutes such claims, instead, placing them within political and social contexts.

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