Jon's Reviews > The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future

The Shia Revival by Vali Nasr
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's review
Jul 07, 2008

really liked it
Read in April, 2008

Nasr falls on the sectarian side of the debate over how the contemporary and future Middle East will organize itself. Unlike scholars such as Moshe Ma'oz--who argue that local and regional balances of power will define the Middle East's power struggles and hotspots--Nasr understands the future of the Middle East in terms of a general split along Sunni-Shi'i lines. According to this logic, major cleaveages cut across--as opposed to along or within--national borders. As a result, the differences between Sunnis and Shi'is within Iraq supercede the differences between Arab Shi'i in Iraq and Persian Shi'i in Iran (for example). On the whole, Nasr's well-researched and thoroughly-argued scholarship leads one to predict an extremely volatile and polarized region where the "Shi'i Crescent" of Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus, and southern Lebanon confront Riyadh, Amman, Cairo, Beirut, and Anbar across a deep sectarian Gulf.

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