Sectarian tension is boiling across the Middle East, driven partly by unequal access to political power in the mixed Sunni-Shiite societies and exacerbated by the rivalry between the Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran.
Last week I wrote about the sectarian kidnappings that are dragging Lebanon deeper into the quagmire of the conflict in Syria. Many Lebanese Shiites feel threatened by the uprising next door, which could bring to power a Sunni-dominated governmentin Syria.
This would break the territorial link between the Lebanese Shiite party Hezbollah and its backers in Iran. Which is precisely why Saudi Arabia, a Sunni superpower and Iran's chief Muslim rival, is sponsoring the Syrian rebellion.
I also wrote about Al Qaeda-linked extremists in Iraq, who are trying to reignite sectarian violence by tapping into Sunni resentment of the Shiite-dominated central government. Meanwhile, the Shiites in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia demand more political and economic rights, but the Sunni governments in the two countries accuse Iran of inciting the protests.
You can now follow these developments on my new page, the Sunni-Shiite Tension in the Middle East, a country-by-country guide to the main sectarian hotspots in the region.
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