Forum, Futuribles Journal n° 336


The Shiite Awakening. The New Face of Civil War


From the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran to the recent collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, the "Shiite question" has regularly been mentioned but seldom analysed in depth, even though it plays an essential role in the regional equilibrium and, increasingly, the gap is widening between this minority strand within Islam (fewer than 15% of Muslims) and the majority denomination (the Sunni). François Zabbal provides a portrait of Shiism here: the identity, history and political involvements of Shiites (from Iran to the Lebanese Hezbollah, not forgetting Palestine), their presence in the Middle East etc. He touches also on the "Shiite revival" (particularly in the area of philosophy) and discusses the possibility of a Shiite axis developing around Iran that could lead to a break up of the Middle East along the lines of recent Iraqi experience, one of the consequences of which is to have put off the prospect of any kind of Arab or Islamic unity for many years.

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