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Apr 5, 2016

The Arab uprisings began with seemingly secular cries for ousting dictatorships. But five years on, the initial unity with a state purpose has eroded into a sectarian conflict in some countries and all out war in others. The strife focuses upon this question: Who is a Muslim and who is an unbeliever? Non-state actors, in particular, who claim a monopoly on religious interpretation, are the key drivers of the conflict. The geopolitical rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia is also fueling the violence. Can there be a resolution or is the region doomed to violence for the foreseeable future?

Geneive Abdo  is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. Abdo specializes in issues regarding modern Iran and political Islam. She published in April 2013 a monograph for Brookings, The New Sectarianism: The Arab Uprisings and the Rebirth of the Shi’a-Sunni Divide.


View her PowerPoint here.