Behind the Sunni-Shi’ite Divide

Posted on February 24, 2007 in History | 4 comments

Time Magazine just published an extensive article explain the history of the problems between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslim placed in the context of Iraq. Students have asked me if I think we will “win” the war in Iraq. While trying not to show any bias, I express my opinion (and I do mention that it is my opinion) that winning is much more complicated in Iraq because of the historic problems between these two groups of people. It seems like Bush’s plan never really accounted for this long history of conflict and oppression. Let alone the lack of a democratic tradition.

Next year this article will be required reading for my students when we study the origins of Islam.


  1. Do you find it hard to keep your personal beliefs and opinions to yourself when having classroom discussions with your students?

  2. And the problems in Iraq are not just on the religious axis. There’s also the Arab-Kurd divide. There’s no way you can craft majority rule in a country polarized by so many anitpathies. Which means democracy is an empty word.

  3. I will definitely include this link in my after thoughts on my student projects about the Iraq War this semester.


    & I agree with Ms. Cornelius and her opinion.

  4. You may be interested in this link from NPR Radio
    It’s a 5 part series on the origin of the Sunni-Shiite split.

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