from The Great Debate:

Podcast: Why the Iran-Saudi showdown is a gift to ISIS

By Jason Fields
January 28, 2016
PARTICIPANTS: Jason Fields, Matthew Gault, Murtaza Hussain

Saudi Arabia executes a cleric who is a member of the Saudi Shi’ite minority. Iran’s government, which sees itself as the leader of the Shi’ite world, doesn’t work very hard to stop an attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran that follows the execution. Saudi Arabia closes its embassy and tensions between the two nations, which had been growing for years, hit a new high.

from The Great Debate:

Will the U.S. fall for Saudi Arabia’s deliberate provocation in killing of Shi’ite cleric?

By Trita Parsi
January 4, 2016

Protesters holding pictures of Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr are pushed back by Iranian riot police during a demonstration against the execution of Nimr in Saudi Arabia, outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran January, 3, 2016. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY.       TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX20VG3

Protesters holding pictures of Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr are pushed back by Iranian riot police outside the Saudi  Embassy in Tehran, January, 3, 2016. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA

from The Great Debate:

Islamic State and the ‘management of savagery’

By Emad Mostaque
November 17, 2015

Islamic State militants lead what are said to be Ethiopian Christians along a beach in Wilayat Barqa, in this still image from an undated video made available on a social media website on April 19, 2015. The video purportedly made by Islamic State and posted on social media sites on Sunday appeared to show militants shooting and beheading about 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya. Reuters was not able to verify the authenticity of the video but the killings resemble past violence carried out by Islamic State, an ultra-hardline group which has expanded its reach from strongholds in Iraq and Syria to conflict-ridden Libya. Libyan officials were not immediately available for comment. Ethiopia said it had not been able to verify whether the people shown in the video were its citizens. REUTERS/Social Media Website via Reuters TV ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY VIDEO. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.  - RTR4XX9A

Islamic State militants lead what are said to be Ethiopian Christians along a beach in Wilayat Barqa, in this still from an undated video, released April 19, 2015. REUTERS/Social Media Website via Reuters TV

from The Great Debate:

How will the war against Islamic State end?

June 19, 2015

Displaced Sunni people fleeing the violence in Ramadi, cross a bridge on the outskirts of Baghdad

Displaced Sunni people fleeing the violence in Ramadi, cross a bridge on the outskirts of Baghdad, May 24, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

from The Great Debate:

Back to Iraq: No really, these troops are just here to advise

By Peter Van Buren
June 16, 2015

An officer from the coalition forces gives advice to Kurdish Peshmerga forces during a training session by coalition forces on how to fight street battles and defend the front lines on the outskirts of Dohuk province

An officer from the coalition forces gives advice to Kurdish Peshmerga forces during a training session on how to fight street battles and defend the front lines on the outskirts of Dohuk province, Iraq, June 15, 2015. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari

from The Great Debate:

While Syria burns next door, Lebanon’s fabric is fraying

By Mohamad Bazzi
June 11, 2015

Lebanon's Hezbollah members carry Hezbollah flags during the funeral of their fellow fighter Adnan Siblini, who was killed while fighting against insurgents in the Qalamoun region, in al-Ghaziyeh village, southern Lebanon

Lebanon's Hezbollah members carry Hezbollah flags during the funeral of their fellow fighter Adnan Siblini, who was killed while fighting against insurgents in the Qalamoun region, in al-Ghaziyeh village, southern Lebanon May 26, 2015. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

from The Great Debate:

To recapture Ramadi from Islamic State, Iraq must use this formula

By Hayder Al-Khoei
May 18, 2015

Displaced Sunni people, who fled the violence in the city of Ramadi, arrive at the outskirts of Baghdad

Displaced Sunnis, who fled the violence in the city of Ramadi, arrive at the outskirts of Baghdad, April 17, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

from The Great Debate:

Why Yemen is tearing itself apart

By Clive Jones
January 23, 2015
 Army soldier stands near a building destroyed during recent fighting between the army and al Qaeda-linked militants in southern Yemeni city of Zinjibar

Yemen is witnessing another bout of instability, as Shi’ite Houthi rebels seized the presidential palace on Tuesday in the capital Sanaa demanding power-sharing concessions from President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is being held as a virtual prisoner in his residence. In the ensuing chaos, some worry about whether the volatile political situation could end up strengthening al Qaeda.

from The Great Debate:

The U.S.-Iran non-alliance alliance against Islamic State

By Aki Peritz and Faris Alikhan
October 29, 2014

Smoke rise over Syrian town of Kobani after an airstrike, as seen from the Mursitpinar crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border

One irony about the fight against Islamic State is that the nations now striking the extremist group the hardest also dislike each other the most.

from The Great Debate:

Avoid a classic blunder: Stay out of religious wars in the Middle East

By Elizabeth A. Cobbs
September 16, 2014

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Muslims in the Middle East are fighting wars of religion. Like the carnage between Protestants and Catholics that haunted Northern Ireland during the last third of the 20th century, there is little anyone can do until local peoples crave peace so intensely they are willing to cultivate it.