Gulf becomes fault line for Sunni–Shi’ite tensions

06.06.2011                      4.Siwan, 5771                      Tag 48 des Omer


Gulf becomes fault line for Sunni–Shi'ite tensions

The war of words between Gulf countries and Iran is growing sharper and is increasing the risk of becoming a real conflict.

Being a Saudi soccer fan is no fun these days. The reason has little to do with the players' sportsmanship, but with the abuses fans have been forced to put up with in recent matches in Iran. "Death to Saudi Arabia," shouted the Iranian fans during a game between the Iranian club of Piroozi and the Saudi club of Al-Ittihad May 3, as they tried to burn a Saudi flag.
On both sides of the Gulf – a body of water whose name is even a source of contention with a debate on whether it should be the Persian or Arab Gulf – tensions have risen both in the corridors of power and on the street. But rather than being defined as a struggle over national interests, both sides are determined to cast in religious terms – another chapter in a thousand-year-old contest between the Sunni and Shi'ite branches if Islam. And, unlike in the past, both sides are ready to talk about it openly, thereby fanning the flames….