Challenges for America in the Middle East offers a comprehensive and contemporary analysis of the foreign policy challenges the United States faces in the Middle East. It takes a close look at the critical policy dilemmas posed by radical Islam, the Arab Spring, the Shia Crescent, and Israel–#x2013;Palestine relations. Authors Richard W. Mansbach and Kirsten L. Taylor examine the issues from a historical perspective and in the context of the current state of affairs, and analyze options for future action. Throughout the text, they emphasize the interplay of foreign and domestic issues in the United States and overseas, and show how that interplay shapes American policy towards the region.

The Shia Crescent
The Shia Crescent

The Sunni–Shia divide: Sunni Islamic extremists believe that followers of Shia Islam are not “true” Muslims and regard them as apostates.

Part IV of the book focuses on American relations with the Shia Islamic states—Iran and Iraq. It examines the thorny U.S.–Iranian relationship, the links of both America and Iran to Iraq and other Shia Muslims in the Middle East, and the hostility between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Unlike most of the Arab world, which is Sunni Muslim, non-Arab Iran is largely Shia, as is Arab Iraq, with about 60 to 65 percent Shia and 32 to 37 percent Sunni Muslims. Around 15 to 20 percent of Iraqis are ethnic Kurds who are predominantly Sunni and who share a common ...

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