The Myth of Sunni Power

March 28, 2011 Topic: ReligionSecurity Region: BahrainIranUnited StatesSaudi Arabia

The Myth of Sunni Power

The West's accepted wisdom says align with the Sunnis, especially the Al Sauds. But the real strength lies with the Shia.

It is simply dishonest to support human rights, freedom and the right of people to determine their future in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen and to ignore them in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the GCC. US duplicity has begun to enrage Shia throughout the Middle East. Chants in Bahrain already confirm it: protesters shouting death to the Al-Khalifas and Al-Sauds are also asking whether their rights are less important than those of people marching in the streets in Egypt, Libya and Yemen. If the US does not adopt an evenhanded approach to upholding basic human rights in the region, the disenfranchised Shia will start including Washington on their list of oppressors. It is high time for the US to recognize how closely aligned its national interests are with those of the Shia communities in the area that is at the "heart" of the Middle East.