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Religion or Politics?:An Analysis of Sectarian Relations Between Iran and Saudi Arabia

Kevin Dupont (F19) publishes article in the Cornell Policy Review on the religious division between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Examining the history of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia shows two Muslim-majority nations divided by religious beliefs, committed to nationalism and aggressive policies. This religious division stems from the two major sects of Islam, Shia-ism and Sunnism, to which the majority of Iran and Saudi Arabia respectively adhere. Throughout their recent histories, both states have determined their positions as leaders of their respective Islamic sect, aiming to protect the Shia or Sunni faith from outsiders. These self-created roles have fostered the tumultuous relationship that we see even to this day. Further analysis highlights the role that religion and politics play in their division. Although such agendas play a prominent role, the conflict is inherently a political phenomenon that has grown to foster a complicated division with implications on not just the Middle East, but the entire global community.

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