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Iraq is “the center of Iranian heritage, culture, and identity,” Ali Younesi, a former intelligence minister, declared in a March 8 speech in which he talked about a “greater Iran” stretching to the Gulf and even parts of the Indian subcontinent.
With the collapse of governments and the breaking up of Arab states, religious visionaries and fanatics—from Sunni jihadists to militant Shiites—have filled the void with the aim of establishing transnational power.
The American-protected Shia-dominated government that had taken power in Baghdad was only making matters worse with its promotion of a sectarian brand of politics.
“If sectarianism deepens and spreads, its destructive effect will reflect on everyone,” he said. Bush’s war of choice ousting Saddam Hussein to President Barack Obama’s resolve to seal a nuclear deal with Tehran come what may—have failed to consider, or to credit, the likely long-term consequences. politicians and policymakers approach the region and its sectarian divisions with an almost ahistorical mentality, failing to appreciate that the Shia-Sunni (and Arab-Persian) animosity is real and contemporary, and not some feud long ago consigned to the dusty shelves of unused libraries.
Ahmadi or Ahmadiyya A religious movement that emerged in late 19th-century India around Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908), whose followers believe he was a mujaddid (reformer) who showed the way to revive and restore Islam.
Alawite or Alawi A sect of Shia Islam centered in Syria that highly venerates Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, and incorporates elements of Gnostic teachings.
Historically, the community has placed less emphasis than other sects on the role of daily prayer, fasting during Ramadan and performing the hajj.
Alevite or Alevi A sect combining elements from Shia Islam and Sufi traditions.It was founded in Algeria and has spread throughout much of North Africa, Europe and the Levant. It is found predominantly in Turkey and the Balkan countries.In Albania, it is recognized as an official religious order.He cautioned, “Irrespective of their governments, people have a sensitivity to their land, and this talk provokes people’s sensitivities.”But for the Gulf’s Sunni monarchies Younesi’s boast of Iran being born an empire is in keeping with Iranian practice.In the time of the Shah, before the Islamic Revolution, they worried about Iranian (that is, Persian and Shiite) hegemony as well.The king was warning about the consequences of the U.