This Is About More Than Sects

Friday, June 27, 2014


Since the violent extremist group ISIS began taking control of large parts of Iraq, a common media narrative has emerged: in the absence of a tyrant or occupying force, sectarian hatred is once again tearing the country apart. Brooke talks with history professor Ibrahim al-Marashi about whether that narrative is actually the best way to look at what's going on in Iraq.


Ibrahim al-Marashi

Hosted by:

Brooke Gladstone

Comments [4]

David Pirtle from DC

The distribution of benefits didn't just happen to fall along sectarian lines. The division of power didn't just happen to fall along sectarian lines.

Jun. 30 2014 12:28 PM
Chris fromTucson from Tucson

al-Marashi analysis was helpful to a point--but he disclaims the simplicity of looking at this as a sectarian conflict ,but then oversimplifies the views that we see in the media and creates strawmen ofhis own. For example, I have heard no one say that resignation of al-Maliki would solve everything. al-Marashi contends that the current conflict is the result of post-colonial ruling practices and injustices (and not sectarianism), as evidenced by instances where sunni may support shia when it is pragmatic to do so and rviceversa. But the attitudes and mores of historical power structures (e.g., Bath party authoritarians) were themselves a product of sectarian viewpoints honed over centuries of mistrust and violence. To say that al-Maliki feared the rise of the Bathists is the same as saying he feared the rise of a sunni led government that would once again oppress and imprision shia. We are looking at centuries of injustice under banners that self-identified as shia or sunni. With such a gestation, it will not be solved in a decade of military action that pretends it can declare peace, hold an election or two,and force the two groups to play nice and live comfortably with each other.

Jun. 30 2014 03:47 AM
Tara Rasheed from Brooklyn, NY

As a American Iraqi Turkmen, the issues in Iraq are personal for my family. This is the best discussion I have heard on the struggle in Iraq, the greater Levant, and the mid east region.

Thank you Mr. Ibrahim al-Marashi for your historical analysis of unfolding politics.

Jun. 29 2014 10:24 AM
Evan from Brooklyn

This guy is full of it.

To characterize the Lebanese civil war as anything but sectarian just because there were political outliers is beyond ridiculous. The Lebanese Civil War wasn't sectarian? When the Maronite militias set up a checkpoint, they would check ID's based on sect, not ideology.

I was waiting to see him say that the fighting in Syria is not sectarian because Sunni extremists are now fighting each other.

And listening to the hostess listening to this idiocy like a hypnotized rabbit just shows once more how a Middle East "expert", especially one with a counter-narrative, can wow a Western journalist.

Jun. 29 2014 10:14 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.