An age-old schism between Sunni and Shiite Muslims now inflaming relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran dates back to the founding of Islam. Today, the divide is unleashing new fury in an era of instant communication.
The latest flare-up in resentment between the two branches came over the weekend after Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia executed a renowned Shiite cleric who had spoken out against oppression of the country's Shiite minority. That prompted protesters in Shiite-majority Iran to set fires at the Saudi embassy in Tehran.
Saudi Arabia, which responded by severing diplomatic ties with Iran, said Monday it suspended all flights to and from Iran. Saudi allies Bahrain and Sudan also cut ties with Iran, and another ally, the United Arab Emirates, said it will downgrade diplomatic relations with Tehran.
Some analysts draw a rough correlation of the Sunni-Shiite split with the Protestant-Catholic divide.
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"In Christendom, Catholics and Protestants have killed each other for hundreds of years, and it was pretty bloody in many places. It seems we're seeing that repeated here," said Elliot Abrams, former foreign policy adviser to Presidents Reagan and George W. Bush.Read the rest of the story HERE.
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