Since 2003, the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran has occupied a central role in shaping the nature of Middle Eastern politics. Amidst fragmentation of state-society relations across the region, both states have attempted to increase their regional power by exerting influence across a number of proxies along ethnic and religious lines. In Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, both states have cultivated relationships with indigenous groups that has fed into the entrenchment of political and sectarian difference, often spilling over into violence with devastating consequences. The project conducts a comparative analysis of the emergence of proxy conflicts in Bahrain, Iraq and Lebanon, providing a mechanism to reconsider such conflicts through the lens of de-sectarianism, which allows for a greater exploration of the narratives that are used to create cross-border alliances and networks and the socio-economic and communal factors that are often disregarded through sectarian terminology.

 

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