'This remarkably nuanced study of Shiite politics in the Gulf region looks at the increasing visibility of Shiism there beyond the stereotyped narratives of sectarian conflict, minority identity and Iranian policy that are generally invoked to describe the character of Arab Shiism. Louer gives us a fascinating account of the related yet different historical processes that define Shiite politics and identity in Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.' - Faisal Devji, Reader at St Antony's College, University of Oxford 'This is an especially coherent and informative book.' - Foreign Affairs 'Louer is supremely qualified to write on the countries where Shiites constitute significant portions of the population ... Highly recommended.' - CHOICEVom Verlag:
This book illuminates the historical origins and present situation of militant Shia transnational networks by focusing on three key countries in the Gulf, Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, whose Shia Islamic groups are the offspring of Iraqi movements. The reshaping of the area's geopolitics after the Gulf War and the fall of Saddam Hussein in April 2003 have had a profound impact on transnational Shiite networks, pushing them to focus on national issues in the context of new political opportunities. For example, from being fierce opponents of the Saudi monarchy, Saudi Shiite militants have tended to become upholders of the Al-Sa'ud dynasty.The question remains, however, how deeply in society have these new beliefs taken root? Can Shiites be Saudi or Bahraini patriots? Louer concludes her book by analysing the transformation of the Shia' movements' relation to central religious authority, the marja', who reside either in Iraq and Iran. This is all the more problematic when the marja' is also the head of a state, as with Ali Khamenei of Iran, who has many followers in Bahrain and Kuwait.
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