• Paul-Alexandru SANDA Protocol Section Head, SHAPE, Allied Command Operations


With the invasion of Iraq by a US-led coalition, the West found itself operating in an environment they little understood. Military forces, coming from countries where religious differences did not matter politically, were forced, in planning and executing even the smallest of tactical operations, to take into account the religious specificity of each area, modeled by Islam and by the rift between the two main branches of Islam – Sunni and Shia – rift that can go down to family level.

The same thing is true at strategic level, where the Sunni-Shia conflict, if not correctly understood and assessed, has the potential of making irrelevant or pushing into failure even the most detailed Western plans.



Abdo Geneive, The new sectarianism: the Arab uprisings and the rebirth of the Shi’a-Sunni divide, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2017.
Cave Damien, Refresher course for Congress: Telling Sunni From Shiite,
Fisk Robert, The great war for civilisation. The conquest of the Middle East, Vintage Books, New York, 2005
Hubbard Ben, Karasz Palko, Reed Stanley, Two major Saudi oil installations hit by drone strike, and US blames Iran”,
Nasr Vali, The Shia Revival. How conflicts within Islam will shape the future, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2007.
Scheuer Michael, Marching toward Hell. America and Islam after Iraq, Free Press, New York, 2008.
Takeyk Ray, Guardians of the revolution. Iran and the world in the age of the ayatollahs, Oxford University Press, New York, 2009.
Takeyk Ray, Hidden Iran. Paradox and power in the Islamic Republic, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2006.
Harta Orientului Apropiat și Mijlociu,