Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East


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Copyright NPR. A popular, British science-fiction TV show about a time-traveler would seem to have few parallels with the Syrian civil war.

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But one Syrian activist sees some apt comparisons. When Syrian President Bashar Assad was re-elected for a third term in office this week — in a tightly controlled election in which official results showed The Turkish border city of Gaziantep becomes more Syrian by the day. New waves of refugees have arrived since January.

In the market, Syrian craftsmen hammer out copper pots and plates, as they did back home in Aleppo. In Iran, hardline critics are waging a campaign against President Hassan Rouhani to limit his campaign pledge of opening Iran to more social and cultural freedoms. The "culture wars" are as old as the Islamic revolution that swept conservative clerics to power more than three decades ago. The latest chapter comes as Rouhani is negotiating a nuclear deal with six world powers.

He has the backing of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to continue the nuclear discussions, but cultural hardliners are stepping up the domestic pressure. The Syrian civil war has been a major headache for President Obama.

Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile and Upheaval in the Middle East by Deborah Amos: review

Critics at home and abroad, like Saudi Arabia, where the president was on Friday, have urged the U. But the U. Iran and Syria have been close allies for decades. And in Iran, discussions about Syria are surprisingly frank, complex and demonstrate growing divisions over how to handle a costly war that has no end in sight.


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On a sunny afternoon in the dusty, overcrowded Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, a group of Syrian girls recites a familiar pledge and hope to change their future. The youngsters promise to serve God and country, to help people at all times and live by the laws of the Girl Scouts.


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For months, a military stalemate has defined the war in Syria. Now, a new strategy is emerging as Western allies and Gulf states step up support for rebels in southern Syria. Along Jordan's northern border, Syrian rebels say they are unifying their fractious ranks, urged to unite by Western and Arab intelligence operatives who work in a covert command center in Jordan's capital. At the National Theater in downtown Tehran, "Waiting for Godot" seems to have captured the mood of a country.

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The Irish playwright, Samuel Beckett dramatized endless waiting in vain for someone named Godot. The play, translated into Farsi, got a standing ovation on the night I attended.

The characters, in classic white suits, black top hats and black shoes, took endless bows as the audience whistled and clapped. Iran is starting to see a re-launch of activist groups following the election last year of President Hassan Rouhani. But this particular disappointment also re-inflames a conflict between Sunni and Shia that has raged for many centuries.

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Of the profound Dislocation and destabilization of the Sunni Muslims and its impact on the politics and culture of the Middle East. Two million Sunni Muslims displaced or exiled by the conflict in Iraq have spread across the Middle East.

From Ammam. Jordan to Beirut and particularly to Damascus in Syria Deborah Amos - an award-winning correspondent for America's National Public Radio - follows the impact of one of the great migrations of modern times. The history of the Middle East tells us that one of the greatest problems of the last forty years has been that of a displaced population.

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Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East
Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East
Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East
Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East
Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East
Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East
Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East

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