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However, the most significant trend shaping the region today is something different – Sunnis versus Shiites.Iraq, a major Arab state, would now be ruled by Shiites.In the 1960s and 1970s, the only Shiite power, Iran, was ruled by the shah, whose regime was neither religious nor sectarian.Saudi Arabia's governing ideology of Wahhabi Islam was always opposed to Shiites.Add up last weekend's execution of a prominent Shiite preacher, the break with Iran, the war in Yemen and Saudi policy toward Syria, and you see a more assertive, aggressive and sectarian foreign policy than Saudi Arabia has ever pursued.About 10 percent to 15 percent of Saudi Arabia is Shiite, and they live in the Eastern province, atop the kingdom's oil fields. Neighboring Bahrain and Yemen are now filled with resentful Shiites, who see Saudi Arabia as repressing them. And Iran will surely react to Saudi actions over time.In general, the United States should support Saudi Arabia in resisting Iran's encroachments in the region, but it should not take sides in the broader sectarian struggle.
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