The New York Times proposes to redrawn the map of the Middle East. In fact this isn't such a bad idea, and the map (adjusted by me) makes the current problems more insightful.
- Shia: 2nd largest denomination of Islam, connected with Iran. The current PM of Iraq is a Shia.
- Sunni: largest branch of Islam, connected with Al-Qaeda and Saudi-Arabia. Saddam Hussein was a Sunni.
- Alawite: branch (sekt) of the Shia Islam. The Syrian president is an Alawite.
- The Kurds are ethnically Iranian, while the other people in Iraq and Syria are mainly Arabs.
To make matters more complicated there is a large minority of Turks living in northern Iraq.
The cause of many problems is the artificial Syria-Iraq border splitting the green Sunni area in half, the result of the division of the Middle East between France and England after WW1 (Treaty of Sykes–Picot).
next episode: Maria Buturlina