Who's who

Jul 2016
Dengie Peninsula
Being a thick Westerner I find it very difficult to track who is fighting who, and why! Can anyone tell me if my understanding of Middle East affairs are right, or, more probably wrong.I can just about understand the schism between Shia and Sunni, after all England had the same sort of problem between Protestant and Catholic about 400 years ago! I think it was Henry Ford (He of car fame) who said that "The only thing that History has taught us is that History has never taught us anything"
So , Here goes.
Iran Yemen Are Shia
Iraq has a ruling Sunni party , but a Shia majority.
Saudi is Wahabi , which is Sunni under a more extreme name.
Bahrain has a Shia majority , but a Sunni Government, back up by Saudi.
The fast disappearing Al Qada are/were Sunni.
Yemen had a Sunni Government, which was recently overthrown by non Sunnis of some description, thus allowing Saudi to bomb anyone there at will.
As for Syria, I know that Assad is in power , supported by the Russkies, But I am not quite sure who he is fighting!
The Kurds want their own country and will fight anyone.

If anyone can tell me which of the above statements is wrong, and indeed, put me right ,it would be appreciated .
By the way, I think Egypt should stand a million miles away from what is going on!
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May 2017
Hello tuesdayschild. It's understandable why you're confused; things can get confusing even for me at times!

Here are the corrections: Yemen is not Shia majority, around 65% are Sunnis and the remaining 35% are Shia. As for Iraq, it is indeed a Shia majority country; but the government's not Sunni. The president is a Sunni but the prime minister and many ministers in the government are Shiites.

As for Syria, Assad's an Alawite but similar to Iraq, his government is multi-sectarian and the cabinet and army both are Sunni majority. He's fighting armed opposition factions which include the Free Syrian Army and terrorist groups such as al-Nusra (Syria's al-Qaeda) and the HTS, as well as ISIS.

The Iraqi Kurds do want their own state, but Syria's Kurds allegedly don't, they've been seeking autonomy and later a federation with the central government in Damascus according to their own words.

Hope this was of help!
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Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
South of the barcodes
As for Syria, I know that Assad is in power , supported by the Russkies, But I am not quite sure who he is fighting!

As JaddHaidar said, Syria is multi-denomination, the majority are Sunni but there are large Shia populations as well as smaller groups of Christians, Yezidi, Druze, Alawites etc

the Kurds are also split along religious lines but are a different cultural/ethnic group

The fighting started as a protest against government mismanagement of the economy and the slowing of cultural and police reforms the Assad government had started due to economic problems.

It then turned into a power grab by sections of the Sunni supported by the UAE and Saudi as well as non-state groups like IS and Al-Quaida which was countered by an influx of Shia manpower from Iran

So its two different wars happening in the same country with additional players jumping in (Russia, USA, Turkey, Israel) to influence or support their preferred faction.

At Each Kilometer

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
@JaddHaidar I have a question regarding Syriac christians. Those who identify themselves as Arameans are in fact Arabs, Arabic is their native language?

At Each Kilometer

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
Actually, many of them speak Syriac and in the towns of Maaloula, Jubb'adin and Bakhah, Aramaic.
Thanks. The official language of the state is Arabic, but their native language is Syriac.

Another question if you dont mind, connected with the linguistics. Do you have French and Ottoman Turkish loanwords in your Arabic? My own native language has certain amount of Ottoman Turkish loanwords due to being eyalets/vilayets of the Ottoman empire for many centuries and because i know this was also the case with ur ppl i am wondering about the extent of influence of this foreign language.