The Shi’a Crescent is a term used to refer to a region spanning three major countries: Iraq, Lebanon, and Iran. These countries each have a large and active population of Shi’a. Shi’a is one of the two main Islamic sects. The thesis finds the formation of a politically unified Shi’a crescent unlikely. It highlights the importance to regard Shi’a identity as a dynamic mechanism that can change the political stage in the Middle East. The study focused on the three intended countries of the proposed crescent. Each was examined thoroughly and independently, in order to compare and contrast common concerns, interest, and circumstances that can lead to a possible unity of Shi’a in the region. Therefore, the research focused on three factors: sociopolitical representation, socioeconomic oppression, and the Shi’a identity. A greater emphasis is given to the reasons that lead Shi’a to maintain a distinct identity, rather than assimilating nationally. Because, maintaining this identity, allows for bids for support and power beyond the state level. It is necessary for the United States to recognize that the regional uses of Shi’a identity have implications for the stability of the states.
Baylouny, Anne Marie
Security Studies (Middle East, South Asia, Sub-saharan Africa)
Naval Postgraduate School
Master of Arts in Security Studies (Middle East, South Asia, Sub-saharan Africa)
National Security Affairs
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.