The spillover of Syria’s war into Lebanon and Iraq, combined with the widening involvement of Iran and Saudi Arabia, has spawned dire predictions of sectarian conflict engulfing the entire Middle East. But Shia-Sunni tensions are only one layer of a multidimensional conflict, often masking deeper political and economic dynamics.

Carnegie’s Frederic Wehrey discussed these dynamics at length, providing insights from his new book, Sectarian Politics in the Gulf: From the Iraq War to the Arab Uprisings (Columbia University Press, 2013), named one of the best Middle East books of 2013 by Foreign Policy. George Washington University’s Marc Lynch moderated.

Frederic Wehrey

Frederic Wehrey is a senior associate in the Carnegie Middle East Program focusing on North Africa and the Persian Gulf.

Marc Lynch

Marc Lynch is a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University. He is also director of both the Institute for Middle East Studies and the Project on Middle East Political Science.