The centuries old conflict between Sunnis and Shiites cropped up once again, but this time in the tiny nation of Bahrain. The native born population of the island kingdom is small and there is heavy dependance on labor from other countries. Thousands of Shiites have flocked to Bahrain, but the government is not interested in granting them citizenship rights because if their numbers grew large they would at some future point in time become the majority. About 12,000 Shiites in Bahrain marched in protest against discrimination and argued the government was more willing to grant citizenship to Sunni immigrants from Syria and other Arab nations which were predominantly Sunni in composition.
The issue of Israel in one sense diverts attention from other divisive potentialities such as a conflict between Sunni and Shiites in the Middle East. It would be interesting as to what would happen if Israel reached peace agreements with Arab nations in the region. Would Israel slip to the back burner as historic religious issues come to the fore front?