Bound Volume Number


Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2015

Capstone Advisor

Seth Jolly, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Honors Reader

Hossein Bashiriyeh, Professor of Political Science

Capstone Major

International Relations

Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component



Sunni, Shiite, conflict studies, Middle East, Islam

Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

International Relations | Near and Middle Eastern Studies


The Iraqi state has a long history of division between Sunnis and Shiites. This conflict has often been violent and continues even today. Ultimately, this division dates back to the seventh century after the death of Muhammad. In order to better understand why there is a conflict between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq and not other countries, it is essential to understand the similarities and differences between their ideologies but also how they have been rooted against each other throughout history. Therefore, I begin with a description of the similarities and differences between Sunnis and Shiites to show the common beliefs of both Sunnis and Shiites regarding the Islamic religion and why it is important to respect their differences. Then, it is necessary to determine how the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq began and why it continues today. Lastly, using this knowledge, I will make recommendations to improve the current Iraqi government through a revised consociational democracy model in order to resolve conflict between Sunnis and Shiites.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
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