The Middle East has turned itself into a battlefield in which the age-old fault-line within Islam – the unbridgeable divide between the Shi’ite and Sunni traditions – is being made manifest in bloodshed and terror. The main protagonists, all professing profound allegiance to the Islamic faith, have engaged themselves in a life-and-death struggle with opponents not only outside their own camp, but sometimes within it. The Islamic Republic of Iran, proclaiming itself the leader of Shia Islam, declares that its ultimate objective is to become the dominant religious force within the Muslim faith and the dominant political force in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, which contains within its borders the two great bastions of the faith, Mecca and Medina, is acknowledged as the custodian of the Sunni tradition of Islam. Challenging Saudi Arabia for Sunni dominance is the Johnny-come-lately, self-styled Islamic State (IS), which claims to be on a mission to create a new caliphate to embrace first the Middle East and eventually the whole world. It demands the allegiance of every Muslim, Sunni or not.