Untangling conflict's roots: understanding the Shi'ite and Sunni divide
Conflict, as history tells us, can put down very deep roots. Long-lived, it can consume great quantities of time--weeks, months, years--and even centuries.
One such conflict is the long-standing rift between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims, which has generated so many headlines and claimed the attention of the international community.
For those who wish to understood the origins of the rancorous division between Sunni and Shi'ite, Time Magazine has done an excellent job of untangling its roots in "Behind the Sunni-Shi'ite Divide".
Meanwhile, at Maps of War, you can view the "Imperial History of the Middle East"--5000 years of shifting control depicted in a 90-second animation.