It doesn't take rocket science to figure out that the Middle East is a mess. And that religion lies behind much of the violence.
While U.S. policymakers tend to cite a few bad actors, such as Iran, blame is in fact widely shared. America's allies-Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, for instance-are hardly paragons of religious tolerance. And Washington's failure to understand the Middle East's religious character played an important role exacerbating sectarian violence which has become so pervasive.