The Middle East could erupt in flames at any given time due to escalating hostilities between Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq, Syria and neighboring countries. This turmoil can be directly attributed to the use of the age old Roman imperial strategy of "divide and conquer", i.e., winning by getting one's opponents to fight against each other.
So when we look for the reasons for this massive Middle East turbulence we need look no further than the reckless, mindless foreign policy actions of the Bush/Cheney administration that devastated and totally destabilized the nation of Iraq beginning in 2003.
Talk about critically important events in history. Just think if these war hawks had not been elected in 2001 there would have been no attack, invasion and occupation of Iraq and the world would not be witnessing the current extremely volatile situation that could set the Middle East on fire.
Right now Iraq and Syria are like time bombs about to go off, just waiting for a spark to ignite them. This strategy of divide and conquer designed by Bush/Cheney is not working in the way it was intended and is, in fact, backfiring to the point that we are watching any number of dangerous confrontations between these two main opposing factions, the Shias and the Sunnis, take place in many countries within the Middle East, with Iraq being the potential ignition point for a widespread regional war.
Bush/Cheney launched the crazed War on Terror, which included the attack on Iraq, when Al-Qaeda was a relatively small group of Islamist radicals but which now has steadily grown in numbers and become active in an increasing number of countries. What we now have is the emergence of the Sunni ISIS, "The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria", supposedly an offshoot of Al-Qaeda but with an agenda of its own, primarily operating in Syria and Iraq.
While the Middle East has been a simmering cauldron over a long period of time, with the U.S. and its Western allies stirring the pot, what's happening now is becoming more than alarming as so many Middle Eastern countries have become involved. Syria, as we know, is in the midst of a horrific civil war with the Shia-connected government fighting against the ISIS and various other elements of Sunni jihadists.
Here's how this turmoil could be exacerbated to the point that it sets the Middle East ablaze. It's no secret that Iran, a largely Shiite nation, has been very active in Iraq and in aiding that country's Shiite-controlled government; in fact, Iran recently sent a contingent of its Revolutionary Guards Quds into that country and it has also deployed troops on its borders with Iraq.