I don't have anything to add to this article
, and I obviously don't have access to the interior of the Arab world to corroborate, so I just thought I would post some highlights from this article:
[There are] three concentric circles that complete the picture of the current Middle East. What makes these circles all the more significant is that they all touch upon religion.
The first and most important of the circles addresses the Sunni-Shiite divide… …The second circle involves the recent uprisings in the Arab world, better known as the “Arab Spring,” which have granted power to Islamists everywhere, and made the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood (or affiliated parties) the dominant political force in Tunisia, Egypt, and now in Syria… The intolerance of the MB towards non-Muslims (Jewish Israel for instance), Christians and Shiite Muslims (whom they consider as “errant” Muslims) is connected to the first circle. The third circle is that of the conflict between Arab countries as well as non-Arab Muslim countries (Iran and Turkey) and their ethnic and religious minorities. These include the Jewish state of Israel, the Coptic Christian minority in Egypt, the Kurds in Turkey, Iran, and Syria, and the Sunni Baluch minority in Iran as well as the Ahwazi-Sunni Arabs in Iran.
What the three circles have in common is religious and ethnic hatred and intolerance…
Israel, an advanced Western democratic state, gets a disproportionate amount of press and criticism, to the near exclusion of coverage and analysis of intolerant Arab-Muslim states by the mainstream press. The ease of access Western journalists have in Israel compared to the absence of secure access in the Arab and non-Arab Muslim Middle Eastern states, makes for unfair and inaccurate reporting in the Western media, which results in holding Israel responsible for the lack of regional peace. Moreover, secular western reporters and editors, who are disconnected from religion, fail to grasp the overarching role religion plays in Middle Eastern conflicts.
Contrary to the reportage written and distributed by Western media sources, conflict in the Middle East is less about territory and almost entirely about religion. True also for the Arab (Palestinian)-Israeli conflict is that its foundation is in Islamic religious intolerance rather than territory or Palestinian victimhood (Palestinian Arabs could have established a sovereign state under the Peel Commission in 1937 over 72% of Mandatory Palestine, and again under the UN Partition Plan of 1947. They rejected both plans with the demand for all of Palestine or nothing — no compromise with infidels). Palestinian Arab-Muslims seek to replace Israel rather than live side-by-side with it. And, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is fueled by arms, funds, and propaganda provided by Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia to the Palestinians against the Jewish state, still pales in importance, to Shiite Iran’s encroachment and hegemonic ambitions in the Gulf.
I think the whole article is worth reading, and it's only two pages so it's pretty short.
Now, I don't think that getting rid of religion will rid the world of all our problems. All of our problems are human problems that, by themselves, have nothing to do with religion. What religion does is intensify all emotion that humans have towards something. If it's love, then it's more intense love. But if it's hatred, it's more intense hatred.