The composition of a government or movement is never sufficient grounds for branding it “sectarian”. There can be no denying that various [security-related] branches of the Assad government are largely, though by no means exclusively, Alawite (a useful analogy is Saddam Hussein’s reliance on fellow Sunni clansmen from Takrit, though his regime did not carry a Sunni agenda) or that Hizbullah is exclusively Shi’ite. But it is their domestic and regional agendas, their rhetoric and openness to other religious communities, as well as the identity of their constituencies, which should be the measure of their sectarianism, not the sectarian identity of their members. This is even more so that case when religious discrimination is not institutionalized as it is Saudi Arabia or Bahrain for example. Both the Assad government and Hizbullah enjoy cross-sectarian support, shun any kind of sectarian discourse and more importantly, the political agendas they promote have never been about advancing Shi’ite or Alawite communal interests, but about resisting Israel and the West.