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The United States won a short-term diplomatic victory over Iran this week.U.S. and other Western officials express legitimate frustration with the fractious nature of Syria's opposition. But in Syria today, a version of Afghanistan-style war-by-foreign proxy is dividing the opposition and prolonging the conflict.Though the White House and the U.S. public are understandably hesitant about arming Syria's rebels or carrying out airstrikes, countries and groups in the region see the conflict as pivotal. From minority Alawites, who fear a takeover of Syria by Sunni jihadists, to the governments of Iran and Saudi Arabia, the parties in the region see the struggle as a direct threat to their existence.Convinced that Washington will not confront Iran in Syria, Saudi officials are stepping up their efforts to arm Sunni jihadists.Unless Iran is negotiated with or confronted militarily in Syria, the Geneva talks of 2014 are likely to be as insignificant as those of 1988 .
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