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Both the scale and threat of the Salafist-takfiri enterprise in the Middle East are now much more significant, because they control more territory, they can assault many foes across Syria, Lebanon and Iraq as a single operational theater; they have expanded to comprise tens of thousands of adherents; the conditions that brought them to prominence persist; and they have yet to face an enemy that is willing or able to eradicate them.Iran, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Hezbollah and Salafists in northern Lebanon are all actively engaging in the war in Syria, either directly by supplying fighters and arms or indirectly by supporting those who are fighting.Many of these actors also try to use soft power to shape the culture, identity and political ideology of countries in the Levant, as is happening in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Iraq. Global powers similarly penetrate these countries, and the result is the kind of protracted tensions we have witnessed in Lebanon since the 1970s or in Syria and Iraq in recent years. You would think that the tens of thousands of battle-hardened Salafist-takfiri militants, extremists and terrorists who are steadily expanding their reign across Syria, Lebanon and Iraq would prompt some kind of serious coordinated response by local and foreign governments, all targets of these groups.
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