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The open warfare and shaken statehood that characterize Syria, Iraq and Libya are the painful commemoration of the Arabs' own 100 Years War for stable, legitimate statehood.Syria, Libya and Iraq are only the most dramatic examples of countries suffering from serious sectarian and other forms of warfare that could easily lead to the fracturing of those states into smaller ethnic units.It is no surprise, therefore, that Syria, Iraq and Libya should be at once so violent, fractious and brittle. The capture of cities and territory across northern Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) symbolizes a common aspect of the fragmented nature of many Arab countries: the ruling party or family that runs the government is at war with well-armed non-state actors that reflect widespread citizen discontent with the power and policies of the central state. The popular uprisings that erupted three-and-a-half years ago have exposed the lack of foundations for coherent statehood in several Arab countries, and in some cases led to a vacuum that has been filled by various fighting forces in Syria, Iraq and Libya.
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