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While these borders have lasted for almost a century, in the last decade Sunni-Shiite antagonism has escalated, bringing into doubt the survivability of states with mixed sectarian or ethnic populations.This attitude was kept in check for a long period by Arab nationalism, which imagined an Arab identity transcending religious and sectarian affiliation. As Arab nationalism lost all credibility in the 1970s and 1980s, the space it left was filled by religion and the emergence of religious-political forces that would gain ground in many Arab countries. Lost in the sectarian free-for-all are Lebanon's Christians.One of the principal motives of the Maronite supporters of the Lebanon project was to avoid becoming citizens of a state in which they would be swallowed up by a Muslim majority.Muslims, who once aspired to an Arab state of which geographical Lebanon would be only a part, would effectively be abandoning coexistence and a common destiny to embrace the antithesis of the Arab nationalist ideal.Beyond Hezbollah, Aoun and March 14, Lebanon must better prepare for the riptide that is coming.Lebanon has already been there, and Iraq and Syria offer models that no one has any desire to follow.
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