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Let's look at the reality on the ground in the Middle East: Iraq and Syria are effectively partitioned along sectarian lines; Lebanon and Yemen are close to fracturing; Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia survive intact, but as increasingly authoritarian states.Here's the new map: Iraq has splintered into a Sunni north and west; a Kurdish northeast; and a Shiite south that, with Iranian help, retains Baghdad; Syria is a patchwork, with an Alawite-dominated corridor from Damascus to Latakia on the Mediterranean Coast; Druze and Kurdish minorities have minicantons, but much of the rest of the country is held by fighters from the Sunni majority.The statesmen's task, Kissinger argued, was to reconcile the rising powers of the day (back then, France and Prussia; in contemporary terms, Iran and its proxies) with the status quo powers (in 1815, Britain and Austro-Hungary; today, the United States and Saudi Arabia).Russia and China (with their Chechen and Uighur Muslim populations) have as great an interest in stopping the super-violent extremists as does the United States.
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