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It also neglected the fact that most Saudis and Iranians are too smart to waste their money, blood and time on a futile regional conflict that would only hurt them both by gradually destroying the region.Add to this the ongoing war in Yemen, the erratic battle against ISIS in Syria, Iraq and other tiny pockets of ISIS presence around the region, the massive refugee flows and the stresses they cause, and the dangerous sectarian dimensions of some of the confrontations underway. We end up with a very complex and violent regional picture that cannot possibly be explained primarily as a consequence of Iranian-Saudi rivalries. Nevertheless, I finally replied to my friend's question, as we shared a miraculous Lebanese dessert of pistachios and dairy products, by saying that in the existing element of confrontation today between two very loose Saudi- and Iranian-led groups of actors in the region, neither side could be seen as "winning".Viewing our region today through the lens of a – I believe, largely imagined – Saudi-Iranian rivalry is not the most useful way to analyze this situation.
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