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The shards of the Middle East mosaic are as sharp and dangerous as ever, but U.S., Israeli, and Arab officials say these pieces have been rearranged in the past few months – and may now fit together in different and often surprising ways.President Barack Obama is often seen as a lame duck who is hobbling off the Middle East stage in his final 10 months as president. The departing Obama, who hoped to change the strategic balance in the Middle East, has partly done that – encouraging others to take a larger military role, for better or worse, but preserving U.S. diplomacy.Iran is the second puzzle piece that looks different than most would have predicted a few years ago.As America has stepped back in the Middle East during Obama's presidency, Russia, Iran, Daesh and Saudi Arabia have stepped forward.Even though America's military dominance has faded, its diplomatic role remains decisive--as the Syria and Iran talks show.
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