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In a region where crises seem to be the norm, the Middle East's latest cycle of violence suggests that something bigger is afoot: the beginning of the dissolution of the Arab nation-state, reflected in the growing fragmentation of Sunni Arabia.What does it mean today to be Iraqi, Syrian, Yemeni or Lebanese?With Iraq in flames, the United States-led invasion and occupation is widely blamed for unwittingly introducing a sectarian concept of identity in the country. In Iraq, that concept was Baathism. And while it was more identified with the Sunni minority than with the Shiite majority, it endured for decades as a vehicle for national unity, albeit a cruel and cynical one.In Iraqi politics today (leaving aside the Kurds), seldom does a Sunni Arab vote for a Shiite Arab, or vice versa.The same could be said of Libya (though the U.S. did not lead that intervention).The U.S., in particular, should examine how it has handled the breakdown of Syria and Iraq, and stop treating each case as if there were no connection between them.
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