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The Three-Track Middle East

LAGUNA BEACH – During a recent trip to the Middle East, I was struck by the growing gap between countries – so much so that, more than ever, I came away convinced that it makes no sense today to talk of the region as a coherent whole. Rather than pursuing internal convergence, this important part of the world is now following at least three paths, characterized by large divergences that will persist – and likely grow – for years to come.

On one path are countries like Iraq, Libya, and Syria, which are struggling to avoid the awful trap of becoming failed states. All of them share the unfortunate likelihood that their situation will become worse before it improves.