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First there was the Arab-Israeli conflict, then came the “Arab Spring,” but these are just the tip of the pyramid in a region driven by fear and hate. Secularists are battling religionists in several states including Egypt, Syria, Israel and the new “state” of Palestine; Sunni Muslims are at war with Shiites in Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain; monarchs are struggling to keep commoners at bay in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and the Left still is at odds with the Right just about everywhere.

Seldom has this volatile area been so conflicted. It’s enough to make some people long for the order of the autocrats, or the protection of an “iron wall” or Iron Dome … or the power of nuclear weapons.

Liberation and democracy don’t appear to be the panacea many advocated.

Why did it all go wrong and where does it go now?

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