The Middle East conflict with 5 dimensions

April 6, 2015 2:33 PM

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Never in modern times has the Middle East been so chaotic. Many of us who have worked in the region have been comparing it — frighteningly — to Europe's Thirty Years' War (1618–48), during which many nations and groups battled each other over everything from territory to religion and commerce. When it was over, the European map had been completely redrawn and the rough outline of the state system we know today came into view.

A more modern analogy is the multidimensional complexity of solving a Rubik's Cube. Or, perhaps, it's most like a barroom brawl: it's hard to be sure who started the fight, who is allied with whom, exactly what is at issue, who just changed sides, who is fighting vs. who is just observing, where you...

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