Syria and the Arc of Crisis. The civil war in Syria has gone from bad to worse: not only has the pace of the killing accelerated, but jihadists are playing a major role in the anti-regime violence. Perhaps even scarier, Turkey and Syria are exchanging fire across their border, Iran and Hezbollah are sending fighters to aid the regime, Damascus is backing anti-Turkish Kurdish fighters, refugees are pouring into neighboring states by the tens of thousands, and the crisis threatens to radicalize the region. Of Syria's neighbors, Iraq and Lebanon are particularly vulnerable: both have recently suffered communal and sectarian civil wars, both have weak governments, and both have factions within the country that want to help different sides in the conflict. So a horrific war is steadily becoming a regional crisis, with the United States little more than a bystander. Key allies such as Israel and Turkey might be dragged in, while al Qaeda and other terrorists reap the spoils of war.
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