Syria has arrived at a tipping point. After months in which the regime of President Bashar al- Assad clearly held the dominant hand, the forces arrayed against him have now multiplied to the point where a serious battle is possible.
The resistance increasingly is armed and taking on the regime, even controlling towns and villages. The Arab League has abandoned tradition to fully support the opposition. And at the United Nations, only Russia and China stand in the way of a resolution calling for Assad to go.
The stakes for Syrians and the Mideast in general go well beyond how democratic Syria may become after the fighting ceases. According to the prevailing narrative, the recent revolutions in the Arab world are battles between the forces of authoritarianism and freedom. But it is the long-running rivalry between the Shiite and Sunni factions of Islam that is the dominant dynamic in the region today. Syria is ground zero in the sectarian great game consuming the Middle East.
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