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The roots of the Middle East's many conflicts lie in the unraveling of the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century and the failure since then to forge a stable regional order. As the international community works toward securing a durable peace in the region, its leaders would be wise to remember the lessons of history.It was remarkably stable, providing the region with a peaceful foundation for hundreds of years.Since then, through successive wars and revolutions, one truth has remained paramount: The Ottoman mosaic provided no clear dividing lines that would permit a smooth reordering of the region into states or entities with homogenous ethnic, national or religious identities.The country is host to some of the world's oldest Christian communities, which, though much smaller than they once were, retain undisputed historic rights to the region. They are part of the small patch in the Ottoman mosaic that was preserved in modern Syria; but they would perish if it were to disappear.
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