A group of Iranians listen to then-President Hassan Rouhani during a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, Tehran, Iran, Feb. 11, 2019 (AP photo by Vahid Salemi).

The struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia has insinuated itself into nearly every regional issue, fracturing international alliances and sustaining wars across the region, while raising fears of a direct conflict between the two powers. Meanwhile, the region is rife with ongoing conflicts, and the long-simmering dispute between Israel and Palestine continues to flare up periodically.

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The political impasse in Iraq has reached an ominous phase that underscores the danger of litigating politics through displays of force. And in Lebanon, the many twists and turns in its deadlocked politics demonstrate that negotiation through violence can give way to a sustainable—if bloody—alternative to civic democracy.