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LONDON — With the Tunisian and Egyptian regimes gone and street protests roiling cities from Algiers to Tehran, many people are now wondering which domino might fall next. Syria, whose secular, militarized dictatorship most closely resembles the fallen regimes of Tunisia and Egypt, may not be next, but it appears nonetheless to be approaching a tipping point.

Of course, the old “domino theory” in international relations was only a crude way of emphasizing that different parts of any region are linked to each other. For today’s Arab world, a better metaphor might be a chessboard, from which the removal of even a pawn alters the relationships among all the other pieces.

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