Why Syria Is More Important Than You Think Condoleezza Rice: The Mideast 'as we know it' is at stake By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Nov 24, 2012 1:50 PM CST 18 comments Comments A rebel fighter prepares to fire a homemade rocket toward a Syrian air force compound on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria. (AP Photo/Narciso Contreras) (Newser) – Syria isn't just another domino in the Arab Spring revolution, and its civil war presents far more than a humanitarian crisis for the world, writes Condoleezza Rice in the Washington Post. What's happening there jeopardizes the entire "Middle East as we know it," she argues. If Bashar al-Assad hangs on with the help of Iran, expect other states to "fly apart" in sectarian violence of the Sunni-Shiite variety that won't recognize the artificial borders set up in misguided fashion by Britain and France decades ago. "Syria is the linchpin," she writes. The US is working toward meaningless diplomatic measures when it should instead recognize, and then arm, a rebel government. Risks? Of course, "but the breakdown of the Middle East state system is a graver risk," says Rice. "Iran will win, our allies will lose, and for decades the region’s misery and violence will make today’s chaos look tame." Click to read the full column, in which Rice likens Iran's strategy to that of Karl Marx.