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Mark Steyn: The Arabs' Berlin Wall has crumbled
The Telegraph (U.K.) ^ | 03/01/05 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 02/28/2005 4:16:05 PM PST by Pokey78

Three years ago - April 6 2002, if you want to rummage through the old Spectators in the attic - I wrote: "The stability junkies in the EU, UN and elsewhere have, as usual, missed the point. The Middle East is too stable. So, if you had to pick only one regime to topple, why not Iraq? Once you've got rid of the ruling gang, it's the West's best shot at incubating a reasonably non-insane polity. That's why the unravelling of the Middle East has to start not in the West Bank but in Baghdad."

I don't like to say I told you so. But, actually, I do like to say I told you so. What I don't like to do is the obligatory false self-deprecatory thing to mitigate against the insufferableness of my saying I told you so. But nevertheless I did.

Consider just the past couple of days' news: not the ever more desperate depravity of the floundering "insurgency", but the real popular Arab resistance the car-bombers and the head-hackers are flailing against: the Saudi foreign minister, who by remarkable coincidence goes by the name of Prince Saud, told Newsweek that women would be voting in the next Saudi election. "That is going to be good for the election," he said, "because I think women are more sensible voters than men."

Four-time Egyptian election winner - and with 90 per cent of the vote! - President Mubarak announced that next polling day he wouldn't mind an opponent. Ordering his stenographer to change the constitution to permit the first multi-choice presidential elections in Egyptian history, His Excellency said the country would benefit from "more freedom and democracy". The state-run TV network hailed the president's speech as a "historical decision in the nation's 7,000-year-old march toward democracy". After 7,000 years on the march, they're barely out of the parking lot, so Mubarak's move is, as they say, a step in the right direction.

Meanwhile in Damascus, Boy Assad, having badly overplayed his hand in Lebanon and after months of denying that he was harbouring any refugee Saddamites, suddenly discovered that - wouldja believe it? - Saddam's brother and 29 other bigshot Baghdad Baathists were holed up in north-eastern Syria, and promptly handed them over to the Iraqi government.

And, for perhaps the most remarkable development, consider this report from Mohammed Ballas of Associated Press: "Palestinians expressed anger on Saturday at an overnight suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed four Israelis and threatened a fragile truce, a departure from former times when they welcomed attacks on their Israeli foes."

No disrespect to Associated Press, but I was disinclined to take their word for it. However, Charles Johnson, whose Little Green Footballs website has done an invaluable job these past three years presenting the ugly truth about Palestinian death-cultism, reported that he went hunting around the internet for the usual photographs of deliriously happy Gazans dancing in the street and handing out sweets to celebrate the latest addition to the pile of Jew corpses - and, to his surprise, couldn't find any.

Why is all this happening? Answer: January 30. Don't take my word for it, listen to Walid Jumblatt, big-time Lebanese Druze leader and a man of impeccable anti-American credentials: "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, eight million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world. The Berlin Wall has fallen."

Just so. Left to their own devices, the House of Saud - which demanded all US female air-traffic controllers be stood down for Crown Prince Abdullah's flight to the Bush ranch in Crawford - would stick to their traditional line that Wahhabi women have no place in a voting booth; instead, they have to dress like a voting booth - a big black impenetrable curtain with a little slot to drop your ballot through. Likewise, Hosni Mubarak has no desire to take part in campaign debates with Hosno Name-Recognition. Boy Assad has no desire to hand over his co-Baathists to the Great Satan's puppets in Baghdad.

But none of them has much of a choice. In the space of a month, the Iraq election has become the prism through which all other events in the region are seen.

Assad's regime knocks off a troublemaker in Lebanon. Big deal. They've done it a gazillion times. But this time the streets are full of demonstrators demanding an end to Syrian occupation.

A suicide bomber kills four Jews. So what's new? But this time the Palestinians decline to celebrate. And some even question whether being a delivery system for plastic explosives is really all life has to offer, even on the West Bank.

Mubarak announces the arrest of an opposition leader. Like, who cares? The jails are full of 'em. But this time Condi Rice cancels her visit and the Egyptian government notices that its annual cheque from Washington is a month late.

Three years ago, those of us in favour of destabilising the Middle East didn't have to be far-sighted geniuses: it was a win/win proposition. As Sam Goldwyn said, I'm sick of the old clichés, bring me some new clichés. The old clichés - Pan-Arabism, Baathism, Islamism, Arafatism - brought us the sewer that led to September 11. The new clichés could hardly be worse. Even if the old thug-for-life had merely been replaced by a new thug-for-life, the latter would come to power in the wake of the cautionary tale of the former.

But some of us - notably US deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz - thought things would go a lot better than that. Wolfowitz was right, and so was Bush, and the Left, who were wrong about the Berlin Wall, were wrong again, the only difference being that this time they were joined in the dunce's corner of history by far too many British Tories. No surprise there. The EU's political establishment doesn't trust its own people, so why would they trust anybody else's? Bush trusts the American people, and he's happy to extend the same courtesy to the Iraqi people, the Syrian people, the Iranian people, etc.

Prof Glenn Reynolds, America's Instapundit, observes that "democratisation is a process, not an event". Far too often, it's treated like an event: ship in the monitors, hold the election, get it approved by Jimmy Carter and the UN, and that's it. Doesn't work like that. What's happening in the Middle East is the start of a long-delayed process. Eight million Iraqis did more for the Arab world on January 30 than 7,000 years of Mubarak-pace marching.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: egypt; iran; iraq; lebanon; libya; marksteyn; middleeast; saudiarabia; steyn; syria
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1 posted on 02/28/2005 4:16:07 PM PST by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78

and the walls came down


2 posted on 02/28/2005 4:16:44 PM PST by ChadGore (VISUALIZE 62,041,268 Bush fans.)
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To: Howlin; riley1992; Miss Marple; deport; Dane; sinkspur; steve; kattracks; JohnHuang2; ...

Steyn ping!


3 posted on 02/28/2005 4:17:55 PM PST by Pokey78 (11/02/04: The death of Zogby's "sterling" reputation.)
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To: Pokey78

The Arabs did take over when the Nazis left.


4 posted on 02/28/2005 4:18:09 PM PST by Andy from Beaverton (I only vote Republican to stop the Democrats)
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To: Pokey78

Steyn bump!


5 posted on 02/28/2005 4:18:27 PM PST by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
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To: Pokey78

My god what a writer!

I don't like to say I told you so. But, actually, I do like to say I told you so. What I don't like to do is the obligatory false self-deprecatory thing to mitigate against the insufferableness of my saying I told you so. But nevertheless I did.

Steyn BUMP!


6 posted on 02/28/2005 4:18:56 PM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: prairiebreeze

Ping.

"Palestinians expressed anger on Saturday at an overnight suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed four Israelis and threatened a fragile truce, a departure from former times when they welcomed attacks on their Israeli foes."


7 posted on 02/28/2005 4:19:16 PM PST by Peach (The Clintons pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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To: Pokey78

There is a very mischievious Djinni loose in the Middle East, and it doesn't look like it will be put back in the bottle any time soon. Even with Allah's help.

Or maybe the Djinni has come for Allah....


8 posted on 02/28/2005 4:19:59 PM PST by alloysteel ("Master of the painfully obvious.....")
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To: Pokey78

good article.

now i know what schnitt reads before he does his show!


9 posted on 02/28/2005 4:20:53 PM PST by ken21 ( warning: a blood bath when rehnquist, et al retire. >hang w dubya.< dems want 2 divide us.)
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To: Pokey78

And President Bush has to take crap from the likes of Chris Rock!

The Left is digging its own grave, and I couldn't be happier.


10 posted on 02/28/2005 4:22:34 PM PST by StrictTime (Who's the only one here who knows the illegal ninja moves from the government?)
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To: Pokey78; Grampa Dave

It is amazing to see this all happening , quicker than I ever thought.


11 posted on 02/28/2005 4:22:46 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (This tagline no longer operative....floated away in the flood of 2005 ,)
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To: Pokey78

Bump!


12 posted on 02/28/2005 4:22:49 PM PST by Tax-chick (Donate to FRIENDS OF SCOUTING and ruin a liberal's day!)
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To: Pokey78
Three years ago - April 6 2002, if you want to rummage through the old Spectators in the attic - I wrote: "The stability junkies in the EU, UN and elsewhere have, as usual, missed the point. The Middle East is too stable. So, if you had to pick only one regime to topple, why not Iraq? Once you've got rid of the ruling gang, it's the West's best shot at incubating a reasonably non-insane polity. That's why the unravelling of the Middle East has to start not in the West Bank but in Baghdad."

I don't like to say I told you so. But, actually, I do like to say I told you so. What I don't like to do is the obligatory false self-deprecatory thing to mitigate against the insufferableness of my saying I told you so. But nevertheless I did.

Is Steyn the only guy in the media who figured out, one year before we toppled Saddam, what the purpose of our policy in Iraq was?

13 posted on 02/28/2005 4:22:50 PM PST by My2Cents (America is divided along issues of morality, between the haves and the have-nots.)
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To: Pokey78

The addendum, of course, is today's events in Lebanon. Things are getting very interesting in the Middle East.


14 posted on 02/28/2005 4:23:05 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Pokey78; Southack
"The stability junkies in the EU, UN and elsewhere have, as usual, missed the point. The Middle East is too stable. So, if you had to pick only one regime to topple, why not Iraq? Once you've got rid of the ruling gang, it's the West's best shot at incubating a reasonably non-insane polity. That's why the unravelling of the Middle East has to start not in the West Bank but in Baghdad."

Steyn was right......we pulled the thread called Iraq.....and the whole region unravels.

15 posted on 02/28/2005 4:23:35 PM PST by Dog (FReepers-- - -- --- We are a battery of 80,000 bullsh*t-seeking missiles.)
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To: Pokey78

Once again the superstar columnist comes thru in the clutch!
He gets it like no other writer and has more wit than all the Leftist MSM put together.


16 posted on 02/28/2005 4:24:14 PM PST by Zivasmate (" A wise man's heart inclines him to his right, but a fool's heart to his left." - Ecclesiastes 10)
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To: Pokey78

This makes me almost want to cry with joy. For years we watched such horrors and hypocracy and insults to everything decent and I would think we are the most powerful county in the history of mankind. Can we not do something. Then along came the guy from Texas with a vision that will knock your ten gallon hat off. I am very glad of that.


17 posted on 02/28/2005 4:24:37 PM PST by Bahbah
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To: Pokey78

Somewhere in Hebrew legend there's a story that at any one time there are only 36 honourable men on earth - Steyn must be one of them.


18 posted on 02/28/2005 4:25:32 PM PST by Fred Nerks (Understand Evil: Read THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD. Link on my Page. free pdf.)
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To: TaxRelief

Sign for March 19:

Afghanistan ... Iraq ... Lebanon ... Egypt ... Saudi Arabia ... Syria ... Iran

FREEDOM MARCHES ON!

*You like?*


19 posted on 02/28/2005 4:25:36 PM PST by Tax-chick (Donate to FRIENDS OF SCOUTING and ruin a liberal's day!)
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To: Dog
Steyn was right......we pulled the thread called Iraq.....and the whole region unravels.

It's one thing when a columnist gets it right and says "I told you so." It's quite another when the Leader of the Free World has the vision, acts on it, stands by his convictions, and events occur as envisioned. That, my friends, is leadership.

20 posted on 02/28/2005 4:26:32 PM PST by TexasNative2000 (When it's all said and done, someone starts another conversation.......)
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To: ChadGore
and the walls came down

Other walls too. Two blog plugs in this article.

21 posted on 02/28/2005 4:27:09 PM PST by Shermy
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To: Pokey78

Allow me to be the first to say: IT'S ALL GEORGE W. BUSH'S FAULT!


22 posted on 02/28/2005 4:27:12 PM PST by gridlock (ELIMINATE PERVERSE INCENTIVES)
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To: My2Cents
Is Steyn the only guy in the media who figured out, one year before we toppled Saddam, what the purpose of our policy in Iraq was?

Actually, Bush told us before he did it. The media and most everyone else glossed over it in their rush to condemn the invasion.

23 posted on 02/28/2005 4:27:15 PM PST by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all things that need to be done need to be done by the government.)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Yehuda; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; ...
If you'd like to be on this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.
24 posted on 02/28/2005 4:27:51 PM PST by SJackson ( Bush is as free as a bird, He is only accountable to history and God, Ra'anan Gissin)
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To: ChadGore

The Bush Effect.


25 posted on 02/28/2005 4:28:58 PM PST by pissant
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To: Pokey78

Not his best piece, but makes me smile nonetheless.


26 posted on 02/28/2005 4:29:07 PM PST by TheOtherOne
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Comment #27 Removed by Moderator

read later


28 posted on 02/28/2005 4:30:25 PM PST by nutmeg (democRATs = The Party of NO)
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To: Temple Owl

ping


29 posted on 02/28/2005 4:30:33 PM PST by Tribune7
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To: My2Cents

Steyn's been there all along. So have a bunch of others. The left has been hearing it's own idiotic mantra and not listening to or reading what the administration has been saying all along.


30 posted on 02/28/2005 4:30:41 PM PST by CBart95
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To: Shermy; Southack; Cap Huff
Prince Saud, told Newsweek that women would be voting in the next Saudi election. "That is going to be good for the election," he said, "because I think women are more sensible voters than men."

If this happens....*whistle*

31 posted on 02/28/2005 4:31:00 PM PST by Dog (FReepers-- - -- --- We are a battery of 80,000 bullsh*t-seeking missiles.)
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To: Pokey78

I rather enjoy telling people "I told you so"

that the news is GOOD is icing.


32 posted on 02/28/2005 4:32:14 PM PST by King Prout (Remember John Adam!)
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To: Pokey78

Thanks for the photo.
:)


33 posted on 02/28/2005 4:32:57 PM PST by wildehunt (follow those hounds..)
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To: Pokey78

This is the most articulate and accurate presentation of the recent events I have seen so far, anywhere.

Excellent article by Mark Steyn.

I wish the Bush administration would make an effort to explain this, just this way to Americans and people all over the world, to make sure they get the correlation.


34 posted on 02/28/2005 4:33:12 PM PST by QQQQQ
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To: antoninartaud
Anyone who doesn't recognize that Geo. Bush and the US Military are the prime movers behind all of these "reforms" is utterly blind.
Meet the Democrats and their buddies in the mainstream media. Willfully blind is perhaps a better term.

35 posted on 02/28/2005 4:33:41 PM PST by DallasMike
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To: Pokey78
Mubarak announces the arrest of an opposition leader. Like, who cares? The jails are full of 'em. But this time Condi Rice cancels her visit and the Egyptian government notices that its annual cheque from Washington is a month late.

That is awesome!

36 posted on 02/28/2005 4:33:45 PM PST by My2Cents (America is divided along issues of morality, between the haves and the have-nots.)
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To: StrictTime

Take heart.

Chris Rock won't be remembered 50 years from now.

Bush will be.


37 posted on 02/28/2005 4:34:16 PM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: ken21

now i know what schnitt reads before he does his show

$$$$$

I recommend sending this article to every talk show host who has been negative on the War on Terrorism which has been playing out in Iraq.

Before March 2003 Rumsfeld, et al said that the Iraqis would celebrate their liberation and thank us, if we took down their leaders. Well, it has taken a bit longer than we expected, in our age of instant gratification, but it is happening.


38 posted on 02/28/2005 4:34:40 PM PST by maica (Ask a Dem: "When did promoting Democracy and Freedom in the World become a Bad Thing??")
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To: TexasNative2000

You mean.....Bush was RIGHT?

The delirium over in DU must be approaching epic bedlam proportions.


39 posted on 02/28/2005 4:35:15 PM PST by alloysteel ("Master of the painfully obvious.....")
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To: DallasMike

"Meet the Democrats and their buddies in the mainstream media. Willfully blind is perhaps a better term. "



Can someone post this article at DU?

They really need to read this. ;)


40 posted on 02/28/2005 4:36:38 PM PST by QQQQQ
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To: antoninartaud

Lincoln ensured that the ideals of the founders would extend to all Americans. GW Bush is ensuring that the ideals of the founders be given a chance to extend to all people, everywhere. Washington-Lincoln-Bush...I believe these will be viewed as our nation's greatest presidents.


41 posted on 02/28/2005 4:36:43 PM PST by My2Cents (America is divided along issues of morality, between the haves and the have-nots.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
It is amazing to see this all happening , quicker than I ever thought.

Indeed. Is the Spirit of '76 working on them? Time will tell, but it sure looks like it at the moment.

42 posted on 02/28/2005 4:38:48 PM PST by Huck (I only type LOL when I'm really LOL.)
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To: PetroniusMaximus
Chris Rock

Who is he?

43 posted on 02/28/2005 4:39:16 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (This tagline no longer operative....floated away in the flood of 2005 ,)
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To: Pokey78; dighton; general_re; hellinahandcart; Thinkin' Gal
Hosni Mubarak has no desire to take part in campaign debates with Hosno Name-Recognition

would stick to their traditional line that Wahhabi women have no place in a voting booth; instead, they have to dress like a voting booth - a big black impenetrable curtain with a little slot to drop your ballot through...

Wisdom served with firecracker wit.

He makes the Times oped look like high school journalists trying their best to perform as Stepford lefties.

44 posted on 02/28/2005 4:39:30 PM PST by aculeus (This is not a tag line.)
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To: Pokey78

Steyn rocks BUMP!


45 posted on 02/28/2005 4:39:44 PM PST by hattend (Liberals! Beware the Perfect Rovian Storm [All Hail the Evil War Monkey King, Chimpus Khan!])
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To: Peach

More fine from Steyn. It's hard not to gloat isn't it..

:^P


46 posted on 02/28/2005 4:40:35 PM PST by prairiebreeze (Blogs have a strangle hold on the MSM. The MSM is kicking out the windshield.)
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Comment #47 Removed by Moderator

To: My2Cents
Washington-Lincoln-FDR-Reagan-Bush

I believe that's how it'll shake out. I am no big fan of FDR, but I still don't see how you take him off. Hell, he was a huge influence on Reagan. Go figure. If all this stuff in the middle east shakes out like it looks like it might, then Bush will be added to that list. There, I said it.

48 posted on 02/28/2005 4:41:20 PM PST by Huck (I only type LOL when I'm really LOL.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
So far, this is soooo far beyond expectations, I'm numb. Imagine years ago when W surely asked his cabinet to assess the best case scenario that could be expected from replacing Saddam.....and worst case. Somebody would have blue-skyed; "we might start a revolution of democracies in the Middle East....but naaahh.

This could indeed be bigger than the Berlin wall. And who's responsible" GWB. I tell ya' there'll be a 'draft another Bush' movement after two more years of this. Get ready Jeb.

49 posted on 02/28/2005 4:43:54 PM PST by chiller (DONE: Gore, taxes, terrorism,Kerry, Old Media. TO DO: Judges, Tort, IRS, Soc.Sec.,borders..)
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To: Peach
There are many great Steyn quotes in this one. Here's one of my favorites:

The EU's political establishment doesn't trust its own people, so why would they trust anybody else's? Bush trusts the American people, and he's happy to extend the same courtesy to the Iraqi people, the Syrian people, the Iranian people, etc.

Indeed.

50 posted on 02/28/2005 4:44:54 PM PST by prairiebreeze (Blogs have a strangle hold on the MSM. The MSM is kicking out the windshield.)
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