March 2016 will mark the fifth anniversary of the uprisings that sparked the Syrian Civil War. Recent peace talks in Vienna demonstrate a renewed international resolve to halt the violence. But peace remains a distant prospect. Consensus on the two weightiest points for negotiation – the fate of Bashar al-Assad and the strategy for destroying ISIS – is elusive. And common ground is hard to find as Syria today resembles a patchwork of sectarian enclaves across which jihadists, regime loyalists, and foreign powers fight for competing visions of the region’s future. Can Syria be preserved as a viable state? And with Iraq, Libya, and Yemen facing similar civil conflict and weak or collapsing governments, what lessons should US policymakers take from Syria?