IS now controls significant territories in Iraq and Syria, equaling a small European state. At the same time, despite having a nearly identical view of Islam, IS and al-Qaeda are deadly enemies at present, which may confuse people in the West.
Social media constitute the virtual battlefield in a struggle against terrorism that shows no signs of becoming less fierce. Once the foreign fighters now engaged in the Syrian war turn elsewhere, they will find numerous paths to follow, perhaps urged forward by their social media cheerleaders.
Palestinians have fought in Syria on behalf of both the regime and the rebels. The conflict has deepened ideological and political wedges between Palestinians and complicated their patchwork of international alliances.
And when countries are under attack, the space for civil liberties diminishes. Sometimes that's for legitimate reasons, and sometimes it's not and is opportunistic on the part of would-be authoritarians. But it's essentially a law of nature; it always happens.