The Turkish Football Federation (TFF), in a demonstration of the inseparable ties between sports and politics, has effectively declared its support for renewed Turkish-Kurdish hostilities designed to enhance the prospects of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party in forthcoming snap elections.
The parallel example for Syria is not Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya -- it's Bosnia. Like the Syrian conflict today, Bosnia saw horrific atrocities, unprecedented numbers of refugees and an exorbitant death toll. Like Syria, the crisis in the Balkans was thought unsolvable and intractable. Bosnia's strongest allies worried that action to protect civilians could escalate the conflict regionally and even globally.
As rebel forces advance towards the mountainous Druze stronghold in Idlib province, Israel has to decide whether it should intervene in the Syrian civil war by arming the Druze while Saudi Arabia is faced with the choice between realpolitik and its religious doctrine which views the Druze as heretics.
Either way, it underscores the fact that Islamic State does not fit into any neat pigeon holes. It may be a proto-nation or even the core of a new proto-empire. It is certainly more than just a militant jihadist movement. It is a complex, multifaceted phenomenon which is still not entirely understood and whose impact on the world is still evolving.
The rise of violent extremism is only at the early stages, and if the West wants to stem the flow of volunteers to these ruthless groups, Western countries should make a concerted effort to engage and understand the nuances of their Muslim communities, especially the families from which these volunteers are coming.