The fervor and single-mindedness of this deification probably have no precedent in history. It's not like Duvalier or Assad passing the torch to the son and heir. It surpasses anything I have read about the Roman or Babylonian or even Pharaonic excesses. An estimated $2.68 billion was spent on ceremonies and monuments in the aftermath of Kim Il Sung's death. The concept is not that his son is his successor, but that his son is his reincarnation. North Korea has an equivalent of Mount Fuji—a mountain sacred to all Koreans. It's called Mount Paekdu, a beautiful peak with a deep blue lake, on the Chinese border. Here, according to the new mythology, Kim Jong Il was born on February 16, 1942. His birth was attended by a double rainbow and by songs of praise (in human voice) uttered by the local birds. In fact, in February 1942 his father and mother were hiding under Stalin's protection in the dank Russian city of Khabarovsk, but as with all miraculous births it's considered best not to allow the facts to get in the way of a good story.
Syria is a multi-confessional state: in addition to Sunni and Shia Muslims, there are Alawites, Orthodox and other Christian confessions, Druzes, and Kurds.
Our enemy in Syria is Daesh: it's not about containing but destroying this organisation.
Escalating in Syria is not the best approach.
The Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Al Qaeda in Iraq are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.
For many foreign fighters, the jihad in Iraq and Syria is a commuter war.
The migrant question is directly linked to the crisis in Syria and Iraq.
Al Qaeda is alive and well in Libya, Iraq, Syria and the wars are not receding.
Syria's population is 74% Sunni Muslim.
Certain Gulf Arabs support proxy jihadist Sunni groups such as al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, while Iran supports Shia militant forces such as Hezbollah.
Israel bombed the Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007. What the Syrians did in response, nothing. Israel has killed a number of terrorist leaders in Syria. Response? Nothing.