It is sometimes said the Middle East, with its overlapping rivalries and conflicts, is like a three-dimensional game of chess.
But even that metaphor fell short of describing just how complex the region was in 2015.
Syria, perhaps, provided the best example. The war entered its fourth year and became a theatre for some of the world's biggest powers.
Chief among them were Russia and the US, two countries with very different visions of how to end the conflict.
The year was also when ISIL was described as going "global".
Under increasing international military pressure, its territory decreased in Iraq and Syria. But attacks led or inspired by ISIL were carried out in Beirut, Paris and elsewhere.
In Yemen and Libya, as in Iraq and Syria, the region's states were disintegrating in 2015.
In this end-of-the-year review, we look at where things stand and where the Middle East is headed in 2016.
Presenter: Kamahl Santamaria
Yezid Sayigh - Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center
Shibley Telhami - Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland
Anthony Dworkin - Senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations
Source: Al Jazeera