A series of successful wiles and meticulous manoeuvring allowed Russia to become the main architect of Syria’s future.
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Some argued that without his rule, radical Islamists such as ISIL would take over Syria.
Iran is a conquering shadow behind Lebanon and ‘useful’ Syria.
During his long career, he was involved in the good, the bad and the ugly of Israel’s politics.
Like the Ottoman puppet show, Lebanon’s politicians are seen meeting and greeting each other while nothing gets done.
Through fiery rhetoric or utopian promises, politicians since ancient times have manipulated citizens into backing them.
The inequalities and oligarchies of the West have eroded the civic purpose on which liberal democracies are rooted.
Most people don’t appreciate – or even care – that we may be barrelling towards extinction.
It took a long time to get to this dangerous point, and it will take a while to get beyond it.
There may be lessons about the rise of ISIL in unusual places.