Roy Gutman in The Daily Beast:
Syria may be the most complex problem on Earth. Four outside powers, Iran, Russia, Turkey and the United States, control territory or bases; others, like Israel, regularly carry out bombing raids. Even Iraq is waiting in the wings to intervene.
The war began seven years and one month ago, and despite the efforts of two international groupings dealing with Syria, the U.S.-Russian-led Geneva Process and the Astana group of regional rivals, Turkey, Iran and Russia, there’s been no end in sight. The impasse is usually blamed on the obduracy of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
But at its heart Syria is a vast collection of war crimes masquerading as a civil war. Shortly after Syrians took to the streets in a national uprising to demand political reform in 2011, Assad went to war against his own people, targeting cities and towns, hospitals and rescue services, mosques, schools and public markets. He directed his security forces to put hundreds of thousands under starvation siege in the Damascus suburbs, blocked the population from medical supplies and repeatedly used chemical weapons, the latest case being in Douma on Saturday.
More here. [Thanks to Idrees Ahmad.]