The warring sides have been egged on by outside powers, turning the Syrian theater into a microcosm of a global conflict, a “free-for-all in which everyone pursues his own interests to the detriment of the Syrians themselves.” Overlaying local resentments and divisions, the U.S. squares off against Russia; the Sunni theocracies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar take on the Shiite theocrats of Iran; and Turkey clashes with Arab nationalists over the attempted restoration of Turkey’s pre-WWI dominance. “External support has not merely escalated the killing,” Glass writes, “but made it ever more personal and vicious.”

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