It’s really strange how everything conspired from the very beginning to undermine moderates and support the rise of extremism among the protesters. Assad and his allies needed this, and they worked assiduously for it, but what did the others, Turkey, Saudi, Qatar, U.S., hope to achieve? What do they hope to achieve? Perhaps exactly what’s happening today. The “mistakes” that led to this are simply too numerous and consistent to be ascribed to chance. No, I am not endorsing some conspiracy, but the political agendas that crisscrossed the Syrian map have always been intricate and complex. There is always a bargain involved in supporting regime change in a country like Syria. In this case, there were simply too many of them. The opposition failure to understand this and to be more proactive about it helped pave the way as well to this worst of outcomes. And it’s far from over.