The standoff in Syria could quickly ignite into a larger conflict. The war has already killed over 100,000 people, and forced over six million people from their homes.
American and Russian warships are both in the region. Each nation is supporting opposing sides in the conflict. Russia's last foreign military base outside the former Soviet Union is located in Syria. Hezbollah and Iran are both threatening to attack Israel if the U.S. takes military action against Assad's government in Damascus.
Members of al Qaeda are known to be among the rebels being supported by the Obama administration. Like a Mexican standoff, the tragic conflict could go in any direction.
Michael Scheuer is a historian and former CIA analyst. For three years, he headed the Osama bin Laden tracking Unit at the CIA's Counterterrorism Center. He is author of the book Imperial Hubris. In 2007, bin Laden said Scheuer's book revealed the reasons behind U.S. losses in the War on Terrorism.