Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia (and their Gulf partners), Israel, Turkey, France, the U.S., and Russia each have some military involvement in Syria, soon to be followed by the United Kingdom. Needless to say, there are a lot of players in the Middle East and an abundance of interests, all at the expense of millions of innocent civilians whose governments and Western allies seem to prefer war to peace.
The world changes and with it so do geography and geopolitics. Although the globe seemed to be stable during the Cold War, underneath that facade, it was anything but. Authoritarian rulers marginalized, suppressed, or exterminated groups they didn’t like. Arms were distributed by the superpowers like candy to children. Leaders across the globe were overthrown in order to replace them with those “more friendly” to Western interests despite the harm to the masses.
What has changed post-Cold War? Now, a greater number of countries have leverage to act with or without the permission of the larger hegemons. No longer are two powers able to cut up the globe and control states based on the communist-versus-capitalist ideological narrative. There is state and non-state competition, and plenty of it.