Christian Sahner provides insight into Syria’s civil war and the impact of the emergence of the Islamic State through the lens of history. What can the country's past tell us about its future?

Christian Sahner is a historian of the Middle East. He is author of the book, "Among the Ruins: Syria Past and Present" (Oxford University Press/ C. Hurst & Co). A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar, he is currently completing his doctorate at Princeton, focusing on the role of non-Muslims in medieval Islamic societies. His essays have appeared in The Times Literary Supplement and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications.