The main difference between the US and UN approaches is that the UN correctly focuses on addressing the underlying drivers of violent extremism and terrorism, while the US government tends to downplay or ignore those critical underlying causes.
Today as then, we have no idea how disgruntled citizens will transform their fears into political acts. But we probably do know that they will do this, so for stubborn Arab regimes, this is a much more dangerous citizenry than the one of 2011.
The best hope for the Middle East is for sensible and responsible people in all concerned lands, especially around the Gulf, to grasp the catastrophes that will engulf much of the region if current trends continue.
People who seek real insights into Arabs’ views and values, rather than the fantasy and racism that dominate much of the public discussion, would do well to read the extensive poll findings of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies.
We should honor the millions who have participated in the latest noble quest for dignity and democracy, and enhance their ability to succeed by better understanding why success has been so rare in the past century of stubborn Arab paternalism.
Arab public sentiments often go against the perceived realities about our region among both Arab governments and Western elites, both of whom would benefit from listening to ordinary Arab men and women more regularly.
“The Arab region has for the most part not created stable, productive, and equitable civil states defined by modernity’s benefits because for decades it has functioned under three simultaneous dominant contexts: neo-patrimonial states, neo-patriarchal societies, and neo-liberal peripheral economies.”
Unlike what many Western pundits think, Saudi Arabia does not represent the "true" Sunni Islam. Even within the country, there are older traditions of Islam that are far more open and tolerant than the Kingdom's official Wahhabist sect.