Mass killings by weapons of mass destruction matter more than ever in the Arab world because we seem to be the world’s most problematic arena for mass killings, refugee flows, and the use of violence by states and non-state groups that is rarely if ever subject to any accountability.
The best available option now is to seek an American-Iranian-Russian-Saudi agreement on basic principles to end the fighting. This would allow Syrians themselves to forge a political path towards…well, nobody knows towards what.
Slow but continuing moves by the European Union — including two developments in the past week — place the Palestinian-Israeli struggle in the arena of international law, accountability and appropriate sanctions.
The faster and more concretely the United States and Arab states play their parts in addressing the non-military issues that promote IS, the faster that 20-year horizon for destroying IS and everything it reflects will whittle down into a shorter time frame.
Their cooperation with American and Iranian elements suggests that Iraqis are determined to keep trying to work together for the common good of their united, pluralistic country, rather than to fight each other for the right to rule small ethnic provinces.
The political and sectarian problems that prevent military coordination also plague the constructive political development of countries like Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, Lebanon, Palestine and others.
Identifying more honestly the combination of reasons that drive ordinary citizens into the arms of killers has stumped Arab and Western authorities for decades, though any Arab teenager could probably explain in five minutes what ails them, and channels some of them into criminal acts.
ISIS and Al-Qaeda can only be fought by cutting out from beneath their feet the combination of policies and conditions in the Arab region that deeply offend and threaten ordinary citizens, and ultimately turn a very small number of them into ISIS recruits.