Member of the Atlantic Council Board of Directors Ahmed Charai writes for US News and World Report on how Arab nations are leading the way in nonviolent approaches to crises in the region:
Seen from the Arab world, the United States’ reluctance to come to the aid of its Middle East allies is baffling and frightening. The lack of effective engagement seems especially murky when America’s Arab allies present nonviolent solutions to a trio of crises facing the region – the Syrian civil war, Iran’s nuclear build-up and the rise of the Islamic State group – to say nothing of the ongoing daily struggle against violent extremism as underscored by the terrorist attack on the Bardo National Museum in Tunisia on Wednesday.
Take U.S. policy toward Syria. The civil war is really a three-cornered regional war that has drawn in almost every fighting force in the Middle East. It is World War I, relived in the land of St. Paul. The war pits the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, his ally Iran and its proxy force Hezbollah and Russia (Syria is its last Arab ally) against Syrian rebels (a motley crew of former Syrian soldiers, students and radicals), Saudi Arabia and Gulf Arab states. The Islamic State group is the third force, eager to establish a seventh-century empire in the ashes of Syria’s secular suburbs. The war has devoured more than 200,000 lives since 2011.