Brent Scowcroft Center Senior Adviser Harlan Ullman writes for UPI on whether the world would be a safer place today if the September 11 attacks had never happened:

This week marks the 13th anniversary of al Qaeda’s September 11th attacks against America.Many of the consequences of those attacks and subsequent U.S. interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the global war on terror have been tragic. Chaos in Iraq has infected Syria. An Islamic State (IS) that combines the most evil and vile elements of radical Islam has staked claims to great swaths of those states. Afghanistan totters on the brink of civil war. And massive amounts of American dollars have been wasted on these bitter and losing causes.

But suppose September 11th never happened. Suppose al-Qaida had focused on regional agendas instead of major attacks against the United States. Assuming he was not assassinated or died of natural causes, Saddam Hussein would still be exerting an iron grip on Iraq. A stable although horrific Sunni rule in Baghdad would remain a check on a Shia Iran. Syria might not have succumbed to a civil war in which at least 200,000 will perish and a large portion of its people displaced or made refugees. And IS would surely not be declaring a caliphate.

Read the full article here.