Qassem Soleimani, Iranian military leader, ideologue, and commander in chief of the Quds force- a branch of the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guard Corps that conducts extraterritorial military and clandestine operations- has been coming out of his shell and becoming more vocal in stating his opinions.
It's almost a year since a US-led coalition launched air strikes and increased support of Iraqi and Kurdish military forces in a bid to degrade and destroy the self-styled Islamic State; yet the jihadist group that has conquered a swath of Syria and Iraq has demonstrated resilience despite suffering significant losses.
The public discussion about the causes of violent extremism has focused mainly on the socioeconomic and political conditions that exist in Arab countries. But we must also carefully consider how the events in the wake of World Wars I and II have impacted the psychological disposition of the Arab population throughout the Middle East.
It is time for Muslim imams to lead their flocks in recognizing free speech and free exercise of religion as integral part of Islam. It is time for Western societies to stop asking Muslims what they feel every time radicals perpetrate yet another spectacular act of violence. Only then will "Je suis Charlie" find real meaning.
Dealing with violent extremism occupies, these days, a top spot on the world's agenda. Like the Ebola virus, another global threat du jour, the disease of radicalization is spreading with alarming speed. A reported 20,000 foreign fighters from over 70 countries are now engaged in Syria and Iraq, including 3,000 fighters from the West.