A Demand For Action's Christmas campaign has finally taken off, and it warms my heart. We're handing out Christmas presents in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. We want children to smile; children who've been forced to flee with their parents because of their religion and ethnicity. Children who have witnessed the most evil of acts.
What the major Western powers need to keep in mind is that their efforts in the past few decades to transform certain countries through military and political intervention have failed. In Syria, this approach has led to a "secular" political order coming to the edge of being overthrown in favor of a Salafi-Wahhabi Islamic state taking control of the country. Until this approach is abandoned in favor of pragmatism, the war on terror will not end and terrorist attacks in the West and elsewhere will continue.
The logic of this is clear; refugees are fleeing Bashar al-Assad, the Islamic State or both. Having experienced the extreme disruption of Syria's brutal civil war caused by the Assad regime's brutal crackdown on domestic uprisings and the subsequent exploitation of this disruption by ISIS, they are unlikely to entertain illusions about the merits of violence.