We recently decided to have an extended email conversation addressing the Islamic State (ISIS) in Faisal's home country of Iraq, being called an "Uncle Tom" by white people, the existence -- or non-existence -- of a "moderate" Islam, and the one key factor needed to bring about a true Islamic reformation.
In early August, ISIS forces attacked the Lebanese Syrian refugee border town of Arsal, provoking a major fire-fight with the Lebanese Army. Apparently, one of ISIS's major military commanders -- Imad Ahmad Jomaa -- had been apprehended inside the refugee camp (holding hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees) likely on a recruiting mission to create a fifth column of ISIS operatives inside Lebanon.
With Nouri al-Maliki agreeing to step aside, Iraq may have passed its first hurdle on the way to forming the kind of government that will be needed to defeat the Islamic State (IS). Passing this hurdle may also serve to vindicate the cautious approach the Obama Administration has taken in addressing the IS crisis.
Iran, which bears tremendous political, social and economic influence in Iraq and is considered to be the most significant foreign force in Baghdad, has made a critical tactical shift with regards to its foreign policy towards the sectarian conflict, civil war, rise of the Islamic State, and other affiliated extremist Sunni insurgencies in Iraq.
The world is aflame. Religious minorities are among those who suffer most from increasing conflict. Pakistan is one of the worst homes for non-Muslims. The U.S. government should designate that nation as a "Country of Particular Concern" for failing to protect religious liberty, the most basic right of conscience.
Iran is now facing serious challenges that strike at its economic and military weaknesses. In an Arab world that is less than 10-percent Shiite and distrusts non-Arabs, Persian Shiite Iran faces hostile Arab Sunni fundamentalist movements that are rising in the aftermath of the failures of the Arab Spring.