E.J. DIONNE: Well, the question is whether we can push back ISIS or whether we’re starting out trying to contain them and prevent them from taking more territory. I mean, at least in the initial phase, they were on a real roll taking over large amounts of territory, both in Iraq and in Syria. We seem to have stopped that advance. The question is whether we can push them back. The striking thing is ISIS has no friends in the Middle East. I believe it was The Economist had this great chart where they said, who’s friends and who’s enemies with whom? Every regime, regimes we like, regimes we don’t like, really does not want ISIS to take off in the Middle East. And so I think one of the issues will be, what will our””not only our allies, but what will our adversaries do? It’s odd we are on the same side as the Iranians, for example, in this fight. And we are each doing pieces of the military effort.
ABERNETHY: And can other Muslims in the Middle East prevail over this strange””
KEVIN ECKSTROM: That’s part of the problem with this whole ISIS story. This is as much an interreligious or intra=religious fight as it is a political one. These are Muslims who have no problem killing other Muslims because they’re deemed as heretics or not pure enough or whatever. And so in many ways, yes, this is a challenge for the international community to figure out what to do here and how to contain them. But it’s also a struggle for Islam. For Islam to find a way to say, you know, in whatever capacity it can, that this is not allowable Islamic behavior. What ISIS is doing is not sanctioned by this faith. The problem is that Islam doesn’t have a pope, it doesn’t have a council of imams or something that can issue a declarative ruling like that. So I don’t know what the answer is, but Islam itself needs to come to terms with what ISIS is and what it claims to be.
LAWTON: The other problem that we’re going to be facing this year is what to do with all the victims, the refugees, who have been pouring out of the places both in Syria and in Iraq where ISIS and the ongoing civil war in Syria are just killing their communities.