The Obama Administration may have convinced itself that an Iranian military presence in the Syrian Golan Heights is no big deal and might even represent a positive development, one that might eventually force both Iran and Israel to reconsider the nature of their antagonistic relationship. A simple and rational cost-benefit analysis, or so the thinking seems to go in this regard, should in time encourage both sides to agree on some kind of détente, one that could pave the way for formal recognition, and even, cooperation in the not-so-distant future.
The answer to the extremism prevalent in Muslim communities around the world will not come from any allegedly “enlightened” or “moderate” set of religious scholars, but from the average Muslims’ changing attitude towards religiosity. Historical precedents have indeed shown that the religious establishment has often to play catchup with the people in this matter. In the meantime, however, establishment figures, motivated by a variety of ideological and parochial considerations, will often lead the fight against modernization using the pulpits and whatever social, economic and political institutions under their control.