Much has been written over the last few days about the anti-Islam rant of Bill Maher and Reza Aslan response to them. See here, here and here. Personally, I think that the approaches adopted by both sides are rather problematic. This is why.
Through their reactive kneejerk policies over the last few years, policies that conform both to their inherent nature and parochial interests, Russia, Iran, the Assad regime, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and all other Middle Eastern regimes managed to create a situation in Syria where the United States had no choice but to intervene to midwife a process that will eventually secure the interests of most of these regimes, most of which will survive the current mayhem with little or no change.
First of all, there was no Arab civilization in the 19th and 20th centuries. Arabs have long become subsumed under the Ottoman Civilization, a staunchly Turkish entity despite its ethnic diversity, and they had long ceased to be significant contributors to the basic operations of that entity, except as fodder, that is, as conscripted soldiers and farmers.
I have visited this theme before, and I will probably do it again, because the hypocrisy and/or ignorance involved here is simply unforgiveable, and because I need to stake out my position more clearly on the matter.