The tens of thousands of jihadists and would-be-jihadists that have flocked to Syria, coupled with the rise of ISIS, have placed the public debate about radicalism on the spotlight. This is the case in Western countries worrying about returning jihadists, but also inevitably in Arab countries where discussions about militant jihadism alternate with broader debates on possibly the worst crisis the region has faced in everyone’s living memory. In the same way that the question “why do they hate us” marked the debate in the U.S.-post 9/11, the plainer question why do they hate seems to be marking the debate everywhere.

The most common answer I have come across points the finger to the main geographical source of the problem, the Sunni communities of the Arab world. After all being a Sunni is generally a requisite to join ISIS or other jihadist groups. Radicalism has taken over much of the Sunni armed rebellion against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and a sizeable chunk of the disgruntled Sunni minority in Iraq has either joined or sided with ISIS. It has been forgotten that Iraqi Sunnis, starting in Anbar province, fought al-Qaeda successfully and then were abandoned by the U.S and the sectarian government of Nouri al-Maliki. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog