Time for the Middle East to police itself

After the predictable failure this past week of the naively named peace talks in Switzerland, tonight I call on the leaders of the Arab world, their kings and queens, their presidents and prime ministers, members of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation to take responsibility for Arab problems. This is the first step towards genuine, long-term peace in your region.

The world cannot wait for Sunnis and Shia to continue to slaughter each other in the name of Mohammed and a centuries old conflict about his rightful heir. As Middle East experts have reminded us, this is the world’s longest running feud; measured by time, it beats the Catholic-Protestant schism by a factor of three and the Palestinian conflict by a factor of more than 20. Too much blood has been spilt and too much damage has been done to the reputation of Islam over a religious dispute dating back to 632AD that fuelled regional power rivalries ever since.

I say again to the leaders of the Arab world, your time has now come – solving the latest conflict in Syria is your responsibility.

Ultimately the leaders of the Middle East will find their own way to best govern their countries.

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