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Countering Islamism requires several elements. First is defining the term and understanding that Islam is one of the world’s great faiths and that Islamism is not a religion but an ideology of power and control. Second is recognizing that radical Islamists seek to use that ideology to gain control for a violent, exclusionary, and expansionary agenda. Third is realizing that radical Islamists are both Sunni and Shia. The Sunnis, in the case of the Islamic State, must be defeated and the idea must be discredited—and only other Sunnis can do that. Fourth is knowing that we have a stake in the success of Saudi Vision 2030—there has never been a successful model of development in the Arab Middle East and the emergence of one could undercut the appeal of radical Islamists and deny them the fertile ground of failed governance that they exploit. The final element is blocking the radical Shia Islamists. Iran's continuing expansion must be contained and Syria is the place this must start.
Countering Islamism in the Middle East by Hoover Institution on Scribd