The ME is an area where nation states-necesssary for a firm grounding of democracy, don't really exist, no matter what lines there are on a map. IS, al Nusra & the rest are only a major threat if they succeed in collapsing the whole setup in the region and are able to build a large trans-border Caliphate. Containment 'works,' therefore, of course at the price of suffering. Could IS be smashed and simply incised without knock-on effects?
John Redwood in his blog (25/11/15) raises the question of who our enemies are. For example, theTaliban are courted as part of the democratic process in Afghanistan. It ts necessary to tease out (with difficulty) what motivates its fighters: Islamism or Pathan interests, and how Pakistan in the shape of the ISI still intervenes in Afghanistan. We should remember that the Taliban did not spring fully-armed from the head of Zeus, but fully armed by the machinations of the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence Service)-whose head was one Pervez Musharraf. He then played both ends against the middle posing as our ally in the War on Terror.' a terror he helped to create. With Erdogan it's the same thing; he's our 'ally' but doesn't have our interests at heart. He is, after all, a man who started a war to win an election.
Where can we actually help positively? Perhaps Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt-rather than Syria and Iraq. If these countries are destabilised, then the consequences are incalculable.