Here are three more smart, considered emails from readers on the question. (Keep in mind these were sent prior to the devastating attacks in Paris on Friday and in Beirut on Thursday.) A reader in Shanghai, Doug Pancoast, is “particularly intrigued” by the comments of the second reader here:
Firstly, I basically agree with him that the only real lasting solution for stability in the Middle East is to create separate Shia, Sunni, and Kurdish states. However, Turkey in particular would be unlikely to even consider this (nor would Iran, Iraq, or Assad), but my solution to ISIS and the Syrian Civil War is to divide up Iraq and Syria, two failed states, and allow Turkey to take over much of the Sunni portions of Syria (including Damascus) while Iran annexes the Shia portions of Iraq and makes them an autonomous province of Iran. (The Alawites would get a small coastal nation and Assad’s patrons would force him to accept the deal.)
However, where I disagree with the reader is regarding Daesh (ISIS). The reader insinuated that allowing Daesh to have a state would be acceptable because by having a state it would be more vulnerable if it were to attack the United States. Though an intriguing argument, there are a few problems with this way of thinking.