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Alan Mendoza, Dan Chugg, Jane Kinninmont, Moav Vardi and Shlomo Avineri

An international panel has concluded that it will be virtually impossible to restore stability in the Middle East, in the context of several failed states and the rise of terrorist groups like ISIL (Islamic State).

Convening at the Jewish News’ event in London to discuss the new Middle East order, panel chair and Israeli journalist Moav Vardi asked whether it was a question of “a lack of will,” or whether ISIL simply could not be defeated.

Dan Chugg, who heads the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s dedicated taskforce, said: “ISIL will not be degraded and defeated by airstrikes alone, but nevertheless their march has been prevented. They’re not in the same mode of expansion as they were a year or two ago.”

However, Henry Jackson Society founder Alan Mendoza was critical of the “slow progress” being made, noting a “sense of frustration” in the U.S. “This is supposedly the mightiest military in the world,” he said. “Yet the method of engagement is such that we’re not able to bring overwhelming power to bear.”

Referring to the parliamentary vote to refrain from military action in Syria, Mendoza said circumstances had changed, adding: “We might now want to see some leadership from our politicians to get back in the Syria game.”

Jane Kinnemont, the deputy head of the Middle East and North Africa programme at Chatham House, took issue with this suggestion, saying: “There is less appetite for an Iraq-style intervention; that will remain the case in Syria. It’s not at all clear that Western boots on the ground is the answer.”