Frank Zerunyan is a longtime resident (and former mayor) of Rolling Hills Estates. He is an attorney and Professor of the Practice of Governance at the Sol Price School of Public Policy.
Frank has spoken to our club in the past about governance and local issues, but at this meeting, his focus was farther afield – the Middle East. It is an area in which he has not only deep expertise, but direct experience, having grown up in Istanbul. He began with an overview of the situation in the Middle East, explaining that the US has made missteps in the area, beginning with getting into the middle of a 1,400 year old fight that doesn’t involve us. The discord is between the two major factions of Islam, the Shias and the Sunnis.
What is of direct concern to us – and will have to be addressed by a future US president – is the situation with ISIS. Frank explained that Muslims are not dangerous; Islamists are, and ISIS is our biggest cause of concern. ISIS is bent on creating a caliphate by taking over land and they need to be stopped.
The solution will require boots on the ground, he explained, but they shouldn’t be our boots. Instead we need to create a strong Sunni force that is capable of taking on the threat.