Distinguished Professor Amin Saikal AM. Photo by Stuart Hay.

Distinguished Professor Amin Saikal AM. Photo by Stuart Hay.

Can ‘Islamic State’ be vanquished?

The rise of the so-called Islamic State (IS) in vast swathes of territories in Syria and Iraq - and the US-led military response to it - has introduced another complex dimension to an oil-rich but already volatile Middle East.

The old correlation of forces in support of maintaining the status quo, especially following the Iranian revolution more than 35 years ago, has changed.

This raises a number of questions. Should the problem of IS have been left to the regional actors to handle?

While IS may be containable, can it be defeated? Even if IS is eliminated, what guarantee is there that another extremist group won't replace it? 

This conversation between Middle East expert Professor Amin Saikal AM, Director of the ANU Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, and ABC presenter Virginia Haussegger AM is taken from an Experience ANU event and looks at these questions in detail and attempts to unpick the delicate subject of the region's politics.

You can watch the conversation below or listen to it on the Soundcloud link above.