The cities of Aleppo, Raqqa and Mosul are in total ruin. They have been destroyed not by foreign occupation or intervention, but by the local Arab inhabitants themselves. Over half a million people have been killed, and millions have been displaced and are surviving in camps or are on the move to Turkey and the West. These ruined cities describe an arc of destruction across what was formerly Syria and Iraq, and represent the total breakdown of Arab Muslim society. They would be loath to admit it, but this is a crisis in Arab culture.
Aleppo in northern Syria was a center of the opposition to Pres. Assad of Syria. With the help of Iran and Russia the Syrian Army of the Assad regime has destroyed Aleppo and razed it to the ground with barrel bombs. There is no undamaged building left in Aleppo, it can never be what it was before.
Raqqa in eastern Syria has been the capital of the so-called Islamic State that was announced about 5 years ago. The IS initiated female slave markets and torture and grotesque murder for anyone who disagreed with their supposed version of Islam, including mostly Muslims. Such fanatical movements do not have a plan for the future of their citizens, and following other such organizations are doomed from the start. Raqqa is now under siege from the combined Kurdish and Free Syrian Arab forces with US support and IS is finally being defeated.
Mosul in Iraq was the largest city captured by the IS. The combined Iraqi Army forces, including many Shia militias, are gradually expelling the IS forces from Mosul. Eastern Mosul was recaptured last month, and now the western half of the city is almost freed. Under great pressure the IS forces themselves destroyed the 12th century al-Nuri Mosque and will soon be totally defeated.
The defeat of IS in Syria and Iraq will not mean the end of this terrible movement, its fighters will continue to migrate (back) to the West where they will carry out attacks on innocent civilians. Except that according to IS no westerner is innocent, because we are all infidels and all infidels must die for the eventual victory of their extreme version of Islam. But, it is at least the beginning of the end of the much vaunted Caliphate.
I could have included other ruined Arab cities, such as Tripoli and Benghazi in Libya and Sana’a in Yemen. But, these three represent the central core of the Arab Muslim world. When will all the Muslim Arabs recognize that the destruction of these cities are a terrible message to them that their culture has failed and that instead of fighting to exclude Western culture, they should be aspiring to assimilate it.