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Islamic State is a grave threat to all humanity and must be killed off before it grows in power and size. To do this requires a re-evaluation of our historic policies in the Middle East and the swift construction of an emergency coalition of partners willing to fight ISIS forces.

In my opinion, the most effective coalition for this project would be a temporary alliance of Assad’s Syria, Kurdistan and the Iranian-backed Shia regions of Iraq.

Learned readers will at once spot that these partners are otherwise opposed to each other tooth and nail. Assad objects to the independence of Kurdish areas of Syria. The aspirations of independent-minded Kurds ordinarily clash with those of Shia Iraqi nationalists and their Iranian patron-regime. Assad’s brand of militant Arab nationalism meanwhile contrasts wildly with the Persian design of Shi’ite collectivism.

All of these points are accurate and all of them are irrelevant. This is a time too desperate for conventional reasoning, and it should not matter to the West whether the solution to ISIS leaves more parochial issues in its wake.

Our only interest is to strangle Islamic State, kill as many of its adherents as possible, and scorch its ideological earth lest it be replicated elsewhere.

The following deal could be offered to Assad:

If you (respecting the non-involvement of Israel and Lebanon) wage war on ISIS and other forms of Islamic militancy, the West will replace or repair the equipment you need to defend a secular state of Syria. By the same token, the existence of your regime will be secured.

The Kurds will need no such bribery and nor should the Shia of Iraq who by now take orders more from Tehran than Baghdad.

Of course, Zionists and supporters of Israel are right to be unnerved by a Western embrace of Assad, who remains a pathological anti-Semite and committed irredentist. But it must be stated to such people that Islamic State is potentially a far greater threat to the Jews of the Middle East than Syria could ever hope to be.

When ISIS disappears furthermore, the regional winners will not be Arab nationalists, but Kurdish secularists and Shia elements loyal to Iran. The Palestinians to all extents and purposes are irrelevant.

In any case, we must realise a moral responsibility to ourselves (in Europe) and to ancient the minorities in the Middle East. To fail to act now will make us villains of history.