Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
THURSDAY, 24 APR 2014
11:50 AM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
22 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Middle East
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Assad win may be Syria's best option: ex-CIA chief
Agence France Presse
A man stands on debris of damaged buildings at a site hit by what activists say was shelling by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Duma neighborhood of Damascus, December 11, 2013. REUTERS
A man stands on debris of damaged buildings at a site hit by what activists say was shelling by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Duma neighborhood of Damascus, December 11, 2013. REUTERS
A+ A-

WASHINGTON: The sectarian bloodbath in Syria is such a threat to regional security that a victory for Bashar al-Assad's regime could the best outcome to hope for, a former CIA chief said Thursday.

Washington condemned Assad's conduct of the conflict, threatened air strikes after he was accused of targeting civilians with chemical weapons and has demanded he step down.

The United States is also supplying millions of dollars in "non-lethal" aid to some of the rebel groups fighting Assad's rule.

But Michael Hayden, the retired US Air Force general who until 2009 was head of the Central Intelligence Agency, said a rebel win was not one of the three possible outcomes he foresees for the conflict.

"Option three is Assad wins," Hayden told the annual Jamestown Foundation conference of terror experts.

"And I must tell you at the moment, as ugly as it sounds, I'm kind of trending toward option three as the best out of three very, very ugly possible outcomes," he said.

The first possible outcome he cited was for ongoing conflict between ever more extreme Sunni and Shiite factions.

The rebel groups are dominated by Sunni Muslims, while Assad is generally backed by Syria's Alawite, Shiite and Christian minorities.

And the second outcome, which Hayden deemed the most likely, was the "dissolution of Syria" and the end of a single state within the borders defined by a 1916 treaty between the French and British empires.

"It means the end of the Sykes-Picot (Agreement), it sets in motion the dissolution of all the artificial states created after World War I," he said.

The British diplomat Mark Sykes and a French counterpart Francois Georges Picot divided the Middle East into zones of influence that later served as the frontiers of independent Arab states.

A breakdown in the century-old settlement could spread chaos in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, Hayden warned.

"I greatly fear the dissolution of the state. A de facto dissolution of Sykes-Picot," Hayden said.

"And now we have a new ungoverned space, at the crossroads of the civilization.

"The dominant story going on in Syria is a Sunni fundamentalist takeover of a significant part of the Middle East geography, the explosion of the Syrian state and of the Levant as we know it."

Fighting erupted in Syria in early 2011, when Assad launched a crackdown on pro-democracy protests and has since evolved into a full-blown civil war that has claimed an estimated 126,000 lives.

Assad, backed by Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, is locked in combat with a diverse group of Sunni rebel factions which are increasingly dominated by hardline jihadist groups.

 
Home Middle East
 
     
 
Syria
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Wednesday, April 23, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Israel shows Zionism’s true colors
Michael Young
Michael Young
For Christians, blessed are the dividers
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
An Iran deal is close, but we’re not there yet
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS