Pentagon Intel Chief Predicts Breakup of Iraq and Syria
19:07 11.09.2015(updated 19:33 11.09.2015)
Vincent Stewart, director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, told a conference that he found it difficult to envisage the countries emerging intact from the wars they endure.
The head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency admitted on Thursday his belief that Iraq and Syria are unlikely to emerge intact from years of war and sectarian violence.
'I'm having a tough time seeing it come back together,' Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart told an audience of US security analysts.
With regards to Syria, the Pentagon chief gave a bleak prognosis; 'I can see a time in the future where Syria is fractured into two or three parts.'
In Iraq, the Defense Intelligence Agency boss indicated that he believes it unlikely that a government in Baghdad could hold authority over the disparate regions within the country's official borders; Stewart said he is 'wrestling with the idea that the Kurds will come back to a central government of Iraq.'
CIA Director John Brennan, speaking at the same event, echoed Stewart's idea that the borders of the Middle Eastern countries have irreparably broken down as a result of war and sectarianism.
'I think the Middle East is going to be seeing change over the coming decade or two that is going to make it look unlike it did,' said Brennan, remarking that Iraqis and Syrian now identify themselves more by their tribe or religious sect, than by nationality.
The bleak assessments from the US intelligence chiefs are counter to the official policy of the Obama administration, which is opposed to proposals to split the countries.
On Thursday it was reported the Pentagon had launched an investigation into allegations that reports prepared by the US military command on the situation on the ground in Iraq and Syria, had been deliberately altered from the truth.
The reports, intended for US President Barack Obama and other policymakers, allegedly had their conclusions doctored by more senior officials in order to present a more positive spin on problems such as the Iraqi army's lack of strength, and the growing threat of the Islamic State.
'The policy was one of containment in Syria, and they didn't want to address these reports because then there would have to be a change in strategy,' explained one former analyst for the US military's Central Command, where more than 50 intelligence analysts have complained that their reports were altered to fit the narrative of the Obama administration that US military offensive against Islamic State and al-Qaeda militants is gaining ground.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|