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Syria might need to be dismembered, says America's spymaster

John Brennan’s comments are a rare public acknowledgement by a senior US official that Syria may need partition.

A map of Syria's civil war, showing Isis-controlled provinces (grey); Kurdish forces (yellow); Syrian or Iraqi government control (red) and rebels (green), which includes militant islamist rebels like the Al-Nusra Front, and the supposedly more moderate Free Syrian Army.
A map of Syria's civil war, showing Isis-controlled provinces (grey); Kurdish forces (yellow); Syrian or Iraqi government control (red) and rebels (green), which includes militant islamist rebels like the Al-Nusra Front, and the supposedly more moderate Free Syrian Army.

THE HEAD OF the United States Central Intelligence Agency has said he is not optimistic about the future of Syria remaining one country.

John Brennan’s comments are a rare public acknowledgement by a senior US official that Syria may not survive its five-year civil war in its current state.

Appearing at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, he said:

I don’t know whether or not Syria can be put back together again.

“Whether there’s going to be some kind of federal structure, where the various types of confessional groups are going to have the lead in governing their portions of the country.

We’ve looked at different parts of the country and which ones would be self-sustaining, which ones would rely on external assistance.

“Most people in Syria are in that western spine of the country, large portions of eastern Syria are desert and limited urban centres.

I don’t think also you’re going to have some semblance of tranquility in Syria unless you’re also able to address the Iraq issue.

“And that’s why this administration, President Obama, gets a lot of credit at looking at both countries, so that what we’re going to be doing can be complementary to this effort.”

Russia US US Secretary of State John Kerry, offered Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (right) a broad new military partnership in Syria when they met in Moscow two weeks ago. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Plan B

Last February, US secretary of state John Kerry US said that he would move towards a Plan B that could involve the partition of Syria, if a ceasefire did not materialise in advance of peace talks in March.

“It may be too late to keep it as a whole Syria if we wait much longer,” he told the US Senate foreign relations committee.

Last March, Staffan de Mistura, UN envoy to Syria, said partition has been rejected ‘by all Syrians’ - but insisted a federal Syria remained possible.

At the time, major powers close to the UN-brokered talks discussed a potential federal break-up of the country.

This would grant broad autonomy to regional ethnic and religious groups like the country’s Kurds, while maintaining the country’s unity as a single national entity.

Read: 300,000 dead, 11 million refugees, but nobody can get in a room to talk about peace

Read: Irish charity GOAL under US investigation for alleged mismanagement in Syria

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