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CIA Official Calls Syria Top Threat to U.S. Security

Jango

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The Central Intelligence Agency's second-in-command warned that Syria's volatile mix of al Qaeda extremism and civil war now poses the greatest threat to U.S. national security.

Michael Morell says the risk is that the Syrian government, which possesses chemical and other advanced weapons, collapses and the country becomes al Qaeda's new haven, supplanting Pakistan.

The threat from al Qaeda in Yemen in recent days—which shut down embassies across the Middle East—highlights the dangers for the U.S. as the terrorist organization tries to establish new beachheads. "It's not so much that al Qaeda has fallen as a threat," but that the threat from Syria has escalated, he said.

Mr. Morell's stark assessment shows how much the U.S. has at stake as it reluctantly prepares to arm Syrian rebels in the coming weeks while continuing to confront an al Qaeda that has dispersed across the globe. His forecast is all the more worrisome because it comes from a top official who other officials say is skeptical of current administration plans to arm the rebels.

Mr. Morell detailed his strategic assessment of Syria and al Qaeda in an outline of the top threats facing the U.S. in an interview in his office at Langley as he prepares to end his 33-year tenure at the agency on Friday. Second on his list was Iran, followed by the global al Qaeda threat, North Korea, and cyberwarfare.

Still, Syria is his top concern. "It's probably the most important issue in the world today," he said, "because of where it is currently heading." Its current track is toward the collapse of its central government, he said.

He said there are now more foreign fighters flowing into Syria each month to take up arms with al Qaeda-affiliated groups, than there were going to Iraq to fight with al Qaeda at the height of the war there.

The Syrian government's weapons, Mr. Morell said, "are going to be up for grabs and up for sale" as they were in Libya. The violence in Syria has the potential to spill over into Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.
CIA Official Calls Syria Top Threat to U.S. Security - WSJ.com

So in other words, Syria is one helluva bees nest that is going to need to be cleaned up sooner than later.
 

WCH

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Some prophecies have Damascus nuked.
 

Dittohead not!

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CIA Official Calls Syria Top Threat to U.S. Security - WSJ.com

So in other words, Syria is one helluva bees nest that is going to need to be cleaned up sooner than later.
And now that the bees' nest has been kicked over, and bees are swarming everywhere, now what? Who are the good guys in this struggle? Are there any? It looks like a brutal dictatorship vs. the terrorists to me. I hope that's wrong, but, if it isn't, just what do we do about it?
 

Jango

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And now that the bees' nest has been kicked over, and bees are swarming everywhere, now what? Who are the good guys in this struggle? Are there any? It looks like a brutal dictatorship vs. the terrorists to me. I hope that's wrong, but, if it isn't, just what do we do about it?
There used to be relative good guys, but since al Qaeda appeared, those lines have been blurred. I really don't think there are any so-called moderates left, not after everything that's happened as well the introduction of Qaeda and Hezbollah.

As to what we do about it… I don't think there's a right answer to that. It's not in our or the Israelis best interests to have Assad or al Qaeda in power when the dust settles, but overt intervention is not all that appealing either.
 

Arbo

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So in other words, Syria is one helluva bees nest that is going to need to be cleaned up sooner than later.
How does them killing themselves have anything to do with our national security?
 

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How does them killing themselves have anything to do with our national security?
I think Morell's alleged stark assessment is more like a his own Economic Assumption. I would think that is due to that one issue about Weapons falling into the hands of Extremists was his Hope that such an excuse would seem feasible.

Only problem he forgot was that those extremists already have the weapons. But then.....nobody ever said he was smart or knew what he was talking about in the first place.
 

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MadLib

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How does them killing themselves have anything to do with our national security?
So long as we're a global power, everything that happens anywhere is going to have some impact on our national security - especially in a region we're heavily invested in.

If Assad wins, that's a political and diplomatic victory for our enemies in Tehran, widening their sphere of influence as well as that of their Arab world affiliate, Hezbollah. If the more extremist rebels win, that means we could be facing an al-Qaeda with chemical weapons. If we play our cards just right, we can not only prevent either of those outcomes but also install a relatively democratic government in the region.
 

MadLib

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It looks like a brutal dictatorship vs. the terrorists to me.
Not quite. Of course there are terrorists on the rebel side - al-Nusra openly declared itself allied with al-Qaeda. However, there are also Western-educated moderates, some of whom aren't even Muslims. The alliance that formed between the liberals and Islamists was borne out of military necessity, since the latter are better-trained and better-equipped.

I do not believe that the Assad regime will survive the civil war. Even with a military victory it is likely that Assad will have to step down, but a rebel victory seems more likely at this point. In fact, if terrorists were not in the mix, I would not think that support for the rebels would be necessary for our long-term political goals. Either way, it will become a question of which rebel factions will take power - the extremists or the democrats? The jihadists are a small faction, but as I said, they are very powerful. Without assistance the moderates will be superseded by terrorist groups, either by being military defeated if the rebel groups turn on each other or by fading into irrelevance. The goal of our support should be to make the alliance between the Islamists and the moderates unnecessary by supporting the moderates with arms and training so that they no longer need to rely on Islamists.
 

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The US should stop with this "it might be my enemy one day" fight.
1st of all, it is not an attitude of a "global power" but of a "frightened power"

The world would have applauded the US and NATO if they would have intervene long time ago when innocent people were being killed daily (even tho this continue)
They never cared for the people and now you find this "presupposition" as a fact to intervene in Sirya?! or better say "clean it up with bombs"
 

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Well.....he is on his way out after 33years. But as far as the a threat to our National Security. He is way off the mark.
:lamo Yes, MMC. Clearly you know better regarding threats to national security than the second in command of the CIA who's been in the business for three decades. :roll:


You're out of touch with reality, bud.
 

MMC

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:lamo Yes, MMC. Clearly you know better regarding threats to national security than the second in command of the CIA who's been in the business for three decades.

You're out of touch with reality, bud.
Whatever TR :roll: .....but I am sure you would stick up for the paper pushing pencil Bureaucrat, that has majors in Economics and not intel. :shock: Must be due to the fact that he leans left despite working for Bush.....huh? Now lets check that on who really has the picture of reality. ;)

Got some sort validation that what he is saying affects our National Security? Other than weapons may fall in the hands of terrorists. Or will you stick with his feelings upon the matter. :doh
 

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Whatever TR :roll: .....but I am sure you would stick up for the paper pushing pencil Bureaucrat, that has majors in Economics and not intel. :shock: Must be due to the fact that he leans left despite working for Bush.....huh? Now lets check that on who really has the picture of reality. ;)

Got some sort validation that what he is saying affects our National Security? Other than weapons may fall in the hands of terrorists. Or will you stick with his feelings upon the matter. :doh
1. Weapons could fall into the hands of Sunni terrorists if there is a rebel victory.
2. Weapons will definitely fall into Shia terrorist hands (aka Hezbollah) if there is an Assad victory.
3. If Assad wins, Iran has a greater sphere of influence. This means that:
a) They will have more international support in their coverup of their nuclear program.
b) Iran can more easily extend her sphere of influence into Iraq from two borders - Syria and Iran. This means that the Iraq War would actually have hurt US security interests.
c) Iran could more easily transfer weapons and aid to Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorists.
 

MMC

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1. Weapons could fall into the hands of Sunni terrorists if there is a rebel victory.
2. Weapons will definitely fall into Shia terrorist hands (aka Hezbollah) if there is an Assad victory.
3. If Assad wins, Iran has a greater sphere of influence. This means that:
a) They will have more international support in their coverup of their nuclear program.
b) Iran can more easily extend her sphere of influence into Iraq from two borders - Syria and Iran. This means that the Iraq War would actually have hurt US security interests.
c) Iran could more easily transfer weapons and aid to Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorists.


Heya ML. :2wave: According to the Israelis Assad doesn't have anything going with a Nuclear program anymore. Main concern is the Largest stockpile of Chemical weapons outside of N Korea.

Weapons have already fallen into Sunni Terrorists hands with the Rebels now. Not many Shia inside Syria to be picking up a vast majority of weapons over the Sunni. The Sunni themselves wont let that happen.

If Assad wins he could have his Country divided up into 3 states. Which doesn't strengthen Iran at all.
 

Jango

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:lamo Yes, MMC. Clearly you know better regarding threats to national security than the second in command of the CIA who's been in the business for three decades. :roll:


You're out of touch with reality, bud.
It actually is hard to imagine the Syrian situation being our #1 crisis to national security at the moment though. The debt/less spending money, cyberattacks/cyberespionage, Iran getting the bomb, the Middle Eastern-Latin America connection, China, rising economies, climate problems… those are real issues that *will* or are affecting us. The Syrian situation is primarily a threat to Israel. But, since we're tied to Israel, it becomes our problem.

Syria has been on the chopping block for the U.S. for a while, along with Iran. It's called 'A Clean Break'. The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies Jerusalem, Washington
 

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It actually is hard to imagine the Syrian situation being our #1 crisis to national security at the moment though. The debt/less spending money, cyberattacks/cyberespionage, Iran getting the bomb, the Middle Eastern-Latin America connection, China, rising economies, climate problems… those are real issues that *will* or are affecting us. The Syrian situation is primarily a threat to Israel. But, since we're tied to Israel, it becomes our problem.

Syria has been on the chopping block for the U.S. for a while, along with Iran. It's called 'A Clean Break'. The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies Jerusalem, Washington
The Syrian problem is more of an issue for Saudi, Qutar, Jordan and Turkey which have been supporting the rebels than it is to Israel. Splitting Syria into three pieces gives the Kurds a base of operations against the Turks, Jordan will be overflowing refugees, Saudi kings will be looking to see if they can work a deal with Iran or risk being overthrown.

The world's ills all don't start and end with Israel as some bashers would like us to believe.
 

Dittohead not!

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Unless we actually be come energy independent, any problem in the Middle East is a problem for the US, as well as Europe and most of the industrialized world.
 

Jango

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The Syrian problem is more of an issue for Saudi, Qutar, Jordan and Turkey which have been supporting the rebels than it is to Israel. Splitting Syria into three pieces gives the Kurds a base of operations against the Turks, Jordan will be overflowing refugees, Saudi kings will be looking to see if they can work a deal with Iran or risk being overthrown.

The world's ills all don't start and end with Israel as some bashers would like us to believe.
I'm not bashing. Unless the U.S., U.K., France and others step up their aid to the rebels, they'll likely lose the conflict. And if Hezbollah is on the winning side, and gain possession of WMD and other extremely destructive weapons, chances are, they'd use them on the Israelis. Hezbollah's leader has recently called on his followers to concentrate on Israel. So… there's that.

Don't be so quick to assume.
 

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The only way Syria will become America's "number one threat" will be by extension of Iran if we do something so colossally, idiotically absurd as actually attack Syria.

Problem is, that's what the CIA seems hell-bent on doing. It's a textbook example of circular logic.
 

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I believe Morell's concerns are reasonable. Indeed, if one attaches a meaningful probability to such an outcome, that's another argument against U.S. intervention on behalf of a movement that includes the radical elements. The reality is that the sectarian conflict is a conflict between two brutal parties that have demonstrated little regard for civilian safety or humanitarian concerns. The U.S. should be involved in contingency planning for the scenario Morell raises. Given the nation's continually falling behind the curve on international developments (a problem that predated the current Administration but continues), including those in the Middle East, I have concerns as to whether policy or military planners are giving sufficient attention to the kind of risk Morell cites. The information Morell provides is potentially important. However, unless it is utilized in contingency planning, its value is lost.
 

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Let Syria blow up. Maybe they'll suck up all the terrorist in the Middle East and concentrate them there for the fight. This works great in helping to overcome which Muslims to kill and which ones to leave alone to live their lives. They are identifying themselves, coming out of the wood work. I say let them. The more the merrier.
 

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Let Syria blow up. Maybe they'll suck up all the terrorist in the Middle East and concentrate them there for the fight. This works great in helping to overcome which Muslims to kill and which ones to leave alone to live their lives. They are identifying themselves, coming out of the wood work. I say let them. The more the merrier.
Problem is, the Muslims who aren't terrorists get trapped in the middle. If nothing else, we should at least provide aid and assistance to Syrian refugees.
 

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Problem is, the Muslims who aren't terrorists get trapped in the middle. If nothing else, we should at least provide aid and assistance to Syrian refugees.
Why? they are surrounded by some of the richest nations on earth who happen to be brethren. The Gulf countries could take care of the refugees and never miss whatever they spend.
 
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