US: Sectarian Violence to Continue Beyond Assad’s Fall

Clapper Sees Violence for at Least a Year After Regime Change

US officials usually don’t see the long-term impact of their policies coming until after the fact. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, however, sees the sectarian civil war in Syria as continuing well beyond the actual civil war.

“The most likely scenario that we see, even after Assad falls, is probably more fractionalization, if I can use that word, both geographically and on a sectarian basis, for some period of time,” Clapper told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Clapper said that the Islamist factions have a significant presence in 13 of 14 provinces in Syria, and that sectarian violence would almost certainly continue for “at least a year, a year and a half” after.

The “at least a year” seems incredibly optimistic as well, since sectarian violence has proven remarkably enduring historically, and in neighboring Iraq sectarian tensions have lingered for a solid decade since the US occupation began, with no signs that they are going away any time soon.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.