Speaking in an interview with the CTC Sentinel, CIA Director John Brennan expressed doubt about the viability of either Iraq or Syria as united nations in the near-term, saying he doubts whether either nation can be put back together in his lifetime.
Brennan has made similar comments in the past with respect to Syria, doubting that after so many years of civil war the country can return to a completely united single state, despite this being the stated policy goal of the US. This is the first time Brennan has made similar comments toward Iraq.
In both cases, as Brennan noted, there has been substantial bloodletting, and the wars have left massive amounts of sectarian tensions. He doubted whether a central government in either nation could ever really “govern fairly” on a national basis.
Brennan suggested that in Iraq, autonomous governing regions could present a solution short of breaking the country up. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is already set up in such a manner, though in the long run the KRG is likely to seek outright secession. Beyond this, there is likely little interest within Iraq to grant similar autonomy to the Sunni Arab population, which the Shi’ite government has long insisted is full of “terrorists.”