WASHINGTON : The sectarian bloodbath in Syria is such a threat to regional security that a victory for Bashar al-Assad’s regime could the best outcome to hope for, a former CIA chief has said. Washington condemned Assad’s conduct of the conflict, threatened air strikes after he was accused of targeting civilians with chemical weapons and has demanded he step down. The United States is also supplying millions of dollars in “non-lethal” aid to some of the rebel groups fighting Assad’s rule.
But Michael Hayden, the retired US Air Force general who until 2009 was head of the Central Intelligence Agency, said a rebel win was not one of the three possible outcomes he foresees for the conflict.
“Option three is Assad wins,” Hayden told the annual Jamestown Foundation conference of terror experts. “And I must tell you at the moment, as ugly as it sounds, I’m kind of trending toward option three as the best out of three very, very ugly possible outcomes,” he said.