Former CIA director and retired US Army general told a senate panel that to achieve victory in the Middle East, the US needs to establish and protect rebel enclaves in Syria and launch another “surge” in Iraq.
This was the first public appearance for the former spymaster David Petraeus, following his April sentencing for revealing classified information to his mistress.
RT reports: Describing Syria as a “geopolitical Chernobyl… spewing instability” all over the Middle East, Petraeus urged the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) to endorse a policy that would “stop the Syrian air force from flying” and establish safe areas where civilians and anti-government rebels could be protected by US airpower and advisers. Meanwhile, all the elements of the surge were once again required in Iraq, but this time around the Iraqis would have to provide the ground troops, he said.
Ret Gen Petraeus tells Senate cmte Syria is a “geo-political Chernobyl” & that “the fallout from the meltdown will be felt for decades.”
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) September 22, 2015
Petraeus echoed the official position of the State Department that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was to blame for the rise of Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL), blaming the government’s “barrel bombs” rather than IS for most of the civilian deaths in Syria. The general pushed for the creation of US-backed protected areas where civilians and militia opposed to the government could shelter under the coalition air umbrella. Eventually, he said, US advisers could be deployed there as boots on the ground.
“This is a very complicated military activity, but it is doable,” Petraeus told lawmakers.
— Ryan Lucas (@relucasz) September 22, 2015
Petraeus resigned as director of the CIA in November 2012, following the revelations that he had shared classified information with his biographer – and lover – Paula Broadwell. As part of a plea bargain with the government, he was sentenced to two years’ probation and a $100,000 fine.
While Petraeus was giving testimony before the SASC, it was reported that the head of the anti-ISIS coalition retired Marine General John Allen would be stepping down in November. Sources within the Obama administration suggested to Bloomberg that Allen’s decision was made due to concern over his wife’s poor health.