Speaking to the Washington Post, Clapper, who has worked for intelligence services for over 50 years, laid it all bare saying that US officials don’t have a recipe for battling radicals in the Middle East. He explained that Washington had “underestimated” the bulk of problems that plague the region, including “the large population bulge of disaffected young males, ungoverned spaces, economic challenges and the availability of weapons.”
“The US can’t fix it,” he asserted. “Somehow the expectation is that we can find the silver needle, and we’ll create ‘the city on a hill.’ ”
Clapper said that the fight against Dash is going much slower than the US expected. In particular, he put it firmly that the major stronghold in Iraq, Mosul, won’t be retaken this year, despite Daesh suffering major losses in manpower and territory recently.
“We’re killing a lot of their fighters. We will retake Mosul, but it will take a long time and be very messy. I don’t see that happening in this administration.”
When the militants are eradicated in both Iraq and Syria, he continued, the threat of terrorism across the Middle East won’t disappear, because the bulk of the unsolved issues taunting the region will remain in place. This will provide a “perpetual state of suppression for a long time” for the US, he added.
However, despite his admission of the ineffectiveness of US efforts in the region, Clapper said that Washington won’t just leave the Middle East.
“I don’t think the US can just leave town. Things happen around the world when US leadership is absent. We have to be present — to facilitate, broker and sometimes provide the force,” he concluded.
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