08:52 GMT +317 October 2019
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    US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) shakes hands with Russian Foreign Secretary Sergey Lavrov before a bilateral meeting in Sochi, Russia

    Syrian Ceasefire Offers New Era of Hope Between US, Russia – Ex CIA Officer

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    Former CIA counterterrorism officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou told Sputnik that the Syrian ceasefire offers the first substantive step towards a lasting peace and the possibility for a new era of US-Russian cooperation.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The Syrian ceasefire offers the first substantive step towards a lasting peace and the possibility for a new era of US-Russian cooperation, former CIA counterterrorism officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou told Sputnik.

    "It shows that the US and Russia can cooperate on major international conflicts for the benefit of all," Kiriakou said on Monday. "It's certainly a step in the right direction."

    The first signs of the effectiveness of the Syrian ceasefire, which went into effect Friday at midnight, were encouraging, Kiriakou, a Middle East expert and former senior analyst on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said.

    "The ceasefire [in Syria] appears to be holding, and it's a tribute to diplomacy," he observed. "It's impossible to say if it will hold, but the longer it does, the more time all sides have to negotiate something permanent."

    The Islamic State, also known as Daesh — which is outlawed in Russia, would certainly try to undermine the ceasefire or hope that Washington and Moscow would come into conflict over maintaining it, Kiriakou cautioned.

    "This is certainly a bad thing for [Daesh] because it allows the other two sides to regroup and to focus on a united front against the terrorists," he stated. "It's too early to say if this portends a more lasting peace."

    Kiriakou gained international recognition as the only person ever sent to prison for the Bush administration's torture program: not because he engaged in torture but because he exposed it to the world.

    Kiriakou, an expert on Middle East terrorism, was jailed for two years for passing information to a reporter while a CIA officer. He now serves as an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.


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