On Tuesday, the CIA director John Brennan told a Senate committee that the Middle East is in the worst condition it has been in over the last 50 years, citing incredible levels of violence and instability. He called the bloodshed in this region “unprecendented”.
Brennan was speaking at the Senate Intelligence Committee’s annual hearing to discuss worldwide threats, specifically the threats facing the U.S. as the Middle East continues to worsen.
“The Middle East right now I think is racked by more instability and violence and inter-state conflict than we’ve seen certainly in the past 50 years,” Brennan said. “And the amount of bloodshed and humanitarian suffering is I think unprecedented.”
The beginning of this downfall can be traced to the 2011 Arab Spring uprising according to Brennan. Of the uprising, Brennan notes, “Al Qaeda and terrorist organizations did not trigger that, but they’ve taken full advantage of it.”
The uprisings gave way to a loss of control for governments in Libya and Yemen, which opened the door to terrorist groups to come in. There are also a number of different tensions between population groups within the Middle East also leading to conflict.
One result of the Arab Spring uprising was the increased power that Al Qaeda now holds in Yemen, with its most dangerous affiliate located in the country.
As the U.S. attempts to fight off ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Libya has become a new focus of worry for the West. ISIS is now looking to Libya to establish a sort of back-up base since they are being attacked so heavily within Syria and Iraq. Since its previous leader, Muammar Gaddafi was killed in 2011, Libya has yet to find a unified government and terrorism has slowly crept into the country.
“We see Libya as the most important theater for ISIL outside of the Syria and Iraq theater,” Brennan said.
Brennan is not the only one who thinks so, with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper agreeing that Libya is a serious concern. He drew similarities between Libya and Syria, remarking that Libya is “essentially an ungoverned space” that provides ISIS “substantial oil resources just as they’ve had in Syria”.
Clapper also warned that ISIS has centered within Libya and no doubt has plans to spread throughout the country to broaden their influence in the Middle East as the rest of the region continues to crumble.
Editor’s note: Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. All of this happened on her watch, with ample time to read the situation. As a former intelligence officer, I can tell you bold moves on her part could have prevented most of the instability and bloodshed. Brennan won’t say it but I will. It’s on her.