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Gaddafi was good partner: Ex-CIA chief

8 May 2011 No Comment

THE former chief of the CIA on Tuesday praised Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s past cooperation and said his downfall could complicate US interests in the short term.

Retired general Michael Hayden, who led the Central Intelligence Agency from 2006 to 2009 under president George W. Bush, said that restive Syria also helped US intelligence but only in selective areas.

Speaking at a conference of the Marine Corps University, Gen Hayden said the CIA had worked well with Gaddafi and Mussa Kussa, the foreign minister who defected last month as Libyan forces moved against rebels.

‘Whatever you think of Gaddafi and Mussa Kussa… they were good and they were good counter-terrorism partners,’ Gen Hayden told the conference near Washington.

Gen Hayden said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was ‘pretty good’ at fighting Sunni Muslim militants but supported Shi’ite radicals. Mr Assad belongs to the Alawite sect, a Shi’ite offshoot despised by Sunni extremists such as Al-Qaeda.

‘In both cases, you have real near-term turbulence that could – that will – make the closer fight in the immediate time-frame much more difficult,’ Gen Hayden said.

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