CIA Director John Brennan said the outgoing administration of US President Barack Obama overestimated the outcome of the Arab Spring, in expecting democracy to take root in the region.
In an interview broadcast Monday on CNN, Brennan said that although the people in the region wanted individual freedom, “the concept of democracy is something that really is not engrained in a lot of the people and the cultures and the countries out there.”
“I think there were very, very unrealistic expectations in Washington, including in some parts of the administration, that the Arab Spring was going to push out these authoritarian regimes and democracy is going to flourish because that’s what people want,” he said on CNN’s Axe Files podcast on Monday.
Brennan also noted that, although the decision to withdraw US troops from Iraq in 2011 was unlikely to have been the cause for the sectarian violence in the country, it was likely “a contributing factor” to the formation and strengthening of ISIL Takfiri group.
A wave of Arab Spring uprisings spread from Tunisia to Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, and elsewhere across the Middle East in 2011. The fall of a number of authoritarian regimes has led to increased instability in the region.