General Michael V Hayden was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2006 to 2009, and the director of the National Security Agency from 1999 to 2005, roles which saw him lead much of the US’ counterterrorism efforts.

He is a retired Air Force four-star general who spent nearly 40 years in the US military.

In this wide-ranging interview, General Hayden and Marwan Bishara discuss the proliferation of al-Qaeda in the greater Middle East, the war in Iraq, and the US' foreign policy options, particularly in Syria. 

"To have Sunni extremists battling with Shia extremists in a fight to the death in a way that consumes their energy so they are not focused on other potential enemies or targets, in a practical, very real politics sort of way is probably not the worst of all possible worlds," Hayden says. 

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Source: Al Jazeera