The current conflict in Iraq may have already inflicted irreversible damage on the country, leading either to partition or to an Iran-backed dictatorship.
That's according to Mike Morell, the former acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency, in an in-depth interview with Charlie Rose on Tuesday. A militant group called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has made substantial advances in Iraq in the past several weeks, and is within striking distance of Baghdad.
Morell said this conflict represents "the most serious set of circumstances in the Middle East" since the Arab-Israeli war in 1973.
The former deputy director envisioned three possible scenarios for Iraq's immediate future. The first possibility is partition. This would be the bloodiest scenario and would stir up sectarian violence, according to Morell, and will likely come true in the absence of any outside intervention. In this scenario, Morell said, "there will be an awful lot of blood. There will be humanitarian crises."
This would also mean that the militants could use the territory they've taken over "as a safe haven from which to attack Western Europe and from which to attack the homeland." And the conflict could also "spill over into the rest of the region."