Return to Transcripts main page


New Airstrikes Target ISIS Oil Supplies in Syria; Officials: U.S. Tracking Khorasan For Many Months; Feds Urge Heightened Awareness of Lone Wolf Strikes; Jesse Matthew in Custody in Texas

Aired September 24, 2014 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening from the United Nations where President Obama today called on world leaders to join the battle against the forces of global fear. And he did, U.S. and allied warplanes like these were taking aim at ISIS in Syria. New airstrikes tonight, a lot of them with the new target, the terror group's money machine, namely oil.

We have the latest on those missions and new details on the one from yesterday aimed at the Khorasan Group. Peter Bergen tells us what senior administration officials are telling him about that tonight.

After speaking to the General Assembly today the president chaired the Security Council which passed a U.S.-sponsored resolution demanding that all countries take steps against recruiting, organizing, transporting, equipping and financing of foreign terrorist fighters. Words, he said, would not be enough. So we begin with deeds, not words. The new airstrikes to tell you about.

Barbara Starr, she is at the Pentagon tonight monitoring the late developments.

Barbara, what have you learned?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Anderson. All aircrafts have now returned. It was a two-hour mission striking about a dozen ISIS targets in remote areas of eastern Syria. They did go after these oil facilities. About a dozen small modular, if you will. Small oil refinery facilities where ISIS was smuggling in oil and refining it and then selling it on the black market.

There's an estimate that ISIS makes upwards of $2 million a day off of all of its smuggled oil business. U.S. and coalition warplanes knew about these targets. They went after them in these remote areas in eastern Syrian. They weren't too concerned about civilian casualties. They wanted to get to this and send ISIS a very direct message that it was going to take away their source of revenue. ISIS is using the money from oil, of course, to finance its operations -- Anderson.

COOPER: Barbara, after the first amount of strikes we didn't get a lot of details about exactly which countries did what, how many bombing raids and the like. Do we know anymore tonight about which other countries participated in these strikes? STARR: In these oil strikes, indeed, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab

Emirates joined the U.S. And what we are being told is that actually these two countries flew more airplanes, dropped more bombs than the U.S. did. The U.S. flew about half a dozen F-15 aircraft. The allies flew more. A signal on this strike and perhaps strikes to come that these Arab nations are very much all in on this fight against ISIS -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Barbara Starr, at the Pentagon. Thanks.

The notion of terror groups in the oil business is obviously somewhat novel, but it probably shouldn't be. Other terror groups raise money by smuggling opiums so why not oil?

Some more on that tonight and attempts to disrupt it with air strikes, we're joined by Tom Foreman.

Tom, the strikes on these oil installations, can you show us exactly where they took place and the significance of it?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure, we can, Anderson. If you look at where they've been striking the main ISIS strongholds for a couple of days now, this is different, this is more an open territory out here toward the eastern side of Syria.

They're not going after the great big oil production areas like Raqqa here, about a quarter of a million people live here. And there are big oil production facilities here. But rather it's out in the countryside, very little chance of civilian casualties out here and yet pinpoint targeting of a dozen of these modular oil units out here -- Anderson.

COOPER: Do we know how much oil has been getting from these particular facilities? Barbara Starr was talking about as much as -- you know, making as much as $2 million a day. It looks like the Raqqa facility is even bigger. What kind of an impact are these strikes going to have?

FOREMAN: Well, we don't really know how much these 12 facilities would produce out there. We know between Syria and Iraq that there's a lot of oil out there in the territory that ISIS has held and we know that some of their most fierce fighting has been in those area to seize that ground. So if you look at these 12 refineries they were believed to be producing around 300 to 500 barrels a day.

Oil right now is selling more than $90 a barrel. This on the black market goes for about $30 a barrel. But again, it's believed that that adds up to about $2 million a day.

And, Anderson, this is the lion's share of what makes ISIS so wealthy.

COOPER: Well, that's what's so interesting about this group. I mean, one of the reasons so many, you know, officials have been saying it's unlike a lot of other terror groups we've seen that ISIS is actually self-sustaining financially, not just from oil, but the smuggling antiquities, taxing the local people, making money from ransoms, even stealing money from banks.

So degrading their sources of funding, I mean, it's significant that they're doing this on the second major bombing runs.

FOREMAN: It is significant. Because, look at this, Anderson. If you look at the number of bombings there have been since late July, early August, look at that. Almost -- there has not been many days when there has not been some bombing going on. But you look at what has happened in terms of all of the territory out here that ISIS controls. If you go back to late July this is the map. The red shows what they really controlled. Yellow where they have a lot of influence.

For all the bombing, for all the effort, watch closely as I change it to today. Almost no change at all in terms of the territory they hold. That's because they're very flexible. It's hard to get at them. That's why this may signal a change in tactics that really matters here. Cut the economic legs off from underneath them. And that's money for fighters, that's money from making their communities work.

That's money for building that Islamic state they want so badly and without that money ISIS may have a problem -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, certainly, though, it's fascinating to see those two maps because really no change of territory. And again it just reaffirms the importance of having the forces on the ground, forces from really any place on the ground capable of taking advantage of whatever the U.S. and others are able to achieve from the air. And clearly in Iraq those forces are not there. They're not -- have not been able to reverse ISIS positions and obviously in Syria as well.

Tom, thanks for that.

I want to bring in more expertise to bear on the developments today and what tomorrow may bring. Joining me now for that is Lieutenant General Mark Hertling who was commander of the U.S. forces in Iraq from 2007 to 2009. Also with us, CNN military analyst, retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona.

General Hertling, I'm just -- to Tom Foreman's point, when you see those two maps about really the amount of -- despite all the bombings that have taken place so far, the amount of territory they control or have influence over is pretty much identical to what it was. That really does speak to the inabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces, the Peshmerga, and certainly any moderate Syrian rebels.

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It does right now, Anderson, and that's why hopefully will change as we go from the strategic offensive with the bombing strikes in Syria and a strategic defensive in Iraq while we're given the -- both the Peshmerga and the Iraqi Security Forces time to rebuild, it's critical that that is ground that we're going to have to take.

And Tom points out a very interesting point in that map. Because one of those red areas in the middle of Iraq covers the town of Baiji. That was in my area of operation in 2007, and I will tell you, we put a lot of emphasis on controlling that. And even though we did al Qaeda was able to generate a lot of fraud and a lot of corruption through the oil refinery there and funded much of their operation.

It wasn't until we started putting a lot of special operations forces and conventional forces against the al Qaeda in that area that we were able to take back that oil refinery and generate a stoppage of al Qaeda funding from oil across the border.

COOPER: So it really required in that case back then, U.S. troops, special forces on the ground, or at least some sort of force on the ground. That wasn't something you could have achieved by the air.

HERTLING: Yes, but what was interesting, Anderson, most of the oil that was being ferreted out of the country by al Qaeda, was actually going into Syria, and being refined at some of these places because it was mostly crude oil coming out of the Kirkuk oil fields. So what we're seeing is a strategic strike on a refinery operations that's going to eliminate the capability of selling gasoline and oil across the border into Syria and Turkey and other places.

COOPER: Colonel Francona, I mean, Tom Foreman was showing on that map, those refinery capabilities in Raqqa, which was -- which were the city in Raqqa, targets in Raqqa were bombed but that the oil refineries there were not.

Do you think that was out of a concern for civilian population where the oil -- the areas that were hit are in far less populated areas?

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Right, I think that is exactly what's going on because these areas are way out in the desert and there was very little chance of civilian casualties, collateral damage. And I think that's important right now during the initial stages. Going back to what Tom had, he had some really good points in that map there. And when he showed that there was almost no change between when the bombing has started and now I think that's a key point.

The air I think has been able to blunt the ISIS offensive. Remember, they were rolling down the Euphrates Valley, rolling down the Tigris Valley. It looked like they were unstoppable. The air was able to blunt it. But I think the key is -- that the Iraqis have not been able to retake any ground whatsoever. And we have to buy them some space and time so they can get trained up to do that. So I think it's critical that we keep up the pressure on both sides of that border, not just in Syria. So I think we need bombing throughout that range.

COOPER: But, Colonel, I mean, the amount of time to -- for the Iraqis to actually build up, I mean, they've had 10 years to build up their military with a lot of U.S. advisers, U.S. money, U.S. equipment, and clearly it hasn't worked out. So are you confident that given 12 months or 18 months or two years they actually can build up their forces?

FRANCONA: I think in 12 months they can. It took -- it took us 10 years to build it up. It took them three years to tear it down. But what we need to do is replace the leadership and I think the general will agree with me here, if you can get decent leadership in there I think the Iraqi army is capable to do this. They just have to have some quality management leadership.

COOPER: General Hertling, Secretary of State John Kerry earlier in an interview with Christiane Amanpour said something that really caught me by surprise, and I think perhaps a lot of people, he said that Baghdad itself could have fallen when ISIS started make advances if President Obama hadn't started this bombing campaign.

At the time, and I mean I remember being in Baghdad around that time, and there wasn't a lot -- I mean, the conventional wisdom of this time was certainly, well, there is no way Baghdad itself will fall. It's a largely Shia city. The Iraqi military forces caved in on the battlefield in largely Sunni, you know, predominant Sunni areas that they would at least defend the city and you had all these Shia militias.

Do you believe it's really true that Baghdad itself could have fallen?

HERTLING: It's certainly would have been threatened, Anderson. And I think that Secretary Kerry maybe overstated it a bit. But I would suggest we all -- we saw at the very early stages before we began becoming involved with advisors and some air campaign, we started seeing a whole lot of unreported car bombing. I mean, it was happening within Baghdad City itself.

That didn't come out a lot in the press. But you already started to see the re-generation of what occurred during the early civil war in 2005 and six. And I think it certainly could have caused a great deal of chaos, whether or not the city would have fallen itself. I don't know. But there certainly would have been chaotic activities throughout the city that probably would have caused some consternation in the part of the Iraqi Security Forces, mostly Shiite in the city.

COOPER: Which again just shows the weakness of the Iraqi Security Forces if Baghdad itself truly was vulnerable.

General Hertling, appreciate you being on. General Francona as well.

As always, make sure you set your DVR so you can watch 360 whenever you want.

Coming up in this hour, what President Obama told the U.N. Security Council and what he achieved here today.

Plus, did the president actually satisfy critics who say his foreign policies has not been muscular enough. Is there an Obama doctrine? If not, should there be? We'll talk about that ahead.


COOPER: Welcome back to breaking news tonight. A fresh round of allied airstrikes on ISIS targets, a dozen of them, in eastern Syria, according to the Pentagon. Senior military source telling our Jim Sciutto that aircraft in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the UAE, flew actually the majority of missions. More than the U.S. Speaking this morning to the U.N. General Assembly here, President

Obama called on all countries to do their part, whatever that may be, to make the world safer and better. Listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Fellow delegates, we come together as United Nations with a choice to make. We can renew the international system that has enabled so much progress or we can allow ourselves to be pulled back by an undertow of instability. We can reaffirm our collective responsibility to confront global problems or be swamped by more and more outbreaks of instability.

And for America, the choice is clear. We choose hope over fear.


COOPER: A short time later members of the U.N. Security Council of which the United States is obviously a permanent member gathered for a special meeting President Obama gaveled to order.

Our senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta, he was there. He joins us now with more on that and the president's General Assembly speech.

It was interesting to hear the president talk to the General Assembly today because he talked about essentially saying you cannot negotiate with these kind of terrorists.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, and this is a speech that the president largely wrote himself, according to the White House officials, and there were no muddled messages this time. Unlike the messages that have tripped this president in recent weeks.

He referred to ISIS as a network of death. At one point during his speech he basically warned the ISIS fighters to clear off the battlefield, essentially foreshadowing these strikes that we saw later on in the afternoon. And he called ISIS once again a cancer that the world must gather together to get rid of. And here's how the president put it earlier today.


OBAMA: There can be no reasoning, no negotiation with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like these is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.


COOPER: The president also spoke directly to young Muslims and Muslim communities, not just Muslim states but communities, which, as Jake Tapper said earlier today, I mean, it could refer to Muslim communities inside the United States. ACOSTA: Absolutely. And what I think he was trying to do is ask the

urban Muslim world to do some soul searching and go after these root causes of violent extremism. There's going to be a summit on violent extremism at the White House later on this year according to senior administration officials. They're still working those details out.

But yes, I mean, this is why we're seeing this violent extremism take hold in Iraq and Syria. Because you see a lot of young men and even in some cases women who don't have opportunities in the countries that they come from, in some cases the West. And they have to deal with it that's why you saw the president in the Security Council meeting that he presided over earlier today trying to go after these foreign fighters that are traveling to the U.S. and the West down to the Middle East getting training and then potentially coming back to wreak havoc here on the home front.

COOPER: Right.

ACOSTA: And I talked to one senior administration official earlier today because I was asking about this question, what was the president lecturing the Middle East, and what this person said was, we'd know. I mean, a lot of people on the Arab (INAUDIBLE) agree with the president's comments, wants something to be done about this and are hopeful that those words will have sort of effect because, in essence, these foreign fighters are coming from the West and the U.S. are reinforcements for the fighters that are being killed on the battlefield.

COOPER: Right.

ACOSTA: If they're going to be successful in taking out ISIS, they have to deal with that part of the problem.

COOPER: No doubt about that.

Jim Acosta, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

ACOSTA: Yes. You bet.

COOPER: As you said, this was a far tougher tone for the president. And both critics and supporters say a more tightly focused statement of U.S. foreign policy. For years now, the knot on President Obama, fair or not, has been that there's no over-arching Obama doctrine to point to. That foreign policy is done on an ad hoc basis.

Invoking baseball, Mr. Obama recently scoffed at the notion that he needs a sweeping doctrine preferring, he says, to hit singles, doubles, and occasional homerun, thereby steadily advancing American interests and avoiding errors. It's safe to say he's swinging a bit more for the fences lately.

Here to talk about it, senior political analyst David Gergen and chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto.

I am curious, David, what you thought about what actually comes out of today both politically for the president but also in terms of this -- of this conflict, in terms of the support? Does what happened here today matter? Because as President Obama said to the Security Council paper promises mean nothing.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I do think that what happened here and what's been happening this weekend has made a major difference. That this is a president who was in trouble at home. The poll rates are terrible, got a very rocky start rollout to the -- with his plan against ISIS. And now this week, he comes here to the U.N. just having unleashed this barrage, really whacking ISIS, which gave him, you know, more muscularity.

He came in -- had a forceful speech, it was focused. None of the normal ambivalence that you see. None of the reluctant warrior in this. He was all in. And then he got the Security Council resolution passed.

I must say, I think at the end of the day he has emerged as a dominant figure here at the U.N. from a guy who had been attacked for a lack of leadership.

COOPER: And then he got a coalition --

GERGEN: Yes. Then he got the coalition.


COOPER: From the Arabs, yes.

GERGEN: But there is a sense here tonight that finally the United States is taking charge. You know, we're back in the leadership and the president is a forceful president. This does not spell out victory for the long-term.

COOPER: Right. How long that last.

GERGEN: He had no idea. But it is essential as a president for commander-in-chief to have the country behind you. To have the public behind you, to have the sense of we can do this. We're in this for the long haul.

COOPER: Jim, the promises that came out of that Security Council meeting. I mean, on paper they sound significant.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: They do on paper. And listen, it's all going to be in the follow-through. But in terms of the pieces of paper that come out of this building behind us, this is a pretty tough piece of paper. The language was very explicit. There was no urging, there was no encouraging, it is requiring states to act on stopping the flow of fighter, stopping the flow of funding. And an interesting step requiring them to make it a crime to fund terror groups or to recruit for terror groups.

COOPER: Which is obviously for countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, I mean, that's a major step.

SCIUTTO: Absolutely. COOPER: Whether or not they actually follow through.

SCIUTTO: Because we know that these organizations are based there. We know it. They call themselves charities or education foundations, et cetera. But we know that there are organizations that do this in those countries. So a country like Qatar now has to make that illegal. Now, of course, do they enforce that new law? That's the question.

But there is a sense -- I spoke to a senior U.N. official tonight, that in this building a sense that this really has to be addressed. And that's why you're seeing support for this airstrikes. You know, this is a building that's very skeptical about -- skeptical about the American use of military power particularly in the region but there is support for it tonight.

GERGEN: But one thing, Anderson, that they did do with this language today which we have not seen presidents do is to call out our Arab friends. You know, who spend and give a lot of money to these militant radical teachings --


COOPER: Right. And Saudi Arabia, which is taking part in these bombings.


COOPER: Also has Salafist madrazas and has very, very (INAUDIBLE).

GERGEN: Sure. And I think he's trying to shut that down, and we'll have to see if it works or not. But that was pretty bold and aggressive.


COOPER: I mean, part of that is inherent in their philosophy. Inherent in -- I mean, the idea that Saudi Arabia is going to stop that --

GERGEN: Well, there is a view that look, if some of these oil- producing countries, unfortunately, they want to have stability and the way to get stability is to buy off the radicals.

COOPER: Right.

GERGEN: And this sort of --


SCIUTTO: Yes, no question. And there was another tough statement there, too. The president saying, you know, for years people have been saying that this is all driven by the Arab-Israeli conflict.

GERGEN: Right. SCIUTTO: And he said that's not true. The president in his speech to

the General Assembly saying we've seen that proven in countries like Syria and Libya, et cetera. Those are two very tough things to say to a very sensitive audience.


Jim Sciutto, David Gergen, thanks very much for being with us here at the United Nations.

GERGEN: Thank you.

COOPER: Just ahead, there is breaking news tonight. New details from senior administration officials on exactly the damage the airstrikes have done to the terror group that was planning, say U.S. officials, an imminent attack on American or European soil. But exactly what does imminent attack mean?

We'll explore that ahead as well.

Plus what Secretary of State John Kerry told Christiane Amanpour about how long the airstrikes might go on for.


COOPER: More breaking news tonight, we are getting new information from senior Obama administration officials about the damage that they say those airstrikes in Syria have inflicted on ISIS as well as on the Khorasan Group. Fair to say that 48 hours ago most of us have never heard of the Khorasan Group, the al Qaeda offshoot that the Pentagon says was planning some kind of an imminent attack on European or American soil.

CNN security analyst Peter Bergen was part of a background briefing earlier today. He joins me now.

So what was your takeaway from that background about the effectiveness of the airstrikes, specifically against the Khorasan Group?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it is a question you have to what extent they believe the imminent plots against the United States or Europe by the Khorasan Group will be interrupted by these strikes. And their basic takeaway was, they can't definitively say that these plots were interrupted. On the other hand they also said there was a decent chance that they were interrupted.

They point out that a number of individuals were taken off the battlefield. They point out that the communications of this group was disrupted. They said it was a very disruptive strike. So I would say that, you know, it is hard to prove definitively anything in this kind of situation. But they said that this -- these strikes, they were confident that they -- there was a decent chance that interrupting this plot was possible.

COOPER: I have been trying to get U.S. officials to say how big they actually think the Khorasan Group is. How many people are we actually talking about here. Did they give you a sense in this background briefing of how large an organization this is?

BERGEN: You know, they used the phrase "small." They didn't give me a specific number, Anderson, but when I hear the word small I mean I think we're looking at, you know, really, just a few -- a small group of individuals, which they describe, by the way, as a distinct subset of the Nusra group, which is the al Qaeda affiliate in Syria. So you really get the sense that this is not a large group of individuals.

COOPER: And yet they are individuals who have extensive backgrounds. I mean, the guy who is supposedly leading this group as a teenager was linked up with bin Laden and had advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks which was actually a small number of people in the bin Laden circle.

BERGEN: Right, and they describe the people in the group as having known Osama Bin Laden for a long time who were in the Afghan/Pakistan border region, who were seeking safe haven. But my interpretation of that is the drone program was very effective.

And Syria looked like a lot better place for these guys, with a lot perhaps a lot better outcome in terms of their ability to plot and reach out to the west.

COOPER: I know they told you also this is just the opening salvo against ISIS. They did say the coalition was getting bigger. Did they say specifically who is joined?

BERGEN: Yes, they said the Netherlands and Belgium have both joined the military coalition, which an interesting because Belgium has had huge problem with foreign fighters, 300 to 500 Belgians have gone and also the Netherlands have had similar problems. So you would understand why these countries want to be part of the coalition -- Anderson.

COOPER: Interesting. Peter Bergen, thanks very much.

More now on the ISIS portion of the operation. An exclusive interview of CNN's Christiane Amanpour with Secretary of State John Kerry talked about what the strikes today and the ones in recent weeks in Iraq have actually achieved.


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: What we've done is we've stop the onslaught that is what we were able to achieve with air power. They were moving towards Erbil and Baghdad. Baghdad could well have fallen. Erbil could have fallen. They could have had control of all of the oil fields.

We secured the Mosul Dam. We protected the Haditha Dam. We broke the siege at Amerli. We broke the siege at Sinjar Mountain. So air power has been effective and now as the supplies begin to get hit.

And other things begin to happen I believe there is a possibility of slow degrading, that I say ultimately, and I mean, ultimately because the president has been clear. This will take time. You and others should not be looking for some massive retreat within the next week or two.


COOPER: And Christiane Amanpour joins me now. What really stood out to you in terms of what Secretary Kerry said?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, several things, one that he said, you know, absolutely this was going to be a long haul. You heard him say to me you and others should not think there is going to be a retreat.

He mentioned a retreat by ISIS immediately because, you know, they have not actually been flushed out of their position. They're still dug in in many positions. So that was a big question. It is going to take a long time, and this takes several different kind of phases.

I think the other thing was obviously how he broadened it to say it is not just airstrikes, air power has its place. But it will be a much bigger issue, in other words, cut off the funding towards the ISIS groups.

He is expecting the Arab coalition partners to do that and to influence their rich sympathizers to just stop supporting and financing these people. And then stop the hate and stop the ideology, and to that end a lot of the Arab leaders and Arab people and ordinary people are saying not in my name.

They're saying not in my name. ISIS does not speak for us and this is I think a much bigger rejection of this extremism than we ever saw after 9/11. The minute ISIS started here, people were just saying, no, no, no.

COOPER: After 9/11, a lot of people paid lip service to this idea of kind of fighting a war of ideas as well as a military campaign. But it never really seemed to get around to battling the ideology, to sort of trying to go after the ideology any other ways but militarily.

AMANPOUR: Well, exactly, it was very slow to get off the ground. You remember where are the moderate Muslims? Why aren't they talking? Why are we having the conversation hijacked over and over again by the extremist?

Well, I think in this case, to be honest with you, I think in this case the moderates have gotten a hold of the conversation. Here at the United Nations, as I say online, many people simply are saying do not associate Islam with ISIS.

In fact, Ban Ki-Moon, the secretary general, today coined an amazing phrase. We're not going to call them an Islamic State. They're un- Islamic and non-state so that's what they are all saying.

And the other big thing, of course, is stopping the flow of foreign fighters, 15,000 by conservative estimates from all over the region plus the United States and Europe.

And why are these people so dangerous? Because they can go back to their homelands without the process and the hard work of trying to get a visa.

COOPER: It is one thing, though, to quote President Obama saying paper promises are one thing. It is one thing for Qatar and Saudi Arabia to say OK, we're going to sign this resolution in the Security Council to stop the flow of money to foreign fighters to make it illegal.

AMANPOUR: Right. But they are going to be held accountable. It will just continue and everybody's job will be made a lot more difficult. The other thing is the key part of this is the political part of the puzzle.

In Iraq, for instance, the new prime minister who I spoke to last night says he will bring the Sunnis on site. That is the back bone of the American strategy.

COOPER: If that doesn't work the whole thing doesn't work.

AMANPOUR: Yes. So I asked Secretary Kerry about that today.

COOPER: OK, let's listen.


AMANPOUR: I interviewed the new prime minister, Al-Abadi last night, and he said he wants to bring the Sunnis and clearly that is the back bone of your strategy, the political part of it. Do you believe that he gets it and that he will be able to do something dramatic and radical to convince the Sunnis that they're part of this nation again?

KERRY: Well, it is critical. Absolutely critical and the first steps have been taken. I believe he understands the challenge. Obviously, he has pressures on it. We all understand that and we're all going to have to work together very carefully at this.

But it is imperative, I cannot underscore how important it is that this be one nation with all the different parties coming together with -- an opportunity to be part of the decision-making and part of the future.


COOPER: He certainly seems to be indicating he thinks the prime minister gets it.

AMANPOUR: Yes, he does and I'm going to talk to the Amir of Qatar tomorrow, the first time he's been interviewed. I'm going to put all these questions about funding and sympathizing, and other questions.

Very, very interesting, the French foreign minister told me that they're trying to deny their passports and IDs and try to tell young people especially young girls, that if you go out there to be part of a wonderful cult, you're going to be recruited to be prostitutes and sexual slaves, and you're going to get raped. So they are really trying to stop this people from going over there.

COOPER: Thanks, Christiane.

Just ahead, that warning about so-called lone wolf terror attacks in the United States, as possible retaliation for U.S. airstrikes in Syria. We're learning new information about what exactly law enforcement is looking for next.


COOPER: As we first reported last night, the Department of Homeland Securities issued a bulletin to law enforcement warning them to be on the lookout for lone wolf terror attacks here in the United States.

A source in law enforcement tells us the joint intelligence bulletin urges heightened awareness in the wake of U.S. airstrikes in Syria. CNN justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, has more on that tonight. So you've learned more on the details on this.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: I have. I mean, essentially this bulletin was sent out because of a concern of backlash by the home grown violent extremists living in the U.S. right now. There are really three groups that law enforcement is concerned about.

And one of those groups is hundreds of individuals that are on their radar that could potentially be home grown violent extremists. These are people who have given the authorities reasonable suspicion to track them.

And then there are some people who have gone to Syria to fight who have returned to the U.S. and officials are tracking. And then there are others that are a concern to officials, those are operating under radar.

I just spoke to an intelligence source that said there are likely others who are not on law enforcement's radar. It is impossible to keep track of everybody.

But it is important to note though that in light of this bulletin there is no specific intelligence or knowledge according to officials I've spoken with indicating that there is an active plot under way in the U.S. right now. This is really just as a precaution.

COOPER: I talked to Phil Mudd last night who spent time with the CIA and FBI, who spent a lot of time tracking these kind of guys. He was saying that a lot of times that last group you're talking about is the greatest concern.

And it's often people who have some kind of emotional turmoil going on in their own lives. And they may not have expressed an interest in these groups, but because of whatever is going on inside.

They basically link up or say that they're acting out of support for ISIS. Even though in fact they actually have no direct connection with a group like that.

BROWN: Right, and there were cases like that. Just last week a man in Rochester was arrested for allegedly providing material support to ISIS. He had no direct connection to the group. So that is the big concern.

These are people we've heard James Comey, the head of the FBI say it could be someone in their pajamas in their parents' basement online operating on line. It doesn't take long to go from planning to actually carrying out an attack. It's just hard to track these people and that is the big concern here.

COOPER: Pamela Brown, appreciate the update. Thanks very much.

Joining me now live is "Daily Beast" contributor, Maajid Nawaz. He is a former member of an Islamist group. Great to have you on. I kept thinking about you today as President Obama was chairing that meeting at the Security Council.

Because so much of what was happening today at the U.N. really is along the lines of what you have been trying to do, to counter the narrative of extremism. I'm wondering what you thought of the promises made by governments like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and others here today at the U.N.

MAAJID NAWAZ, AUTHOR, "RADICAL: MY JOURNEY OUT OF ISLAMIST EXTREMISM": Well, Anderson, I really do applaud the fact that we finally got to a stage where the regional powers are recognizing that not only do they need to pay lip service to challenging extremism, but they're contributing and playing their role.

In fact, I think more sorties were flown by the UAE and Saudi Arabia than even American forces in terms of the airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria. So I think we finally got to a stage where the regional powers are beginning to recognize their responsibility.

Whether that be politically, economically or militarily. And particularly I would like to focus on Qatar, as we mentioned by some of the guests on your program.

Qatar bears a level of responsibility in the role that they played in funding jihadist groups in the region after the uprisings. And I think they have to start to get on reverse gears on some of the policies that they have enacted in the past.

But there is one thing that has yet been neglected, which I'm encouraged by President Obama's speech. I have been critical as you know on your program, I've been critical of Obama's approach, up until now vis-a-vis the Middle East and Islamist extremism.

By way of the Middle East and extremism. But I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. That is that the focus on ideology as you've just mentioned.

Yes, we should deal with them political, economically and militarily. We have to start dealing with them on an ideological level. We have to start making the Islamist ideology as unattractive, as unappealing as soviet communism has become today, that is what the speech leaned towards. That is what I'm rather optimistic about now.

COOPER: You know, this threat of lone wolf attacks now that the United States, has law enforcement on the lookout for. And it is not based on any specific threat, but it is a sensible warning given the -- the military action that is taking place in the Middle East.

Obviously, Western Europe has seen a number of these kind of attacks. I think back to a British soldier who was killed I think last year on the streets outside of military barracks by an extremist. A video was then made. It was uploaded on YouTube.

He was arrested, but that soldier was killed. Do you believe these lone wolf attacks -- how did these guys work? Did they act on their own? Are they necessarily taking a cue from some kind of broad online instruction or are they simply disturbed people who reach out and say, I'm working in conjunction with ISIS even though they have no direct contact?

NAWAZ: So we have long been arguing that although so-called lone wolf attacks are operationally working in isolation, they don't emerge from nothing, they emerge from a residual level of support within communities for their ideology and their methodology.

So yes, we can expect to anticipate some so-called lone wolf attacks in response to these airstrikes. The British parliament will probably vote for joining with the coalition to strike the ISIL targets this Friday.

The prime minister in this country has put in a three-line issue, which means that all conservative members of parliament are going to be obliged to vote in favor of strikes. The Liberal Democrat Party has said they will support the strikes, and so has the Labor Party.

So the British parliament will vote for this and that will increase the chances of people, as you mentioned, like the sorts of people that attacked the man and attempted to behead him on the streets of London. We'll probably see more such attempts.

I have to say that more dangerous than the so-called lone wolf attacks are called the sleeper cells. We've heard about Khorasan, which is the al Qaeda elite forces. They're planning something and we hope that their plans through these airstrikes have been averted.

COOPER: Maajid Nawaz, always good to have you on. Thank you.

Just ahead, ISIS releases a new video showing fighters advancing in a town in Northern Syrian. It's not clear when it was shot. The question tonight is how much damage have the airstrikes actually done to the terror groups so far. Arwa Damon is near the Syrian-Turkey border with the latest.


COOPER: With U.S. airstrikes continuing in Syria and Iraq today ISIS posted a new video online showing fighters advancing for the northern city of Kabani near the border near Turkey. It is not clear when this video was shot.

Our Arwa Damon joins us now from the Syrian-Turkish border. So the Pentagon, Arwa, is bracing themselves for ISIS evolving tactics. It does appear that began even before the airstrikes started?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Anderson, a lot of opposition activists we have been talking to and individuals who are following ISIS movements very closely say that around two to three weeks ago they began to changing their tactics, evacuating some of the main headquarters that they were using and entrenching themselves within the civilian population.

One opposition activist we spoke to in the city of Raqqa described how the terrorist network was taking over civilian homes and moving around in smaller groups well before these strikes began. Now, he did go on to say since the strikes began, ISIS seemed to decrease its presence inside the streets of Raqqa but still managing to terrorize the population.

That is why particularly in that area the types of airstrikes we are seeing at this stage being welcomed because people are saying finally somebody is doing something to save us from this horror, this nightmare that we have been living under -- Anderson.

COOPER: Imbedding into the civilian population, though, it just emphasizes how difficult it is then to try to root them out from the air given the danger of large civilian fatalities or casualties. You have already heard that civilians have been killed in the airstrikes, yes?

DAMON: That is right, Anderson. And a few points here, in Raqqa, for example, people are both happy that the airstrikes are happening, fearful that they will become collateral damage. That they will be killed by them.

In other parts of the country, though, the U.S. was not targeting ISIS. It was targeting other Islamic groups like the Nusra front that does have links to al Qaeda. But some of the other groups as well, they were not expecting them to strike them.

These were groups that when they were hit it actually came as not only a surprise to them, but to the civilian population that views them as the only entity that is capable of standing up against the regime and ISIS. And some of those strikes did cause civilian casualties. So the fear is that in the future there could be more.

COOPER: All right, Arwa Damon, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Coming up, more breaking news tonight. The man wanted in connection with the disappearance of University of Virginia student, Hannah Graham, is in custody. Where he was found and the latest on the case that just occurred next.


COOPER: There is breaking news tonight about the man police have been searching for in connection with the disappearance of University of Virginia student, Hannah Graham. A warrant had been issued for 32- year-old Jesse Matthew, the man police believe was the last person seen with Graham in Charlottesville, Virginia, before she went missing.

Just a short time ago, an announcement that the search for him is over ending more than a thousand miles away. Police Chief Timothy Longo said with the help of the FBI, Jesse Matthew is now in custody in Texas. Our Jean Casarez joins me now live. So you're learning more about where the suspect is right now? What do you know?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is what I just found out. I just got off the phone with the Galveston County Jail. He has just been brought now to the county jail. He has not been booked yet. They are questioning him.

Now, he was found, picked up at 3:30 p.m. in Galveston, Texas, on the beach. It was the Bolovar Peninsula, which is really a family fishing area, come for the weekend, your vacation. And it was a Galveston County deputy that found him on that beach.

But he has been out at the scene this entire time, I understand, from the Galveston County Jail now brought back. Now what will happen next is investigators from here in Virginia are going to Texas as soon as they can first thing tomorrow morning.

And we understand the extradition process will begin. That is what the police chief says. But you know, somebody who is in custody and charged with a crime can fight extradition or they can waive extradition and just voluntarily come back to Virginia. We'll have to see what he does.

COOPER: Of course the question is what happened to Hannah Graham. I talked to Chief Longo a short time ago. He said that he is asking business owners who own property or land to search their land and if they see anything or find anything to let him know.

That will help other searchers to have to canvass such a wide area. There is a lot more to cover with this. Jean, we'll check back with you 11:00 p.m. east coast time. We'll have more on this story then.

That does it for us. We'll see you at 11:00 p.m. Eastern. Hope you joins us for another edition of 360. Up right now, though, is CNN special, Erin Burnett's Town Hall with former President Bill Clinton.