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Police Find Suspect's Rental Car in Paris; John Kerry Reacts to Paris Attacks, Talks ISIS Fight; Russia Strikes ISIS Targets in Syria; How Attackers Got Such Dangerous Weapons; President Obama Defends U.S. Strategy against ISIS; Muslims Condemn Attacks in Paris; Germany-Netherlands Football Match Canceled. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired November 17, 2015 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: live from Paris, dozens more airstrikes on Syria and over 100 police raids. The
investigation into the Paris terror attacks shifts into high gear. Coming up, my interview with the U.S. secretary of state as he vows these civilian
deaths cannot become the acceptable cost.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: This is not normal. It will not be normal. It will not become normal. This is an aberration. But it is a
reflection of what foreign fighters have been able to do, going to Syria and then coming back and being able to spread their vile ideology.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Also ahead, President Putin vows vengeance after Russia now says a 1-kilogram bomb downed its Metrojet passenger plane over the Sinai. We
go live to Moscow on that.
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour, live in Paris tonight.
Game-changer or the new normal?
That is the question now that ISIS has the blood of some 500 innocent civilians on its hands just in the past five weeks alone. With the attacks
here in Paris, the bombing in Beirut and Turkey and now confirmation that the Russian Metrojet flight over Egypt was, indeed, taken down by an ISIS
bomb. Vladimir Putin is vowing revenge as the French president, Francois Hollande, says yet again that his country is at war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): We are at war against terrorism and jihadism. We're for civilization because these
extremists have not brought any trace of civilization. The response must be pitiless.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: France, Russia and the United States today are striking ISIS in Syria and Iraq. And a senior French official here in Paris tells us that
security services have now recognized the voice of French man Fabien Clain on the video that ISIS released, claiming the attacks here and threatening
He's described as a Muslim convert, radicalized and very dangerous and a key French ISIS fighter in Syria. And news just in, BFM, our affiliate
here, reports that French police are now trying to find a second suspect believed to be involved in Friday's attacks.
This man, in addition to Salah Abdeslam, who police have been searching for through the weekend. His rental car was found discarded in Paris today.
Atika Shubert was there and she is with me now to tell us everything that we know about this.
Atika, take a seat. Tell me what is going on with the search for Abdeslam.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we know, and we were there today, was that a Black Cleo was found with Belgium plates. We know that they
rented the cars from Belgium. We don't know exactly when this car was placed there.
We were also there when police went door to door, asking people, have you seen this car, where did you see it, looking for CCTV video. So they're
clearly trying to trace his steps.
What's particularly interesting about this is that the car was found in the 18th arrondissement, the 18th district. And according to ISIS, in their
claim of responsibility, they said that there was an attack not only in the 10th and the 11th but the 18th.
AMANPOUR: Really, it's that precise? That specific?
SHUBERT: Exactly. So what police are now looking at is whether or not there was an intended target there and, perhaps, something went wrong,
something shouldn't -- something happened and Abdeslam left the car there.
AMANPOUR: Because he didn't explode. He apparently was also believed to have been wearing a suicide vest. It didn't detonate. He is on the run.
Could this also be an answer to why on Earth he would have made this call to people in Belgium, who just happened, according to authorities now to
have been the bomb makers, at least that's what they suspect, to come and pick him up from Paris?
SHUBERT: Exactly. And the timing kind of works out because what we know from those two that picked him up, which was Hamza Attouh and Mohammed
Amri, that they got a call early in the morning on Saturday to pick him up. What we now believe --
SHUBERT: -- according to local reports, ammonium nitrate was found there. So what police are trying to do is piece this all together. And the
timeline, they now know, for example, that they stayed at a hotel on the outskirts of Paris just before the attacks.
Now they have the cars in place. And now, of course, we have this new information, that possibly a second suspect is on the run.
AMANPOUR: Still a lot of questions. But also parts of the jigsaw puzzle coming together, Atika, thanks so much.
So now we have some different but related news, breaking news; a football match between the national teams of Germany and the Netherlands has been
canceled. The match was being held in the German city of Hanover. The German chancellor Angela Merkel was due to attend what was to have been a
Police have told CNN all visitors to the stadium were asked to leave calmly. Now Max Foster joins me from Wembley, where there is also
scheduled to be a friendly tonight between the French and English teams.
Max, what more can you tell us?
MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST: Well, very little about the game in Hanover. It hadn't actually started yet. But everyone was asked to leave, effectively
the stadium was evacuated, a local report saying it was over security concerns. We haven't yet had that confirmed.
But obviously so much tension around any follow up matches after that, of the famous one now in Paris on Friday. So that was Germany playing; it was
meant -- who were playing on Friday as well. So their match has been called off.
France obviously also playing on Friday, playing here at Wembley tonight. And massive police presence here, Christiane. We've got armed police here
which you wouldn't really see visibly at these matches, ramped-up police presence.
So everyone's on edge. But I have to say I've been down there, Christiane, and this is not a somber atmosphere. It's actually a defiant, party
atmosphere. Everyone's singing the French national anthem.
So certainly everyone here very much determined for this game to go ahead. They want to stand behind France. English and French fans coming together,
absolutely behind this cause and in solidarity as well with the French. It's going to take an awful lot to get this stadium evacuated unless, of
course, the police order it.
AMANPOUR: Just like Angela Merkel was scheduled to be at the Hanover match, the Hanover stadium match, so, too, is the British prime minister
and other dignitaries.
Is that correct, Max?
One of the highlights was meant to be and is meant to be the singing by everybody, including British fans, probably for the first and last time,
"La Marseillaise" all together.
FOSTER: What's brilliant, Christiane, is that a lot of the newspapers here have been publishing the words to the French national anthem.
And English fans -- I've just been down there -- there's a group of English fans desperately trying to get their heads around it and trying to sing it
out loud. It was a great atmosphere. It really is a very positive atmosphere down there.
Yes, the prime minister's coming. Also Prince William has canceled his events tonight that he was due to take part in to so he can be here as
well. He's talked about this being a moment of solidarity. He really wanted to come along here and show support for the French team but also for
the French people.
He's also very proud of how the Brits have come together and rallied around this.
It's interesting because today David Cameron was speaking in Parliament, Christiane, talking about his will to take part in airstrikes in Syria.
But he wants to get the support of Parliament in order to do that.
That's the context here ,a moment where this crisis in France has really come to a very close foreign capital and, as you're aware, we're very close
here in London to Paris and there's a real sense it could easily have happened here as well as in Paris and actually a sense of inevitability
that it's going to happen here at some point.
So a real sense of solidarity. That's why the prime minister in a senior role here along with the fans in solidarity with the people of France.
AMANPOUR: Max, everybody will be watching and everybody will want to know who is going to win this match.
Now, as Max said, there's a sense of solidarity. Different governments pitching in together and now stepping up also their resolve against ISIS.
French politicians are demanding no more half measures in the fight against ISIS.
And the U.S. secretary of state John Kerry came here to Paris to offer condolences as well as military and intelligence support to President
Francois Hollande as well as increased cooperation.
I sat down with him just after that critical meeting at the U.S. embassy residence right here in Paris.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Secretary, welcome to the program.
KERRY: Delighted to be with you.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Secretary, the president yesterday said that the strategy is working and we're going to continue with more of the same and that ISIS is
contained. However, in the last 10 or so days, 352 civilians have been killed by ISIS, whether in the Russian plane, whether in Beirut.
AMANPOUR: -- and now in Paris. The question is --
AMANPOUR: -- then, is this the new normal?
Is this what we as citizens are expecting from our leadership, that this is now acceptable collateral damage?
KERRY: Absolutely not. No. This is not normal. It will not be normal. It will not become normal. This is an aberration. But it is a reflection
of what foreign fighters have been able to do, going to Syria and then coming back and being able to spread their vile ideology to other people or
even through the social media.
But when the president says that ISIS, daish -- better name for them -- daish is contained, he was talking about and we are talking about within
Iraq and within Syria. Their territory has been reduced. They are now operating in 25 percent less territory.
We have liberated Tikrit; 100,000 Sunni have returned to Tikrit. We liberated the Baiji refinery. We've -- we're now in the process of
fighting to liberate Ramadi with the Iraqis leading that effort. We have liberated Sinjar. And we're currently moving on other communities nearby,
which will cut off the supply route from Mosul to Raqqah.
Raqqah is currently under increased attacks from the French, from the Russians, and the entire border of Northern Syria, 75 percent of it has now
been shut off and we are entering an operation with the Turks to shut off the other remaining 98 kilometers.
So there's a major effort taking place. The president has put additional American forces on the ground in terms of special forces to enable some of
these operations. We are engaged in thickening our presence in Incirlik; more people flying more missions.
So I believe the pressure is mounting on daish and I'm convinced that, over time -- and the president always said this will take some time.
Now, we've always said there's also a threat of these attacks elsewhere in the world until we have gotten further down the road in this process -- and
that is a risk.
But more troops on the ground are not suddenly going to -- I mean, more -- the invasion of the country or something -- is not going to solve the
problem because you need something underneath it coming in that's going to secure those areas, that's going to show that the local population is
invested in kicking out daish and helping to keep them out. And that's what we're working on right now.
AMANPOUR: The liberated territories that you mentioned happened with ground forces, mostly indigenous but --
KERRY: Correct. Absolutely.
AMANPOUR: -- and while you say it's contained, it's, in fact, spread to Libya, to the Sinai and we've seen the results here in Europe.
AMANPOUR: No, I'm asking you.
KERRY: Well, yes. Yes. And we're working on the Libya situation, in fact, very much preoccupied by it and engaged with various parties to try
to bring people together and see if we can't get a governing entity in place that will allow us to begin to focus on daish there.
But what I think is happening is that there's a new awareness. People are coming together in this coalition which we built. I mean, the coalition
has only been in existence for a year, one year. One year ago, we didn't have a coalition. One month ago we didn't have a political process in
place, which we now have with Iran and with Russia at the table, which gives us an opportunity to, perhaps, get a cease-fire in place within the
next three, four, five weeks and then be able, with a political process, to work with other parties to, again, squeeze harder on daish.
So I think that the strategy is, in fact, real. It's several fold. It's, one, focus on daish. Two, stabilize the countries in region. And three,
get the political process in place and move to get Assad transitioning, because he's the magnet for this terrorism, and then begin to focus on
And I'm convinced ultimately we're going to eliminate daish as a viable entity that's day-to-day terrorizing people in the way that Al Qaeda did
previously and can't today.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Secretary, terrorism, as you know better than I do, is a means, it's not actually an end. And many are now saying that daish, ISIS,
is, in fact, the 21st century Eastern version of what we saw in the West in the 20th century and that is totalitarian, fascist and extremists.
Do you think that we've got it wrong so far, that we're waging this so- called war on terror but we haven't mobilized to defeat an ideology as poisonous and as vile as Nazism and totalitarianism?
KERRY: Well, it is, I've said this, myself, many times, that this is a --
KERRY: -- modern form of medieval fascism coupled with modern fascism. It's a very dangerous and volatile cocktail that's been mixed together
At the same time, it's a barbarism without a real ideology or a real platform or real future. I mean, what they do is kill Yazidis because
AMANPOUR: But they have totalitarian, utopian and imperial goals. They want to spread.
AMANPOUR: Is our response up to their aims?
KERRY: We are going to defeat daish and we're going to eliminate daish as an entity that is threatening people in the way it is today. I'm convinced
of that. Every country in the region and in the world is opposed to daish, to what daish stands for, to what daish is doing.
What we have to do now is mobilize the capacity, which is what we've been doing, to be able to systemically go after them and eliminate them. And
I'm convinced we will.
When you have Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, all of the major countries in that region, and Russia and the United States and
Europe, all united in this effort, I would not want to be daish.
AMANPOUR: Secretary Kerry, thank you very much indeed.
KERRY: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And coming up, Russia's revenge: President Putin confirms terrorists did down a Russian passenger jet in Egypt last month and he vows
to hunt them down and punish all those responsible. We're live in Moscow next.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
Today Russians got the news they had been dreading, confirmation from their own government that terrorists did bomb a passenger plane in Egypt last
month, killing more than 220 people. President Vladimir Putin himself announced that traces of bomb explosives were found in the debris and he
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): We should not apply any time limits. We should know them all by name. We will search
for them everywhere, wherever they are hiding. We'll find them in any spot on the planet and punish them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: President Putin also spoke to President Hollande today and vowed to step up cooperation against ISIS.
Like France, the Russian defense minister, Sergey Shoygu said that they have doubled the number of strikes hitting sites in both Raqqah and Deir
Vyacheslav Nikonov is a member of the Duma in Putin's United Russia Party and he joins me now from our bureau in Moscow.
Mr. Nikonov, welcome back to our --
AMANPOUR: -- program.
Can I just ask you what is the impact and the consequence, the meaning of President Putin announcing to the country that, actually, it was a bomb,
probably an ISIS bomb, that brought down your passenger jet and killed so many of your civilians?
Mr. Nikonov, can you hear me?
All right. We are going to try to get that connection back up again and we will bring it to you as soon as we do.
Of course, the terrorists here in Paris made no distinction in who they killed, for instance, shooting and blowing themselves up in bars and
restaurants which happened to be in diverse, indeed, some heavy Muslim neighborhoods.
A longtime resident in one of those streets, Catherine Beaunez, a cartoonist for the newspaper, "Le Monde," told us that they're the ones,
the residents who gave shelter to their panicked neighbors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
I'm living in this street, la Rue de la Fontaine au Roi, where there were people killed and I want to show you that there were many Arabs who were
helping the people who were very afraid.
So they came there running. She is Morocco and the man is from Tunisia.
People were so afraid that they go in their upstairs and they were waiting and then after one hour, they go out.
But there is another, it's a Turkish restaurant and the man who had the restaurant opened the door and they helped them.
In this street, there are 56 nationalities and they are very together, to live together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Everyday stories of everyday citizenship by Paris residents.
Now, we have got our contact back with Moscow, so Vyacheslav Nikonov, as I said, is a member of the Duma in President Putin's United Russia Party.
Mr. Nikonov, now that you can hear me, welcome to the program.
VYACHESLAV NIKONOV, DUMA MEMBER: Can I ask you, what will be the impact --
Yes. Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: -- on policy going forward now that President Putin has acknowledged that that plane, your plane, was brought down by a bomb and so
many of your civilians were slaughtered?
What will be the political impact of that?
NIKONOV: Well, the political impact would be doubling the strikes over ISIS or daish, whatever you call it.
Today the Russian strategic air forces were used with air-to-surface missiles and they really increased dramatically the amount of targets on
As for domestic political implications, I think people are just surrounding around the flag and around the president. So the nation is in a very, you
know -- I wouldn't call it a militant mood but it's a very tough mood. They killed our people and the president is speaking about using Article 51
of the United Nations charter, self-defense.
AMANPOUR: What exactly does that mean, sir, Article 51?
NIKONOV: Article 51 means the right to self-defense and that means not just --
NIKONOV: -- counteroffensive against the forces being used against you in terror but also against the forces which attack you in a terrorist way. So
that means Russia will increase its military activities there and increase cooperation with everyone who's fighting ISIS there.
AMANPOUR: So that's what I was going to ask you because, as you know, there have been complaints that Russia is not cooperating so much with the
U.S.-led coalition, almost like there are two strategies over Syria, in the skies above Syria and in the targets that are being bombed.
Now that France has suffered the same terrible loss of civilians as you have and that this kind of attack could happen elsewhere, is Russia saying
that it will act jointly, much more coordinated, much more cooperation with the United States, with France, with all those taking part in the strikes
NIKONOV: Well, looking from here --
NIKONOV: -- it seems that the United States were not very interested in cooperating. Actually, the Russian side was asking where to bomb and where
not to bomb, to exchange intelligence information and the answer has been no, whatsoever.
And, of course, Russia is very much interested in this coordination. Russia and France already are coordinating their efforts, including the
naval operations in the Mediterranean. And, of course, there will be a growing cooperation, I'm absolutely sure. Every country which is
interested in fighting ISIS should unite forces. And Russia is looking forward for closer cooperation for sure.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Nikonov, you say that the other side wasn't giving you intelligence. Of course, what we hear is that you basically told the
others to get their planes out of the way and you were going to go bombing, at least that's how it all started.
But let me ask you this, because this all started with President Putin making a very dramatic speech during the U.N. General Assembly about the
need for a strong coalition against ISIS. I want to play you that and ask your reaction afterwards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PUTIN (through translator): We must join forces to address the problems that all of us are facing and to create a genuinely broad international
coalition against terrorism. Similar to the anti-Hitler coalition, it could unite a broad range of forces that are resolutely resisting those
who, just like the Nazis, sow evil and hatred of humankind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Do you believe, therefore, since your president called these, you know, akin to the Nazis in their ideology and in their aim, do you
believe the international response against ISIS, including the Russian response, is sufficient up to now?
NIKONOV: Up to now, it is not sufficient, for sure. And definitely there are different, sometimes conflicting strategies. Actually, the Russian
strategy is to support from the air the forces on the ground which are really fighting ISIS. I mean not just the Iraqi army but also the
Iranians, the Kurds and the Syrian army, which is, by far, the strongest force on the ground to fight ISIS.
This coordination of two coalitions on the ground is not sufficient for sure. I hope there will be more coordination on -- in the air, on the sea,
but I think there should be more coordination also on the ground operations, which are conducted by the local people who are fighting for
their lives, for their families.
AMANPOUR: And finally, let me ask you this. I spoke, as you know, to U.S. secretary of state John Kerry. He has been in a lot of meetings about
Syria with your foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov.
Today he said he hoped that within three to five weeks there could be a cease-fire and that in the ensuing months there could be the kind of
transitioning of Assad, who he described as the magnet for all this terrorism.
Do you agree with those statements?
NIKONOV: Well, I hope there will be a cease-fire in the coming weeks, though I doubt it. ISIS, in my mind, is more powerful and it can't resist
for more than four or five weeks.
As for the future of Syria, the Russian position is very clear, that it is for the Syrian people to decide on their future and not for the United
States or Russia to tell the Syrians who should lead them.
At this point, I don't see any stronger figure in Syria than Assad. I think Secretary Kerry was absolutely right, that the key factor for
fighting terrorism in that area is to create strong governments and functioning states.
By far, Assad is more capable of keeping Syria as a more or less functioning state and government than anyone else of whom we know.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Nikonov, thank you so much, indeed, for joining us from Moscow tonight. Of course, we'll take up some of your comments and some of
these facts with the president's envoy to the fight against ISIS. That's in a little while.
Now right here in Paris, the shock continues to impact the city's most vulnerable, its children. And in a bid to help France's youngest citizens,
French children's magazine "Astrapi" has used its illustrators to explain events, enlisting the Eiffel Tower to help Paris children deal with the
trauma and, of course, raise their spirits.
After a break, trying to prevent further trauma --
AMANPOUR: -- in the future. The first interview, as I said, with America's new presidential envoy in the global coalition against ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): So many people doing what they can to lift spirits here. Welcome back to our special program tonight, where we are live from
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: It has been four days since ISIS fighters slaughtered 129 people here. There are hundreds wounded and dozens in critical condition. Seven
attackers are dead and a manhunt is under way now for not one but two suspects, according to our affiliate here, BFM.
In all the grief and the mourning, there are very serious questions, too, like how could this happen and how did the attackers manage to get hold of
such deadly weapons?
Our Fred Pleitgen has been looking into it and he filed this report for us.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The carnage in Friday's terror attacks was unprecedented for France but,
unfortunately, the weapons the attackers used were not uncommon for extremist groups operating here. Military grade arms have flooded into the
country, almost impossible to keep track of, terror expert Jean-Charles Brisard tells me.
JEAN-CHARLES BRISARD, CNN TERROR EXPERT: It is very difficult to have a real control over arms and there are thousands of arms flowing, again, from
the Balkans, from Eastern Europe, because of the porous borders also that exist in those countries.
PLEITGEN: You can still see the bullet holes at the scene of this attack. And the people who witnessed it were shocked to see the gunmen armed with
AK-47 assault rifles right in the heart of France's capital.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): After their shooting spree, most of the attackers blew themselves up, using suicide belts, all of them identically
manufactured, a clue, the expert said, that the devices were made abroad.
BRISARD: These belts were made by a professional and we know by experience that we don't have such a person here in France, so obviously came from
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Professionally-made explosives and military-grade weaponry, tragically, a recurring theme in terror attacks in France. The
"Charlie Hebdo" gunmen used AK-47s and other high-powered arms when they went on their killing spree in January.
And in 2012, the gunman, Mohammed Merah, used an AK-47 and an Uzi machine pistol to gun down seven people before --
PLEITGEN (voice-over): -- police killed him. Jean-Paul Ney has researched extremist groups in France and says almost all of them source their weapons
from Belgium for a simple reason: French criminal gangs won't sell rifles to jihadists.
JEAN-PAUL NEY, AUTHOR: They don't want to have a problem with the counterterrorist policy, you know, because if you start to have the eyes of
the counterterrorist police on your business, it's over for you.
The French jihadis get the weapons from Belgium because in Belgium, is different than France. There is no walls, concrete walls, between
criminality and jihadism.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): It's not yet clear where the arsenal for Friday's attacks came from but France's government has already stepped up its
efforts to try and get the vast quantity of illegal weapons off the streets -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Paris.
AMANPOUR: Now from oil convoys to training camps in Raqqah, in recent days the United States, France and Russia have all stepped up their attacks
With me now to discuss all of this is Brett McGurk. This is his first interview as the newly appointed special presidential envoy for the global
coalition to counter ISIL.
Well, thank you for joining us.
BRETT MCGURK, PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY FOR THE GLOBAL COALITION TO COUNTER ISIL: Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: It's a very big and long title.
What can you tell us after this, is this a game-changer, what happened in Paris, in terms of the fight against ISIS?
MCGURK: Well, Christiane, the reason we're here in Paris with Secretary Kerry today is to express, of course, our condolences to the victims of
this terrible barbaric terrorist attack but also our resolve with the French people, the French government about how we're going to help them
And how, as part of the coalition we've built over the last year, we're going to galvanize the entire world to destroy this barbaric terrorist
We came here from Antalya and the G20. And you just sensed a new mood in the entire world to do everything we possibly can, economically,
politically, militarily, to suffocate and destroy the networks.
AMANPOUR: What exactly have you offered the French?
Is there a stepped-up intelligence sharing?
What is it?
MCGURK: Well, we are. The president announced yesterday a new intelligence sharing agreement with them to do more rapid intelligence
cooperation. We discussed with them about that today.
The French were very clear to us, we saw President Hollande, he was very firm about their commitment to increase their airstrikes against ISIL.
We're going to help them with that. We already are. We helped the with their airstrikes in Raqqah.
AMANPOUR: Are there still targets?
I mean one of the things that we heard from American sources, officials, after -- you know, this has been going on for a year now, more than a year.
Are there still targets?
MCGURK: There are targets and there are especially targets when we're working with a force on the ground that's maneuvering. So just over the
last three weeks, Christiane, Kurdish forces retook the town of Sinjar. Remember, Sinjar, about 14 months ago, was where a lot of this started,
ISIL taking Sinjar Mountain, the Yazidi slaves. We took back Sinjar yesterday.
Sinjar cut off a main highway between Raqqah and Mosul. This was coordinated with operations in Syria, with Arab fighters and with Kurdish
fighters, cutting off that critical supply line. Frankly, we couldn't have done that even two months ago. We had to organize the fighters. And it
was part of a concerted pressure and air campaign.
But as we're supporting forces on the ground, in Sinjar one day we did almost 40 airstrikes in a single day, just to give you an example. It's
harder when we're looking with intelligence assets in the sky to look for static targets. But supporting forces on the ground, we can decimate these
guys. And that's what we're going to work to do.
AMANPOUR: So clearly, in those instances it worked and that leads people to say, well, actually it works when you have boots on the ground. Now the
president has made it clear -- and most world leaders, certainly in Europe -- that there will not be any Western boots on the ground -- for the time
So how are you going to mobilize, increase and scale up all these forces on the ground, who are actually doing a job that's paying off?
MCGURK: Well, Christiane, it's important. President Obama made a decision about a month ago to put U.S. special forces on the ground in Northern
AMANPOUR: What are they doing exactly?
MCGURK: Well, they're going to advise and assist and help enable and organize forces on the ground to take the offensive to ISIL. Again, that's
something that would not have been possible even 100 days ago.
So this campaign has been -- some say it's an incremental campaign. It's not. We have been taking steps to set the foundation over the last year to
do things that now we can do.
Putting special forces on the ground in Syria was not something that was even possible four to six months ago. Now we're going to do it. Putting a
special forces strike team into Northern Iraq to take out ISIL targets directly is something we could not have done six months ago. We're going
to do it now.
Organizing Iraqi security forces to move on Raqqah, not something that was even possible six months ago. We're going to do it now. And we also see
that, as we put pressure on ISIL, where we think they're going to stand and fight, they crack. They cracked in Sinjar, they cracked in a town called
al-Hal (ph), where we thought they were going to fight. They cracked in Tal Abyad (ph), their main border crossing with Turkey about six months
ago. So we have to keep the pressure up from Sinjar to Baiji to Tikrit. It's going to be a long, steady campaign. But they're losing territory.
And we're going to keep that up.
But we have to remember, Christiane --
-- it's not just in Iraq and Syria. The world has never seen anything like -- we have 30,000 foreign fighters that have come from all around the world
to fight with us.
AMANPOUR: Well, that was my question.
Are we up to the job in terms of what we throw back at them?
MCGURK: Well, we have to work as a global -- it has to be a global coalition to get at this foreign fighter flow and foreign fighter problem.
So a year ago, the Security Council passed a Chapter 7 resolution. But working since then in capitals to pass very stringent laws to stop this
blow, to exchange information, working very closely with Turkey to cut down the flow into Syria.
When foreign fighters get into Syria, we want to make sure they can't get out. We're also working to make sure they can't get into Syria. We've
worked in Syria to cut -- take off, take away the entire northern border with Turkey. There's now about a 98-kilometer strip.
President Obama sat down with President Erdogan two days ago in Turkey, and we talked -- we're very, very intense discussions about how to put pressure
on ISIL in that area. We've deployed A-10 aircraft to Incirlik air base. We've deployed 12 new F-15s into Incirlik air base.
This is all part of this concerted pressure campaign because we're going to do everything we can to suffocate and destroy this network.
AMANPOUR: What about the important relationship with Russia?
I mean, you've kind of been working at cross purposes, according to all that we've been told by U.S. officials and other coalition officials, that
there are two strategies instead of one strategy.
Is there going to be one strategy for ISIS now with you and Russia together or not?
MCGURK: Well, we said since the Russians came in with their air campaign, what are you really doing? You're really going against ISIL or are you
going after moderate opposition forces?
And if you look at the airstrike statistics, it's been pretty lopsided against more moderate opposition forces. Now it looks like the Russians
are taking a pretty serious concerted effort against ISIL; to the extent they do that, obviously that's welcomed.
However, most importantly in Syria, we have to get a political track going. So commensurate with the campaign against ISIL, we've been working over the
last month, for the first time since the Syrian civil war started, getting all the players around the table, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, all the
members of the permanent five of the Security Council, including the Chinese and the Russians, to talk about how to end this civil war in Syria.
AMANPOUR: You have to destroy ISIS because you're not going to get a cease-fire with ISIS signing up.
MCGURK: Of course. We're going to do everything we can to destroy ISIS. And as President Hollande said, there could be a role for Russia in that.
But most importantly for Russia, we want their cooperation in this very important political process. And all these countries in Vienna agreed just
last week about a political track leading to a cease-fire and a political transition. And that's something we have to work very hard towards.
AMANPOUR: All right then. Secretary Kerry said maybe three to five weeks. We'll see.
Brett McGurk, new presidential envoy to the fight against ISIS, thank you very much.
Thanks. Good to see you.
And we'll be back shortly with much more right after a break.
AMANPOUR: So we're back in Paris with more on that breaking news that we reported at the top of our show from Germany.
Now German media, quoting the police chief for the Lower Saxony region, is saying that they evacuated the stadium in Hanover because of, quote, "plans
for explosions." We're going to go straight to CNN's Max Foster, who is actually at Wembley, where there will also be a friendly match tonight.
Tell us what you know about this breaking news in Germany, Max.
FOSTER: They've run by that police chief, you just mentioned, so that's where we're going to get all the facts. But what we do know is the
national broadcaster, NDI, is quoting that police chief, saying there were plans for explosions at the stadium in Hanover, where Germany were due to
be playing the Netherlands.
This was before the match. It was evacuated. We're trying to get some more information around that but it was obviously serious enough to
evacuate the stadium.
We also know from the German national side that they've been taken into a secure area in police custody. So a very serious incident there unfolding.
Thankfully, it doesn't seem as though there have been any explosions so whatever was planned there has been foiled. But police have been getting
people out of the area. Initially it was calmly but we're told that that was rushed up to a certain extent.
They're avoiding the language of evacuation because many of the people hadn't got into the stadium by that point. But clearly something very
seriously unfolding there. Germany's follow-up match after what happened in Paris, where they were playing on Friday, this, as you say, is France's
follow-up match against England, a very high security presence here, Christiane. But thankfully everything going on as planned here.
AMANPOUR: It's an incredible situation. And everybody is rightly very nervous and on high alert.
Max, thank you so much.
Now France, of course, is home to one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe. And many now fear that their community will face backlash from
Friday night's attacks here in Paris.
Muslim leaders have already paid their respects to some of the victims. They hope to remind the world that ISIS' wave of terror is not in the name
of Islam as they know it. And the Grand Mosque of Paris has now called for a big demonstration after Friday prayers. That will be one week after the
Let's discuss this with Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi. He's a Syrian Islamic scholar and a religious leader and he joins me from Rabat in Morocco.
Sheikh Yaqoubi, welcome back to our program.
It seems we are always having to ask you these very important questions after these horrific incidents.
What is it that you can say to fellow Muslims and non-Muslims around the world about how to react after this terrible, violent, radical extremist
action here on Friday?
SHEIKH MUHAMMAD AL-YAQOUBI, SYRIAN ISLAMIC SCHOLAR: Well, Christiane, let me first of all express my sincerest condolences to the victims' families
after this horrific terror attack which shocked the world, Muslims and others all alike.
My message to everyone is not to fall in the trap which these terrorists want us to fall in; that is to say they want actually to provoke a clash of
civilization. They want to turn the Western governments against their Muslim populations and they want also to provoke the Muslim populations
against their governments.
So I believe here we should stay united all together against terrorism, against ISIS because ISIS belongs to no religion, although they use
Islam, but their religion is terror. So let's not fall in the trap that these people represent Islam. We know that there are 1.5 billion Muslims
around the world who denounce ISIS, who are against its ideology.
And also here, we see that ISIS wants also more aggression from Western governments, so let's not fall into this trap and exert any oppression
against innocent Muslim populations in the West because they're not responsible for what happened.
AMANPOUR: Sheikh Yaqoubi?
AMANPOUR: Sheikh Yaqoubi, let me ask you this. There are many people who now are starting to say it's not really a --
AMANPOUR: -- war of civilizations, it's not really a religious war, it is a totalitarian war by people akin to the Nazis of the last century, that
this, as we know, they attacked their own fellow Muslims.
Do you buy that?
Do you believe that this group calling itself ISIS wants to expand its territory, wants to dominate in that sort of totalitarian way that we have
seen already, whether it was Communism, whether it was fascism, Nazism, in the 20th century?
YAQOUBI: Yes, indeed. You're right on this point. ISIS does not care just toppling the regime, the Assad regime in Syria. They have done
actually very little about this. Their goal is to expand all over the world.
And here I would like actually to mention something, that they are looking at themselves as a legitimate state. And when they launch their war
against the West now, they are sending warnings and advise now security experts to take these warnings really seriously because they think that
they cannot attack the West without sending any warnings.
So they're not treacherous in that way. They consider themselves, of course, commit every treachery here by killing innocent people. If they
wanted to fight, they fight at fronts with the militaries, military fronts, soldiers.
But they're killing innocent people. They're killing now women, children. Now it is our job, actually, to highlight the tragedy of these innocent
people in order to prove that these people do not belong to Islam, do not belong to religion, have no ethics at all, have fallen into this trap of
AMANPOUR: Sheikh Yaqoubi, I have time for one very, very quick question and answer.
How does the majority Muslim population stop this attempt by ISIS to drag extremism into the mainstream and force everybody to accept extremism as
How do you and your community prevent that?
YAQOUBI: Well, Christiane, war starts in the minds of people. In order to combat an ideology, we need to bring counternarrative. And this is what I
did actually in my recent book refuting ISIS. It's one attempt.
And I believe that Muslim councils through the Islamic world, from Morocco, to Indonesia, including Al-Azhar, prestigious institution, they all express
this. But much more work is needed, actually, especially in support of moderate figures and moderate Muslims, imams in the West and in the Islamic
AMANPOUR: All right. Sheikh Yaqoubi, thank you so much for joining us and we'll be right back after a break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): So you're looking now at images from Wembley Stadium, where there's going to be a friendly between the French and the
British teams, the English teams tonight. We want to bring you more on the breaking news from Hanover. We're going to reporter Alexander Oetker from
NTV because of the cancelation of the friendly match there.
OK, Alexander, what more can you tell us about this?
What did police think they had found or foiled?
ALEXANDER OETKER, NTV CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, the Hanover police chief said there was a device intended to be detonated inside the stadium. There
was a real threat for the city and for the stadium and that's why --
OETKER: -- police decided to cancel the match tonight in Hanover. We saw that nearly 10,000 people were evacuated from outside the stadium. Police
said that they should leave. They go home quiet. And there was no signs of panic at all. People were going home. There was -- nobody was hurt,
after my information.
But police chief of Hanover said there was a device intended to be detonated inside the stadium. I repeat that. And that there was a real
threat for the city and for the stadium, for these match, Germany- Netherlands tonight.
AMANPOUR: Alexander, just let's take it bit by bit here. You say people weren't evacuated; they were asked to leave before even filling the
How full was the stadium at the point where the police said it's over, go home?
OETKER: I think that was maybe 1,000 people inside the stadium and there was a lot of more people outside the stadium, waiting for be checked, for
security. The people outside the stadium were sent home and also the people from inside the stadium.
I think, yes, 500 maybe or 1,000 people were evacuated very calm, very quickly, from the stadium outside. Even the security guys from inside the
stadium were put outside and now we see behind me there's a lot of police still around.
But the stadium doors are closed. Nobody is now inside there and, yes, we know, as I said, from the Hanover police, that there was planned to make a
detonation inside the stadium.
AMANPOUR: Just very briefly, do you know what the device was?
This detonation that may have happened, what was it?
OETKER: That is really not sure yet. We had the information from a small newspaper and a television channel, that it could be a car with explosives.
But we don't know yet. Really there's no confirmation.
Now we will see the interior minister in some minutes, talking on that. But we just know it's a device. We don't know if it's big, if it's like a
car or if it's just a suitcase or something like that. We don't know that yet. Sorry.
AMANPOUR: Alexander from NTV, standing outside the stadium there, thank you so much for that late breaking news. And, of course, everyone is on
alert after what happened here. It happened first at the Stade de France last Friday and, of course, there will be a huge amount of security for the
friendly between France and England in Wembley later this evening.
On that note, that is the end of our program tonight. You can always watch all our interviews online at amanpour.com and you can follow me on Facebook
and Twitter. I'm Christiane Amanpour. Goodbye from Paris.