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Manhunt for Eighth Attacker Widens; New ISIS Video Threatens White House Attack; FBI Watching Potential Copycat Attackers. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired November 19, 2015 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[22:00:00] ANTOINE LEIRIS, WIDOWER OF PARIS ATTACKS: LEIRES: But he feels everything.
HALA GORANI, CNN NEWSROOM SHOW HOST: Yes.
LEIRES: And he knows everything. We talk about it. And then he cry, but he was crying about -- because his mother, he misses his mother. So, I took him -- my phone and put some music that he was listening with his mother. And we looked at photos.
He showed me this is my mother. Mama, in French, "mama, mama, mama" then he cries and we cry together. We don't pretend that we're not sad or devastated. No, we are, but we stand. Since Friday night life decides for me. Day after day, I will see.
ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 SHOW HOST: Incredible strength. That does it for us tonight. CNN Tonight with Don Lemon starts now.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: Just heart wrenching, Anderson. Stay right there, we'll get back with you in just a moment. But it is 10 p.m. on the East Coast, 4 a.m. in Paris where Anderson is.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
The manhunt for the so-called eight attacker, Salah Abdeslam spreading tonight. That's in the wake of French authorities confirming the terror leader of the Paris attacks; Abdelhamid Abaaoud is dead, killed in that police raid. The French believed he was involved in four foiled terror attacks since the spring.
Meanwhile, ISIS releases a video threatening to conquer Rome and blow up the White House here in the United States. We are not showing that complete video because we don't want to give and do attention to ISIS propaganda.
And here at home, the FBI is closely watching dozens of people they think post a highest risk of trying to carry out a copycat attack. We got a whole lot to get to tonight. I want to get to Anderson now live in Paris, with the latest on the investigation.
Anderson, we know investigators scored a major victory over the terrorist with this raid in St-Denis. What do we know about the hunt for Salah Abdeslam tonight?
COOPER: Well, it is still very much in full force. He, of course is, as you said, the eight attacker, the eight terrorist who was involved in Friday night's attacks. Seven of them killed. He got away. He was pulled over by French authorities on a highway on the way to Belgium. They did not, though -- his name didn't raise any alarms.
They didn't at that point realize that his brother had been one of the attackers who died in the terror attacks on Friday night. They let him and two others go. The two people he is with, they have already been arrested and are going to be charged. But he is still very much on the loose.
Now there had been hundreds of raids here in France. As you know, Don, that there are emergency powers in place which make it much easier for police to act quickly without search warrants and more on just suspicions of people.
There have also now been dozens of raids throughout Belgium. It's believed he is -- was last in Belgium. But again, as you know, it is so easy to move from country to country here, there is no telling exactly where he may be at this point.
LEMON: Let's talk about that raid, Anderson, the night before last. Because the female suicide bomber who died in that overnight raid was identified today. What have you learned about her and her relatives?
COOPER: Well, it's really interesting. A lot of people who knew her are coming forward saying it was only very recently that she radicalized. And really within like a month or two, a lot of people say she has quite a history. She liked to party, she like to drink. She smoked. There are pictures now of her online in a bath.
The idea that she became radicalized so recently, a lot of people said she probably never read a Quran. So, the idea that she even had extensive knowledge of Islam is probably pretty doubtful as many of these people don't.
But clearly, she was wearing some sort of suicide device. She's the cousin of ringleader and that's believed to be how she was sort of brought into -- into this network and she, of course, blew herself up on that raid in St-Denis.
LEMON: All right. Stand by for just a moment, Anderson. I want to bring in Paul Cruickshank now. Paul, the Daily Mail obtained exclusive video of the attack on Friday night. What can investigators learn from this video?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, I mean, they are looking at every last if they can get because they are worried that there could be more attacks in the pipeline that there could be a third team involved even potentially involved. Though, I think that many people hope at least at this hour that there are only two teams involved and this was only going to be a one-two punch from ISIS.
They are also interrogating around the clock all the people that they've arrested, trying to get information from them about this wider network. That, still these two people at large. They don't have a very good handle on where they are at this point, Don.
[22:04:56] And so all this intelligence is vitally important. But we're also learning today that there is a wider network believed to be behind the string of attempted attacks and this very attack itself. It's located in Raqqah, Syria.
There is a group of about a half dozen French and Belgium operatives who climb up the hierarchy or ISIS. And they include Fabien Clain, who is a long standing French Jihadi who was very active in Europe. He was recruiting people to go fight in Iraq during the Iraqi insurgency in the 2000.
In 2009, he even plotted an attack against the Bataclan concert hall here in France. That was an aspirational plot and he was arrested and then convicted for recruiting people to go to Iraq. And when he got out of jail he even gravitated off to Syria and joined ISIS and climbed up the ranks.
So, sort of master manipulator. And I'm told by European security officials that he was working very closely together in tandem with Abdelhamid Abaaoud to launch this string of attempted plots and attacks over the past year.
He is at large, he's in Raqqah. And he's the guy who claimed responsibility, Don, for this attack on Saturday in French, talking about these eight attackers. Talking about how the targets had been meticulously selected, suggesting some insider knowledge about the operation. The suspicion is he is one of the key brains behind this, Don.
LEMON: And Paul, and we have a clip from him from Clain. Let's listen.
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LEMON: How many other people, Paul, do you think are working with Clain? How much training are they receiving?
CRUICKSHANK: Well, here is the worrying thing. That more than 6,000 European extremists who have gone off to fight in Syria and Iraq, more than a thousand French nationals, 300 Belgian nationals. So, they have a huge recruiting pool in Syria to choose from.
What they are doing on to stand is very quickly selecting new recruits who come in and giving them very quick training and then sending them out. That's what I've been told by Belgian counterterrorism officials.
And the reason they're doing that is these radicals can come from Europe, they can just go and take a two or three week vacation in Turkey. Of course, they never go to the beaches, they go right through the border and use that smuggling networks and they link up with ISIS. Very quick training, all the way back.
And of course this not so much suspicion because they've just been there in the region for two or three weeks. And so they can fly onto the radar screen. This is an ingenious new tactic being used by ISIS. Giving them basic weapons, skills in terms of firing Kalashnikovs, trying to infiltrate some more experienced operatives in and some bomb makers as well, who can make this TATP.
And the Belgians tell me they believed that bomb maker is still at large and they are very worried about that. And of course there is Salah Abdelsalam. They have no idea where he is right now. And there is a missing suicide vest as well. And the worry is he could go out in a blaze of glory at some point.
LEMON: Right. Because he saw has a vest. So, listen. A new ISIS video today. What is the track record with these ISIS propaganda videos? Historically, you know, I'm wondering if the release of that video linked to any concrete or any specific action by ISIS? Is it?
CRUICKSHANK: No, it doesn't. But they have over the last few days, really kind of singled out the United States. I've got to say, I mean, they are being talked of Washington, D.C., of New York, and then this latest video of the White House. Clearly the United States is a priority target for them.
It would be a huge propaganda victory for them. Really help them with their global competition with Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda can always point to the 9/11 attack. ISIS definitely want to attack the United States. The trouble if for them, there are far fewer American extremists who are going and joining the group, a couple of hundreds travelling compared to 30 times more coming from Europe.
Their best chance of launching an attack is to actually persuade some of these European extremist recruits. Instead of launching an attack, you know, here in Europe just to get on a plane to the United States, buy weapons, build bombs and do it over there.
I think one of the worrying aspects of this current plot was that some of these attackers were not on this U.S. Watch list could have got on to planes and could have got to the United States. So, something they will be looking at very carefully for in the future, Don.
LEMON: Anderson, you know, I understand that amidst all the grieving and fear in Paris that you spent some time with a little boy and his dad today. Let's listen.
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[22:10:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
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LEMON: What was it like, Anderson, sitting with him?
COOPER: You know, Don, that's a little boy named Brandon and his father, Angel Le, who the Le Petit Journal interviewed over here at the memorial behind us several days ago. And that video has gone viral has been seen millions of times around the world. They were bringing flowers and it was a conversation between a father and son about guns versus flowers, and the father trying to make his little boy feel safe and understand what's happening here.
We wanted to just follow up with them and see how they are doing since that video has gone viral. And it was interesting because the little boy, Brandon is still, clearly, trying to make sense, trying to understand what happened. He is still very concerned. His father says. So, we had a really interesting conversation.
And I think what's important about it is that it's a conversation that parents are having with their children all throughout Paris, all throughout France, and most likely in Belgium as well, and elsewhere. As kids see these images on TV sometimes or hear about what happened and have a hard time understanding as we all, frankly, do.
So, we wanted to see this family how they're doing because they really speak I think for a lot of families throughout France. We'll have the full interview on that on AC360 tomorrow.
LEMON: Yes, I was just going to say, I can't wait to see the rest of that. Anderson, thank you so much. Paul Cruickshank, as well. I appreciate your reporting.
When we come right back, terror raids in Belgium. Are ISIS sympathizers hiding there in plain sight. Plus, one on one with Ian Hirsi Ali. Why she says Islam must change itself from extremist.
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Our breaking news. The search for Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in the Paris terror attacks is expanding tonight. Meanwhile, Belgian police conducting a series of raids today.
CNN's Drew Griffin is in Brussels for us. Drew, how many arrests were there today in Belgium, and do we know anything about who got picked up?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: We know that it was nine people. We don't know who they are. We know they were brought in for questioning. Belgian police can hold them for 48 hours without charging them. But six of the locations have to do with a guy who is already dead, Bilal Hadfi. So, it's not looking like they were successful in finding any real big leads as to that eight missing person, Salah Abdeslam. Don.
LEMON: So, why haven't the Belgian authorities been able to track these guys successfully, Drew?
GRIFFIN: You know, through all of this, the Belgian security forces have been criticized and not only why they had been able to track them successfully after the fact, but what were they doing before the fact. So many of these attackers now we know have been known to the authorities as petty criminals. Bilal Hafdi that I mentioned, he fled to Syria. They, you know, they
were notified about him. They also knew that the Abdeslam brothers had some kind of an attempt to go to Turkey. But none of this kind of registered.
Today, the Prime Minister of Belgium announced a major overhaul and upgrade in the security system and also trying to get into these Muslim communities to do a lot more interaction, try to step up, what is indeed the counterterrorism effort here in Belgium. Don.
LEMON: Drew Griffin on the investigation in Belgium for us tonight. Thank you very much, sir. I appreciate it.
Now, imagine the horror being inside the building as the raid for the leader of the Paris attacks was unfolding.
CNN's Clarissa Ward was has an eyewitness account of that.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATED): I turned on the light and the police were right there. They told me to turn the light off, close the window, and close the curtains.
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CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is what the 30-year-old Karine (ph) woke up to when police stormed the building where she lives. She had no idea that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind of the Paris attacks was just two floors above.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATED): There are police everywhere, every floor, every place. We didn't know why. We were in a panic and we stayed there until 5 a.m., two hours in the apartment, in a small hallway. Me and my friend, and her three kids.
WARD: She told us how the walls were shaking with the force of the blast. She was convinced she was going to die.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATED): We saw nothing but death. For the kids it was so horrible. It was like a nightmare.
WARD: Were they crying, I asked?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATED): Yes, they were screaming and crying. The little one who was five years old, the little boy asked his mom, are we going to die? It was horrifying.
WARD: After two agonizing hours they were finally evacuated by police.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATED): We're in shock. This is something I could never even wish on my worst enemy.
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LEMON: Clarissa Ward reporting there. New threats tonight from ISIS including a fiery attack on the White House. But what's behind all the propaganda and what's the appeal to recruits?
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LEMON: Tonight, ISIS propaganda threatens more attacks in Paris and an assault in Rome and fiery attack on the White House, vowing to turn it black from flames.
Joining me now to discuss that is Graeme Wood and Michael Weiss. It's good to see both of you, gentlemen. We know that Abdelhamid Abaaoud is dead. But we learned that he was involved in four of the six foiled terror plots in France since the spring.
Is he a bigger fish in all that we thought, Graeme?
GRAEME WOOD, THE ATLANTIC CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: He is certainly involved in a whole bunch of things. A string of attacks, most of them not very successful. But his kind of know that figure, it's clear that he was attach to all sorts of different people who are either dead or being sought or in custody.
LEMON: Are you surprised; the New York Times just posted something saying that he's the most talked about and celebrated terrorist since Osama Bin Laden, celebrated among Jihadist. Surprising to you?
MICHAEL WEISS, THE DAILY BEAST SENIOR EDITOR: No. I mean, first of all, there wasn't Twitter and Facebook back when Osama kind of made his debut. So, it's hard to measure these things. But certainly, look, I mean, I think Paris has been probably the most vicious spectacular terrorist operation since 9/11.
Eclipsing even to Madrid bombings, if not necessarily of fatalities, then in terms of the sort of media sensation of it all. Hitting a national monument and then within a space of a half hour, all of these soft target including summary execution inside a concert venue. Exactly the kind of thing that amps up recruitment for an organization like this.
LEMON: The FBI, Michael, today said, the FBI director today said that we have seen fewer Americans who are traveling to Syria. He says that he hopes it's because the message has gotten out that it's "hell on earth," that's his quote, and the so-called caliphate. But he said it could actually be because ISIS is directing their recruits not to travel and kill and to do it where they are. What do you think?
WEISS: I saw a very frightening statistics today on a chart that showed the number of -- the country of origin where ISIS is talked about the most in a laudatory fashion. Of course Saudi Arabia being the first, number four was the United States, above Egypt, above even the United Kingdom which got a huge problem in radicalization and Jihadism.
[22:25:05] Now the U.S. intelligence official months ago, says that there are sleeper cells in all 50 states, right? This is part of ISIS strategy. They have a foreign expeditionary way, they always have one.
Abu Musa'b al-Zarqawi the founder of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Remember, he was directed implicated in the assassination of Americans all over the world, including Laurence Foley, the USAid worker in Amman, Jordan. That was while he was still building his sort of franchise then an emirate in Iraq.
They are returning to form. This is the classic model. Attack the West when you can in these kind of terrorizing this and populating attacks but also part of their strategy in le Pont, Mesopotamia remaining and expanding.
You know, the in-gathering of Mujahideen but also the pushing out of the borders of the caliphate. If you look at their latest propaganda magazine, Dabiq, they kind of give up on the expanding a bit, but emphasize the remaining and then the other side of this...
LEMON: Do you think you just glossed over that there are sleeper cells in all 50 states. You can't do that because that's frightening to -- to anyone.
WEISS: Well, this is -- this is a U.S. intelligence official saying this. The director of one of the national intelligence agencies. I forget which. Look, is that really all that surprising? No. You know, we have a population that's rather sizable of 300 million people.
When I say sleeper cell that doesn't mean, you know, thousands of people running around. They can be as few as two or three or half a dozen. I mean, in Paris, what we're looking at here so far is, you know, fewer than a dozen people that are known. What is unknown is the network. you know, we tend to codify these things. We like to say, you belong to such and such organization like you've signed a piece of paper. It doesn't really work that way. It's what I called relied pragmatism.
LEMON: But when you say -- go ahead. When you say a sleeper cell, does that mean they are being directed by ISIS or are they sort of lone wolves, so to speak, or does it matter?
WOOD: I think in the case of the 50 states, it's usually considered something along the lines of sympathizers. It may be directed. It may not. But so far, what's very interesting about the Paris attack is that although it's always been part of what ISIS does to have attacks overseas, this is a really large tidal shift where they were emphasizing very strongly having people go to Syria.
And now if they are, in fact, going toward France, then you know, they had 2,000-odd people go from France to Syria. Sending them back in the other direction it's a major change of strategy.
LEMON: What about this idea of telling people the possibility is they are telling them to kill where they are?
WOOOD: Yes, they had said before, kill where you are if you can't make it to Syria. Now, they may send people back, they may send to tell some people that you should kill where you are, even if you -- even if you have the opportunity to go to Syria.
But overall, it's been a strategy of building a state and the emphasis on foreign spectacular attacks has been much less than, say, Al Qaeda.
WEISS: I recently interviewed a defector from ISIS's security service, al-Dawla, their state security apparatus. And what he was describing to me he was -- he was deployed to Al-Bab, which is one of two cities in Aleppo.
LEMON: He said he was brainwashed, right?
WEISS: That but also, what ISIS is doing is it's a form of foreigner colonial occupation in the lands of Syria and Iraq. ISIS at the top is led mostly by Iraqis. A lot of them that came from the regime of Saddam Hussein as military intelligence source, Iraqi army, which we are incident (ph) was them disbanded when we invaded, right?
In Syria, you know, the Iraqis are the very upper echelon. But then the middle cadres, everybody is non-Syrian, Tunisians, Turks, Palestinians, Algerians. And this is beginning -- people are beginning to chafe because they feel like they're being occupied by this sort of united, you know, nations of Jihadist or Jihadi international. But no Syrians that are actually in charge of the co-called caliphate inside Syria. That's actually a chief vulnerability of ISIS that I think we've been poor at exploiting until now...
LEMON: So, why did he defect?
WEISS: He found them to be both incompetent and brutal and completely mendacious. This is a totalitarian political project as well a messianic religious one. He says that if you read ISIS media, they are still in charge in Tikrit, they still, you know, running Kobani. He joked that, you know, any kind of comments, stray or errant comment about the wisdom of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi or the caliphate can get your head cut off.
So, he -- and everyone used to say, the Gods and angels they fought with us in Aleppo. And he said, well, how come the Gods and the angels didn't fight with us in Kobani.
WEISS: And he said, you better be careful, we'll put you in the cage, they'll cut your head off. So, he just had enough and he said, this reminds me of the regime of Assad.
WEISS: It's no different.
LEMON: Much of what the president has been saying is that you have to fight what stems this -- what draws people to this, right? You have to -- and in a way that's fighting ideology. How do you fight ideology? WOOD: So, one of the problems is that ideology is something that
people believe and its often unalterable thing. One aspect of ISIS ideology is that it is remaining and expanding that it's inalterably expanding and that is victorious.
[22:30:04] So, in that case, there are some ways to show that that's simply false. And some of the efforts that have already been undertaken by Kurds, with American assistance to roll back the territory of ISIS at least shows and falsifies that claim.
So, I think once people see that ISIS is not favored by God in the most clear manner possible. They namely defeat in the battlefield, that will do -- that will do a lot to take the shine off of the ideological aspect.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: Did you say that this is sort of a tier system with ISIS and Al Qaeda? Are these the people who would have been joining Al Qaeda a decade ago?
MICHAEL WEISS, THE DAILY BEAST SENIOR EDITOR: Probably. I mean, ISIS -- there is a generational schism taking place within the international Jihad. Believe it or not, ISIS is seen as the cooler brand. You know, we're not your granddaddy's Jihadi.
WEISS: We're younger, we're more vibrant and look at what we've achieved in the space of two years.
LEMON: So, if you look at the propaganda, you look at the videos and so on.
LEMON: Go on.
WEISS: Well, you know, it's interesting. One of the earlier issues of Dabiq, their propaganda magazine, they interviewed an Al Qaeda agent who just come back from Waziristan, the heartland where Al Qaeda has it sort of central command, and he said it's nothing like the glorious caliphate here. So, what do you mean? Over there, you know, the Pakistanis they still run schools and women can walk the streets without the niqab and they're not in control. They're partnering with the apostate regime in Pakistan. Here it's pure because the caliph rules all and it's our way or no way at all.
WOOD: And the most recent issue of Dabiq magazine, you see a picture of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al Qaeda, and he looks elderly. He looks like he is sitting in an old folks home. And compare that of course with the image of ISIS, fighting, winning, expanding.
LEMON: And that's -- and that's what they want. That's the purpose of having a picture where he looks old and faded?
LEMON: Thank you. Stand by. Stay with me, both of you. When we come right back, does ISIS want the West to attack them? And if so, why is that?
[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Should the West take the fight to ISIS in Syria? Is that exactly what ISIS wants us to do?
So back with me now is Graeme Wood and Michael Weiss. So, Graeme, you know, it requires a territory, right, to remain legitimate. They have to keep territory. I want you to listen to President Barack Obama on Monday. He is laying out the U.S. approach to fighting ISIS. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PRESIDENT: And the more we shrink that territory, the less they can pretend that they are somehow a functioning state. And the more it becomes apparent that they are simply a network of killers who are brutalizing local populations.
That allows us to reduce the flow of foreign fighters, which then, over time, will lessen the number of terrorists who can potentially carry out terrible acts like they did in Paris.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Graeme, is this the key to fighting ISIS?
WOOD: Well, I would say that they are a functioning state and they are also a network of killers. These are not mutually exclusive things. But one of the things that they promise to foreign fighters in particular, is that they are creating a caliphate and they're implementing Islamic law along certain lines.
If they don't have a state they can't do that. If they don't have territory they can't do that. So, it is important that their territory is taken away, eroded. And if they simply become Al Qaeda that is a non-territorial terrorist organization, then a lot of what they promised, a lot of the Utopian vision that ISIS brings is gone. So, I do think that's a very important aspect of fighting them.
LEMON: You both say that ISIS wants the West to attack them. Why is that?
WEISS: Well, this is always part of their snare. Osama Bin Laden in right after the invasion of Afghanistan anticipated the U.S. would now -- would next go into Iraq. And he was hoping that this would be the case. Because Iraq would be a sign sure for, sort of an international casting call of Mujahideen, the likes of which had not been seen since the Soviet-Afghan War, which of course he was a veteran.
Dabiq, the propa -- the name of the propaganda magazine, the reason they've chosen this is, I mean, it's an Islamic theology that this is where the Armageddon is going to take place. This is a town in Aleppo.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of Al Qaeda in Iraq, the godfather of ISIS, the founder of the feast, there is a quote in which is the front of every issue of Dabiq, where he basically says like the cleansing fires of the apocalypse will begin in Dabiq.
It was always his ambition to kind of marry the Levant in Mesopotamia to one giant battlefield. The irony being of course, Don, that Bashar al-Assad's regime was sending Jihadist into Iraq to blow up American soldiers and Iraqi.
Well, I mean, this is blow backing, you know, sot of the classic definition of the term. They do want the West to come in and fight but not in the way that you might think. What I'm fearful of...
LEMON: But it's not in the way what they said American blood is best?
WEISS: Well, they would love nothing -- they captured a Jordanian airman whose plane fell out of the sky due to technical failure, look what they did with that, burned him alive on national -- international television and made it a propaganda victory. What would they do with an American serviceman that they've capture? Much worse even than what they did with James Foley and Steven Sotloff.
My concern is, beware the unintended consequence, right? What are we doing now to fight them? We're using every ethnic or confessional or satirian (ph) actor in both Syria and Iraq who is not the nest -- who is the main constituent of ISIS. The main constituent of ISIS is the Sunni Arabs, particularly the Sunni tribal Arabs.
That is the heartland upon which they have super imposed their caliphate. So, look, I -- there is nobody who supports an independent State of Kurdistan more than myself. But the Kurds cannot march into Raqqah City or Daur and liberate those areas. Because they will be met with resistance not by ISIS but by the locals who see ISIS is a better term of it.
WEISS: That is that the one thing the lesson we learned from Iraq. How did they defeat Sunnis Jihadism, you need Sunnis and you need them to partner with you, not because they like you or they romanticize you, but because you are the credible alternative. We have nothing like that right now.
LEMON: Graeme, do you agree that they want -- they want the West to attack them and for the reasons that Michael says?
[22:40:03] WOOD: I do. It may not be on exactly the time line that they will get. You know, the promise that the West will attack, the promise that this will become a crusader versus Muslim battle is one that they very much like to dangle in front of potential recruits. That's the narrative that they want to propose. If they -- if they immediately have that attack they might simply lose their territory. And that would again be a falsification of the narrative that they propose to, which is that they are successful in that battle between crusaders.
LEMON: Well, they keep -- you know, we keep saying, you hear the president saying, you know, we can shrink their territory, right, that we somehow need to corral them. Most people say, no, we need to just stamp them out. So, shrinking of their territory, is that enough? What about recruitment efforts?
WEISS: Well, we shrunk the territory pretty well.
LEMON: And he says containing them, right?
WEISS: Yes, well, I mean, he speaks of containment in a sort of military geographical sense, but it's not containment when they're able to perpetrate four major spectacular international terrorist attacks within the space of two months, Ankara, Sharm el-Sheikh, Beirut, and now Paris, right. That is hemorrhaging, if ever there was.
Again, it comes back to, OK. When you -- it's very easy actually to kick ISIS out of terrain. It doesn't require a massive commitment of military force. The trick is what do you do once you've done that.
LEMON: Once you're right.
WEISS: And more importantly, how do you convince the locals who had been ordered over by ISIS that you're not -- that you, indeed come as a liberator and not as a conqueror.
I'll give you an example. Today, I think it was national or NPR, or Voice of America, one of the two, had a report from Sinjar. And they found that any Sunnis living in Sinjar are now essentially marked as collaborators of ISIS and they are going to suffer at the hands of even the Yazidis.
And God knows, nobody blames the Yadizis for what they've been through. But this is the problem. You know, you need to give an incentive to those who are being ruled by ISIS to rise up and expunge them and then not treat them as badly as ISIS treated everyone else.
LEMON: Fascinating conversation. That's going to have to be the last word. Of course, we'll have you back, gentlemen. You're here last night and you're here always. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
When we come right back, she was raised Muslim, but says Islam is being used to wage war. She'll explain, next.
[22:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Ayaan Hirsi Ali was raised a devout Muslim. But she says Islam must be reformed to save it from extremist. In the early she fled to The Netherlands to escape an arrange marriage and eventually became a member of the Dutch Parliament.
In 2004, she faced death threats after the murder of a filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who directed her short film "Submission," about the oppression of women under Islam.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali's latest book is "Heretic." And she joins me now. So glad to have you. How you doing?
AYAAN HIRSI ALI, "HERETIC" AUTHOR: Doing great. Thank you, Don. Thank you for having me.
LEMON: These attacks in Paris have really shocked the world. But I imagine they didn't come as a surprise to you because you have been sounding the alarm about this for years.
ALI: Unfortunately that's true. It's tragic. I wish -- I always say I wish I was wrong. But, yes, I mean, the message that -- there is a Utopia or where the world can be brought under the banner of Islam, that is something that's been spreading for decades and decades and it's infected the hearts and minds of young people who are acting on it.
LEMON: Why do you feel this way about Islam, because you were -- you were raised a Muslim, a devout Muslim.
ALI: I was raised a devout Muslim. And initially, up to about my mid- teens, we took it for granted that we were Muslims. And in secondary school, I mean, I was 15, 16 at that point, this narrative that it wasn't enough to be just Muslim. It wasn't enough to be pious. There had to be something else. You had to go and command and forbid and tell fellow Muslims that they should be praying, they should be pious to tell Christians to convert to Islam.
We entered our neighborhood and our life was in narrative of Jihad, you know, Holy War, martyrdom. The world was divided into those who believe and those who don't. Jews became our enemies, et cetera. And that is when 9/11 happened years later, I thought oh, my goodness, that took on Holland, it's not only of me. But if I was one of those young 19 men, and if I had gone to believe that I would definitely have done the same thing.
LEMON: You say the opposite of what many people who come on and who are Muslims and who practice Islam and they say Islam is a peaceful religion. Are you saying Islam is not a peaceful religion?
ALI: I'm saying there are millions of peaceful Muslims, people who want to live in peace, especially since that's the one keeping that challenge in Muslim majority societies. But Islam as a doctrine, as a theology, and especially in its political aspects, it is used to wage war. It's used as a tool of intolerance to its women, to its gays, to its others. And that's what I'm talking about.
It is of course possible to turn Islam into a religion of peace. But it's not going to happen automatically. There are things that need and -- I describe those five key points in my book. But things need to happen. You know, Muslims need to unify around what should change within Islam.
LEMON: Yes, I want you to listen to this interview that I did with a Muslim family. And they lost two loved ones, sisters, in fact, in the Paris terror attacks. Sharik and Jaya, one of the brothers made this emotional appeal. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are among so many victims. I would tell these people and the world to understand that this is critical difference between whatever they preach and between the peace that we are in Islam. I want to tell these people that whatever agenda they're doing, they should stop wrapping it around the blanket of Islam.
Because the blanket of Islam is about peace and unity and love. Because that is the furthest from Islam. Because a Muslim would not kill just for the sake of killing. Especially killing woman or elderly, or kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[22:50:08] So, Ayaan, what do you make of what he is saying? He is obviously in grief but he is saying that, basically saying that these people are perverting Islam?
ALI: Yes. So, I acknowledge his grief. I feel his pain. But they are not perverting Islam. The people who killed his relatives are invoking the Quran. The question is they invoke the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, 1.6 billion people follow his example or aspire to follow his example.
Did Mohammed behave in these ways that's the extremist or the way they portray him? And the uncomfortable truth is, yes, he did. Can he be an example in that way? If not, what should Muslims do and say about it. What about Jihad? Holy war against the infidel. What about Sharia law? You know, what about commanding height and forbidding wrong? What about investing in life after death?
These are very problematic concepts within Islamic doctrine or Islamic theology, Islamic Jewish prudence history and tradition. And it is promoted not only by crazy individuals who feel disenfranchised and marginalized in Europe. It's promoted by the key countries of, you know, you would say the core countries of Islam. Such as, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar.
They've been pouring a lot of money into this narrative. And now we are seeing the world unfold in the way that they've been promoting it and they're not taking responsibility and they're not being held responsible for it.
LEMON: Is this what you see -- what do you see as the cause for the rise in radical Islam and these terrorist acts? Is it because of what you just said?
ALI: Well, the idea that the world can only be improved and Islam is the solution, that idea is about, you know, at least 95 years old, if I start with the Sunni Muslim brotherhood in response to, you know, Westernization.
But the idea took on hold and was spread across the world with resources, with money from oil. And I would say the key country that has pushed this is Saudi Arabia. They've established madrasas everywhere across the world pushing this Wahhabi narrative.
And Qatar joined them and other oil-rich countries. And now they are facing the backlash, they are playing the victim card. They're not taking responsibility for the fact that they actually pushed this narrative and destroyed whole societies and continue to destroy and hold societies and we need to hold them responsible for that.
LEMON: You think that we could have a better strategy. You say that European leaders must do three things, and you write about it in your latest article. Three things to start to prevent further attacks. You say, learn from Israel, address the infrastructure of indoctrination, and design a new immigration policy. Does this apply to the United States as well?
ALI: I think eventually it will. You know, two decades ago, when this generation that have now turned out to be Jihadist, when they were not Jihads, when they were just young children, Europeans failed to educate them and immerse them in the ideas of liberty and tolerance and equality and what Europe is all about.
The Islamists were penetrating their neighborhoods telling that Western civilization is about oppression and decadence. And they could read in newspapers and see on television Westerners also complaining about Western society. That is reinforcing that message.
Now I think in hindsight we need to penetrate those very same neighborhoods and try and educate young citizens of free countries what freedom is all about, what tolerance is about, what equality is all about. Closing off borders, again, 20 years ago, there was no need for that. When the problem was relatively small.
But now the scale of the problem is so big that you have to take this draconian measures to try and at least, you know, bring some semblance of order into -- into it. The United States is not where Europe is. But if the United States follows the same set -- footsteps, you know, multi-culturism and all this nonsense, then the United States could very quickly get there.
LEMON: Let's talk about this Syrian refugee question that has been raised here in the United States. It's different than in Europe I would think, where -- where there are tens of thousands of people who are crossing to the border. Here people have to undergo with a screening of up to 24 months. Does that stricter policy make any difference at all?
ALI: Again, I watch this with incredulity. And I think it is not really about where they are coming from and who they are. We know that these people, most Syrians, have been subjected to terror more than we can ever understand. And those who survive if they are looking for help, I think, we, in the United States and even in Europe, we should offer help. [22:55:03] But it is what happens after they arrive, nit before. Once
Syrians come here, if we can educate them and immerse them, again, in a -- in the doctrine of freedom in what the Constitution of this country is about, that's a different story.
And when they are here 20 years from now, I think we are going to see people grateful to America not patriotic. But if not, if we leave them in the hands of this, you know, Islamists, we are going to see what happened in Minneapolis with people who come from the same country as I do. A lot of, you know, Somalis in Minneapolis in Minnesota ended up joining al Shabaab in the U.S., not before they were here.
LEMON: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, thank you so much.
ALI: You're welcome.
LEMON: When we come right back, the latest on the manhunt tonight for the eighth Paris terror suspect. And the FBI monitoring dozens of people here at home, people they think could carry out a copycat attack.
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