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British Lawmakers Debate Airstrikes in Syria; Iraq Reacts to U.S. Plan; Russia Claims Turkey's Leader Profiting from ISIS Oil; Hitler's "Mein Kampf" to be Republished in Germany; Poll Shows Trump Leading Republicans by 10 Points; Syria's Bashar al-Assad Speaks Out; Yahoo! May Sell Core Assets; Zuckerberg and Wife Pledge Fortune to Charity. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired December 2, 2015 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST: Hi, there, everyone, welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow at the CNN Center.
Our top story this hour: intense debate in the British Parliament over whether to conduct airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. MPs are expected to
vote later after some 10.5 hours of discussion. Britain is already part of the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS from the air but has limited strikes
Prime minister David Cameron kicked off the debate by saying the militants are a threat to the British people. Well, it looks as though the prime
minister will get what he wants. Earlier I spoke to my colleague, Max Foster, who's our London correspondent. This is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER, GREAT BRITAIN: They attack us because of who we are, not because of what we do and they want to attack us again and
again and the question for us, do we answer the call of our allies, some of our closest friends in the world, the French and the Americans, who want us
to join with them and Arab partners in this work?
Or do we ignore that call?
And if we ignore that call, think for a moment what that says about Britain as an ally.
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The use of very, very strong language today, described ISIS as "rapists, butchers and medieval monsters." They
don't respect borders, Robyn. So whilst Britain is attacking them in Iraq, it makes sense to also attack them in Syria, because that's their homeland.
Why just attack them in Iraq when they could be attacking in Syria? It's one of the arguments for expanding this air campaign, this coalition
And why, David Cameron asks, should the rest of the coalition be fighting a fight which is on behalf of the U.K. as well?
He essentially is making the case that this is self-defense. So he said, be under no illusions that ISIS is planning attacks in U.K. and is trying
to, in his words, "radicalize our children."
So this is about self-defense; don't really have any choice here if do we need to face ISIS. The wider debate is whether or not bombing them will
have the desired impact -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Exactly. And that's a question that continues. David Cameron always so careful, so chosen with his language. But he said something
loosely yesterday and that's also quite a focus of this debate.
FOSTER: Yes. And it wasn't meant to leak out. He basically said to his own party MPs that anyone voting against him, effectively, can be regarded
as a terrorist sympathizer, which was taken at great offense by other members of Parliament, particularly opposition Labour members of
Parliament, who would be voting against this war in Syria.
He had to respond to that today because Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition, firmly against any further action, kept on bringing it up, kept
on asking David Cameron to apologize.
He refused to do so but David Cameron sort of met them in the middle, saying a vote against would be an honorable vote. I think, generally, in
his camp, it was seen as a mistake to use that very emotive language and that's because his whole sort of strategy here has been a more collegial
one, to get everyone to work together and to work this through together, not for him to pronounce dictates. So it's working against the strategy
and he did row back a bit from it today, even if he didn't apologize.
CURNOW: OK, yes. Very emotional language, particularly sort of conjuring up 1939, Neville Chamberlain, an appeaser. So very sensitive historically
Also tell us, you had a conversation with the foreign secretary.
What did he have to say?
FOSTER: Well, I basically asked him when would the bombing start if the vote came in and he said pretty much immediately.
PHILIP HAMMOND, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: Pretty much straightaway. We have got Tornados flying out of Akrotiri in Cyprus regularly on a daily
At the moment carrying out reconnaissance missions over Syria but only using their weapons over only Iraq. It would be a very simple step to
extend the permissions to release weapons when they identify legitimate targets over Syria as well as over Iraq.
FOSTER: We're only talking an additional less than 10 planes really, fighter jets, Robyn, joining that coalition air force campaign. But
actually there are some unique capabilities amongst the British fighter jets, so certainly welcomed by the U.S. and France, for example, who are
leading on this at the moment.
CURNOW: Max Foster there, speaking to me earlier.
Let's talk more about this. The U.S. wants to put more boots on the ground in Iraq; it's planning to deploy additional U.S. special operations forces
to fight ISIS.
But Iraq's prime minister insists there's no need for foreign ground troops in his country. CNN chief U.S. security correspondent --
CURNOW: -- Jim Sciutto joins me now.
OK. So what is all this about?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Robyn, invariably some of this is for public consumption in Iraq, the Iraqi leader
having to make it clear, to send the message that Iraqi forces have this under control; we don't need more U.S. help. There's always sensitivity to
that outside help.
So some of that's political. But also, there's an element here, where the U.S., frankly, has been frustrated with the performance of Iraqi forces.
You remember with the advance of ISIS into Iraq -- and this has been identified publicly by U.S. officials, including the head of -- the
director of national intelligence here, that they did not expect Iraqi forces to, in their words, "melt away," that their will to fight was
questionable and they have seen that, not just in the early advances of ISIS but, for instance, in the loss of Ramadi.
So, you know, whether you'll have those political statements on the ground there, the U.S. has made the decision that they need -- that those Iraqi
forces need more U.S. help to push back against ISIS forces.
CURNOW: Jim Sciutto, thanks so much.
And for more now on these U.S. special forces in Iraq and the proposal for more British airstrikes, I spoke to former NATO Supreme Allied Commander
General Wesley Clark just a short time ago and I started by asking if British's contribution, assuming it's approved by Parliament, would really
make a difference. This is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. WESLEY CLARK, FORMER NATO SURPEME ALLIED COMMANDER: I think it would make a difference. It is not only the weight of the aircraft but it's the
moral contribution, it is knowing that the U.K. is in there. And once the U.K. gets involved and the aircraft come in, we'll expect to get a lot of
political leadership and help from the U.K. in that way, too.
CURNOW: Many critics of this campaign say bombing, an air war, is just not enough and that more is needed.
CLARK: Well, of course it isn't enough but it may help to keep ISIS off balance. It certainly can act to put more pressure on ISIS and distract it
from other activities.
But we've been looking at this through the wrong end of the telescope. What we have to really do is think about this as a struggle for the future
shape of the Middle East. And it's about Syria.
Will Syria be a state that is aligned with Iran?
If so, then Turkey and Saudi Arabia object.
Will it be a state that's purely Sunni?
Then the Alawites and Christians have to leave.
So how will we manage Syria?
That's what this fight is really about. And the strategy for the West has to be align all of the non-ISIS elements together and then close out ISIS.
And this presumably is what we're doing in Vienna, although we're not hearing that much about it internationally. The diplomacy is really the
leading edge of this because if we can find the compromise between Iran's positions, Turkey's positions, Saudi Arabia's positions, so that all of the
non-ISIS participants can line up on the same side, then ISIS is easily dealt with.
Otherwise, putting military forces against ISIS, you leave a leadership vacuum, a public governance vacuum in the region. And ISIS just comes back
out of the woodwork and you start all over again.
CURNOW: So what you're saying is there's some sort of accommodation needs to be made, a sort of Bosnia model-type solution.
In terms of the filler you're speaking about, the U.S. has just announced that they're going to be sending in specialized expeditionary targeting
I mean, that's a euphemism for combat troops, isn't it?
CLARK: Well, sure. They're going to be able to fight but they're not combat troops in the sense of being able to hold terrain. So they're not
going to replace the Iraqi troops that are on the ground. But this is another measure; it can help. It can keep ISIS off balance. It can
prevent further consideration of ISIS gains, let's say, in some towns in Iraq.
It might be able to intervene and stop some horrific projected execution process that ISIS has set up. But it's not going to fundamentally alter
the calculus on the ground and it's not going to eliminate ISIS.
To do that, we have to work the politics; as you say, it's like Bosnia. It's much more complicated. It's much more difficult than Bosnia was.
But like Bosnia, it has to be solved first by getting a consensus from the outside powers on the future shape of Syria.
CURNOW: Some expert analysis there from General Wesley Clark, speaking to me just a little bit earlier.
Well, there's been a potential flashpoint between Russia and the West as NATO invites a new country to join the military alliance. Russia's latest
allegations also against Turkey's leader. That's next.
Also, Adolf Hitler's manifesto, "Mein Kampf," is being republished in Germany for the first time since his death. We'll explain the odd timing
after all these years.
CURNOW: Welcome back.
Now fiery rhetoric between Russia and Turkey is getting even hotter this hour. Russia is making some potentially inflammatory claims against the
Turkish president regarding ISIS and oil. Jill Dougherty joins us now live from Moscow.
It's getting personal now, isn't it?
JILL DOUGHERTY, INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR DEFENSE AND SECURITY: Well, yes. It's been personal and today it was very personal. A major briefing at the
defense ministry here in Moscow and essentially what they're saying is that oil coming from ISIS-held areas in both Iraq and in Syria is going -- being
shipped out of the country, out of Syria, into Turkey, that Turkey is the main customer for ISIS oil.
And that that -- the president of Turkey, Mr. Erdogan, and his family are part of the family business that is dealing in ISIS oil.
Now, President Erdogan has denied that but the Russians are very adamant that they have proof and what you're seeing right there is some of the
briefing materials that were shown at this briefing. They're aerial photographs, reconnaissance photographs from space and from the air,
showing what the Russians say are areas that they have hit, ISIS trucks and means of transporting that oil out of Syria.
So it's really a full-court press, Robyn, by not only the defense ministry but other ministries now. This is just the beginning, they say that they
have more data, more information, more incontrovertible evidence of what Turkey is up to.
CURNOW: OK. And with that in mind, we have had a response from President Erdogan and he says, said on Wednesday that Russia has no right to slander
Turkey. He also said he would stand down if it was proved to be true. But he said these allegations that they bought oil from the --
CURNOW: -- Islamic State was slander.
I mean, will there be any response from Russia on this?
How far do you think this spat is going to go?
DOUGHERTY: Well, this actually has been going on now for a couple of weeks. But I think what Russia was trying to do today is to say, here's
the evidence. Here are photographs. We have more.
In fact, they even said that some people might think that these are fake. But they're not.
And I guess what you'd have to say is Russia is really taking it to the court of opinion in the world, saying, look at this evidence. This is the
case. We're going to brief the Americans. We'll brief the coalition and let Turkey prove it.
So right now you have both sides refusing to back down and the Russians holding a very public, very major briefing to present what they say is that
CURNOW: OK. So with that in mind, also, we're hearing about something else, a NATO invitation for Montenegro to join that alliance. Now
Montenegro's not a particularly strategic threat to Russia. But politically, once again, Putin's going to see this as another example of
the rest of the West's encroaching on Russia.
Any reaction on that?
DOUGHERTY: Oh, absolutely. I mean, this -- it's very sensitive because after all, remember, 16 years Montenegro was part of Yugoslavia. It
actually was bombed at one point during the bombing over Kosovo.
And symbolically, although the population is just -- I think it's 650,000 people, significant because Russia argues that NATO continues to inexorably
move toward the East.
Now when the spokesperson for the president was asked what is Russia going to do, he said, we are not saying right now but there will be, as he put
it, "reciprocal response" and that there were some quotes coming from senators, major senators in the Russian parliament, saying that not only
will relations between Montenegro and Russia be affected, any type of cooperation, especially military, completely off the table but also that
Russia would be boosting its military capability and combat readiness. So they are drawing much broader implications from this -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Always been a sensitive issue for President Putin. Thanks so much, Jill Dougherty, appreciate it.
Well, "Mein Kampf," Adolf Hitler's manifesto, was banned in Germany for decades. Now, for the first time since World War II, "Mein Kampf" is being
sold in Germany. Our Atika Shubert joins me now from Berlin to explain the timing.
Hi, there, Atika.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically, it was never illegal to own a copy of "Mein Kampf," but its distribution was always challenged by
the owner of the copyright, which was the state of Bavaria, the German state of Bavaria.
And that copyright will now expire on December 31st of this year. And that will allow the publication, possibly, of "Mein Kampf" in January. Now
there is a historical society that is planning to publish a copy of the book, heavily annotated, and we actually spoke to the publishers today to
ask them about this, what they were planning to do.
And they said they were planning to publish about 3,000 or 4,000 copies, very heavy annotated. They say that of the 700 pages of the original book,
there will be additional pages, making it -- bringing it to 2,000, so more than half of the book will be dedicated to analysis and criticism, refuting
But having said all that, as you can imagine, it's still very controversial and Jewish groups and Holocaust survivors in particular are opposed to the
republication of the book, saying that no amount of criticism or notes, annotation, is really going to justify publishing the book again, even for
CURNOW: So what you are saying is historians or scholars might find this interesting.
So that's really my next question, is who will buy the book?
SHUBERT: Well, it is not clear. I mean, it's really a small run that will be published. It's really an academic book at this rate.
Again, with all of those academic arguments and analysis, looking, refuting the writings of Hitler in that book. So it's probably not something for
general public consumption. But again, the critics are fearful that, with the rise of anti-Semitism across Europe, that it's a kind of publication
that will simply add fuel to the fire.
CURNOW: OK. Atika Shubert, thank you so much for that update.
An important new political poll has just been released in the U.S. presidential race. We'll show you where Donald Trump has landed in the
ranking. Stay with us.
CURNOW: Welcome back.
The U.S. race for president, Donald Trump is now the undisputed leader among Republican hopefuls, well, that's according to a brand new poll that
shows Trump on top with 27 percent. Ben Carson has fallen to third place. Florida senator Marco Rubio moves into second place.
For more, let's go to CNN politics reporter MJ Lee in New York.
Hi, there. Donald Trump maintains his double-digit lead.
How's he surviving, despite regularly making un-presidential comments?
MJ LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. No matter what Donald Trump says, he's not letting go of his lead. As you mentioned, he has a lead
that actually has a wide margin over the next person, who's Marco Rubio. Donald Trump right now at 27 percent. Marco Rubio at 17 percent.
Ben Carson, who had gone up a little bit in the polls recently, his number has slipped a little bit to 16 percent.
Now Donald Trump, I have spent a lot of time attending his campaign rallies, speaking to his voters. And the key thing to remember about his
supporters is that they don't actually care what it is he says, if he's saying things that is are inflammatory, potentially offensive. They're
very loyal to Donald Trump and they buy him as the whole package.
So every time he has said something that, for another politician could have been sort of their death spiral, that is never the case with Donald Trump
when he's talking about immigration, racial issues. His supporters say that that's exactly what they want to hear from him.
CURNOW: OK. Also, about some other poll figures, they say that voters don't trust the two front-runners. I mean, that's also fascinating.
MJ LEE: Absolutely. Some 59 percent of people saying that they do not think that Donald Trump is trustworthy, though Hillary Clinton, the
Democratic front-runner also some 60 percent, rather, of people saying that they don't think that --
MJ LEE: -- she is trustworthy, either. So those numbers are fascinating.
Something else to point out that's interesting about Donald Trump in this new poll, 26 percent of Republicans saying they would definitely not
support Donald Trump. Now Trump obviously has been in the lead for a couple of months now. Republican establishment is starting to get
But I do think the question for Donald Trump going forward is, how can he broaden his base?
How can he move past just garnering support from 25 percent to even 30 percent of the Republican base and making sure that he can actually be
competitive against someone like Hillary Clinton?
Right now, we are seeing that if he were to go up against Hillary Clinton in November, he actually would be some 6 percentage points behind her, 47
percent to 41 percent.
CURNOW: OK. A lot of people within the establishment of the GOP really concerned of what this means for the party as a whole. But let's then talk
about what these numbers also tell us about the rise of Marco Rubio.
MJ LEE: Marco Rubio has had a slow rise in the polls. It's only recently that we have seen his numbers rise. Look, Republicans would love to see
Rubio be, you know, nominated as the Republican nominee because he actually does very well against Hillary Clinton.
He's considered a more mainstream candidate than certainly someone like Donald Trump or Ben Carson. If he were to go up against Clinton, it would
be 45 percent to 44 percent, so very neck and neck and close. And I think Hillary Clinton's campaign is probably hoping that Donald Trump ends up
being the nominee, not someone like Marco Rubio.
CURNOW: Indeed and he's also got a very compelling story. Thank you so much, MJ Lee there, appreciate it.
MJ LEE: Thanks.
CURNOW: Still ahead, Bashar al-Assad says ISIS is shrinking in Syria. Find out who he says is responsible for slowing down the militants. That's
CURNOW: Hi, there, everyone. Welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. Thank you so much for joining me. Here's a check of the
CURNOW: Syria's rarely-seen president is speaking out. Bashar al-Assad told Czech television that Russian airstrikes are slowing down ISIS in
Syria. He also commented on the recent terror attacks in Paris. CNN's Ian Lee joins us now from Istanbul, Turkey.
What more did he say about that?
Hi, there, Ian.
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Robyn. Yes, he commented really on a lot of issues but specifically about terrorism inside Europe, as well as those
who are fighting inside Syria.
He mentioned about that Europe really shouldn't be surprised that they are dealing with an uptick in militancy, in terrorism inside Europe. Take a
listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BASHAR AL-ASSAD, PRESIDENT OF SYRIA: What did they learn from "Charlie Hebdo"? The same principle, the same concept. We said at that time that
this is only the tip of the iceberg. What's under the water is much bigger. They didn't learn.
This is a second -- you cannot fight terrorism while you are supporting the terrorists directly with armaments and having alliance with the staunchest
supporters of terrorism in the world, which are the Saudi kingdom. You cannot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
IAN LEE: So, Robyn, you have some harsh criticism there from the president, blaming not only the West for supporting Syrian rebels but
really going after Saudi Arabia, saying they're the number one reason why we have seen this rise in radical groups inside Syria.
And Saudi Arabia has been a number of times accused of providing support for radical groups inside Syria as well as ISIS.
But we're hearing this from the first time from the president, who has said that he is defending the moderate Syrians, the people of Syria, although I
think it's important to say that he has -- his regime has killed more people than ISIS or really any of the other groups combined.
CURNOW: With that in mind, Ian, I mean, he also justified the killing of many of thousands of people, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of
people and likened the actions to the eye surgery he used to carry out when he was a practicing doctor. Tell us about that.
IAN LEE: Yes. That's just really a cold, harsh assessment by him. Really, you know, people have called him a butcher and killing hundreds of
thousands of people, rightfully so. As I said, he has killed more people than ISIS, than Al Qaeda, than really anyone inside Syria.
And this has, you know, from the very beginning of this civil war, we have seen this killing as well as, you know, the migrants fleeing from these
areas that have been targeted by his regime. We also have seen numerous, countless barrel bombs being dropped there, as well.
So this is a really cold assessment, a really inhumane assessment of his actions, defending his actions by just saying that the deaths of these
people is akin to eye surgery.
CURNOW: OK. Thanks so much, Ian Lee, in Istanbul. Appreciate it.
Well, after the break, we're going to turn to some lighter news. It's a girl for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife. Coming up, the
announcement of their new baby and a multibillion-dollar pledge. Stay with us.
CURNOW: Well, there may be some big changes ahead for Yahoo!. "The Wall Street Journal" reports Yahoo!'s board is considering whether to settle for
the company's core Internet business. That would include Yahoo! Mail and its news and sports sites.
There's also speculation the board will discuss whether to spin off Yahoo!'s 15 percent stake in the Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba. The
chief executive, Marissa Mayer, is facing increasing pressure over her efforts to turn around the struggling economy.
And Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife are revealing their new baby, a little girl called Max, to the world. And as you might imagine,
they're sharing the news on their Facebook page.
He posted a picture and an open letter to his daughter, Max. Now, it really has more than 1 million likes and Max is just one of the reasons
Well, Laurie Segall joins me now from CNN New York.
Hi, there, Laurie. Everyone likes a new baby picture but it's the Zuckerbergs' announcement that really is making news, isn't it?
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. It's an adorable picture and what they say in this open letter is they want their daughter,
Max, to live in a better world than she was born into. They want to do things to make the world a better place.
You're heard Mark Zuckerberg talk about this over and over. But what's really making news is what they're going to do. Mark Zuckerberg said
they're going to pledge to donate 99 percent of their Facebook stock over a lifetime to this cause. That's worth about $45 billion.
Now, last night they actually posted a video. This is Priscilla and Mark, right before the baby was born, and they posted this video, talking about
the cause. Listen to what they said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRISCILLA ZUCKERBERG, NEW MOM: Mark is really looking forward to meeting her.
MARK ZUCKERBERG, COFOUNDER AND CEO, FACEBOOK: Well, it's been 37 weeks and I think it's time for her to come out.
Having this child has made us think about all of the things that should be improved in the world for her whole generation. The only way that we reach
our full human potential is if we're able to unlock the gifts of every person around the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEGALL: So, Robyn, what they're going to do is they're funneling this money over a period of time into the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. This
isn't just a nonprofit. They're going to be able to invest money, they're going to be able to lobby for legislation. But this will --
SEGALL: -- really give them an opportunity to donate to causes they believe will do what they -- they want to promote equality and advance
human potential. So whatever that looks like over this long period of time, that's going to let them do that.
And I will say this: Mark Zuckerberg, even after all this, is going to still a very, very rich man. Even if he keeps 1 percent of his shares, he
is worth something like $450 million -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Wow. Also, he's making a statement by taking a big chunk of paternity leave, isn't he?
SEGALL: Yes. Absolutely. And we are seeing this more and more in Silicon Valley. Facebook was offering four months of paternal leave and what Mark
Zuckerberg said is he's going to take two months of this.
So for a CEO at this level, with this big of a company to say I'm going to go ahead and do this, really kind of sends out a message and what you have
seen with Facebook kind of offering these perks that really promote work- life balance, you've seen other tech companies kind of follow suit.
You saw Netflix do this, Microsoft do this. So I think it's a big deal that he says I'll go ahead and take two months -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Also, interestingly, I mean, this -- also another statement he's making, is this just the latest case of extremely wealthy people not really
leaving their children massive inheritances?
What does that tell us?
I mean, they seem to think it's less of a gift and more of a burden.
SEGALL: Yes. I also think you can look at it as though they want to make -- maybe this is a simple way at looking at it, but wanting to make the
world a better place. You have -- and you almost have this responsibility when you have this much money. That's what folks like Bill Gates and
Warren Buffett have done. They, in the last month, created something called the giving pledge, where they're encouraging very wealthy people to
donate their inheritance, donate their wealth towards very, very valid causes. And I think we're seeing that in Silicon Valley.
You have so many young people coming into so much money because of this latest tech boom. I think Mark Zuckerberg doing this sends out a message
that says you should use this money in a responsible way, not just keep it lying around. Let's make the world a better place.
I think the hard part will be him figuring out how to best donate, how to best put that money, that's a burden in and of itself, trying to figure out
the best way to really utilize that -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Indeed. You make a good point there. Thanks so much, Laurie Segall in New York.
Well, that does it for us here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Thanks so much for watching. I'm Robyn Curnow. Don't go anywhere. "WORLD SPORT" is up