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Doctor in Eastern Aleppo Describes Life Under Siege; Deciphering Trump's Foreign Policy; Fighting for Family Behind Bars in Iran

Aired November 21, 2016 - 14:00:00   ET


[14:00:11] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, Aleppo pounded to rubble and dust. In the latest onslaught by the Assad regime and Russian

air strikes, one of the last remaining delivery room doctors in the city describes her despair.


DR. FARIDA, OBSTETRICIAN/GYNECOLOGIST: The situation in Aleppo? It's like a horror movie. You can't imagine. The woman who comes to the hospital,

to have a baby, and then the hospital is targeted.


AMANPOUR: Also ahead, the former chair of the U.S. House intelligence committee and former advisor to Trump's team. Mike Rogers joins the


And appealing for his brother and his father's freedom after they were both sentenced to ten years in an Iranian jail. Babak Namazi on his family's


Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York.

A holocaust Srebrenica, that is how residents and U.N. experts are describing their fears amid the horror of Eastern Aleppo. Activists say

this could be the deadliest week in Syria since the start of the civil war more than five years ago.

Days of heavy air strikes have reportedly killed more than 300. Civilians are in desperate need of help, but now, there is nowhere to turn. The

World Health Organization says there are no more official hospitals functioning in Eastern Aleppo. Leaving a quarter of a million people with

no access to emergency care.

U.S. President Barack Obama says that he is not optimistic about Syria's future.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're just not getting help or interest from those parties that are supporting Assad. And Assad as a

consequence has been emboldened. But this is a man who has decided that destroying his country, turning it to rubble and saying its population

scattered or killed was worth it for him to cling to power.


AMANPOUR: Now, the U.N. official for humanitarian affairs told the security council today that he is, quote, "at his wit's ends" as a human

being about the situation in Syria. So, too, is Dr. Farida, believed to be the last female obstetrician/gynecologist working in Eastern Aleppo. She

used only her first name and wore a surgical mask to conceal her identity to protect her family living under government control when I reached her in

the besieged part of Aleppo just earlier.


AMANPOUR: Dr. Farida, welcome to the program. Can you tell me what the level of bombardment is around you today?

DR. FARIDA: I don't know the number, because we don't count them. There are so many. From the morning, from the beginning of the morning, there is

so much bombing around me, around my hospital.

This day, from two hours, another bombardment to my hospital with a parachute rocket next to my hospital. They destroyed it once again.

AMANPOUR: If you are the only gynecologist left there in Eastern Aleppo, how are women delivering their babies? What is the situation?

DR. FARIDA: The situation in Aleppo? It's like a horror movie. You can't imagine. The woman who comes to the hospital, to have a baby, and then the

hospital is targeted.

You can't imagine a woman who is making a beautiful baby, who is making a beautiful thing, who came to the hospital and go out with injuries. Or

when the baby needs to go to the incubator, and there is no incubator and there is no oxygen. There is no cast. No medical cast to help her. This

is the situation.

No one can go to the hospital. Some nurses or some midwives can't go to the hospital because they are afraid. So we have just one midwife and just

one nurse to work in the hospital. Everyone in Aleppo is afraid of going to the hospital.

AMANPOUR: So have you transported hospitals into other places? Are they in people's houses? What are you doing to provide medical care?

Dr. FARIDA: I transported my section to another basement, close to the hospital. But today from two hours, a parachute, a rocket parachute

targets this place. So I think we can't go anymore. We can't work anymore in that place. So we have to search for another basement or another

underground place to work there. Now that our section is not working, so many woman are birthing at home.

[14:05:15] And you can't imagine women who deliver at home with this dangerous thing. So many dies at home. Many women who bleeds, many women

who have the maternal mortality. The maternal mortality ratio is raised when they birth at home. It's very -- we are going to the old days of the

century. When there was no hospitals, and there was no healthcare. They would, in the past, birth at home. Now we are going back to that century.

AMANPOUR: And can you tell me what you have seen with let's say women who have delivered babies under this bombardment. Have they been injured?

Have the babies inside been injured?

DR. FARIDA: Yes. Sometimes the baby is injured inside the uterus. One day I delivered a baby, where the baby had injuries to his eyes. This day

I came to this medical point, I'm now in a medical center, there was a woman, a pregnant woman with shrapnel in her back and in her abdomen and in

her legs.

AMANPOUR: Dr. Farida, they are obviously bombing because they want everybody to leave Aleppo. Are you afraid? Will you leave? Are civilians

trying to leave?

DR. FARIDA: I'm so afraid. It is my home city. I'm so afraid that the fighters will surrender Aleppo to the regime because here if they continue

the heavy bombing, I think in one or two months, we will never see any human beings in Aleppo. We all will die. Now, this day in -- can you hear



DR. FARIDA: They are bombing now all of these medical centers.

AMANPOUR: I hear it. We're going to try to let you get back to work and we wish you all the best doing your heroic work for the people there.

DR. FARIDA: Yes, I'll stay here.

AMANPOUR: Thank you, Dr. Farida.

DR. FARIDA: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: President Obama has taken a decidedly hands off approach to the war in Syria. What the next American president might do is as much a

mystery as any future Trump administration foreign policy. So joining me now is a former national security advisor to Donald Trump, former

congressman Mike Rogers.

Welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: So in your capacity over the several months that you were briefing and you were advising on foreign affairs and national security,

did you get a sense of a policy developing over Syria? Is somebody like Dr. Farida going to be expect to be rescued or what do you think they can


ROGERS: Well, just a point of correction, there was the transition and then the campaign. So I was only affiliated with the transition. Once the

election happened, then the transition and the campaign merged together. So I wasn't advising the campaign, nor was I advising Donald Trump.

But what we were doing is putting together policy papers so that on the first day they could get a good look at the kind of options that they had

going forward.

And I think it's too early to tell. I do think you'll see a more -- hopefully a more aggressive approach both on the ISIS front and pushing

back. I think this period, this transition period between governments is so dangerous, which allowed Assad, by the way, with the backing of Russia

and with the backing of Iran, to go ahead with this unprecedented civilian bombing of Aleppo, because they knew that the United States was caught in a

rock and a hard place, and you don't have a new president to put a policy in place.

And there doesn't seem to be a lot of leadership coming at this problem from Europe. This is the perfect storm to create that god-awful

environment that your guest just talked about.

AMANPOUR: Can I just ask you to clarify then? Can you tell me why you are no longer in that advisory position?

ROGERS: Well, in any merger and acquisition, there are, you know, folks that tend to go away. So all of our work really was done as the national

security portfolio. All of that work was done. So we did a lot of identifying the people who would go into the Defense Department, State

Department, the director of national intelligence, those were vetted people and cleared people. We had that all set up.

And we had the short-term, you know, what do you do on day one to day 100 policy proposals options for the president-elect.

Once the campaign came in, if they were going to make a change, that was probably the right change to do it. They went off into a little different

direction and we parted ways, but it was amicable.

[14:10:00] AMANPOUR: OK. Well, let me ask you then because you say policy proposals. What they could or could not do in terms of advice that you'd

laid out for day one. You haven't been clear about what your advice would have been about Syria.

And can I ask you about Russia? Because everybody is looking towards Russia. John McCain just said that he hoped President-elect Trump and

President Trump won't be, quote, "Taken in by Vladimir Putin."

And you know they're talking about this rather cozy at least rhetorical relationship that they seem to have right now.

ROGERS: Yes, I would look at it this way. And I think every president, U.S. president goes into office believing that they can breakdown past

diplomatic barriers. And they should at least have the opportunity to try that.

George Bush went through this process. Barack Obama went through this process, all with Putin. And I think Donald Trump at least deserves a

chance to try to breakdown that barrier. If he can bring about a negotiated solution in Syria, where Barack Obama couldn't do that, then

good on him. I think he should at least have the opportunity to try.

I think what the world worries about is that that process goes on too long, while you have something like Aleppo happening at the same time. I don't

believe that will happen. I think the advice and counsel he will get with the people that he's selected and who are around him will give him the best

advice that you have to take that chance.

But if you don't come to a quick decision here, we will have to take action to let Vladimir Putin know that we are serious, and there is a change in

policy coming that Vladimir Putin is going to have to make some tough decisions as well.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you then about some advice, and you say that people have rallied around the president-elect.

I want to talk about the whole issue of torture. This is obviously massively controversial in the United States and around the world. And it

gave the U.S. a huge black mark under the George W. Bush administration and Barack Obama put an end to it.

This is what candidate Donald Trump said during the campaign. And then we have what Vice President-elect Mike Pence said about the issue just this

past weekend. If you would listen and we'll talk about it.



TRUMP: Waterboarding is your minor forum. Some people say it's not actually torture. Let's assume it is. But they asked me a question, what

do you think of waterboarding. Absolutely fine, but we should go much stronger than waterboarding.

MIKE PENCE, U.S. REPUBLICAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: A President Donald Trump is going to focus on confronting and defeating radical Islamic

terrorism as a threat to this country. And we're going to have a president again who will never say what we'll never do.


AMANPOUR: Well, that was slightly enigmatic from Mike Pence. But what do you think? I mean, you've had all the policy meetings with the team. Is

that something that's going to be brought back?

ROGERS: Well, you know, again, once the president-elect is exposed to what options he does have, I think they'll go through those options. Remember,

President Barack Obama also kept what's called enhanced interrogation techniques as options that he could use.

And a lot of people don't know that, but he had that option to do it. It would have been approved by the president.

I think this, the president-elect is going to go through, he doesn't have access to that information today. Once he goes through his options, once

he understands what's legal and what's not legal, he will then have to move forward on options.

He is going to get lots of advice. A guy like me would say I'm not sure it is a technique that is worth going through all of this procedure. You'll

have to change the law to get it back, number one. And let's go with these other enhanced interrogation techniques that are legal and approved and use

those and see what different results that you get.

So I think he's going to go through this process. And I think as any president comes into office, you mature a little bit on the national

security piece. If this is not something you do all the time and are interested in it, and the complexities and nuances of foreign policy and

national security, I think you've got to have a little time for the upsweep.

I think this president will listen to the advice and counsel that's given to him, and he will get it probably from both sides. People who say, yes,

it is worth the effort and people who say let's try these other methods first.

And I, you know, again, I would be giving the advice on the other, but I think he'll come to a better conclusion.

AMANPOUR: All right, let me ask you about Iran. Because by and large, most of the intelligence and the world community believes that the nuclear

deal is a net positive for the moment. It makes the world a safer place in the absence of any other options.

Do you believe that once he gets into office, Donald Trump will look at the deal and not want to rip it up and not call it the worst deal in history as

he did during the campaign? Or is that something he will seek to change?

ROGERS: I think he will seek to find different pressure points on Iran. And I would argue that we're going to have to find different pressure

points on Iran.

Remember, they're still the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world. They are engaged in activities in Yemen, in Iraq, in Syria. Other

places around the world. We've seen their activities spread a little bit. And that's concerning.

So I think there are ways to start pushing back on Iran that reassures our Arab-link partners in a way that they haven't been assured in the last

eight years. And I do think this is a big problem.

[14:15:15] The administration is almost going too far to try to make sure that they're complying with the agreement. It's clear that they're

obtaining heavy water where --


ROGERS: And there is different aspect of this plan, where they haven't been, I think, fulfilling their requirements. And I think this next

president-elect is going to have to look back and push back on all of this.

AMANPOUR: All right, congressman, thank you very much for your insights.

And when we come back, what will the incoming Trump administration mean for U.S./Iran relations beyond what we've just talked about. How will the

tough line hit people with the most at stake? My interview with the Iranian-American whose brother and father are languishing in an Iranian

prison, that's next.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

What will Donald Trump's election victory mean for Iran? On the one hand, he has promised to tear up the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal, but on the other

hand, he's also wanting America to be less interventionist.

Last week, Congress here voted to extend U.S. sanctions on Iran for another decade.

My next guest says that his brother is now languishing in an Iranian jail, despite years of speaking out about the negative effects of such sanctions

on Iran.

Last month, Babak Namazi's brother, Siamak, was sentenced to ten years, after being accused by Iran of collaborating with the American government.

And to make matters worst, when his elderly father tried to secure his release, he was arrested and handed the same sentence.

Babak joined me from Dubai. For the very first time, he is speaking out about the family's efforts to free those two in jail.


Babak Namazi, welcome to the program. It's been more than a month now since your father and your brother were both sentenced to more than ten

years in jail. Can you walk us through what happened? And why it has got to this point?

BABAK NAMAZI, BROTHER AND FATHER JAILED IN IRAN: Hi, Christiane. Thank you for inviting me to your show. It's not really clear to us why this has

happened. I mean, this is something that has been going on for the past year with the arrest of Siamak and then my father. We have heard

information sporadically and it's been very difficult to understand and really digest the enormity and the consequence of what has really happened,


AMANPOUR: Babak, can you describe the conditions that they are being held under?

NAMAZI: Christiane, the conditions are very worrisome. Obviously, we're talking about two of my family members. In the case of my father, he is an

80-year-old man. He has heart conditions. He's got other ailments, which require constant monitoring and we're very worried whether if he is getting

the proper treatment or not.

In the case of Siamak, I know that since his arrest, he has spent extended periods of time in solitary confinement. He's been lacking basic access to

items like having a bed, which is causing him a lot of pain. His mental well-being has been deteriorating very rapidly, especially since the


[14:20:00] AMANPOUR: They're in the same jail. Do they see each other?

NAMAZI: Sadly, not, Christiane. My father and Siamak have not seen each other for the past 14 months. It's something that he's been repeatedly

asking for. And for some reason, which I don't understand, they have not been able to see each other.

AMANPOUR: Your dad is 80 years old and he used to work with UNICEF as well as, you know, other humanitarian organizations. Siamak is a business


What do you think is going on? Is there a political dimension to this? Other people say that, you know, they are being kept as bargaining chips?

NAMAZI: I really haven't thought about that, Christiane. I mean, I'm here today as a son and as a brother to express my concern for the well-being of

my father and for Siamak. These are unjust sentences for people who have dedicated their lives both on a global as well as on Iranian scale to help

and improve the lives of those in Iran.

As you mentioned, my father has been in UNICEF, and he has dedicated himself to improving the lives of women and children. And this is very

much what he was focused on in Iran after his retirement with UNICEF.

Siamak, similarly, has been very much dedicated to alleviating the pressures of sanctions have put on the Iranian people, in particular the

hardship that the sanctions have caused on shortage of medicine that he's been very much involved in those causes. And, therefore, it is very

incomprehensible for me and my family to understand why these actions which are really for the betterment and for the sake of the Iranian people have

resulted in criminal proceedings at this level, in ten years sentence, when all they've done is tried to serve the Iranian people.

AMANPOUR: Babak, this has been going on for a long time. And it's obviously having a terrible toll on the family and on your brother and

father who are in jail.

What is it about this moment? Why have you come forward now? It's your first television interview? What do you hope to achieve?

NAMAZI: Christiane, I hope to achieve the ability to see my father again and to see Siamak again. I'm hoping to embrace them. I miss them. A life

sentence has been imposed on my father. It is my duty as a son to do all I can to help secure them.

These are people who have done nothing wrong. They've been unjustly convicted. And I miss them. My children, the grandchildren of my father.

For Siamak, we are just horrified of the ordeal we've been going through.

I do hope that this misunderstanding, that this must have been a result of a misunderstanding, when you take into consideration the service that my

father has had on a global scale. The 15, 20 years he spent with UNICEF and served with distinction. And it is a testament by all his colleagues

at UNICEF itself who has reached out and spoken publicly in support of my father.

And in the case of Siamak, he has done all he can and focused solely on helping remove the restrictions on the sanctions that have imposed on

medicine. And it is, again, beyond comprehension to understand how this has become criminalized.

AMANPOUR: Babak Namazi, thank you very much for joining us.

NAMAZI: Thank you, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: A family's dilemma, and now to a tableau of nature's brutality, literally frozen in time. These new photos from a remote village in

Alaska's western coast show two moose locked in battle entrapped in an icy lake. Likely, they had been sparring over a female moose, who is long gone

by now.

After a break, some more thawing as we imagine a world on the brink. The disappearing polar ice caps and the weird and wearying weather elsewhere.

That's next.


[14:26:30] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, as the U.S. and the world prepare for the incoming climate skeptic Trump administration, imagine a

world melting away.

In the Arctic and Antarctic, NASA has found massive chunks of sea ice are plunging into the water with the worst ice depletion since records began in

the 1970s and at a time when ice should be building up.

Temperatures are 30 degrees above normal at the North Pole. The amount of ice in the Arctic is almost a million square kilometers less than the

amount there was last, which itself was a record low.

While in Antarctica, there has been a devastating surprise. The ice level there is now at record lows, but it had just recently been increasing,

making it something of a (INAUDIBLE) for climate change deniers. But now the overall trajectory is depressingly clear.

And the weird weather isn't limited to the world's polls. Siberia's already cold temperatures are descending with schools in Central Russia

forced to shut their doors because of temperatures that now hover around minus 36 degrees Celsius.

And that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at anytime and follow me on

Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from New York.