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ISIS Down but not Out; Turkey Hunts Gunman as ISIS Claims Responsibility; Syrian Opposition Takes Stock; Trump-Putin Relationship Facing Scrutiny; The Right to Disconnect

Aired January 2, 2017 - 14:00:00   ET



[14:00:17] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, ISIS down but definitely not out. Claiming responsibility for the Istanbul nightclub

shooting, the deadly Baghdad bombing. Donald Trump has vowed to destroy them but how. The spokesman for the free Syrian army joins me and the head

of the International Crisis Group Jean-Marie Guehenno.


JEAN-MARIE GUEHENNO, HEAD, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: The notion that you can just crush them is wrong because then they disperse. They move to the

next country as we've just seen in Turkey.


AMANPOUR: Plus, from Trump's tough talk on ISIS to his warm words for Vladimir Putin. Where will this bromance lead? The Russian foreign policy

expert Fyodor Lukyanov joins me with the view from Moscow.

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

A new year and soon a new president. Donald Trump has made clear that ISIS will be his top foreign policy priority, when he takes office in just 18

days from now. And a busy agenda it will be as this year begins as violently as the last one ended.

Authorities in Turkey continue an intense manhunt for the Istanbul nightclub killer who struck in the early hours of 2017. ISIS has now

claimed responsibility. Eight people have been detained and the deputy Turkish prime minister says the police are close to identifying the

assailant. As funerals are under way for the 39 people who were shot dead in a hail of more than 180 bullets according to police.

And in Iraq today, an ISIS car bomb in a Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad killed 35 people and injured 61 others. ISIS increasingly squeezed in Iraq

and Syria has been unable to pull off a large coordinated attack on the scale of Brussels or Paris. Instead, turning to smaller scale but deadly

attacks by the enemies within.

All of this poses a serious challenge for the incoming Trump administration. In the United States, I spoke with the head of the

International Crisis Group Jean-Marie Guehenno about Trump's main agenda which is to destroy ISIS.


AMANPOUR: Jean-Marie Guehenno, welcome to the program.

GUEHENNO: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: You know, drawing on all your experience and you've had lengthy experience in national security, whether as a French diplomat, as a U.N.

diplomat, now as head of the International Crisis Group, can you explain how ISIS is still out after more than two years of U.S. and coalition

bombing? 2017 starts like 2016 ended.

GUEHENNO: Well, I think whether it's I.S. or al Qaeda, because, by the way, al Qaeda is still out -- very much out there. We don't have the right

strategy. We think that we can do it on a global scale when in reality, the causes of I.S. are very local where the very harsh tactics of the

government radicalized some parts of the opposition. And that's why I.S. really flourishes on conflict. The best way to stop I.S. to prevent


AMANPOUR: OK. Well, given that, what do you expect to happen under a Donald Trump who said that his view of I.S. is just to, you know, bomb the

hell out of them.

What do you think can be done differently with the new administration?

GUEHENNO: I do hope he will not act on his idea of bombing the hell out of I.S. because that's not the way to go. The way to stop I.S. is to have

people who feel they have representation in government and then they move away from radical elements. That has been the proven method wherever there

have been terrorists. And the notion that you can just crush them is wrong because then they disperse, they move to the next country as we've just

seen in Turkey.

Now Turkey is being infected by the chaos in Syria. You see in Libya, the chaos in Libya now is spilling over in the Sahara. So you push in one

point, you just spread the disease in other countries.

[14:05:00] AMANPOUR: The problem, though, Mr. Guehenno, as you know better than most because you've sat at the top tables while this chaos has been

implemented all over the world. Nobody seems to have the patience to talk about governors and to talk about representation of people so that this

I.S. infection doesn't feed on it and grow.

And in fact, President-elect Trump says that, again, he's not interested in nation building and he even believes that he may or may not like Assad, but

that Assad is there to fight terrorism. And that's why the U.S. should with Russia back that. So Assad is going to stay. Again, how is that

going to change?

GUEHENNO: Well, you see, I think there's been a big shift in the pendulum. There was a time in early 2000 when both President Bush and the U.N.

thought you could really rebuild the world. I think now we've been chasing. We see that as much more difficult. But the pendulum shouldn't

go in the other direction and think that we can do anything about it.

Now for Assad, the rhetoric of Assad must go, did not fit with the reality. Assad is part of the picture, but at the same time, the notion that you can

have a stable, long-term Syria with a government that ignores a big chunk of the population, that's not going to work.

What I do hope is that between Turkey and Russia, they are going to have some kind of agreement because so that there's a more inclusive government

gradually. If that doesn't happen, I think the Russians will be stuck in Syria and I think they don't want that. So that may be why they can come

to a deal with Turkey.

AMANPOUR: You've written a major piece about the challenges ahead and you've also said we're about to enter one of the most dangerous decades

that you remember certainly in modern history. Why? Why is this going to be more dangerous than what we've just gone through?

GUEHENNO: Well, I think, you know, there's a trend that started during the Obama administration, a kind of U.S. retreat. But Obama wanted to

compensate that with a very strong support to multilateral institutions to organization that create so to speak the bricks and mortar of the

international system.

If you don't have that, if every country thinks it has to look first at its own interest without any consideration for the broader implications, then

you can have a lot of wars and clashes and that's a dangerous situation. The U.S. is by far overwhelming in terms of power, but if the hard power of

the U.S. is not made acceptable by soft power by a sense that they are principled that guide U.S. policy, then the rest of the world will get very


AMANPOUR: And that because -- again, Donald Trump has talked about a transactional foreign policy basically for America's best interest, what is

that going to mean?

GUEHENNO: Well, the world cannot be just a succession of deals. It needs predictability. And in that respect, I think one should be interested in

China, because China knows full well that it is a growing power, but it wants it -- you heard what they said on climate change. They think

disagreement is important. China does not want an unpredictable world. And to avoid an unpredictable world, you need structures, you need more

than deals.

You know, it's like in business. You have business people who think that you go from one deal to the other and other who think you have to build a

relationship with the client. Well, the world is more the second model than the first.

AMANPOUR: So if you were to look ahead, what do you consider the most serious challenge and the most difficult one to get to groups with on the

world stage, coming up, let's say in the next six to 12 months?

GUEHENNO: Well, I think the way we go to address the issue of the instability in Europe is major, because if we see a deepening of the

European crisis, if you see the European Union in danger, then one of the major voices, balancing voices in the world will be lost.

And during the Obama administration, there was strong support for the European Union. I think it's the best interest of the United States to

continue to support the idea of the European Union and the European Union is going to be challenged in 2017.

AMANPOUR: Jean-Marie Guehenno, thank you so much indeed for joining us.

GUEHENNO: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And for a different perspective on ISIS, earlier, I spoke about the endurance of the group to someone who knows them all too well.

Osama Abu Zaid, who is a spokesman for the free Syrian army, the moderate group that's been supported by the United States, but looks likely to get

cut loose under a Trump administration.


AMANPOUR: Osama Abu Zaid, welcome to the program. Can I start by asking you, we've been discussing the ISIS attack in Turkey and in Iraq, why does

ISIS still have this immense ability to cause such destruction after all this bombardment in Syria?

OSAMA ABU ZAID, SPOKESMAN FOR SYRIAN ARMED OPPOSITION GROUPS (through translator): As a matter of fact, I do not believe that the Daesh

organization has been hit hardly enough that the organization is still possesses the ability to launch attacks. And I believe that there is not

enough political will to finish off Daesh.

[14:10:10] In Syria, no one was talking about anything except punishing Bashar al-Assad for his crimes. But now, with Daesh being present and

being strong, that distracts attention away from Bashar al-Assad.

This is what happened with Obama administration. I am almost certain that Daesh was not seriously hit yet.

AMANPOUR: So you said that was the legacy of the Obama administration. Trump, who will be president in a few weeks says that he is going to

destroy ISIS, that he knows how to do it. What do you expect?

ZAID (through translator): I aspire to see a different administration with Trump than what we saw with Obama, because Obama gave us false hopes, he

gave us promises while he was signing deals, nuclear deals with Iran.

The destruction of Daesh requires the political determination and sincerity. Not just accomplishing short-term political goals. Mr. Trump,

if he was serious enough to finish off ISIS, he will first have to be politically determined and to choose the right allies on the ground who can

actually destroy Daesh. Air strikes can never be enough to destroy Daesh.

AMANPOUR: You say you hope Trump will have the right partners on the ground, but Trump has said that he's not interested in backing any Syrian

rebels, any Syrian opposition. It looks like the American administration will sell out the FSA and others and also Turkey, not interested at all.

It's just going after the Kurds.

So what is your hope on the ground and haven't you essentially lost this war?

ZAID (through translator): Those who observed the first day after the ceasefire came into force and saw the Syrian people, the civilians taking

to streets to chant against al-Assad will know that this is really a public revolution against a dictatorship.

I wonder if Mr. Trump is willing to ally himself with a dictatorship that is allies with Iran and Russia against the Syrian people. He cannot just

sell out the Syrian people.

AMANPOUR: But if you get no support from America or from Turkey, what is your option? You're going to have to go to the negotiating table with a

very weak hand.

ZAID (through translator): The Syrians can't just give up the option of resisting. We will go to the negotiation table to achieve peace in Syria,

but there is more than 5 million Syrians now who have personal issues with Assad.

AMANPOUR: Well, now you have the ceasefire that you've signed on to. Is it holding and are you going to Kazakhstan for political talks?

ZAID (through translator): The ceasefire is being violated now. Numerous violations were committed by Iranian militias and al Assad's air force.

This is what's happening now in Barada Valley in the Damascus countryside and the Vulpak (ph) and other parts of the Damascus countryside.

Now we, the leaders of the opposition, are discussing future acts. We may not attend the Kazakhstan or Astana negotiations unless Iran and its

militias refrain from violating the ceasefire.

AMANPOUR: Osama Abu Zaid, thank you so much, spokesman for the free Syrian army in Istanbul. Thanks for joining us.

AMANPOUR: And when we come back, we focus on a relationship set to dominate the year ahead. What the budding bromance between Vladimir Putin

and Donald Trump could mean for the world. That is after this.


[14:16:05] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. Now while Donald Trump's ISIS strategy remains much of a mystery. His stance on another

major foreign policy matter, Russia is a lot clearer. Trump's apparent fondness for the Russian leader Vladimir Putin is raising eyebrows in

American foreign policy circles in Congress and of course here in Europe. But the president-elect isn't backing off the so called bromance.

Just today, his incoming press secretary said that Trump doesn't want to jump to conclusions about the hacking allegations. Claiming there is,

quote, "zero evidence" that Moscow influenced the U.S. election.

Now Fyodor Lukyanov is chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy and he joins me live from Moscow.

Mr. Lukyanov, welcome back to the program.


AMANPOUR: OK, there's a big, big delay so I'm just going to try to get through these questions without too much of a delay.

Let me first ask you, you know, Trump and his team are saying there is zero evidence. But do you think that even in Moscow, people believe that the

Obama administration would have slapped sanctions on Russia and that 17 of U.S. intelligence agencies believe that there is evidence.

Do you think the Russians or the Kremlin believes there's zero evidence?

LUKYANOV: I don't know whether the Kremlin believes in zero evidence or not. It's not up to the Kremlin in this particular situation to judge. I

think they know themselves. The question is about U.S. domestic politics and here from Moscow looking at what happens between Trump team and Obama

and outgoing Obama administration and this in particular the decision -- recent decision to expel 35 Russian diplomats, it looks like, very much

domestic battle.

Of course, Russia is involved, but in fact the common wisdom here is that Obama administration is trying to make revision of Russia policy by Donald

Trump as complicated as possible.

AMANPOUR: So, it is really quite complex and people are trying to get their head around why Donald Trump is taking this view and this position on

Russia and particularly on Vladimir Putin.

We kind of know what Vladimir Putin wants, right? You tell me what he wants. To everybody's eye, it seems he wants to have obviously a reset,

that's to his advantage. And that he can get his sort of spheres of influence back, which is kind of what he wants.

What do you think about that? And what do you think Donald Trump can get from Vladimir Putin?

LUKYANOV: You know, I'm not sure that the spheres of influence approach is exactly what Putin wants to achieve. I think it's too simplistic to see it

in this way. There is one important characteristics of Donald Trump and he's political horizon and his view on international affairs, which makes

Trump much more convenient for Putin than anybody else.

Trump doesn't want to change the world and Trump doesn't want to change other countries as all American presidents after the end of the cold war

did want. And that's exactly what Russia would like to see from the United States, what Trump is saying to defend U.S. national interests fair enough,

but not to try to change countries, which are living a different life and different -- have different political system than the United States.

[14:20:00] That was the cornerstone of U.S. policies after '92 under Clinton and the Bush -- W. Bush and part under Obama as well. This is what

Trump is going to abandon, which is of course very, very positively received in Russia.

AMANPOUR: And in the meantime, obviously, you know, Russian diplomats and others are making a very pointed attacks really on the Obama

administration, this famous tweet that came from the Russian embassy here in London, saying, you know, good riddance to the Obama administration and

calling it a lame duck and a very graphic manner as we saw in the tweet. You can see there.

Donald Trump calling Vladimir Putin very smart after he declined to retaliate for the sanctions and declined to expel any American diplomats.

What do you think Putin's tactic is there in not retaliating as Russia normally does for these kinds of tit for tat punishments?

LUKYANOV: I think it's quite obvious. Vladimir Putin doesn't want to help Obama to finally destroy Russian-U.S. relationship, because of course in

case Russia would retaliate in the same way as always, that would make the atmosphere of bilateral relationship even worse than it is.

It is bad enough, but it will be even worse with older stories about diplomats expelled in 72 hours and so. And I don't think that Putin wants

to play this game offered by Obama. I really agree with Trump. This isn't quite the smart move and he expects that U.S. politicians, the outgoing

president and incoming president, they will settle their relationship as they can or not so Russia will not be part of this fight.

AMANPOUR: OK. So let me ask you this, though, because clearly Trump is saying one thing but Congress is saying another, including from his own

party. And there's a mounting, you know, fury about what's going on with hearings being called. Do you -- does from Vladimir Putin's perspective,

does he expect Trump to sort of, you know, repudiate or repel those sanctions, dismiss them and isn't he worried that Trump might look soft on

Russia and Russia could in fact end up being, you know, a major confrontation in the United States, a major crisis in the United States,

despite Trump's desire to have a more friendly relationship?

LUKYANOV: You know, Russia as an issue was brought to the center of U.S. politics, not by Kremlin and not by Trump. It was brought by the Clinton

campaign. And since that we see this topic raising more and more. So it's again very much a domestic battle. As for a relationship between Trump and

the Congress, of course, people in Russia are aware about the specificity of U.S. political system.

I don't think that anybody expects Trump to be able to denounce sanctions soon or at all because there are sanctions which he cannot -- cannot change

and more than that, the Congress might be even willing to impose new sanctions, but this is a question of again of relationship inside the

Republican Party, which Russia cannot influence. I hope that Russian position will be realistic enough to understand what is to be -- what can

be expected from Trump and what not.

AMANPOUR: All right, to be continued. Fyodor Lukyanov, thanks so much for joining me from Moscow tonight.

And across the world in China, an environmental crisis marred the new year in Beijing. Smog reaching 24 times the limit recommended by the World

Health Organization. It blotted out the sky and potentially blights the health of some 20 million city residents.

And as Chinese workers began the New Year choking on that smog, French workers were celebrating a liberating new law, at least that's what some

people thought about it. Imagine a world where ignoring work e-mail is a God given right. We'll explain next.


[14:25:53] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, workers return to their jobs today after relaxing holiday breaks with family, or that's what time off is

meant to mean. But these days, what's a holiday without being electronically chained to your desk by the dreaded e-mail.

Well, now imagine a world winning the right to disconnect. France has kicked off 2017 with some more liberty, a new law, granting the nation the

elusive power to ignore work e-mails after hours.

France's Ministry of Labor says the new rules are designed to ensure a healthy work/life balance. So why so much division on the street?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I think it's a good law and a necessary one. We are constantly bombarded with information and also under

pressure to urge people to react immediately. So I think it is essential.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's about organization and it's about self- discipline, more than legalizing this aspect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guess France is always, you know -- always wants to have laws that will help people to have a better life or social life, but I

don't think -- it's totally ridiculous.


AMANPOUR: God forbid a better life. From now on businesses with more than 50 staff have a duty to regulate e-mails and ensure that employees can take

a break from the office when they go home so that they can punch out and log off.

That's it for our program tonight. We're logging off. Remember that you can always logon to our podcast or online at and follow me on

Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and good bye from London.