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tv   News  Al Jazeera  August 29, 2014 12:00pm-12:31pm EDT

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immigration order question, are you thinking about delaying it for a little while because you don't want to impact the discussions over the cr that could trigger a budget shutdown -- government shutdown. >> i don't have an update in terms of timing. you a did hear from the president yesterday where he reiterated his strong commitment to take action within his authority to solve or at least address so many of the problems created by our broken immigration system. there is legislation that has passed through the senate that would have addressed so many of these problems, unfortunately we have seen republicans in the house engage in a political strategy to block that piece of legislation from even coming up for a vote. the president is disappointed, and that's why he has resolved to use as much authority as he can muster within the confines of the law to try to solve this
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problem on his own. he does that hoping that house republicans will come to their senses at some point and pass a piece of legislation that would be even more impactful in terms of solving those problems and would supersede any action he would take. but the president is determined as ever to take that action on his own, simply because house republicans have blocked the ability of congress to try to solve the problem. jim? >> reporter: we know the president was talking about a strategy for isis in syria, but having said that, would he like to have that one back? >> well, jim, i want to clarify one thing. the president was talking specifically about military options for countering isis in syria. there are a number of things that we have already done to -- as it relates to the broader situation in syria to confront some of the challenges there. the united states as we have
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discussed is the largest single donor of humanitarian aid to syria in terms of dealing with the terrible situation caused by the violence in syria. we have seen millions displaced by the violence there. the united states has been engaged in an effort to support the moderate syrian operation. there are also diplomatic support that has been provided to them. so there already has been work underway in syria to try to address some of the challenges there, but the president was cab did about the fact that the pentagon is still reviewing options that may be available to him, military options that may be available to him, to counter isil militarily in syria. >> but when you are the president words matter, and just getting back to that first question, does he wish he had articulated that -- that sentiment differently?
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>> well, jim, he was asked a very specific question, and he was asked a question about -- >> reporter: right -- >> let me finish. this is important. he was asked a very specific question about whether or not the president would seek congressional authorization before ordering any sort of military -- military action in syria, and the point the president made was that that is putting the cart before the horse. the president hasn't yet laid out a specific plan for military action in syria, and the season for that is simply the pentagon is still developing that plan. it would be putting the cart before the horse to talk about what sort of congressional authorization would be required -- >> reporter: i don't mean to belabor it, but the fact that you came out so quickly and tried to explain what the president had to say, suggests that what he said was not what he intended to say, or are you saying the rest of us took it
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the wrong way? you know what i mean? >> yeah, i do know what you mean. the reaction we had yet was not in response the president's comments. it was in response to the way it was being reported. and i don't mean that as an criticism. but we do believe it's important for people, both you and your readers and viewers to understand what message the president was trying to communicate and what strategy he has already laid out for confronting isil, and what decisions remain to be made as it are relates to military options available to him in syria. again, that's not a critique of the media, it's just an observation that we didn't listen to the president's news conference, and watched your reporting, and recognized that if we wanted people to have a very clear understanding of what the president was trying to communicate that we needed to engage you directly to do that, and that's what we tried to do.
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>> reporter: getting back to prime minister cameron's comments he said this is not some foreign conflict thousands of miles from home. he seemed to take a tougher tone with respect to the isis than the president did yesterday, and a lot of people observed the president's comments were not in line with secretary makel or general dempsey, talking about it is something we have never seen. is the president on the same page as -- as his cabinet? >> i think the more important observation is that the cabinet is on the same page as the commander and chief. >> reporter: there's no debate inside the situation when it comes to striking isis immediately in syria? >> i don't think debate is the
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way to describe it. i'm not going to get in to a private meeting between the president and his national security council. but you have observed the president's leadership style. and you recognize he is interested in hearing the unvarnished assessment of his senior advisors. that's true when he is talking about our military strategy or our communication strategy. he is interested in eliciting the unvarnished opinion of everyone sitting around the table. so the president -- >> reporter: as to -- >> i'm not reading out meeting, but i am in a position to convey to you that the president is determined to get the unvarnished assessment of the -- of the professionals who sit around the table and meet with him and he makes important decisions. but i have no doubt, and if you do, then you should go ask each
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one of them, about whether or not they are on the same page as the commander and chief. i am confident they are. justin? >> reporter: you said there was no update on timing, and so i just wanted to read back to you that back earlier this month you said that you expected to review that at the end of summer, and that you anticipated that the president would act on those recommendations shortly after receiving them. the president also said he intended to adopt the recommendations without further delay. both of which would indicate that you are going to get these recommendations before the end of summer, and act on them before the midterm election. so is that still what we should be operating under? >> well, the president got asked a specific question about immigration -- >> he didn't answer about timing -- >> well, what i think he did answer was if you'll allow me to
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offer up my own view, he answered the question is he still determined to act if congress won't. and he is prepared to use his powers within the confines of the law to work on this issue. the president is disappointed that republicans have chosen to pursue that strategy that may in the minds of some republican political strategists be in their interest, but it is certainly not in the best interests of this country. now secondary legitimate question is what is the time frame for that? and i just don't have any additional information to share with you on that. >> reporter: "the los angeles
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times" recorded today that you guys are considering splitting up the recommendation so you would implement things that are more palatable to both republicans and -- and democrats running in vulnerable races to roll out before midterm elections and then push off some of the broader sweeping things that we have heard the interest groups coming in here discuss until after the midterm election. so i'm wondering if you can talk at all about whether that is something you are considering, or whether you expect, you know, when the president comes out and talks about immigration that we're going to hear him fully lay out everything he plans to do. >> well, to borrow a phrase that was used yesterday, that is putting the cart before the horse. the president hasn't received the final recommendations for what options are available to him for acting unilaterally to address some of the problems of our broken immigration system. so those who are speculating
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about how they might be implemented are a little ahead of themselves at this point. >> reporter: are the concerns being sort of spoken about by senate democrats or running in vulnerable races going to play in your decision when you make a choice about when or if or how to implement -- >> well, a conclusion has been reached by house republicans to do something in their political interest that is not in the nation's interest. and that is to pass common sense bipartizan immigration reform. the president is focused on trying to solve problems, and he would like to have a legitimate fact-based debate about this current condition of our immigration system. there are problems in our immigration system, that may be the one thing widely agreed on
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by both sides. the president in the context of using his own authority to try to fix the problem, wants to have a debate about the status of our immigration system, what the consequences are for allowing the broken system to persist, and what republicans have done or in this case not done to try to confront that problem. so that broader debate is an important part of the context in which the president wants to act, and -- >> reporter: yeah, sorry to belabor the point, but if the president is genuinely only concerned about solving or addressing the issue, and then we're hearing reports that the president might for political reasons delay some of these recommendations that come to his desk, don't those seem contradictory in some way? wouldn't the president want to immediately implement all steps
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that he thinks could help resolve this issue? >> there may be some people who are speculating that the president is making a political decision. i would put forward that those are probably people who are regular critics of the president. so i would take that with a grain of salt. what the president wants to do is solve problems. he wants to do that in the context of a debate that is well understanding by the american public. and the context of that debate is an unvarnished assessment of the current state of our immigration system. he wants to make sure the american public understands what the consequences are for our broke insystem to persist without solving it, and make sure the context of that debate are understood in that there is
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a reasonable bill that could pass the house if house republicans weren't blocking it. shawn. >> reporter: [ inaudible ] the president convey to the gulf countries that he hasn't conveyed before. and what makes the president now confident that the sunni neighborhoods would behave differently knowing they have created to the formation of isis and others? >> it is very clearly in the interest of iraq's and syria's neighbors to not have a violent extremist organization wreaking havoc in their neighborhood. it's destabilizing and poses a pretty direct threat to those
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countries. it is in their interest as never before for them to work in partnership with other countries in the region and other countries around the world like the united states to counter that threat and mitigate the destabilizing impact of those violent activities that we have seen perpetrated by isil. that will be part of the message and that will be the topic of discussion that the secretary of state will carry with him when he goes to the region. i'm sure one way or another the state department officials will read out those meetings, so i wouldn't want to get ahead of those discussions, but it is clear the backdrop is that the clear interest of these governments has in the last several weeks been crystalized. >> reporter: does the president -- >> spokesman josh earnest talking about the diplomatic efforts to try to bring pressure
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to bare on islamic state in syria. the white house press secretary underscored it is still president obama's intention to take unilateral action to try to fix some of the immigration system. noting there has been bipartizan legislation that was blocked by the house, and the president is going to take whatever action he can to fix this situation. but the british government has raised its terror level to severe. he says this is based on foreign fighters and their ability to travel. he says he does not anticipate any change in the u.s. threat level, and when asked about a
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potential for attacks on the u.s. homeland, he said they are simply monitoring events overseas. mike what jumped out at you? >> i thought the rhetorical construct that he used to answer the question on the president uttering the statement that we don't have a policy yet on whether or not the u.s. will go after isil forces or islamic state forces within syria itself. two or three times he laid it at the feet of the pentagon. the president has not laid out a specific plan, the pentagon is still developing that plan. so it's the question of the president simply not having the materials in front of him, which is the responsibility of the pentagon before he can make a decision. having said that, it's clear the
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president came out into the briefing room about 4:00 washington time with the intent of lowering expectations and walking back the expectation of any kind of military action such of what is happening over the skies of iraq right now, those air strikes were going to be expanded to include air strikes within syria against the islamic state. >> mike it is so interesting that you bring up, and rightfully so, the president putting this on the doorstep of the pentagon, because when it was two weeks ago when there was the secretary of defense and general dempsey who raised the temperature and lifted the rhetoric, saying this is unlike anything we have seen. and now it's almost like the white house saying you started dh, now we're putting the blame on you, because we don't have a plan yet. >> yeah. look, that's a perfectly fair
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question, given the utterances that you just outlined and you and i talked about this on the air. this is the greater threat that the united states has ever faced, incluesing that of al-qaeda. secretary kerry said the isil must be destroyed. general dempsey said they had to been routed. ben rhodes warned from martha's vineyard speaking directly to the terrorists in syria and iraq, we are going to come after you. so the white house has been trying to explain what the president meant when he said we do not have a policy yet, and yet it was his own cabinet that laid those expectations. >> mike viqueira is at the white
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house, and since we're talking about the white house putting the blame on the pentagon, let's dip in to the pentagon briefing, admiral kirby is briefi briefing -- giving a briefing. let's listen. >> if isil has drones of their own? >> reporter: yeah. >> i have seen a press report, but i have nothing that would back that up at all. >> reporter: yesterday president obama said that some states in the region are ambivalent about dealing with isil. some of them are financial [ inaudible ]. could you elaborate on that? do you have more information. can you say some gulf states are from one hand facing isil and on the other hand financing them?
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>> no, i'm not going to elaborate on that. tom. >> reporter: the president said there is no strategy yet for isil. talk about the pentagon's process of developing that strategy. talk about the way ahead. what are the plans you are looking at? what do you hope to achieve. talk about trading moderate levels. does the pentagon have a greater role in that effort. and train and assist mission in iraq eventually presumably would be part of that kind of strategy. >> if i tried to answer that question in every aspect that you are asking, you are basically asking me to lay it all out right here in the press conference, and i'm sure you would appreciate that, and it would make your jobs a lot easier, and mine pretty much
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no non-existent. [ laughter ] >> the president said this is really about degrading isil ability to operate and to continue to conduct the brutal violence they have been doing inside iraq and the threat that they pose to the region, so if you take it from that perspective that that's where you are going, there are many ways to do that. not all are military. but some of the military ways you can do that is the way we're doing inside of iraq right now. which is through the use of air strikes, you can certainly hit them. and we have been. and you know -- i would tell you we're hitting what we're aiming at inside iraq, and we know that inside iraq on a tactical level we're having an effect. we'll being disruptive to their own operations. so their command and control.
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to their ability to move around. so you can have an effect in that way, and the pentagon it's called kinetics, which basically means you have a very targeted precise effect and we can do that. there are also other ways that you can from a military perspective try to disrupt and degrade their ability to operate through humanitarian assistance, through advice and assist, and one of the things is trying to move forward on an equipment program for moderate syrian opposition. we asked for money we hope to get appropriated so we can move out on this. there are a lot of hurdles that remain to be leaped in terms of getting us there. you have to have a moderate opposition that you can rely on. you have to have at least one willing partner in the region to
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help sponsor some of the sites for training. there is a lot of work we have to do, and we're working through that. but inside there are things we can do that don't all include air strikes, and if we have learned nothing over 13 years of war, is you can't completely eliminate extremism anywhere through simply kinetics, through air strikes alone. so while we must be ready for that option, and we will be, that alone is not going to be the answer. >> what about a train and assist mission if there is to be one in iraq. you have been assessing them for quite sometime now, do you have a good sense of how degraded the iraqi army is? so does it have a train and assist down the road? >> it's a entirely possible the
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assessment teams could move to more of an advisory mission. that hasn't happened yet, but certainly is an option. i would also tell you that we still have those two joint operation centers, one in bagdad and one in erbil, and they continue to assist. we just haven't placed teams out with units at a brigade level or higher, which was the thought. that is still under active consideration. and you are right. that could be part of a stitch together more regional support here. it would require a train and equip, advise and assist operation. all of those things are certainly military options available, and certainly being considered, but i wouldn't get ahead of where it is going to get down to.
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>> you mentioned disrupt and degrade isil, but not destroy? >> those were my words, i wouldn't -- i don't make policy here. the president said yesterday that the -- that he used the world degrade isil's capabilities, and i think that's where i'll leave it. >> pent gone spokesman rear admiral john kirby. he just confirmed that, yes, the pentagon has not yet presented options to the white house on military attacks on syria. and that will help the white house, because we heard josh earnings when he was asked about -- the president saying we don't yet have a strategy for syria. josh earnest put some of the blame at the foot of the pentagon.
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and there you have the pentagon saying yes, we haven't worked through military options yet, but making the point you cannot eliminate extremism simply through military acts alone. in london, david cameron announced that they have raised the terror threat in response to what is going on with the islamic state, they have gone from substantial to severe. here is prime minister cameron talking about what is going on with islamic state and why the response needs to be strong. >> some foreign conflict, thousands of miles from home that we can hope to ignore. the ambition to create an extremist caliphate is a threat to our own security here in the uk. the root cause is quite clear. it is a poisonous ideology of
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islamist extremism that is condemned by all faiths and all faith leaders. >> cameron said as many as 500 britains are fighting for the islamic state, including the one who executed james foley. they now fear that islamic state is planning an attack on british soil. the home secretary said there is no evidence one is imminent. and washington said there is no evidence that islamic state is preparing an attack on u.s. soil. meanwhile 44 united nations peace keeping troops from fiji are still being detained. a new united nations report says more than 3 million syrians have now fled that country, and
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another 6.5 million syrians are described as internally displaced. they are calling it the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era. the other big story, of course, any russian go continues to be, well, russia. several countries are saying they are violating ukraine's sovereignty. russ russia's actions defy all diplomatic solutions to the process. we're going to take a break -- actually separatists rebels in eastern ukraine have agreed to open a humanitarian pathway at the request of vladimir putin as the kremlin continues to deny rich -- are
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russia is involved in the fighting. "the stream" is next. we'll see you in half an hour. ♪ @j
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hi i'm lisa fletcher and you are in the stream. drones in the united states. there will be 30,000 of them flying above your head within the next 20 years. is america ready? ♪ by september 30th of 2015, the faa has to have regulations in place to allow unmanned aerial vehicles, more typically known as drones into the nation's air space as the