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tv   News  Al Jazeera  November 24, 2015 11:30am-12:01pm EST

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attacks in paris. but they are also talking about the shooting down of a russian war plane by turkish jets. turkey saying the plane crossed its air space near the syrian border. moscow warning there will be significant consequences. mike viqueira, the french participate is in town, looking for answers from president obama. >> reporter: del, it's difficult to talk about francois hollande's mission here at the white house without talking about this latest incident potentially explosive. the turkish shooting down of the russian war plane allegedly over turkish air space. this just complicates the mission even further. there has already been division between turkey and russia. russia and the united states, other allies in the region like saudi arabia, the united states and its allies want to see bashar al-assad go, russia does not. russia has been insisting that
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assad is now the only viable option in syria. now you add this extra wrinkle, the attack, this conflict between turkey, obviously a nato member, and russia. it certainly does make the situation much more difficult. obviously francois hollande is here to promote unity in the wake of the paris attacks. later on in the week he is scheduled to go to russia and meet with vladimir putin. this announced in the wake of those attacks trying to form a cohesive international coalition to fight isil, and yet this incident here is going to complicate things impleasurably. and francois hollande travels the world to try to develop a consensus. >> you are in the east room of the white house because both leaders will be addressing reporters in a short while, and when they do, you will sit down and we will interrupt whatever it is you are saying. but while we are waiting on that, hollande says he wants russia and the united states to
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be part of that larger coalition that he is talking about. is there any chance he will get anything in the way of cooperation between the united states and moscow? >> reporter: the mission -- ever since the summit of g-20 nations where vladimir putin met with president obama as well as meeting with erdogan. but the essential question here is will russia now aim its fair, aim its bombing campaign, announced about three weeks ago or about a month ago against isil forces? russia has been concentrating its bombing -- itsdz air campaign towards fighting opponents of the assad regime, and not necessarily isil forces. many of those opponents backed by the united states and its allies.
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president obama, the white house staff watching russia very carefully in the wake of the downing of the russian passenger jet over the sinai, and see if russia has a change of heart. one of the things that the united states believes is standing in the way of this, the white house and policy makers here is russia's questions about what exactly follows assad. and as they move towards a diplomatic resolution of the syrian civil war which obviously is essential to solve before the fight against isil can be advanced or progress can be made is who is at the negotiating table? which opposition forces? so there's a great deal of confusion, a lot on the table as these two leaders meet right now in the oval office. >> before you go, mike, one of the things they will be looking for out of the president himself in washington, will be the tone
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and tenor, this will be his third news conference where he addresses the paris attacks. this time he will be with francois hollande at his side. are they expecting the president to take a more hard lined approach? or do they expect he is going to say he is going to stay the course with his strategy with regards to syria? >> reporter: i think we can expect president obama to essentially stay the course as he announced when he was in turkey just a week ago today where he essentially said the existing strategy is going to go forward. this is going to be an intense indication in the effort. the president saying they are going after sources of revenue for isil, like oil refineries, oil transport and the like. the president came under criticism as you know, del, for taking out against his
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opponents, saying folks just have no -- no policy, no solutions other than saying it's time to get tough, and for those who are calling for more boots on the ground as the phrase goes, the president rejected that out of hand, so you are seeing a stepped up air campaign now with france playing a bigger part. you talk to the experts, anybody involved in this, who has been keeping an eye on it, they say that is going to play a role in rolling back isil's gains and diminishing their capabilities, and yet they are in search of a force on the ground, they are trying to identify those individuals that can carry the fight on the ground. obviously that is not going to be the united states military, del. >> mike viqueira at the white house. standing by. we are going to go live now to the pentagon. jamie mcintyre is there, a very busy morning at the pentagon as well. jamie what is the latest with you? >> reporter: well, del, i would make three points right off of
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the bat. one is all of this talk about how this could effect russia joining the coalition. i can tell you that the u.s. military, the obama administration, at this point is not interested in having russia as part of the coalition. again, today at the pentagon, a u.s. military spokesman was trashing the russian air campaign, saying that russia was essentially throwing lead around on the battlefield and causing up to a thousand civilian casualties. so that's .1. .2 is that senior pentagon official tells me that this incursion of the russian jet into turkish territory was very, very brief. it was in that part of turkey that extends down into syria. the jet cut across that little two-mile part of land. he said the actual incursion was less than 10 seconds. just a matter of seconds. so it's not at all clear that the turkish jets had to take the
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drastic action they did in shooting down that plane. so that's going to be a matter of debate as the investigation going forward into what happens. and of course the u.s. military does have planes along the border there, helping turkey patrol its air space. half a dozen f-15s were deployed there at the request of turkey, but a u.s. official again stresses that those planes were nowhere near this incident and played no part in it. >> and jamie i was thinking about the fact they are watching these developments from capitals around the world. what can we expect coming out of nato from today's incident? >> reporter: well, of course, turkey being a nato member, there will be some sort of expression of solidarity. turkey absolutely has a right to defend its territory, and it has warned russia in the past about
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incursions into its air space. so i think you'll see a united front there, because turkey is an ally, but there are again, questions about whether this could have been handled in a way that would not have resulted in loss of life and plane despite the fact that turkey believes that russia has been deliberately provoking them. and this area is not an area where the pentagon says there are in isil targets. one of the things the u.s. continues to do is question the credibility of the russian account of events when they say they are targeting isil, and also says that russia has been exaggerating greatly the effects of its air campaign on the battlefield. most notably, russia claimed they destroyed 500 fuel trucks. they think a tiny fraction of that was the actual knick de -- actually destroyed.
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>> jamie standing by. once again we are awaiting a press conference with president obama and francois hollande. this is the east room. any moment they will be coming out to speak with reporters, and when they do, we'll bring you those comments, but for right now we're going to take a break.
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once again you are looking live at the east room of the white house. just about any minute now, president obama and french president francois hollande are going to come out and address reporters. hollande arrives in town a little more than an hour ago. he is there to meet with the president concerning the ongoing crisis in paris. mike viqueira is inside that sea of reporters there.
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the president and french president are going to be talking. give us a head's up of anything that you have been told they might say. >> reporter: i think you will see francois hollande press the point for cohesion and unity in the fight against isil. of course part and parcel of that is some resolution over what has been happening in syria over the last five years. a bloody civil war that has cost the lives of a quarter of a million syrians. 2 million refugees now already in turkey, a million in lebanon and neighboring jordan yet more than that. francois hollande pressing for unity in the wake of the devastating attacks in paris. after he comes here to the white house -- he has already met with david cameron the prime of the u.k. was in france yesterday. later he heads to moscow to meet with vladimir putin. so much hope hanging over these
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meetings. so many disagreements over the best path forward. and now you throw in what has happened over the skies of turkey where aledgedly the russian war plane was shot down by turkish f-16s. >> mike, is there the sense that the president has the same sense of urgency that french president francois hollande has? after all the french are involved in the paris attacks, but the united states has been involved in this for over a year. >> yes, and many of the targets that the french are hitting are the result of intelligence supplied by the united states. the president has said this is a 65-member coalition that the united states is leading. the president having to adjust his policy several times and again, now calling for an intensification of the military
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process, in terms of the air campaign and working with coalition fighters. you heard jamie mcintyre report that there is a lot of concern and perhaps dis-dane about the way the russians have gone about their air campaign. much less precise and the bedrock disagreement that comes between the united states and its allies and russia, are the target of russia to begin with. so these are -- these sorts of issues that are on the table and these challenges that these two leaders face as well as later in the week when president hollande goes to meet with russian president vladimir putin. >> mike viqueira i'll let you take your seat. the president expected to come out and address reporters any moment now. with us in the studio is mike lions and professor edward
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barenson. and mike i'll begin with you. it is a thicky wicket. because now you have an emergency meeting of nato. what will nato do? >> first of all nato has got to tell turkey that we have got to take some time to think through what we're going to do as -- as an ally answer here, because the last thing we want is to have any kind of conflict on that border between russia and turkey there. so let's hope cooler heads will prevail and that the russians also won't respond with a military response against anti-aircraft-type batteries that exist on that border. >> but jamie mcintyre saying that this entire incursion from the russian standpoint took less than five seconds because the air space was so small. will the people of moscow be
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demanding some type of retaliation, and if vladimir putin does not respond, what does that say about him. >> yeah, this is also inexperienced russian pilots over land they are probably not familiar with, they haven't trained for, they are new at the game. so they continue to push the envelope. they do the technology to determine whether they are crossing that border or not. and you are right, i think it took five minutes in total. but it also tells me that turkey had standing orders to shoot down aircraft. in that says if it violated their territory they were going to go. we have been given the two-minute warning from the white house, so we'll keep all of our answers brief. it seems like a week nowadays is a lifetime in the history of the world. we were talking a week about solidarity behind the french.
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will the french president get anything he wants? >> i think he has probably gotten already what he is going to get, which is stepped up intelligence, cooperation, stepped up military coordination. i don't think he is going to get anymore than that. but the press conference is important, because the french people will see their president meeting with the american president, and showing that the two countries are allied. >> but he is saying that this is a war. and the american president has not said this is a war in the conventional sense that you will do whatever it takes to eliminate this threat. is the french president going to say he got window dressing but not necessarily the stuff inside the window? >> it's possible, but it's not
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clear to me that the french correspondents would expect the american president to do anything more than he has said he is going to do. and i think it will be enough that their president comes to the united states and makes a show of cooperation, and president hollande is going all over the rest of the world to russia, to germany. he is meeting with the chinese president, and the secretary general of the united nations, and i think that's what the french people are looking for. >> mike, is there a military solution to this problem? >> there always is a military pollution to these problems, it likely will have a lot of collateral damage. the russians haven't cared, but there is a military solution, clearly they could step it up. >> the president and french president will be coming in a second. what happens -- and let me ask the question this way, mike. all wars are graded until that
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first body arrives, and then the casualties will start to climb. how long will the american public tolerate another war in the middle east. >> first of all we have got to get congress involved. let's get everybody in the game when it comes -- >> congress is very involved. they are basically criticizing the white house. >> they are throwing beer from the bleacher. even a no-fly zone, that would take an authorization from congress. >> is there a sense the french understand how complication the situation is right now, with regard to all of the factions? you name it, it's there. >> the french public i don't think does understand how complicated it is. their military intelligence officials certainly do. but i think what the french public wants and what the french
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president wants to show is that they are doing something, doing something forceful, they are taking action, and they are not going to let these terrorist attacks go unanswered. >> how is what happened today with regards to moscow, professor, going to effect the ongoing situation involving the french and moscow? >> it's going to make that situation even more complicated. it is going to be maybe a little bit easier for the french to step up their cooperation with moscow if moscow can present itself and be perceived as the aggrieved party in this latest incident. so i think president hollande is threading a needle with russia. we wants more cooperation. he knows the united states isn't going to give very much cooperation. and he's going to have to hope that he'll get a little bit more wig room after this.
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>> mike viqueira i think we probably have about 20 seconds left. have you seen anything in your history of covering washington this much of a quagmire? >> reporter: well there's some tough competition there. certainly there is disagreement between the united states and some of its key allies, not to mention between the united states and russia. you were talking about the no-fly zone the proposal put forth repeatedly by the tush kiir president. but that has been a non-starter as far as president obama is concerned. you heard him say that it would simply become a target for more terrorist attacks. it would be almost impossible to administer and maintain security. it would require a substantial number of military personnel on the ground, presumably supplied by the turks, and the bedrock problem there is isil is not flying any planes, and this is
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supposed to be an international coalition against isil. obviously the turks have a different view. they think assad must go. they have directed much of their own air campaign not only against assads forces but against some of the historical enemies of turkey itself. and this is where it gets yet more complicated. the turks have historical 'em thatty with the kurds in. the united states is relying on the kurds to carry the fight in many respects against isil in syria and iraq. that makes the turks very concerned indeed. so you throw in all of these wrinkles -- as dignitaries file in behind me -- when you add in many of these wrinkles here, many of the rivalries that go back generations if not centuries, and then you try to get everybody on the same page, and again, who is going to
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represent the syrian opposition in this diplomatic push? who is going to agree to a ceasefire, when many of the sponsor countries in the region, like turkey and saudi arabia believe that many of the opposition forces against the assad regime are making headway. they don't want a ceasefire right now. but yet this is the first step that has been put forward by secretary kerry and many of the member nations that have been meeting in vienna. calling for a ceasefire between now and then. and a lot of people simply aren't going for that, and again, the bedrock question who is going to represent the opposition when those talks begin, talks on a resolution of syria begin again in earnest in early january of next year? so a whole host of issues on the table here. francois hollande obviously has its work cut out for him. i said that vladimir putin and francois hollande are going to be speaking on friday. it turns out that is going to be on thursday.
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and in the interim francois hollande on his tour of capitols. so a whirlwind tour for francois hollande. a full court press on the diplomatic front, unclear how far he is going to be getting. >> mike viqueira thank you very much. jamie mcintyre what is the end game? a year ago we were talking about the rescue of the -- yazidis, now we're talking about a russian plane being shot down over the skies of turkey. >> reporter: this whole incident has overshadowed what the pentagon feels is actually success on the ground. laying out how they believe that finally the campaign against isil is gaining traction both in iraq and syria. a couple of towns that were taken back from isil that helped cut off and seal the border.
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increased air strikes against the fuel tanks, the u.s. having destroyed more than 500 now, and they are beginning to see on the ground a degradation of isil's capabilities, including the -- the vehicle-born ied's have become much less effective. they estimate only 5% actually work. and that has been a very devastating weapon isil has used. so it's a long way from over, but they do believe that the slow, steady strategy is making some progress against isil, but all anybody wanted to talk about today -- at the briefing was what happened with this russian plane. so i think the pentagon is hoping that as this incident is reed -- resolved that people will take another look at the progress on the ground, slow progress in places like ramadi where the iraqi forces are
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encircling the city, and even in syria, where these u.s. trained forces and put them back in, they were kind of a laughing stock, well, they were part of these operations that retook cities in syria. so the focus has shifted to this international incident, so we'll have to see how that plays out. >> jamie thank you very much. the two-minute warning is stretching now into three and a half minutes. we're going to go to mike lyons right now. mike as i was hearing both gentlemen speak, i was thinking about the fact that say for instance the military option succeeds, and isil is gone, and then assad is gone. what fills the vacuum? because it was that vacuum that created isil. so after isil what happens next. >> perhaps maybe berlin after the second world war.
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they are going to have to carve out geographies that each of the higher nations, russia, unfortunately, possibly the united states, maybe france has control over. they should be thinking about that now, because there is limited resources in those places and those countries are going to want to have access to those resources. >> the european countries would have to vastly increase their military budgets. it's hard to see that happening, given the economic crisis that europe has been facing ever since 2008. >> so they want an eye for an eye, but they don't necessarily want to fill the tooth. >> yeah, or they don't have the gold to put in the tooth. >> so what happens to the vacuum? we're already sees shades of that vacuum in libya.
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people are saying libya is the next frontier where these lawless groups will go. and the same thing happened in afghanistan with al-qaeda. >> i think what mike just said is the kind of thing that has to happen. some sort of partition of syria, each partition, then to some extent being controlled by one of the great powers. >> assuming that run of the republican candidates wins the white house there is already pushback against accepting refugees. do you believe based on what you are hearing that there is any stomach for rebuilding the middle east. >> i think it depends on who it is. bring capitalism to that part of the world. >> but isn't that what rebuilding iraq was supposed to be. >> we never really tried to rebuild it. we didn't import capitalism, we
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were so focused on democracy. >> so is there the stomach and the will in the united states to even attempt to rebuild that particular region? or do you see america moving towards a more isolationist stand. >> i think it depends on the leader. that's what this is all about is leadership. making the case for u.s. involvement. why it's important. why if we are going to fight these people we fight them eight time zones from here and not in our own backyard. >> professor is history relating itself? >> it depends on, i guess which history you are talking about. historians like me tend not to believe that history repeats itself. there's always some variation, but i think that it's -- history is repeating itself to the extent that there is a solution only with international
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cooperation. i don't think the united states alone, russia aknown, the european countries alone, can impose any kind of solution. >> if i am french and i am awaking right now, and i'm thinking that the news -- the headlines coming out of the united states is going to be that the french president is meeting with the u.s. president, and instead i'm seeing these images of a russian plane being shot down over the skies of syria, am i thinking what does it take to capture the world's attention at least on a single solitary issue? because right now it doesn't appear to be the attacks in france just a week ago. >> right. we'll have to see how the press conference goes. i'm hoping and imagining it will swing back toward what happened in france ten days ago. i don't think the french people should or will despair about this. >> mike lyons you wanted to weigh in on that particular
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issue? >> you know, i think that leadership has got to come forward. figure out economically how this makes sense from a security perspective. donald trump wants to bomb the oil fields and import a greater military solution. those oil fields have to be rebuilt. >> the president is now coming into the east room of the white house. we will listen in. >> president hollande it has been an honor to welcome you to the white house before in happier times than this. but as americans, we stand by our friends in good times and in bad no matter what. so on behalf of the american people, i want to once again express our deepest condolences to you and all of the people of france for the heinous

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