tv CNN Newsroom CNN September 13, 2014 4:30pm-5:01pm PDT
that case, what are the consequences of this and how likely would it be that they're what they call collateral damage. in other words, the inadvertent killing of civilians or noncombatants or something like this. so there is going to be a lot of work that goes on in this, and it wouldn't surprise me if elements of this process aren't meeting already. >> i want to share also a little bit about david cameron. he was tweeting, british prime minister actually tweeting. he sent this out. the murder of david haynes is an act of pure evil. my heart goes out to his family who have shown extraordinary courage and fortitude. nic robertson, we know the family, his family had sent that message to isis. we are asking those holding david to make contact with us. they didn't hear anything back. but coming up tomorrow, i believe you said there is a very critical meeting that the british prime minister will hold. what do we expect from that? >> we will expect a very firm statement from david cameron. and he will no doubt couch this
in the terms that we have heard and his tweets tonight. but it will be more sophisticated. it will reflect what he hears from his security chiefs at that extraordinary cabinet meeting that he'll be having tomorrow morning. incidentally, we have just heard that david cameron is now back at number ten do you think street already. he changed his plans already and has gone back now and will no doubt be working on this already. we can certainly expect he will be beginning to set out his message to try to get that political backing he needs to take firmer action against isis. this -- and not only that, he's going to go into this knowing that another british citizen is very likely, the next in line to meet this fate. he knows he's going to go through this again in a few days time, as well. >> his actions are certainly going to be watched, because nic, we were talking earlier,
and the notion that scotland is looking to break away from britain, from the u.k., that has certainly been the prime minister's priority, if you will. this changes things, certainly, doesn't it? >> you know, it does. tomorrow morning and tonight, it's going to be about isis. but i do have to say, the scotland issue for prime minister david cameron is such a huge issue. the reality is that the vote is on a knife edge. it's too close to call. after 307 years, scotland could break away from the rest of britain. that would be something this prime minister or any prime minister would not want on their watch or going down in history that they were the one that was in power at the time. so this is a massive issue. but no doubt, the longer-term isis is -- it continues to be a threat for britain. his security chiefs, intelligence chiefs continue to tell him that isis is a threat for britain. and he has to deal with it.
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this is cnn breaking news. breaking news tonight. an isis video released today appears to show the terrorist group has executed another hostage, british aide worker, david haynes. the video entitled a message to the allies of america was posted to twitter today, and looks similar to previous videos we saw showing the beheadings of american journalist, james foley
and steven sotloff. the executioner, who sounds like the same man who appeared in these previous videos, directly threatens british prime minister david cameron. >> your evil allies of america which continues to strike the muslims of iraq and most recently bombed the hadifa dam will only accelerate your destruction and play in the role, cameron. it will only drag you and your people into another bloody and unwinnable war. >> haynes was helping to provide humanitarian relief in syria when he was abducted in march 2013. the 44-year-old is a long-time aide worker who has helped victims of conflict since 1999, according to a paris-based relief organization. joining me now, our panel, senior international correspondent, nic robertson, lieutenant colonel rick francona and let me ask about the
reaction in iraq to american troops and the announcement that about 475 more troops will be heading to iraq. and also the air strikes. what is the reaction there on the ground? >> reporter: well, the air strikes, randi, these are very welcome. even enemies of the united states here, shia militias that fought the u.s. military here are welcoming these air strikes. they have seen what advances this is -- what this has actually allowed them to do. they have been able to advance in those certain limited areas where these air strikes have been taking place. so they have seen the benefit of this and agree with this. when it comes to advisers and trainers and security for the embassy, this is approved by the iraqi government. they agree with this. iraqis do tell, say they need more. they're really concerned. they see their military as very vulnerable, especially after what we saw happen in june when the military pretty much crumbled in the face of that isis threat. now that same military when the
united states left here in 2011, the u.s. said it was leaving behind a capable and ready force, and obviously this was not the case. so they do realize now, and they are asking for more support when it comes to training, advising, equipping and arming these troops. the one thing all iraqis will tell you, officials and also shia militias, that fought the u.s. here for a long time say they do not want combat troops back in iraq. the one thing they don't want to see is another occupation again, and this is how they view it here, randi. >> colonel, you were shaking your head pretty dramatically there. >> this is a real problem. and i understand the sentiment of the iraqi people not wanting another force of occupation, but somebody has to deal with isis. and as she has said, the iraqi military right now is not capable of doing that. the military we left in 2011 might have been, but their training and advice from the u.s. stopped in 2011 and was allowed to at row fee over the
next three years. so right now there is not a force capable of doing this. the usair power is capable of making an impact and as well some of the iraqi special forces and security units and the peshmer peshmerga, they're able to blunt the offensive from isis. but they're not able to turn it back yet. we still keep seeing stale mates in the fighting around tikrit. neither side can gain the advantage. so it's going to take more than what we have right now. and more air strikes might be the key to that. but unfortunately, it may require an additional influx of american troops. >> let me bring in christopher dickey, former editor of the daily beast. we talked about what you call the president's red line here in the fight against isis. what do you expect that will be? >> well, randi, it's exactly what we said earlier in the week and exactly what the colonel was just talking about. where the president actually draws the line is against an occupation force. the united states, under his watch, is not going to occupy an
arab or muslim country or any other country again. that's what he understands to be a disastrous policy. that's what he was saying was a disastrous policy when he was talking about the iraq invasion in 2003 as a stupid war. so we may have more boots on the ground. that's kind of a -- that's a kind of fake issue, oddly enough. when is boots on the ground boots on the ground, if that's your measurement? is it when there is 400, is it when there is 1,600, is it when there is 10,000? the problem for obama is really when those boots on the ground are viewed as an occupation force. not an assistance or an aide force in fighting against an aggressor like isis. and i think that's a very clear distinction in his mind. and frankly, i think it's a very clear distinction in the minds of the american people. that's why air strikes are supported. you see that in the polls. ask the american people if they're ready to send another 100,000 people in iraq and syria
to occupy that territory, and i don't think you'll see much support for it. >> bob baer, what do you make of the reaction, you know, from the arab states in terms of -- you saw secretary of state john kerry -- i'm sorry, we don't have bob baer anymore. nic robertson, let me turn to you. in terms of recruiting efforts, you know, when you see a horrible video like this which now is the third one we have seen, does that inspire those who want to be radicalized and want to fight alongside isis? >> the anecdotal evidence we're getting here in britain from people involved in deradicalizing young men who want to go to syria and fight is affirmatively yes. in the past few weeks, they are saying that even more people are converting to islam, and joining the fight. or want to join the fight. or want to go to syria. so this is something that really stimulates them.
these are young men that are learning a radical version of islam, a completely incorrect version of islam. they're often learning online. they're learning in small groups. they're motivated for something different in their lives. and they see these videos, see these killings, and for them it stimulates them. and the real concern is, they will go and then they will come back. so you can imagine the sort of -- if you have hundreds going, and you don't know precisely when they're coming back. that takes a massive security effort for britain to stay on top of that. the same for france. the same for denmark. the same for belgium. all across -- all across europe, this is a big problem right now. several thousand foreign fighters are believed to have joined isis. >> and colonel, what about the land grab that isis has been a part of? they're rich, they have a lot of money. they have robbed banks. they have taken huge amounts of land. very different from al qaeda. >> yeah. but this could be a disadvantage
for them. because now they own this territory. they have to defend it. and any time you have got territory you have to defend, that's something we can attack. we have always talked in the past, how do you attack these terrorist groups, because you don't know where they are. they move very quickly and don't really have territory that you can bomb. isis has territory. they have got buildings. they have got command and control. they have a capital. they have set up a government. these are targets that we can go after. so in one side, it's good for them and it's bad for them. so i think this gives us an opportunity. if you look at the size of the area that they own there, somebody said it was the size of belgi belgium. this is a huge portion of territory, and of course, they don't recognize that border. and i think that we would be very prudent to not recognize that border either when we go after these targets. >> when you look at that map, colonel, does -- you look at those countries. what's -- who has the greatest hesitation in joining us, and joining the fight? >> well, you would think that we would have ready-made allies in
the saudis and jordanians, because they have also been directly threatened by isis. if you look at how far away they are, jordan and saudi arabia, and can sit back and watch what happens before they have to commit to the fight. and even if isis goes down further. they actually own the roads that go down to the jordanian border and saudi border. even if you incur into jordan or go into saudi arabia, you're still hundreds of miles from any population centers. so they feel relatively safe, because they've got geography on their side. the iraqis do not. of this is a real threat. if you look at the red swath there, that's basically the tigeress valley. that has to be reversed. we're going to roll this back slowly. but we can't do it sequentially. >> let me bring in adam schiff from california. representative, thank you for joining us. first let me get your reaction
to what this terrible news we're reporting tonight, the beheading of david haynes. >> well, i think people around the world, myself included, are just appalled at this latest act of savagery. here was someone who was there to provide aid and assistance to refugees and they have such little regard for human life, they're going to execute someone providing that kind of assistance. it just is medieval and barbarity. >> and at this point, what do you expect the administration will do and what do you think they should be doing? >> well, i think the president laid out a pretty good strategy that the secretary of state now is trying to assemble and strengthen the coalition to implement. that won't be changed principally by this, although it may certainly motivate some of our coalition partners, the more they see this is a threat not just to the united states, but to nations around the world. so it will have the effect of stealing the -- steeling the resolve of many of our coalition
partners. frankly, there have been so many thousands of victims of isil over the last couple of years. these are just the most blatant reminders to the west that we're not immune from this kind of violence. >> what do you make of the criticism of the administration and that they missed the boat on isis, and didn't respond and didn't understand how quickly this terror group was growing? >> i think the administration certainly understood that this was a growing threat in iraq. i don't think any of us predicted that the iraqi military would melt away as fast as it did. we were aware there were problems within it. we certainly were aware of the increasing degree to which nouri al maliki was governing in a sectarian way and sewing the seeds. i think that took us by surprise. i don't think we can lay that at the feet of the intelligence community, though. they gave us some of the warning signs. it's a bit like trying to predict an earthquake.
you can see pressure building up on the fault lines, but knowing when it's going to materialize, how quickly it can disintegrate, those things are very hard to predict, and our intelligence agencies, as good as they are, don't have a crystal ball any better than the rest of us. >> when you see a group so filled with hate who would do something like this now three times, not to mention all of the others that we haven't seen that they have executed in mass executions throughout the region, what should we be concerned about in terms of what we know? i mean, is our intelligence good in terms of what we know on isis and the threat to the u.s.? >> it shows how barbaric they are and there is no negotiating with someone who is going to excused journalists and aide workers. they're just going to have to be, as the president said, degraded and ultimately defeated. what i think americans should know is a couple things. probably the principle threat to americans who are not in the region, not in the theater, is
that many of these europeans who are flocking to syria and iraq right now to join the fight are going to try to come home one day, and attack us on the homeland. and the additional threat which is a nonisil related threat is we have a very potent al qaeda branch that is working on trying to smuggle explosives on to our plane, on to our aircraft. and that's something we can't lose sight of either. even though al qaeda in places like yemen have been eclipsed in terms of publicity and recruitment by isil, they are probably the more immediate threat to our homeland than isil is at this point. >> let me go back to nic robertson, who is in london for us. nic, we were talking about the threat to the united states. what is the threat there in britain in terms of intelligence? are they comfortable with what they know about isis? >> no. they want to know more. and i think our guest here makes a very, very strong point. and we're talking about yemen there, where there's a man
called ibrahim al asiri, al al qaeda's top bomb maker, dedicated to >> to put the bombs on flights into the united states. now, this is a part of al-qaida that is -- specializes and tries to target the west. now, what we have seen in recent days is that this group in yemen, al-qaida in the arabian peninsula, says that they support the founding of the islamic state, isis. that they support this organization. there is nobility between these groups. and if you team up, isis's network in europe and, potentially, in the united states with the bomb maker and with this group in yemen that now gives them support. this is what we see al-qaida increasingly doing.
able to move a little more around the world or at least move information and move individuals. that, itself, poses a very potent threat. you have the other countries from europe and joining the fight. the danger is they may come back teamed up with a level of expertise that has come from an al-qaida group in yemen that supports the islamic state, isis. >> jim, you were listening to the conversation, i believe, that i was just having with representative adam shift, the intelligence committee. did you have a thought only that or a question you wanted to ask the representative? >> i would like to ask rep zen tich representative shiff where --
>> i'm happy to continue this conversation, but i want to bring in the general. thank you so much for your time. what can you tell us, if anything, about the options now that britain has on the table in terms of dealing with this latest news and greatest threat as it seems to be growing? general, can you hear me? all right, we seem to have lost him. jim shooter, you're still with us. was that answer satisfactory to
you? and any other thoughts? >> i think that one of the challenges here is figuring out exactly how imminent the threat is to the u.s. homeland. there's been a walking back of the urgency in recent weeks where you hear u.s. official, including the president, that it couldn't develop today. that for the sake of americans, they'll understand what the urgency is. how concerned should they be that isis -- and there's a number of ways that can attack the u.s. what do they do when they return home? they could easily, would you tell us a visa, travel from here to europe and back and potentially carry something out. you also have other recruits via the internet and elsewhere.
these are all potential things. but those are real possibilities. i think one question that has to be clarified from the administration, just for the sake of americans piece of mind and understanding of the urgency and the need for military action. exactly how imminent this s that threat? >> we keep hearing that there's no credible evidence, an imminent threat to the united states. we were talking early and they
tell me there's a lot of chatter, but nothing we can put our hands on. this is almost reminiscent of pre-9/11. you know there's an earthquake coming, but you don't know when. >> right. absolutely. listen, we're going to keep our panel here with us. certainly an interesting conversation covering this tragic news. we will continue the conversation after a quick break.
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the mill tant group, isis has done it again. the victim this time is a british aid worker named david haines, 44 years old. haines is the third isis captive whose beheading was recorded and the video posted on the internet. both haines and his killer spoke on camera. the mass execution with a video showing another man, believe today be british citizen allen milick. the british government has reacted. the prime minister put this