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tv   Third Rail  Al Jazeera  December 18, 2015 3:00pm-3:31pm EST

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jamie same question for you takeaways. >> well, you know, i think when you heard president obama say that he is going to hand i.s.i.l. a lasting defeat he also essentially acknowledged the weakst part of the strategy and reliance of other forces on the ground, not u.s. forces to really carry out the dirty dangerous fighting that has to be done to defeat i.s.i.l. and sometimes the united states is going to have to work with forces that are spotty i think is the term he used and that is a real challenge. you know, when you talk about the special operations forces that are operating in syria a lot of people think what could 50 or less fewer the special operations forces actually accomplish battling i.s.i.l. in syria and what people don't understand is the main mission the forces have is trying to find the local forces on the ground that are worth supporting and worth working with and as they said at the pentagon they
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needed to get some special operators on the ground to look the commanders in the eye and find out which ones are effected and which ones are it. >> that has been the problem from the beginning if it's the free syrian army, whoever the moderate opposition is supposed to be and what you are describing has been a problem from the very beginning. [switching captioners]
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and as the president was speaking there court any we received breaking news on what you have been reporting on throughout the day. >> tony secretary of state john kerry just left the building while president obama was talking to go and the five veto powers at the u.n. security council agreed to a resolution that they are going to put through today to start peace talks in syria in january. now russia is at the table and iran and saudis at the table and also happening today was a list that was submitted and the jordan's had the list of who is on the so called terrorism list and who is off. as jamie talked about i.s.i.l. and what is happening on the ground you have people here who coalition forces and russia that is launching air strikes over syria agreeing to start with they will hoping will become a national ceasefire in syria among their forces. very tricky battlefield geometry
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tony and what is happening here today is death diplomacy and see if there is actual movement in january. >> appreciate it and get to doug right now and doug let me start with takeaways from this news conference for you and then let's talk about libya for a bit, all right? >> sure, if i were to give this conference a title i would have called it the slow and steady wins the race conference, whether it was the economy, the things i put in place earlier are now coming into effect, aca we fought early and it's now coming into effect and climate change and made early investments there and coming around and he didn't specifically make connect the dots for us but i think we are supposed to take away trust me on the i.s.i.l. thing we have the right pieces in place and give it time to work through. >> the comment from the president talking about libya, we will figure out the context for it and revisit it in a moment and let me play the sound bite on libya and how the
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international community kind of failed in the eyes and then a chapter seven resolution that brought about leadership change there in libya. let's play it and let's talk about it. >> the united states has some accountability for not moving swiftly enough and under estimating the need to re buibu government there quickly and as a consequence you now have a very bad situation. >> doug talk to me about today's libya, when you look at libya and you assess it right now from your position in the work you have done. >> right. >> what does libya look like to you today? >> well, the facts on the ground today are libya's ungoverned space in the country. the good news is we have seen some diplomatic developments in the last week or so between tw
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two competing sides putting aside some differences and getting some type of unity government back together and there are some rays of hope coming forward but if you are on the ground in libya today it's a pretty life there is nasty. >> when you talk about ungovernable spaces are you talking about the desert area in the south of the country or talking about some of the larger urban areas and talking about benghazi and tripoli. >> right now those are largely ungoverned except by small malitia and groups that live there, there is no national government in libya right now. that is something that needs to get fixed so that we have a partner in libya so we can apply the iraq model in libya. right now to fight i.s.i.l. in libya we do the syria model without a partner on the ground to work with and it's not working and we need iraq model with someone on the ground we can work with. >> we will take a break and come
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back with much more coverage here and back in a moment, this is al jazeera america. ♪
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digital, mobile, social. visit aljazeera.com. follow @ajam on twitter. and like aljazeera america on facebook for more stories, more access, more conversations. so you don't just stay on top of the news, go deeper and get more perspectives on every issue. al jazeera america. >> "inside story" takes you beyond the headlines, beyond the quick cuts, beyond the soundbites. we're giving you a deeper dive into the stories that are making our world what it is. it is very difficult for us to detect lone wolf plots or plots involving a husband and wife in this case because despite the incredible vigilance and professionalism of all of our
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law enforcement and homeland security, et cetera, it's not that different from us trying to detect the next mass shooter. you don't always see it. they are not always communicating publically and if you are not catching what they say publically then it becomes a challenge. >> the president there obviously referring to the attack in san bernardino county in the deaths of 14 people there, at the hands of this couple that was responsible for that. i want to get to san bernardino in a minute with melissa but let jamie and mike know there was a lot in the sound bite we will be taking up with them but let's get to melissa chan and the president will be there shortly and it looks like a bit of a memorial behind you. >> yes, tony. this is a makeshift memorial that was set up shortly after the attacks more than two weeks ago and since our time two weeks ago it has really grown and it's at an intersection, makeshift
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and as close as people could get when police quartered off the center, the site of the attack and have to say this community is still of course recovering. they are still in a little bit of shock. you have to keep in mind that this is a suburban southern california off the grid, the unlikelyist place that an incident would take place and suddenly the community is finding themselves in international headlines and on the narrative on global terrorism tony. >> i wonder do you have any itinerary, a plan, what the plan is going forward for the president when he gets there? >> the president is arriving later tonight local time around 8:00 p.m. on the west coast. he is not expected to speak publically to the community. it is a private meeting just with the 14 families affected. and we actually our team came out the day before on thursday to talk to people in san bernardino and get a sense of whether they felt that it was a good thing that the president was coming through town.
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politically to describe san bernardino a bit, this is what i would call a purple town and it's more conservative than what you would imagine california to be. there are gun owners but the general sense from the people we spoke to was that they did welcome the fact that the president is coming. now this morning our team also had the opportunity to talk to the county republican party and they did criticize obama not too much of a surprise and did say they hoped that the president would have arrived earlier but of course had he arrived earlier maybe there were critics that would have said he is politicizing the issue. >> too soon and would have heard that in san bernardino and get to mike who is just outside the white house for us and mike a couple things i want to take up with you the president heading to san bernardino and you covered him as he has done this kind of trip in the past and this is the role of i don't know if i like saying it this way but this is the role of the president as kind of comforter and chief, isn't it? >> and yet this is going to be a private visit as melissa chan
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was saying and modelled after yet another mass killing, mass murder in roseburg, oregon at the community college there. the president will not be allowing cameras in. the white house staff will not allow the public to see the president interaction with the families of some of these victims and some of the wounded themselves. this is going to be private and it's going to be relatively short. the confluence of major issues here the president is dealing with of course we just heard that sound bite on social media communications and recruitment by groups such as i.s.i.l., also the issue of gun control and of course and gun safety and the president preparing we are told to some sort of executive action on guns. you recall that after the roseburg, oregon shooting the president was a visceral lacerating statement in the same briefing room we saw him today talking about the need for guns. on the issue of social media and you heard the sound bite of the president and in the context of
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the visa review the president said he wants to review the process for the k1 visa, the so called fiancee visa and some confusion about that aren't the president alluded to this mostly stemming from a "new york times" article on sunday that said the female part of this couple had posted some incendiary remarks on social media that turned out not to be the case by the f.b.i. director james comey and she did not post them on social media and earlier in the week there was controversy over whether or not the messages were reviewed when reviewing the applicants for visa waivers and k1 visas and other kinds of documents to enter into this country, the president assuring everyone that those kinds of posts in social media is actually reviewed so something of a controversy there and another controversy just very quickly tony when you talk about social media and law enforcement, this is a reoccurring theme from james
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comey and f.b.i. they want a backdoor in encryption technology for a lot of social media, it's something that is a controversial issue between libertarians and the president mentioned it today and the government wants to enter into an agreement whether it's voluntary or otherwise to have better eyes on social media, better eyes on many of these private communications so they can better protect the public, a fight that is unwinding and unfolding over the course of the next several days. >> you tee'd up another sound bite from the president, i'm going to play it for you and let you wrap it so roll that sound bite. >> the issue of reviewing social media for those who are obtaining visas i think may have gotten garbled and no government will be able to read every single person's text or e-mails or social media. if it's not posted publically then they are going to be
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feasibility issues that are probably insurmountable at some level and it raises questions about our values. >> about our values. echoing the same argument that we have heard increasingly since the advent of the patriot act 14 years ago, accelerating in the revelations following edward snowden affair and balance of privacy and public security shows no signs of abating. >> that was terrific and mike thank you and let's get to the jamie mcintyre right now and jamie again your thoughts on what the president was saying, there was a lot of conversation, we thought that there would be, about i.s.i.l. and going into the news conference you suggested that there was some off the record conversation about why the president was not in favor in his top military brass was not recommending boots on the ground, it didn't make it into his public comments today
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but maybe you can share with us again what we are learning about the calculation here, what the top brass there at the pentagon is recommending and suggesting and having conversations with the president about in terms of troops and ground forces and whether that is the way to go forward. >> well, there is two main lines of thinking that the president is pursuing in being persistently resistant to the idea of committing significant u.s. ground forces and one the president spoke about publically i believe when he was overseas speaking perhaps when he was giving a speech at the fill philippines and lost track of which one if the united states put significant forces on the ground in iraq and syria and say cleared out rock ka and mosul it would end up essentially having to govern those areas for some period of time just as it did after the 2003 iraq invasion and that that would also provide a
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framework and a demand to do it in other places such as in yemen or perhaps in libya where there is also unrest and that is not a model the president wanted to follow. but apparently what he shared with some of these opinion come up columns privately is he had been provided with some estimates from the pentagon about what the level of u.s. casualties might be and that kind of a conflict and of course we don't have to speculate too much about it because we can simply look back during the time that the united states was involved deeply in iraq and 2004, 2005, 2006 during the surge and taking fallujah back during the battle with the marines there to see what kind of casualty rates the u.s. was suffering even when it had secured the area and simply battling an insurgency as sort of asymmetrical war far and the president has done a cost been fit analysis and decided that level of involvement is not
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worth it because he believes that just as the united states left iraq and things started to go the wrong direction that they simply would be in the same callus again and if they cleared out mosul or cleared out rock ka without having an adequate force there of local fighters and local people behind they would simply slide back into it and wouldn't produce the lasting piece or as secretary carter keel keeps saying a defeat that would stick in the areas and that is the thinking and didn't get into a lot of that. >> jamie, look, we are going to take a break here but when we come back i'm going to come to you and doug and courtney and mike and talk about the president's comments about guantanamo bay and closing guantanamo bay and this is for jamie and mike does the president have the authority through executive action to close guantanamo bay and let's
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take a break first and come back for more of the coverage, this is al jazeera america. ♪
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♪ the president just wrapped up his year end news conference and heading out to san bernardino to meet with the families of the victims of the attack in san bernardino and 14 killed and it's off for the holidays, the holiday vacation with his family in hawaii. before we went to break we suggested we wanted to take up the issue of guantanamo bay and the prison there in guantanamo bay cuba and let's start with mike on this and like look the
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question that i posed was the question posed in the news conference whether or not the president has the authority through executive action to close the prison there at guantanamo bay. >> well right and that is something in the terms of the white house officials that is being scrubbed right now. let's review a little of the history, the president on the day or day after he was inaugurated for the first time back in 2009 signed the executive order, dictating that guantanamo bay would be closed. we know the history since then. republicans have barred through legislation the president from transferring any prisoners from guantanamo bay into the united states and hindered his ability to transfer them elsewhere and found ways around that. al jazeera reporting yesterday there are now 17 individuals of the 107 that remain in guantanamo that have been cleared for transfer to other countries. this has been an ongoing process over the course of the last several months.
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there is some discussion now principally from a former white house council greg craig who also appeared on al jazeera who say that the president has the sole power to execute and conduct war and guantanamo bay is falls firmly and clearly under that authority and the president can close guantanamo bay without legislation or otherwise of congress. that is where this discussion starts right now. that is where the discussion stands right now. >> okay let me get to jamie on this and maybe back to you on this and your thoughts on this mike and i have something for courtney as well and jamie what i hear the president saying in the news conference and maybe there has been some input from the pentagon on this that the president wants to make a kind of a financial argument and wants to reduce the numbers to the extent he can and transfer as many of the detainees to other countries as possible and then he wants to make a data driven and financial argument
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that it just doesn't make sense and cost of millions and millions of dollars to house at that prison camp at guantanamo bay 50 or 60 prisoners and did i hear that correctly? >> yeah, and here is the problem with that argument by the way so the president had the pentagon go out to do all the sight surveys of prisons around the country and settled on one in colorado maximum security prison and said mr. president if you want to move people that is the best place and by the way this is what it could cost and looked at the price tag and said wait a minute we are trying to make the argument this is cheaper, this is pretty expensive because we have to build new courtrooms and other facilities for the people there and basically sent that plan back to the pentagon. the short answer a strong constitution argument can be made that the president could unilaterally close guantanamo and the president is very reluctant to do it and in the end he could throw up his hands
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and say i'll do it i'm out of office and go to the courts and the court battle will go long after he is gone and the next'would have to worry about it. >> i want to hear from doug as well and talk and the president said this is a recruiting tool for al-qaeda and for i.s.i.s., is he correct on that? >> he is. on the other hand i'm not sure shutting it down is going to do that much good. the damage is done, orange jump suits are going to be the uniform of captured prisoners on the part of i.s.i.l. for a long time now. that said even if most of the damage is done you still want to stop things. the president believes that is the case and he wants to close this. >> yeah, got you. do you know what let's do this because we are coming close to the bottom of the hour and i want to make sure i get final thoughts from all of our contributors on the year end news conference and the plan moving forward and mike i want to start with you, the president did talk about the economy and
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improvements in the economy but it did sound as though it's going to be kind of a difficult legislative year moving forward. if for now other reason and talking about an election year. >> well one thing he may work with congress both republicans and democrats and you heard the president allude to this at the top of his agenda certainly is the passage of that big trade bill the ratification in the senate trans pacific partnership but other than that it's going to be all guns and gitmo and talking about the president considering executive action on gun safety and gun control echoing or mirroring what he did with immigration and on emissions coal fired power plant emissions and incensed republicans who have fought him in the courts with some success so far. so these are the major issues looking forward over the next several months. >> courtney quickly to you the significance of what is happening at the united nations right now. >> well tony my final thoughts are basically as obama was wrapping up the year and looking
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at a macro view of everything we are still going through details on this incredible diplomatic push towards some kind of peace negotiation to start at the beginning of the year. while john kerry was racing through the streets to get to u.n. security council obama was making comments about assad and we know what was going on here at the hotel was that sergei fedorov was talking to john kerry exactly about the wording of the resolution and issues like whether assad will go and when >> yes courtney appreciate it and doug final thoughts from you please. >> look the president has laid out his agenda and knows what he wants to do. on the other hand events happen. you know the president is very clear, this president would prefer not to be dealing with i.s.i.l. and iraq and wish there was no i.s.i.l. but in particular this president is not very happy to be talking about events in the middle east. that is not a region he wanted to pivot away from. >> jamie and doug appreciate it and jamie mcintyre easing of sequestration in the new budget
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that the president has signed, that would be greeted with maybe small applause at the pentagon? >> they are feeling some relief from the budget but i tell you what the pentagon would really like to see in the new year would like to see iraqi forces retack ramadi with u.s. help and finally show the iraqi government and iraqi forces had a significant victory on the battlefield is what the pentagon is looking for next. >> terrific and thanks for all reporters with helping with the coverage and at the white house and pentagon and courtney outside the u.n. and doug al jazeera's national security contributor and have much more on that tonight at 7:00 eastern time on al jazeera america. of arms to taiwan from the united states, is a reminder that this relationship is both fractious and complicated. >> ban ki-moons that warned that they are on the brink of civil war that risks engulfing the entire region.
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meanwhile they have convened a special session to discuss the on going violence, the turmoil began in april when the president sought a third term in office which he went on to win. >> human rights violations have continued to escalate, and there is a growing alarming risk of regionalization of this crisis.
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>> welcome to 101 east, i'm steve chao. after giving birth in china, many new mothers and their babies spend weeks behind closed doors in an age old tradition known as confinement. strict rules govern this sensitive time. but in modern china, confinement has become big business, and families are willing to spend thousands of dollars t

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