prison up until 2012. he was released shortly after u.s. forces were pulled out in 2011, do you see this as a cautionary tail for releasing these prisoners who are already caught and captured? >> no, the -- the -- a number of the leaders of isil were in detention in iraq back in former years -- >> you are watching al jazeera. you are with the news hour here. the news conference coming to you live you can see it there. ash carter the u.s. defense secretary is taking us through the latest developments in the fight against isil. it is the second time they have eliminated a key member of the cabinet of isil. mr. carter saying it makes it more difficult for isil to travel between raqqa and mosul. he says in syria and iraq, we are seeing the shaping of the fight yet to come. he was basically saying -- flanked there by the joint chiefs of staff -- they
have targeted the main isil person responsible for recruiting new isil fighters as well. we'll go back to this news conference and get a real sense of what they feel they have achieved. >> we're not reluctant jennifer. what we track is the number that are in our force management level. that's 3800. but this is nothing inconsistent with what has been going on for 15 years. those have not been counted -- in other words there is a consistency that have has going on for the last 15 years. when units rotate, for example, we don't double count those numbers. so if a unit of 200 is being replaced by a unit of 200, we
don't count those as 400. we're not denying there are more than 3800. but in terms with the number we count, the 3800 was what is in the mission. i didn't say 5,000 was accurate. i said 3800 and some number above that on any given day as a result of people in other categories. >> jim? >> reporter: i would like to follow up on the questions about the marines and that fire base. unlike the previous u.s. military combat positions and fire support, this is an independent base. these are u.s. military only. and by all indications, they are not just defensive, but in this latest movement by iraqi forces, they provided fire support for offensive operations against
isis. so why is this not the first footprint of a u.s. combat ground operation there in iraq? >> jim, the reason they are in different base is simply a design of geometry. so this position was selected because of the geometry necessary to support that particular location. with regard to providing support to iraqi offensive capability. once again there is no inconsistency between what this unit did and what our aviation support does every day. we said we are providing support to iraqi forces as they conduct operations, which is exactly what this unit was doing. >> reporter: but we have all indications that this is a pretty permanent position right now, that after a short period of time, u.s. army personnel are
going to replace the marines there, and it still has all indications that the u.s. military is directly involved in the ground operations with the u.s. -- with the iraqi -- >> let me quickly add. even since last week now as the iraqis have started to consolidate their positions, the situation on the ground has changed in terms of where the iraqis are in the sense of the support they are providing. so that has changed through the course of the week. but in all honesty i do not see this being inconsistent with what we have been doing in the past months. >> and what we will be doing in the coming months. this is our approach to eliminating isil from mosul. the iraqi security forces are the ones who are carrying out the assault. but we're helping them. that's our -- been our approach,
and we'll continue to do that. started in ramadi. and we'll continue going up to mosul. >> reporter: -- more ground forces closer to the front lines as the battle towards mosul -- >> jim, one thing i probably need to clarify. this position is behind what is known as the line of troops for the peshmerga. so it's not out in front on its own. and secondly what i would say about your question about the future is we have a series of recommendations that we're be discussing with the president in the coming weeks. the secretary and i both believe there will be an increase to the u.s. forces in iraq in the coming weeks, but that decision has not been made. you alluded to decisions about army units replacing marine units. that is all pre-decisional.
but it will be decided in the broader issue that we'll bring to the president. karla? >> reporter: secretary, back on the [ inaudible ] did you -- will you say it was in syria and whether or not this was a u.s. raid or if it was a drone strike or a manned aircraft? >> i'm not going to say where and how it was done, karla. i'm simply not going to do that. it's -- but it's -- the only thing i will say is it is consistent with our strategy there, which is to put pressure on isil every way we can from the leadership right down to supporting local forces on the ground, and with respect to operations in iraq, it -- i want to make clear and reiterate that
everything we do is with the consultation and approval of the iraqi government. barbara. >> reporter: can i ask you the same about abu, you said he was targeted. can we assume that that was an air strike. >> again, i'm not going to talk about how these guys -- you know we have a number of ways we can do that, and i'm going to ask for your forbearance there, we're going to be disciplined about that. barbara. >> reporter: mr. -- >> i don't think he wants to add anything to that, but if he does, he can. >> reporter: you had today to congress that the europeans need to step up their intelligence sharing. i know several people who were start of the brussels attack had been on our terror watch list. are we increasing our sharing of our intelligence? did we share all of that information with the belgiums. >> i was speaking broader when i spoke to congress. intelligence agencies, military
capabilities, law enforcement and so forth. from military-to-military perspective, we have significantly increased our information intelligence sharing over the last few months. i mean, we think that over 100 countries have foreign fighters in syria and iraq. you have seen the numbers that exceed 30, 35,000, i wouldn't put a high degree of confidence in those numbers, but that gives you an order of magnitude in what we're dealing with. unless all of these countries are cooperating at the lawin' forcement level, the intelligence community level, and the military level, we are not going to be able to have the kind of sight picture as i describe it, necessary to take action against these individuals prior to the attacks like we saw in brussels last week. >> and getting back to the fight in syria and iraq, i should also mention that a number of our european partners to include
belgium in the last month and a half after i had counter isil min steeral in brussels. chairman had his conference have increased their contributions and the belgians did that too. in the right in iraq and syria, i want to note that the belgians have intensified their role in view of what happened in brussels that is worth noting. barbara. >> reporter: mr. secretary in light of brussels and the attacks that happened in paris, if you look at the death of this person and other isis leaders in syria, can you tie some of this together for us? do you see these cells in europe being directed from isis leadership? for example do you think this man -- because you said he had some external affairs plotting
involvement. was he involved in the paris or brussels cells? are there operatives in syria training them how to make bombs? what are the links you are seeing between isis in syria and these cells emerging -- >> i can't confirm that this individual had anything to do with the brussels attacks specifically, but the general phenomenon you are describing is correct, and it's -- and the kinds of influence are various. they range from fighters who have trained in and participated in isil operations in iraq and syria returning to their country's of origin, and that's where these many foreign fighters that the chairman was talking about are concerning to us. right through ones who are recruited and trained by such individuals, but have not themselves been in iraq and syria or been in contact with
isil forces directly. right back through those who are simply inspired by, maybe get some sort of general instructions, from isil, but are otherwise self-motivated and radicalized. so there is an entire spectrum here. >> reporter: yet we see the link between the paris -- >> oh, and one other thing i should say there is no question this individual and other individuals whom we have eliminated have been part of the apparatus of isil to recruit and to motivate foreign fighters, both to return from iraq and syria to countries in europe and elsewhere, and also simply by using the internet and other communications to do so. no question these leaders did that. >> reporter: so people like the leaders that you see in the paris and brussels cells, what is your assessment? do you think this cell that has
emerged in europe -- do you think -- and several of them have gone to syria by all accounts. do you think they are being directed by isis leadership? or is that even a relevant question to asked? is being inspired by them enough for them to have the expertise, equipment, technology, weapons to carry out -- >> it's a relevant question, because if they are directed, we want to get at the people, and that's what we are doing, and eliminate the people who are directing them. but even if it's just inspire ration, it still takes you back to iraq and syria, and the need to eliminate the sources of that inspiration. the idea that there can be an islamic state based on this ideology. we're going to eliminate that image, and that's an important part of eliminating the inspiration even if it's not direction, but the answer to your question is there's both direction and inspiration and
various shades in between, and we need to combat them all. >> reporter: [ inaudible ]? >> well, i can't speak for the brussels and paris cells. that's a law enforce matter. and my impression is it is a mixture of some who were inspired -- either by the internet or by a friend or associate or family member, who himself did travel to iraq and syria. i think you see that mix in what we already know of the cells involved in paris and brussels. but i'm not going to presume that i know everything the french and belgian law enforcement know. that's their business. >> one last question. >> reporter: mr. secretary you mentioned -- it seems for months now the progress against isil has been frustratingly slow. you mentioned that the momentum is now clearly on your side. are we at a point where -- is this a turning point?
are we seeing signs that isil is beginning to crack? are they offering less resist importanceance? >> we're certainly gathering momentum. and that momentum is having an effect. and we're broadening both the weight and the nature of our attacks on isil. we have learned a great deal, and we continue to learn about who is who in isil so we can kill them. about how they get their finances, so we can dry that up. and the forces that we're working with on the ground in both iraq and syria continue to gather strength because our strategic approach for the retaking of territory is to help local forces to do so. and you see both in iraq, the iraqi security forces first with ramadi, now with other towns up
the euphrates valley and with the invel .ment of most sul, and you see it in syria in the taking of the key connection between raqqa and mosul. and the idea there is to bisect -- dissect the parent tumor of isil into its syrian side and iraqi side, so in all of these ways, we're -- we're gathering momentum, broadening both the nature of the tools we're using, and the pure weight we're bringing. and the same is true of our partners as well. >> ash carter the u.s. defense secretary there in the company of the chairman of the joint chiefs, taking us through what they believed they have
achieved. he was also basically taking us through what they think they have achieved as of the past 24 hours. connect very, very explicitly with a web of people that bring together such as the second in command of isil, and the events in brussels. he said it may only be as simple as inspiration, however, the man you are now looking at is part of the apparatus of recruiting the people who carry out the kind of appalling events such as we have seen in brussels on tuesday when so many people lost their lives and so many more people were critically injured. the back story to this today is that palmyra is close-ish, we understand, to falling back into the hands of the damascus government. and mosul is very much close -- is quite close to going back to being controlled by
iraqi forces. the key thing about mosul in iraq, that was august 7th, 2014, when peshmerga fighters lost the fight against isil. isil did what isil was capable of doing then, because according to mr. carter today they are not as capable of doing that right now. they went away, regrouped and then took the dam at mosul. if you are just joining us, let's have a recap of what mr. carter has been saying. >> we have systemically eliminating isil's cabinet. indeed the u.s. military killed several key isil terrorists this week, including we believe, hoji imon, who was serving as a finance minister s who is responsible for external and
internal plots. he was in al-qaeda in iraq. the removal of this isil leader will hamper the organization's ability to conduct operations both inside and outside of iraq and syria. this is the second senior isil leader we have successfully targeted this month. after confirming the death of isil's so-called minister of war a short time ago. >> live now to washington and my colleague allen fisher following that news conference for him. they are calling him the second in command. how significant was he? >> reporter: i think we have to be clear here. ash carter stopped short of calling him isil's number 2. he said he was a senior figure in the cabinet and the finance minister, so he is a significant figure. but we have to add a note of
caution by saying that ash carter say we believe we have killed him. that is because back in may 2015 the iraqis said they killed him in an air strike then. so you would think that the u.s. have been concrete information to be so bold in that assertion. clearly the americans believe this is a significant blow to isil. they believe they are continuing to take out the top levels of command of isil, that they are reducing their capability to operate, particularly in this case in areas of finance, which would deal with recruitment and paying for operations, not just in syria and iraq, but also further afield, and so they see this, if it is confirmed, as a significant blow against isil in iraq and syria. >> but the symbolism is huge as well. i mean, they are in effect saying we are now degrading
their abilities, if only their ability to move people around the country. >> indeed. and they are also suggesting that when it comes to the leadership of isil that they are removing a senior figure in the isil leadership on average once every three days. they insist they have momentum, that they are moving towards perhaps retaking mosul. you heard him say there is the possibility that there will be more troops on the ground in iraq. that decision has to be made by the president, but it is clear that the pentagon is going to offer that as tactic to be used to support iraqi forces when they begin the operation in and around mosul, which we expect to happen in the very near future. they believe the momentum is with them. ash carter mentioned that on a number of occasions. they believe what they are doing is having significant impact on isil and their ability to operate. their ability to move freely
around iraq and syria, and so they think that this is a significant operation that has been carried out, and a significant victory for them. >> and also alan on what happens as a consequence of this, if we can believe it in terms of what goes on inside iraq and inside syria. this kind of eradicates part of the isil dna, because they both very strongly made that point during this news conference that this individual was at the heart of isil. and he went back a long way through the history of isil. >> reporter: the drawing a direct line from raqqa and all that goes on there in the so-called isil capitol to what is happening in paris and brussels. they are not saying that the people that they are targeting are directly involved, but they are saying as long as this mythology is allowed to
developed, people will be drawn to that. and they also say as long as they are restricting the operations, then these operations in belgium and france cannot do that, they cannot be involved in recruiting foreign fighters and sending them back. so they believe every step they take, particularly targeting senior figures, that that is a victory, and makes europe safer and the united states safer too. >> alan thank versus much. let's take you back now to belgium. a police operation in brussels has just come to an end with one person being arrested. our correspondent dominic kane has been following developments there in that suberb. dominic get us up to date. what happened today? >> reporter: well peter what we
understand is that there was a police operation here in which a man was neutralized to quote the authorities. what happened is that a man carrying a sack, wearing a jacket, emerged from one of the buildings behind me, and was apprehended by police who called upon him to take off his sack and jacket. it is reported he refused to do that, and when that refusal happened, the police neutralized him by app renly shooting him in the legs. as you can see behind me the shattered glass from the tram stop. this is a residential area here, peter. and there are business properties here as well. and there are very many people on the streets all shocked that something like this could have happened in their area. and it's forth pointing out as we know the belgian authorities
has reduced the threat level and yet this has happened here today. >> why did they go to that particular area, dom? was it a tip-off? >> reporter: there are reports that this was somebody that the police were tracking, a person of interest to the authorities. there is ambiguity about the identity of the person involved in this operation. but it has been reported that this was a person of interest to the authorities. what is crucially important to stress here peter is that this person is still live, and that means that at some point the authorities will have the opportunity, one assumes, to question this person. and clearly they will be looking to see if there are links with what happened in this city on tuesday, the attacks at the metro station and the national airport. because let's be clear about this, there are not that many people involved in the plot so far that they have been able to speak to regarding directly what
happened on tuesday, and we know, of course, from the cctv footage released that there was at least one person in that image, the person with the hat, glasses, blue and white shirt and jacket, who was apparently at large. so the question will be for the authorities when they get the answer to question this person who has been neutralized, what light can that person shed on the events of this week, and whether there might be a link with what happened in france last year. clearly these are all questions that the authorities will be looking to put to this person as soon as possible. >> dominic, thanks very much. okay. let's bring in paul brennan tracking the other events out of brussels. we have just been hearing from ash carter saying, yes, there is a connection between the fact that they have got what some are calling the isil second in command, and the people who
perpetrated the events on tuesday. john kerry placing a wreath there just a few hours ago. how do the people of brussels feel about this? it's a european capitol city. it is supposed to be civilized. they have a right to feel safe. >> reporter: yes, the initial shock and grief from tuesday's bomb attacks has kind of subsided to almost an defiant sense of how dare these people bring terror to our midst. and i think that's certainly what we're seeing here at the memorial that has sprung up here. people have been hanging flags, lighting candles. scrawling chalk messages on the ground. i think it's important to take a step back sometimes and as we monitor police operations and look at the bigger picture, and to help me do that is this
academic with a military background. sir, as people fear -- because of the bomb blasts and events in paris and here in brussels, just what does your data show us about the reality of the risk involved? >> the data held in the global terrorism index shows that in fact terrorism is not a western problem. but this is only data. 0.6% of the terrorist attacks in the world are committed in the west, equivalent to 4,000 deaths compared to the rest of the world up to 400,000. on the other side we see very secure societies and the perception of vulnerability when there is a terrorist attack. >> reporter: so here in europe for example, one attack could create a huge sense of vulnerability, whereas the
same -- or actually -- much larger number of attacks elsewhere, somewhere like nigeria does not create the same fear? >> yes, i would say that in the rest of the world, or some parts of the world, terrorism is unfortunately a daily routine. to a country like belgium or europe it is not the case. >> reporter: so that makes us question whether the security services are up to the task of combatting it. there has been a lot of well-publicized criticism of the police for not intercepting some of these individuals before they carried out their attacks. do you have any criticisms? >> i would like to say that radicalization which is the cause for violent extremism and terrorism are in fact global
factors -- global events. so you need to see that there is a system. they need to see society as a system. so you need to target much more than security. governments need to tackle the problem that is a consequence, through alls a -- all aspects. so there is much more than just solely security that you have to look at >> reporter: thank you. so education, we heard that from the european union justice and interior ministers yesterday, they talked about the need for greater political will and the sharing of information across europe. >> paul, thanks very much. two americans were killed in brussels on tuesday. john kerry was in brussels
today. >> we will not be intimidated. we will not be deterred. and we will come back with greater resolve, with greater strength, and we will not rest until we have eliminated your believing and cowardous from the face of this earth. >> reporter: across the border in france a man was arrested suspected in planning another major attack there. he was arrested later on thursday in one of paris's northern suburbs. nadim baba has the story. >> reporter: the day after the dramatic raid in paris suberb, and france is wondering how close it came to suffering another major attack. security forces moves in to secure an apartment here. they found both explosives and weapons. they were still there when france's interior minister addressed the nation. >> translator: this operation follows an important arrest this morning made by the general
director, which has enabled us to defeat a perspective paris attack in france that was at an advanced stage. >> reporter: and this is the suspect. he was jailed last year for being part of a network sending fighters to syria. inevitably many people in europe are wondering how such suspects can escape capture and carry on planning violent acts. and france announced it was deploying hundreds of extra police, president hollande called for better information sharing between e.u. states. >> if we have this shared intelligence strategy, knowing where they might be, knowing how they can use their, quote, skills, learned in syria, learned in yemen, better we have the capability of preventing these attacks. >> reporter: in belgium this week's vennings lead to the just
advertise and interior ministers offering to resign. although the prime minister turned down the gesture. here in france politicians from the ruling party accept there have been security failures. >> translator: we did not do enough. and we did not act quickly enough. there were a number of measures that have been planned for sometime. and need the european parliament's approval. >> reporter: hours before thursday's raid there was an outpouring of anger in paris. this demonstration requiring a heavy police presence. the issue bringing people on to the streets might be changes to the country's labor laws, but many people in france are very worried about security, and more and more are asking what politicians can do to make them safer. and that's a question echoing around europe right now. nadim baba, al jazeera, paris.
now just to recap for you on the very latest. we have just been hearing from ash carter talking about the fight against isil. the rebel fighters are losing ground in iraq and syria. the iraqi army says it has begun a push north wards to confront isil in the city of mosul. iraqi troops have been gathering south of there, near a small town, trying to cut isil's supply lines. the city of mosul fell to iraqi security forces in 201. and syrian government forces are closing in on palmyra. it is shelling parts of isil-held residential areas. its recapture would be a significant victory for president assad's forces. mohammed jamjoom now reports. >> reporter: these pictures broadcast on syrian state television are said to show a significant advance.
syrian government forces fighting to recapture the historic city of palmyra from isil. state media also showed planes and helicopters flying overhead, as soldiers approached on the ground. the syrian observatory for human rights says many civilians fled palmyra after isil told them via loud speakers that the fighting was drawing near. but isil is resisting claims it is losing control of palmyra. moving quickly to release this video that it says shows its fighters driving around parts of the city as syrian government troops advance. some analysts believe the syrian government advance will be a morale booster. >> given all of the bad news coming out of europe and the focus on isis as a terrorist organization. this focuses on isil as a state, and it's a failed state at this time. this is a pretty significant setback for isis. it's not the end yet, but it
seems to me to be the beginning of the end. >> reporter: palmyra includes a unesco world heritage site. palmyra is situated on a desert highway, strategically located between damascus and the isil strong hold of deir ez-zor. government control would help it cut off an isil supply root. a ceasefire has significantly reduced violence, but the agreement excludes al-nusra front and isil considered terrorist groups by the syrian go. russia recent ri withdraw most of its forces from syria after launching air strikes for six months. but this is evidence that the government of syrian president bashar al-assad is still making advances. mohammed jamjoom al jazeera. joining us now on the line from palmyra is the freelance journalist allah abraham.
what has been going on there in the past couple of hours? >> reporter: well, let me first tell you i'm standing in front of a road sign that reads iraq 260 kilometers. this indicates how strategically positioned palmyra is, and how important it is not just as a symbolic and -- symbolic victory for the syrian army, but also in an effort to push isil further to the east towards the iraqi borders. so far the syrian army has been trying all day to take the highest point of palmyra overlooking the city and all of the surroundings. they managed to infiltrate in the past hour. my sources are telling me that [ inaudible ] as secured as syrian state television has been reporting, but will be before night fall, which will be in the
next two hours. [ inaudible ] military agency told me that they have intelligence that isil is bringing in more reinforcement and while driving around palmyra that the syrian army is also bringing in reinforcement, which shows that this battle is not decided yet, so it seems the syrian army and its allies have the upper hand here. >> are the syrian forces -- have they been doing this on their own during the course of the day? >> reporter: yes. from what i witnessed. i have been here for the past 72 hours. yesterday i witnessed russian helicopters taking part in the aerial strikes against isil. and all isil positions today it was mainly syrian fighter jets doing the air strikes. and also [ inaudible ] only syrian [ inaudible ]. in the past occasions where i
have been dispatched to syria after the russian operation started, i have seen russian officers providing advice. this time i didn't see any of them. i don't know if this is an indication of the russian withdraw or maybe the syrians can do it by themselves now, but i can verify reports about new technology which has been handed over to the syrian army from the russians. i have seen new artillery units going in and taking part in the battle. i see new communication devices with syrian officers and syrian soldiers, and it seems reports about the syrian army getting more equipment and technology from the russians accurate from what i'm seeing right here. >> isil reportedly -- particularly, if one sort of buys into what their pr says, they are reportedly very good at guerrilla warfare,
urban warfare, how good are they today at resourcing this and organizing it? >> reporter: well, they are very good. and where isil excels it's not only urban farwear it is when it comes to desert warfare, it's where they can advance quickly and [ inaudible ] raising attention of their enemy. they are very good at advancing itself. but the syrian army have accumulated a large deal -- or a great amount of expertise in the past five years, and today the soldiers who have been fighting here for the past year indeed, are very well aware of the geography, of the terrain, and they are dealing with this accordingly. it is true that isil has the
expertise that you just mentioned, of course, but i don't think isil expertise will be able to hold the city for much longer. i think it's clearly a matter of a few days before the syrian army gains full control of the city. >> thank you very much. let's get more now on the killing of a senior isil figure in a u.s. raid in syria on thursday. joining us here on the news hour is our correspondent from washington, d.c., an iraq analyst and government relations manager. when you were listening to ash carter, do you think they got it right, or do you think they got it wrong? they certainly seemed to believe they managed to degrade a major part of the command structure of isil here. >> i think that analysis is overblown, and exaggerated. we have seen hundreds of these
announcements in the last decade or so, where the u.s. claims that it has assassinated or killed a senior member of al-qaeda or now with isis, and these announcements were never followed by any change on the ground. i think the u.s. feels that there is a crisis of showing any results for u.s. military action that has been failing over and over, and they try to use these incidents as -- as an opportunity to claim victories. i don't think there will be any actual effects on the ground, though. >> if you are right when you say it is failing over and over, why are we just reporting before we came to our conversation right now, we were just reporting in the past minute or two, that the fight in palmyra is going in a very definite direction. granted it looks like palmyra may, and i stress may, be about
to go back in the hands of bashar al-assad. there is talk now of moving on as far as iraq is concerned to have positive steps in the direction of mosul. that would dove tail with isil at least being on the back foot or perhaps, perhaps, actually sensing, albeit a short-term -- a short-term military defeat. >> yeah, looking at the larger picture, though, we are talking about two failed states that used to be very different a decade or 15 years ago. and there is continuous deteriorate going on with the larger picture. larger part of iraq and syria are controlled by extremists and violent groups and these groups are even striking inside europe now. so there might be limited advances here and there every now and then, but i don't think there is much doubt that the u.s. over all policies in the
region and in iraq and syria has failed to stabilize these two countries in the past decade or so. so whatever small victories that could be claimed here and there, i don't think they are reflecting a new strategy or trend to defeat extremism and violence in iraq. i personally don't think that iraq or syria will be bombed into stability and moderation. and these are the two things that we are looking at. we are looking at defeating extremism, and defeating violent groups, and that will not happen through this continuous policy of the overuse of military forces. >> bombing isil or failed states 15 years ago is a slightly different conversation. the reality up until perhaps three or four weeks ago was that bashar al-assad controlled 15% of the country. okay 15% is not a big percentage. on the face of it today, it would now appear that he is
imminently about to start controlling a lot more than 15%. so therefore, the fight against isil is going in the right direction, surely, not the wrong direction. >> well, number one, i disagree with the assessment that the discussions about what happened in iraq in 2003 and what is going on now are divorced. these are two -- two different stages of the same policy. isis and other extremist groups whether they were sunnis or shiites or other ennecessities did not exist in iraq or syria before the u.s. intervention. so definitely speaking about what happened 15 years ago has to do with the reality now. now regarding the percentage of control, these are numbers that might -- might be indications of change of policy, but sometimes they are also numbers that can be -- you know, used to justify
or try to -- to give fake victories. so the increase of -- of percentage of control that is going on now is mostly in empty areas between large cities. it's control of desert. it might increase. it might decrease. we're not talking about this. we're talking about a national identity issue. we're talking about sectarianism, and these things will be not be tweaked by a few percentage points inside of syria and iraq. >> we'll have to leave it there, sir. thank you for joining us on the news hour. >> thank you. thousands of iraqis rallying in baghdad today to urge the prime minister to work more boldly to combat corruption. the prime minister has promised a cabinet reshuffle that has net to announce his new ministers.
our correspondent is following the latest developments from baghdad. >> reporter: this the main gate of the green zone. u.s. embassy is also here. tens of thousands of protesters and also civil society gathering here calling for reforms. flags and banners are raised saying there will be no retreat unless the iraqi prime minister takes real measures to reform the country's administration, and fight corruption. the protesters want those who they say they are corrupted officials appointed by previous governments to be dismissed. the protest comes at the time when the iraqi prime minister is about to announce a new cabinet. he has said in this long-promised [ inaudible ] they will bring in specialists, ministers and figures that are not aligned with any political party. the iranian president has
arrived in islamabad. his talks expected to focus on new energy deals with pakistan. he is also expected to urge his neighbor to resume work on a stalled gas pipeline. >> reporter: pakistan has been facing an acute energy crisis that has brought the country's industrial output to a virtual stand still. therefore, pakistan needs to gotten give from neighboring countries. the iranian pipeline which has been completed on the iranian end, has still to be completed on the pakistani side. this is also because of the fact that there are international pressures on pakistan not to build the iranian pipeline. at the same time, the europeans and the americans have been trying to convince tehran to move its gas through turkey in a bid to end the russian monopoly of gas supplies to europe. the pakistanis of course will
also have to look into the fact that whether this pipeline is feasible, whether there is enough money to be able to complete the pakistani end of the pipeline. also interesting to note that pakistan has made a deal with qatar for the supply of lng for the next few years, to the tune of $15 billion. the chinese are helping with a terminal to bring that lng to a supply grid system in pakistan. so it will be interesting to see whether the pakistanis and the iranians are able to make any progress on the ip pipeline. still to come, suna has all of the sports news for you.
♪ time for your sports news. >> thank you, peter. cricket in pakistan up to the world 2020 championships, their semifinal hopes were ended by australia. elise holman has more. ♪ >> reporter: nothing short of a win would be enough for both australia and pakistan. the aussies were batting first and lost early wickets. but captain steve smith began to swing momentum back in the australian's favor. [ cheers ] >> reporter: he would hit 7
boundaries in an unbeaten innings of 61. shane watson who announced this week he would retire at the end of the tournament also proved crucial. the pair put on 58 runs in the final four overs, to help set a victory target of 194. [ cheers ] >> reporter: james faulkner would be the destroyer with the ball for australia. this player was after 14 in what could prove his final game for pakistan. he'll make a decision on retirement in the coming days. but this day belonged to faulkner, has australia won by 21 runs. the west indies are currently taking on south africa. they have made 122-8 from their 20 overs.
the third-lowest total on record. a win will send the windies through to the semifinals. the international friendly wheen the netherland and france will be halted later for allow for a special tribute to the dutch football great who died on thursday at the age of 68. [ applause ] on thursday [ inaudible ] clubs paid their respects with applause in the 14th minute. that matches the jersey number that he made famous. the dutch national team line up later, and the game will be paused for silence during the 14th minute. he is credited for making dutch football known worldwide. he made his name at a club level for barcelona and ix who are considering renaming their arena in his honor.
fifa world cup qualifying games have been take place across south america. colombia defeated bolivia. ecuador continuing to lead, they drew here with paraguay. brazil will also be in action on friday. they are currently fifth, with two wins from form. they are hosting uruguay who will welcome back lous we suarez, who is making his international return after the ban for biting in the 2014 world cup. after limping off of the course -- from the course on thursday with a back problem, world number 2 golfer jason day was back in action in texas. the australian surprised even himself with a dominant 5 on 3. that now puts him in the same
position as jordan spieth. spieth had another stress-free day. and mcelroy fought back from behind twice to continue his title defense. world number 1, sar rhea williams has started her bid for her ninth miami open tigtle. williams beat her first-round opponent in three sets. that's her 90th consecutive win at this tournament. meantime, roger federer has weighed into the sexism debate in tennis. >> i'm happy that tennis has produced some of the greatest female athletes in the world, most famous, probably. and i think that's great. it's great for that platform. and equal prize money is a good thing. i think that debate was talked
about a long time ago. i know it came up again, but for me it's very clear. steph curry has no shortage of achievements under his belt this season. the basketball star looked impressed as he took selfies with his statute. a team of artists spent nearly four months on curry's figure. that's it for me. >> thanks very much. the rolling stones are about to rock cuba where the music was one banned. fidel castro banned rock music back in 1961 because he thought it was subversive. our latin america editor lucia newman reports from havana. >> reporter: until recently this was the closest that a legendary british rock star had ever come to cuba.
now the countdown has started for what promises to be the most exciting rock concert in this country's history. the rolling stones are doing, and no one wants to miss them. >> translator: when i was her age i dreamed of going to a concert like this, but it was never within our reach. >> translator: this is the first time we will see something like this. and maybe the last. we want to travel abroad to see them. >> reporter: the british rock band has brought in some 500 tons of equipment and will be playing before an estimated crowd of hundreds of thousands. ♪ >> reporter: this will be the grand finale of the rolling stones latin america tour. but only here are they performing for free. ♪ >> reporter: the stone sent a message on youtube to the cuban people saying this was an
historic concert, and he hopes the cuban people will see it that way too. but practically no one has seen the video, because internet access here is so limited. still it will be an extraordinary event in so many ways. >> translator: cuba is not on the circuit of major music tours, so you can imagine. also the stones span three generations of fans. >> reporter: it's also worth remembering that for decades the beatles and rolling stones music was banned by the communist government. president barack obama's visit here earlier this week was also historic. but this concert is less institutional, cuba is being embraced by a rock band that is a living legend, which would seem to indicate kul rally cuba is coming full circle. >> that's it for me. thanks for watching. we will see you very, very soon.
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a suspect is wounded and arrested in brussels in the latest of a series of raids in several countries. ♪ hello there, i'm felicity barr and this is al jazeera, live from london. also coming up, a senior isil commander reported dead in a u.s. air strike, as the group loses ground to the syrian army in palmyra. two prominent journalists go on trial in turkey in a casein elsewhere as a test of media freedom there. >>d