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tv   Charlie Rose  Bloomberg  January 27, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm EST

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>> from our studios in new york, this is "charlie rose." >> jack ma sounded alibaba 16 years ago. it is the largest e-commerce
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company in the world. 100 million buyers go to the site each day. transactions totaled $208 million. in september, alibaba went public. the ipo was the largest in history and made him the richest person in china. i spoke with jack ma on friday in jobless, switzerland. >> how big is alibaba? how many come every day? how many people come in a week? how fast is it growing? >> we have over 100 million visiting our site, shopping our site. we created 13 million jobs for china.
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and, we grow from 18 people to 30,000 people in my apartment to four big campers. compared to 15 years ago, we are big. compared to 13 years later, we are still big. >> how big will you be 15 years from now? >> 15 years ago i told my team that in the path to 15 years, we grew from nothing to this. 15 years later i want people to see no cap. it is already everywhere. i want 15 years ago that we talk about what is e-commerce? why small business using e-commerce? i hope 15 years later people forget about e-commerce. they think it is like electricity. nobody think it is high-tech.
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this is something that i don't want 15 years later we still walk on the street talking about why and how e-commerce can help people. >> talk about the ipo. it'd exceed your expectations? >> it is a small ipo. >> the largest in the history. >> we raised -- >> number two was a chinese bank. >> thank you. i remembered 2001. we want to raise some for venture capitalist in the united states. we got rejected. i said we would come back raising more. [laughter] but, i think what we think more about is by $25 billion, how to spend the money efficiently. this is a lot of money.
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this is a trust from the world. they want you to do better jobs. to help more people. they want a good return. so, i think if we have more pressure, because right now our market cap is bigger than ibm. some days we are bigger than walmart. we are of the top 10 market cap companies in the world. i told my team and myself is that true? we are not that good. years ago, it was i thought it was terrible. let's not make money. all the bad things. even he better pre-google is better. there is no such model like alibaba in the united states. i told myself we will going to be that big site.
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i said we are not as good as people thought. we're just a company 15 years old. we are doing something that is not tried. >> you grew up in the 1960's. >> 1964. that was a cold troll revolution. >> the end of the cultural revolution. my grandfather was a tiny landlord, was considered to be a bad guy. so, i was -- i know how tough it was when he was killed. >> you try to get into three colleges. each time they rejected you. >> i tried the examination that young people if you want to go to university have to take. i failed it three times. i failed for funny things.
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i failed a key primary school test two times. i failed three times for the middle school. you would never believe in my city, there is only one middle school. it lasted one year. it was transferred because our graduates of our school no middle school acceptance because we are too fast. >> what effect did it have, being rejected? >> i think we have to get used to it. we are not that good. even today we have a lot of people reject us. i think when i graduate from university, for three years i
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tried the university. i applied. 30 times i was rejected. i went to one place they said no, you are not good. when kfc came to china. [laughter] 24 people went for the job. 23 people accepted. i was the one rejected. [laughter] five people, for accepted. i was the last. being turned down, rejected, i applied for harvard 10 times rejected. [laughter] >> 10 times you row is that i would like to come to harvard. >> yes. >> i told myself someday i should come teach there. [laughter] >> i think that can be arranged. richard nixon came to?
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and tourists flooded the place. that is how you learned english. >> yes. i don't know why, at 12-13 years old, i fell in love with the language of english. there is no place you can learn english at that time. there were no english books. the hotel can receive foreign visitors. i showed them around as a free guide. they taught me english. i think that changed me. i'm 100% made in china. people talk to me and say how can you speak english like that? i think that was the nine years. these western tourists open my mind because everything they
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told me was so different from the things i learned from schools and from my parents. now i have a habit. whatever i feel i use my mind. i think about it. >> is that how you became jack ma? >> jack, the name was given by a lady, a tourist. she came here and said maring is difficult to pronounce. do you have an english name? i said i don't. she said ok, my father was called jack. what you think about jack? i said good. [laughter] >> first visit to america? 1995. >> yes. i came here for a project
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helping the local government building up a highway. >> you tried the internet. >> i tried the internet in seattle. in a building called the u.s. bank. i don't know whether it is still there or not. my friend opened a small office only 10% bigger than this room. he said jack, this is the internet. i said what is it question mckee said search whatever you want. i said i don't want to type because computers are so expensive in china, if i destroy, i cannot pay for it. >> he says just search it. i didn't know how to spell it. there is from germany.
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beer is from the united states. beers from japan. no beer from china. i said, type china. >> 1995. >> no data about china. i talked to my friend. why not make something about china? we made a small, ugly looking page called something like, so shocking, we launched it in the morning. 12:30 i got a call who said you have five e-mails. i said what his e-mail? they were so excited. this is the first time i've seen a chinese website. can we do something together? i said this is something interesting. we should do it. >> why did you call it alibaba?
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>> alibaba. when i started, i said we should have a global name. i name that is interesting. yahoo!. i was thinking, alibaba is a good name. i was in second says so -- i was in san francisco that day. waitress came. i said do you know what alibaba is? she said yes. open sesame. i said good. people on the about alibaba. i think this is a good name. whatever you talk about, alibaba is at the top. >> you have said before that in creating alibaba you have to create trust. >> yes. >> people in china for used to
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face-to-face. how did you create trust? >> i think because we started with the internet, i don't know you you don't know me. how can you do things online unless you are trusted? for e-commerce, the most important thing was trust. i think when i first went to the united states for raising money for venture capitalists, a lot of them say jack china -- how'd you do business on the internet? we have to trust the system. the credit system. it is impossible to do business. in the hall 14 years everything we do is trying to build up the trust system. charlie, i am so proud of us today. when i talk today in china,
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people trust each other. the government and the media, everyone thinks this guy is cheating. because of e-commerce we finish 60 million transactions every day. people don't know each other. i don't know you. you don't know me. you wire the money to me. i don't know you. i give a package. i don't know him. he took something to sell across the ocean, and say this is the trust. we have a 60 minute trust happening every day. >> you created an escrow account in the beginning. you keep the money until they got the product. >> that is true. the escrow services of allete pay -- alipay. for the first of three years
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alibaba is just a marketplace for information. we talked a lot of times and don't do business. there was no payment. i talked to the banks. thanks said no this would never work. i don't know what to do. if i start a large payment system, it is the financial legal walls. you have to have that. i went to a leadership discussion. it is about responsibility. after i listen to the panel i give a call to my colleagues. do it now, immediately. if there is something wrong, and the government isn't happy, if somebody has to go to prison jack ma will go to prison. it is so important for china for the world to trust the system.
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if you do not do it, and do not do it properly there be no trust record. i will send you to prison. that was it. people don't like it. so many people i talked to at that time they say this is a stupid idea. it is not as people use it. now we have 800 million people using allete pay -- alipay. >> it is not a part of alibaba. you have never gotten money from the chinese government. like snow. -- >> no. i wanted in the beginning. later i didn't want it. if the company takes money off of the government pockets, that company is rubbish.
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how can you make money from the customers and market? >> no money from chinese banks? >> no. they had gone against me. i don't want it. [laughter] >> your relationship with the government. what is your relationship? here is what some say. that you have existed in an environment that is not -- they have restricted competition for you. that is a good thing to do for a private company. >> yes. i think the relationship with the government is very interesting. for the first of five years, i have been working as a part-time job for a government organization called the ministry of foreign trade in 1997 for 14 months. i learned you should never rely on a government to do e-commerce. i started a business and told my
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people, be in love with the government, don't marry them. [laughter] respect them. a lot of people save the government does this and that. i think it is the opportunity, responsibility, talking to them. tell them how the internet helps. >> you tell them i create jobs. >> yes. a lot of people debate. in the first 12 years, anybody comes to my office, i sit and talk to them. how can we help the economy and create jobs? i think because the internet at that time if you can meet someone you have the chance. i'm very talkative. this is why i talked to so many
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people. >> the government comes to you and asks to do something for them. >> normally, when the government says can you do this project i say no. i can introduce some friends interested in doing that or you read if they continue to want me to do it, i say i will do it but i don't want a charge. don't come to me again. but recently, we have some government organizers. every spring festival, the train tickets are so difficult, hundreds and thousands of farmers in cities go to the hometown. when they order tickets on the whole system crashed. for five years. i told young people, go support them. don't charge anything.
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i don't want to see millions of farmers go back to cities and they cannot [indiscernible] it is not for money. it is something that is not for the government. it is for the millions of people that can buy tickets in the snowy night and don't have to wait. . >> a one-way stop along the route to where you are, yahoo!. they invested $1 billion. >> yes. >> a pretty good investment for yahoo!. >> yes. >> you raise this money on your own outside of china with investors. >> yes. >> i am very thankful for all the investors. 1999, year 2000, a lot of people say jack is crazy. he is doing something we don't
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understand. a lot of venture capitalists give you money because there is an american model. but they say alibaba, we don't see this kind of model. >> and jack is crazy. >> a crazy guy. i remember in time magazine they call me crazy jack. i think crazy is good. we are not stupid. [laughter] we know what we are doing great if everyone agreed with me , we have no chance. the money we raised, we are thankful. our investors make a lot of money. i feel proud and honored. >> as you know, issues have risen about privacy. google and apple. questions of whether the government should have access to files. how do you handle that if the
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chinese government says you know a lot about people. you have transactional relationships with lots of people. and they say we want to see your files. >> so far, i don't have that problem with china's government. [indiscernible] if it is a criminal, we are worried. the rest of that, no. we are a business. the data is precious. we don't know how. if we give to anyone it and privacy issues. i think, just like when hundred 50 years ago, people say i would have rather put money under my pillow than the banks. now banks to have it put their money much better than you do. privacy issues, all of the
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securities today, we may not have the solutions. we don't have the answers. i believe our young people have the solutions. in the next 10-15 years that will be breaks along that. i am fully confident on that. >> your life is a testament to the idea that nothing is impossible. that if someone says no you say it is just the beginning. where does that come from? >> well, at the beginning i never thought -- i thought when i was young, everything is possible. now i know, not everything is possible. we have something we have to think about. you have to consider others, the customer society, your employees shareholders. there are so many things that i
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think, if you continue to work hard, there is possibility. and, i just am an enthusiastic about what we are doing. i just want to survive at the first of five years. >> that was 2000. >> yes. later i think so many people's lives change. i was so excited. when the first of three years we made zero revenue. we are so excited to continue to work, i remember many times when i go to restaurants, someone came and i would try to pay the bill, and the owner would come and say sir, your bill is paid by someone. they would say on your customer. i made a lot of money.
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i know you don't make any money. i pay the bill for you. [laughter] i remember one thing. i was sitting somewhere someone sins me a cigar. i don't smoke cigar. but it said thank you i am a customer. i was at the shangri-la hotel. someone open the door for me the boy at the gate said thank you very much. micro friend makes more money than i do on your site. this is something that you now if you don't do it, nothing is possible. if you try to do it -- >> the revenue comes through advertising and transactional fees. most from advertising. >> tiny. tiny from advertising and transactional. we need -- we have more than 10
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million small businesses selling our site everywhere. the transactions we have tiny. second after walmart, i remember one of the guys from walmart five years ago said jack, you are doing a great job. i said in 10 years we will be better than walmart. he said young man, you can have of that. on the sales. if you want to have 10,000 new customers, you have to build a new warehouse. for me. it is to servers. >> where you going? what does jack want? >> we are
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an internet company. we happened to be in china. we have the same entrepreneur spirit like every great entrepreneur in the world. i remember the day when i started alibaba. we were helping small business do it easier. today, so many minutes of small business using our form to sell things. over 300 million consumers buy things from our site. cheapest, efficient. i think about how we can make alibaba a platform for global small business. my vision is that if we can help small business sell things to argentina, argentina consumers can buy things from switzerland. we can build up wto is a great
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thing. it has big companies across the nation. i hope that we can serve 2 billion consumers. >> 2 billion consumers. >> we can help 10 million small businesses outside of china. because we have american farmers in washington state, almost 300 tons of cherries to china last year. cherries. can you help us sell cherries in china? why not? let's try it. when we order, when we start to
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sell cherries, they are still on the trees. we started a preorder. 18,000 order cherries online. we pick up the cherries, send them the china. 48 hours, we sell them. the consumers are so happy. we had a lot of complaints, saying why only 100? they wanted more. so we had costco, we sold 300 tons of nuts to china. if we can sell things to china, if we can sell seafood or cherries, why can't we help american and european small businesses sell to china consumers? china needs that. that is what i want to do. 2 billion consumers in china,
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asia, developing nations. how we can let them buy things globally? >> when you look at international markets, you are doing well in russia. how well? >> pretty good in russia. we did pretty good in brazil. russia now, i don't know about the number two or number three, we had a campaign. the campaign is that russian girls and boys want to buy from china. how many days are russian girls placing order and receive the product from china? two years ago more miles. after the campaign, we didn't in one week. we crossed the system.
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>> you also saw and hollywood -- you were seen in hollywood. what are you doing in hollywood? >> i like the hollywood innovation, the digital. i learned so much about the hollywood movies especially forest gump. >> you love forest gump. >> i love him. >> why? >> never gives up. people think he is down. but he knows what he is doing. i was feeling depressed the day in 2002 or 2003, earlier than that. i was depressed when i could not find a way for the internet. i watched forest gump. when i saw him, just a guy
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believe what you're doing, love it weather like it. and life is like a box of chocolates. you never know what you can get. i never knew i would be here talking to you, talking to charlie rose. i never know. today i made it. i told my people in my apartment 15 years ago, guys, we have to work hard. not for ourselves. if we can be successful, 80% of the young people in china can be successful. we don't have a rich father. we don't have a bank. just work as a team. >> what are you worried about? >> i'm worried about young people losing hope and start complaining. we have to say, it's not good feeling rejected by so many people. being depressed.
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later we find the world has a lot of opportunity. how you see the world and catch the opportunity. hollywood gives me a lot of inspiration. >> you went out there for business? you want to make movies and sell them? >> i want to make movies. we are e-commerce company. we have products that need logistics. but movies, tv, these are things you don't need logistics systems. movies probably are the best product. they can help chinese young people. one thing i told the chinese people, and american movies, all the heroes at the beginning of a bad guy. they become a hero. they all survived. in china, all the heroes die. [laughter]
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nobody wants to be the hero. alexi you want to change the chinese definition of hero. >> we have so many heroes living in this world. >> are you riding a kung fu novel or are you reading them? >> i'm reading them. i am writing them. kung fu is something that is something you start to think about something you cannot do. if you have some luck and continue to practice, if you have a good master when i'm busy or tired, i will read a couple of books on tai chi. >> what does that do for you? >> i love tai chi. it is a philosophy. tai chi is about how you balance how you work. when i compete with ebay, they
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say you hate ebay. no. it is a good company. they come and go. tai chi is like you go here, i go over there. it is balance. [applause] [indiscernible] tai chi is about a philosophy that i use in the business. call him down. there is always a way out. keep yourself balanced. don't try -- business is not a battlefield. you die or i win. even if you die i may win. it is fun. tai chi gives me inspiration. >> you want your life and this company to change the world.
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but also, you believe alibaba ought to change the lives of women. what do you do? >> many years ago i wanted to change the world. now i think if we want to change the world we change ourselves. it is more important and easier than changing the world. second, i want to improve the world. to change the world maybe obama's job. my job is to make sure that my team is happy. because my team is happy they can make my customers happy. when they are happy, we are happy. women. one of the secret sources of alibaba success is we have a lot of women. >> what percentage? >> i think two or three months before we did an ipo, there were people coming to our company. jack, i see so many women in your company. i said what's wrong?
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[laughter] we find out later we have 47% of employees women. 47% of our company are women. we had 51. because they have more men. >> top level positions? >> 33% are women. 24%, the very top level are women. we have women ceos, cfos. i think it is comfortable working with them. women in this world if you want to win in the 21st century, you have to be making sure that making other people powerful empowering others, making sure other people are better than you are, you will be successful.
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women think more of the others than themselves. they think about the kids, the husband, the parents. much more than men. they [indiscernible] >> a couple of more things. china today, are you worried the economy has slowed? >> no. i don't worry about it. china is slowing down and is much better than 29%. it is the second largest economy in the world. it is impossible to keep 9% growth. if china keeps 9% of growth of the economy, there must be something wrong. you would never see the growth back. he will never see the quality. china should pay attention to quality. china should. if we have a lot of movies and sports, we will be better.
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you can never grow. certain times, the slower growth . they should grow your mind grow your culture, grow your value. i think china is moving to that. >> finally, there is this great you were one of the world's richest people. your company is one of the world's richest companies. what do you want beyond alibaba? >> i told my -- i was not happy in the past three months when people said jack ma is the richest of china. >> a global celebrity. >> now, i'm not. >> you are. >> maybe i am. but 15 years ago, apartment in and my wife was one of the
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founders, do you your husband to be a rich person? i never said rich person in china. or do you your husband to be respected. she said of course, respected. she would never believe we are rich people. we just want to survive. we have $1 million of money. we have $20 million. you start having problems. you worry about inflation. when you have $1 billion, that is not your money. that is the trust society gave to you. they believe you can manage the money. use the money better than the government. i think today, i have the resources to do more things with the money we have with the influence we have, we should spend more time on the young people. i would say someday i will go
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back to teach go back to school, spend time with young people and share what i have learned pretty money is not mine. having this resource, i want to do a better job. >> thank you for english class. [applause] ♪
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what -- >> haider al-abadi became prime minister of iraq in 2014. i spoke with him about events in the future in iraq. >> it is clear you said you need economic help because of the fall in oil. you need more support for your troops on the ground. are you getting any assurances from the coalition partners it will be forthcoming? >> there were 21 states at that meeting, out of 61 of the coalition.
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i have seen a positive response. i should be clear about this. i know we have been searching for more support. in the last days and weeks, we have been seeing little. it was a very slow start. sometimes it is hard for -- hard and frustrating. there are two time tackles. -- there are two timetables. to do with support. there has been a problem. in the last two and three weeks we have seen a synchronization of effort, and increase in numbers of airstrikes and more commanders on the ground. which has helped i perform business. -- which is not performed.
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[indiscernible] i think we have been promised there we deferment of payment on sales to iraq. we are waiting to see them. i think the challenges are huge. i have to be blunt about this. our economy cannot sustain two major spending. one is our society, depending on the budget, and truth is to sustain this awful war, which is taking a lot of soldiers. we need help on this. once one of the issues, you won at support on a government in baghdad. you are the new government. does the prime minister play a role in terms of the policy and execution today in iraq? >>
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minister is a friend of mine in the cawley. -- in the party. he plays a role in our country but not executive. the executive is within the government. we have regular meetings for the leadership of that country. we have a good working relationship among the iraqi institutions. the executive, the presidency on parliament, i like that. i think this has benefited us and a lot that we are doing at the moment. let's what may impact may be change of leadership in saudi arabia? >> i hope for the positive. i think this is life. we have a new government in iraq. we have many leaders in the region. i hope to being bring a benefit to
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everybody. >> new plans? >> i am looking forward. he was a prince might talk to him. we had a good dialogue over the phone. i hope we can make a good relationship between our countries. it is vital the essential message for my government is that we want very good relationship with the region. it is important and vital. iraq can not develop without the whole region developing together. we have to bring that trust between us. >> are you saying a change in attitude among the sunnis? >> huge. the present government has more popularity. my friends in iraq may not like that. they have publicity and
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acceptance among the sunni population than some leaders. wexler was a report in the wall street -- >> that was a report that plans are moving ahead for retaking baselmosul. can you tells were that stands? can the iraqi army provide boots on the ground that are sufficient? >> that are boots on the ground. there are some iraqi troops in that region. we have one single problem on this, the land link between our forces and the rest of iraq and we have to make sure that link is there. that is why we are fighting to make sure that link is protected for our forces to move. we have to have the rest of the iraqi forces in the coalition
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partners. it can be done. i'm telling you there may be a surprise there and a lot of our wars. we have some plans for the few days. more than we have achieved. we have been surprised in some instances that they just flee, they don't fight. they are now on the decline. >> i have perhaps eliminated at least half of the dash leadership. >> i think we have seen that. i think the coalition partners in the iraqi air force are very good special forces which i'm proud of the elite forces, and carrying out operations. a lot of them are not announced
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because of security and intelligence regions -- reasons. >> what is the coalition of shiite militias? >> these are volunteers will answer the call to defend their country. they are on both sides. we have kurds, sunnis. they are iraqis fighting to defend their country. yes, i think some may have been organized before. the situation in iraq is completely different than what it was 5-6, 78 all these groups are asking. now even if they don't want to be seen as outside the government, this is important development. religious leadership is calling that all arms must be under the control of the government. all arms are under the control of the government. of course outside dash.
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>> what is the contribution of iran? >> i summarize it as positive. when dash roles forces into iraq, they have upheld the kurdish region as well. they have been prompt in sending arms ammunition without even asking for payment first. we pay later. i think they have been very helpful. i cannot deny they are giving help to us now. i have to stress there is no single iranian soldier on the iraqi soil, no single iranian soldier fighting. >> has there? >> no. we don't need them. he is an official of the iranian military establishment.
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i'm not denying we are dealing with him. we are dealing with him. he is part of the infrastructure of iranian establishment. it is not a secret. everybody knows we are dealing with this man. we have a respect of him and the iranian establishment. we have the longest border with iran. iran, we haven't have to borders. the east and north and the west in the south with arabic countries. i think we are happy to act like a bridge between the arab world and the rest of the muslim world , and the rest the world indeed. >> syria. do you see a plan to change things on the ground in syria? >> i think with the current situation i am pessimistic.
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i cannot see a plan to save the syrian people. if this work continues in syria all it is doing is damaging syria making more refugees, killing more civilians. i'm surprised people around the world in the region that started this war, they does seem to be able to stop it. i say let us stop it and then talk later. the continuation of this war is the continuation of the sacrifices of the syrian people. iraq has been attacked from neighboring syria. we have paid the heaviest price for the situation in syria, for the war in syria must be stopped. we are very actively working to
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try to find a solution. we have been talking with the kurds, with the iranians, with the americans. but the french and other europeans -- with the french and the other europeans, to find a stop to this crisis, because it is in our own interest and the interest of the syrian people. >> thank you. ♪
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>> i am campbell brown. >> i am mark halperin. ♪ >> on the show tonight, hillary clinton, chris christie, and editor-in-chief mike pence, but first, the richest appraisers in america, the koch brothers, have determined they need to shell out with their allies about $900 million for the 2016 election, and they are prepared to pay in cash money. our bloomberg politics campaign finance reporter is in our washington bureau, and she joins us now.

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