tv BBC World News BBC America September 23, 2014 6:00am-7:00am EDT
this is bbc america, and now live from london, "bbc world news." >> hello, i'm geeta guru-murthy with "bbc world news." our top stories, the united states and its arab allies have launched the first air and missile strikes against islamic state targets inside syria. the militants stronghold was hit, among other targets, to disrupt an imminent attack against western interests. within the last hour, syria says it received advanced warning of the attacks in the form of a letter from the u.s. secretary of state. jordan has confirmed to the bbc that their planes took part in
the strikes. bahrain, qatar, saudi arabia, and the united arab emirates were also involved. hello, and welcome. the u.s. has launched a series of air and missile strikes against islamic state targets in syria with the active participation of five arab allies. the jordanian government spokesman has confirmed it's been involved in the attacks, telling me it was necessary to ensure the stability and security of jordan's borders. other arab nations involved in this u.s.-led operation include saudi arabia, bahrain, qatar, and the united arab emirates. the targets hit include the eastern city of rakka, the
islamic state headquarters. it launched the strikes from warships in international waters here in the red sea and in the persian gulf. the targets included islamic state training compounds, vehicles, and storage sites. the first amateur footage that we're getting from the aftermath of the strikes is starting to come in. this was taken overnight, people showing us what they think are the remains of some sort of missile. and the sort of scene that people are waking up to is this one, seeing amateur footage coming in of the aftermath of some sort of strike in syria. let's get the latest now from richard lister. >> reporter: in the middle of the night, these explosions marked the beginning of a new offensive against islamic state. this amateur video was shot in syria's northern province of aleppo, one of several areas targeted. since august, the u.s. has launched nearly 200 air strikes against islamic state jihadists
in iraq, but their power base is in syria, and overnight, the pentagon confirmed that the strikes involved fighters, bombers, and tomahawk cruise missiles. five arab states also took part. >> we're not declaring details at this point. we're just saying a number of our airplanes have targeted these positions and came back safe so their bases. >> reporter: islamic state has battled through vast areas of land in iraq and syria in recent weeks. it's released numerous videos showing military prisoners being shot and western hostages being beheaded. president barack obama has vowed to degrade and destroy it. his secretary of state john kerry spent weeks building a coalition of arab states to take up a military role against the jihadists. tear involvement in the strikes in syria is a major development. >> isis is a threat to almost every country in the region, and from that perspective, at least
they've decided this is the number one threat. we'll get back to squabbling amongst ourselves after this has happened, but for now we need to deal with this, and partly because the u.s. has demanded that it happens. >> these pictures are believed to slow the aftermath of last night's air strikes on one village in northern syria. they were shot by a local resident. it's not clear what or where exactly the target was, but the damage is significant. as yet, there's been no official assessment of the impact of these raids or how long they'll continue. richard lister, bbc news. >> let's go to washington. barbara, just tell us a bit more about what is in this statement, because we've got some detail from the u.s. now. >> that's right. the u.s. central command issued a statement explaining what took place in the strikes overnight. it said that the united states along with five arab allies carried out 14 strikes against islamic state, positions in the north and east of the country. these targets included islamic
state fighters, storage depots, command and control facilities, training camps, and that they've damaged and destroyed these facilities. it said the strikes would continue in iraq and syria together together with an offensive by ground forces, by that referring to the american plan to have iraqi army forces and kurdish peshmerga forces in iraq continue to battle islamic state on the ground and to build up syrian opposition forces to do the job there. spratly, the statement said the americans had launched eight strikes against a network of al qaeda affiliates west of aleppo that was using syria as a safe haven to organize or to plot imminent attacks against western interests and against the united states. it said this group was recruiting westerners to carry out these attacks.
it was experimenting with explosives and the u.s. had struck a number of targets, and a monitoring group, the syrian observing monitoring group, which has come up with the only casualty figures so far, says that 30 al qaeda linked militants in the west of the country, or west of aleppo were killed and some of them foreign fighters, but also eight civilians, including a number of children. >> barbara, in the extraordinary position of hearing from the syrian government, that they had a letter from john kerry delivered by an intermediate giving them advance warning of these strikes. where is u.s. foreign policy now on syria? >> well, the americans made clear that they were not going to cooperate with the syrian government in the battle against islamic state because they believe and say that the syrian government has lost legitimacy because of the violence it has conducted against its own people in the three-year civil war, but at the same time, the americans don't want conflict with the
syrian government, so it appears, according to the government statement in damascus, that they sent through a mediator, or through an intermediary, a letter to the government warning them that the strikes would take place, the syrian government said it had received a warning just hours before the attacks, and that statement on the television also said that syria supported any international efforts against islamist extremists in the country and that it was coordinating -- >> oh, i'm just so sorry, we've lost that line to barbara. but we got the main points of what she said fortunately, and of course, we're hearing that the syrian government was warned hours earlier. no confirmation from washington as yet. of course, a jordanian government spokesman has confirmed their country's involvement in this has attacks. for reaction, i spoke to rafid
jaboori. >> talking about reactions, i've just spoken to a leader of the muslim brotherhood movement here in jordan. and he rejected the jordanians' involvement in the attacks. he rejected the concept of launching attacks outside jordan. he said if it was an action taken within the borders of this country, it would have generated more support from within the people of this country, but on the wider jordanian society, there has been a rejection to isis's harsh approach and ideology and the government has been preparing the public opinion here over the past few days about its involvement in the international alliance against i.s., and also this
involvement, this recent involvement in the air strikes. >> rafid jaboori there. so what about the regional politics behind the air strikes? here's our chief international correspondent lyse doucet in bag candidate. >> it's a turning point in terms of the broader politics in this region. look at the five states who are now said to have helped the united states in one way or the other in conducting these first air strikes against targets in syria. they've often been angerly and bitterly at odds against each other, be they in syria or indeed in egypt. now they're lining up together in a coalition of interests to try to stop the rise of the so-called islamic state in syria as well as iraq, and saying it posed a threat to the wider region, and as the united states would put it, to the interest of
the united states. but when you go down to the details, it becomes very complicated because some countries are taking part in the strikes against syria, but they won't take part in the strikes against iraq, and when you add on to what is undeniably an alliance between the united states and iran and now iran and saudi arabia, they have some interest in some parts, but when it comes to syria, quietly the iranians are saying -- and i spoke to some senior iranians last week, they said we are willing to try to work with the united states on the ground to try to go after the positions of this so-called islamic state in iraq. but in syria, it's more complicated because iran is, of course, one of the strongest allies of president assad. so they will be watching very carefully to see how what is certain to be a very long and sustained campaign of air strikes unfold both in syria and iraq, and critically, what will be the impact, what will be the civilian casualties, what impact will it have on the forces of
president assad in syria, and what indeed will be the impact here in iraq. it's a very urgent but a very risky campaign, and everybody here knows that, most of all the people who live here. >> lyse doucet in baghdad. with me is our security correspondent. first of all, on this statement, it mentions this group, and a domestic u.s. threat. what do we know? >> the u.s. has done two things overnight, it's hit the i.s. targets and also taken the opportunity to strike this group, which is founded by someone linked to saabttery, who came into syria. that is a different group from i.s. it's based in a different place. also, it is more focused on attack planning than i.s. has been. so there's been less evidence.
and to try and smuggle those onboard using foreign fighters. so they're thinking quite a few months about that group and about its attack planning, and it appears the u.s. has taken, if you like, the opportunity of starting its air strikes in syria against i.s., to also go after this group, believing it is a threat to the u.s. and has been planning some kind of attack. >> it says they established a safe haven in syria and there were eight strikes against the corasan targets west of aleppo. does that mean the u.s. has undertaken strikes in syria and would that have been with syrian government knowledge? >> this is another group opposed to the syrian regime, like i.s., which is separate from i.s., and is close to one of the other groups. it does look like in these strikes, it has been the u.s. acting alone against curasan,
whereas in the strikes against i.s. in syria, it's part of a coalition. there is certainly a difference between the two things, even though they've happened at the same time. >> on the strikes that we're seeing overnight and ongoing, we're hearing some casualty figures reported by reuters, with a number of civilian casualties, but that is only from the syrian observatory for human rights. how reliable are these casualty figures going to be? >> it's very hard to get reliable figures on that. it's possible that there will have been civilian casualties. sometimes it's very hard to be sure about those numbers in this kind of conflict zone. i think it's entirely possible, but we just don't have that kind of detail. we don't have the ability to go on the ground and look at this at the moment, to know exactly what's been hit, to know how much damage has been done against i.s. as well as in terms of civilian casualties alongside. this one of the problems is i.s. was preparing for these strikes,
particularly around raqqa. there was talk that they already moved a lot of people out away from some of their facilities knowing that u.s. strikes were coming at some point into syria. >> we've also heard, for example, of this frenchman being taken hostage in algeria. the fear in the west and europe and in the u.s. now is going to be of a reprisals. the security forces are going to have a huge amount of pressure, aren't they? >> we've already seen hostages being killed in syria, in iraq by i.s. that's already happened before these strikes took place. >> but reprisals in the u.s. and the eu, and, you know, the threat of this sort of global war that we feel like we're seeing the start of. can the intelligence agencies cope? what is your sense of that? >> well, they're worried. there's no doubt about it. that's why here in the uk you saw the threat level go up. a few weeks ago, it went from substantial to severe. that is a clear indication that they are worried about the impact of this crisis. they're worried about the number of britons going out there and
potentially coming back to do something. of course, it's not just britons. it's people from france, a number of other countries around the world. australia we just saw in the last week carried out a series of arrests after calls for action from i.s. and the fear that people in australia linked to them were going to carry out some kind of activity. so certainly there is heightened concern about something happening. >> i've got so many questions. i'm allowed one more. turkey is one of the very long borders with syria, where there's been a lot of movement across that border. what would you say is the level of intelligence on all the activity and the support from within either turkey or saudi arabia or qatar, either from individuals or governments, on how much support there has been and might still be for groups like i.s.? how good is our information? >> the governments of those countries always denied direct support, whether there's support from individuals, finance, for
instance, that's possible. i think the turkey border is very important and one of the concerns has been whether it's been possible to close it, whether enough has been done on that. turkey has played a very complicated game. it had hostages. nearly 50 hostages. they were released this week. no one is quite sure what that's going to mean for turkey. what was the deal, if anything, done for those hostages. will turkey change that position as a result of that deal and the hostages being out. >> the cooperation we get with intelligence agencies that we know happens across sometimes surprising political alliances. has that stood up? >> there's very complicated things going on. you've got the iranians involved as well in iraq and providing support. never exactly the normal allies for the u.s. how much are they talking to each other? how much are the saudis and the iranians who are normally huge competitors and rivals in the region, how much might they have to talk in order to try and build that coalition and work out coordination --
>> to target, exactly. >> to target and gather intelligence. it's very complicated and very new territory for these countries, because suddenly the whole picture of this region has changed in a matter of months. the alliances have changed. the kinds of things they're getting involved in in direct air strikes. this is all very new, and i think you can see that the countries, the governments, the intelligence services are having to move very fast and just simply to keep up with events as they unfold. >> gordon, i'm being told i have to stop now. thank you very much indeed. if you want more, there is the website, of course, and you can get our live page, all the latest developments. it is being updated as fast as we possibly can. background and analysis from all our correspondents across the region, and you can watch the latest video and join in the discussion. bbc.com/news. there's a lot of news out there. please do share them with us. do stay with us here on "bbc world news." much more to come. as a court in china finds a prominent uighur scholar guilty of separatism. we hear about reactions to news of this life sentence.
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this is "bbc world news." i'm geeta guru-murthy with the latest headlines. the united states and its arab allies have launched air and missile strikes for the first time against islamic state militants in syria. and the stronghold of raqqa was among the targets. pentagon officials say they aim to disrupt an imminent attack against western interests. now, the israeli military has said it has shot down a syrian aircraft which it said flew into israeli-controlled air space. a statement said the plane was brought down by a patriot air defense missile. syria confirmed that one of its fighter jets had been brought down, calling it an act of aggression by israel. our jerusalem correspondent kevin connolly says few details are known yet. >> we know that a syrian aircraft was shot down.
there's some dispute about whether it was approaching israeli controlled air space when it was destroyed by that patriot surface to air missile. it's not immediately clear which side of the border the wreckage has fallen either. i think one of the most important things to establish here is that it's very likely that we should see this incident in the context of fighting in the syrian civil war, which is now right beside israeli controlled territory, and the syrian aircraft is likely to have taken part in fighting between the syrian army and syrian rebels in that region. that's within sight now of israeli controlled territory on an almost daily basis, so as things stand, we have no basis for making a connection between the downing of this syrian aircraft and those american-led air operations, which are elsewhere in syria, an odd and remarkable coincidence is what it appears to be at the moment. >> just more generally, the view is so complex in the region in
terms of alliances, but roughly approximately where is israel on what we're seeing unfold today? >> i think israel's long-term interest would i suppose be in seeing isis degraded, but the truth of the matter is the syrian conflict now has so many moving parts. it involves israel's enemies like iran and hezbollah as well as other rebel factions, that israel's interests, as i say, are very, very hard to define in a situation as fluid as the one unfolding in syria. but generally speaking, the weakening of syria's historical enemy has been something of a benefit i suppose strategically speaking to israel, although that explicit syrian threat is replaced with growing instability on the other side of that line. the israeli army says it's killed two palestinians suspected of involvement in the kidnapping and killing of three israeli teenagers in june.
the kidnapping triggered an escalation of hamas, culminating in the gaza conflict. the men were killed in an exchange of fire in the west bank. a third man has already been charged with planning the abduction. now, of course, with the unrest in the middle east, oil prices have been very much in focus. our business presenter is right here. what have oil prices been doing? >> it's really interesting. in the past, we would have seen perhaps the situation in the middle east unraveling, and oil prices as a result peaking and getting ever higher. the difference this time is despite the fact that we've seen the situation in the middle east getting worse and worse progressively, we've seen i.s. attacks. we've seen hamas and israel fighting each other in the region. we've seen worries over oil supplies in libya and iraq. all of these things make the middle east a real tinderbox in terms of geopolitical instability, and yet oil prices
have been plummeting. in fact, brent crude has dropped below $100 a barrel. it peaked back in june at $116 a barrel. why? well, the big question here is about oil demand. the u.s., of course, the biggest consumer of oil in the world, it's seen oil consumption drop from 21 million barrels a day to just over 18.5 million. european oil demand is falling, and more importantly, in china, normally seen as a massive oil guzzler, demand there has been falling because factory output and different economic activity that we've seen in china has actually been moving backwards. although today we have seen some different figures out from china's economy. >> has there been any volatility today? these strikes we only learned about in the last few hours. >> i've been keeping a close eye on the oil market. brent crude prices have risen above $97 a barrel. so we have seen a very small indication that the oil markets are responding to these attacks, but generally, actually, oil prices haven't really had a huge impact. what's been happening today
hasn't had a huge impact on the oil market. what we have seen, though, is we've seen demand falling throughout the region, and particularly in the u.s. and europe. and that's why oil prices have moved. so in effect, they're actually shrugging off the impact of today's strikes. >> very interesting, thanks a lot. we're just getting some pictures in that we just want to show you, and we know that the united states has employed 47 tomahawk missiles launched from two big navy ships, and these images have just come in to us. we know that they are operating from international waters in the red sea and the north arabian gulf, as well as of course the u.s. air force, navy, and marine corps fighters. these missile launching shots are just coming into us now. we know, of course, that these u.s. navy launches are being backed up very much by arab
governments, including bahrain, jordan, saudi, qatar, and the uae. but these are the first images we're getting of actual missile strikes, as the u.s. launches its attack on i.s. with mass support from some of the arab states. we're back in a few minutes for an update. sweetie. ♪ could it be i'm falling in love... ♪ (in an english accent) with your pea coat and your stomping around with your bobbies. is the audition to play a portuguese guy? no, british. you are really going for it. eyes are muscles too. with the best screen of any tablet, the new samsung galaxy tab s is the world's most entertaining device. get it now at samsung.com.
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[ garage door opening ] [ sighs ] honey, haven't i asked you to please use the -- we don't have a reception entrance. [ male announcer ] ship a pak via fedex express saver® for as low as $7.50. i'm geeta guru-murthy with bbc world news. our top stories. united states and its arab allies have launched the first air missile strikes against islamic state targets inside syria. the militants' stronghold of raqqa was hit, along with other targets which the pentagon says aimed to disrupt an imminent attack against western interests. within the last hour, syria says it received advance warning of the attacks in the form of a letter from the u.s. secretary of state. and jordan has confirmed to the bbc that their planes took part in the strikes.
bahrain, qatar, saudi arabia, and the united arab emirates have also been involved. hello, and welcome. the u.s. has launched a series of air and missile strikes against islslamic state targetsn syria. a jordanian government spokesman has confirmed that it's been involved in the attacks, telling me it was necessary to ensure the stability and security of jordo jordanian borders. others include saudi arabia, bahrain, qatar, and the united arab emirates. the targets hit include the eastern city up here of deir and
raqqa. the u.s. launched the strikes from warships in international waters, here in the red sea and over in the persian gulf. the first amateur footage is coming to us also now from the aftermath of the strikes. this has taken overnight, people showing us what they believe are remains of the missiles that has been fired, of course, on this territory. and this is the sort of scene that people are now waking up to today. let's get the very latest now from our correspondent in washington barbara plett usher. barbara, we had this statement just a couple of hours ago from the u.s. military, giving us quite a few details about this operation. >> yes. talking about two different aspects of the attack. first of all, saying that 14 strikes were carried out by the u.s. planes and warships firing
tomahawk missiles, together with five arab allies who participated in the air strikes or helped to support them. islamic state fighters, storage sites, command and control centers, vehicles, and that these were destroyed and damaged in the strikes. the statement also said the campaign in syria and iraq would continue, the air campaign would continue. and then secondly, the statement talked about separate strikes carried out just by u.s. forces against a group of al qaeda militants, that was using syria as a safe haven or as a base to plot imminent attacks against western interest and against the united states that this group was recruiting westerners to carry out these attacks, excerpting with explosives, and basically using this ungoverned space to have an international
global jihadi agenda, so the u.s. attacked those separately from the other strikes against islamic state. >> in terms of the legality, there's going to be a lot of argument about that. john kerry has been telling senators about the right of hot pursuit, giving the military the basis to go into iraq and syria. what about the political reaction that is going to unfold now across america? because the u.s. has almost switched sides, hasn't it? apparently we're hearing a letter delivered to the syrian government, warning them of these strikes. >> yeah, the americans have said all along that they don't want to cooperate with the syrian government in the fight against islamic state, because they consider the syrian government to be beyond the pale. it's lost legitimacy because of the violence it's carried out against its own citizens during the three-year civil war, but at the same time, washington doesn't want to have a conflict with the syrian government over this campaign against islamic state, so according to a goth statement in damascus, john
kerry did send a letter to the syrian s via an intermediary telling them the strikes would take place. the syrians said they got a few hours warning, and mentioned in a television statement that they supported any international effort against islamic extremists on their territory and they were coordinating closely with baghdad in any attempt to go after islamic state. so that suggests they are not going to raise a great deal of fuss, not only to the u.s., but in particular to the u.n. because president obama is heading to the u.n. for the u.n. general assembly, during which time he'll explain his campaign. he'll be putting forward the fact that he has support from the region, these five arab nations who have supported them. but he will also be getting opposition. we've seen the russians have said it's not good enough just to notify the sovereign state that you're going to carry out
attacks in your country, you have to get agreement, you have to get consent, you have to operate within the bounds of international law. >> we'll see what the u.s. reaction is as america wakes up. thanks for staying with us through the early hours, barbara. we're going to go now to beirut and our correspondent there. can you give us any sense of the reaction there to what we've seen in the last few hours? >> officially, the government hasn't issued any reaction to what happened overnight in syria. but i've been speaking to some refugees, syrian refugees in lebanon. most of them were extremely skeptical about what happened. they didn't feel that this would make a big difference to their day-to-day life. this will get them back home. they were also skeptical that any solution to their suffering might come from the americans, or that isis can be defeated by
military means only. >> obviously, there's going to be a very split opinion, but is there a sense that air strikes would be enough? because we've heard repeated refusals of the idea of sending in ground troops. what about the fact that there is this arab coalition in support? >> syria has become for many, they told me, as a proxy war between different parties. and the partners of the u.s. and these strikes are also -- they are -- the people are divided as to whether these countries might be wanting some goods for syria or seeking their own interests in syria. therefore, the syrians i spoke to were extremely lost about how to assess what's happening in they're k their country and whether this might lead to any positive result towards the situation over there. >> and it's impossible to sum up, but would you say generally
there's still a huge suspicion of any u.s. intervention in the region? because obama's been very reluctant to go in. we've seen that. fearful of reprisals. fearful of this hostile reaction. >> well, exactly. this is what the syrians have been telling me. they are not very optimistic about this intervention. they've been telling me about some ulterior motives behind this military action in syria. they ask me why now. they've been asking for some assistance for years, and it didn't come. why now? why obama has decided to interfere at this point, and is it too late for the good of syria itself for the conservation of the unity of syria, or is it going to make things worse? >> many thanks indeed. syria's foreign minister says it had been given prior notice of the strikes from the united states. this is how it was confirmed on
syrian state television just a short while ago. >> translator: yesterday, the foreign minister received a letter from his american counterpart john kerry via the iraqi foreign minister, in which he informed him that the united states would target a terrorist group isis in syria. the ministry said that syria would continue to attack isis in raqqa, deir al-zour, and other areas, through coordination with the most and directly affected countries. >> i spoke to a jordanian government spokesperson and he explained his government's involvement in the u.s. air strikes. >> military forces, or airplanes, strikes on the positions of isis inside the syrian borders.
and we actually are taking acti action. attempts to attack our borders, and the inability of the neighboring countries from stopping them from attacking our borders. we will continue this effort. we will take whatever steps necessary in order to target the positions of the terrorist organization isis. and to stop them. >> can you tell me exactly what aircraft are being used by jordan and how many aircraft are being used? >> ma'am, all military details will be -- and military officials will announce them according to their decision. what we are seeing at this point
is that our airplanes are targeting the positions of isis. we're not going to talk about any military details at this point. we will release any necessary information as we see fit. >> that is a jordanian government spokesman just telling me a little bit about the jordanian government position clarifying exactly their role in this assault. we just want to show you the latest pictures released by the pentagon. this is an image of missiles being launched by the u.s. navy, and to carry out these strikes, we know that the u.s. has employed 47 tomahawk missiles launched from the uss, they are operating from international waters in the red sea and the north arabian gulf. of course, missiles also being launched from the u.s. air force, the navy, and the marine fighter, remotely piloted and
bomber aircraft deployed to the u.s. central command. and these images from the u.s. military, as you can see, shows the very first pictures of the air strikes launched on syria. not only, of course, by the u.s., but with military support and political backing for bahrain, jordan, saudi arabia, qatar, and the uae. i'm joined now by an associate fellow at the royal united services institute, or rusi. this is a formidable alliance. how surprising is it that the u.s. has been calling for the support of these arab nations, but we've also got potential cooperation with iran, and previous foes now coming onboard to take on i.s., it seems. >> it's a huge coup that the united states has managed to rally a whole number of sunni allies to counter isis. in 2007, having the sunni alliance was essential in
petraeus's counterinsurgency strategy. the sunni on the ground, they felt reassured that u.s. presence would be maintained to undermine and counter al qaeda. today, it's very important that we maintain that support of the sunnis, and there is a danger that the iranian membership of the alliance could perhaps undermine that sunni support. >> we saw a statement yesterday saying that the saudi and iranians, there has been some sort of discussion. and also, what about the actual role of these arab sunni states? do we know precisely what they're doing? we heard from the jordanian spokesman. what about the others? >> currently we don't know exactly the role that these arab countries have forged for themselves, but we need to understand that these arab states are increasingly willing to take the initiative. just the other month, the uae took the initiative in libya, and the very fact that america haven't been so involved in the
region, had to a degree withdrawn from the region, that demonstrates an increasing willingness on the part of gulf states to intervene. >> but aren't the gulf states fairly accused of facing at least two directions at the same time? because there have been a lot of speculative reports, that at least individuals within countries like qatar and saudi are funding, supporting. turkey also, of course, supporting i.s. for their own political cause, and now, of course, they're being involved in this alliance. but there are different elements at play within the countries. >> you're 100% right, and i think as part of this alliance, the united states is going to have to calibrate its approach and coordinate very closely with allies, so there won't be a duplicitous role, on one hand to counter the isis fighters on the ground. on the other hand, to allow individuals from those regimes to fund them. >> i mean, what's it say actually that we see this huge
apparent coalition, even a statement from russia yesterday saying potentially they might cooperate in some way. what does it say about the perceived threat of jihadist groups like i.s.? >> look, i.s. is clearly targeting gulf regimes as well. they want to undermine gulf monarchies. they perceive them as illegitimate. so when you look at the uae and saudi arabia, they share exactly the same strategic interests as the united states. the problem that the united states has is, it's only beginning to formulate the strategy in that it's targeting isis members in iraq and syria and it's very key that it targets syria, because 2/3 of isis fighters are based in syria. >> what about -- we're seeing the missile strikes. we know, sadly, we are going to see images of civilian casualties. when pictures of children and women who are innocently killed
come in, in muslim countries on the television sets, how are those countries going to still maintain support for this military attack? >> well, these gulf states are going to have to appreciate the fact that either -- you know, war is tragic. and you do have collateral damage. you do have civilian casualties. and that is part of war. and it's tragic. the choice that they face is to avoid that, or -- and in turn to allow isis to spread its tentacles and effectively target gulf regimes. the spread that isis has had over the last couple months has been exponential due to their funding capability. it's not only the fact that you've got wealthy gulf individuals funding isis. >> so why hasn't saudi and qatar been worried about the threat to their own instability at the beginning? >> they have been worried about it, but they wanted american leadership. the real question you should be asking is why did it take america so long to actually
upshore sort of pro-western moderate syrian opposition members? why did it allow better funding to go to the radical ones, allowing them to be a more appealing alternative for islamists? the problem that america has is it doesn't have a rollback strategy for isis. while it's targeting using air power alone, what's to say that isis can't regain the initiative or the assad regime can regain the initiative. or other islamists. and you're going to need to have greatest ground troops in order to achieve that. >> there are so many questions about how long this all plays out for. many thanks indeed. >> thank you. there is much more, of course, at our website. you've got all the latest developments, plus background and analysis. it's incredibly complex picture, of course. there is also the latest video that we're getting in to the newsroom that we're putting up online for you, and you can join the discussion. please do let us know your views. if you have any information, please do share it with us.
bbc.com/news. do stay with us here at "bbc world news." much more to come. we are going to look at a couple of other stories, too. a school with no classes or students. we'll hear how this school along with many in pakistan came to house hundreds of police officers. listen up, thunder dragons, it's time to get a hotel. hey, razor. check this out. we can save big with priceline express deals. hey you know what man, these guys aint no dragons. they're cool. these deals are legit. yeah, we're cool. she's cool. we're cool. priceline express deals really are legit.
hello. this is "bbc world news." i'm geeta guru-murthy with the top stories today. the united states and its arab allies have launched air and missile strikes for the first time against islamic state militants in syria. the militants' stronghold of raqqa was hit along with other targets which the pentagon says aimed to disrupt an imminent attack against western interests. one of france's citizens has been kidnapped in algeria.
a video on the internet is genuine and the islamic state was behind it. the kidnappers want france to end its attacks against islamic state in iraq. it's not involved in syria at the moment. lucy williamson gave me more details on this kidnapping. >> well, we think that it happened on sunday. the kidnappers released a video, as you mentioned there on yesterday, on monday, and in it, the hostage appears to put forward the kidnapper's demands, as you said there, that france should stop its involvement in the campaign against islamic state. france has said it will -- in fact, it has started to carry out air strikes against the group in iraq, though it said it won't send ground troops, it won't get involved in syria. it has begun carrying out the air strikes in iraq and that seemingly is what's prompted this threat from the kidnappers. >> of course, the french government line is that there will be no negotiation. there will be no handing any kind of victory to islamic
state, but of course, there has been all sorts of discussion in recent weeks about which countries do negotiate, try and rescue those who are taken hostage. >> that's right, and there's an awful lot of pressure. there's a lot of reports here saying that the kidnappers are giving the french government 24 hours before they carry out their threat to kill their hostage. the french prime minister has told radio -- french radio station that the french government will have no discussion, no negotiation with the kidnapper. we don't give in to blackmail. if you give them an inch, you hand them victory. that has been the government line for a long time. there has been wide speculation that third countries or proxies perhaps get involved, and help to secure the release of some hostages in the past. but the details of that are not completely clear, and certainly the french government has always held to its line that it does not pay ransom, it does not engage in prison exchanges. >> lucy williamson on the
hostage crisis, reporting to us from paris. other news today, the israeli military says it has shot down a syrian aircraft which it said flew into israeli controlled air space. the statement said the plane was brought down by a patriot air defense missile. syria confirmed that one of its fighter jets have been brought down, calling it an act of aggression by israel. the israeli army says it's killed two palestinians suspected of involvement in the kidnapping and killing of three israeli teenagers in june. the kidnapping triggered tensions with hamas, culminating in the gaza conflict, which more than 2,200 people lost their lives in 50 days of fighting. an israeli army spokesman said the men were killed in an exchange of fire in the west bank. hong kong students have taken their protests to government offices in the center of the city. thousands boycotted classes to protest against china's plans to vet candidates for the next election in 2017. scuffles broke out as a group of students rushed toward the
country's chief executive as he came out of a government building. weeks after the start of the term in pakistan, many state schools in the capital islamabad are still closed, leaving thousands of peoples with nowhere to study. many of the schools have been taken over by police, drafted in to deal with the ongoing political contest, and that, of course, is bad news for students and teachers. our correspondent went to one school that's been affected. >> reporter: armed police at the entrance of a school. not an everyday sight, even for islamabad. instead of students coming for their lessons every day, this school is now home to thousands of officers. they've been bussed in from hundreds of miles away. the courtyard where the children would normally have their assemblies is now used to dry the washing. the head mistress shows me around. desks have been taken out of classes and stacked in big
piles. having more than a thousand policemen here has taken its toll, both on the school and the students. >> i just want it to be open, my school to be open. i want it to open. and the students to come. >> so you want them to go? >> i want them to leave as soon as possible. i want them to leave as soon as possible. and if they have to stay in islamabad, they should find some other place. they should leave the schools. >> reporter: after a long shift on the streets, it's down time for these men. many of them have spent weeks away from home. and want the protests to be over so they can return to their families. we're in the school auditorium and this is normally where children come for school conc t concerts and plays, but instead, i'm surf rounded by off duty policemen. this has been turned into a makeshift living quarters for them. they sleep here, live here, and they always have their riot gear next to them, ready for action.
this local journalist has come to pay school fees for lessons his daughter hasn't received. >> you can imagine for the last five to six weeks, from there are about 40 colleges and schools that have been closed. we are very concerned. >> reporter: are you angry? >> yes, i am angry. why they have put the future of the children. >> reporter: for a country with some of the worst education rates inhe with some of the worst education rates in the world, pakistan can't afford for any of its schools to be shut for long. let me just remind you of our top story, and show you the latest pictures that we've had into the newsroom here. these are the missile strikes by the u.s. from the arabian gulf u.s. navy. of course, launching these
strikes. 47 tomahawk missiles launched from two carriers there in international waters in the red sea and the north arabian gulf. support from bahrain, saudi, qatar, and the uae. these are pictures of the aftermath of one of those strikes. this is "bbc world news." i'm geeta guru-murthy. (vo) you are a business pro. maestro of project management. baron of the build-out. you need a permit... to be this awesome. and you...rent from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle... and go. and only national is ranked highest in car rental customer satisfaction by j.d. power. (aaron) purrrfect. (vo) meee-ow, business pro. meee-ow.
hello. you're watching "gmt" on "bbc world news." i'm lucy hockings. our top stories, the campaign to degrade and destroy islamic state. president obama delivers on his promise and launches strikes on i.s. targets in syria. 14 early morning coordinated strikes launched from the gulf. five arab allies now joining the fight. the in