Skip to main content

tv   BBC News  BBC News  January 4, 2020 12:00am-12:31am GMT

12:00 am
this is bbc news. i'm lewis vaughan jones. our top stories: president trump defends the killing of iran's top military commander in an airstrike. the us says general qasem soleimani was actively plotting an attack and their decision saved hundreds of american lives, but washington is not looking for regime change. we took action last night to stop a war. we did not take action to start a war. as iran vows revenge, tens of thousands of iranians take to the streets in protest.
12:01 am
hello and welcome to bbc news. iran has vowed ‘severe revenge‘ against the united states after the killing of iranian military commander qasem soleimani. he was blown up outside baghdad airport in the early hours of friday morning, on the orders of president trump. us officials say the general had been plotting to kill americans in the region. iranian leaders have called the killing an ‘act of international terrorism'. the pentagon is sending an extra 3,500 troops to the region. here's our middle east editorjeremy bowen. this was the moment that the us assassinated qasem soleimani and pushed the middle east into a new year and new decade of uncertainty and more danger. the pictures came from a tv station controlled by iran. the attack, from a missile fired from a drone, hit his motorcade as he was being driven
12:02 am
out of baghdad airport. the us and iran were already fighting a war in the shadows. neither side wants uncontrolled escalation, but the chances of miscalculation and a lurch into a bigger war have increased. qasem soleimani was no ordinary foe. for a generation, he was probably america's most capable enemy. his death delivers a blow to the heart of the iranian regime. for many years, soleimani built up iran's power outside its borders and made it, and himself, a major player in iraq, syria and lebanon. he was a talisman for iranian hardliners who have been rocked to their core. they'll want to get even — perhaps more than that. last sunday, american air strikes killed 25 members of kata'ib hezbollah, an iraqi militia armed and trained by soleimani's quds organisation, after an american contractor was killed in a militia attack. the militiamen, undoubtedly on soleimani's orders, marched on the us embassy in baghdad and attacked its perimeter.
12:03 am
the militias he created were a vital part of the fight against thejihadists of islamic state but they are also one way that iran projects power abroad. the huge american compound is a fortress and it wasn't breached but the attacks goaded and threatened the trump administration. the americans are rushing in reinforcements to the middle east — 3,750 so far. us civilians told by their government to get out as soon as they can. but trump wanted to press home an american advantage. his reign of terror is over. soleimani has been perpetrating acts of terror to destabilise the middle east for
12:04 am
the last 20 years. what the united states did yesterday should have been done long ago. we took action last night to stop a war. we did not take action to start a war. in baghdad, some iraqis celebrated the killing. for weeks, anti—government demonstrators have been demanding an end to iranian influence in iraq. in tehran, ayatollah ali khamenei, iran's supreme leader, visited qasem soleimani's widow. he said severe revenge awaits the criminals. iranian hardliners are devastated. the spokesman for soleimani's republican guard corps was highly emotional in a tv interview. so were regime supporters on the streets. qasem soleimani was their hero at a time when they see themselves surrounded by enemies.
12:05 am
iran was already under severe pressure from us sanctions. president trump might be gambling that he has so weakened iran that it will rage but not hurt the us badly. that assumption could be dangerous and wrong. jeremy bowen, bbc news. a short time ago, iran's foreign minister has condemned the killing of qasem soleimani. speaking to a persian tv channel, mohammad zarif said his country will respond to the attack. translation: iran has the right to retaliate in whatever way it wants to and whenever it retaliate in whatever way it wants to and whenever it feels retaliate in whatever way it wants to and whenever it feels it retaliate in whatever way it wants to and whenever it feels it is retaliate in whatever way it wants to and whenever it feels it is the right time. we will not be blood held by the americans. we will act however and whenever a leadership wa nts. so iran is vowing to avenge
12:06 am
general soleimani's death. what kind of retaliation could there be? here's our chief international correspondent lyse doucet. well, iran has many ways and many means to strike back and judging by its past military operations, its response will be carefully calibrated. it will want to be seen to reply in equal measure to what it has described as a declaration of war. but it wants to avoid a direct military confrontation with the united states, which it knows could push this region into an ever more unpredictable and deadly escalation. so its next move could possibly be through some of its many proxies across this region, possibly in iraq where there are us forces, us targets, where i am now in afghanistan where us forces are also based. but given iran's vast intelligence network, could also ta ke intelligence network, could also take place in another corner of the world, farfrom take place in another corner of the world, far from iran's take place in another corner of the world, farfrom iran's borders. but iran will want to have an operation
12:07 am
which shocked and surprises at a time of its own choosing, which stops short of an all—out war. but the repercussions of this major turning point answer a question of days, weeks, or even months, this will play out across this region for many years. since confirming the attack, the us has stressed that with qassem suleimani dead, american lives are safer. i spoke with professor of middle east studies narges bajoghlie and asked her whether she thinks that is the case. no, most definitely not. why's that? right now with this action the united states killed one of iran's most powerful military figures in the country and that means, along with the deputy, one of iran's most powerful paramilitary groups in the region, so that means that american troops in iraq and personnel in the
12:08 am
region will be potential targets. but this is a huge symbolic figure, both in iran and around the world and the trump administration will feel that by removing this threat they have done theirjob. but symbolism goes both ways. symbolism also can, you know, prove that it can make people move to action within the iran and within the region in order to revenge and to have virgins for qasem soleimani's killing. so what do you think happens next? it's really difficult to tell, because some of the forces that are allied to iran could have attacks on their own without necessarily the approval of iran. it will be difficult to figure out what will be difficult to figure out what will happen at the point if that happens first. iran will probably ta ke happens first. iran will probably take its time to respond to an action like this and it will be
12:09 am
patient in responding and try to make it a large response, but one that will not have direct repercussions for the homeland within iran itself. so it's very difficult to tell what the short—term consequences of this are going to be, but the long—term consequences are going to be more violence in the region. some more violence in the region. some more violence in the region. some more violence in the region. just give us an idea of the power structures here. he was obviously a key figure, now he's gone. what kind of impact does that have on things like decision—making, how things are organised, and what happens? one thing that i think folks misunderstand when it comes to the revolution regard and iran's decision—making structure in general in iran is that the revolution regard functions more on an ad hoc leadership structure that goes back to its founding in the war of the 19805. to its founding in the war of the 1980s. in that war iran had to fight an asymmetrical war against iraq
12:10 am
that was supported by the united states and western powers of the time. that fighting an asymmetrical warfare, which then then they have perfected, has meant that they are very well versed in having a leadership structure that relies on many groups of men to make decisions, notjust one at the top such as qasem soleimani. so him being gone is a blow to iran, however he was not the only one who had relationships with these armed sheer groups in lebanon and iraq and many other places. and the reason he is not the only one to do strategic and military actions in those areas either —— scheer will stop narges bajoghlie. they want to bring you some breaking news from iraq. in the past few hours iraqi media says there has been another airstrike. this time targeting a convoy of vehicles belonging to an iranian backed militia.
12:11 am
it happened late on friday night on a road north of baghdad. with me is the bbc‘s rich preston. what more do we know about this? very little verified information out there, lewis. this information is coming from iraqi state media and it says a us airstrike targeted a convoy of vehicles belonging to a group known as the popular mobilisation force. that's an umbrella group of iranian backed militia. and that that happened just north of the iraqi capital, baghdad. asi north of the iraqi capital, baghdad. as i said, very limited information to go on, which is verified, reports are this happened at 12 minutes past one in the morning local time and that six people were killed. there had been some names put out there, but nothing we can confirm as yet. we are watching. i know you will be keeping across that are bringing us more details as we get them. for the moment, thank you. you can find much more about this story on our website, including more information about qasem soleimani and why the us decided to kill him. just log on to
12:12 am
to australia now, more than a thousand people have been safely evacuated by navy ships from the town of mallacoota which has been surrounded by wildfires. the prime minister scott morrison says his country is entering a critical few days, with more extreme fire conditions forecast for this weekend. there are now scores of fires burning across new south wales and victoria, fuelled by soaring temperatures and high winds. from new south wales, our correspondent shaimaa khalil reports now from sussex inlet, just over a hundred miles south of sydney. for the first time in days, nearly a thousand tourists and residents can breathe a little more easily as they're finally moved to safety. the navy has stepped in to rescue those who were stranded on the beach in mallacoota when they were encircled by an uncontrollable fire on monday. a state of disaster has been declared in eastern victoria ahead
12:13 am
of tomorrow's extreme conditions. up to 100,000 residents are being told to evacuate. if you can leave, you must leave. that is the only safe thing for you, yourfamily, and, indeed, for others who may be called to your assistance. we cannot guarantee your safety. in new south wales, the message is the same. fire authorities have said that saturday's blazes could be as bad as, if not worse, than those of new year's eve. in the coastal town of batemans bay, firefighters are racing to protect those who have decided to stay. despite the warnings, geoff and pamela zorbas decided they are not leaving their small town of sussex inlet. hopefully it's not going to be as bad as they're predicting but we've got the hoses ready and we just hose the house down if the embers come. and if the fires do hit hard, we've got a boat here. we're going tojump in the boat and we're going to get out to sea.
12:14 am
i'lljust take the family and the dogs and away we go. jay martin is also staying put to defend his house and help friends and neighbours. he tells me the anticipation of disaster is what worries him. waiting. that's the hardest part. we've been at it for two weeks and it's just waiting. and there's people doing it a lot tougher than me. i've just been waiting and helping out, just getting through tomorrow and hope it all passes and we get a bit of rain on monday. a blaze has just started on the bush in this area, just beyond that tree line. firefighters are watching closely here. their concern is that, with the wind picking up, this could travel very fast and get here. they've been patrolling the area and making sure that properties are protected. that's really the main aim. politically, this has been a rough ride for the prime minister, who's been regularly criticised for how he has handled the bushfire crisis. and it's notjust the residents who have made their feelings clear. i don't really want to shake your hand.
12:15 am
scott morrison said he understood the anger but was focusing on the task in hand. 0ur concerns are obviously now looking out over the next sort of 2a, 48—hour period. this is a ferocious fire that is still out there and the climatic conditions are going to be very difficult to contain that in the next 2a to 48 hours. that is why the evacuation messages are so incredibly important. there is a real sense of dread here about what will happen in these coming hours. at a time when many had planned family holidays, australians now wait for yet another firestorm to blaze through. shaimaa khalil, bbc news, on the southern coast of new south wales. let me show you some extraordinary pictures from australia of a fire tornado. it was filmed on kangaroo island off the coast of southern australia, where an emergency warning has been issued. it is feared bushfires threaten to consume the entire national park. residents have been warned fires could move frighteningly quickly on saturday because of the extreme weather conditions.
12:16 am
stay with us on bbc news. still to come: the killing of qasem soleimani is the hot topic on the us campaign trail. how will it affect the presidential election? we'll have the latest from washington. the japanese people are in mourning following the death of emperor hirohito. thousands converged on the imperial palace to pay their respects when it was announced he was dead. good grief! after half a century of delighting fans around the world, charlie brown and the rest of the gang are calling it quits. the singer paul simon starts his tour of south africa tomorrow in spite of protests and violence from some black activist groups. they say international artists should continue to boycott south africa
12:17 am
until majority rule is established. teams were trying to scoop up lumps of oil, as france recognises it faces an ecological crisis. three weeks ago, the authorities confidently assured these areas that oil from the broken tanker erika would head out to sea. it didn't. the world's tallest skyscraper opens later today. the burj dubai has easily overtaken its nearest rivals. this is bbc news — the latest headlines: president trump defends the killing of iran's top military commander qasem soleimani — insisting that washington is not looking for regime change. iran's supreme leader has vowed "severe revenge" on those responsible for the death of the iranian general. let's get more now
12:18 am
on the assasination on general soleimani. at a rally in florida, president trump claimed qasem soleimani was plotting "a very major attack," having earlier said us diplomats and military faced an "imminent and sinister" threat. last night at my direction the united states military executed a flawless strike that terminated the terrorist ringleader responsible for gravely wounding and murdering thousands and thousands of people and hundreds and hundreds at least, of americans. qasem soleimani has been killed and his cloud he rampages now forever gone. “— killed. he was plotting attacks
12:19 am
against americans but now we have ensured that his atrocities have been stopped for good, they are stopped for good. i don't know if you know what was happening but he was planning a very major attack and we got him. we are a peaceloving nation and my administration remains firmly committed to establishing peace and harmony among the nations in the world, we do not seek war, we do not seek nationbuilding, we do not seek regime change, but as president, i will never hesitate to defend the safety of the american people, you. with more reaction and the very latest from the united states, here's our north america correspondent david willis. condemnation, you had a bit of its power, from all the major democratic contenders. joe biden, the former vice president, saying the strike on qasem soleimani hard, as he put it,
12:20 am
tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox. there has been a lot of calls from democrats about some articulation of a bigger plan going forward , articulation of a bigger plan going forward, as far as dealing with iran is concerned. president trump, at an evangelical rally in florida a short while ago, repeated his assertion that the american strike on qasem soleimani was a flawless strike, as he put it, and he added that qasem soleimani had been planning what he called a major attack on us diplomats and military personnel in the region. the united states, though, has yet to provide intelligence to support that claim. it isa intelligence to support that claim. it is a claim but was also made by the secretary of state, mike pompeo. but despite calls from some on capitol hill for precisely that, there have been, of course, some concerns expressed as well among those on capitol hill, but there was no advance warning of this attack
12:21 am
that killed qasem soleimani. and in the past, david, donald trump has criticised other presidents for getting involved in foreign conflicts and says that he very much does not want to do that. but the steps he seems to be taking here do not seem to marry up with that, or is he insisting that actually, this will not go any further? well, it is interesting, isn't it, because this isa man interesting, isn't it, because this is a man who was elected on a promise of pulling out of wars, major wars, that he felt the united states had no real interest in in other parts of the world, withdrawing troops and bringing people home. well, here he is deploying more troops, the pentagon now saying that an additional 3000 are being deployed to the middle east on top of the more than 10,000 that are in the middle east region. and we have a president, i think now, he was attempting to say, well,
12:22 am
let's put a lid on this, we are not seeking war with iran, we are seeking war with iran, we are seeking peace, but it remains to be seen of course, to big concern is how the iranians will regard all of this. will they seek to retaliate? lots of concerns that there could be retaliation directed at us troops in the region, and even here on the mainland where the police chiefs of new york and los angeles, among others, have said that they are tightening security, lewis. the un secretary general antonio guterres has called for world leaders to exercise maximum restraint after general solemaini's death. he says the world can't afford another war in the region. his warning comes amid fears the latest government offensive in the syrian province idlib could lead to another humanitarian catastrophe. more than 235,000 people have been displaced in the past three weeks. the syrian regime has been advancing into the province in stages, pushing up from the south in what appears to be an effort to capture strategic motorways.
12:23 am
residents are fleeing north, to the border with turkey and other parts of northern syria. barbara plett usher reports. the bums have been folding relentlessly. —— bombs. this is a particularly brutal offensive in syria's long war. regime forces backed by russia are pounding the last stronghold of the armed opposition. they insisted they are targeting islamist extremists who lead the rebels, but are making no effort to spare civilians. striking homes, hospitals, markets, women, children. nine—year—old fatimah survived the bombing of her home. so did her 11—year—old sister, islan,
12:24 am
who was also trapped in the rubble. rescue workers tried to clear —— free her legs, but a secondary explosion sent them ducking for cover. eventually they pulled her to safety. the girls' mother died in the attack. a new tide of people have led the advance of the government, emptying towns and villages in southern italy. many had already been uprooted by fighting in other parts of syria. for some, this is the fifth, even—tempered time on the road. and it is the worst time of year, especially for those who have not found refuge with relatives. camps near syria's border with turkey are overcrowded, already filled by those displaced from previous regime attacks in italy. conditions were bad and will probably get worse. translation: we became homeless. we left with the clothes on our back. we can't do anything. we have no money. no heating. we have nothing. across the
12:25 am
border, turkey used to be a refuge for syria's homeless, but it says it can't afford to take any more. abdul arrived in istanbul more than three yea rs arrived in istanbul more than three years ago. he works for an opposition radio station broadcasting into rebel held areas. his family was among those who fled to the intensive bombing. and before we go, a reminder of our top story. president trump says the killing of qasem salemeini is meant to prevent a war, not start a war.
12:26 am
mr trump ordered the pre—dawn attacked that killed the iranian military leader. tehran has vowed "severe revenge" for his death. us officials have said 3,000 additional troops will be sent to the middle east as a precaution. the us state department has urged americans to leave iraq immediately for their own safety. to pay their respects when it was announced he was dead. flamini wasa flamini was a better day. more sunshine around that we have seen this year. we can see this from the weather watch pictures sent in from cambridgeshire. a beautiful afternoon with not a cloud in the sky. let's look at friday's weather in more detail. there was the early morning cloud that eased away. clear skies behind. to some shallow cloud from the strengthening winds into the far north. with those clear skies continuing overnight it means a chilly start to our saturday morning. low single figures in the south—east. a touch of light frost in sheltered rural parts as well.
12:27 am
but saturday is shaping up to be a reasonable day as high pressure builds from the south. across the top of the high we have these weak weather front ‘s and always a bit more of a breeze with the isobars are squeezing together. generally speaking, it's not looking like a bad weekend at all. so sheltered eastern areas lapsing the best of the brightness. some sunshine across eastern scotland and england. the cloud they can offer to the west for a spot or two of drizzle. into the far north west with that weather front not too far away. may be more persistent showery rain and strengthening winds. temperatures at around 8— 10 degrees. that's done what we have seen of late. not too bad for this time of year. as we move out of saturday into sunday the high pressure starting to drift off into the near continent. again these weather fronts creeping in across the top of the high and again those isobars still a feature. the winds will strengthen and start to swing around to more of a south—easterly direction on sunday. again always the risk of more cloud along west
12:28 am
facing coasts. they can offer drizzle, more persistent rain into the far north west. again sheltered south and eastern areas seeing some sunshine and temperatures at around 9- 12 sunshine and temperatures at around 9— 12 degrees is a high. as we move out of sunday into the start of the new working week we have to look high up into the atmosphere. the jet stream. it looks as though it will turn into quite a powerfuljet. that will be responsible for driving areas of low pressure across the uk. so it does look as though we are set foran so it does look as though we are set for an unsettled spell of weather at the start of a new working week. not one weather front to sweep through only to be replaced by another. it looks as though it will be wet and increasingly windy with plenty of isobars on the charts. potentially on tuesday quite a stormy spell with gales likely and some of that rain quite heavy. enjoy the weekend, if you can.
12:29 am
12:30 am
this is bbc news. the headlines: president trump says the us killed iran's top military commander, qasem soleimani, to stop a war — not to start one. in a televised address, mr trump said the us had killed the number one terrorist in the world. he said soleimani had been plotting imminent attacks. the iranian government said it would retaliate against what it called an act of international terrorism by the united states at a time and place of its choosing. many world leaders have said the killing of general soleimani could lead to serious consequences for regional and global security. the new south wales fire commissioner has warned saturday will be a long and difficult day for everybody as bushfires continue to burn out of control. there's been a similar warning from the fire chief in victoria as australia faces possibly its worst day yet in a summer of wildfires. now on bbc news another
12:31 am
chance to see a remarkable film about family.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on