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tv   Around the World  CNN  August 29, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PDT

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welcome to this special hour in the crisis in syria. we would like to welcome our viewers here in the united states as well as those watching from around the world. i am suzanne malveaux. >> i am richard quest in for michael. >> we are following fast moving developments as the drum beat for military strikes is met by growing demands for caution now. >> "around the world" moment by moment, we're seeing new twists and turns in this crisis, so we are again devoting the entire hour to it and you will know all the angles and crucially how you may be directly impacted. at the moment u.n. weapon inspectors are back out collecting evidence from one of the neighborhoods where perhaps more than 1,000 people were massacred. "new york times" reports american officials say there is no smoking gun that directly
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lin links iowa shar al-assad to the attacks. the president is expected on a conference call today to brief high ranking members of congress about his plans for syria. >> military hardware is on the move. britain is deploying a half dozen war planes to cyprus that is just off syria's coast and russia is moving two war ships into the mediterranean. add to that the british government made its case for launching a strike on syria. britain says it could attack without authorization from the united nations, justifying the use of force based on humanitarian grounds. >> when we look at the frankly relatively brief document, a page and a half from the british government, it is quite clear, isn't it? it doesn't need further authorization other than by parliament to go into the fighting. >> reporter: other than by parliament is a big caveat. a number of members of the
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opposition and also within david cameron's own conservative party have said they want to wait for more evidence and this is why while they're debating it today, it will take a second vote authorize military action. many members still want to hear the evidence of what intelligence there actually is. they did put out an intelligence assessment earlier today and one of the key phrases in that is what we have in the first graph saying, quote, it is at least 350 people died in that august 21st attack and saying it is not possible for the opposition to have carried out a chemical weapons attack on this scale, the regime used chemical weapons on a smaller scale on at least 14 occasions in the past and there is some intelligence to suggest regime culpability in the attack and this makes it highly likely the syrian regime was responsible and that sounds like something strong, but that report doesn't actually detail what exactly the intelligence and the evidence is and without that, members of parliament here
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say they're not willing to authorize any sort of military action just yet. >> and what do we think is the timetable here? we know president obama is going to be headed to the g20 summit in st. petersburg and cameron as well involved in those discussions. is there a definitive timetable where they see a window to strike or could this be put off for weeks perhaps? >> there is no definitive timetable, but what we do know is that for many lawmakers it is dependent on what the u.n. inspectors say and they will be leaving on saturday. does that mean we're going to have a definitive answer on saturday? really it is up to the u.n. nop orz, what evidence they gathered and when they're ready to present that evidence. that's what it really hinges on. at least in terms of britain's involvement. >> thank you so much. richard, interestingly enough, it was the former prime minister tony blair who got a lot of flack as you know for supporting the iraq war and president bush being called bush's poodle and i
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imagine there is some public opinion that fits into all of this as well. how does he come out on top of all of this? >> time and again there was huge discussion, listening to toads to the debate in parliament, and in very much the skepticism of what we're talking about this later in the hour, the skepticism that exists over any form of call for action based on supposed reports which people haven't seen. >> it is all about the intelligence and one thing is clear, the british prime minister is on the same page with president obama regarding syria and the british leader is also emphasizing he says this is not another iraq but touched on both of those points during his speech to parliament and you can see there is a certain defensiveness about this. >> barack obama is a man who opposed the action in iraq. no one could in any way describe him as a president who wants to involve america in more wars in the middle east. he profoundly believes an important red line has been
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crossed in an appalling way and that's why he supports action in this case. >> again, iraq coming into the forefold and the u.s. has direct interest and what happens in syria and what happens there affects the price of oil, also military involvement and hitting military families already stretched thin from more than a decade of war in afghanistan and iraq and what is done in syria could hurt or help u.s. enemies and the allies in the region. want to bring in barbara starr that joins us from the pentagon and elise abbott from the state department. barbara, we'll start off with you. the president promises in what he says is limited tailored approach, a clear and limit way of sending a shot across the bow saying stop doing this. can the military afford another mission, even a limited one? >> well, i think there is no question that they can. i don't think it is really going to affect military families at all. this is going to be if it is ordered a cruise missile strike, no just troops on the ground and navy ships out in the eastern
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mediterranean that would be on deployment anyhow. the capability is there. the money is there. what we're talking about is something that will last we are told just potentially a couple of days. the president making very clear he is not interested in an on going military action. this will be very focussed and aimed, they hope, at deterring syria from using this chemical weapons, the big question is will it work? there are a lot of skepticism about whether such a limited strike would deter assad from doing anything. >> and want to bring in elise. talk about the potential proxy war in the region. if the u.s. strikes syria, is it possible that we simply shake the hornet's nest and syria's allies become emboldened by u.s. action and syria turns to iran for more financial and military support and u.s. allies being weakened, the possibility that syria will retaliate against israel? >> well, i think, suzanne, that was the reluctance all along by
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this administration, not to get involved in syria. i think right now syrian forces are pretty occupied with the civil war and going on in the country, but certainly iran could retaliate, not just against israel but u.s. gulf allies in the region and ties are very strained and also against u.s. citizens in the region. the u.s. calls iran one of the biggest state sponsors of terrorism, and i think there is also a concern that if there is more chaos in syria, the extremist groups will exploit this and use it as a safe haven for terrorism, and then there is a concern that there could draw the u.s. into a larger conflict israel and so when you say hornet's nest, i think that's exactly what it is which has been the reluctance all along. >> and there are those who say it is all about oil and the economy. i am looking over and i can see the dow jones industrials up 80 points, so besides the wobble
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earlier in the week, the dow has recovered most of or a large part of its losses which suggests what, mary bell? >> it suggests, richard, that we're still in the green and possibly syria, the impact of syria and not jumping in is really not having impact in the markets, but want to be clear, richard. it can have an impact on your money, the situation there driving up the cost of oil all week. crude rising to its highest level in two years, and on fear that is the unrest in syria could ripple to its big oil producing neighbors like iraq, like iran, and saudi arabia and i think the better question might be will that trickle down to the gas pump, and the good news is that any rise in gas prices could actually be temporary. experts say the longer term trend is down and the turmoil is happening at the time of year when the end of summer vacations means fewer americans driving and also, too, refiners are switching to cheaper winter blends.
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any rise you see is not expected to last long and it is not just oil. syria, let's turn back to stocks, wall street hates uncertainty and stocks did sell off on worries about if and when u.s. military would take action on monday and tuesday alone the dow lost 235 points, but again that may have been just a temporary bite in your 401(k) because stocks are still way up, suzanne and richard. >> thank you. >> and president obama says he has not yet made a final decision on using military action against syria. he is convinced the assad regime gassed its own people and should pay. >> i have no interest in any kind of open ended conflict in syria, but we do have to make sure that when countries break international norms on weapons like chemical weapon that is could threaten us, that they are held accountable. >> here is more of what we're working on in this hour around the world. reports of people in syria
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bracing for air strikes. the government ordering evacuations. we went inside the country to find out how civilians feel about the possibility of u.s. military intervention. >> plus thousands of people in israel lining up for something in these boxes. it has to do with the crisis in syria. we'll tell you what is in them up next. i think farmers care more about the land than probably anyone else. we've had this farm for 30 years. we raise black and red angus cattle. we also produce natural gas. that's how we make our living and that's how we can pass the land and water back to future generations. people should make up their own mind what's best for them. all i can say is it has worked well for us. but chantix helped me do it. i told my doctor i think i'm... i'm ready. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking.
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talk of a possible u.s. strike in syria putting people on edge through the middle east and inside syria concern on the street is growing. those fears are often not seen or heard. >> reporter: even with u.s. war ships ready to strike off syria's coast, and washington saying it is certainly the assad regime used chemical weapons on its people, at first glance damascus doesn't appear to be on the edge. this man is with the police force and says he is not afraid of u.s. air strikes. >> translator: this is my country, he says, i believe we're winning. >> reporter: others are counting on help from above. >> translator: this doesn't scare me, she says, i believe in
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god so much that i know that the usa can't do anything. >> reporter: the war is never far away in damascus with plumes of smoke from artillery strikes constantly rising over the out stirts of the capital. at damascus university many remain loyal to bashar al-assad and say they don't believe the military used nerve gas against civilians. >> translator: i believe that chemical weapons were used in some way in certain areas, he says, but i don't think the government did it because they know what the results would be. >> reporter: dig down, and you find a sense of unease. the historic market in the old town is far emptier than usual. syria's economy is in a state of crisis due to the conflict and now many fear things could get worse. quite a strange mood here in damascus. people seem unsure as to what the future will bring with the american air strikes looming and very few people will talk about it openly. there are some that bought additional food stocks and things like canned foods just in
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case. >> and joining us now from beirut in lebanon, fred, when you talk to the syrian people, are they more concerned about the possibility of the strike or what would follow after any strike might have taken place? >> reporter: that's really the thing i found the most remarkable. people aren't really too worried about the strikes themselves. they say they don't believe the strikes will affect them or they say they believe that any strikes would target the military. of course on the face of it many of those people also will tell you they don't think the u.s. could do anything to syria. they think that bashar al-assad will protect them. by in large they don't seem to believe the strikes themselves are the problem. the problem could be the aftermath, especially if the regime is destabilized. we have to keep in mind i was on the government controlled side of damascus where people are sympathetic to the regime and also when you are on that side you could lead quite a normal life there until now so many of these people fear that could go away, richard.
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>> and are they -- what are they doing to prepare for the possibility that there may be a strike that is imminent? >> well, you know, first of all, a lot of chatter right now and a lot of people not really sure what to do and talking amongst each other and asking should we go somewhere else? should we try to go to the coastal areas? should we go to another country? to lebanon? i was driving out and there was a long queue at the border and then there is others stocking up on things like canned food and making sure they're as autonomous at possible. there is a grate of uncertainty. they don't know what it could bring. >> thank you. no you to westminster in the heart of london where british lawmakers are debating the motion for military action against syria. >> the syrian rebels have plenty of access. it is not rocket science, mr.
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speaker. a group of object cure in japan living on mount fuji poisoned the tokyo underground with gas less than 20 years ago. you don't have to be einstein to have your hands on gas or the means to distribute it. russia and china say no to war. so do i and most people in this country. >> andrew mitchell. >> mr. speaker. >> hearing george galloway who is one of the most maverick british lawmakers being a thorn in the side of governments of both sides and it is not -- we join him there indeed and as we were listening, suzanne, it is not surprising to hear him absolutely vehemently against any form of military activity. parliament, this is what parliament is at its most fe
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briel and i am told more than 90 members to want speak today. it is amazing to see this. what is happening today behind closed doors, we'll have a u.s. official briefing members of congress and you don't see this kind of open debate if you will with the president but clearly the president trying to make sure that members of congress are on his side and there is a big debate about whether or not it needs to be authorized before the u.s. decides to strike. >> which of course if there was an authorization as we saw in previous wars, you would end up with exactly the same sort of debate, basically an all out fist fight on both sides. >> keeping a close eye on the british parliament and very interesting process as they make their way through the debate and the mood tense in countries that neighbor syria, including israel. the government there preparing for the possibility that israel could be attacked by syria if the u.s. stages a strike. >> israelis are stocking up, in this case on gas masks.
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jim went to a gas mask distribution center and found a panicky crowd waiting outside. >> reporter: the police had to be called in as thousands turned out to collect free gas masks. that looming strike against syria has produced very real public threats against israel and while officials here say they think the risks are very, very low, the people who have gathered here would rather not take that risk. they would rather have this. back to you. >> she has appeared in vogue magazine, once an investment banker, and not what you might expect from the wife of syria's president. we're going to take a look at asma al-assad that once said she was the real dictators in her marriage.
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>> she has appeared in vogue
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without a doubt it is a challenge to get to the heart of what's happening in syria. as journalists we strive to go beyond the pr campaigns of course and how to make sense of a leader like syria's bashar al-assad. >> bashar al-assad and his wife
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asma have been prisonortrayedes representing the new syria. not anymore. brian todd spoke to someone who once worked for the syrian first lady. >> she is photographed consoling families of deceased soldiers and she visits victims of the war her husband fights so ruthlessly. in a glowing profile vogue magazine called her a rose in the desert and abruptly pulled the piece off the web. these are the contradictions of asma al-assad, married for a dozen years to syria's embattled dictator. >> how does she rationalize this? >> i think it would be very hard for her to do that. i think she is standing by her man. she threw her lot in with bashar a long time ago. >> he knows asma al-assad and worked with her at a charity syria and believes she understands the gravity of what's going on there. in an interview with cnn two years before it started, she
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spoke about the condition of palestinians in gaza. >> think about when you put your children to bed at night and this is something i think about on a daily basis. you put your children to bed at night and you expect to see them in the morning. that's a luxury people in gaza do not have. what would it be like for you having and living under those circumstances? >> before syrian children found themselves under those circumstances, asma al sas add was about helping them. since the war started she has not been seen as much in public. >> how much influence does she have over him? >> i think she has some influence in terms of pointing out some of the basic problems in the country and particularly these issues about reform, but politically she is not accepted by the alawites around the regime's core. >> asma sal assad is sunni, the daughter of a cardiologist born in london and raised in this home and educated at the best
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schools in england. she worked for two investment banks after graduating, closed lucrative deals and since marrying bashar al-assad her knack for showing her sense of style led to brush back. >> last year some private hacked e-mails between the assads and their inner circle were released and obtained by cnn, the guardian and other outlets. the e-mails revealed at one point as the country was being torn apart by civil war, asma al-assad ordered $16,000 worth of candlesticks, tables and chandeliers from paris. >> in one e-mail she boasted that she was the, quote, real dictator in her marriage. i asked tabler what may be going through her mind now. >> i think she is torn and made her decision. the fact is that she has made her life around the assad regime itself and she has i think divided person and very much like her husband, and between wanting to reform and carry out good works in the country and
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being the first lady of syria. and those two things particularly with this regime are incompatible. >> there is speculation since the war started asma al-assad may at some point leave. tabler thinks she will stay to the bitter end. leaving the country would mean leaving her husband and possibly her three young children behind. the potential risks of a strike on syria are a big concern for many people. hear what they could be and why some are saying they're not worth taking those risks. la's known definitely for its traffic,
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there is no smoking gun that directly linked bashar al-assad to that horrific attack. president obama says there is no doubt the syrian government carried out a chemical attack. the president is expected to hold a conference call later today to brief high ranking members of congress about his plan for syria. in the meantime britain is deploying a half dozen war planes to cyprus just off syria's coast and russia is moving two war ships into the mediterranean. >> and it was a somber and defiant british prime minister david cameron who addressed the house of commons short while ago. the house had been recalled from its summer vacation so it could discuss and vote on a motion on syria. >> we know there are the 14 uses of chemical weapons on a smaller scale, at least 14, and now we have this much larger use, and this does seem to me and to
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president obama and to president alon and many others an appropriate moment to ask whether it is time to do something and stand up for the prohibition against the use of chemical weapons. there are pictures of bodies with symptoms of nerve agent exposure. mr. speaker, anyone in this chamber who has not seen these videos, i believe, should force themselves to watch them. you can never forget the sight of children's bodies stored in ice. young men and women gasping for air and suffering agonizing deaths and all inflicted by weapons outlawed for nearly a century. i am not standing here and saying there is some piece or some piece of intelligence i have seen that the world won't see that convinces me that i am right and anyone who disagrees with me is wrong. i am saying this is a judgment. we all have to reach a judgment about what happened and how was responsible. i would put it to you, that from all of the evidence we have, the fact that opposition don't have
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chemical weapons, the fact the regime do, the fact they have used it, the fact they're attacking air at the time and that intelligence i reported, that is enough to conclude that the regime is responsible and should be held accountable. the fact the syrian government has and has used chemical weapons is beyond doubt. the fact that the most recent attack took place is not seriously doubted. the syrian government has said it took place and even the iranian president said it took place and the evidence that the syrian regime has used these weapons in the early hours of the 21st of august is right in front of our eyes. >> it is such a hot debate now, richard. we have all seen those very, very disturbing pictures, but still there are a lot of people who are wondering whether or not this is the appropriate time and appropriate action to strike militarily and americans, they really don't have much interest in getting involved in syria if you believe the polls, a poll taken earlier this summer asked is it in the national interest for the u.s. to be involved in the syrian conflict?
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only 27% said yes. now, 61% said no. now that poll was taken long before we actually heard about the latest chemical attack. when the question was asked, should the u.s. drones or cruise missiles be used to attack syrian government targets, 49% said the u.s. should get involved and 39% said the u.s. should not. very interesting to see the latest polls after seeing those very disturbing pictures. does that in fact change people's minds? >> as the prime minister says, the u.k. prime minister, once you have seen the picks does your view change on what needs to take place and what needs to happen? >> the white house is getting ready to brief key members of congress on the crisis. there is a conference call scheduled for 6:00 tonight. many lawmakers say this briefing is not going to be enough. more than 100 members of the house, they have signed a letter calling for the president to get congressional approval for any military action, some are adamantly opposed to launching a
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strike. >> joining us from washington, robin wright, middle east analyst for the woodrow wilson center and you have covered the middle east as a journalist for decades, and you say a quick strike rarely achieve enduring political goals. it is always about what happens afterwards, isn't it? >> then what? that's the big question. it is really important the administration spend just as much time and arguably more looking at what happens next, how do they convert a military operation into something that might help resolve one of the deadliest conflicts in the middle east today? and there are extraordinary risks involved in this operation if it carries it out, whether it is the unintended consequences, whether it is the danger of legitimizing foreign intervention by other parties, notably russia, and iran, and even backfiring. >> robin, the president stated goal is not regime changes, we know, but getting assad back to
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the negotiating table for a political settlement with the rather the syrian opposition and is there any scenario that you see or that you can imagine where assad could be enticed to negotiate with the opposition and whether it is protecting the alawites or getting them to a safe country, anything else shy of a military strike? >> well, i suspect the administration will roll out a plan that says we are engaging in some kind of military strike but that is going to be complimented by a diplomatic effort to get the various parties together at whether it is a geneva conference or a meeting somewhere around the world that co-sponsored by the russians and maybe even allowing the iranians and some of syria's allies to be there, so that it is comprehensive and that everyone feels an incentive to get there. the problem is there are so many different parties. this is not just a two-way conflict in syria anymore. you have the opposition divided among 1,200 different militias and differences over what the goal is. is it to see assad step down
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immediately? is it to engage in a prolonged transition that allows the alawites to still have a role in power? there are extraordinary challenges in getting that diplomatic effort and military strike may make it harder. >> when we look at the role in this of china and of russia, two countries that would veto the security council and yet at the same time they have to be brought on board in some shape or some form of -- they have to be neutralized if you like in terms of preventing something from happening. so what do they want out of this process? >> well, i think there are a couple of bigger issues for both countries, and one of them is that they don't want to set a precedent as happened in libya. where the international community can decide that a leader is unpopular and therefore that justifies the world community to engage in military action to oust them.
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they're worried about that kind of operation ending up affecting their own sovereignty, playing out at home, and secondly, they're very concerned because these are two countries with major muslim populations about what happens in their countries in terms of the spill over, the affect and what precedence it sets for muslim communities. >> thank you. >> and could syria become another iraq? many people are worried that it could. we're going to tell you what the u.s. and its allies are saying about that. beat down. crushed. as if the weight of the world is resting on your face. but sudafed gives you maximum strength sinus pressure and pain relief. so you feel free. liberated. released. decongested. open for business. [ inhales, exhales ] [ male announcer ] powerful sinus relief from the #1 pharmacist recommended brand.
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actually the iraq war that is on the minds of many in the united states and its allies because they are considering u.s. considering a possible military strike against syria, and there are a lot of parallels
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and a lot of skepticism about the intelligence behind this. so much so that president obama and british prime minister david cameron are speaking out about this very issue. >> mr. obama says this will not in his words be a repetition of iraq, and in parliament today david cameron offered a blunt assurance to the british parliament. >> i am deeply mind fortunately of the lessons of previous conflicts and in particular the deep concerns in the country caused by what went wrongs with the iraq conflict in 2003. this is not like iraq. the case for ultimately supporting action is not based on a specific piece or pieces of intelligence. the fact the syrian government has and has use the chemical weapons is beyond doubt. >> want to bring in gloria borger. let's take you back to a moment here that we all remember, this is february 5, 2003, when then secretary of state colin powell
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appeared before the security council and presents evidence that says it proved iraq had weapons of mass destruction. watch this. >> indeed the facts and the behavior show that saddam hussein are concealing efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction. >> gloria, we know this has to be on the administration's mind today as they roll out and make their case. what kind of things are they thinking about not to fall into this kind of pit fall if you will? >> i no he in that picture that you just showed, the former cia director was behind colin powell. he was the one that said the evident was a quote, slam dunk, and it turned out not to be such a slam dunk. i spoke with someone in the administration who said to me, look, this is very different from iraq because in iraq we were looking for saddam's hidden secrets and in this case as you just saw with david cameron, these are not hidden. what we have to establish they
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understand is the chain of custody of these chemical weapons and that is exactly what congress is looking for. now, i spoke with chris van hollen, a senior democrat on capitol hill. listen to what he said to me about how important this is. >> i think it is important for the president and second of state to layout for the public the clear evidence that the syrian regime was involved in the chemical weapons attack. it seems pretty clear that chemical weapons were used, but i think they should come forward with additional evidence linking the regime to that use of chemical weapons. after all, in iraq there were claims made that saddam hussein had stock piles of chemical weapons. we went to war. turned out not to be the case. >> so, again, it is the question of the chain of custody of these weapons. cameron, secretary of state kerry, vice president biden, all
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seem to be convinced these were indeed assad's weapons and so that is the kind of evidence i think that members of congress are going to want to hear when they are briefed later today. >> it is worth pointing out, isn't it, that there are definitely an opposing point of view in all of this. >> oh, yeah. >> the white house perhaps has gotten ahead of itself maybe in the same way as maybe david cameron has in starting the process of laying out their argument, but there is a very much a day metrically opposed view. >> that's really where the hangover for iraq comes because people say, okay, maybe we are actually assuming that these are assad's chemical weapons. the argument this time is not so much about the stock piles because the evidence is there, the argument really is do we to want get involved in the quagmire having just tried to ex try indicate ourselves from a couple of wars and the american public as you pointed out in the
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polls you showed earlier is not particularly enthusiastic about any more military involvement in a place like syria, and the american public is saying why do we want to get embroiled in this, and there is this question as robin wright point out of unintended consequences. so those are the questions that you saw the house speaker ask yesterday and these are the request hes that members of congress are asking. so it even goes beyond the question of the chain of custody of the chemical weapons. it actually goes to the point of what happens if we lob these cruise missiles and assad retaliates and what are the repercussions in the rest of the world? >> gloria, thank you. >> sure. >> a sense of obligation in syria. the nigfighting rages on and we look at five u.s. interests in
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the country.
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world? there are a few reasons why the u.s. government might feel obliged to get involved in syria. >> tom full man joins us from washington with the list, the top five perhaps of the reasons. >> yeah. they're not iron clad. they could be wrong. these are some of the things being considered in washington. one of them is this, it is beyond syria, this is about the middle east, the overall question of the stability of the
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middle east and the safety of the old ally israel over there. we know millions of refugees are spilling across the borders from this conflict. we know there are problems with various groups in the insurgency that might be considered terrorist groups. we know that there is concern about it becoming a widening war. that's one of the reasons the u.s. may feel obliged to get involved. here is another one. a question of russia and achina and a lot of people see this as a proxy war between these other great powers and western powers and for control of this oil rich region, this important region in the world and so there may be a sense of the u.s. feeling it needs to show that it is not afwrad to do what it thinks is right even if russia and china do not agree and they do not agree, we know that simply to be the case. what else beyond that? look at the next one here. syrian stability. this is interesting. this may have nothing to do with why we should get involved but it does matter. the simple truth is right now the assad regime is a regime the
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u.s. government would like to see toppled but not at this moment because they feel that the other groups there may be actually more dangerous. that's just one of the concerns here is how do they thread the needle here of punishing the assad regime for doing something they feel is very wrong and humanitarian terms and terms of international law and yet without toppling it? beyond that, here is another one to consider. stopping iran. there is very much the sense that because iran is a supporter and ally and sponsor of syria, that if syria is allowed to use chemical weapons with no punishment, that this sends a message to iran that the u.s. is not really willing to step up and do things against the sort of action which relates to what? iran's nuclear program which we have been talking about for a long time and the idea is you send a message. last one is president obama and the red line. this speaks to a very basic word here. credibility. a lot of voters as you pointed out earlier in the show are not
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really very keen on the idea of us getting involved there. there are geopolitical reasons why the white house may feel pressure to do something because they may simply say the president implied he would do something and as bad as it is to enter into a conflict, you can argue that in the long-term it is also very bad for any president of a great and powerful nation to threaten actions and then not follow through because that can embolden all sorts of enemies to say they don't have the heart or the political will or won't do it no matter what they say and that can make for a dangerous circumstance in the future. there are as you have noted in your show also a lot of reasons out there right now not to stage this attack. this is review of some of those as to why it might take place. >> tom, thank you. appreciate it. we have been talking about chemical weapons in syria and seeing these pictures here and really horrifirying pictures and what is this all about? what are we watching? what are we seeing? what are the chemicals they're
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talking about and what makes the nerve gas so potent and how does it break down the body? we'll take a look at the medical side of chemical weapons. dairy? then you'll love lactose-free lactaid® it's 100% real milk that's easy to digest so you can fully enjoy the dairy you love. lactaid®. for 25 years, easy to digest. easy to love.
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both the u.s. and great britain feel certain that the syrian government has used chemical weapons against its own
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people. hundreds are dead. many more were sickened. >> what exactly is involved in chemical weapons and how do they work? our senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen joins us, and we have seen the pictures. >> it is horrible. it is just horrible. so the way that it works is we all, our glands and muscles have an off switch. they're not always on. a nerve gas turns off the off switch and makes your glands and muscles constantly working. that's not good. they actually get tired and that's why you get paralysis and you get death. that's the mechanism of it. it can happen very quickly with the high enough dose. >> we have seen so many pictures and it is heartbreaking of young children who died and some people had that have survived. what makes the difference between those able to survive this kind of chemical weapons attack and those who are able to live and get through it? >> to a large extent it is about the amount you were exposed to. by the time it got to you, say
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it came through the air, sort of dissipated or were you getting a big dose all at one time? also, the length of time, the amount of time that you are sitting there getting exposed to this gas, some people may run away quickly and get to a place where there isn't much of it and they're going to be in better shape than one stuck breathing the stuff in. >> there are so many questions to ask. if a bomb falls on a building and you're not on the building, there is a good chance you won't be affected. >> right. >> with the silent killing nature of the gas or any of these things, you just don't know what's am coming your way. >> you don't. have you no idea the bomb you see coming or hear something and that's exactly one of the reasons why this is so dangerous. you don't know. you don't know. you don't smell it. you don't taste t you don't hear anything. you don't know that you have been exposed until you get sick. that's the problem. by then it is often too late to do anything. >> is there a possible antidote for those exposed? >> there is an injection. most of the time it is something
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called atripine and you can inject it and it works quite well and maybe that is why we see some people survive better than others. you do have to take it quickly. it doesn't work if you take it after a certain period of time. if you get it quickly, it can work quite well. >> elizabeth cohen, thank you, such a deadly situation. >> horrible. >> appreciate that. >> that's it for me for watching "around the world." i am richard quest. >> "cnn newsroom" conditions after this. [ male announcer ] this is claira.
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the british prime minister says the world must stop the use of chemical weapons and the u.s. agrees. where does it go from here? plus. >> when do we want it? now. >> this is happening in 50 city as cross the country today. fast food workers are calling for better wages. we'll have a live report. victoria duval is riding high after her amazing performance at the u.s. open. she is only 17. she sat down with us to talked about what got her life, about her life, on and off the court. this is "cnn newsroom." i am suzanne malveaux. it is the biggest crisis facing the world now.

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