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tv   CNNI Simulcast  CNN  September 10, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

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hello and welcome to those of you watching in the united states and all around the world. this is cnn's special coverage. pleasure to have you with me. u.s. president barack obama unveiled his much anticipated strategy for confronting isis, and as expected, it does include possible air strikes on isis targets in syria. mr. obama says the u.s. will lead a broad coalition to ultimately destroy isis. we are going to connect with our experts and our correspondents throughout the world during this hour. but first, for those of you that missed it, here is president barack obama's speech in its entirety. >> my fellow americans, tonight i want to speak to you about what the united states will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as
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isil. as commander-in-chief, my highest priority is the security of the american people. over the last years we consistently took the fight to terrorists who threatened our country. we took out osama bin laden and much of al qaeda's leadership in afghanistan and pakistan. we recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in somalia. we've done so while bringing more than 140,000 american troops home from iraq and drawing down our forces in afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year. thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, america is safer. still, we continue to face a terrorist threat. we can't erase every trace of evil from the world and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm. that was the case before 9/11
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and that remains true today. and that is why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge. at this moment, the greatest threats come from the middle east and north africa where these radical groups exploit for their own gain. one of these groups is isil, the islamic state. let's make two things clear. isil is not islamic. no religion condones the killing of innocents. the vast majority of isil's victims have been muslim. isis is certainly not a state. they have taken advantage of sectarian strife and syria's civil war to gain territory on both sides of the iraq/syrian border. it is recognized by no government nor by the people it subjugates. isil is a terrorist organization, pure and simple.
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it has no vision except to slaughter all in its way. these terrorists are unique in their brutality. they execute captured prisoners, they kill children and force, enclave women into marriage. they threaten with minority genocide, and in acts of barbarism they took the lives of two american journalists, jim foley and steven sotloff. so isil poses a threat to the people of iraq and syria, and the broader middle east, including american citizens, personnel, and facilities. if left unchecked these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region. including to the united states. while we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, isil leaders have threatened america and our allies. our intelligence community believes that thousands of foreigners, including europeans and some americans, have joined them in syria and iraq.
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trained and battle-hardened these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks. i know many americans are concerned about these threats. tonight, i want you to know that the united states of america is meeting them with strength and resolve. last month i ordered our military to take targeted action against isil to stop its advances. since then we have conducted more than 150 successful airstrikes in iraq. these strikes have protected american personnel and facilities and killed isil fighters, destroyed weapons and given space for iraqi and kurdish forces to reclaim key territory. these strikes have also helped to save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children. but this is not our fight alone. american power can make a decisive difference but we cannot do for iraqis what they
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must do for themselves. nor can we take the place of arab partners in securing their region. that is why i have insisted that additional u.s. action depended upon iraqis forming an inclusive government which they have now done in recent days. so tonight with a new iraqi government in place and following consultations with allies abroad and congress at home i can announce that america will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat. our objective is clear. we will degrade and ultimately destroy isil, through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy. first, we will conduct a systemic campaign of airstrikes again these terrorists. working with the iraqi government we will expand our efforts to protect our own people and humanitarian efforts so that we're hitting isil
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targets as iraqi forces go on the offensive. moreover, i have made it clear we'll hunt down terrorists who threaten our country wherever they are. that means i will not hesitate to take action against isil in syria as well as iraq. this is a core principle of my presidency. if you threaten america you will find no safe haven. second, we will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground. in june, i deployed several hundred american service members to iraq to assess how we can best support iraqi security forces. now that those teams have completed their work and iraq has formed a government we will send an additional 475 service members to iraq. as i have said before these american forces will not have a combat mission. we will not get dragged into another ground war in iraq. but they are needed to support iraqi and kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment. we'll also support iraq's efforts to stand up national
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guard units to help sunni communities secure their own freedom from isil's control. across the border in syria we have ramped up our resistance to the syrian opposition. tonight i call on congress again to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters. in the fight against isil, we cannot rely on the assad regime that terrorizes its own people, a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost. instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like isil while pursuing the political solution necessary to secure the crisis once and for all. third, we will continue to draw on our substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent isil attacks. working with our partners, we will redouble our efforts to cut the funding and improve our elements.
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strengthen our defenses. counter the warped ideology, and stem the flow of foreign fighters into and out of the middle east. in two weeks i will chair a meeting with the u.n. security council to further mobilize the international community around this effort. fourth, we will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians who have been displaced by this terrorist organization. this includes sunni and shiite muslims who are at grave risk as well as tens of thousands of christians and other religious minorities. we cannot allow these communities to be driven from their ancient homelands. so this is our strategy, and in each of these four parts of our strategy america will be joined by a broad coalition of partners. already, allies are flying planes with us over iraq, sending arms and assistance to iraqi security forces and the syrian opposition, sharing intelligence and providing billions of dollars in
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humanitarian aid. secretary kerry was in iraq today meeting with the new government and supporting their efforts to promote unity. and in the coming days he will travel across the middle east and europe to enlist more partners in this fight. especially arab nations who can help mobilize sunni communities in iraq and syria to drive these terrorists from their lands. this is american leadership at its best. we stand with people who fight for their own freedom. and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity. my administration has also secured bipartisan support for this approach here at home. i have the authority to address the threat from isil, but i believe we are strongest as a nation when the president and congress work together. so i welcome congressional support for this effort in order to show the world that americans are united in confronting this danger. now, it will take time to
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eradicate a cancer like isil. and any time we take military action there are risks involved especially to the service men and women who carry out these missions. but i want the american people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in iraq and afghanistan. they will not involve american combat troops fighting on foreign soil. this counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out isil wherever they exist using our pair power and support for partner forces on the ground. the strategy of taking out those who threaten us as well as on the front lines is one we have pursued in yemt -- yemen and somalia for years and is consistent with the approach i outlined this year to use force against anyone who threatens
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america's core interests, to mobilize partners wherever to implement the process. my fellow americans we live in a time of great change. tomorrow marks 13 years since our country was attacked. next week marks six years since our economy suffered its worst setback since the great depression. yet, despite these shocks through the pain we felt and the grueling work required to bounce back america is better positioned today to seize the future than any other nation on earth. our technology companies and universities are unmatched. our manufacturing and auto industries are thriving. energy independence is closer than it has been in decades. for all the work that remains, our businesses are in the longest uninterrupted stretch of job creation in our history. despite all of the divisions and discord within our democracy, i see the grit and determination and common goodness of the american people every single day.
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and that makes me more confident than ever about our country's future. abroad, american leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world. it is america that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists. it is america that has rallied the world against russian aggression, and in support of the ukrainian people's right to determine their own destiny. it is america, our scientists, our doctors, our know-how that can help contain the outbreak of ebola. it is america that helped remove and destroy syria's chemical weapons so that they can't pose a threat to the syrian people or the world again. and it is america helping the muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism but in the fight for opportunity and tolerance and a more hopeful future. america, our endless blessings
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bestow an enduring burden. but as americans we welcome our responsibility to lead. from europe to asia, from the far reaches of africa to war-torn capitals in the middle east we stand for freedom. for justice. for dignity. these are values that have guided our nation since its founding. tonight, i ask for your support in carrying that leadership forward. i do so as a commander in chief who could not be prouder of our men and women in uniform. pilots who bravely fly in the face of danger above the middle east. and service members who support our partners on the ground. when we helped prevent the massacre of civilians trapped on a distant mountain, here is what one of them said. we owe our american friends our lives. our children will always remember that there was someone who felt our struggle and made a
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long journey to protect innocent people. that is the difference we make in the world. our own safety and security, it depends upon our willingness to do what it takes to defend this nation and uphold the values that we stand for. timeless ideals that will endure long after those who offer only hate and destruction have been vanquished from the earth. may god bless our troops and may god bless the united states of america. u.s. president barack obama making that statement from the white house just around five hours ago. for a closer look now at that message to the u.s. and really to the world, we want to bring in our political director mark presson who joins us live from washington. it's really interesting, mark, to watch this speech. i swear for a moment, barack
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obama sounded like george bush where he said, this is america. we are american. but what do you make of this reluctant war-time president now announcing new u.s. military objectives, certainly not the position that he really wants to be in. >> you know, absolutely not and in many ways he is in the same position as george w. bush. however, he was clear about his objectives. he would only go so far to the line. he talked about continuing humanitarian support. he talked about increasing air strikes. he talked about giving help to forces that are already on the ground. however, what he was very clear about is that you would not see u.s. combat troops on the ground. in fact, let's hear what he had to say. >> we will send an additional 475 service members to iraq. as i've said before, these american forces will not have a combat mission. we will not get dragged into another ground war in iraq. but they are needed to support iraqi and kurdish forces with
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training, intelligence, and equipment. >> there you have president obama talking about how there would not be u.s. combat troops on the ground. however, 475 more u.s. troops will be arriving in country to provide an advisory role. i have to tell you, here in the united states, there will be support for that from the american people. we have seen that from polling. they do not want to see combat troops but want to see other actions taken to combat isis. >> you're right, we current discuss the current situation without discussing the previous ones. what we're seeing now from barack obama is a push for a coalition. he wants to consult with congress, although he says he doesn't have to this that speech. and there's next week's u.n. security council meeting. all of this seems to show a real difference between the obama and bush doctrines. but as far as u.s. politics is concerned, this spreading of the wealth or the blame to do speak,
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does that increase the prospects for success in this plan? >> there's hope that it would be. while this is going to be led by the united states will not be entirely the united states. that's why the next two weeks are so important. the coalition building taking place by secretary kerry, by the telephone calls that president obama has already made to world leaders. the only way that this is going to work, at least here in the united states, the belief is if everybody is involved. but make no doubt, the united states will be leading this and helping to draft the strategy. again, they won't put people on the ground to fight. they want to leave that up to forces that are already existing in syria, the rebels, and of course, the iraqi army. >> what about the mood in the united states? that is a part of this. there is large support for u.s. action against isis. but this is the 13-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
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this feeling that the u.s. should do something to be more safe, coincidental that it's happening at the same time as this 9/11 anniversary? >> i think coincidental but driven largely by fear. we have not seen a terrorist attack here in the united states since 9/11. let's look at this poll number to show you where the american public is. a serious threat to the united states two years after 9/11, nearly half of the united states thought that al qaeda was still a serious threat. now look at where ice sis right now. 45%. when you take into consideration most americans had no idea who isis was six, eight, nine months ago. there is a lot of thought that isis could become a threat here in the united states and president obama did say tonight there is no real threat at this point on u.s. soil for isis to strike. however, he said that they need to be defeated where they are
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right now or they could become a problem. >> u.s. president noting that, saying the threat is not directly aimed at the u.s. homeland yet. but it could be very soon. mark preston, staying up late for us. we appreciate it. joining us there from washington, d.c. just past 2:20 now. we'll have much more on isis and the u.s. president's speech. the u.s. secretary of state makes the rounds in the middle east at this moment to build this coalition we've been discussing. we'll get you live to abu dhabi next to find out which states are likely to help. stay with us. ♪ ♪
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welcome back. we are continuing to break down our top story. u.s. president barack obama announcing a new strategy to defeat isis and a key part is iraq's newly formed government. let's bring in anna coren, live in irbil. does this new plan get the peshmerga fighters what they need? what's the response there to what the u.s. president had to say a short time ago? >> reporter: finally we're getting response from the kurdish senior officials. and they welcome what president obama outlined in his strategy. they were looking for commitment
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from the united states, and they feel that they have got it. this is going to be a long-term strategy. obviously president obama has outlined that this is not going to be achieved in a matter of weeks or months. this is years in the making, this operation, against isis. as far as the specific details, it wasn't necessarily outlined as to what the peshmerga would get. they need more arms, they need the weapons, they need the training, they need the intelligence gathering. obviously this is what the united states will be providing with those 475 extra troops that will be sent to iraq. that will take the number to well over 1500 u.s. forces on the ground. they're not going to be operating in any sort of combat role. the president has made that perfectly clear. they will be here to advise and to assist. and erol, that is a critical role. because at the moment leadership
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is sorely missing. the kurds and the iraqis have been operating as two very separate militaries. yes, the kurds have definitely been taking the fight to isis. we've seen that up here in kurdistan. we've been embedded in some of those operations. and they are making an impact. none of that, however, would be possible without those critical u.s. air strikes. there have been more than 150 according to u.s. central command. but hearing the president, he says he will expand those air strikes. that was obviously welcome news to the people of kurdistan. >> anna, just before obama speaks, the white house releasing the details that they're freeing up $25 million in immediate military assistance from the iraqi forces, shipping that money to the iraqi and kurdish fighters i understand. based on what you've seen,
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because you've been embedded with them so long, where is that money likely to go first? isis have some real hardware they've stolen from the kurdish fighters, things like anti-aircraft missiles, but where is this money likely to go? >> reporter: that's right. isis, when they made that rapid advance, they walked into major cities like mosul where the military and police just walked away, ran away really. that's probably more accurate terms. but isis then moving into these cities and taking all that vital equipment, which is something that the united states had given to iraq. look, we don't know the specifics of what is being given. the united states is quite secretive when it comes to that. with you other countries with giving arms, giving weapons to the peshmerga to the iraqi forces as well. central command, u.s.-led
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command is critical. as i say, they need to obviously rely on the peshmerga and the iraqi forces. they are the ones who are going to be taking the fight directly to isis. so they need to arm and equip and train them properly. >> anna live from us in northern iraq discussing what's needed there by the kurdish fighters who in some ways have been outgunned by isis. there are a number of developing aspects to this story. john kerry holds a key meeting in saudi arabia. the u.s. secretary of state wille sit down with six ministers of persian gulf regions. he already met haider al abadi on wednesday. isis is comprised mostly of sunni jihadists. the u.s. believes enlisting support of sunni arab states is
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crucial in this ongoing battle. here's what kerry had to say when he was in baghdad. >> nearly every country on earth could have an ability and an interest to join in this effort. whether by providing military assistance, helping to track and stop the flow of northern fighters, helping to track and stop the flow of money. all of these are things that sustain isil's terrorism and all are things subject to impact by other countries in the world. >> now, three possible coalition partners could be key in the fight against isis. saudi arabia jordan, and turkey. you'll see what each has to offer. saudi arabia would lend regional legitimacy to a u.s.-led coalition and could take part in air strikes. you have a counterterrorism capability really considered
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best in the world, among the best in the world. in recent months, the kingdom has arrested isis supporters. jordan has logistics and intelligence, as well as connections with sunni tribes along the border. with funding and support, these tribes could help recapture territory. and turkey could clamp down on oil smuggling out of syria, cutting off key revenue for isis. what other roles could middle east allies play in this fight? let's bring in becky anderson, joining us now from a sunny as usual abu dhabi. we know that jordan and saudi arabia, very important sunni countries. john kerry trying to convince them to really join this fight. but will it be a hard sell for some countries?
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>> reporter: it's going to be difficult. it's very complex, as you know. you used to report on the region. six gold states in jetta today, or at least represents. and you rightly point out the saudis in jetta with john kerry. the jordanians, the egyptians and the iraqis. then there are the turks. there's been a real rift with turkey and other gcc states, about the rise of political islam lately. and then turkey, about what is going on. there is a real concern, i've got to say almost uniquely so. from tehran all the way through about what this scourge of isis means for this region, and what might be done about it. so you posed the question who might get involved and how might they get involved to contain
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this spread of isis, without strengthening bashar al assad in syria. this is where it gets complex. iran, and any sort of iran-led shia-led militia in iraq or in lebanon for example, i've got the chief economist at the national newspaper here at the uae here with me. i want to start with iran. this is the elephant in the room. erol has been alluding to the involvement of saudi going forward, turkey and jordan. the elephant in the room here is iran. it's a shia-led government. the rest are sunni-led governments here. there's been this rift for years and years between saudi and iran. and tehran the only government of late who has had effective help for the iraqi government and its soldiers on the ground to fight this scourge that is isis. what is its involvement?
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>> the iranians recognize that even though they have this difficult relationship with the gulf states, but however, i think everybody recognizes that the chief problem with isil is that they don't recognize boarders. there is no legitimacy to the nation states. so any problems that they have in syria or in iraq, found their way this way. >> he's already working with the u.s., do you think? >> i suspect there are been conversations. we know that the u.s. and the iranians have had conversations in iraq. iraq has been this battleground for them politically and militarily. so there might be some conversations behind the scenes. but any conversations that are occurring will have to be calibrated to make sure they don't alienate the sunni allies.
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>> it is incredibly hot out here today. you've got a suit and jacket on, and i thank you for that and respect for the show. let me just put another question to you and this is a question on turkey. representatives from turkey will be in jetta with secretary of state john kerry as he tries to build this coalition of the willing. clearly we have seen the in and out of fighters over turkey's border into syria. turkey, one of the original willing members to go after bashar al assad. but we also know that there is a real rift between some of these gulf states and saudi on the one hand, and turkey and qatar on the other. turkey helping and hosting the rise of -- that is something that they are incredibly concerned about here. turkey going forward, 47-odd hostages in mosul at the moment. can you see them playing a role,
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sort of land for air strikes for example? >> perhaps. i think they will have to make a decision about how much they want to divulge publicly. they want the end of isil, it threatens them. they want a stable iraq. and they want to make sure in the long run syria is solved. so they have a huge, huge stake in this. they've been very destabilize by what's happening in syria. but as you say, 47 hostages. they're going to have to find a way to be very involved behind the scenes. >> fascinating. let me just tell you that the uae where we are based here, we broadcast from abu dhabi, that is the capital here. the uae, in a statement or op-ed written by the ambassador to washington just a couple days ago, this was ahead of obama's
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statement, said, ready to join the a coordinated international response. the islamic state may be the most obvious threat, but it is far from the only one. when i alluded to complexities in this region, as john kerry tries to build this coalition of the regional willing, i'm not underscoring what is going on here. this is a tough one. these sunni governments want to see the end of isis. but again, saudi arabia, in a position where it doesn't want to undermine its position as leader of the sunni arab world. these are, after all, those fighting for isil or isis are sunni muslims. >> back to you. >> thank you very much, becky. people very careful to step on each other's toes while they want to defeat this threat. go ahead and head in inside with your guest.
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coming up, more on president obama's man to take down isis. how is all this being perceived in moscow? we'll take you there after this. when folks think about what they get from alaska, they think salmon and energy. but the energy bp produces up here creates something else as well: jobs all over america. engineering and innovation jobs. advanced safety systems & technology. shipping and manufacturing. across the united states, bp supports more than a quarter million jobs. when we set up operation in one part of the country, people in other parts go to work. that's not a coincidence. it's one more part of our commitment to america.
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welcome back. to those of you watching here in the united states and all around the globe, this is cnn's continuing special coverage. the u.s. president's newly announced strategy for defeating isis. barack obama announced late wednesday the u.s. will lead a broad coalition to ultimately destroy the group. his plan includes expanded u.s. air strikes in iraq and most importantly syria. new arms and assistance will flow to iraqi forces and the syrian opposition.
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the coalition will move to cut off militant funding and stop the flow of foreign fighters to the region. and humanitarian aid will continue for civilians in harm's way. all of this, the u.s. president suggests with no american boots on the ground. >> we will conduct a systematic campaign of air strikes against these terrorists. working with the iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions so we're hitting isil targets as iraqi forces go on the offense. we will hunt down terrorists and threaten our country wherever they are. i will not hesitate to take action against isil in syria and iraq. this is a core principle of my presidency. if you threaten america, you will find no safe haven. >> now, france is reportedly ready to participate in u.s.-led air strikes on isis targets in iraq. but when it comes s ts to mili
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action in syria, the foreign minister reportedly said, the situation there was different. the french president is set to visit iraq on friday. a number of various meetings taking place to address this threat. president obama says the u.s. will degrade and ultimately destroy isis. but what do we know about its military capability and recruitment? for some answers, let's bring in ivan watson, currently in hong kong but spent much time in northern iraq. ivan, based on what you've seen and heard and experienced, you've really got a good sense of the nature of this threat. is this exactly what the kurdish fighters want? is the strategy, as far as it's been announced so far, likely to be enough? >> certainly the kurds are very pleased with the flow of
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assistance, weapons that they've gotten not only from the u.s. but from a number of western governments since the crisis really erupted over the course of the last month. u.s. government announcing now more assistance, not only to the central government in baghdad, but also to the kurdistan regional government. that's been one of the key gripes that the kurds have had in the past, that they weren't getting military assistance to their peshmerga forces. it was going to the central government in baghdad first and wasn't being supplied to them because of political tensions that continue to exist. a bigger challenge i think for president obama and his administration is who are they going to support across the border in syria, where he has announced that, at a time and place of his choosing, the u.s.
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can and perhaps will carry out air strikes against isis. in syria, you have a tangled web, a jigsaw puzzle of different militant factions. some of them have been fighting against isis since january of this year. one of the syrian rebel factions that's been fighting isis is the nusra front, which aligns itself with al qaeda. so does the u.s. provide support to that organization? most likely it will not. another organization that has been very successful fighting isis is the kurdistan worker's party, or pkk, in syria. that is officially labeled a terrorist organization by the u.s. government, even though right now the pkk is aligned with the kurdish peshmerga across the border in iraq. so you see how you have these tangled webs of alliances, different groups that are fighting against isis. but that the u.s. will probably
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feel very uncomfortable supporting as it embarks on this new strategy. >> just a glimpse there of the challenges ahead in deciding who to arm, who to help on the syrian side of the conflict as it unravels on the iraqi side. ivan live for us in hong kong. thank you very much. we now want to get reaction to mr. obama's strategy from moscow. you're seeing cnn's global resources here. matthew chance is joining us live for this side of the story. russia has really shown itself to be a syrian ally. and previously the foreign minister serge lavrov saying a u.s. strike in syria would be colossal shock in escalation. so i'm wondering what the reaction is now? >> reporter: i think the big concern in moscow is that u.s. air strikes on isis positions inside syria could be used as a pretext to attack the government
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of bashar al assad. as you mentioned, a key ally of moscow. so i think the russians are deeply concerned that that would be a negative development. as the same time, they're obviously no friends of isis. isis has threatened moscow directly. moscow has been warning against the dangers of islamic extremism, warnings gone unheeded by the united states. the russian foreign minister saying it wasn't until an american journalist was beheaded that the united states started heeding our warnings saying okay, this is terrorism, we could fight it. so on the one hand that the air strikes could be targeted against the syrian government. but at the same time support for an international coalition at which russia could be a part of to tackle isis. >> and also, matthew, the russians might be pleased with air strikes on isis targets in syria, as it could strengthen
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bashar al assad, their ally. there are so many sides to this as far as who -- just talkingn't this with ivan. who in the opposition could they side with that doesn't put them against another ally? how is moscow likely to react to these air strikes if and when they do get under way? >> again, there will be a premeeted reaction from moscow. but there is that concern that they could be directed against the syrian government instead. also, that remark that the united states would back the sort of anti-government rebels. that's alarming to russia, as well. they see the assad government as a bullock as a rising get of
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islamic militantism. so they basically back any forces opposed to that kind of spread of islamism. >> matthew chance live for us this morning in moscow. coming up for you after the break, we continue to look at this developing story. what will president obama's announcement on isis ultimately mean for the american military operation? i'll speak to a retired u.s. army commander after this.
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all right. if you're bet we are visuals, we want to break down where the u.s. operation against isis stands right now. you see all those red dots on the map. it shows areas currently under the militant group's control. in his remarks, president barack obama says he won't hesitate to authorize air strikes in syria, as well as iraq. you see why that's important. the number of red dots there. 475 additional u.s. military adviser also go to iraq in a noncombat role. that puts the total number around 1700. finally, mr. obama has asked congress for additional authority to arm and train moderate syrian rebels to fight isis. u.s. president obama has laid out his strategy to defeat ice it. but what are the next steps we
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might see for this american operation? earlier i spoke with retired u.s. army lieutenant general mark hurtling to get his takeaways from the president's speech. >> as we heard the president say, he's not only going to expand operations against isis, it could go anywhere they are. so i think he's going to continue to support an emergingly nonsectarian iraqi government and look for opportunities of strategic targeting anywhere in the region where he might find key isis targets. along with that, as a guy who just took off his uniform over a year and a half ago, looking at it from the standpoint of the commander, general austin is going to have the mission of training, not only iraqi forces and peshmerga forces, but potentially free syrian army forces. those are all very difficult and noteworthy tasks. he also has to think about how does he pull together what we
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now know is a 40 member coalition? many forces that we worked with over the last ten years in iraq and afghanistan, all in an expanded operational environment with constraints and restraints in terms of the number of force size and what he's asking the coalition to do. these are doable missions but not something where you flip a switch and it all occurs. this will take time, a lot of very hard work on the point of the military not only from the u.s. but also from our coalition partners, and also from the diplomatic core. the state department is going to be probably much busier than the military, at least in the early stages getting agreements from different governments for the things that we may ask them to do. >> so you're making the point that this diplomatic as much as it is a military plan, considering what's needed to limit the ability for isis to grow. on the military front, though, the u.s. president announcing
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475 additional military advisers to head to iraq. that brings the number closer to 1,000. does that suggest we'll see possibly a doubling of the u.s. effort in iraq or is it not that simple? >> no, i don't think you can do exponential math in this particular case. but i do believe it's an important step, because the majority of those advisers are going to be special operators or special forces. they're likely going to be some that will be just trainers. so i think from the standpoint of numbers, though, i'm looking at this from my own calculation and remembering back when i was a lieutenant colonel, commanding a calvary squadron, that's just a little bigger, the total number, the 1600 number, than the force i commanded at a lieutenant colonel. so that's not a significant force. it certainly doesn't compare to the kind of force i commanded in
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northern iraq, which was 30,000 americans and 60,000 iraqi security forces. so this is something where that is a constraint that limits the capability. but i think as we pull the coalitions together, and each contributes in their own unique way, it will be a difficult challenge, but one that the commanders have been asked to take on. >> lieutenant general mark hurtling there speaking to me earlier. still to come, the other major story we're covering for you today here on cnn, you're looking at live pictures of the courthouse in south africa. we're moments away from oscar pistorius' arrival of what could be his last day in court. what will the verdict be? will he face any punishment? and what will he face just in the upcoming hours? answers on all of that, next. there's a gap out there. that's keeping you from the healthcare you deserve. at humana, we believe the gap will close when healthcare gets simpler.
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welcome back, everyone. this is live pictures of the high court in south africa, where the judge in the oscar pistorius murder trial is expected to deliver a verdict today. oscar pistorius is also expected to arrive at any moment. the victim's mother is in the courtroom, as is the family of oscar pistorius. this decision today will determine whether pistorius is
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guilty of potentially guilty of killing his girlfriend or if it was accidental. there are no jury trials in south africa. that means this decision lies entirely in the hands of the judge. so we're going to keep our eyes outside the courtroom and bring you developments as they take place. court proceedings could last all day, and may spill into tomorrow. so as we wait for all of this, let's bring in kelly phelps who has been our legal analyst through all of this, joining us from outside the courthouse. great to see you. this is all going to come down to the judge's opinion if pistorius knew reeva was behind the bathroom now. which way, based on the evidence we've all seen, is the judge likely to lean? >> reporter: well, precisely because it rests entirely on her perspective and her reading of the evidence, it really is
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impossible to predict which way she will decide. neither should we try and speculate about that really. in terms of my own reading, having looked at it and weighed each of the side's arguments and compared it with all the evidence put forward, the probabilities will more with the homicide charge than the murder charge. their final argument where they said even if he was telling the truth and he thought it was an intruder, he still intended to kill whoever was behind the door. both sides put forward differing legal interpretations of how that rule should be applied and understood. that will be the pivot point on which this case rests. which ever side she feels is more correct will determine which way the verdict goes on the murder charge.
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>> fascinating how this really has been, you know, two legal very live legal sides and narratives trying to be reconciled by the judge. they've been pushing these very different narratives, one saying it was a lover's quarrel, the defense alleging this was something different. has there been a noticeable change in south african public opinion on this? oscar pistorius a massive celebrity in the country. reeva steenkamp seen as this cover model. have things changed as more evidence has been presented and as more people speak out about what they think will happen? >> reporter: i have certainly discerned a shift in public opinion in terms of my interaction with the public and seeing chat forums and that sort of thing. at the beginning of this trial, there was a public move against mr. pistorius. as the trial progressed, and
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particularly when the defense presented their oral closing arguments, you're starting to see more of a 50-50 split in public opinion. through now more voices coming out and saying well, they pulled everything together in a persuasive way and maybe he is telling the truth. there are still some very strong public sentiment against mr. pistorius. >> kelly phelps outside the courthouse, the high court where we expect oscar pistorius to arrive any minute. stay with us here on cnn. our special coverage continues. we'll have more on president obama's plan to defeat isis and more live coverage next hour of this highly anticipated verdict in the oscar pistorius murder trial. do stay with us here on cnn.
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welcome, everyone. we are following two major news stories this hour on cnn. isis militants in syria, now in american cross hairs. u.s. president barack obama announced a coalition during a primetime speech on wednesday. we'll bring you global reaction. it is judgment day for olympian oscar pistorius in the shooting death of reeva steenkamp. our legal analyst is where is judge will begin to read her verdict in just about 30 minutes. we will bring you live to the courtroom. and we're looking at these pictures. you can see oscar pistorius, there he is. she's coming in with his entourage and of course, just flanked by people on either