tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN September 23, 2014 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
it helped my grades move higher. today it's the largest broadband adoption program in america. it helped me a lot. comcast. helping to bridge the digital divide. welcome back, this is cnn special live coverage, i'm anderson cooper. this is only the beginning of a u.s. led war against isis militants. across syria, u.s. war planes, fighter jets, missiles there you see tarted isis training camps and key command centers. we're also learning in the northwest, a little known branch of al qaeda was apparently in
the final stages of executing an attack. this according to u.s. officials attack on western targets and possibly an attack on the united states. last night, we took strikes. once again, it must be clear to anyone who would plot against america that we would not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people. >> telling cnn that this terror cell had been working on a bomb made of clothes dipped in explosive material. so we've heard some back and forth, barbara about the verb e a verbiage of whether this was an imminent threat. what have you heard? >> well, anderson, the administration says it went ahead with the attack against the khorasan group because it did pose an imminent threat it
was in the advance stages of an attack. the worry was clearly as they moved to make these types of explosive devices. the u.s. might lose track of them, the devices, the potential bombers that you had to move against them now. the u.s. is now conducting battle damage assessment, bomb damage assessment as the targets of khorasan that they struck. satellites, drones, aircraft, looking at the damage, trying to see where they are on all of this. if they -- we were told if they determine they were as successful as they believe they were, it is possible that they have really disrupted a plot to attack the united states. >> do we know how large a group we're talking about? this khorasan group is? >> i don't know that anybody has a really good fix on it. what you hear from intelligence
analysts is these are old time hard core battle hardened al qaeda veterans combined with other jihadists, so many other groups operating inside syria. and some of them actually have come from the al qaeda core group back in pakistan, essentially, the old days of al qaeda. we believe that what the u.s. is trying to determine right now is whether they might have been even been successful in killing the leader of this group, but that is unconfirmed at this point. there's a lot of chatter about it, but the u.s. hasn't determined whether they really got the man. >> all right. barbara starr, appreciate it. as i mentioned, the attack that the u.s. carried out alone was against this group, a veteran al qaeda operative called khorasan we were just talking about. this amateur video shows the u.s. air strike against that terrorist group. security officials
acknowledged -- now military officials are stressing the reason khorasan is in syria is to advance the agenda against the west. >> we've been watching this group closely for some time. we believe the khorasan group was nearing the execution phase of an attack either in europe or the homeland. and we know that the khorasan group has attempted to recruit westerners to serve as operatives or to infiltrate back into their homelands. the khorasan group is clearly not focused under the assad regime or the syrian people. they are establishing roots in order to advance attacks against the west and the homeland. >> joining me now is cnn terrorism analyst and deborah feyerick. what do we know specifically about their plans. >> everyone says they knew they were close. and what makes the khorasan group so dangerous is even though they were operating in syria, they have one objective, and that is to carry out a major
attack in the west, possibly against the united states. as you heard barbara say, this is a small, hard core battle train force, what we're being told is there are a few dozen tops. they have bomb makers. but most specifically, a delivery system. and that is recruits that hold western passports. now the leader was part of the 9/11 planning. so he knew of the hijackers, knew of the plot to fly planes. so he's really sort of part of the old guard. his new guard, his body guard, actually, was in syria, was recently captured and interpreted by the assad regime. and a source says at that time he told the authorities that the group's focus was external operations. what we're learning about the plot itself, an intelligence source telling us within the last week that information came to light that the group was ready to activate, to become operational. the possible plot according to that source, clothing dipped in explosives or some type of nonmetallic device, a toothpaste
tube that also had explosive materials. and a cnn official said that khorasan attack targets were in europe and the united states. twofold, large, sophisticated type attacks or smaller, less sophisticated attacks. the group much further along than anybody was comfortable with. passenger planes have always remained a prime al qaeda target. we saw with the 2009 underwear bomber, no one is confirming that right now whether that was the specific target, but we do know that the militants had obtained materials. but, again, unclear when, where and what it is that they were looking to attack. >> it's interesting, paul, when i think of bomb makers, i think of al qaeda and the arabian peninsula, particularly this bomb maker believed to be in yemen. sounds like this khorasan group also has expertise in relatively sophisticated bomb making. >> and here's the concern. the master bomb maker in yemen has trained apprentices in yemen how to get bombs on to u.s. planes. those apprentices have traveled,
it's feared, to syria and joined up with the khorasan group. the fear is, this group now has that key bomb making technology to bring down u.s. and western passenger jets. >> it's also interesting they're using syria. they're basing in syria not because they're opposed to the assad regime. but frankly, kind of like a parasite, they're kind of using this host so it's a volatile region and it's kind of easier to hide there than perhaps in pakistan or elsewhere. >> that's exactly right. a couple years ago, al qaeda central and pakistan started deliberately sending operatives over to syria. a civil war, somewhere where they can operate, they can build these training camps and they can recruit european recruits, american recruits to bring terror back to the west. >> largely because of the beheading videos they've put out and they've done a great job on social media of getting their message across and trying to bolster, make themselves look 10
feet tall when, in fact, there are other groups out there that have technical sophistication and are solely devoted to trying to attack the west. >> some of these groups are smaller than isis, pose a more immediate threat. the worry now that the united states is involved in air strikes against isis and syria is that isis is going to get involved in this, as well. that isis is going to prioritize launching attacks against the west. they've not done that so far. but they have tens of millions of dollars in cash reserves. everything they need to also plot attacks back in the west. >> one thing about al qaeda, al qaeda has always made clear they're going to go back to the same targets, the same attacks. they still, they've been thinking about this more than a dozen years. they know exactly what it is they want to attack. hitting any planes europe or elsewhere would have an impact on the economy and other economies. >> what's interesting about the way things are now and
especially with social media, you don't need to have an attack on a large scale target like a plane or, you know, the world trade center to have a major impact. i think that the mumbai attacks where you had a handful of gunmen paralyze the city for days after attacking a hotel. you had a jihadist, you know, beheading a british soldier on the streets in the united kingdom. you could have and khorasan apparently was interested not just large attacks but smaller attacks. you can have an individual or series of individuals, you know, kind of doing dramatic -- >> the westgate mall attack. >> right. >> officials really feared. think about it, you have a handful of gunmen able to get to a location, coordinate off, that was in nairobi. yeah, they're continuously thinking about how they can wreak maximum havoc. it doesn't have to be a plane, but al qaeda likes to keep poking and poking and saying, oh, we're coming back at you. we're coming back at you. you have tsa? we'll still get you. >> there are hundreds of
veterans from this jihadist conflict from syria and iraq back now in europe. but for al qaeda hitting passenger jets, it's still a big goal. think of the global economic repercussions if you take a passenger jet out of the sky. so they're still very much fixated on this. this is very real. >> thanks very much. up next, the pentagon's candid revelations about which targets they hit showing before and after pictures of david petraeus' former aides breaks it down for us. will more countries follow america's lead? the pentagon says this is only the beginning.
showcase a massive arsenal used by the u.s. and allies. cnn's tom foreman is in washington with the closer look at the kinds of weaponry used. >> this really was a huge array. the tip of the spear was the cruise missile launch they're capable of traveling at a tremendous speed, about 550 miles an hour. can carry 1,000-pound warhead. and when those fly out from the launch site, they can go a tremendous distance to hit their targets and here's where the targets were. if you go into the country, they're up in here. these missiles were fired from so far away, there was no ability of anyone up in here to strike back at the launching sites. that's the attraction of cruise missiles, the standoff for the launch. nonetheless, it's important to note this, they were most heavily relied on over here and the first strike in the western most area. why is that the case? that's the case because right
over in here is where syrian government and military forces remain the strongest. they have genuine air defenses fighter jets capable of engaging airplanes all the aircraft came into play much more over here, anderson, when you get into the second and the third strike regions and there were a lot of aircraft there, anderson. >> tom foreman, appreciate it. thanks very much. we'll talk about what comes next, joined now by the former aide to general petraeus. it always seems simpler in the early stages than the later stages when targets are hard to find and to strike is -- is there a limited target list in this air war. it's not as if there are command and control facilities like saddam's old military. >> well, i think it's fair to
say we hit the easiest targets and the most lucrative targets first. the fixed facilities that can't move around where we know there would be soldiers or fighters sleeping, people in their beds, weapons and ammunition and equipment stored. and those are the easy targets, but you're right. war is a process of action, reaction and counteraction and now the isis will disperse their fighters in bed with the population and it'll be much harder going forward to prosecute this air campaign with as much effect as we had last night. >> i want to talk about in iraq because the future there really relies, it seems, on peeling away the sunni supporters of isis, these former, these former saddam military guys, people who took part in the sunni awakening who were then disenchanted with maliki, payments by maliki stopped to them.
general petraeus in 2006, 2007, you were there. that was part of what was integral to the sunni awakening. how do you see that actually occurring? i mean, if that is essential for success to peel away the sunni support for isis, how do you go about doing that without large numbers of u.s. personnel on the ground if the iraqi, you know, leadership, which is not shown a willingness to do that in the last couple of years even though there's been a change in leadership, how do you see that happening? >> well, i think you've just struck to the heart of the matter. the boots on the ground that are the most important are the sunni tribes of the provinces and other places in northwestern iraq. and then even in eastern syria. it's imperative to bring onboard. once they turn on isis, isis' days are numbered. it's not going to happen without some sort of political accommodation to bring them on
board whether that's increased federalism, you know, their own administrative state within a larger iraq, share of the oil revenue, perhaps their own armed forces and in terms of the national guard. but i think it's also going to require u.s. special forces to go in there and work with the tribes to make them truly effective once they stand up to fight isis. and this is the part of the strategy that's missing from what the president has said when he's boxed himself in to this no boots on the ground, no forces in contact, no forces in combat. >> here's the thing i don't understand. if i'm a sunni tribesman and i've seen what maliki did once the u.s. left, i've seen the money stop, i've seen the -- the, you know, i've seen sunnis in the iraqi military relegated to lower positions. i've seen incompetent generals buying their way in and then finally abandoning their troops. i've seen shia militias, death
squads, immeshed in units defending baghdad and out on the field. why would i trust the central government at all unless they make a major, major effort. as you say, to devolve power or reach out? >> yeah, certainly, the tribesmen are not going to alie with the americans or iraqis based on promises. they allied with us in 2006, 2007, and 2008, because we were better than what they were suffering under al qaeda and iraq. but then they were let go by the iraqi government, persecuted and prosecuted by nuri al maliki. and now they're going to need something tangible they can hold on to that's going to assure them that when this is over if they destroy isis that they're just not going to be -- once
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our customers are safe and that's the most important thing. we know we are part of a huge company but sonoma county is our home. sonoma county is our pg&e. it makes me feel that what we're doing really means something in the community and it's just a great, great feeling. well, the u.s. is at war against isis and syria. five arab nations supporting the offensive. bahrain, united arab emirates, striking targets alongside american fighter jets and qatar playing a supportive role. more than 50 countries have agreed to join the partnership. the president praised the coalition today at the white house. take a listen. >> we were joined in this action by our friends and partners. saudi arabia, the united arab
emirates, jordan, bahrain and qatar. america's proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with these nations on behalf of our common security. the strength of this coalition makes it clear to the world that this is not america's fight alone. >> i want to bring in bobby goesh, a cnn contributor, managing editor. let's look at this coalition of nations here on the board. because it is really significant to have sunni nations attacking an sunni extremist group and doing it publicly. >> absolutely. for years these nations have been reluctant to engage directly with terrorists. they say it's not considered appropriate for them to participate like this. but now that old taboo has been broken. it's a big symbolic gesture. the actual military capabilities of their air forces -- it's possible that the u.s. could've done this by themselves. but the optics are important. it's important in this country where a lot of people are asking
the question, why aren't the arabs fixing their own problems. and it's obviously very important in the arab world for them to see that it's a group effort. >> and certainly a sign that a number of these countries, i mean, view isis as a significant threat. not even to the united states or to the west but to them, to their survival. jordan, saudi arabia. >> yeah, this is a much bigger problem for them than it is for us at this point. isis is killing muslims is killing arabs on a monumental scale. it has already taken large parts of two arab countries. it has threatened jordan recently. so, yeah, it's -- this has always been their problem more than it is ours. they've been reluctant to take it onboard. now it looks like they're willing to come along for this fight. >> turkey, as you know, has come under criticism for not being here in the initial phases. do you think behind the scenes they're likely involved? >> oh, yes. turkey has enormous intelligence assets in both syria and in that part of iraq where isis is
active. and i've got to think that a lot of intelligence that the u.s. is acting upon has to be coming from turkish sources. there are political reasons in turkey why they can't step up right now. although, we're hearing that's beginning to change and turkey might be more amenable. and i'm inclined to cut the turks some slack. they've taken on another part of this problem which is important to house and feed and clothe, hundreds and thousands. >> the border here with syria and turkey. and you've had huge numbers, hundreds of thousands. >> just this past weekend, 150,000 from syria's kurdish population have crossed over into turkey. turkey is having to host all these people. so let's cut turkey a little bit of slack. i think they will come along now that the arab nations have gotten involved. but they'll come to it in their own time. >> also, just looking at the strikes themselves, a number of targets, obviously, iraq hitting heavily at isis controlled areas, obviously also at this
other al qaeda offchute group. these are the sort of low-hanging fruit. these are the most obvious targets and probably the targets that are easiest to hit. the list is going to start to dwindle relatively quickly, i would think. >> this is day one of a very, very long campaign. everyone in the administration in the military saying this is going to be years. this is just a statement of intent. this is just telling the world, telling isis that they are targets and it's also telling all those other tribes associated with isis beginning to take aim at isis. and they're going to begin to ask themselves whether it's worth their while to go along with isis and risk these bombs landing dp ining -- >> the question is, what's the alternative. i was just talking to former military official from -- who served in iraq under petraeus. in order to get these sunni groups who are now supporting isis to peel away, that's not an easy thing to do. given the distrust of the central government in baghdad. >> that's true. in the last go around with
petraeus, we were able to do that because there were american promises made to the tribes. american money, american support. and when we left, the government in baghdad said those are promises. >> the funds? >> we're not going to do this. so it's crucial to figure out what his plan is, and if he's going to go along with this. because if he doesn't, then all this effort is wasted. >> right. >> he's made initial gestures toward the sunnis. those are good ones and need to be built upon. >> appreciate it. thanks very much. question is, how will congress shape the war on isis? will they do that? now that the air strikes have begun in syria. and, he wants to be a president to end wars not start them. we'll take a look at president obama's role as a somewhat reluctant warrior with former house speaker newt gingrich. eenie. meenie. miney. go.
i've spoken to leaders in congress and i'm pleased there's bipartisan support for the actions that we're taking. america's always stronger when we stand united. >> bipartisan support, among prominent republicans backing the action in syria. newt gingrich with us now, the former house speaker, co-host of cnn's "crossfire." how much credit do you think the president and john kerry should get for piecing this coalition together? >> i think they should get considerable credit. i think the country's stepping up to the plate that i'm surprised. we'll have to see how serious
they are. but if qatar comes in and is actively opposed to isis, that would be a significant breakthrough. a lot of the funding has come through. and to have them switching sides will be a big deal. i think you have to recognize there are a lot of people frightened by what's happening in the region and that there are a number of countries now that are stepping forward. but i think, i'm happy to blame the president and the secretary of state when things don't work. here's a case where they do deserve some real credit. >> it's interesting, though, with this coalition, you still have countries, saudi arabia and others which are supporting, medrassas in pakistan, they're part of the coalition against this coalition, with the other hand, though, they're still out there, you know, funding things, which long-term ideologically contribute to this anti-western sentiment. >> well, anderson, you're exactly right. this is where i hope when
congress comes back they will insist on very broad hearings. you know, there are wars with radical islamists underway with nigeria, somalia, yemen, gaza, south lebanon, syria, iraq, afghanistan, pakistan. that's a huge problem. and i think we have not taken seriously how big it is. we haven't taken seriously the saudi role in funding the madrassas. we haven't taken seriously the underlying funding of these organizations. 13 years after 9/11, we are still a long way from a global strategy against an increasingly global enemy. >> yeah, i mean, a war of ideas as well as a military campaign. >> that's right. and you look at over 100 americans have gone to isis, over 500 british citizens have joined isis. there are over 10,000 foreign
folks who have gone to isis. this is a genuinely worldwide problem and is going to require some pretty creative thinking about how we're going to defeat it, including in the u.s. and in great britain as well as in syria and iraq. >> it is, you know, you talked about when congress comes back, we have midterm elections six weeks from today. they're all going on recess, they're not coming back, really, until november, until after the elections, will the fact that we're now at war in syria change the dynamic in this election, you think, in any way? >> oh, i think it changes a little bit. i mean, the democrats are particularly, i think, split on this about 40% of the house democrats voted no on training and equipping the syrians just last week, there are a number of democrats running for election, clearly torn, remember, barack obama defeated hillary clinton for the nomination in 2008 in part on the issue of war. and he entered office as a president who wanted to minimize our worldwide military
involvement. he's now sending 3,000 military to west africa. he is sending american troops in a variety of forms in iraq and elsewhere. i think it puts tremendous stress on the anti-war democrats and causes problems. for the republicans, they're going to, i think, have to recognize that they've got to come back after the election and play a major role in thinking this through, holding hearings and trying to be constructive and forging a bipartisan majority to defeat this entire movement worldwide. >> do you think congress should vote on authorizing this? this is a war, this is a war without an end. i mean, this is -- >> yeah. >> a campaign that shall go on and on. >> well, first of all, i think we need to have hearings on defining what the enemy is. is the enemy one group in syria and iraq? does the enemy include, for example, boko haram, al shabab
in somalia, does it include the folks who are in yemen. i mean, how are we defining the war? i do think congress ought to authorize it whether as an act of war or a very strong declaration with a series of steps. we also need to make it illegal for americans to either recruit, fund raise or go to places like isis. i mean, you can't have recruiters trying to find young people, for example, in minneapolis-st. paul and recruit them, young and men women and young women now being recruited to go over. that should be a criminal event. >> newt gingrich, appreciate it. thanks very much. >> thank you. >> on top of the news of u.s. strikes inside syria. word from israel it shot down a syrian fighter jet. more on that coming up after the break.
[light instrumental music] ♪ female announcer: recycle your old fridge and get $50. schedule your free pickup at: israel's military says they shot down a plane. syrian fighter jet could be seen in flames as it crashed to the ground. the israeli military says the plane was identified while attempting to infiltrate israeli air space and was brought down by an antiaircraft missile.
the israeli/syrian border has grown tense. isis' so-called headquarters is in syria, but the militant group managed to terrorize and take control over a significant portion of the northern and western regions. today's allied air strikes did not include iraq, but no doubt officials there are closely watching developments in syria. ben wedeman is in iraq with reaction there. i'm wondering what is the perception in irbil, the kurdish controlled north to these latest strikes. >> what we've heard from kurdish officials is a very positive reaction that to the strikes, they've long been calling for them because, of course, really the heartland, the strategic depth of isis at the moment is in north central syria around
the city of raqqa. and that area really was a problem for the kurds in northern iraq and, of course, for the government in baghdad. now, in the last sort of month and a half, there have been around 190 u.s. strikes. and over the week, a few french air strikes as well on isis targets. but officials here say they'd like to see the sort of intensity and breadth of strikes that they've seen in syria overnight in iraq, as well. they say that when u.s. planes are involved in supporting kurdish or iraqi troops in the field when they're battling isis that it's a very piecemeal sort of tactical strikes, not sort of broad strategic strikes that would really cripple isis in iraq as well as syria. >> and have peshmerga fighters, kurdish fighters and iraqi military and as well as shia
militia supporters, have they been able to make advances on the battlefield against isis? >> well, to the west of irbil, the kurdish forces, the peshmerga have been able to retake villages that isis took. now, one of the problems is that even when they take over these villages, they find that there are boo brby traps, explosives houses all over the road and stuff. even when they drive isis out, it's a struggle to create an environment in which people can move back. they've retaken territory. but really many people have just remained in safer ground while the effort is ongoing to clear away the mines and the explosives. to the south of here in anbar province, close to baghdad, it's a somewhat different situation. the iraqi forces are really under pressure from isis who have been quite successful to
this day at really driving some of the government forces back. so it's really a mixed picture. now, we did speak with one senior kurdish official talking about the iraqi army, the central iraqi army. he said it's not even really an army. and so, shot through with corruption, with incompetence that they don't have a lot of confidence in the iraqi military. >> incredibly worrying. ben wedeman, appreciate it. coming up, a lot more. take a look. u.s. central command coordinating a new war for the u.s., launching missiles, dozens of military aircraft, dropping bombs. but why this type of fire power? we'll ask the former head of centcom next. plus, as the u.s. engages in another war, the markets are reacting. what about oil? we'll take a look at that ahead.
. only the beginning the pentagon using those words to describe what it calls successful u.s. air strikes against isis strong holds in syria. four dozen coalition aircraft hit centers and supplies, we're told, and acting alone, the united states attacked senior al qaeda set to be poised on the u.s. the question is, how successful were there? let's bring in a former commander in chief of u.s. central command as well as author of "before the first
shots are fired," how american can win and lose. general, what do you see thus far? as the military said, this is just the beginning. >> i think it's an important beginning. what was concerning me, syria was becoming a sanctuary, not just for isis but -- >> for khorasan? >> yes. it was beginning to become an attractive sanctuary. not only by hitting isis in its base but by hitting these other organizations. >> it's interesting, this group khorasan says they were apparently in syria not because they were interested in overthrowing bashar al assad at all but because they could operate in a lawless realm. >> absolutely. they believed we wouldn't go there so they didn't have to worry about a drone strike hitting their leadership or the way things happen in pakistan
and somalia. this had appeal to them and, of course, the protection that probably organizations like isis could give them in that environment, too. >> this entire operation rests on having others essentially fighting on the ground in iraq. we're talking about iraqi security forces, iraqi militias linked with iraqi security forces, the iraqi military and peshmerga fighters. how long does it take to get the iraqi military capable of actually fighting? i mean, you and i were talking before the break, because of nuri al maliki, the way generals could buy generalship, who had no military training whatsoever, no capabilities on the battlefield, they abandoned their troops. it seems to me it's going to take a long time. >> to me, this is the most concerning part of this strategy. the ground piece.
you have the peshmerga. they are not well-equipped. and they would need to go into an offensive. iraqi government, as you point out, anderson, is incapable and they proved that to stand up to isis it's going to take a year or more to vet the leadership, to get credible leadership, to train them. and then if they are sunnis, they are going to have to have something to fight for or believe in. and then the so-called moderates providing arms, we're not certain who is getting these arms and whether or not they will stand up. they have another fight going on with assad. >> that's the thing. one leader of a group quoted "the new york times" as saying, look, we want to fight assad. he's our priority. after that, we can deal with the extremist groups. that's exactly what the u.s. wants to hear. the u.s. wants them to turn and fight isis. >> but that collection on the ground to me is not substantial enough. remember when the marines were in falluja and anbar, that was a tough fight. >> right. >> without u.s. ground forces on
the ground, it's not going to be credible and you're not going to get anybody else to sign up, in my view, on the ground unless you have u.s. leadership and then u.s. participation at that level. >> and they are only talking about 5,000 so-called moderate training 5,000 or so. that's a pretty small force to deal with with isis, al nusra, some of these other groups. >> it also doesn't necessarily have the fire power to deal with them. we saw the fighting in places like falluja. it can negate the kind of fire power we can bring. i think what you're going to see pretty soon is isis and others will now go and mix with the people, much like hamas did in gaza in order to defeat our ability to target them and isolate them. >> right. so how do you go after them if you don't have u.s. personnel on the ground? >> there's an old saying in the milita military, if you're going to control people and the military, we have to face it. if we're truly out to destroy
them and truly out to go to the gates of hell and to lead the effort, you've got to be up front. >> so you think it's inevitable that u.s. ground forces would have to be involved? >> i think it's absolutely necessary. remember, it wasn't just defeat. the president said destroy isis. i think that's going to be hard to do totally. but if you're going to destroy them as a fighting force, it's going to have to be on the ground. and i don't think you're going to get credible coalition partners. you don't have on the ground now the kind of capability to do this unless you put american boots on the ground. the president is going to face that issue coming up, i believe. >> general, appreciate you being on. >> thank you very much. up next, will the air strikes continue in the coming hours and how imminent was the threat from this al qaeda terrorist? the pentagon spokesperson joins us next.
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sitting at just $91 a barrel. let's go to breaking news at the united nations. richard roth is joining me. richard? >> reporter: the united states has given the u.n. a letter to circulate regarding the legal justification for the attacks and assault on isis positions inside syria. the u.s. letter to the u.n. says that because iraq previously requested assistance from attacks from safe havens inside syria and under the rights of self-defense, the united states was under article 51 of the u.n. charter, able to attack syria because the government there was, quote, unwilling or unable to prevent the use of its territory for such attacks, the syrian regime has shown it cannot and will not confront those safe havens effectively. anderson? >> they are saying that the justification is the self-defense of iraq? >> reporter: that is correct. we know that they say there were
imminent threats coming from syria to u.s. interests. russia has not been happy overnight regarding the u.s. attacks. unclear how it will react inside the u.n. security meeting. anderson? >> richard roth. thank you so much. jake tapper and "the lead" starts right now. america at war again. the u.s. government says terrorists had imminent plans to attack the u.s. and they are not talking about the terrorist devices. i'm jake tapper. this is "the lead." the world lead. air strikes in syria targeting the dangerous but little known branch of al qaeda said to be nearing the execution phase of a massive attack. possibly on u.s. soil. so just who are these guys and what were or are they planning? plus, relentless air assault against isis command centers, training compounds and key isis strongholds. could it fuel more