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Likening ISIS to the Devil, Cardinal makes case for ‘moral’ protection of civilians

September 15th, 2014
02:58 PM ET

Click here to watch Amanpour's full interview with Cardinal Fernando Filoni.

By Mick Krever, CNN

Likening ISIS’s rampage to the Devil, the Pope’s envoy to Iraq on Monday made the careful case for taking on ISIS in the name of protecting civilians.

“No one can use the name, or in the name of God to do something like this,” said Cardinal Fernando Filoni, referring to ISIS’s very public beheadings. “These are really Devil things.”

“I don’t say war. I wanted to say defending people who are in need. And this was asked by people there.”

The Pope has been particularly outspoken on ISIS, saying that the group must be stopped, though not necessarily by bombing and traditional warfare.

“The Holy Father many times spoke about no war,” Cardinal Filoni said. “But we are not talking now about war; we are talking about something different.”

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iraq • Latest Episode • Syria

For humanitarian workers, American offensive may spell trouble

September 11th, 2014
03:08 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

An expanded American offensive against ISIS in Iraq and Syria may complicate the work of humanitarian workers already trying to help desperate civilians in the region, David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

“Like any human being when I see the stories that are emerging from Syria and Iraq … you can only imagine feelings that I have.”

“But equally I know that I am responsible for a thousand people plus who are working day and night to try and bring humanitarian help, and they are working inside Syria, including in areas where ISIS operates,” Miliband, who was British foreign secretary from 2007 to 2010, said.

“It’s very important therefore that I stick to my humanitarian mission, which is to say that these civilians wherever they are, are in front of my mind, and that we have to make contingency plans for whatever military or other catastrophe or crisis develops.”

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iraq • Latest Episode • Syria

Obama must go ‘all-in’ against ISIS, say two heavyweight American diplomats

September 10th, 2014
03:14 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

U.S. President Barack Obama must show the world that he is “all in” if there is any hope of defeating ISIS, two veteran American diplomats told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday, hours before President Obama was set to reveal his plan to fight ISIS in a primetime address.

“We are fighting a mortal enemy, an existential enemy. We win or we pay,” said Ryan Crocker, who has served as American ambassador to Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

“It's all about American leadership. Either we assert it now or we don't win this fight.”

President Obama must demonstrate that “we're all in. We are in with a coalition that we will lead, and we are going to stick with it as long as it takes.”

“He was not all in in Libya…Nothing good is going to happen in Iraq, in Syria, and in the region without American leadership, and in our system that means presidential leadership.”

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iraq • Latest Episode • Syria

West must include Syria stronghold in ISIS fight, says NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

September 5th, 2014
03:00 PM ET

Click here to watch Amanpour's full interview with Rasmussen.

By Mick Krever, CNN

The West must include ISIS’s Syria stronghold in its effort to defeat it, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Friday.

There is “no doubt that Syria and Iraq should be looked upon as a whole. Many of the problems originate from the internal conflict in Syria. There is a clear spill over to the region.”

“And that’s why I think the international community will have to address these problems as a whole.”

The United States said at the conclusion of a NATO summit on Friday that it would seek to assemble a coalition to confront ISIS. President Barack Obama has said that the goal is to “degrade and destroy” ISIS.

But the White House has not said yet whether Syria, a country President Obama has long been wary of becoming involved in military, would be included its efforts.

“It has been very hard to see a military solution to the conflict in Syria,” Rasmussen said. “And still I think a long-term, sustainable solution will take a strong political and diplomatic effort.”

“But the bottom line is that we have seen the rise of this terrorist organization, the Islamic State, that has committed horrific atrocities, and now I see it as an obligation for the international community to stop it, to defeat it, and take the necessary steps to that end.”

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Filed under:  Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour • Iraq • Latest Episode • Syria

Iraq president pleads for help in ‘very vulnerable situation’

September 4th, 2014
02:27 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Iraqi President Fuad Masum appealed for international support to fight ISIS in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

“If there is cooperation and coordination between Iraq and the United States, and the neighboring countries, I believe that that organization can be quickly wiped out.”

NATO has not received any request for support from Iraq, Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday, but any application would be “considered seriously.”

Amanpour put that to President Masum.

“From here, and through this interview with you, I request … support for Iraq, to fight those terrorists, because Iraq now is in a fragile situation, very vulnerable situation.”

“And when that organization defeats Iraq, it can proceed to other countries.”

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iraq • Latest Episode • Syria

ISIS killings highlight lack of Iraq intelligence assets, says former UK Intel Chief

September 3rd, 2014
03:19 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The brutal ISIS killings of two American journalists, and the threat to kill a British hostage, highlight the fact that America and Britain have very little intelligence capability in the country, former UK Security and Counter-Terrorism Minister Pauline Neville-Jones said Wednesday.

“One of the things I think that looking back it was certainly a mistake, was that when both the U.S. and U.K. left Iraq, the intelligence assets were removed at the same time,” she told CNN’s Michael Holmes, in for Christiane Amanpour.

“That has meant there is a real hole in our collective knowledge of what’s been going on on the ground.”

“That has to be restored, because, you know, you don’t in the end conduct really successful military operations of any kind in the absence of good intelligence. So that’s urgent, important, and I think it’s underway.”

All eyes are on the U.K. as Western leaders step up their rhetoric on ISIS. Not only is a British national threatened with being the next to die, the executioner of the two American journalists speaks with a London accent in videos released by ISIS.

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday said the U.K. “will not be cowed by these barbaric killers.” U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said America would follow ISIS “to the gates of hell.”

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Filed under:  Iraq • Latest Episode • Syria

‘Stay tuned,’ on American plans against ISIS, says State Department

‘Stay tuned,’ on American plans against ISIS, says State Department
September 2nd, 2014
03:39 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

As ISIS released a video Tuesday showing the beheading of a second American, a top State Department official told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour to “stay tuned” on U.S. plans to combat the organization.

“We are putting the features in place, developing a broad regional coalition, a broad international coalition, working to get a new Iraqi government stood up, working to get our plans in place. So stay tuned,” Brett McGurk, Deputy U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran, told Amanpour.

“Obviously ISIS is a very sophisticated organization. You cannot just go in militarily and start dropping bombs, and hope that it’s going to work out. You have to have a very sophisticated approach to this.”

Just weeks after beheading American journalist James Foley, a British-accented ISIS militant executed another U.S. journalist, Steven Sotloff.

The executioner says the U.S. is “paying the price” for intervention, in the form of airstrikes, against ISIS; he threatens the life of a British captive.

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iraq • Latest Episode • Syria

ISIS likely to execute British captive, says terror expert

ISIS likely to execute British captive, says terror expert
September 2nd, 2014
03:21 PM ET

​"They are masters of terror," radicalization and terror expert Peter Neumann told Christiane Amanpour in reaction to a new ISIS video that showed their second execution of an American reporter.

It was a threat they had made following the murder of another American journalist, James Foley, and brutally delivered on.

"Had they not made good on this particular threat, they would not have been taken seriously."

Amanpour asked if they will follow through with their latest threat in the video to execute a British national.

"Tragically, it probably is likely that they will execute a British person at some point in the future unless something dramatic happens."


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iraq • Latest Episode • Syria

New leader of the Free Syrian Army: We warned the Americans about ISIS​

August 29th, 2014
10:10 AM ET

by Henry Hullah

The Free Syrian Army is on the verge of collapse.

Fighting on two fronts, it is not only battling the Assad regime but must also stop the march of the barbaric militant group ISIS across Syria.

For General Abd al-Ilah al-Bashir, the newly appointed leader of the FSA, continued American airstrikes could be key to aiding his army's fight against ISIS.

"The American airstrikes could help the revolutionaries to destroy this organization and make them step back," he told the program.

Christiane Amanpour asked the leader of the Free Syrian Army if he had been in contact with the American government as the threat of ISIS began to grow in Syria, were they made aware of just how big a threat this group could have grown to be?

"We met with the Americans a few times and we warned them of the danger of this organization and we showed our readiness to fight against them because it's dangerous, not only for the region, but the whole world," the General said.

"We are ready to defend the whole world. But we did not get much support or help to do that."

Earlier in the week, The U.K.'s Ambassador to the United Nations told the program that "ISIS is a monster that the Frankenstein of Assad has largely created". The General made clear that he also believed the government of Bashar al-Assad is to blame for this barbaric organisation. ​

"We are convinced that it is part of the Assad regime. And they have complete coordination with members of this regime and they lead and they coordinate with the Syrian regime."

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Syria

UK's Ambassador to the U.N.: ISIS is a monster that the Frankenstein of Assad has largely created​

August 26th, 2014
03:07 PM ET

by Henry Hullah

After the cataclysmic conflict between Israel and Gaza-based militants, some hope came today with an Egypt-brokered peace deal.

Christiane Amanpour asked the British Ambassador to the United Nations Mark Lyall Grant if he was hopeful.

"This is very good news, but we've seen truces before." he told her, "Just a ceasefire, if it gets back to the status quo, is not going to provide a long-term solution to the crisis."

"We need something that is: A) sustainable, and B) acts as a bridge to serious status negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel."

"We have to move on from this cyclical crisis to something that is more sustainable."

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Gaza • Iraq • Latest Episode • Syria
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