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EXCLUSIVE: Qatar's Emir: We don't fund terrorists

September 25th, 2014
04:11 PM ET

Click here to watch part two of Amanpour's interview with the Emir of Qatar.

By Mick Krever, CNN

(CNN) – In his first-ever interview as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani defended his country against allegations of funding terrorism and pledged support for the fight against ISIS for the long haul.

"We don't fund extremists," the Emir told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Thursday. "If you talk about certain movements, especially in Syria and Iraq, we all consider them terrorist movement."

"I know that in America and some countries they look at some movements as terrorist movements. ... But there are differences. There are differences that some countries and some people that any group which comes from Islamic background are terrorists. And we don't accept that."

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

John Kerry: The fight against ISIS is 'going to go on'

September 24th, 2014
09:13 AM ET

Click here for part one of the full interview, and here for part two.

By Leigh Ann Caldwell, CNN

(CNN) - In an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Secretary of State John Kerry echoed President Barack Obama, saying it will take time for airstrikes to degrade ISIS.

"There's a definitely a second day and there will be a third and more. This is going to go on," Kerry said Wednesday.

The United States conducted a second day of airstrikes in Syria and Iraq since the expanded military campaign against ISIS.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iraq • Syria

Iraqi leader: U.S.-led military campaign against ISIS welcome if 'they do it right'

September 24th, 2014
03:50 AM ET

Click here to watch Part 2 of Amanpour's interview with Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi.

By Greg Botelho, CNN

(CNN) - Iraq's prime minister said Tuesday he is happy to see the United States and its Arab allies striking ISIS targets in Syria, so long as they "do it right this time."

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that Iraq has "paid a heavy price" for polarization in the region and instability in Syria, saying ISIS fighters have inflicted tremendous pain, suffering and losses on his people after crossing into Iraq. He expressed hope the airstrikes will do what U.S. President Barack Obama has vowed: degrade and destroy the group, which calls itself the Islamic State.

It's good some Arab nations have joined the American-led military campaign, al-Abadi added, though he said he wished they had understood and acted on the danger posed by ISIS sooner.

"We have warned ... this is going to end in a bloodbath if nobody stops it," he said. "Nobody was listening."

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

Why France refuses to call militants ‘ISIS’

September 23rd, 2014
03:43 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

For France, “ISIS” is the wrong name for the Sunni militants who control large portions of Iraq and Syria.

“In French they want to be called État Islamique, Islamic State, but it’s a double mistake,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Tuesday. “A, they are not a state; they would like to be a state but they are not. And they are not representative of Muslims.”

“We call them Daesh, by the Arab word.”

“Daesh” is a term reportedly despised by the militants, because it sounds like another Arabic word that means “to trample on” or “crush.”

“You have to name things correctly,” Fabius said. “These guys are murderers; they are throat cutters.”

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

Air campaign in Syria may take more than a year, says Pentagon Press Secretary

September 23rd, 2014
03:38 PM ET

By Henry Hullah

United States and Arab strikes against ISIS in Syria were just the start of a campaign that is set to go on much longer, U.S. Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon Press Secretary, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

“For us it’s more important to get this training and equipment done right then it is to get it done fast.”

“It’s going to take three to five months, now that we have the authorization and the funding to do it, to recruit and to vet a proper set of trainees, and then it’s going to take eight to twelve months to get them into the field in a confident way.”

“It’s going to take some time, which is why in the intervening months we’re going to continue to put pressure of ISIL from the air across the region.”

“We’re not turning a blind eye to ISIL’s spread inside Syria which why we conducted these strikes against them last night and why we’re going to continue putting pressure on them going forward.”

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Syria

Bahrain: ‘Our region cannot withstand this deviated cult’

September 23rd, 2014
03:27 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

ISIS is a “deviated cult” that cannot be tolerated - or withstood, as he put it - in the region, Bahrain’s foreign minister told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

“We urge every cleric and every place of scholarship in the Muslim religion to really stand out and say clear words, and very clear terms, that this is not Islam, and they are not Muslims – this is a very deviated cult,” Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa said.

Bahrain was one of five Arab allies that joined with the United States in Tuesday’s early hours to strike at ISIS targets in Syria – the first U.S. military intervention in Syria’s three-year conflict.

Al Khalifa confirmed to Amanpour that Bahraini participated militarily in the operation, using F16s to strike targets.

Bahrain will continue to be part of the coalition for “as long as it takes,” he said.

“We know that this is a threat to sovereignty and integrity of countries. There is a declared state that transcends borders. We know that this is something that targeted civilians, and displaced them in the hundreds of thousands – attacked mosques, churches, people of different sects and religions – Yazidis, Christians, Muslims, Shiites, Sunnis.”

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

Moderate Syria opposition pleads for support, but not troops

September 18th, 2014
02:54 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

As the U.S. Congress moves towards authorizing training and weapons for the moderate Syrian opposition, the former commander of the Free Syrian Army pleaded for support but said there was no need for international troops on the ground.

“We don’t need ground troops from any country in the world. We are able, if we receive enough support, to fight against ISIS,” Former Free Syrian Army Commander General Salim Idriss told CNN’S Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

“We have a large number of fighters who are ready to fight and more than five thousand now are ready in the suburbs of Aleppo and suburbs of Idlib.”

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

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
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