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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

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

Iraq: We can defeat ISIS

September 9th, 2014
03:11 PM ET

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

By Mick Krever, CNN

On the eve of U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech outlining the American strategy against ISIS, and after the formation of a new government that was like a “caesarean operation,” Iraq’s new deputy Prime Minister said that ISIS in Iraq could be defeated.

“I think they are on the run, on the defensive. And with the increased international support coming … I think they would be defeated, at least here in Iraq. We have every confidence,” Hoshyar Zebari, who was long the Iraqi foreign minister, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

Zebari hailed the formation of a new government – a “big, big challenge” – but some are skeptical whether the leadership is renewed or simply reshuffled.

“We all agree that this government has to be different from the previous government – in its leadership, in its faces, in its composition, and its representation.”

But Nuri al-Maliki – who was just forced to resign as prime minister for his divisive policies and whom many blame at least in part for the rise of ISIS – is back as one of the country’s three vice presidents.

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iraq • Latest Episode

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

NATO: Judge Russia by actions, not words

September 5th, 2014
02:00 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

As Ukraine and Pro-Russian separatists agreed to a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, the deputy NATO military commander said Moscow must be judged by its actions, not its words.

"If [the ceasefire] is the portent of a peaceful solution to this conflict in eastern Ukraine that's welcome news. But I think we need to judge things by actions and not by words,” General Adrian Bradshaw told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Friday.

“I'm afraid during this crisis in the past we've heard words said which haven't been reflected by actions on the ground. So we need to just ensure that people are being genuine here."

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iraq • Russia • Ukraine

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
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