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Middle East Ceasefire Approaches; Terror Plot Investigation

Aired August 13, 2006 - 21:00   ET


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST: Tonight, the countdown continues. Just four hours until the Middle East cease-fire is suppose to take effect, but as the deadline approaches, the attacks between Israel and Hezbollah have intensified. After 33 days of war and more than 1,000 deaths, will the cease-fire happen? And if it does, will it hold?

Meanwhile, 30 terror suspects arrested in Britain and Pakistan, accused in the massive alleged plot to blow up as many as 10 America- bound airliners in flight. But are more potential attackers out there?

From London, Beirut, and Northern Israel, we've got the latest on both of these big stories next on a special edition of LARRY KING LIVE.


And good evening from London I'm Christiane Amanpour standing in for Larry King tonight. There are developments in these two big stories, developments that may presage a lessening the tensions. For instance, in the terror plot the threat level has now been downgraded from critical to severe and, in the Middle East, the clock is ticking -- ticking towards perhaps an ends to the major fighting.

We're joined by CNN's Jim Clancy in Beirut, Matthew Chance in Israel, Ben Wedeman in Tyre, John King in Washington and from Tehran, Iran Aneesh Raman.

Let's go straight to Jim Clancy, first.

Jim, it's been such a violent day today, you and I have covered a lot of cease-fires and often the last hours are the deadliest, but with the Lebanese parliament, the cabinet, postponing the implementation debate, is there a worry about the cease-fire, could be in doubt on the Lebanese side?

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTL. ANCHOR: If you take Hassan Nasrallah at face value, he has not promised one for Israeli troops down along the border. He has said that they will continue to fight those troops so long as any remain in the country. But, wait, it gets worse. And as you say that cabinet meeting that was scheduled for last evening that didn't take place is an ominous sign that some of the political sources we've been talking to are correct when they say that Hassan Nasrallah is not prepared to go forward and allow the U.N. and the Lebanese army to move in. He refuses to disarm south of the Litani. The circumstances of that indicate then the Lebanese army will not be able to go in.

I talked with one of the men who was inside that meeting, Sami Haddad, the original meeting to discuss this, his is the minister of Economy and Trade. He told me that when the general put the question to the Hezbollah ministers, two of them, on the cabinet saying we need your cooperation when we go down there. You have to disarm, you have to pull back. Instead of answering in the affirmative, those two ministers looked back across the table in steely silence. They refused to give an affirmative.

Now, officially and publicly they say they accept the U.N. resolution with reservation reservations and it would appear that terminology, for them, means that they will not go along with key components of 1701 that mean it cannot be implemented.

So this cease-fire might, indeed, be very short-lived. One senior source telling me -- senior source in the government here, that Hassan Nasrallah needs a pause in the fighting, and that's what it's all about, his going along with it.

AMANPOUR: So are you saying it is about sequencing, it's about steps or is it -- there's no disarmament envisioned from the Hezbollah.

CLANCY: No disarmament envisioned -- no disarmament accepted from Hezbollah. But that, of course, is key to sequencing. As you well know, it is first suppose to be UNIFIL troops, a bolstered force, that go in, then the Lebanese army come in. The Lebanese army isn't going to go in unless Hezbollah gives the their assurances, those assurances are not forthcoming. Very serious news, an ominous sign for the hopes for this cease-fire.

AMANPOUR: Let me just ask you, because earlier we heard from the senior advisor to the Lebanese prime minister, who said that Hezbollah will no longer be an armed group, that it will be just a political group. But he obviously said that will take some time. He seems to be putting a positive spin on what, you know, may or may not have happened today and what may happen in the future, but he obviously says that there are a lot of difficulties and a lot of problems. Do you think this is sort of a last-minute negotiating stand by Hezbollah or very severe derailing stance?

CLANCY: It's tough to judge, but I can tell you that Mohammad Shatta (ph) was not inside the meeting. He didn't see Hezbollah looking back across the table not saying anything. That's No. 1. No. 2 Lebanon desperately needs a cease-fire. Lebanon has been battered to its knees, its infrastructure, its tourism, its investment. When you add up the total cost, right now it's somewhere around $10 billion. That number is only going to go up if this conflict continues.

Right now, it's very hard to read what Hassan Nasrallah intends to do. Remember, he's under tremendous pressure, here. World leaders are putting that pressure the government, it's conveyed through Nabih Berry to Hassan Nasrallah. He is being told that he will be held responsible for the destruction of Lebanon. He's got to make a decision and he's got to make it soon. As you noted, we're less than four hours and counting.

AMANPOUR: Jim, thanks. We're going to go to Matthew Chance in Morthern Israel. Yes, Hassan Nasrallah, perhaps, will be held responsible, but they are also firing Katyusha rockets into Israel, by some count, about 250, today, the highest number in these 33 days. What is Israel doing in the hours that is going -- leading up to this cease-fire? Do you see any evidence of preparation to stand down or to stop offensive action?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely not, Christiane. What we've been seeing, in fact, is the complete opposite of that. Since this cease-fire was brokered, before the weekend, Israel has actually been expanding its military operations inside Lebanon and some estimates put as many as 30,000 Israeli troops on the ground.

Now the reason they've done that is because what Jim has been talking about over the past several minutes is exactly what Israel had been suspecting would happen all along. They've made it clear that there will be no cease-fire unless Hezbollah meets the conditions that have been set by the United Nations resolution, unless is disarms -- unless it eventually withdraws away from South Lebanon. Until it does, Israel has put this massive force, 30,000 troops, hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles, as well, in place just in case the multi- national force, once its deployed, along with the Lebanese army, can't do the job of disarming Hezbollah or can't do the job of preventing Hezbollah from rearming again, possibly through the Syrian border. And Israel has made it quite clear that if a robust international force is not there doing that job, then it will do it, as it has been doing, for the past several weeks -- Christiane.

AMANPOUR: And what do you think the mood in the country is? Now, we know that the beginning of this war it was very, very pro-the- government, it backed the prime minister and his response. Is it still? Is it still like that, the mood?

CHANCE: Well, I think the expectations were very high at the beginning of this conflict, that it would be over so quickly. It hasn't turned out that way. And I think there's a mood of frustration amongst Israelis that, despite all the fire-power, all the armamentes, bombardments, and commando raids Israel's extremely powerful military has thrown at Hezbollah and thrown at Lebanon, they still haven't been able to do even the most -- achieve even the basic of those objectives, namely the launching of Hezbollah rockets from South Lebanon into Northern Israel.

You mentioned today, 250 or more of those rockets struck towns and cities across Israel's north, more than any single day, so far, in this conflict and so there's enormous amount of frustration about that and questions are being asked about whether the military leaders and the political leaders of this country did what they needed to do in the beginning of the conflict.

There's also a perception, Christian, amongst the Israelis that this war has not been won by Israel, that they haven't achieved the objectives they set out to achieve. Things like launching the missiles, things like getting the return of the two soldiers who were abducted by Hezbollah at the beginning of this conflict. Even the idea of pushing Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon hasn't happened yet and so many Israelis feel that Israel has, so far, failed.

AMANPOUR: Perhaps the pushing back of Hezbollah and perhaps even the release of the hostages, perhaps, in exchange for prisoners might happen in the future. But, let's go down to Ben Wedeman in Tyre, Southern Lebanon, on of the Hezbollah capitals down there.

Ben, what is the expectation there? That has really been pounded, hasn't it, because of the Katyusha rockets and the -- and Hezbollah infrastructure down there?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CAIRO BUREAU CHIEF: Yeah really, Christiane, the destruction that is most breath-taking is really not in Tyre, itself which has been hit about seven or eight times, but rather in the villages and towns in the south. Now, we able, during that 48 period of relative restraint by the Israeli air force, to see some areas and some towns almost completely obliterated. And of course, the pounding has gone on quite a lot since then, if anything intensified. As many as 15 towns along the border have been completely leveled.

Of course, because of the restrictions, or because of the fact the Israelis have told us that if we drive on the roads, we will be considered a legitimate target, we're not out to see that. But, certainly, we will be able to see, hopefully, in four hours, the true state of the south. But, everything we've heard from the Red Cross, from the United Nations, is that the south has been severely destroyed. And that, we're picking up on a certain amount of unhappiness among people down here with that fact; that they are saying that Lebanon, certainly the south, has been destroyed. And some people are blaming Hezbollah for this. And so, it's not like everybody down here is pro-Hezbollah.

For instance, Tyre is not really a Hezbollah stronghold, in fact the mayor is quite contrary to the position of Hezbollah. Really, Hezbollah's strength in the south has always been the villages and towns, that's where they got their support by providing the kinds of services that the government in Beirut never really did because of the complicated ethnic makeup of Lebanon. So, really, tomorrow -- actually, in four hours, we're going to have a much better idea the level of destruction, the extent of destruction. But, by all accounts, it is very widespread -- Christiane.

AMANPOUR: And it really is going to be interesting to see when the dust settles, if it does, how Hezbollah comes out in terms of people's perceptions after this, after this devastation.

Can we go to John King in Washington? Because this issue of postponing the Lebanese cabinet session on the implementation of the cease-fire and its provisions, apparently Secretary Rice spoke to the Lebanese prime minister today. Is there concern of the administration there, John, this may come a cropper?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATL. CORRESPONDENT: There is profound concern, Christiane. And what we're hearing from the administration tonight is we will see in the hours ahead, just a few hours ahead, in the words of one administration official which parties to this agreement will and can keep their word. Obviously, there is suspicion by the Israelis and United States that Hezbollah will keep its part of the deal and obviously they understand the political pressure and perhaps the impossible mission that Prime Minister Siniora is on, but they say he signed on to the deal and must now keep his end of the bargain.

And let's remember, the agreement, the cease-fire, the cessation of hostility resolution does not call for the disarming of Hezbollah right away, but it does say the south from the Litani River to the blue line, the Israeli border, will be free of any arms except for those sanctioned by the Lebanese government and those of the UNIFIL forces.

So, essentially, the deal is if Hezbollah won't disarm it has to get north of the river, and that seems to be where push comes to shove as the implementation hour is upon us. And this is why Israel, Christiane, said all along it simply would not move its troops out until it saw proof Hezbollah would keep its part of the deal. And the Bush administration says tonight if one party violates the deal, and that party is Hezbollah, well, the political dynamic will change. World pressure was certainly on Israel to stop the shelling, to stop the offensive military opoperations. From the Bush administration standpoint, if Hezbollah won't stop the fighting, Israel will be -- essentially have another green light.

AMANPOUR: And, John, as many people know, that that green light was given as much to stop Hezbollah as to, also, give Iran a black eye and curb its ambitions in the region. Aneesh Raman, CNN's Aneesh Raman is in Tehran, spoke to the head of Iran's National Security Agency about this and about other subjects.

Aneesh, what did Ali Larijani say about Hezbollah, about it accepting the cease-fire?

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Dr. Larijani says that this is a cease-fire Iran has called for before, he says it could potentially work. He doesn't know the specifics and defers to Hezbollah. Iran has been key to downplay its relationship and say, as we saw in Syria, that Hezbollah is an independent authority, but you get the sense here that Iran will see any victory by Hezbollah, which they will classify as anything above absolute eradication, as a victory, as well, for Iran.

I asked him pointblank about numerous reports Iran has and continues to arm Hezbollah during this war, also about reports of Iranian fighters on the field, flat denials to both of those. He say, as well, there's been no communications since the war began between Hezbollah and Iran. The denials, Christiane, not surprising, we've heard them before. What was interesting, thought, was a growing confidence and clear confidence in the Iranian position against the west.

When I asked about suggestions Iran orchestrated this war to divert attention from the country's nuclear issue, he said, in fact, it was U.S. and Israel that orchestrated this. How, Larijani asked, could Iran know Israel would respond in the fashion that it did?

When I asked about the U.S. ambassador to Iraq's comments over the weekend, Syria's comments that Iran is influencing Shia militias to foster civil unrest there, he said the U.S. is actively seeking civil war in Iraq and his sources claim the U.S. ambassador recently met with Sunni insurgents and told them to turn their weapons toward Iran.

This is a country that sees itself as a, if not "the" rising power. This is a president, you see on your screen, Ahmadinejad, that sees his as a voice of disenfranchised Muslims worldwide and this is a scenario that from at the moment at least, and you get the sense on the ground, seems to be working on Iran's favor. How, though, this will affect the nuclear issues...


RAMAN: the ends of the month, we'll see.

AMANPOUR: Well, what did he say about that since this is a lot about the nuclear issue? They've go August 22, they've got, they said to respond to the administration's demand or the international community's demand to stop uranium enrichment. What desay?

RAMAN: He said there has been no reason given to Iran, thus far, to suspend its uranium enrichments. It remains passively on the table. But you get the sense on the grounds here, there's a heavy air of the inevitability of sanctions to come in the months ahead. Iranians I'm speaking to already are speculating as to what sort of sanctions will come first on the gas lines that are coming in, whether it be travel restrictions. The government itself seemed keen or active, at least in the public realm, to find some resolution but that window of opportunity for a deal seems to be closing fast and it does seem there won't be a solution in the works before that deadline. But as you say, we're awaiting some new stance (ph) perhaps as early as next Tuesday on the nuclear issue -- Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Much more ahead. We're going to take a break and we'll be back.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back from London. We're going to talk now to Dr. Carla Jazzar, the deputy, the charges d'affairs at the Lebanese embassy on the United States and afterwards to Dr. Gideon Meir, deputy director general at the Foreign Ministry in Israel.

Miss Jazzar, thank you for joining us. Do you expect this cease- fire, at least initially, to take hold in a few hours from now?

DR. CARLA JAZZAR, DEPUTY, CHARGES D'AFFAIRS LEBANESE EMBASSY IN U.S.: This is (INAUDIBLE), Christiane, yes, I think as far as we are concerned, as far as Hezbollah is concerned, the (INAUDIBLE) from the very beginning stated that it will abide by the cease-fire, it will respect it provided that Israel does the same. Yes, we're very hopeful because we, indeed, we need really to stop all this bloodshed going on for the last month. And as you know, today was a very, very difficult day. More than 55 people were killed (INAUDIBLE) three soldiers. Yes, I hope, sincerely that this cease-fire will take place and will be implemented and respected.

AMANPOUR: You say Hezbollah has agreed to respect the cease- fire. So what is it then that held up this cabinet meeting about implementation and what is it about Hezbollah apparently saying it won't disarm and will or will not move out of the Southern Lebanon area?

JAZZAR: Christiane, the cabinet meeting was postponed because the Lebanese ministers needed more consultations on the ways and means to implement Resolution 1701 and to decide on -- on the practical measures to be taken on the ground to deploy the Lebanese army and define its mandates. But, however, let me remind that yesterday, just yesterday, the Lebanese cabinet unanimously voted for Resolution 1701 and the (INAUDIBLE) and this cabinet and the unanimity of this cabinet. We're very confident that will be moving ahead.

AMANPOUR: So, what are those -- you say deliberations on the implementation, what is it then that holding it up and can the Prime Minister Siniora insist that Hezbollah, the armed group, actually abides by this?

JAZZAR: Listen, Christiane, we've -- Hezbollah and the Lebanese cabinet, at large, express some (INAUDIBLE) concerning Resolution 1701, especially in relation to the fact that it doesn't refer to a full cessation of Israeli operation, so it's kept the way open for defensive Israeli operation. Anyway, anyway, that is said, we do believe that we're going -- we have to move forward and we do believe that we are -- we do believe that we have to move forward.

AMANPOUR: And do you think that the way it's envisioned it will take place? I mean, do you think that your government will soon figure out how to send the army down to the south and displace Hezbollah? Is that what you envision doing, moving Hezbollah back?

JAZZAR: Christiane, we never said that this process going to be very quick and the sole fact of having Resolution 1701 adopted would be the end of the (INAUDIBLE) effort. We no very long this process going to be long, uneasy. We'll have to go through several steps to make it implementable (ph) but, however, with very good way and resolve of the international communities the Lebanese cabinet and unanimity expressed yesterday in the cabinet decision and the unity of the Lebanese people standing behind the cabinet and the support of the internal community we have very good reason to believe that we'll go forward.

AMANPOUR: Not only have you lost many, many people in Lebanon, but there's been an enormous amount of damage done to the infrastructure. The Security Council, on Friday, the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice pledged $50 million from the U.S. and also asked the international community to helped rebuild, but also Lebanon's entrepreneurial class, the business people of Lebanon, to pitch in again. What did you make of that? Are you pleased with the offer of financial help? Is that enough for you?

JAZZAR: Actually, yes, of course, we are very pleased by the international community (INAUDIBLE) expressed to Lebanon. And as the Prime Minister Siniora stated it in his seven-point plan, we want truly to see much more commitment on behalf of the international commitment and a real effort on its behalf to help rebuild first -- to help rebuild what has been destroyed, of course, but primarily to help in the humanitarian assistance. And, of course, you have to know that the entire Lebanese community in (INAUDIBLE) in Lebanon is totally mobilized for the effort of reconstruction, this for sure.

AMANPOUR: Dr. Carla Jazzar, thank you very much for joining us.

And we move now to Jerusalem and to Dr. Gideon Levy (SIC), who is the director -- the deputy director general of the foreign ministry there.

I ask the same question that I asked Dr. Jazzar. Do you expect the offensive actions of Israel to stop in just under four hours from now?

AMB. GIDEON MEIR, DEP. DIR. GEN. ISRAELI MIN. FOREIGN AFFAIRS: There's no question about it. Israel will adhere with the cease-fire. We, the Israeli government yesterday accepted and endorsed the Security Council Resolution 1701 and in about two and a half hours, Israel will adhere to the cease-fire.

AMANPOUR: And this complicated notion of the sequencing and you know it's complicated no matter what's written down in a Security Council resolution, does it bother you, right now at this precise point, that there may be this problem about disarming Hezbollah, right now? Is that what you envision now?

MEIR: Absolutely. I think the international community responsibility is to implement not only this resolution, which actually enforces the previous Security Council Resolution 1559 and 1680, which called for the disarming and dismantling of the Hezbollah terrorist organization. I do think that this is the interest of the international community and one must remember, behind the Hezbollah stands Iran. Iran, which becomes more and more a danger to world stability, to the stability of the Middle East and to the stability of the world at large. Because Hezbollah, the terrorist organization, is a proxy of Iran and what's it's -- what we are witnessing in South Lebanon and in Lebanon is the usage of huge numbers of Iranian-made missiles, rockets, all kind of weapons and we have to make sure, therefore, that the Hezbollah will be disarmed according to the new United Nations or Security Council resolution.

AMANPOUR: Even though, as we've discussed, and in fact some of your officials on CNN throughout the day have said that it's actually not mentioned in this initial part of the resolution. The question is, look, 33 days of the most powerful army in the region pounding Lebanon, pounding Hezbollah positions and rockets coming every single day with the maximum number coming today. People are asking, what exactly have you achieved militarily? MEIR: I think that in the most part of south Lebanon, the Hezbollah was pushed out. The question of the rockets and missiles is a problem. I tell you why it's a problem, Christiane. We are fighting here a guerrilla war, it's an organization which acts not like an army. It has an army of terror. And an army of terror in the guerrilla methods are very difficult to fight for an organized army. Point No. 1.

Point No. 2, we have to make sure innocent civilians will not be hurt. It is part of our belief, it's part of the ethical code of Israelis. This is our strength but, at the same time, this is also our weakness, because our enemy know we are not going to hurt civilians, and therefore the Hezbollah enforced the Lebanese civilians to stay in their homes, not to move them and this made it much more difficult for the Israeli army to fight Hezbollah because if we really wanted, we could have bombarded within a week or two the whole southern part of Lebanon to flatten the whole part of Lebanon, but it would have been with a very high cost of civilians.

Therefore, it takes time, it takes more time than usual. We pay a high price of causalities because we are working at this kind of a method, not to kill innocents, because, you know, I tell you something, Christiane, for the Hezbollah, for every Israeli citizen who has been killed, and they don't target military targets, they target only civilians, and for them every citizen who is being killed is a cause for celebration. For us, every Lebanese civilian who is being killed is a tragedy and a sense of failure.

AMANPOUR: And yet, you know that it's because of the huge number of people who've been killed in Lebanon that the international community started working harder for a cease-fire in the last several days. And what I wonder how your government is dealing, is how it's reacting to press reports and columnists and opinion on the left and the right, politicians on the left and the right, who have basically said that your government is losing by this resolution; that Hezbollah has won and that, in fact, perhaps you should have carried on?

MEIR: Look, I can tell you proudly, I live in a democracy, and in a democracy and you know it, in a democracy there is debate. We have free press and the debate is taking place. Let's wait until the war is over and one day after the war, the debate will enhance and we will have what we are seeing after every war here in Israel and, unfortunately, we are here to defends ourselves and this debate will take place, its part of our democracy, of our democratic values, freedom of the speech, freedom of the press, one has to respect it.

AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Do you think you've won?

MEIR: I do think, yes. I do think that the status quo answer, which existed from the 12th of July, will not repeat. I think we have a new order in the south part of Lebanon. The fact that Hezbollah will not be on the border between Israel and Lebanon is a huge achievement.

The fact that the international community is now implementing United Nations Resolution 59 is something which we expected to be done six years ago. And now which will be done.

Now, I hope that the unifield (ph) -- the strikes in unifield (ph), together with the Lebanese army, together with the international force will be able to disarm Hezbollah. And the Lebanese people will understand that the Hezbollah is a danger not just to Israel but, also, to the future of their country.

Because, it's our interests to have peace and tranquility and prosperous Lebanon, and the Lebanese kids will be able to go to school the same as our kids will tomorrow morning, hopefully, will be able to go to school and that one million Israelis will be able to leave the shelters.

If this will be achieved, I think it is a huge achievement for the state of Israel and for Lebanon.

AMANPOUR: And, as you know, the nature of these things, the other side, Hezbollah also is claiming to have won.

In any event, we're going to take a break right now. When we come back, the terror plot and the developments.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back, we are live from London. And just a quick piece of breaking news from the Heretz web site in Israel. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, it says, has been Israel's army to begin observing the cease-fire in Lebanon. This was apparently, according to this web site, from about two and a half hours ago.

Now, we turn to the terror plot. The plot that allegedly involved blowing up at least ten trans-Atlantic flights.

We're going to go to CNN's Dan Rivers, to Deborah Ferric and, again, to John King to discuss the latest there. And there has been some latest.

Dan, what do you make now? And what does it mean precisely of reducing this critical alert in England to severe? What does that mean, and why has it happened?

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this has happened in the last couple of hours, Christiane. And it's an interesting development. It does give some hope for the thousands of people stranded here at Heathrow Airport that perhaps the security regime may be relaxed a little bit and let some of these people get out of the airport and get to their destinations.

It is clearly a sign from the security service, MI-5, that they have some degree of confidence now, that they think they have the main suspects in this particular plot, and that the immediate threat has been removed.

However, the Home Secretary John Reid has been at pains to point out that that does not mean that there is no threat at all. He's gone on the news wires in the last couple of hours saying that he we all still need to be vigilant, that the threat has not gone away. It remains at severe. It has come down from critical but remains at severe.

In the U.S., a similar thing has happened. It's gone from red to orange in the last hour or so, the Department of Homeland Security announcing that, so both here in the U.K. and over the other side of the Atlantic, both authorities now reducing that threat. And hopefully that will enable passengers here to get back onto those flights.

AMANPOUR: And just to be clear, critical means and imminent threat and severe, from their web site, means highly likely to be a threat.

What does it precisely mean for those passengers, that they can now take on hand luggage?

RIVERS: Well, there is due to be a press conference in about five hours from the minister for Transport. We're hoping to get more information about exactly what all this means in practical terms.

As I understand it, it will still mean that people won't be allowed to take on fluids of any sort, that there may be some relaxing for things like baby foods.

But it will mean that hand luggage will probably start to be allowed to be taken back on. It will all have to be scanned, of course, and x-rayed as it would be anyway. But it may mean that there will be a slight relaxing of the rules. People will be able to take on a little more luggage onto the planes.

There was one interesting development this evening. A plane had to be turned back on the way to JFK from Heathrow here after a mobile phone was found on the plane; some sort of alarm went off on the phone. No one knew whose it was. And the pilot took the decision -- he wasn't happy -- he turned the plane around. And it came right back here. And the police went aboard the plane and did a thorough search.

That's just an indication of how nervy the pilots are and, obviously, the airport authority that there is still a threat out there.

AMANPOUR: Indeed. And talking about that threat, Deborah Ferric, what is the latest on the investigation? There are about to send somebody to court, no?

DEBORAH FERRIC, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are. What they are doing is that, by law, under the anti-terror laws here, you can't hold somebody for 28 days without at least going back to court and asking a judge to review the evidence and saying we have relevant evidence, we think we can get more. So they just keep going back to court. It is really sort of a formality.

The other 22 suspects, they were already in court. They're going to be held until Wednesday. What we can tell you about the investigation is it's taking place in three countries, in the United States, in the United Kingdom and also in Pakistan.

In the United States, the FBI running down leads. There was evidence that one of the suspects called the United States at least two times. So investigators there were trying to run down to see whether, in fact, there might be any sort of American co-conspirator. But right now, they haven't uncovered anything.

Here in the U.K., a lot of scanning of computer hard drives. We are told by authorities there is a lot of information on those hard drives that paint a pretty clear picture of these people and what they were doing, where they were going, who they were seeing, what kind of e-mails they were getting. So, that's under review right now.

And then, of course, there's the money trail. And that looks like it's coming from Pakistan through the U.K. Specifically, investigators want to know whether money was sent to Pakistan under the guise of earthquake relief, and then transferred back to the U.K.

So a lot of leads that they're following at this hour.

AMANPOUR: Deborah, Dan, thank you.

We'll continue on this topic and we'll talk to John King, where they've gone from red to orange, when we come back after a break.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back. We are in London. We want to ask John King, in Washington, what about the U.S. angle on this investigation, really this plot right now? It's gone from red to orange in the U.S. Is there a concern? Are the concerns sort of decreasing there about this?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Increasing confidence, Christiana, tonight that the, A, there are no plotters, no one involved in this plot in the United States.

U.S. officials both at the Department of Homeland Security and the various intelligence agencies say they are near fully confident that no one in the United States was actively involved in this plot. That is one of the reasons.

The other is based on assurances they are getting from the British intelligence services and law enforcement sources. They're more confident now that the flights come from the U.K. to the United States, number one, there is more security screening in place. But, number two, they think they have most of the suspects, if not all of the suspects in this current plot rounded up.

So that we have gone from red, which is the highest -- and it was unprecedented. This is the first time it's ever been used -- back to orange, which is still high, still a high threat of a terrorist attack on flights from the U.K. There's also been a tweaking, if you will, not necessarily a relaxing but a tweaking of the carry-on rules here on domestic and other flights in the United States to allow more medicines on board. They're going to tweak those rules a little bit, but still no liquids, aerosols, anything like that.

AMANPOUR: And, John, as often is the case in these situations, there's all sorts of reports about whether there was friction between the U.S. and Britain, or whoever, on these kinds of operations. And a report saying that the U.S. had tried to push Britain to make those arrests sooner than the British police wanted to do so. Is there any truth to that?

KING: I talked to an official today who said there certainly were some concerns here in the United States that, at times, back and forth, were they acting fast enough. This has been relayed to me as concerns, not a sense of urgency, or not pushing or demanding they go faster.

But there was certainly tension here in the United States as they saw this coming, if you will. They were worried at one point. One official told me today one of the members of the group in Britain was missing for a little bit. There was some Internet activity looking at flights to the United States? That made people on this side of the Atlantic nervous.

Officials are disputing that there was any sharp criticism or any sharp disagreements. And, in fact, for the most part, they're giving incredibly high marks to the British intelligence services.

But they say, Christiane, it is inevitable, with such a high- stakes investigation, that some people wanted to move more quickly. And that some people, particularly in those final 48 to 72 hours before the arrests were made, were quite nervous.

AMANPOUR: John, thanks. And it looks like things have been diffused at least a little in time for the business rush that starts in a few hours from now, Monday morning.

We're going to go to a break. But first, let's hear from Carol Lin what's up at 10:00.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Christiane, coming up in about 15 minutes, a special two-hour edition of "CNN Sunday Night: Countdown to Cease-fire." We have correspondents everywhere the news is happening tonight.

And I'll talk with the wife of one of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers. His freedom was brokered in the U.N. resolution. But has anyone talked to her?

Also, we're going to have the first interview with journalist Jill Carroll who was held hostage in Iraq for nearly three months.

All this on a special two-hour edition of "CNN Sunday Night: Countdown to Cease-fire" -- Christiana? AMANPOUR: Carol, thank you. And we'll be back after a break.


AMANPOUR: We're back again here live from Tower Bridge in London. And we're joined in Washington, D.C. by Peter Bergen, CNN's terrorism analyst and the author of "The Osama I Know, and also Paul Crushank, also an investigative journalist, terrorism expert and a Fellow at NYU.

Peter, a lot has been talked about obviously about this terror plot. Its front and center on both sides of the Atlantic. Is it possible to say, without a doubt now, that the evidence has shown this was an al Qaeda plot?

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, not necessarily without a doubt but, I mean, the preponderance of evidence, whether it's the money transfers from Pakistan, the two key suspects who went over to Pakistan, the fact we have British newspapers reporting that -- in the "Sunday Times," for instance, an al Qaeda operative in Britain was actually one of the people arrested. They haven't named that guy for legal reasons.

But it seems to me that, you know, just as the July 7, 2005, attacks in retrospect, are much more clearly an al Qaeda operation than perhaps was given credit at the beginning of the coverage.

I think that over time, we will see that this is an al Qaeda- style operation in which there were links to al Qaeda, the formal organization. And, of course, it mimicked a kind of classic al Qaeda plot in terms of its multiple targets and a desire for a maximum amount of American body bags.

AMANPOUR: And what about home-grown terrorism in America? It's obviously knocked the British for a loop that now, twice, in the space of about year, you know, they've been confronted with home-grown terrorists and alleged terrorists.

What about that fear in the U.S.? Is there any worry about that or worry based on evidence?

BERGEN: You know, I think the notion Of American sleeper cells or al Qaeda members in the United States has really not been demonstrated. We haven't had an attack here, as you know, for five years.

There have been a couple of cases which, I think, are of concern, one in Torrance, California, which will go to trail later this year, where the allegation is people were planning to attack synagogues in California and military bases in California.

Also, a case in Toledo, Ohio, where some people were allegedly training to go and fight in Iraq. But there are kind of exceptions to prove the rule.

Unlike, you know, John Reid, the home secretary, said that already since July 7, there've been four serious terrorist plots in Britain that have been averted. That's a very different picture than what's happening here in the United States.

AMANPOUR: Paul Crushank, earlier today, the former 9/11 Commission co-chairman, Lee Hamilton, said that the key to making the American people safe is basically to deal with the issue of radicalization of the Muslim population.

What is, do you think, leading to this radicalization? I mean, people in England have been truly stunned by the notion that a fairly prosperous, well-to-do segment of the community that's lived here for years has been able to take part in these kinds of plots.

PAUL CRUSHANK, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST, TERRORISM EXPERT: Well, it is truly stunning. Yes, you know, in Britain, it's not really a kind of question of poverty or depravation. It's a question of ideology. And it's a question of radicalization. And it's a question of individuals, clerics, sheiks, imams radicalizing the youth in Britain.

It's sort of -- a big question is the fact that the Pakistani community in Britain, young Pakistanis, second and third generations, are particularly prone to this sort of radicalization.

I was just in Worthenstow (ph) a few weeks ago, exactly where ten individuals have been arrested in this current plot. And I attended a radical meeting there. And they were whipping people up into a frenzy. They were showing bin Laden. There was chanting in support of the 9-11 operation.

So the young, second and third generation Pakistanis in the United Kingdom are very prone to radicalization. And the way we sort of deal with that is to deal with the root causes.

And a lot of imams, a lot of moderate Muslims are really, really trying their hardest at the moment to root out this ideology. It is really a battle within Islam in the United Kingdom right now.

AMANPOUR: And we're going to pick up on that thread with the rest of our panel on this issue when we come back, right after a break.


AMANPOUR: And continuing our discussion on the radicalization of so many Muslim youth, we're going to talk now to Dan Coleman, former FBI agent and part of the CIA-FBI task force to track Osama bin Laden, and Lawrence Wright, who is the author of the new book "The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11."

Dan Coleman, I want to ask you first because so much sort of psychoanalysis goes in to trying to figuring out why these people, who live in democracies and have a much better life than they may have had where they came from, are turning against their homelands essentially.

I heard something very interesting today, that it's not so much about deprivation so much. It's becoming a political ideology for so many people. They see the world divided into two camps. And they, some of these people, are sort of choosing now.

Do you buy that? And how does one stop it?

DAN COLEMAN, FORMER FBI AGENT: That is part of their ideology. They feel as if they are living in a non-Islamic world, and the only way that they can change it and make it habitable for themselves is to change the environment in which they live into and Islamic world.

They divide the world into Islam and cafirs (ph), non-Islam. And this is the teachings that existed previously. These young men in Britain that are third and fourth generation Britains (ph) have no feeling of being British or English.

They are being told that they're Muslims first and that they're not English at all. And this is something that's being pushed at them. And that is something that has to be changed or else they're going to be an enormous problem.

AMANPOUR: And Lawrence Wright, sort of along the same vein, but let's talk about the subject of your book, Osama bin Laden and 9/11. I mean, who is really, for want of a better word, the charismatic leader of this movement now.

What really, do you think, surprised you about what you learned about him in the research and the writing of your book?

LAWRENCE WRIGHT, AUTHOR: Well, Osama is a part of a social movement. It's not just his one idea, although he's an irreplaceable asset in it. He really captured a social movement that was a world- wide Salafist uprising. And al Qaeda kind of captured it.

You know, it would not be the movement it is without him because he's a kind of public relations genius. And he's got us playing his game. He's trying to polarize the Islamic world and the west.

And as you were you speaking with Dan previously, that's exactly his intention. And, as long as we allow that to happen, we'll be playing on his home field.

AMANPOUR: And that is the big debate. How does one not allow it to happen? How does one confront it?

We'll be back, right after a break.



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