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Arrests Made in Belgium; Paris Attacks Change Focus of G20 Summit. 8:30-9a ET

Aired November 15, 2015 - 08:30   ET


[08:29:51] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And there is criticism directed at Turkey that the reason they do want this safe zone is to keep Kurdish militants out of it much more for that reason and much less to keep ISIS out of the zone and allow Syrian civilians to be safe there. So it is a very complicated political question that I'm sure it's being discussed in Antalya today.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, look. But it needs to be said and repeated because it seems so simple to the uninitiated. All right, so they're in Syria, let's go bomb Syria. Well, who's we and who are you going to bomb and who's going to do it and everybody has competing interests in what's going on in an ever-expanding picture of threat.

So that is the geopolitical nature of this and that's certainly what the war against ISIS and extremism is. But in the specific now, you have the investigation into what happened here.

And let's get to Nima Elbagir. She is in Belgium right now, the investigation is expanding from France to there -- maybe logistical, maybe tactical in terms of what happened here in Paris. Nima -- what do we know?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well we've got a lot more detail for you, Chris, about the operations. They continued overnight.

This here where we are now in Molenbeek, this was the site of the first arrest. One man was arrested in public. Clearly, they knew who they were looking for, they didn't even need to go to his house. He was picked up, eyewitnesses tell us amongst a very surprised crowd. Then they moved further up that street behind me with the support of a bomb disposal unit.

The target there seems to be a vehicle parked outside another house where police also entered and made another arrest. Now we still haven't confirmed with police if that vehicle is indeed that black or dark gray.

Eyewitnesses haven't been able to really verify that fully -- the Volkswagen Polo that seen at the site of the Paris attacks supporting the attackers. The mayor of Molenbeek says that this operation is not over yet, Chris. And it is conceivable she says that all of this is part of the same network that extended into Paris and has extended for some time now. Remember we were hearing about Molenbeek back in January in terms

of the weapon that the Charlie Hebdo attackers got hold of.

CUOMO: Yes, absolutely. There is somewhat of a repeat of the past here and yet such an expansion in the threat not just in its impact in terms of the lives lost but how it was handled -- the number of attackers, the coordinated nature of it, the vest. It is the first time the French have had to deal with suicide bombers wearing vests that they believe very well could have been locally made.

So the question of what happened here is obvious. What will be done about it is getting more and more complicated. We're going to take that on right after the break. Please stay with CNN's coverage of what happened in Paris.


[08:36:35] CUOMO: Welcome back to CNN's continuing coverage of the Paris attacks -- Chris Cuomo with Hala Gorani. There has been a development found just now -- a vehicle found with weapons. Let's get to Fred Pleitgen outside Paris -- Fred.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi -- Chris. Yes. I'm in Montreuil which is in the east of Paris and the vehicle that we're talking is a Seat Leon, which is a vehicle of Spanish make. Now, it was found by the police force right here basically where I'm standing a couple of hours ago.

And I want to just get out of the way because the police have actually towed the vehicle since then. But what you can still see on the ground here is a lot of shattered glass. That's because apparently the police officers when they got to the car, they shattered the windows and then they found three AK-47s inside the vehicle. That's according to one of our affiliates, BFN-TV.

And now, of course, the big question -- first of all, they say that this is one of the cars that was used by the attackers on Friday. Now, the big question, of course, is did they drive it here themselves or did someone else drive it here? How many people were inside the vehicle?

Judging by the fact that there's three weapons inside, it seems to indicate that there might be more or might have been more than one person inside the car.

We've been speaking to some folks here in the area whether or not they saw anything on Friday night. No one that we've speaking to said that they saw people park the vehicle here. There was one gentleman who lives right next door who said the only thing that he saw was the police raid which happened at 1:00 local time this morning. He saw the police officers come here, break open the windows, search the car and find the weapons and then eventually tow the car away.

But this is certainly one of the main clues obviously that the police officers have in their quest to find any one -- any one of the attackers who might have been able to escape the scene there on Friday night -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right -- Fred. Thank you very much.

Now, obviously, as the investigation expands, there's going to be more and more resolve to do something about what happened here in Paris and the question becomes what.

GORANI: Right. And joining us now to discuss this latest development is Corinne Narassiguin. She's a spokesperson for France's ruling Socialist Party, the party of the president here, Francois Holland.

What happens next year for France? The president of France has said this was a war, and act of war against France. What does this mean?

CORINNE NARASSIGUIN, SPOKESPERSON, FRANCE SOCIALIST PARTY: Yes. It was an act of war by a very organized militarized terrorist organization. And we have to respond in kind. We have been already very active in Syria which is also why we were prime targets for ISIS. And we have to act on several fronts now -- obviously nationally.

We voted new laws recently for training intelligence services that means that we can use for surveillance and these still need to be rolled out. And what we learned from the investigation in the next few days, next few weeks will tell us how to best implement those new laws so that they're as efficient as possible.

GORANI: But you're saying we should react in kind. I mean essentially, do you think or does the Socialist Party believe here in this country that France should become more militarily involved in Syria and in Iraq?

NARASSIGUIN: This is definitely what should be on the table today. But we need to do that with our allies. It needs to be an international effort because no country can act efficiently on their own in Syria. It has to be a concerted effort. And we need to talk about also the transition because we know what happens.

[08:40:01] We've seen that before. We know what happens when we just bomb an area, not only makes it impossible for civilians, for collateral damage -- to control collateral damage but on top of that we need to have a political transitioning phase for after we deal with the military.

CUOMO: To understand what the thinking and resolve will be going forward, you need to look back also. The criticism will be why haven't you done it already? Why have the French been slow to involve themselves in Syria? Why have the French been slow to shore up their borders and deal with the vetting of refugees here?

NARASSIGUIN: Well, actually when it comes to Syria, France was the first one who wanted to get involved in Syria. In 2013, Francois Hollande wanted to intervene already even before ISIS became a real threat.

CUOMO: But there is no ground operation there.

NARASSIGUIN: Unfortunately he was isolated and we couldn't act because we needed to have international cooperation.

CUOMO: But there is no ground operation, obviously, there are reasons for that?


CUOMO: What are they?

NARASSIGUIN: No. Well, because we need to have a coordinated effort in order for this to work. We know what -- America knows that, right. We know what happened when you go all alone in a country and your liberation forces are seen as occupation forces and this doesn't turn out very well.

So it needs to be coordinated, especially the Arab countries in the area. It needs -- if we're going to put boots on the ground it had be with the armed forces on ground also in the area. And we need to have an agreement with Russia and Iran about what the transition should be in regards to Assad.

GORANI: But is there -- do you believe after an attack like this there can be appetite in France for more of a ground force in a country like Syria or in a country like Iraq, in coordination with allies? Because from the air, we saw it even in Libya -- I mean when you have an air campaign that ends without boots on the ground, it doesn't --

NARASSIGUIN: Actually, I think in Libya, the biggest problem was the aftermath. It wasn't just the fact that there weren't enough boots on the ground, it was the fact that there was no serious political transition put in place and this is why there is chaos in Libya and this is why we don't want this to happen again in Syria.

So this is why this has to be thoughtfully prepared. It cannot be improvised.

CUOMO: You have what you tell your citizens to make them comfortable what you do abroad and then you have what you need to tell them to make them safe here at home. They hear the sirens now. They need something different after in attack. They hear the word Islam, they hear Islamism, they hear radicalism -- they don't know which to believe and how to parse it. They hear about refugees in human need, then they hear about refugees who are actually terrorists.

What do you tell them about how to understand the threat?

NARASSIGUIN: Well, I think French people are familiar with the threat of radical Islam. They have been for a long time, the first time we were attacked by terrorists -- radical Islamists was 20 years ago in relation to (inaudible). So this is something we're familiar with.

What's changed now is because we're at the forefront of the war against Islamic terrorism all across the world not just ion Iraq and Syria but also in Africa we know that we have huge targets on our back. And also contrary to what happened, very targeted you said that before contrary to the very targeted attacks in January, this is now the realization that we have to live with the threat of terrorism. Just like Americans, I was living in New York at the time of September 11th. I was working right next to the World Trade Center and this is the same kind of realization that you have to accept the fact that there is a threat that it could happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

GORANI: And the question is going to be what response will be effective? What military response, what political response -- the refugees now -- what kind of backlash will they experience?

NARASSIGUIN: We have emergency decisions that were made for the next few days, maybe few weeks -- so that the investigation can move along as quickly as possible, especially in cooperation with other European countries. We see that with Belgium right now.

We know that we have to increase our (inaudible) for intelligence cooperation at the European level, international level. And as far as the refugee crisis goes, this is actually the demonstration that we need -- France has been asking, pushing for a fully European solution in order to control -- better control the European borders to process refugees' applications a lot more efficiently with intelligence services so we can detect the ones that are not legitimate applications, and make it as hard as possible for terrorists to get in through that means.

CUOMO: Well, let's see what happens at the G-20 because the expansion of the threat is now painfully obvious. The question is what will be the expansion of the response.

Thank you for very much being with us.


GORANI: All right. Corinne Narassiguin -- thank you for being with us.

[08:44:58] And up next, Chris mentioned the G-20. We'll have a report from that summit in Antalya, Turkey where the Paris attacks are taking center stage today.


CUOMO: CNN continues its coverage of the Paris attacks -- Chris Cuomo with Hala Gorani.

President Obama is saying that the skies have been darkened by the horrific terror attacks in Paris. And that is a message that is certainly being received here and at home in the United States and around the world.

[08:50:02] GORANI: Right. The G20 is unfolding right now in Antalya in Turkey. And in a meeting with Turkey's president, Mr. Obama compared what happened in France as an attack on the civilized world and the President as well in Turkey will meet today with the King of Saudi Arabia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.

It's supposed to be a forum to discuss economic issues. Of course, this is going to be the big topic of discussion -- ISIS and what happened in France. It is a two-day summit, which will be focused on this attack in Paris.

CNN White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski is traveling with the President and is at G20. Tell us more about these conversations the President is having with his counterpart in Turkey and elsewhere.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: All right. And that meeting with the Saudi king was added after the attacks in Paris happened. So absolutely, this is overshadowing very darkly the summit that is supposed to be about economics.

Some of that will come up, too. I mean there's a session on climate change. There's another one on development. But the dinner tonight -- and this is important -- is focused on ISIS and Syria and that was the case again before the Paris attacks. But things have changed so much now.

The words we're hearing from the administration are "redouble" and "intensify" the fight against ISIS. So of course, the question there is what happens now. What is going to change, if anything, in the strategy against ISIS?

The President was asked about that today, he said well, "I don't want to talk about it right now. Wait until the press conference tomorrow. So if there is going to be news on that front, we expect it to be tomorrow when the President -- and this is the first time during this conference that he will take questions from the press.

It seems likely though that they're going to let the French decide what is happening. We know that the French are working very closely with the U.S. In fact, they have a general, also based at CentCom. But the U.S. is saying repeatedly that, of course, the stands shoulder to shoulder with the French on whatever they decide to do after this.

So it seems just from what we're hearing on the sidelines that the Obama administration is going to take the cue from the French in terms of how they want to respond specifically. The U.S. obviously will be very involved in that. What remains to be seen the big question here is what will the President say about the U.S. strategy in particular against ISIS?

Will that strategy stay the same? Or, you know, when you're hearing those words like "intensify" and "redouble" -- are we going to see hear something like an increase in just the number of airstrikes or will there be something else added to the mix.

At this point, the administration doesn't want to give any detail. We're not hearing very many hints behind the scenes. But we're waiting for tomorrow when we hear from the President directly.

CUOMO: Well, Michelle Kosinski -- thank you very much for the reporting. And whether we're dealing with geopolitics or just about anything in life, words are important but not as important as what you do. Expressions of resolve, of support, of unity are with France, with the Parisians who were affected in this and really victims from around the world who were part of this attack.

The resolve is clear -- Hala. What will be done? That's what's unclear and a pressing concern.

GORANI: All right. Absolutely. And we now know that the holder of the Syrian passport found at the scene of the Paris attack according to sources who spoke to our Christiane Amanpour came in to France posing as a refugee.

Let's bring in Alain Bauer (ph), he's the professional as well as the professor and chair of criminology at the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts, Jean Charles is a terrorism expert. He's in our bureau.

Alain Bauer, when you -- we have one name confirmed of one of these terrorists who was born in France with a past as a petty criminal, and it mirrors the profile of some of those who attacked Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket.

ALAIN BAUER, PROFESSOR: Yes, absolutely. In fact the prototype of those were Khalid (inaudible) in 1995. He was the first one who came from a criminal world and go to terrorism. We call them hybrids.

After that, we had nothing since -- in 2012 -- he was exactly the copycat.

GORANI: -- who attacked a Jewish school.

BAUER: Who attacked a Jewish school -- but the Jewish school was not his first target. The target was to kill French soldiers. Jewish school was after he missed his last target and it was a bad coincidence.

Then we got the (inaudible), the attack of Charlie Hebdo and the Kosher and the attempt at the Jewish school again and killed a policewoman. Now, we have those guys. But those are more complex because you have a mix of hybrids, maybe real terrorists coming to commit terrorism and only involved in that, not known by the police and intelligence services; and maybe for the first time, those who are supposed to come back from Syria or Iraq.

CUOMO: All right. What do you see as the shape of the response? Because once something happens like this, people want to respond in kind to what they just saw as a threat. That means refugees can be a threat.

[08:55:07] That means once again the notion that Islam is a threat and then you have this battle of words and meanings and perversion of faith. Which way do you take it to be most effective right now?

BAUER: You know, criminologists do the work like doctors -- diagnosis, prognosis and therapies. We don't begin by therapies because if we begin by the end without knowing what we are trying to cure we will not succeed.

GORANI: Right.

BAUER: Which is exactly the failure we're having now in intelligence in the whole western world for the last 15 years beginning by al Qaeda until now. So the question for us is just to be sure that this is the real issue. Until now, 99 percent of those who commit attacks in the West were not coming back from Syria such as those we did not let go to Syria first. Maybe we can look on the real threat and not only the last threat. Do it as terrorism is plurality and not only singular issue. It's not something that replaces good old terrorism. It's something that had the good old terrorism.

We need to be able to do customized response and not ready to wear. This is the most complicated problem.

GORANI: It's always attractive to come up with one solution that fits all. In this case, it's a very complex situation.

Jean Charles let me just make sure I have the -- Jean Charles Brisard -- I'm sorry, apologies -- joins us from the Paris bureau. What do you make of what you've heard just in the last few hours that five arrests were made in Belgium connected to the operations in Paris?

JEAN CHARLES BRISARD, CNN TERRORISM EXPERT: Well, obviously, with the mounting evidence of an international team, dedicated to target Paris, with people from France, with individuals from other countries, probably Syria and Turkey that are here. So this suggests that the ISIS decided to build up a team symbolically with many nationalities.

And also we see through the investigation, which is under way, that there are many connections with other countries in Europe, especially Belgium. These need to be investigated of course. But it suggests at least that there have been contacts between these individuals and other operatives in these countries.

And this is very interesting. This suggests indeed an operation that was not conceived from our country but someone that was built from outside probably from Syria or Iraq. And we might be on the verge of more growing terrorist acts of this type in the future. Some mix between --

CUOMO: So --

BRISARD: Home grown here in France and people from the outside.

CUOMO: So what change is going forward? Right now, as we stand here in the Place de l'Republique, we see police walking around with long weapons, unusual in Paris; the idea of how to vet refugees differently given new information that at least one of these extremists had a Syrian passport and came in with refugees. How do you balance the need for humanitarianism and to live your life with safety? What has to change, in your opinion?

BRISARD: Well, on this information we should still remain careful because the investigation is still under way. But indeed, it poses a real issue which is the, for me, the controller of the European borders. It is not only an issue with regard to the migrants. It is also an issue raised by France and other nations after the Charlie Hebdo bombing attacks in January. The issue of how we better control of the external borders, of Schengen, the flow of individuals sometimes our own citizens coming back from Syria and Iraq, because today we don't have the tools to do that, to control these individuals.

We can control provisionally, the migrants now but again, it's impossible for our own citizens. Nothing has been done. We're 10 months later and Europe still hasn't changed the rules with regard to the border controls. The same way it -- nothing or only little to better enhance the cooperation and exchange of information.

GORANI: All right. Jean-Charles Brisard is in our Paris bureau -- thanks very much. Alain Bauer as well -- thank you very much for your expertise. That's going to do it for us for this hour. Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani.

CUOMO: There are new developments, there are new questions as we show you some live picture of what's going on in France. The pain is real. Not even a year since Charlie Hebdo; Paris, once again thrown into turmoil. What will be the response that will in part come from the answers to the investigation?

CNN's continuing coverage will be picked up with Jake Tapper right after the break. I'm Chris Cuomo. Hala Gorani.

Stay with CNN.


[09:00:13] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Hello, I'm Jake Tapper in Washington.