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Turkey Warns Russia Not To Play With Fire; Russia Suspends Visa-Free Travel For Turkey; Russia Commits To Anti-ISIS Coalition Cooperation; Ground Forces Should Include Syrian Army; Protests In Chicago; Black Friday Protest After Teen's Killing; Belgian Police Make New Arrest. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired November 27, 2015 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, I'm Brianna Keilar in for Wolf Blitzer. It is 1:00 p.m. here in Washington, 7:00 p.m. in Brussels and 8:00 p.m. in Damascus. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks so much for joining us.
We're going to start with escalating tensions between Turkey and Russia over the downing of a Russian fighter jet by the Turkish military. In a speech today, Turkish president, Erdogan, warns Russia against playing with fire. But Erdogan has also asked to meet with Russian president, Vladimir Putin, on the sidelines of a climate conference that's happening in France on Monday. Well, the kremlin says that's not going to happen because President Putin still wants an apology from Turkey.
And then, today, his foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, took this swipe at Turkey. He said, we have more and more questions about the commitment of Ankara and its real commitment to eradicating terrorism.
And joining me now, live from Moscow to talk more about this is Jill Dougherty. She is with the International Center for Defense and Security. And we're watching these developments as they happen, Jill. You have Russia that just suspended visa-free travel for Turkish citizens coming into Russia. Do you see this, really, as just one step of many that we expect Russia to take?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, definitely. In fact, we just learned that tomorrow, which is Saturday, the government is going to be releasing a list that was ordered by the prime minister, Medvedev, listing all sorts of possibilities of retaliation, economic and they even used the word humanitarian. It's to be, you know, defined what that is, against Turkey because there is very -- a very high level of anger. You know, they've already, as you mentioned, the visa part. They've urged Russians not to tour, to travel to Turkey as tourists. And they've also cut back on the -- on the import of foods stuff. So, this is quite big and growing and you can expect more of it.
KEILAR: But is this going to stretch, do you think, beyond the economics here? What about militarily? You have one member of the Russian government that's calling this a murder. And it's saying that Russia could easily retaliate militarily. But a lot of people observing this sort of, I think, throwing some cold water on that idea?
DOUGHERTY: Yes, I don't think. I mean, either side says that they want more. I don't think that there's going to be conflict, but they have cut off any type of military cooperation and communication with Turkey. That's really a sign of displeasure. But in terms of, you know, shooting, more shooting down or anything like that, that does not appear to be the case.
What they want to do is really hurt Turkey where it hurts in the relationship, $44 billion in trade and services between Turkey and Russia. That's a big deal. And they're going to cut into that as much as possible, hoping not to hurt themselves in the process.
KEILAR: I know that Vladimir Putin is saying he's not going to meet with Erdogan the way Erdogan says he wants to meet when all of these heads of state are in France for this climate summit.
But, ultimately, do you think there's a chance that they could end up talking?
DOUGHERTY: You know, there is because they haven't said, definitively, we will not meet (ph). They're just saying it's not planned, it hasn't been discussed either. But, you know, Brianna, just -- we're looking at the Web site of Russia's aerospace forces. And they went through the explanation of how this happened.
And they're even more strongly saying actually that Turkey set this up. They're calling it an ambush. They're saying that they had notified the opposition to terrorist forces on the ground to record it, to know where that Russian plane would fall when it was hit out of the sky. And they also say that they had told the United States that there would be some type of engagement in that area.
So, they're not backing down. They are very angry. And they, apparently, are saying here is the proof of what we are saying.
KEILAR: Well, this is not going away. All right, Jill Dougherty, thanks for talking with us from Moscow. I really appreciate your insight.
And in this same news conference today, the Russian foreign minister reiterated the stance of Russian President Putin who said Russia was ready to cooperate and coordinate at all levels with members of the U.S.--led coalition in Syria.
Let's bring in Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr. So, Barbara, what kind of coordination are they talking about here?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, there could be some intelligence sharing. There has even been some discussion by the Russians and the French during that meeting with French President Hollande about maybe helping pick out targets together. But, look, there's going to be a long way to go on all of this.
These are, essentially, polite statements that we are hearing from heads of governments, from ministers of foreign affairs, ministers of defense about what they would like to see.
[13:05:04] Political statements still have to be translated to action on the ground for the troops involved in all of this. And that's going to be more problematic. It's pretty difficult, at this point, to see the U.S. military under President Obama giving up control of how airstrikes are conducted by that coalition which, right now at least, is the majority of the operation -- Brianna.
KEILAR: What about, Barbara, these new Russian missiles that are arriving in Syria? They're not operational yet, as we understand it, but we expect that they could be. Do these pose a danger to American planes?
STARR: This is -- this is where there you've got this cross-over point between politics and military -- the military reality on the ground really happened. The Pentagon very concerned that these Russian S400s anti-air missiles will become operational in the coming days. Right now, the Russians are just shipping in the components, according to the U.S.
If this thing gets turned on with a full radar and it goes operational, this gives the Russians the capability to, basically, control airspace across much of Syria and into Turkey. So, then it comes back to, what is Russia's intent? What do they want to do with this system? Because ISIS doesn't have any planes to shoot down. Nobody thinks, at this point, the Russian's want to shoot down any coalition planes. But they are not happy with Turkey. So, the U.S. is going to be very concerned about this.
And officials are telling me they're going to have to find some way for U.S. pilots to deal with this system. If it is up and running, they can't be just flying around out there. You know, they are going to have to deal with the fact this very advanced anti-air system may soon be operational -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Barbara, I want to ask you about this report that we're hearing from Iranian media before I let you go. This is really a fascinating report on the rescue of the Russian pilot who was shot down. And in it, it says, Iranians and even Hezbollah took part in this elaborate rescue operation. What are you hearing?
STARR: Well, you know, one of the things that caught everybody's attention in the state media reports was that an Iranian -- a very powerful Iranian general in the Revolutionary Guard Corps, General Qasem Soleimani, basically commanded the rescue in some fashion. We don't know if he was actually there on site. That's not typically how someone on his level would operate. But who knows because he has been known to go in and out of Syria not infrequently in recent months.
So, the U.S. looking at this very carefully. They say that they no reason to doubt that Soleimani was involved. And if so, another complication. It really goes to Iran's very much outfront growing capability to be involved to what is going on inside Syria. Just another complication.
KEILAR: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Thanks for that report. I do want to talk more about this now, this growing war of words between Russia and Turkey and how this could affect the anti-ISIS mission in Syria. Joining me now to talk about this is Congressman Jim Himes. He's a Democrat from Connecticut. He's a member the House Select Committee on Intelligence. And he's a former member of the Homeland Security Committee.
Congressman, thanks for being with us.
REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Hi, Brianna.
KEILAR: And where do you see the role of the U.S. in all of this? We know that Erdogan Putin, President Obama, they're all going to be in France on Monday for this climate summit. Do you see this as an opportunity for the U.S. to get involved or does the U.S. need to stay out of this dispute?
HIMES: Well, I think, particularly in the case of the Russian-Turkish issue with the shooting down of the Russian plane, the U.S. can play a calming role. You know, that's a sort of a step backwards away from where we all, and by all I mean basically everybody except ISIS needs to be which is getting our heads together, really committing to the negotiations that are underway right now in Vienna. Because it is only once there has been an agreement about, you know, what Syria looks like in the next couple of years that we then have the alignm1ent to do what we all so badly want to do which is, of course, and with the French, go after ISIS.
You know, as long as we have, you know, Turks shooting down Russians, you know, Iranians operating independently of --- you know, of each other and the U.S. not quite sure who's doing what to where, it's going to be very, very difficult to come up with the alignment that we need, ultimately, to defeat ISIS.
KEILAR: I want to ask you, sort of to that point, about political transition in Syria. The French foreign minister has caused some confusion this morning. He said that Syrian government forces could be part of the ground force against ISIS. Then he clarified, he said they would take part only after a political transition. In the mind of the U.S., from your perspective, is there really a role for the Syrian military?
HIMES: Well, it's interesting that you ask that question because, of course, one of the catastrophic mistakes that the United States made in Iraq after the invasion was to dismantle the Iraqi armed forces. And, boy, did we ever pay the price for the fact that you had, you know, 10s of thousands, hundreds of thousands of newly unemployed Iraqi soldiers without a paycheck, without weaponry and with military training. Absolute catastrophe.
[13:10:10] So, the answer is pretty clear that once an agreement is made -- and that agreement will include an easing out of Assad. And, boy, do we wish it wasn't an easing out but it will include an easing out of Assad. Then, necessarily, there will be a hard look at the officers and the commanders of the Syrian military, those that committed war crimes or atrocities, obviously won't be a part of the future of Syria.
But those who are not, you know, the fact that that military is there will, once all those agreements are made and once we sort of found out, you know, who the bad guys are and they're -- and they get held accountable, then absolutely there's a role in a post-Assad Syria for the Syrian military.
KEILAR: You have said that efforts to end this civil war in Syria could involve working with some unsavory characters. I know you're talking about easing out Assad. But does that include working with Iran, perhaps Hezbollah?
HIMES: Well, you know, it doesn't involve working with Hezbollah. What I mean by working with unsavory characters is, yes, Iran is there in at least three different forms. They're there with Hezbollah. They're there with Shiite militias. And they're there, actually, with their own revolutionary guard, operational in the country. So, whether we like it or not, they have a seat at the negotiating table. And, of course, they -- you know, they're right there in the region.
So, it's not so much that we're going to work with Hezbollah. It's going to be the fact that the final deal that gets done here is going to be profoundly uncomfortable for a lot of us. Because, you know, sadly, it's not likely to end with Assad spending the rest of his life in jail, as he should. Although, who knows.
And, you know, the Iranians are going to get something in that negotiation as will the Russians, by the way. So, like all negotiations, we're going to get a deal that's going to be terribly important to aligning us against ISIS. But there's going to be aspects of that deal that are going to be pretty uncomfortable to us.
KEILAR: And what about Assad? Obviously, the align of the U.S. government is that he needs to go. But at the -- on the same token, I think other countries are asking themselves the question, which is the lesser evil here, ISIL or Bashar Al Assad?
HIMES: Yes. No, and, frankly, that's been the question that has been, you know, part of the problem with U.S. strategy for a long time. I mean, you know, Assad's violence and the absolute atrocious way in which he ran the country has a lot to do with ISIS' success in that country.
On the other hand, I sort of looked at some senior White House administration officials a year ago and I said, really? If you could push a button today and Assad would be gone, would you push that button? Because, of course, who's in Damascus if Assad is gone? Now, the good news is, look, let's face it, you know, Assad is an embarrassment to the people who are backing him. He's an embarrassment to the Russians. He's an embarrassment to the Iranians.
So, you know, they, too, have an interest in Assad being gone. But, again, you can't just wish the man away, and you can't snap your fingers and have a vacuum in Damascus. Because if there's a vacuum in Damascus, it's going to look like the vacuum, you know, in Tripoli. It'll look like the vacuum in so many other cities around the region where, you know, the leadership went away and some pretty bad people moved in.
KEILAR: Congressman Himes, really appreciate you talking to us on this. It's really a holiday Friday. We hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend.
HIMES: Thank you, Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, take care.
And still ahead, protesters are marching through the streets of Chicago right now. This is in reaction to the police shooting of a 17-year-old. We're going to take you there for a live report.
[13:17:39] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: We are monitoring two the major stories unfolding in Chicago today.
First, a man has been charged with what the police are calling the assassination of a 9-year-old boy. Twenty-seven-year-old Corey Morgan is in custody on the first-degree murder charge. He is one of at least three people linked to the death of Tyshawn Lee. Police say that the young boy was lured into a Chicago alley, and then he was shot in the face and the back. It is believed that the boy was killed as a gang retaliation to get back at the boy's father.
And right now, parts of Chicago's most famous street -- well, they are shutdown. Hundreds of protesters have converged on the city's Magnificent Mile on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, and they are outraged over the white officer's killing of a black teenager, and they are calling for an investigation, and also for the resignation of several city and county officials.
Ryan Young is on Michigan Avenue and tell us what you are seeing there, and tell us about the protesters and what they are telling you there.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you can hear how loud it is right now, the protesters are sort of wrapping up and it has been an hour and 16 minutes as they march down Michigan Avenue, but I will show you where everybody is gathered. And this is a stopping point half a mile down the road if you want to make sure that they shutdown the traffic of Michigan Avenue and stop some of the shopping.
We're going to walk through this direction in just a little minute, because obviously, you can hear the sound coming from the back area there. Look, protesters want to have a peaceful march, they accomplished that. They're going to walk down Michigan Avenue, they accomplish that. Police want to make sure they only walk down certain sections, but to go over all of Michigan Avenue. Everything remained peaceful and what we heard by intersection was "16
shots, 16 shots." Every time they stop that intersection, they made sure they had their voices heard as a march through the intersection so they could talk about what they wanted to, and that is the first thing, they want to the change of leadership in the city, they want people fired and held accountable for what has happened in the last 13 months.
KEILAR: And, Ryan, are you expecting this is one of many protests that we will be seeing?
YOUNG: Well, we have been seeing the protest since early this week, of people want to have their voices heard. When they saw the video, Laquan McDonald falling to the ground and shot 16 times, people say it is going to be changing them forever. Now, they want to see the superintendent fired, they want to see the mayor step down, they want to see the state attorney to lose her job.
If you look back this direction, you can see the crowd, they're still mulling around. This has been a peaceful gathering. People have been shopping and they've been continue to shop.
[13:20:00] But some of the places they have stopped in front of, people have not been able to go in to shop for quite some time, you don't see any confrontations between anybody. We didn't see anyone come from the sidewalk and get upset with the protesters or vice versa. So, that was the good news here.
Jesse Jackson, Congressman Rush were also walking in the crowd, wanting to be heard saying they want economic changes here in Chicago as well when it comes to young black youth.
KEILAR: Are the protesters there, Ryan, telling you, or is this the sense that you get that they plan on doing this until they get the change they're demanding?
YOUNG: That's a great question. So, some of these protests have been grassroots protests. You know how this works. They pop up on the Twitter, and people hit the streets.
Some people say they're going to be back for every few weeks until they get some economic change in the city. Some people say they want to disrupt even more. Sometimes, they're going to protest when you don't know they're coming, we'll just have to wait and see what happens next.
KEILAR: All right. Ryan Young for us there in Chicago, thanks so much for that live report. We will continue to keep an eye on this protest throughout the hour as they are ongoing.
But next, a day of ceremony and solidarity in France to honor 130 people who died in the terror attacks two weeks ago today. We'll be live from Paris.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [13:25:23] KEILAR: Belgium authorities now say they are arrested a sixth person in connection with the Paris attacks. Police aren't giving many details just yet, but this follows an arrest of a man in Germany who is accused of supplying guns to the Paris attackers. Meanwhile, a remembrance service today in France, and the name of those victims in Paris were read as part of this memorial.
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KEILAR: Martin Savidge is in Paris for us today to bring us a live report.
A very touching memorial there, Martin, remembering all of those lost. But the investigation is also going on here. What's the latest there?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are still waiting to hear on the arrest that you just mentioned in Belgium there as to who it may be. It's not expected to be among the two most wanted which are still Salah Abdeslam and Mohamed Abrini, those are the two that are thought to be the sole survivors of the terror cell that carried out the attacks two weeks ago.
The two of them were actually pictured in a security camera together two days before the attack. Abdeslam is believed to have actually dropped off one of the suicide bombers outside of the stadium here in Paris. So, we're waiting to hear further on this. You know, one of the things suspected of meeting with Abrini as well in Paris after the attack.
And so, it is clearly a larger number of 14 not only here in France but as well as in Belgium, and that is what the authorities are honing in on, Brianna.
KEILAR: And this memorial, we just saw this obviously, very moving. But what is it like as I guess Parisians are trying to get back to normal, but is there a sense that things are forever changed? Is there a palpable sense off what happened two weeks ago as you walk through the city?
SAVIDGE: I think that things are -- forever really is a long time, but things are changed without a doubt. I mean, today, I suppose with this memorial service, it is kind for the overall population, not for the victims, kind of an ending point, if you will, and they begin to move on. Christmas is not that far away and the holiday lights are up, and, of course, on Monday, you have this big international climate conference that's taking place and 150 world leaders coming in.
So, you know, there is a lot Paris has a number of things to look for to. But of course for the victim s' families, it will never be over. So, life in general gives signs of coming back. Many of the hotels we're seeing more people, not as many, but more people returning, but you are right, it is never going to be quite the same. It's always going to be in the back of people's minds -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Martin Savidge, thanks so much for that report from Paris. The sister of one of the Paris attackers said that she didn't see any
changes in her brother beforehand. Still ahead, hear in her own words why she says this doesn't feeling real to her.