Return to Transcripts main page
WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
Global Outrage of Donald Trump's Ban on Muslims entering U.S.; Investigation Continues into San Bernardino Terrorists; Pistorius Free on Bail; Closer Look at Russian Strategy in Syria; China's Smog in Solid Form. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired December 8, 2015 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:09] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, global outrage of Donald Trump most controversial comment yet. We'll tell you about the backlash to his
calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.
Then new details about the woman who open fire on a holiday party in San Bernardino, California.
And a closer look at Russian strategy in Syria all after Russian ambassador to the E.U. about the strike against ISIS and the diplomatic crash with
Another China's smog in solid form where the statement, one artist is making about the skies over Beijing.
Hello, I'm Isha Sesay in for Hala Gorani live from CNN Center, this is the WORLD RIGHT NOW.
While Republicans, Democrats, local officials, average systems and world leaders alike, all taking part in the fears criticism of Donald Trump
today, but the Republican presidential front-runner isn't backing down from his course of total and complete ban on Muslims entering the United States.
He says it's a common sense approach preventing another terror attack. White House spokesman says there should be consequences for what he calls
toxic and incendiary remarks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The first thing a president does when he or she takes care of office, is to swear an oath to preserve,
protect, and defend the constitution of the United States? And the fact is that when Donald trump said yesterday, disqualifies him from serving as
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Well Trump is standing by his proposal saying a certain toughness is needed to keep American state. He spoke this morning to CNN's Chris Cuomo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm just doing the right thing. I could have very well just rested on my poll numbers, which you just
released and they're phenomenal. I'm leading everyone. And I could rest on them very nicely and there's no problem. And, you know, they go up, they go
down. I have to do the right thing.
I am talking about a measure, it's a measure that ends, it's not a measure that's, you know, in stone. We have to find out what we're doing. We're
letting people into our country. We don't know who they are. We have people here right now that are getting $28,000 miraculously over the last little
while deposited in their account that they're using for every sinister purposes.
There are, like these two, this husband and wife, this horrendous, horrible husband and wife, you have many other people like that in this country. You
have many other people that are having checks deposited in their accounts to do destruction and we have to find out what we're doing.
And if the Republican Party likes it, that's fine. If they done the like it, that's fine also.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Qualified the widespread outrages and his remarks Trump did get a positive response, cheers even from a crowd in South Carolina where he
announced the proposal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have no choice. We have no choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Well, CNN spoke with some of Trump's supporters about his call to block Muslim entry into the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want him here.
LAUREN MARTEL, TRUMP SUPPORTER: That's a very prudent idea and I think that he's done due diligence when he makes that statement.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you in favor of bombing terrorists' homes?
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. Absolutely. People will continue to reproduce. They're getting in. They need to be stopped.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Well critics say that fighting with ISIS cannot be won, without the crucial help of Muslim allies.
They say Trumps proposal would innate them by giving the impression that America is at war will all Islam.
Let's bring in the national spokeswoman for Trump's campaign, Katrina Pierson. Katrina, thank you so much for joining us.
KATRINA PIERSON, TRUMP SPOKESWOMAN: And I'm happy to be here. Thank you for having me.
SESAY: Well, Katrina as you well know that condemnation of Donald trump's called to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. has been swift and severe from
several courses, Democrats, Republicans, the White House alike, with everyone pointing to the fact. This country's Bill of Right guarantees
religious freedoms which puts Mr. Trump's proposal someone that oath with American values. How do you respond to that?
PIERSON: Well I think it's -- there's quite a few things I'd like to add to that because the call actually was to ban Muslim immigrants from coming in
to the country. They want a halt on the immigration system that was the banner of the statement he said it again on Fox last night. He said it
again on T.V. all day today. But for some reason, there still things to be this headline of all Muslims in general. That's the first thing I'd like to
The second thing is, there is no constitutional right for any foreign national to immigrate to the United States, so that's just false. And
coming from a White House that wanted to expand a war zone to initiate assassination on American citizens without due process, I find it quite
rich that all of the sudden this administration is interested in the constitution.
[15:05:06] And yes, there are a lot of people out there upset with this proposal but this is what is showing the difference between a politician,
political correctness, and a commander during a war time.
SESAY: All right, Katrina, I hear what you're saying and let's go with your top line that this is about Muslim immigrants, it's not about -- it's not
wholesale as you will ...
PIERSON: Right, exactly.
SESAY: ... put out there. But Katrina, Let me still ask you this, do you think that effectively inferring that an entire group of people be the --
just even say the immigrants inferring that they are a threat to violent, non-law abiding, do you think that that in on itself just keeping it to
that group as you say is consistent with American values?
PIERSON: Well I do considering that in the history of the United States, any time we've been at war we've never allowed insurgence into this
country. And we know what countries they originate from. And we're also continuing to ignore U.S. Intelligence. This policy came out in response to
FBI Director Comey saying that we have no way to vet the refugees coming on top of just the other day that this -- the white -- I'm sorry, the chairman
of the Department of Homeland and Security came out because the National Counterterrorism Center says they have identified individuals that are
radicalized. We have to do something to get a grip on this.
SESAY: I think everyone agrees that they want to keep United States safe. Nobody is in deep agreement about that that there needs to be an
improvement on the vetting procedures in there. But that is not what Mr. Trump is saying. Mr. Trump is not calling for an improvement of vetting
procedures. He is calling for a wholesale ban on Muslim immigration.
Now that still, Katrina, I'm sure you'd accept is to presuppose that everyone in that block, any Muslim who want to immigrate to this country is
a threat. And that is also to suggest that there is no system of checks and balances right now. You all know that this country has something like a
two-year vetting process to get in here.
So it just seems a little weird to a lot of people that you would go this far, that you would go there.
PIERSON: Oh yeah, I understand how it sounds but then we also have to ask ourselves, why are some of the Muslim nations refusing all refugees for the
exact same reasons.
Yes, we understand that there might be a vetting process but not for Syria. That's what the FBI director has said.
Mr. Trump has simply calls for a moratorium, a pause. And the thing is, this is already happening in the United States congress. There's already
measures being taken to try to stop the refugee process, and Mr. Trump only wants to put a pause on it not forever. Just temporarily to figure out
what's going on and to reform the visa system.
SESAY: We have not been able to get specifics as to how this proposal would work from the Trump campaign. But let me ask you this. Beyond those
specifics, would you accept that making a call like this inferring that Muslim immigrants are potentially is the best and that's why you're keeping
them out all you having this moratorium, that the very American-Muslims let here in the United States, you are opening them up to a new wave of
Islamophobia because that's what you're inferring. You're inferring that those Muslims out there are dangerous. So why would people not think that
Muslims here in the United States are dangerous?
PIERSON: Well, I mean, just like with France, after what happened in France, they shut down their borders. They went in and they close down
Mosque. If you're a Muslim inside the United States and you're not planning to kill Americans, you're just fine.
This is just another way to gaze the threat. We have open borders in this country and we're not checking anybody that's here. 40 percent of the
people here illegally are here on overstayed or expired visas. Those are things that we have to take in consideration for national security.
And everyone else can put their heads in the fan and pretend like it's not happening because all of these politicians live in their data (ph)
communities and they travel with their arm guard but most Americans don't have that luxury. So somebody has to speak out for them.
SESAY: And to your point, you mention France there -- and France's reactions. France's own Prime Minister, Manual Valls has not supported this
kind of language from Donald Trump. That is not what he is saying. He is saying that all these language does stoke hatred. And that what it does
stoke hatred and what the focus should be is on Islamic extremism. And that is what the Prime Minister of France, a country which is just weeks ago
underwent this horrific attack in their capitol. They are not even supporting Mr. Trump.
PIERSON: Well they're not supporting the quote and quote language as you mentioned. But I've just said they shut down Mosques and they close their
borders. So if language is the problem, we're not really concern about that. We have to be able to speak openly and honestly because American
lives are at risk.
SESAY: Katrina Pierson, thank you so much for joining us on the show. It's very much appreciated getting you insight and perspective.
PIERSON: Thank you for having me.
SESAY: Thank you.
PIERSON: Thank you.
[15:09:59] SESAY: Now Trump's Republican rival have move quickly to distance themselves from his remark. Here are some of their responses. Jeb
Bush tweeted this. "Donald Trump is unhinged. His policy proposals are not serious." Chris Christie said, "This is a kind of thing that people say
when they have no experience and don't know what they are talking about." Lindsay Graham, well, was much more blunt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSAY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's a race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot. Do you know how you make America great again?
Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Well the Republican congressional leader held a close door meeting today reportedly wanting that Trump's comments could doom his party if
enough Republicans get on board.
CNN Political Analyst, Josh Rogin, covered that story for Bloomberg view. He's live in Washington.
Josh, great to speak to you again. Let me ask you this. Is this the tipping point for the Republican Party leader to finally make some attempt at
reining Donald trump in?
JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it remains to be seen whether or not this is a tipping point for Donald Trump. But House Speaker Paul Ryan
did takes the podium in a very unusual press conference this morning to state that Trump's call for a ban on Muslim immigration was not -- what
Republican Party was about and not what America was about.
We reported that inside the close door meeting with the House conference earlier Tuesday, he went even further. He said that Trump's idea would
violate at least two amendments in the Bill of Rights and also would "doom our party." Those were -- that's a very stark warning that he made
privately to his caucus members.
It shows an increase level of panic and increase level of concern amongst the Republican leadership about Trump's escalating rhetoric.
SESAY: Yeah, and no doubt. Let's talk about Trump's GOP presidential rivals all eyes on their responses. A lot of them coming in, swift and fast and
condemning Trump. But Ted Cruz, let's pay attention to him because he's now Trump's nearest challenger in some races, he kind of did a hands off, kind
of pushing him in a distance but not outright condemnation. I guess a game of political experiencing.
ROGIN: Well Ted Cruz has long been positioned himself to pick up the fall out if in when the Trump campaign collapses. He has a bill in congress
right now that would identify special status for a Christian refugees coming from Syria and Iraq, thereby excluding Muslim refugees. So he hasn't
gone quite as far as Donald trump in his rhetoric. But he has introduced ideas that follow the same line of distinguishing people from foreign
countries based on their religion.
So while he's been more cautious and perhaps more politically astute in Donald Trump, he is positioning himself in the same general category.
SESAY: I mean, the question still has to be what this does mean for the Republican brand -- I mean, regardless of which Trump ends up -- I mean,
how damaged is the Republican brand by all of these, and what it means for a general election.
ROGIN: Exactly. Well, what we've seen is Trump go through a litany of different ethnic groups, Asians, Hispanics, he's insulted the disabled and
there's a concern, and I think a valid one that this will improperly brand the Republican Party is being against his groups when in fact the party as
a whole doesn't wish to be seen in opposition to any of these voting publics.
And whether that can be erased before the general election takes hold is the biggest concerns amongst the other candidate and some leaders in
SESAY: Josh Rogin, always great to speak with you. Thanks so much for joining me there...
ROGIN: Thank you.
SESAY: ...from Washington.
Well, in about 30 minutes, we'll get reaction to Trump's latest outragous comments from a leader in the Muslim-American community. The executive
director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations will be my guest.
And as officials peace together, the radicalization of the San Bernardino shooters, new details of Tashfeen Malik's life emerge. We'll have the
report from Pakistan in just a few minutes. Just stay with us.
[15:17:02] SESAY: Hello everyone, police on two continents are trying to figure out how Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik were radicalized. The
married couple killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California last week.
Officials believe Malik who has radicalized at least two years ago before she went to the U.S. on her fiance visa.
Meanwhile, in Pakistan as it may (ph) that she was taking a course on the Quran before abrupt stopping her studies.
Saima Mohsin, report from the city of Multan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORREPONDENT: This is the religious institute, Al-Huda International where Tashfeen Malik came to study and take religious
education classes. It's known as a social movement as well.
Now, I've been inside and spoken to one of the teachers. It's a pretty unassuming building, it has so many rocks and it's a normal school with
Now, the teachers didn't want to pay on Tamra but they did tell me that Tashfeen Malik was a hardworking, helpful, obedient, and positive-minded
student, that she studied here from 2013 to 2014. She took a test but then announced that she was leaving and couldn't end the course and she was
going to be married within two months. She said she would continue to course by correspondents but never got back in touch again.
The school and the institute say that no one here could ever imagined that Tashfeen Malik or anyone of this institute could have carried out what they
described as such a horrible barbaric act. They say that this 100 percent against Islam and the institute teaching.
And we've spoken to a student at the University of Bahauddin Zakariya University here in Multan who studied along side her. He described her as a
normal student like any other girl at the university, talking about the boy she like, social networking, chatting online saying that she never saw her
praying five times a day and didn't consider how a religious student even though she wore a bell that covers half the face.
This is the mystery that surrounds Tashfeen Malik. And while investigators try to analyze that she was the one that radicalized her husband and if she
was radicalized perhaps here in Multan or in Saudi Arabia where she also live before moving to San Bernardino and the United States.
Saima Mohsin, CNN, Multan, Pakistan.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Well a symbolic gesture from Pope Francis to help us in important year for the Catholic Church. He opens the Holy Door, St. Peter's Basilica,
a ritual that marks the official beginning of the so called holy year of mercy.
Tens of thousands attended the ceremony including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
There's Pope Francis has trip to Africa last week. And they recall how he opened a Holy Door to full of service there, so technically, the jubilee
kicked off a little early this year.
[15:19:55] Coming up, Oscar Pistorius is back in court for bail hearing. We'll tell you what the judge ruled in terms of whether he can be release.
SESAY: Convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius is now free to move outside his home for several hours a day. South African judge granted him bail at less
than $700. The ex-Olympian has been ordered to hand him his passport and wear an electronic tag. And he's only allowed to travel within a radius of
20 kilometers from its home.
Last week, South Africa Supreme Court of Appeal overturned the Olympians conviction of culpable homicide and found Pistorius guilty of murdering his
girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
CNN's Eleni Giokos reports now from Pretoria as ex-Olympian waits for his sentence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oscar Pistorius will remain under house arrest at his uncle's mansion in Pretoria in his after he was released on
In fact, Oscar Pistorius went into the Pretoria highest court feeling quite confident and relax of exchanging smile and even laugh with his counsel
The reasoning behind his relax demeanor really emanates from the fact that the state prosecutor as well as the defense had been in conversation ahead
of his bail hearing.
It went to start to try and insure that they were going to be strict to conditions to secure the release on bail. But the judge quickly dismiss the
thing that it wasn't necessary that Oscar Pistorius would need to say house bound the entire day. He will still be allowed to leave from 7:00 a.m.
until noon. And of course we're looking at 20 kilometer radius here.
One of the things we learned during the bail hearing today is a bit of detail from his affidavit, where he reveals that he plans to appeal the
murder conviction. He's looking to take this to the highest court in South Africa, the constitutional court.
The sentencing cannot occur until this clarity on that France. Oscar Pistorius will now go -- will remain under house arrest.
[15:25:02] Eleni Giokos, CNN, Johannesburg.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: We'll return to our top story in just a moment. The backlash over Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from the U.S. is growing fast.
Reaction from a leading member of all the Muslim-American community is next.
Plus, Kurdish fighters standing ground next to a Syrian army base. So who is running things in this city in Syria north?
We'll take you there to find out just ahead.
SESAY: Hello everyone, I'm Isha Sesay.
The White House press secretary says U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump latest statement disqualifies him from being president.
Josh Earnest says every president must pledge preserve, protect, and defend the constitution and Trump would not qualify. Trump is calling from ban on
all Muslims entering the United States.
Well, a new detail for emerging about Tashfeen Malik who along with her husband killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California last week. She took
a course on the Quran in Pakistan but abruptly ended it in May 2014.
Meanwhile, religious books and documents receives from a house own by Malik's father after it was raided by Pakistani police.
The rock band Eagles of death metal returns to the Bataclan Theatre in Paris on Tuesday, to pay tribute to the 90 victims who were murdered there
in last month's terrorist attack.
The group were playing on stage when gunman stormed in, one of their crew members who sold band merchandize was killed in the rampage.
Now British police have invited Donald Trump to a briefing on the "Reality of Policing London." This after the Republican candidate said areas of
London was so radicalized police feared for their lives.
[15:30:09] The billionaire is refusing to back down from comments he made proposing a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. He spoke to CNN's Chris Cuomo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Look at Paris beyond that. Paris is no longer the beautiful, gorgeous city with all -- Paris has a tremendous -- lot of problems. They
have areas in Paris that have been radicalized where the police refuse to go in and look at it.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": We are well aware.
TRUMP: You look at London, you look at other places.
CUOMO: We are well aware. We are well aware. But Mr. Trump, here is the point.
TRUMP: Wait a minute, Chris. You're well aware. You say that so routinely. You're well aware.
CUOMO: Well because I've been on the ground, I've been in those communities, I've talked to the French authorities.
TRUMP: ... is totally out of control. It's so dangerous.
CUOMO: Well, that's what you say. The police are all over that country right now and they're doing a lot of policing, but more importantly to your
point, I would say it's the opposite reality. You see the French being more embracing of people around them, you see them living their lives, you see
them refusing to accept fear as a basis for behavior.
Whereas here, what you're doing in the country that is known as a symbol of freedom, is saying we're too afraid to be inclusive. We're going to reject
the promise of America and ban an entire religion, even though we need to do things on a case-by-case basis. And it seems as though you're acting out
of fear, not making us look strong, and rejecting what America is all about. U.K. is not doing this. France isn't doing this.
TRUMP: No, I'm making us look strong, Chris. And don't tell me about Paris. Paris is under tremendous siege. They are absolutely in fear in Paris.
Don't tell me Paris is not.
CUOMO: They have heightened awareness. They do not have fear and they're not acting out of it, that's why they're letting in refugees ...
TRUMP: Come on. They don't have fear? Of course they have fear.
CUOMO: It's how you behave in that environment.
TRUMP: I have people and friends living in Paris. They want to leave, they're petrified.
CUOMO: But what are they doing? Are they banning all Muslims?
TRUMP: Well, let's see, maybe they're going to have to. Maybe they're going to have to do something.
CUOMO: That's not even on table.
TRUMP: Look, I'm talking about a temporary situation until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on, Chris.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Let's take first look at the Muslim population in the United States. A 2014 poll by the Pew Research Center have found there just 0.9 percent of
American results identify themselves as Muslim.
Pew estimates, the figure will doubles around 2 percent of the U.S. population by 2015. A 2009 poll by Gallup found Muslims to have the second
highest level of education among religious groups second to Jewish people. It also found that more female Muslims have a degree than male Muslims when
it comes to fighting terrorism.
A 2014 study by Duke University found that members of the Muslim-American community have alerted law enforcement to 54 Muslim-American terror
suspects and perpetrators since the September 11th attacks. U.S. government investigations uncovered 52 individuals.
Well let's get some perspective from a leading voice in Muslim-American community. Nihad Awad is the Executive Director of the Council on American
Islamic Relations. He joins us now from Washington. And Nihad Awad, thank you so much for joining us on this day.
NIHAD AWAD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE COUNCIL ON AMERICAN ISLAMIC RELATIONS: Thank you.
SESAY: Let me start by simply asking to your response to Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
AWAD: Well Donald Trump speeches have been entertaining for so long, except just in the past few weeks, they've became scary and dangerous.
Two days ago, I was relieved watching President Obama delivering his speech from the Oval Office assuring Americans that we are united in the face of
fear and we will not be allow -- we will not allow people to divide our nation just because we are faced by the threat of terrorism. He rejected
the Islamophobia and I and millions Americans were assured by that speech.
In less than 24 hours after that, we were shocked and outraged by statement coming from the leading candidate in the Republican Party, Donald Trump,
calling to block American-Muslims and all Muslims from coming back to the United States or visiting the United States.
This is not only un-American, it is unconstitutional. And Donald Trump, if he wants to assume the highest office in land, in the United States, his
basic knowledge has to be like reviewed and he has to learn something about something called the United States constitution.
SESAY: Nihad, I must point out that we just spoke to Donald Trump spokesperson, Katrina Pierson, and she made a point that it wasn't all
Muslims, it was Muslim immigrants who wanted to make their way to the United States. I just need to -- for the sake of clarity put that out
there, but let me ask you -- beyond -- no, special response to that point in and of itself that it's not all Muslims that says Muslim immigration.
AWAD: Well the fact that he is trying to block Muslims on coming to United States, runs contrary to the history and values and principles upon which
this country was founded which is religious liberty, religious freedom for all.
[15:35:06] So Donald Trump is trying to put again a religious test on those who can come to United States, which again, runs against the United States
SESAY: So let me ask you, what comments like this of the sort coming from Donald Trump? What they mean for the day to day realities of American
Muslims living here right now? Talk to me about that.
AWAD: He is spreading paranoia and fear. Millions of American Muslims are concerned about their safety and he's putting their lives of many families
and children in danger in the United States. Because of our offices are spread all over the country we received cases and reports of the hate
crimes, discrimination, physical attacks against individuals. Some people, you know, shoot at that Quran and drop it in -- at Mosque or even drop, you
know, pigs heads in forms of or in a way to intimidate American Muslims.
So, there is a general fear about American Muslims. And the Muslim community is asking us, what can they do? Many ladies are concerned about
wearing hijab and going out, because again Donald Trump is targeting the symbolism of being Muslim in America.
The fact that he accused Muslims in Jersey City of cheering after 9/11 and he was corrected repeatedly by historians, by media and researchers and he
continues to propagate these lies, so it is a concerning to us that someone will listen to Donald Trump and fulfill his idea of alienating Muslims and
stigmatizing them. And we are very concern that some violence may fall upon the Muslim community thus because of his reckless statements.
SESAY: So, we are from the White House short time ago, the White House spokesman Josh Earnest says that this kind of comments that this proposal,
the statement from Donald Trump disqualifies him from serving as President of the United States, do you agree?
AWAD: Well, I agree on different grounds. Number one, Donald Trump does not qualify to be the United States President just because of his temperament.
He's a hot temper individual, he shoots from the hip and the lip and we cannot entrust someone to as our safety and our national security to
someone who does not make sense when he talks, who alienates people, who hates those who disagree with him. He hits minorities, people with
disabilities. How can we as Americans entrust someone in the Oval office and to be in-charge of our forces around the world and the lives of
American Muslims, Americans at home and abroad.
So, in terms of the constitution he has to hold the constitution and he has to abide with it. And by the statements where he and so far, he's thrashing
United States constitution and he wants to lead by fear not by the constitution.
SESAY: Nihad Awad, it's a great to have you on the show today just to get your insight and your perspective. Thank you so much for joining us. Nihad
Awad the Executive Director of the council on American Islamic Relations joining us from D.C., thank you.
AWAD: Appreciate it.
SESAY: This is WORLD RIGHT NOW. Coming up, are Russia air strike in Syria targeting terrorist or just the governments political opposition? I hope
the Russian ambassador to the E.U. mind to be with him, coming up next.
[15:41:40] SESAY: Hello everyone, the civil war in Syria has plunder the countries social fabric gates, ethnic and religious diversity, filling
tension and violence.
But in the city of Qamishli, in the country's North occurred so many Christians and Sunni Arabs lives side by side mostly in harmony. Still the
war is being felt there.
CNN's Ben Wedeman found it strained by a complicated Limbo.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The flag of the Syrian regime plodders over the city of Qamishli.
A city in the North East of the country partially controlled by the Kurdish YPG, the people's defense units and partially controlled by the regime of
On a cold morning, shoppers are looking for vegetables in the market. There woes not about war but about soaring ISIS and the political vacuum in this
land in Limbo.
There is no regime here, insist this man. Prices are out of control and no one can stop it.
Tell me, I asked another. Here in the market, where is the state? Which state? The merchants are the state, they rule us, he responds. They do what
Demands this lady, sugar is expensive, tea is expensive, oil is expensive, vegetables are expensive.
There are no bombs falling on the city and heard no gunfire so or destruction. But the reality of the long bloody war ripping Syria part is
also felt here.
Everybody is leaving, half have left the Turkey or Iraq or Germany, this vegetable vendor says. And another interjects.
There's an Arab saying he tells me, who's been killed is killed and who's fled is fled. No one is left.
But Al-Qamishli is one of the few places left in Syria. It hasn't been divided along sectarian lines. Its population of Kurd and Arabs Turkmen,
Armenians and Assyrians still appears to live in relative harmony.
In Qamishli, we're proud the people here are diverse, says Samira, Ahmed a Kurd. We hope it stays that way. Without Christians, it wouldn't be nice.
Without Arabs, it wouldn't be nice. Without the Turkmen, it wouldn't be nice.
On the other side of town, Fraige Babasyal (ph) an Armenian runs a metal workshop.
I have Armenian, Arab and Kurdish workers he says and everything is fine. We don't differentiate.
In this remote corner of the country at war, at least peer, there is a slight gleamer of folks.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Al-Qamishli Northern Syria.
SESAY: Well, Russia has been looking also the course of Syria civil war by dropping thousands of bombs across the country.
[15:45:04] And that's what it is, direct compensation with the U.S. who accuse -- for accuse Russia of targeting his political opposition of Syrian
president Bashar Al-Assad, I should say. And shortly a while ago, I spoke with the Russian Ambassador to the E.U. Vladimir Chizhov.
I began by asking him about those strikes and who they're really targeting.
VLADIMIR CHIZHOV, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE E.U.: Well actually, Russia's principal aim in Syria is to assist the Syrian army, which is the only
force, military force capable of combating successfully ISIS or Daesh and however you call it. To do that, any air campaign be Russian or the U.S.
led coalition, cannot by itself solve the problem of destroying ISIS.
It takes ground operation and the only force capable of doing that today and I think any objective observer will recognize that as the Syrian army.
Actually, if you look at the broader picture, there are three combat capable forces, the Syrian army, the Iraqi army in Iraq and the Kurdish
Peshmerga units. All other groups may be helpful but they cannot solve the problem by themselves.
SESAY: So Mr. Ambassador, let me ask you this once again. Is the Russian military targeting ISIS?
CHIZHOV: Of course. And I will claim more successfully than the western coalition.
SESAY: Although the western coalition says you're not targeting ISIS. In fact you're targeting moderate rebels in opposition to Bashar Al-Assad but
be that as it may, are you willing to join the U.S. led coalition so you can coordinate objectives and actions in the skies above Syria?
CHIZHOV: From the outset, we were ready to coordinate our efforts to exchange reconnaissance and other information regarding terrorist
formations active in both Syria and Iraq. Unfortunately, the U.S. government was only prepared to go as far as signing a memorandum on
deconflicting namely to prevent any incidents between the warplanes of the Russian air force and the coalition air forces but not to exchange any
Actually we kept asking Washington and the other western capitals involved in the operation to tell us where those extensively moderate opposition
forces are, so we would avoid hitting them. That information was never provided to us. Where is ISIS? Tell us where you think ISIS is that we
should -- that we would be able to concentrate more on that, again no answer.
SESAY: So Mr. Ambassador, let me ask you this. Are you saying that you want to join the coalition or are you saying that you just want to coordinate
information sharing so you can carry on your in-parallel operation?
CHIZHOV: Actually, we are not -- making this parallel operation as you put it an objective in itself. We believe that the terrorist threat to all of
us can be only successfully defeated through the efforts of a broad international coalition. Actually, the recent statements by say, the
government of France, President Hollande we're going in the same direction of a wide coalition, which would comprise all countries of the region, all
forces interested and willing to join in that combat including countries that are now members of the U.S. led coalition and those that are not.
SESAY: So Mr. Ambassador, we have seen what happens when there is a lack of coordination with recent events at the Turkish Syria border, where a
Russian warplane was shot down. Russia responded with economic sanctions against Turkey. We're now hearing today from the Turkish Prime Minister
that Turkey is considering retaliatory measures against Russia.
What is your response to that? And if that happens, what will Russia do?
CHIZHOV: I think instead of, you know, continuing this spiral of allegations and measures and counter measures, Turkey would be in a better
position to unwind this spiral and start with a formal apology for what happened.
[15:50:13] SESAY: So you're saying that that is the first step you're seeking an apology. If Turkey launches brutality measures, you will do
CHIZHOV: Well, I don't want to speculate what's the Turkey's government is contemplating. If they proceed to that, we'll see what that is.
SESAY: It's time for quick break, coming up. Imagine air so dirty you could turn it into stone. A one Chinese artist has done just that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It has been described that the greatest threat to our future. And as politicians from across the globe trying to seal a deal to
tackle climate change, join me and my colleague Max Foster as we host an interactive debate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A panel of experts will have their say on the biggest threats and the studio audience will vote in real time on the question of
what can done.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From increasing our recycling, to giving up on foreign holidays, we will discuss what we can all do to help. So join us for CNN's
Two Degrees Climate Change debate. And you can watch the debate on Wednesday at 8:00 in the evening in London right here on CNN.
SESAY: We'll imagine living in the place so polluted; it can be dangerous to go out doors. That's lays in Beijing; the air quality is classified as
very unhealthy. One Chinese artist is making a political statement about the polluted capital.
Matt Rivers report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is what it looks like when you vacuum air pollution. And this is what it looks like when you use the tiny toxic
particles you collect to help make a brick. The man behind it is an artist called Brother Nut.
BROTHER NUT, ARTIST (through translation): Some people think this is ridiculous to vacuum dust in the air.
[15:55:03] RIVERS: But he is doing it to make a point about China's air quality. So he spent 100 days walking the streets of Beijing, towing his
vacuum, sucking up the pollution Beijingers breathe in.
We saw him on a day with blue skies but most of his work comes from days that look like this. He collected over 100 grams of pollution, much of it
made up of small particles, some 30 times smaller than a strand of human hair.
DR. TRISTAN EVELY, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL SOS: They can go right inside our lungs, right into the blood stream.
RIVERS: Doctor Tristan Evely is a medical director for International SOS. He says the long-term effects of breathing in air this polluted are deadly.
EVELY: Chronic obstructed air ways disease and also even things like heart attacks because the pollution can trigger that, as well.
RIVERS: Air pollution can be made of everything from soot to heavy metals, like arsenic and lead, likely now a part of Brother Nut's pollution brick.
Here's a picture of him pouring the dust into a brick mold.
BROTHER NUT (through translation): Air pollution is a problem for everyone. And now we are being deprived of our right to breathe fresh air.
RIVERS: His art project went viral, perhaps not surprising in a city where 21 million residents have to deal with pollution every day.
Brother Nut says someone offered him $1,600 to buy this brick but it's not for sale. He says the goal was not about making the profit but about
raising awareness by putting pollution in the palm of your hands.
Matt Rivers, CNN Beijing.
SESAY: Just terrible conditions there. This is in the WORLD RIGHT NOW, I'm Isha Sesay. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.