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Russian Forces To Withdraw From Syria; CNN Goes Deep Undercover In Rebel-Held Syria; Trump Fires Back At Criticism Over Rally Violence; Mourning, Anger And Fear After Ankara Attack; At Least 18 Killed In Ivory Coast Attacks; Russia to Withdraw Troops from Syria; Democratic Contest Examined. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 14, 2016 - 16:00:00   ET




HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We are live at CNN London. This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.

We begin tonight with a pretty stunning development in Syria's civil war. Very few people were expecting this, Russia is announcing its forces are

set to begin withdrawing from Syria tomorrow. After months of air strikes in support of the Assad regime, Putin says he's happy with what Russia has



VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I believe that the goal set out to the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces has overall

been fulfilled and that's why I ordered the minister of defense as of tomorrow to start the pullout of the main part of our military grouping

from the Syrian Arab Republic.


GORANI: Well, this was a surprising development. It appears as though even the United States was not given any kind of forward warning. The

kremlin is saying that President Putin and President Assad of Syria had a phone conversation and that President Assad expressed his gratitude to

President Putin for Russia's military involvement in the country.

All right, let's go to Nick Paton Walsh. He's live in Beirut with more analysis. Let's talk a little bit about the timing of this surprise

announcement. What should we make of it?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pretty rare, Hala, that you'll get an open signal from the kremlin about their

intentions. One of this magnitude certainly and you cannot ignore the timing. The first day in which these negotiations led by the U.N. in

Geneva are getting back under way again.

Now everyone has looked at Vladimir Putin's military investment in Syria that it cannot be completely going on for (inaudible). It had to have some

kind of life-span to it.

But what's key is the timing. Looking at the statement from the kremlin today there was an interesting bit on the end where they refer to how the

conversation between Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad, which the kremlin asked for.

Mr. Assad said he was, quote, "Ready to help organize a political settlement in the country as soon as possible." That's obviously what the

Syrian government on the surface say they want because they sent their representatives to Geneva, but you haven't often heard that kind of

language out of Damascus.

That they urgently want some kind of solution. I think many may view this perhaps as Moscow trying to put a bit of pressure upon Damascus

potentially. This isn't the complete end of military support.

There were two very important signals in the kremlin message. The first being this is the beginning of their withdrawal and they'll keep military

elements in their two bases.

But also two other Russian officials saying that they will keep on supplying equipment and technical expertise to the Syrians. Their military

involvement continuous because a very public signal today, Hala, they're beginning to leave.

GORANI: Well, what's interesting too is that in every step of Russia's military involvement, it appears as though Vladimir Putin is the one

setting the agenda with regards to Syria and not the United States.

And not even some of those supporting the opponents of the Assad regime. Is this just the latest in the chess game he's playing in the Middle East?

WALSH: I think you certainly can read some of that into it. It's certainly taken the United States by surprise, who at this stage seems

having a prepared response or entirely trustworthy of this latest announcement.

Remember, Vladimir Putin troops have been accused of being in Ukraine for well over a year now involved in the fighting there. Crimea, months later.

You can't always read the kremlin on the surface. You have to look for the symbolism here, for the assigned posting, and they are certainly I think

trying to have some impact for negotiations and perhaps betraying.

We heard some Russian officials in the media in Russia quoted as suggesting that this Syrian government red line that Bashar al-Assad could never

really need power as part of this deal, was a little too strong perhaps for Moscow.

Now we might be seeing the practical leverage coming out of Moscow on that position. Does it change anything in Geneva? We don't know. Certainly, I

think, yes, this is Russia wanting to make a very clear signal they're not in Syria forever. They're going to start leaving tomorrow -- Hala.

[15:05:06]GORANI: All right, Russia saying this is not open-ended. Nick Paton Walsh live in Beirut, thanks very much.

With more on our breaking news, let's bring in Clarissa Ward. She's just returned from reporting inside of rebel-held areas of Northern Syria and

she's live in New York.

Before we get to your excellent reporting, Clarissa, let me ask you for your reaction to this announcement by Russia. I personally was extremely


I don't think many people were expecting Putin to come out and announce he's withdrawing essentially the bulk of his military involvement in Syria.

What do you make of it?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I was absolutely flabbergasted, Hala, honestly. Everyone who I've spoken to on the ground

inside these rebel-held parts of Syria seems to share that mixture of shock on the one hand.

I think there's a lot of skepticism as well. Is this a sincere genuine effort towards peace? Is it trying to facilitate the talks that are going

on in Geneva now or was this some sort of ruse, you know, is the devil going to be in the detail essentially?

Will we really see a complete withdrawal of Russian troops? What about the aerial bombardment? Will that stop as well? So I think a lot of people

are, you know, dare I use the cliche cautiously optimistic but also certainly skeptical.

If you take a look at reporting that we did while we were inside rebel-held Syria where we saw a powerful air strike on a fruit market that was full of

civilians, I think gives you and our viewers a much better sense of why there is still a lot of skepticism.

OK, cautiously, we're happy to hear that the Russians might be withdrawing. We are interested to see how that will affect the regime on the ground.

But we're skeptical that this is indeed the truth because it seems to fly in the face of everything they have seen on the ground in terms of the

Russian involvement. Take a look at our story.


WARD: Moving through rebel-held northern Syria is difficult and dangerous. As foreign journalists in areas with a strong jihadist presence, we had to

travel undercover to see a war few outsiders have witnessed.

The city of Idlib is the only provincial capital under rebel control. This was its courthouse until it was hit by an airstrike in December. Dozens

were killed.

The 40-year-old lawyer, Tala Al-Jaway, told us he was inside the building when it was hit. His arm was smashed, but he was lucky to survive.

TALA AL-JAWAY, VICTIM OF BOMBING (through translator): The Russian planes target anything that works in the interest of the people. The goal is that

people here live a destroyed life, that people never see any good. That they never taste life. This is the tax of living in a liberated area.

WARD: An hour later, we saw that tax for ourselves while filming in a town nearby. We heard the scream of fighter jets wheeling overhead. Moments

later, a hit.

[06:40:02](on camera): There was just an airstrike here in the town. So we're now driving very quickly. It's not clear yet what was hit, but we

are hearing that there are still planes in the sky.

(voice-over): Arriving on the scene, our team found chaos and carnage. Volunteers shouted for an ambulance as they tried to ferry out the wounded.

For many, it was too late. A woman lay dead on the ground, a jacket draped over her, an attempt to preserve her dignity. Russia has repeatedly

claimed it is only hitting terrorist targets. This strike hit a busy fruit market.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This is just a civilian market. This is not a military area. There are no military installations or

anything. It's a market! Look, it's a market! A fruit market! Is this what you want, Bashar?

WARD: We couldn't stay long, often jets circle back to hit the same place twice. It's called a double tap.

(on camera): We've just arrived here at the hospital where they're bringing the dead and the wounded from those three strikes, which hit a

park and a fruit market.

We don't know the exact number of casualties there, but the scenes of devastation, blood on the ground, dismembered body parts and the injured

and dead that we've seen arriving here indicate that this was a very bad strike indeed.

(voice-over): Among the injured brought in, a young boy, moaning in pain. He died moments later.

[15:10:09]The strikes that day killed 11 people, among them a woman and two children. Rescue workers wasted no time in clearing away the rubble. In

this ugly war, massacres have become routine.


WARD: Now Hala, there are really only two players in the sky so to speak over rebel-held Syria and particularly that area in Idlib. That is the air

force of Bashar al-Assad and the Russian Air Force, which has taken over the vast majority of air strikes since it intervened militarily back in


We went to the Russian Ministry of Defense with our reporting. We asked them for some form of comment. They simply said without denying it,

specifically they said, we have never hit civilians or any civilian target inside Syria.

But as you will see throughout this week as we unveil the series of stories from inside rebel-held Syria, that simply doesn't fit with what we saw on

the ground -- Hala.

GORANI: All right, thanks. Very interesting, Clarissa Ward in New York with more of her exclusive reporting. Clarissa will have more for us

tomorrow. She'll take you down the only rebel-held road leading into Aleppo, a dangerous route surrounded by snipers.


WARD (voice-over): The scale of the destruction is breathtaking. Stretching on and on. Entire residential neighbors were reduced to rubble.

Still, we found pockets of life among the devastation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): Should we leave our country and go to another country? No. This is our country. We will remain in it

until we die.


GORANI: It is all part of our exclusive coverage inside Syria behind rebel lines. Only on CNN. Do join us for that. We'll have more on Syria later

in the program.

But after a quick break, heated confrontation at campaign events ahead of some crucial primaries. We'll speak live to CNN's Wolf Blitzer about the

race for the White House and his latest conversation with Donald Trump. What does he say about all this violence at his campaign event?

Also, funerals, arrests and air strikes a day after a devastating car bombing in the heart of Turkey's capital. We'll have a lot more after

this. We're live in Ankara.


GORANI: There is a big event in U.S. politics tomorrow. It is Super Tuesday number three. In the race for the White House, the Republican

frontrunner, Donald Trump has been accused of many things by his opponents that he is essentially inciting violence.

Look at the chaos that happened at just a few of his campaign events. Donald Trump is saying, I've got nothing to do with this. All of this

after a weekend of turbulent campaigning.

[15:15:04]For instance, Chicago, an event there erupted in chaos. There were also skirmishes and arrests in an event of his in St. Louis, Missouri.

Earlier today, Trump told CNN his heated words are not to blame. This is all happening, as I mentioned, before Super Tuesday tomorrow. Wolf Blitzer

joins us now live from Washington.

Wolf, you had an opportunity to speak on the phone with Donald Trump about all the violence at his campaign events. What did he tell you? What was

his reaction to what happened?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": First of all, Hala, he doesn't want to use the word violence. He says there have been some

protesters. If you take a look over these many months since last summer, he points out there have been so many rallies, hundreds of thousands of


When you add them up, shown up at the various pro-Trump rallies and there have been a few incidents. Listen precisely to what he told me and who he

blames for all these reports.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): Wolf, there's not much violence. You know, when we have 20,000 and 15,000, and you know,

many more on that in some cases. We had 35,000 people in Alabama and, you know, there were no protests.

Let's not even use the word violence, there's very little disruption generally speaking. It's a function of the press. The press likes to say

what they like to say.

If one person gets up shouting and the police walk that person out, they try to make that like it's a violent thing. It's not violent. It's a

protester that stands up or probably a disrupter.

Because I think they're sent there by, you know, some people on the other side. It's a disrupter. But there's no violence. I mean, nobody's been



BLITZER: So he's basically suggesting the news media, Hala, is overplaying all these incidents. They have gotten much more intense over the past few

days, especially in Chicago, Friday night, when Trump himself had to postpone or cancel a rally that was under way.

He later said he had to do that because he was afraid that people would be injured. When he says the other side, he's blaming Bernie Sanders, to a

lesser degree, Hillary Clinton and other groups for inciting the anti-Trump activities.

The protests that have been going on. So it's a complicated situation. It's not very pretty right now, but Trump is going forward.

One thing we have noticed in the last few days, Hala, and I talked to Mr. Trump about this, much greater Secret Service protection for him at these


All of a sudden, you see Secret Service officers, agents standing up right nearby, trying to make a presence, especially in the aftermath Saturday,

when one protester tried to jump over a line, if you will, and run up to the stage. He was apprehended by the Secret Service, but it's causing a

lot of concern here -- Hala.

GORANI: Right. Well, looking at those images, it's hard not to use another word other than violence. A North Carolina sheriff is pondering

charges against Donald Trump. The charge of inciting a riot. Is that likely to go through? What's the latest on that?

BLITZER: We've just been getting word over last few minutes about that, Hala, that because there was an incident in North Carolina, because Donald

Trump spoke, the accusation would be he's inciting violence.

I suspect this is not going to go very far, but the fact that a sheriff is already looking into this possibility, it speaks about what's going on here

as far as the political campaign is concerned.

Trump says he doesn't condone violence. He says he wants everyone to be peaceful. He says he understands there can be demonstrators. He says they

have to be peaceful.

He says his supporters are the most wonderful people in the world. Obviously, they have no violent intentions at all. He blames the other

side, if you will. In the meantime, it's a tense situation, I have to tell you.

GORANI: Wolf Blitzer, thanks very much. We'll see you a little bit later in "THE SITUATION ROOM" and again on "WOLF" tomorrow at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Now mourning, anger and fear are sweeping through Turkey once again because there's been another devastating bombing in Ankara that happened yesterday.

It was a car bomb that tore through a crowded square in the heart of the capital, 35 people dead that is the latest toll, 125 others wounded.

Authorities have arrested at least 29 people and fighter jets are bombing Kurdish separatist targets in Iraq. At the same type, loved ones Monday

began laying to rest victims of the attack.

There's a great feeling of unease and vulnerability pervading the country. Our senior international correspondent, Arwa Damon is in the Turkish

capital. She joins me now from Ankara with the very latest on what Turkish authorities are saying about this attack -- Arwa.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Hala. The spokesman for the government has come out and said that they have

identified two attackers. One of them is a female. Her identity, they are certain of, although not disclosing it at this stage.

[15:20:01]They're investigating what kind of other terror networks. The other so far only identified as being a male with the spokesman going on to

say that they are part of a separatist terrorist organization alluding to the fact that they are, as the local media has been reporting here,

security forces here, the PKK.

Heartbreaking scenes at the morgue as loved ones, family members, waited, received, identified the bodies of those who perished in this attack. The

victims ranging from teenagers, waiting for the bus, university students. Mothers, fathers, old and young.

All crowded at this bus stop. At this area where the explosion took place caused by a car laden with explosives that was detonated very close to this

bus station that also has a number of shops, open-air cafes and restaurants.

The Turkish government is vowing that it will be bringing terror to its knees, but this is very much a city and a country that continues to feel

incredibly vulnerable and that kind of rhetoric is not necessarily helping to ease that at this juncture.

Because Ankara was a city that was meant to be on high alert. Additional security measures were supposed to be in place especially after the bombing

that happened in February.

In that case, the target was a convoy carrying security personnel. Prior to that in October, you had two twin suicide bombers who tore through a

rally killing over 100 people.

The largest single death toll in Turkey's modern day history. People feeling very uncertain about their future when it comes to security and

stability of their nation. A lot of questions among the population here about what is going to be happening next -- Hala.

GORANI: Arwa Damon in Ankara, thanks very much.

This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Coming up, Ivory Coast is on high alert following Sunday's terror at a beach resort. This sort of thing doesn't

happen in Ivory Coast. We'll be live with all the latest. Stay with us.


GORANI: Now to the aftermath of a shocking terror attack in the Ivory Coast as I was saying before the break. This is the first of its kind in

Ivory Coast. Surveillance video has been leased in the last few hours showing the very moment the attackers struck. Take a look.


GORANI: Well, people are fleeing, running for their lives. The bar man there ducking behind the bar. You can see out of the shot. The gunmen

stormed three hotels in the area popular with wealthy Ivorians and westerners as well. In the end, 18 people were murdered. Al Qaeda in the

Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility.

Let's get the latest from David McKenzie at the scene of the attack in Grand Basalm. Tell us a little bit more about what you are seeing where

you are right now and what authorities are saying about this attack, how it was organized.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hala, it was organized, and clearly the intent was to kill. You saw in that footage from a hotel

nearby where I'm standing of the gunmen coming in, firing indiscriminately at tourists and foreigners.

[15:25:12]And that footage goes on to shows a young gunman moving around the bar, shooting to kill. People here are rattled. Ivory Coast isn't

accustomed to any kind of terror of this kind.

They have their own domestic problems, but certainly not a terror like this. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb taking responsibility. Now what we

are learning is several attackers perhaps three came from the main road behind me, moved into the area of the resort at the lunchtime rush and then

started shooting.

A witness we spoke to described how three men moved along the beach in this resort town near the capital, shooting people with the intent to kill.

Then one of the gunmen was injured. In fact, instead of moving on, his two fellow terrorists turned on him and killed him.

So clearly they weren't looking to get out of this alive. The Ivorian government says they are clamping down on any possible terror links. A

local leader has asked people to stay indoors for the moment for fear of possible further attacks -- Hala.

GORANI: But who are these -- I mean, the attackers, are they Ivorians? We've seen other similar attacks in West Africa. Do we know? Have we

identified these gunmen?

MCKENZIE: They haven't been identified yet, but speaking to witnesses here at the beach resort, several of them have told me they don't believe these

men were Ivorian. They didn't necessarily why they though that.

Other than they might have been speaking a language they weren't familiar with. They were shouting Ala Akbar, God is great, as they went along and

shot innocent victims.

I've spoken to several people here working as cooks, managers of the hotels, all frankly Muslims, and said this is nothing to do with the Muslim


We have seen this spate of attacks in West Africa in recent months, first in Mali, attacking a hotel, then in Burkina Faso. Now here in Cote


So this region and its allies have a serious problem right now with the expansion of the aims of the al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and its

affiliated groups -- Hala.

GORANI: All right, well, they're trying to make it so people are afraid wherever they are. An obvious strategy there, hitting these soft targets

and innocent people. Thanks very much, David McKenzie is in Ivory Coast.

Coming up, Donald Trump is hitting back, saying he's got nothing to do with the violence at his rallies. In fact, he's refusing to even call it

violence. I'll be speaking to author and professor, Cornell West after a turbulent week on the campaign trail.

But first, after months of Russian airstrikes, Vladimir Putin is now ordering the withdrawal of the bulk of his forces from Syria. What will

this mean for the country, now marking five years of a brutal war?



GORANI: Welcome back, I'm Hala Gorani, thanks for being with us. A quick look at our top stories this hour and breaking news just in the last few



GORANI: Russian troops are set to begin withdrawing from Syria. A surprise announcement by President Putin on Russian state television after months of

air strikes in support of the Assad regime. Putin says Russia is withdrawing because it has achieved its goals inside Syria.


GORANI: A day after another devastating bombing in the heart of Turkey's capital, loved ones of the victims began burying the dead.


GORANI: At least 35 people were killed, 125 others were wounded when a car bomb exploded at a crowded square in Ankara.


GORANI: Also among our top stories, the United States and France say they will help Ivory Coast investigate Sunday's terrorist attacks.


GORANI: At least 18 people were gunned down when attackers stormed three hotels in the beach resort city of Grand Bassam. Al Qaeda in the Islamic

Maghreb has claimed responsibility.


GORANI: Hundreds of frustrated migrants stranded in Greece made a bold and illegal march around a border fence that had been blocking their route into

Macedonia for the past week.


GORANI: Many of the migrants formed a human chain to cross a river. But once in Macedonia, they didn't get far before they were stopped by security



GORANI: Let's get more now on our top story. Russia's decision to withdraw its forces from Syria, a surprise announcement by President Vladimir Putin.

A spokesperson for the HNC, that's the official Syrian political opposition, says that it is welcoming Russia's decision to leave but what

effect will Putin's move have on the ground?

Let's bring in CNN's Nic Robertson he's covering Syria peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland. Matthew Chance is live in Moscow at this hour. I'm

going to start with you Nic. First of all reaction where you are, these Geneva talks are ongoing. Was this a surprise to many there? It was a

surprise to us, regular observers of the Syria story. What did you hear where you were?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, everyone we've talked to here, Hala, is saying this has come as a surprise. State

department officials said that they'd learned about this through reports and that they hoped to learn about it more in the coming hours. I mean that

really tells you that, at least on the surface there, the United States state department at least didn't see this coming.


ROBERTSON: And the High Negotiating Committee there in the hotel behind me here, the opposition grouping, they're going to go into the peace talks

tomorrow. They were caught completely unawares as well.

I would say the best way to characterize how they're looking at it at the moment is you know sort of some cautious optimism. They really say, look,

we need to see what President Putin does before we can judge it. We've got people on the ground. They can watch and figure it out pretty quickly. We

don't reject Russia as a friend of Syria. But Russia's troops, invited in by President Bashar al Assad are a no. If he pulls some of them out, he

needs to pull all of them out.

In terms of can this help the talks a long, they certainly see that it can because they recognize like everyone else, this can put pressure on the

Syrian government. We've had no reaction from the Syrian government delegation here. They were in the talks earlier today. Listening to them

speaking after the talks, listening to the U.N. Special Envoy speaking after that first round of talks, it sounded like listening to the

discussion two years ago when the Syrian government was at talks here where they just wanted to talk about procedures rather than getting to real

negotiation. And of course the key back then, Russia was blamed for not putting pressure on the Syrian government back then. So that raises the

question, does Putin's statement do the same, do something different this time and pressure them?

GORANI: It maybe one of the possibilities. Let's go to Matthew Chance, he's in Moscow. So what is behind this Putin decision? Is it financial? Is it

the desire not to overextend in Syria and engage in the open-ended war? Is it to put pressure on Assad? Is it because fundamentally Russia has

achieved one its primary -- not necessarily stated goals, but one of its goals, which is to prop up the regime of Assad which was faltering in many

parts of the country?


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think this is classic Putin, and it's unexpected, it's unpredictable, and it's the

Russian leader seizing the opportunity to get some sort of victory out of this potential quagmire. And when you look at it from the Kremlin point of

view, this an immensely fortuitous time to extricate yourself from the Syrian war.


CHANCE: They've achieved a lot. They've successfully bolstered their Syrian ally. They've turned things around on the battlefield. He's no longer

facing defeat, Bashar al Assad. In fact, he's been on the offensive which puts him in a strong position when it comes to negotiations.


CHANCE: They've bolstered their position, Russia that is, on the international stage. They're seen very much as a global player now. They've

intervened very effectively, whether you like it or not, inside Syria. And look what they've done as well. Look where Nic Robertson is standing right

now. They've effectively managed to bring all of the warring parties to the negotiating table. That simply would not have happened, were it not for the

Russian military pressure that's been applied since September last year.


GORANI: And one of the things we were observing as we listen to this and read initially the announcement, then heard it as it was announced by Putin

on state television, was all the agenda setting moves are coming from Russia now, not from the United States. And the U.S. and their allies are

moving closer to the Russia position than the other way around, Matthew, I mean would you agree with that?

CHANCE: I think so. I mean, look, six months ago, Bashar al Assad was you know seen as a no hoper. His regime, his government was on the verge of

being overrun. That's now completely been turned around. Six months ago, there was no prospect or any realistic prospect of peace talks bringing all

these various warring parties together.


CHANCE: That's now actually happening. So Russia has been immensely successful. It has been criticized of course for causing more civilian

casualties. It's been criticized for causing more refugees as well. But it may have brought a much speedier end to this conflict. Now we have to see

how this resolves itself at the negotiations in Geneva.


CHANCE: But at the moment, from Vladimir Putin's point of view, this is a success, this is a Russian success. And, you know what, they're keeping

their military bases inside Syria as well so if it all goes wrong in the negotiations, they can restart their strikes as and when they choose to.

GORANI: Matthew Chance in Moscow, Nic Robertson in Geneva, thanks to both of you.

Well, it's just one day from a crucial round of primaries in the presidential race. And on the Democratic side, candidates and family

members are campaigning hard. Bernie Sanders is in North Carolina speaking to reporters in Charlotte.


GORANI: There you see him. I believe these are live images coming to us there. Let's get more on the many issues surrounding the presidential race.

I'm joined from Princeton, New Jersey, by noted author activist Professor Cornel West.


GORANI: He's also backing Bernie Sanders. Dr. West, thanks for being with us. First of all, you're backing Bernie Sanders and not Hillary Clinton,

Dr. West. Why is that?


CORNEL WEST, ACTIVIST AND AUTHOR: Well I think we're living at a turning point, a very dangerous point in the history of the American empire and we

have three options. We've got a neo-fascist Donald Trump in the making. We've got neo-liberal Hillary Clinton who comes from a long history with

the Clinton machine. And then we've got progressive vision neo-populism of Bernie Sanders. And all three are contending. We live in a very precarious

moment here in the United States.

Donald trump, he fuses big money. He's got his corporation. I mean he's got xenophobic scapegoating. He's got hawkish policies abroad and he's got a

narcissistic personality.


WEST: I think Hillary Clinton has a long history but she does not have the integrity, the transparency, the moral consistency, the neo liberalism that

she presents running out of gas. Bernie Sanders who began at 3% is now a major candidate and I think he has a very good chance of winning.

GORANI: But Bernie Sanders is also part of the establishment, he's a career politician. Why are you so hard on Hillary Clinton? On CNN you even called

her the Milli Vanilli of U.S. politics I think because she lip syncs or she's fake. But is she not the candidate to get things done when Bernie

Sanders is making promises that an executive, anyone in the White House, the oval office, couldn't keep without congress? Is she not the realist

here, the one that the bet needs to be made on?

WEST: Not at all. I think - I think her language of being a progressive doing elections is one thing, her centrist policies, look at Honduras and

the death of our sister Bertha. Look at Libya. Look at the NAFTA projects. The NAFTA trade agreements and the devastation of working people.


WEST: Bernie Sanders has been on the inside, elected from a progressive state, but he's been an outsider because he's been consistent, he has

integrity, he's got genuine convictions. And that's why almost 90% of young Americans under 30 support Bernie Sanders. They can see the real thing,

they're hungry for the real thing.


GORANI: But African-Americans - African Americans are supporting Hillary Clinton in larger numbers, more -- much more so than Bernie Sanders. What

do you make of that?

WEST: That's true.

GORANI: It's the realities of the polls and yes -

WEST: Because so many black people are addicted to the familiar and fearful of the unknown. They don't know Bernie Sanders, they don't have a national

status the way Hillary Clinton does. But also we have a neo liberal black political class and a neo liberal black intelligentsia that I think routed

in the spiritual rut and the moral cowardice they jump on the gravy train, and not the freedom train.


WEST: So they're all behind Hillary but the young folk are coming alive and I think they'll wake up the older folk fairly soon.

GORANI: But you're even - you're even tough Professor West on John Lewis, a hero of civil rights. You've criticized him. Is it moral cowardice to

support Hillary Clinton if you're African-American? Why such strong terminology?

WEST: No, because I think it's a matter of being honest. John Lewis is one of the great freedom fighters of the 1960s. He's my brother, I love him

deeply. But when he comes forth as a neo liberal politician and says I did not see Bernie Sanders in the '60s, I saw Hillary Clinton, well, we know

Hillary Clinton supported Goldwater. Bernie Sanders was marching there at the march of Martin Luther King. He gets arrested in Chicago fighting

against white supremacy. So I just say to my dear brother John Lewis, that's part of the mendacity, that's part of the inconsistency and

insincerity that goes hand-in-hand with what I call the moral cowardice, that's all.

GORANI: OK, can I ask you about the Trump -

WEST: -- It's not a trashing. It's not a trashing -

GORANI: -- Well it's kind of a trashing.

WEST: -- it's just an objective description. No, no, just objective description.

GORANI: Moral cowardice isn't exactly a compliment.

WEST: If you're lying, you're lying, you're lying, that's all.

GORANI: OK. Listen let me ask you -

WEST: Well that's true, that's true.

GORANI: Let me ask you a little bit about what's going at these Trump rallies? Trump himself spoke to CNN about an hour ago, he says it's not

even violence, these are all Bernie Sanders -- they're sent by the Bernie Sanders campaign. What's going on at these rallies? And historically

speaking, where would you place what's happening at these Trump rallies with say what happened in the '60s? Do you think there is any equivalency


WEST: Well, there's no doubt, I mentioned before, you've got a scapegoating of the most vulnerable, precious Mexicans, precious Muslims, precious



WEST: He's going to get to black folk even more intensely and I hope not but he'll probably get to our Jewish brothers and sisters. We know anti-

Jewish hatred goes hand-in-hand with that kind of scapegoating in the United States. And the response is almost one of hollering fire in a

movie. He comes to Chicago, or goes to Chicago and wants to put forth that kind of xenophobic language, it's going to generate a clash. And then he

denies responsibility. He reminds me of Wall Street executives. They want the profit. They want the success. When they're wrong, they deny

responsibility. He cannot deny responsibility and the kind of very racist bigoted language that he's using.

GORANI: His argument is - his argument these are -- these protesters are storming my event. So you know my supporters are going to kind of engage

with them. I mean this is what Trump supporters and Trump himself are saying.

WEST: There's no doubt that there's a challenge when you have protesters on the inside. But when you have vicious attacks, violent attacks, and then he

says they're going to pay their bills. He's encouraging those kinds of attacks, encouraging that kind of violence. And keep in mind, Bernie

Sanders has nothing whatsoever to do with the protesters. He's been nonviolent all his life. He's nonviolent now. But when you have that kind

of language of hatred being put forward, it's going to get a response and it's getting worse - it's getting worse here.

GORANI: What is the Trump - what is Trump a symptom of in America? I mean if you could - because we're seen all over the world and a lot of people

who don't live in the United States are watching what's unfolding with this Trump candidacy and the fact he's a front-runner in the Republican race.

And wondering why this is happening now in America. Can you provide an answer from your point of view?

WEST: Yes, Trump is manipulating the fears, anxieties and insecurities of a (inaudible) mobile white middle of a white middle class engaging in social

slippage because the 1% are hemorrhaging the wealth at the top and the attack on working people and middle class people instead of responding the

way Bernie Sanders does, democratize, democratize, democratize, Donald Trump scapegoats, scapegoats, scapegoats. And you generate that kind of

neo-fascism. You've seen it in Spain, you see it in Poland, you see it in Denmark, you see it all around the world. We're seeing it in Latin America.

When the middle class feels terrified, and frightened they're at a fork in the road, they can be progressive and democratized. They can be reactionary

and look for a strong man and in comes Donald Trump.


WEST: But let say just one last word too, that Donald Trump is the Frankenstein of corporate media. Beginning in August, they cover it every

speech, every word in his twitter, why, because they were making big money. The rates and the revenues go up. And so he was covered 230 minutes for

every 29 seconds Bernie Sanders was covered. That's a critiquing indictment of corporate media as well.


GORANI: Okay, well, Dr. Cornel West, thanks very much. I didn't have that particular statistic there in front of me but certainly the man's gotten a

lot of coverage. Professor Cornel West, of Princeton, it's always a pleasure speaking with you on CNN, we really appreciate your time.

WEST: Thank you so very much - thank you very much, I appreciate it.

GORANI: All right. And stay with CNN for complete coverage of Tuesday's critical primaries with all winner take all delegate prizes. That could

alter the course of the campaign trail, that's all day Tuesday. Right here on CNN.

This is "The World Right Now." Ahead, another take on Russia's decision to pull out of Syria.


GORANI: We'll ask a military analyst about this move. How could it impact the war? We'll be right back.



GORANI: The Syrian President is reportedly saying thank you to Russia for what it accomplished in Syria as Russian forces prepare to pull out.


GORANI: According to Russian state media, Bashar al Assad, "recognized the professionalism, substance and heroism of the soldiers and officers of the

Russian armed forces partaking in the arms action and expressed his recognition in the massive help in the fight against terrorism and the

delivery to the civilian population of humanitarian cooperation." Quite a mouthful there, but this is reported by Russian media. These words, by the

Syrian President, as reported by Russian media.


GORANI: Now, CNN military analyst Cedric Leighton is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, he comes to us from CNN in Washington with more analysis on

this move. So what do you make of this surprise announcement? Essentially Russia saying it's withdrawing the bulk of its military forces from Syria.

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, RETIRED U.S. AIR FORCE COLONEL: Well, Hala, it's a major announcement. And I think it is a game changer for everything that has been

going on in Syria. Every party that has been either part of the Syrian civil war or on the periphery of the Syrian civil war is affected by this



LEIGHTON: And what we see here is Putin being very deft and incredibly smart when it comes to involving Russian forces in this conflict. He came

in, he made a statement by using this kind of force, and then he basically has said we've done what we needed to do, we are out of here and we've

avoided mission creep. And that is a -- you know, a very interesting way of handling this kind of situation.

GORANI: How does it compare to how the U.S. has involved itself militarily in Syria, do you think?


LEIGHTON: Well, it's very interesting, the United States of course has been very reluctant to get involved in Syria. We have special forces involved.,

we have of course done the air campaign that existed before the Russians got involved in a major way. But clearly the Russian effort was fairly

quick. It was decisive in the sense that it used a preponderance of air power to achieve its goals.


LEIGHTON: What it also did, it sent a signal that the Russians were willing to use force in many different situations that the U.S. and its partners

were not willing to do. And that is a major difference in the way the Russians and the U.S. employ force like air power.

GORANI: OK, and could you expand on that a little bit?

LEIGHTON: Sure. The basic idea is that what the Russians have done is they I think took a look at what happened with the United States in Iraq and in



LEIGHTON: And of course their own experience in Afghanistan. And what they've said is we don't want to get involved. We don't want that quagmire

to be there. But we still want to affect the outcome. So from a diplomatic standpoint, what Putin did was he was able to bring his forces to bear. He

brought them in. He did what they basically said the mission was, took them out and now he can still leverage what those forces have accomplished up to

a point.

GORANI: Well, initially they said the mission was to strike ISIS but really based on so many eyewitness records and so many reports on the ground,

we're seeing that they're really mainly targeting anti-Assad rebel areas.

LEIGHTON: That's right. And they really never did strike ISIS; at least not in any measurable way. So what you saw and especially with the reports that

CNN has been doing, there have been a lot -- there's a lot of real material out there that indicates that the Russians were very forceful in really

going after Assad's free Syrian army and related element-type enemies. And so when you look at what happened there, it was very clear that the purpose

of the Russian mission in Syria was to prop up the Assad regime and so far for them its mission accomplished.

GORANI: You could argue that six months ago the Assad regime was on the back foot in many critical areas in Syria, especially in northern Syria.

But can you explain to us as a military expert the difference between Russia's short pinpointed targeted involvement in Syria, about four months.

And the U.S. is now coming on two years, aerial campaign against ISIS?


GORANI: Why was one mission, you know, from the point of view of Russia let's say successful but the other, that coalition targeting ISIS, is still

ongoing without measurable success? What's going on?

LEIGHTON: Well, it's very hard to measure the kind of work that the U.S. and its coalition partners are doing. So the way I would characterize it,

is this way, Hala. What we're basically seeing is it really isn't a pinpoint accurate mission that the Russians were engaged in. They used

overwhelming force in indiscriminate ways. But what they had was a political goal and they use that political goal as basically the way in

which they conducted their military planning. So they didn't care what they hit as long as they hit something and that something protected the Assad

regime or allowed the Assad regime to stay in power.

They did that. That part of the mission is basically accomplished. We're going to use that as leverage for the peace talks in Geneva. But the

American side of it basically, the American side is in essence constrained by rules of war, laws of engagement that they actually have, and they

followed those basically to a tee. The American side technically was more accurate in terms of what they hit and when they hit it but it takes a lot

longer to achieve the desired effects when you do it that way and that's the basic difference that you're seeing.

GORANI: Right. We certainly see many accusations that Russia is hitting civilian targets and causing many civilian deaths. Thanks very much, Cedric

Leighton joining us from Washington, we really appreciate your time.

LEIGHTON: You bet, any time, Hala.

GORANI: And don't forget to all our viewers, you can get the latest news, interviews and analysis on our Facebook page,

We will be right back.



GORANI: Well, Richard Quest is circling the world in the ultimate budget airline trip.


GORANI: He set off from London this weekend, travelling through Brussels, Prague, and now into the United Arab Emirates. So far he is faring, and

flying, just fine.

RICHARD QUEST: Coming to the end of day three in the round-the-world trip. And so far, I've been in London, Brussels, Prague, Dubai, and now I'm in

Sharjah which is another of the UAE Emirates about to take a flight Air Arabia flight from Sharjah to Colombo. It's our way of getting from one

continent to the next.

We're already seeing some differences about the way the different low carrier model is interpreted. Some giving meals, others are quite basic.

And as we go around the world, we expect to see even more differences as we head into Asia and down towards the South Pacific. Oh, yes, those

challenges at #flywithquest. Well, I've eaten a camel burger in Dubai, there was goulash in Prague, and a waffle in Brussels. And just look at the

different sights that I've seen, from the Charles Bridge to the Atomium, to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. And there's plenty

more to come. Richard Quest, CNN, around the world in low cost.


GORANI: And I'm Hala Gorani, thanks for watching. What is this? Oh, you can follow Richard's process using an interactive guide online and on twitter,

get regular updates with the #flywithquest.

As I was saying, I'm Hala Gorani, thanks for watching "The World Right Now." "Quest Means Business" is next after a quick break. Stay with us.