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Deadly Blast hit St. Petersburg Metro; Egypt's President Sisi Meets with Trump at White House; First Muslim Cabinet Minister on Being Muslim in Britain; One Year and Counting for British-Iranian Prisoner. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired April 3, 2017 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:05] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, a deadly blast hit the St. Petersburg Metro. Russian authorities call it a terror attack.
Reaction from the CIA's former chief of Russia operations.
Also ahead, the former British ambassador to the U.S. Sir Peter Westmacott on a full week of diplomacy for Donald Trump, hosting the Egyptian and
Chinese presidents. And Britain's first Muslim cabinet minister baroness Warsi on fighting terrorism, the enemy within and how to tackle it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARONESS SAYEEDA WARSI, BRITAIN'S FIRST MUSLIM CABINET: Terrorists who commit terrorism in the name of Islam are the enemy within for this
country, for my nation but they are also the enemy within my faith.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Security is being ramped up in Russia's second city, St. Petersburg, after a blast ripped through a subway train killing at least 11 people and
injuring dozens more. Authorities say a second device was later found and safely disarmed. President Putin, who was visiting the old, imperial city
at the time has ordered a full investigation.
Now Steve Hall is the CIA's former chief of Russia operations and he joins me now from Arizona.
First and foremost, you know that area so well, you've dealt with Russian secret services and the intelligence community.
What do you think is the most likely cause of this?
STEVE HALL, CIA FORMER CHIEF OF RUSSIA OPERATIONS: Well, Christiane, whenever you're talking about terrorism inside of Russia, all roads do have
a tendency to lead back to the caucuses and specifically to Chechnya or to Dagestan, areas like that.
We have a high concentration of Muslim population, and it really started a number of years ago. More as an anti-Putin, anti-Russia approach as
opposed to an ISIL or al Qaeda-inspired type of thing.
But I do think there has been a lot of migration away from, you know, an anti-Russia, anti-Putin approach to -- what, you know, can we do Jihadi-
type of work in Syria? Can we go abroad? And then those same people returning to Russia because they are Russian citizens and then carrying out
attacks either on their own or inspired by the Jihadist that they've been working with in the Middle East. So my guess is some version of that is
probably what we're looking at in St. Petersburg today.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you about what you expect based on previous experience President Putin's reaction will be? He himself was intelligence, FSB.
He's just concluded a press conference in Russia with the president of Belarus. And according to our teams on the ground, he didn't mention once
What do you think he's thinking, how does he respond to this now?
HALL: Regardless of what Vladimir Putin says on television or on the press, there is no doubt that he will come down hard on these terrorists
and suspects and really anybody that may or sometimes may not have been involved in something like this. Counterterrorism work for Putin has
special significance, because really early on in his political career during the war in Chechnya, that was really for him all about
counterterrorism. So he will use every resource that he has, both law enforcements and I think probably more importantly, you mentioned the FSB,
the internal intelligence service of Russia.
He will use those organizations mercilessly to pursue whoever it is who he thinks has done this because again it's St. Petersburg, so he's a homeboy
in St. Petersburg and he was there in St. Petersburg conducting a political meeting with President Lukashenko of Belarus.
I mean, those are direct and personal affronts to him and he's spoken strongly in the past about his intent to take out terrorists. And I have
no doubt that he will do everything he can, again, in this instance.
AMANPOUR: Let's just move to the potential ISIS connection. Again, we have to say we don't know who did this or why, and whether it's domestic or
international. But terrorism experts, certainly CNN's analyst are saying that ISIS has made Russia the number one target. You know, way sort of
leaving America in the dust so to speak. Apparently, focus now on Russia as a target.
Does that jive with what you think and what you're analyzing?
HALL: Yes, it does. I mean, that analysis, I think, makes a lot of sense. So you've seen, you know, recently the Russians, you know, exercising a
much greater role of both military and political in Syria. And I think that those who are working on the ground in Syria, terrorist organizations,
ISIL-related folks, have seen that the Russians have been very supportive of the Assad regime and of course have also conducted their own military
strikes. So that does indeed make them a target.
[14:05:00] We've known, as I was referring to earlier, that there has been sort of a net export of terrorists out of the caucuses region in Russia
into the Middle East. And now you have the back end of that problem, which is the problem of, what's referred to in the intelligence business as
You got Russian citizens, but again mostly, you know, of Caucasian descent, from the caucuses in that area, go overseas, learn their craft, learn how
to make bombs, learn how to conduct Jihad then return to Russia, sometimes possibly at the behest of ISIL and others to conduct attacks inside of
their countries of origin, in this case Russia. So, yes, that analysis makes sense to me. We're still obviously waiting the investigative proof
of that, but that stands to reason.
AMANPOUR: All right, Steve Hall, thank you so much for joining us on this tonight.
AMANPOUR: Now the St. Petersburg bombing again places the world's focus on Russia. The Trump administration's greatest policy weakness. And this
comes at the start of a critical week for U.S. foreign relations. A trio of world leaders is meeting with the president, Egypt's President Abdel
Fattah el-Sisi has been to the White House today. Jordan's King Abdullah is coming tomorrow. And by the end of the week, the Chinese President Xi
He's arriving on Thursday for a two-day summit at Trump's Florida Mar-a- Lago resort.
Veteran Diplomat Peter Westmacott had a ring-side sit to global policy for decades. He was Britain's ambassador to Turkey, to France and until last
year, he was ambassador to Washington.
So welcome back to the program.
PETER WESTMACOTT, VETERAN DIPLOMAT: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: We've talked about Russia. What about the whole idea of President Trump kind of flipping American relations with a number of strong
men around the world? He's been very complimentary of Vladimir Putin. We know the sort of controversy that's going on over that. But he's very
complimentary about the Egyptian president, as well.
What do you make of that and how much of a red carpet Sisi is getting in Trump's White House?
WESTMACOTT: Well, as you say, he's been consistently supportive of Putin. I think there is a natural empathy with strong men. We'll see how it goes
with President Erdogan in Turkey. I think what we've noticed also is many of the Sunni Arab countries are rather divided to have President Trump
there, because he's strongly anti-Muslim brotherhood. Some of them, of course, have had the Muslim travel ban, but Egypt and Saudi Arabia were
nicely excluded from that.
And they are pleased to have somebody who will provide them with weapons, who are going to be strong on terror, and who they think is not going to
lecture them on human rights and democracy.
And united by one other thing that they all love to hate Iran, and the Trump regime loves to hate Iran as well. So a lot of the strong men, if
you like, in the Arab world are feeling quite comfortable at the moment.
AMANPOUR: I'm going to play a little snippet of Trump and Sisi in the White House. And it was really revealing what they both said to each
other. Let's just listen for a minute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just want to say to you, Mr. President, that you have a great friend and ally in the United States
and in me.
ABDEL FATTAH EL-SISI, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Allow me to extend my thanks and appreciation for your kind invitation for me,
President of the United States. Actually, this is my first state visit to United States since my integration in office. And as a matter of fact,
this is the first visit in eight years from an Egyptian president to the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: A little chippy maybe from President Sisi, who was dramatically excluded by the Obama administration for human rights reasons and others.
WESTMACOTT: And who was, I think, the first head of state due to some nifty Egyptian diplomacy to congratulate President Trump on his election.
So I think there's a bit of flip going on there and I'm sure that the Egyptian government will be very pleased about it.
AMANPOUR: Where do you think it leads? I mean, you know, Hillary Clinton's foreign policy honcho former Jake Sullivan quipped that President
Trump is doing a unilateral, moral disarmament. You know, that is completely different from what other U.S. presidents have done. They've at
least voiced respect for human rights and used that as a condition for American ties with various countries.
WESTMACOTT: Well, yes, I think that is what's happened before. This is not a president who is going to attach a great deal of importance to giving
those sort of lessons to anybody else. There will be an empathy for some of the strong men.
Of course it's an overuse cliche but it did take a Nixon to go to China, and it may just be that a relationship between this man, whom a lot of the
other tough guys will want to have a strong relationship with, including Xi Jinping and other visitor this week as you pointed out. They are going to
want to get on with President Trump. So it may just be that there are going to be some productive relationships coming along which we haven't
quite expected because precisely of this change of tone.
AMANPOUR: OK. So this is really interesting. You mentioned Xi. Now President Trump has been really attacking the Chinese. On the campaign
trail, he said that in terms of trade and surfaces, he used the word "rape." They are raping the United States.
AMANPOUR: And he tried to do this, you know, oh, well, if they don't do what we want, we'll, you know, our One China policy is up for negotiation
and all this kind of stuff. And Xi is the one, who we understand came back and sort of rhetorically gave him a slap down and wouldn't even take a
phone call until Donald Trump stepped back and had to say, no, actually, you know, my bad, we do actually have to respect the One China policy.
So, I guess, what is this relationship going to be like?
WESTMACOTT: Well, it was tough, and there was also the accusation of currency manipulation and all the rest of it.
AMANPOUR: Which people say is not true.
[14:10:00] WESTMACOTT: It depends on your point of view. I think there are different ways of looking at that.
As you look at "The Financial Times" interview, for example, today, it's very clear there's a different tone. Lots of respect for China. I'm
looking forward to receiving his guest at Mar-a-Lago. I think the speed with which they flipped between being very hostile towards China and then
nice towards Taiwan and suddenly saying, well, actually no, the One China policy is indeed what we're with. You know, they understand tough language
when tough language spoken.
It seems that both leaders have an interest in making a success of this. The Chinese will not back down on what they were got as their core interest
and we know what that means, South China Sea and so on and they may just be one of two things that they can agree on by North Korea.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's the next big question, because clearly President Obama warned President Trump that this is going to be his biggest crisis.
All the people who I speak with off the record, on the record say that, you know, there's no good options for North Korea. And so far china has not
done what the U.S. and what the rest of the allies would like China to do. In other words, pressure North Korea, and they hope to resolve it through
China. So far China has not done it, has not made that its strategic calculation.
WESTMACOTT: China is frightened of two things. One is the reunification of the Korean Peninsula with a Pro-Western government there. That would
alarm them. The second is the flood of refugees into China if the North Korean regime collapsed and starving millions of North Koreans who came to
China. They don't want that. So they want a bit of stabilization. They want status quo.
Now there's some quite tough talk coming from the United States, which is you fix this or we will. The problem with the we will, especially if it
means some sort of military action to take out those ballistic missiles, which people are rightly getting alarm about is that we all know that the
North Korean regime, which is -- for which the military strength is an existential issue, can take out most of Seoul at very short notice. That
is not in anybody's interest, but they are -- I was going to say crazy enough, but you know what I mean to do that sort of thing if they were
So this is tough talk from the Trump administration, but it's obviously designed to try to get the Chinese government to really face up to the
problem of nuclear North Korea and to work with the United States to find a solution that is not a military one.
AMANPOUR: It's not just Seoul that they can threaten. They potentially with their intercontinental -- you know, intercontinental ballistic missile
capability can reach the United States.
AMANPOUR: Oh, they will be able to, and once they militarize a weapon, that is a very big threat to the United States.
I mean, as a negotiator, how does one even start to address this with somebody like Kim Jong-un?
WESTMACOTT: Addressing it directly with Kim Jong-un has so far failed. And then we've had so many five and six power talks. We've had agreements
that they were going to stop the nuclear program. They've all been broken. They've all been ignored. And I think that's why because it's getting
closer and closer to the middle where there could be a nuclear armed ballistic missile pointing, threatening the United States, that America has
come to China with some much tougher talk about the importance of really addressing this problem, because it cannot obviously live with that risk.
AMANPOUR: Let's move to Turkey because another huge development. In a couple of Sundays, there's going to be a referendum extending President
Erdogan's powers. A constitutional referendum. Plus, they need President Erdogan to help with the fight against ISIS in Raqqah and Syria.
Erdogan is very upset that the U.S. is backing as its ground forces the Kurdish forces in Northern Syria. From what you know, what is going on
I mean, Secretary Tillerson went there and didn't come back with much of a, sort of a -- you didn't smooth very many of Turkey's ruffled feathers.
WESTMACOTT: Well, Turkey is a really important country. You know as well as anybody, it is a Western-leaning member of NATO, a secular democracy in
the Muslim world. You know, all those things mean that it's important, quite apart from its transaction importance because of all the difficult
neighbors that it has got.
It's got two big problems with the United States. Of course, one is the United States is partner of choice in dealing with ISIS in Northern Syria
is a Kurdish group, the YPG, which is the Turks thing, rightly I think properly. He's closely allied with their own internal Kurdish terrorist
group, the PKK. So it drives them wild that America is partnering with that group. And that will remain a torn in the side of the relationship
unless and until American find some way of splitting YPG from the PKK. That's really difficult, but that might be an objective.
The second big problem they've got, of course, is that America believes that Fethullah Gulen, this exiled priest, if you like, living in
Pennsylvania, was strongly responsible for the failed coup d'etat which most people think is true on the 15th of July. So that is another
You've got those two issues and you've got a third one, which is probably not at the top of the talking points of Secretary Tillerson, which is that
a lot of foreign investors, I mean, a lot of business people in America are actually quite worried about what's going on domestically in Turkey in
terms of the more authoritarian tendencies. The suspension of the rule of law. The locking up of journalist. And that's a worry, too, for many of
AMANPOUR: Lots to talk about. Ambassador Westmacott, thanks very much for joining us.
WESTMACOTT: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So from battling enemies abroad to finding them within. Britain's first Muslim in the cabinet Baroness Sayeeda Warsi talked about
her new book, "The Enemy Within: A Tale of Muslim Britain," and that's next.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
The British authorities are investigating a suspected hate crime in Southeast London that left a 17-year-old Kurdish-Iranian asylum seeker with
a fractured skull and a blood clot on the brain.
The incident follows a sharp increase in racially and religiously motivated crimes here in the UK since the Brexit vote last year. And it also comes
less than two weeks after the attack on Westminster. Police are still working to find out the motive for that attack.
A new book by Britain's first Muslim cabinet minister Sayeeda Warsi titled "The Enemy Within" examines whether the country's counterterrorism strategy
has been effective and Muslim integration in Britain. She joined me earlier.
AMANPOUR: Baroness Warsi, welcome to the program.
What do you make of the situation and a society where a 17-year-old, who happens to be an Iranian Kurd, seeking asylum in this country, is set upon
by maybe more than 20 teenagers, young people and kicked to within an inch of his life? What is going on with the political climate in this country?
WARSI: Well, we have to ask ourselves what we have individually all done to create an environment which is so toxic, and whether that's politicians
and the rhetoric that we have used, for example in the campaign during Brexit, whether that's the media, and how they day after day project
headlines about refugees in the front pages and vilify communities, or whether as individuals, whether we have stopped questioning the
stereotyping and the stigmatizing of individual communities.
AMANPOUR: We're speaking in the aftermath of several, rather dramatic circumstances. This attack on Westminster by a Muslim convert, and we
don't really know the motive and whether he was, quote, unquote, "Islamist terrorist" or "not Islamist terrorist," how difficult is it right now
actually to be Muslim in Britain?
WARSI: I think one of the reasons why I wrote this book, Christiane, was to really go back and talk about the relationship between Islam and
Britain, which goes as far back as 7th century Britain, 8th century Britain.
I talk about the Victorian obsession with all things Islam and I bring it right to modern day. And one of the appeals that I have in this book is to
say let's not define this relationship by the last 10 or 15 years, which have been incredibly traumatic, I think, on all sides.
[14:20:00] And also let's not define the British-Muslim community. Less than 1/10 of one percent of British Muslims have ever been involved in any
form of terrorist-related activity. And therefore let's not define a community of over 3 million by the actions of very small number. And I
think this book is about placing that war on terror and the issue of terrorism in a much broader context.
AMANPOUR: All western societies are questioning how do you achieve integration because many of our western societies have Muslim minorities.
How do you achieve integration and how would you measure integration here compared with maybe some other European countries?
WARSI: Well, I would say that Britain has achieved integration far better than most of the other European countries. Indeed I would say even far
better than the United States. I think the multiculturalism project in some way underpinned a positive experience for most people who came into
this country. And as I've said on numerous occasions, we're all comers in at some point, whether it was 400 years ago or 300 years ago or 30 years
And therefore Britain has had a long history of creating an environment within people who come to these shores can start to feel a part of the
whole. And I think, again, that's a strong message in this book. We've been here before.
There was a time when we didn't really like the Catholics much. We didn't really trust the Jews. We had concerns about what women wanted in public
life and we thought the LGBT community was the enemy within.
We've been here before and what I'm saying is that we need to make sure that we cling to those core principles, which will allow us to work through
this difficult period again.
AMANPOUR: How do you answer people who say, you know, yes, we've been through these difficult periods and there's been bigotry, you know, since
time in memoriam, but when it's a political ideology for a minority of people who do commit these terrorist acts in the name of their religion,
how do you get beyond that? Or is it too much focus on that?
WARSI: Terrorists who commit terrorism in the name of Islam are the enemy within for this country, for my nation, but they're also the enemy within
my faith. They are those who take my faith, Islam, and distort it and use it to justify their vile attacks.
And, therefore, I say it's in all of our interests to make sure that we root out terrorism and terrorists. But we're not going to do that by
alienating large sections of the community.
The only analogy that I draw is that if you look up a tree and you see a few rotten apples on it, you don't shake the whole tree and make sure that
good fruit falls to the floor as well. You go, you go open. You painstakingly, carefully take your time to pull off the bad apples.
AMANPOUR: What would your sort of prescription be to counter the populist, nationalist politics that actually have grown up around Islamophobia,
whether it's in the Netherlands with Geert Wilders, whether it's in France and Le Pen and the National Front or frankly whether it's in the United
States, around the world President Trump has been saying certainly on the campaign and with the Muslim ban?
WARSI: Well, what I say in the book is that the book of fascism is coming in both from the east and west at the moment, exactly because of what we're
seeing in the U.S. or in mainland Europe. There are some very practical things that we can all do to make sure that we keep Britain, a nation which
believes in progressive liberal values.
WARSI: Well, liberal, practical solutions.
WARSI: So one of the things I say is, you know, very simple thing like go see a comedian who is from the Muslim faith. Comedy is a great leveller.
And it's a great place to be able to have some -- to listen to some of those debates that sometimes they're considered to be too sensitive.
If you have a Muslim friend, go and ask them that really tough question. Get involved in taking the Koran experiment. This is a fascinating
experiment, which prankster in the Netherlands came with where they use the Old Testament, covered it with a cover of the Koran and then read extracts
from it around women and homosexuality. And many people on the street would say, whoa, that's such a violent religion. It has no place in Europe
until they were told actually it's the Bible.
And so I think there's a real sense of all of us questioning our own stereotypes and our own bigotry around these issues. And I think if we can
do that, we can make this a nation, which is at ease with our Muslims.
AMANPOUR: Baroness Warsi, thank you very much indeed.
WARSI: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And when we come back, imagining a family ripped apart by global politics. We meet the British man desperate for his wife's release from an
Iranian jail. That is next.
[14:25:40] AMANPOUR: Finally tonight, on Sunday, Iranians celebrated (INAUDIBLE), to mark the end of Nowruz, which is the Persian New Year. As
they celebrated a seasonal rebirth, we imagine a world appealing for a reunion between the British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her
She's been held for a year now in an Iranian jail since she was given a five-year sentence for undisclosed reasons. Her husband rallied supporters
this weekend to hang yellow ribbons from the trees in London Borough of Hampstead where they lived, reminiscent of one's use during the Iranian
hostage crisis of 1979.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD RATCLIFFE, HUSBAND OF NAZANIN ZAGHARI-RATCLIFFE: It's important for me as her husband to stand up for her and say, listen, she's innocent.
This is wrong. This is outrageous. This should stop.
And it's important for our government to stand up and say she's innocent, this is wrong, it's outrageous and it should stop. And it's a conspicuous
silence when they don't do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Nazanin had been training journalists for the Thompson Reuters Foundation when she was arrested. Only her lawyer has been briefed on the secret
details of the case. And her husband, Richard Ratcliff, is also separated from his 2-year-old daughter, Gabriella, who is with her mother when she
was arrested and who now lives in Tehran with her maternal grandmother. She gets to visit Nazanin in prison every week.
That is it for our program tonight. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.