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Paris Terror Attacks; French Officials Believe Attacks Were Planned by ISIS Leaders in Syria; ISIS Threatens U.S. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired November 16, 2015 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[22:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's hard for me. It's hard for me even to talk and I never thought that it's going to be us today, right here. Suffering in all this pain for our lost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 SHOW HOST: Pain no parent should ever have to live through. That does it for us tonight. CNN Tonight with Don Lemon starts now.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: Yes, you're right, Anderson, heartbreaking. Thank you very much. Ten p.m. here in New York, 4 o'clock, Tuesday morning where you are, Anderson.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. It's now 80 hours since terrorists struck the French capital killing 129 people and wounding 100 more. Anderson Cooper has the very latest on the investigation. He's there now live. Anderson, bring us up to date.
COOPER: Don, the latest on the investigation, obviously, there is a manhunt now under way. Authorities are seeking the man they believe to be the eighth terrorist involved in the terror attacks on Friday night. This is a man who was believed to have gotten away, to have driven one of the vehicles that was used in the attacks on the number of bars and restaurants.
That vehicle has since been found in a suburb of Paris. The man, the driver, the eighth alleged terrorist was actually apprehended along a highway heading toward Belgium after the attacks. He was in a vehicle with two other people. They at that point did not know his connection to the attacks and they let him go.
So, there is an international manhunt under way for him. He's believed to be in Belgium although they can't say for sure. But the threat level in Belgium has been raised to its second highest level that they have. There have been raids throughout Belgium and also throughout France over the last several days. Those raids continue.
Many of those who were arrested over the weekend in Belgium have since been released, including the brother of the man would is now wanted by authorities. And their third brother was one of the terrorists who was killed in the attack.
So, there's a number of arms into this investigation. A number of things they're looking at. But at this point, that it's a terrorist, the man believed to be the eighth terrorist is still at large, Don.
LEMON: And Anderson, the pictures that we have up there are of that eighth terrorist. But I want to know about, are they concerned about members of this cell still being out there, Anderson?
COOPER: Well, certainly, I mean, this eighth terrorist, they are very concerned about. He may have a suicide device, a suicide explosive device just like the seven others terrorists had. Most of who actually utilized those devices on Friday night after using AK-47 to kill large numbers of people.
So, they're telling people to obviously stay away, but they really don't know at this point, Don, just how many concentric circles of support this group of eight actually have. French media has been reporting just over the last several hours that the eighth are known to have rented an apartment and stayed in Paris about for the last week prior to the attack.
But who else helped them? Who else, was there somebody who manufactured the explosive vests or belts? Was it one of the eight or was it somebody else who had that sophisticated know-how about how to do it? And who else helped them in terms of funds, in terms of organization? That is something that authorities simply do not know at this point and they are very eager, obviously, to find out.
LEMON: And who else helped them and was there a mastermind, what do we know about a mastermind of these attacks?
COPPER: Yes. The mastermind is believed to have been a Belgium national who they think now is still in Syria. This is a man who has been on the radar of authorities for quite some time. He was in Belgium, actually involved in a plot in a Belgium, escaped to Syria.
He's also believed to be the man behind that attempt on a train that was thwarted by several American military personnel who happened to be on that train. So, this is somebody who is well-known to authorities both in France and in Belgium. He was actually able to get his younger brother to join him in Syria.
And so, obviously, he is now believed to be the mastermind behind this attack. Though, exactly his relation to the eighth terrorist who were involved in the attack here, that is not exactly clear, but that's certainly something that law enforcement is looking at, as well.
LEMON: Anderson, you've been reporting for -- from the ground for a number of days now. What's the mood like in Paris tonight?
COOPER: You know, there is a real sense of defiance. And there's a real sense of determination to move forward. And I want to bring in our Ben Wedeman who has been reporting here, as
well. Ben, you were at the Bataclan outside the concert venue today, which is also the scene of a makeshift memorial where other people have been gathering just as they have here at the Plaza de Republic. You were there for a moment of silence. What was that like?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was interesting because, you know, coming to this city, when you're driving around, you don't necessarily get the sense anything has happened.
[22:05:01] People have sort of cool way of approaching life. But there, what we saw was hundreds of people came and they had this moment of silence. And then one elderly gentleman started to sing the French national anthem, the Marseillaise, the French anthem. Everybody joined then, lots of people in the crowd were crying.
It was a very sort of deep sense of loss that you felt there. Just a while after that, along came some municipal workers and came to actually use high powered hoses to blast off the blood that was still on the street. And people just watched.
Some were crying as they watched this being done, but you do feel this deep sense of loss, shock.
WEDEMAN: The city is still in shock even though we're, what, three, four days after the event.
COOPER: Yes. And, Don, someone said to me, someone who witnessed and heard the attacks and went to help those who were wounded and were dying, said to me, you know, Paris is on its knees, but we will get up again and we will live again. And I think that's a sense that many people here feel.
LEMON: Absolutely. Anderson and Ben, I want you to stand by. Anderson and Ben are going to report throughout this broadcast four us of course. But I want to bring in now CNN's Nick Paton Walsh who is in Iraq tonight. Nick, to you now. There has already been a military response to this attack. So, bring us up to speed on that. What is happening tonight?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Seven new air strikes reported in the last seven hours or so against Raqqah, the capital of the self- declared ISIS caliphate. Now, we are hearing these reports from a group called Raqqah stood silently who broke the news at the night before last onslaught by the French Air Force.
Raqqah slough (ph) silently have an antigen that they're pretty reliable, and they're saying that since about six or seven hours ago, these air strikes began. Three of them major. They seem to be targeting mainly the southern side of the city. We don't know precisely what the targets have been.
But, we also don't know at this point, Don, who the jets belong to. Now it's possible it could be the French on their second night. That isn't necessarily something the French ministry is saying anything about. It could be coalition or the U.S. jets. They tend to be exploit the news out to release a press release but it is said or it could be the Russians, potentially, who have said they will at one point go and hit ISIS or it could least likely be the Syrian regime.
But this is part of a broader attempt, I think, for many to show a political message that Raqqah is now firmly in the cross as of those who oppose ISIS, is also a city that has substantially, according to those inside activist changed its way of life because of the surveillance of drones.
ISIS spies stay off the streets in daylight a lot of time. We've heard of all lane streets across some streets to impede observation by drones. Last night, so the launch for lasts 20 strikes the French admitted to and there are about 24 in total of the acts has counted.
The coalition also in evidence there, as well. Well, those strikes seem to be focusing on the outskirts around the city's center. Two key targets hit in the middle. They were known as the stadium and the museum. Don't do those jobs any more, but they are the headquarters and jails that ISIS use in key parts of the city's infrastructure.
But it does appear tonight, the second night in a row, Raqqah is really bearing the brunt of military response. Don.
LEMON: All right. And if we get that information who is conducting these strikes on this broadcast, we'll bring that to you. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you very much. I want to go back to Anderson Cooper.
So, Anderson, the feeling there in Paris tonight about this new military action in Syria, what is it?
COOPER: You know, I think there is a lot of resolve. And you hear people echoing what France's President had said this is a war. You hear people using the word "war" certainly more than you did after the Charlie Hebdo attacks. This does feel different.
People seem to, obviously, the death toll is higher and the shock is all the greater. Charlie Hebdo, there was obviously the Jewish deli that was attacked. The headquarters of Charlie Hebdo. But here, there are so many different targets and people just out enjoying the evening out on a Friday night.
And many people feel like they knew somebody or they were friends or a friends of somebody who was wounded or who was there. So, there is a real sense of personal connection to these attacks and a real sense that something has changed here, that this is a fundamental attack on France itself and that it has to be responded to.
And so, there is a lot of support exactly what form that war is going to take, I think it's unclear to people. There's a lot of issues that need to be worked out between European countries, and sharing of information between the intelligence agencies.
It's still in the very early days here. There needs to be a lot of work done on that front. But certainly, you definitely hear a lot of people, not only in -- at the makeshift memorials, but in cafes and everywhere talking about this country being at war, unsure what exactly it means, but certainly seems to be resolved to forge ahead.
[22:09:58] LEMON: All right, Anderson, stick around. We'll get back to you in this broadcast. We have a lot to get to in the next two hours. Just ahead, an eyewitness of the deadly attack on a Paris restaurant described what happened during the assault and what it was like trying to help the victims.
President Barack Obama defends his strategy as ISIS strategy. But is it enough to defeat the terror group? We're going to get some expert's answers on that.
LEMON: Our breaking news tonight, the manhunt is on for the eighth suspect in Paris attack. And French officials believed the deadly assault were planned by ISIS leaders in Syria.
Back with my colleague now, Anderson Cooper who is in Paris. So, Anderson, you have been speaking to people in Paris who saw what happened with their own eyes, including a man who tried to help the wounded in one of the restaurants that was attacked. What did he tell you?
COOPER: Yes. There's a man by the name of Romain Ranouil. He lives right across from one of the restaurants that was struck. He heard the shots, he ran down after they finished to try to help. I talked to him about it earlier today. Tell me what you saw on Friday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMAIN RANOUIL, WITNESSED AFTERMATH AT LE BELLE EQUIPPE CAFE: I live right in front of the restaurant La Belle Equippe where the shooting occurred. I was coming back from my grocery store and when I heard some sounds. I thought it was the scaffolding falling down because it was so noisy, so metalicy as a sound. And -- but it stopped and started again so I said, it's not that.
[22:15:06] So, I just rushed outside. And the guys had already gone and it was chaos already. There were, like, some cops coming in. First medics coming in. And the medics started to bring some really badly injured people. Actually, these were the people they could not do anything for.
I saw some people, like, for example, a young girl, she was lying on the floor under a blanket, a survival blanket. And I just pulled the blanket to cover her feet. Then I saw she had like a gaping hole on the side and she died a few seconds later.
She -- I'm not even sure she was conscious when I saw her because she was staring at nowhere. So, it was really hell and there was blood everywhere. And then we removed the tables inside the restaurant to make some space. And some people were pouring in and some other medics were, you know, making CPR fit, performing CPR on them. And there was blood splattered everywhere, and then they died. And
they were lining up, the corpses outside. So many people, the people who were working there are dead. I knew a girl...
COOPER: The people working there got killed, as well?
RANOUIL: All of them. They were having a birthday party, so I saw a guy who lost his two sisters. They were working in the restaurant. He lost his two sisters. I knew a waitress, a nice, Mexican girl. And she was not supposed to be here because she found a new job in another restaurant that belongs to the same owner.
And she came back for the birthday party and she was shot and she died. They all died. What I've seen goes far beyond imagination and I still cannot really focus on anything more than a couple of minutes without seeing these faces, you know?
COOPER: You still see that in your mind's eye?
RANOUIL: Yes. These people were 20 and I've seen them die, you know.
COOPER: Are you frightened?
RANOUIL: I'm not frightened. This is my home. What can I do? I've got nowhere else to go. The only thing I've decided is not to hate anybody because that's what they want. And I'll never give them hate.
COOPER: It's a hard thing to do, to not hate.
RANOUIL: I don't know. Because I have some Muslim friends and they're not like them. So, the guys that did this are not even human to me. So, they belong to another planet. I don't know where they belong. They're just like cockroaches; we have to get rid of them, that's all. Not hate.
COOPERE: Thank you very much.
RANOUIL: You're most welcome.
COOPER: I'm sorry for what you've been through.
RANOUIL: That's OK. That's OK. The world is -- that's how the world is and we'll recover. We are on our knees, actually. But...
COOPER: You feel like Paris is on its knees?
RANOUIL: Yes. Paris is crying. But then we're going to stand up and we're going to live. That's all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We will stand up and we're going to live. That's all. That's what he said. And many people echo that sentiment here, Don.
LEMON: Yes. Anderson, thank you very much. Please stand by. We'll get back to you again, Anderson.
Coming up, President Barack Obama on the defense of answering tough questions from the media about what he meant when he said ISIS was contained. That's next.
[22:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Looking at live pictures of the memorial now in Paris Plaza de Republic. This popped up of course shortly after those horrific terror attacks on Friday night.
And today, shortly before President Barack Obama spoke at the G20 summit in Turkey, ISIS celebrated their Paris attacks with this video in a new threat against the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We say to the countries that are participating in the crusader campaign, I swear to God, you will have a similar day that France went through. I swear to God, look, we struck France at its strong hold, Paris. We will strike America in its own strong hold, Washington. God willing, we will open Rome as what the honest man promised.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I want to bring my colleague, Anderson Cooper, back. And he's been reporting there for days now in Paris for an update. Anderson, President Barack Obama spoke this morning in Turkey at the G20 summit. He had to defend his strategy against ISIS. And some of past comments including saying just hours before this attack that it was contained.
COOPER: That's right, he did. He faced some tough questioning from reporters. He seemed to be on the defensive at times, particularly from a question from CNN's Jim Acosta. But that question about why he said ISIS was contained, what he meant. The White House is pushing back saying he was talking about actually on the ground in Syria and Iraq, but they're not increasing the amount of territory that they're holding.
But obviously, when you look at the increase in attacks, whether it be the downing of the Russian jet in Egypt, the attack here to which clearly seems to have some ISIS connection to Syria, and other recent attacks. A lot critics of the president say how can you say that ISIS been contained at all. Here is some of what President Obama said earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PRESIDENT: You have a handful of people who don't mind dying. They can kill a lot of people. That's one of the challenges of terrorism. It's not their sophistication or the particular weapon that they possess, but it is the ideology that they carry with them and their willingness to die.
And in those circumstances, tracking each individual, making sure that we are disrupting and preventing this attack is a constant effort of vigilance and requires extraordinary coordination.
Now, part of the reason that it is important what we do in Iraq and Syria is that the narrative that ISIL developed of creating this caliphate makes it more attractive to potential recruits.
[22:25:01] So, when I said that we are containing their spread in Iraq and Syria, in fact, they control less territory than they did last year. And the more we shrink that territory, the less they can pretend that they are somehow a functioning state and the more it becomes apparent that they are simply a network of killers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: President Obama defending his ISIS strategy, essentially saying it's working as best as it can, that he's certainly open to other ideas, but for now, they are staying the course, not adding more U.S. troops on the ground either in Syria or in Iraq, Don.
LEMON: Yes. Does that make sense, Anderson? We're going to discuss that now with Nick Kristof, columnist for the New York Times, and Niall Ferguson, history professor at Harvard University and author of "Kissinger, Volume 1923 to 1968, the Idealist."
Thank you, gentlemen, for joining us. Niall, President Obama said that he, you know, spoke of his defense and the air strikes saying that they had been effective. What do you -- what do you say to that?
NIALL FERGUSON, HARVARD UNIVERSITY, HISTORY PROFESSOR: Well, these air strikes have been going on now for over a year. He finally had his hand forced last year when Islamic state began decapitating American hostages. He'd been resisting saying anything military about Syria since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War.
And here we are, if ISIS is contained, I'd like to see what it was, what it would look like if it were unleashed because it's shown itself capable of mounting a massive terrorist attack on a Western capital. And to refer to the supporters of the Islamic state as a handful of people who kill there...
LEMON: I saw, when you said that you reacted.
FERGUSON: Well, we know that there are thousands of French citizens who have -- who have known to be involved with Islamic state. We -- that's the largest of all European countries. So, this is not a handful people. I mean, the problem for Europe is a very profound one, but right now, Europe cannot on its own, France certainly cannot, on its own, deal with this problem. It requires American leadership. And I'm afraid even the President's don't just defend us, have to admit that American leadership in the Syrian crisis is being woefully absent.
LEMON: Do you agree with that?
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: Yes. I mean, I want to defend President Obama on one incredibly small point. And then, I think when he was talking about a handful, I think he saying that a handful of extremists can do this damage.
But having this defended him on that tiny point, let me totally agree with Niall. I mean, the problem here is not just a lack of ISIS strategy. The broader problem is a lack of Syria strategy. I'm somebody who generally admires President Obama and his foreign policy.
Syria is his greatest weakness. And the problem is that they're really, since this started in 2011, there hasn't really be an -- been an effective attempt to deal with it. His own Syria Ambassador Robert Ford, resigned because he found the lack of an indefensible. And the problem is not just this catastrophe in Paris but a humanitarian catastrophe as well.
LEMON: Do you believe he could have done more in the beginning. So in part, is this part of his own doing that...
KRISTOF: I think this is part of his legacy now. Now, we don't know what would have happened if in 2011 and 2012, he had aggressively attempted to address it. But what is clear is that there has been a complete vacuum of serious American effort to deal with that. So, maybe other things would have helped with it. It's hard to say, but what he has done has not worked.
LEMON: Too quick too. Were we too quick to remove troops from that region? From the Middle East?
KRISTOF: From Iraq. You know, I think at the end of the day, the real problem there was the Iraqi government and the way it marginalized the Sunnis. And so, I think that they bear the main responsibility. They're not President Obama in Iraq.
FERGUSON: Let me give you a different answer. Yes, we were too quick. It was a great mistake to pull the troops out and leave nothing other than the tiny number in Iraq. It allowed Iraq to slip back into near Civil War, after all that had been achieved in Assad. And it create this vacuum that ultimately Islamic state has been able to feel. So, I think it is a dual failure, it's not just being the...
LEMON: But what about the argument that was well underway when President Bush was in office, and that Iraq would not, you know, promise to keep our troops safe. They did not want us there.
FERGUSON: Look, I don't think that's a compelling argument. I think there was a way of getting state of supporter's agreement that would have preserved a significant number of American troops there and it was everybody's interest to make sure that the new regime was stable in Iraq.
The president was in a great hurry to pull the troops out. And that seems to me to have been the beginning, really, of a second wave of conflicts in Iraq itself. [22:30:01] This is a crisis of two states. It's not just Syria that
has more disintegrated on his watch. It's also Iraq. And in that sense, I think the beginning -- the problems had begun right at the rise of the...
KRISTOF: I would disagree with that a little bit. I think that as long as the Iraqi government was out to completely marginalize the Sunni community there, that a modest presence of American troops, really, would not have made the difference. That's why I disagree with you on that one.
LEMON: There is the president arriving in Manila, the Philippines tonight. Of course, the president has been at the G20 Summit in Turkey and we saw him speaking all day, defending his strategy on ISIS. So there he is arriving now. The question is -- he has said that a large number of ground troops would be a mistake. Is it too late for that now? Is he right? Would be a mistake at this point?
KRISTOF: I mean, I think, politically, it's not gonna happen and indeed -- yeah, I mean, I think that would be a mistake. I think there are other things we can do that can help disintegrate the margin. We can make a much more aggressive effort in an internet. We can go after -- we can put Saudi Arabia which is essentially started this whole (inaudible) wave that made it cool to behead people. We can improve intelligence capabilities, and we can also go after Assad, as well, because Assad is essentially the great recruiter for ISIS. And that is one reason we need a broader Syria strategy, not just an ISIS strategy.
FERGUSON: Respectfully, let me disagree with that. I think Islamic state is actually a very weak entity in military times (ph). The longer we leave it, the more credibility acquires. I don't think you can destroy it from the air. And we ought to know by now the limits of air power. I think ultimately, it needs to be defeated on the ground, and the U.S. has arrived over a decade. The kind of forces that can do precisely that operation, I think the president is wrong to hold back from increasing the deployment of special forces, we already have them on the ground, but we think we gonna need more, to help defeat Islamic state. We can't simultaneously defeat Assad and Islamic state, that's the essence of a contradictory strategy...
LEMON: Is it a better chance of action now, now that the G20, the leaders are meeting there? Is there a better opportunity to turn words into action now?
FERGUSON: I think there's a chance for diplomatic deal in holding Russia and that could be a very dangerous deal.
LEMON: All right, gentlemen. I want you to stay with me. Up next, can the U.S. get our allies in the Middle East to do more in the fight against ISIS? We'll be right back.
[22:32:23] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris today, pledging U.S. support for our French allies as ISIS issues a new threat to France and its neighbors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We are saying to European countries, we are coming with car bombs and explosives. We are coming with explosive vests and silencers. You won't be able to stop us because today, we are much stronger than before. Today, we are a caliphate based on the platform of prophesy. And here, you got the first wave from a sea and more waves are coming your way, God willing. Oh, France, you should know that we never forgot. How could we forget, we were told about your crimes by grandfathers and fathers and today, we are revenging because you started the assault. This is a punishment for the action. To sleep even in your bedrooms, don't think you are safe, we swear to God you will drink from the cups of death as what God said and fight the pagan's all together as they fight you all together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Back with me now is Nicholas Kristof and Niall Ferguson. OK, so there you have, and that's a very sophisticated video. They've not only threatened to attack Europe again, but also the United States, Washington, D.C. to be more specific, saying that American blood is the best blood. What do you make of this video?
KRISTOF: I mean my take is that this particular video is by a one group in northern Iraq. I wouldn't make much of this one particular video, but I think the larger threat is very real. There are a lot of people who clearly want to do harm. And one of the things that are striking is that in Paris and some of the other attacks, nobody has used WMD. There are a lot of smart chemists out there who can, for example, make saran and, you know, that is, I guess what I really lose sleep about at night. That's the next level of attack.
LEMON: Quite frightening.
FERGUSON: We've underestimated these people all along. The great mistake is to say disparagingly, that this is just the JV operation that involves just handfuls of people. This constant denigration just feeds the propaganda success when they pull off an attack, like the one in Paris.
LEMON: What disconnect? When you say that JV and then they say, well, they wouldn't have the technology, with this occasion to blow up an airplane, they did...
LEMON: And claimed responsibility for the Russian jet.
LEMON: So wouldn't then -- what gives here? What disconnect?
FERGUSON: Well, I think this is an interesting case of psychological warfare and we're losing. I mean, they really are military powerful, let's restate that. That imminently beatable, but they are winning the propaganda war. And a lot of war today is psychological warfare. It's wage on the internet. And in this cyber war, Islamic state has been very effective, and it's interesting the extent to which a success like this and it's hideous to use language like success. I find these videos disgusting. And I think these people are disgusting. But what they're doing is extraordinarily effective. And they're mobilizing people, young people, people who have grown up in the west to their cause, precisely with this advertisement of this blood thirsty nature. I think we fail to understand the power of this appeal. It's a little bit like (inaudible) the beginning of the Russian revolution. In 1917, most people in the United States just assumed this was some lunatic fringe that attempted a coup in Russia. Everybody failed to see that they would ultimately take over the Russian empire and create the Soviet Union. I fear we're making the same mistake. The longer Islamic state can make these claims with credibility, the greater the -- it becomes a state and ultimately controls much more territory than it currently does.
KRISTOF: You know, I mean, I disagree to some extent. I agree with you that Paris is a propaganda victory for them, but I do think that there are larger issues as well. I think that if I were a 17-year-old in London or Paris, thinking about joining the Jihad, I would be concerned about the loss of Sinjar. I would be concerned about Jihadi John dying, and there was an air of invincibility a year ago to ISIS, that I think is no longer through this day.
LEMON: Do you think if someone would be less inclined?
KRISTOF: I think somebody would be less inclined...
[22:40:12] LEMON: Not inclined...
KRISTOF: I totally agree with, you know...
KRISTOF: This is real issue and that it has been this sense of aura about them that has made them so appealing.
LEMON: Yes. You keep bringing up Russia. And I wonder if, you know, Hollande has said he's going to meet with -- he's gonna travel to meet with Putin and President Barack Obama soon. Might we see some sort of -- what do we gonna see between this?
FERGUSON: Well, I suspect a grand (inaudible) of some sort is in the making. Remember, we kind of seeded leadership over the Syrian crisis to Russia back in 2013 over the chemical weapons red line. Effectively, we left the chemical weapons to the Russians. The Russians have increasingly re-established themselves as players in the Middle East. You know, back in the '70s, we kind of kicked the most of that role, but back with a vengeance. And I got to ask myself the question, what is it that Putin is going to want for a kind of joint attack on Islamic state. I suspect he will ask for Assad to remain in power in Damascus, but I wonder what else he is going to ask for. I'm very weary of trusting President Putin. He's motives are very different from ours in all of this.
FERGUSON: Not at least because he gains through conflict in the Middle East through our oil prices.
LEMON: Mr. Kristof, you have said that you think Assad is the biggest recruiter for ISIS, and you think that there needs to be a cease-fire in de facto partition of Syria. Explain that.
KRISTOF: So, as long as Assad is slaughtering Sunnis, then the Sunni population within Syria is going to be sympathetic or some people -- some components are will be sympathetic to ISIS. So part of the solution has to be to deal with Assad, to remove him, perhaps replace him with another all the way general to the regime itself, remains on power. Then you can begin to get other Sunnis in Syria to confront ISIS, but you need to stop the slaughter within Syria and I think that's only going to happen through a cease-fire and a partition.
LEMON: Niall, you are skeptical that European leaders, you said will probably handle the ISIS threat without American leadership, without American leadership. Why?
FERGUSON: Well, they clearly can't sort out Syria on their own. I mean, it's clear that in every turn in the Middle East crisis since the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring, it's been impossible for the Europeans to act within the United States. They don't have the military capability. But remember, there are two other things that they have to sort out in Europe. They have to content with a massive refugee stroke migrant crisis. Think of this, you know, 220,000 people arrived in the European Union seeking asylum in October, in a single month. This dwarfs the kind of problems that the United States faces in this regard, and they also have the problem of a fifth column. And I use that term advisedly, a fifth column of radical Islamist within their own societies, often people born with European citizenship, and that -- those are the people after all who carried out this attack in Paris. These are problems of the Europeans have to solve on their own, but they certainly canceled Syria with...
LEMON: And they're concerned about some of the attackers who may have come over via the refugee crisis -- be the refugee, but -- and that's a concern here in the United States. Should the president allow some of the refugees to come into the United States?
KRISTOF: You know, and that's a fast ending issue. You know, I mean, I keep wondering why this fellow would indeed take that passport with him to be found and ISIS has so many people -- I mean, France had 1200 people who went to Syria. They've got lots of people they could turn to. I wonder if they didn't deliberately include this -- attempt this would-be refugee partly, to create a backlash against the refugees to create a more of its column. FERGUSON: I think it would be really disastrous if this created an atmosphere in the United States and it's already happening of hostility to refugees. You know, we have our commitment as the Europeans do to help those who flee war zones, but the key point here is we must vet very carefully those people who are granted refugee, who are granted asylum status, in order to make sure that terrorists do not enter the country. That's simple. And this whole issue has been muddied in political ways, I find deeply distasteful.
LEMON: And if you put those for that backup, that's a number of states here in United States who are opposing refugees coming into their states. There are number of states who said, of course, that they will accept them, but that is at least a dozen. Thank you, gentlemen, always a pleasure.
LEMON: Coming up, ISIS is now on the attack, so what will it take to contain and defeat them?
[22:44:36] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: ISIS is an enemy that knows no borders, and we'll stop at nothing. So how do we fight them? Joining me now is Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, former U.S. military attache in Syria and Philip Mudd, CNN counterterrorism analyst and former CIA counterterrorism official. Always appreciate you guys joining us, so Colonel, to you first. President Hollande says ISIS is not out of our reach, that they may be out of our -- they may not be out of our reach, but you know, they certainly have been beyond our grasp so far. So do we know how to fight these guys?
LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, MILITARY ANALYST: Well, we know how, Don. It's just -- do we have the political will to do it? Obviously, you can go in there and send a lot of U.S. troops in there and they're capable of winning. I'm not sure that actually solves all of the problem, but we're certainly capable of militarily defeating ISIS. But that's not going to happen, so you rely on what you can do and that right now, that's the air campaign which -- as you and I have had this conversation before, this is anemic at best. We are just not putting the force required to make an impact on what ISIS is doing. Yes, we're scoring little victories here, little victories there, but the victories really come when we've got ground forces involved. We can't use American ground forces, so we have to use other people as our boots on the ground. We've done this twice effectively, Kobani and Sinjar. We were able to use the Kurds as those boots on the ground. But the Kurds are not going be the force that -- is gonna go and liberate Mosul. It's just not something...
LEMON: I don't know colonel -- I don't know, colonel, if you heard Niall Ferguson, who was just on this. This cannot be done...
FRANCONA: I did.
LEMON: Without America's involvement. And that means ground forces. [22:49:57] FRANCONA: Well, I agree with that, but I don't think it is going to happen. I think politically, it is just a nonstarter. So you try and do what look at what we can do. What we can do is use the Kurds, but the Kurds are not the answer. The Iraqi army has to liberate Iraqi territory and right now, they're not capable of doing it. And every time we think they are, they fail again.
LEMON: OK. You know, Philip Mudd, we heard President Barack Obama said that a handful of people who don't mind dying can kill a lot of people, so the question is. Can you stop them all? Can you stop them?
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: There just no way you can do that. If you look at the way a terror cell like this operates, we saw cells like this in places like Yemen and Somali. If they're practicing good operational security, that is, if they're not talking to the wrong people, if they're not on the wrong e-mail, the ability -- remember, Don, we're talking about eight people who have weapons against soft targets and the conversation over the weekend suggests that this is some massive terror operation that was incredibly sophisticated and that it couldn't happen here. Look at those characteristics. Eight people, good communication, they got weapons and shot up cafes. That is not that difficult to do. So if you want to look at a security professional and say, screen every immigrant, so that you can ensure this doesn't happen, that's one of the most unreasonable things I've heard during this entire war. You just can't do that.
LEMON: That sounds very pessimistic, though. It makes -- if I'm listening at home, I'm thinking, well, there is nothing that can be done...
LEMON: So just be prepare for the worst.
MUDD: No, I'm not a pessimist. I'm actually an optimist. I think we're doing OK, believe it or not. We just have an expectation in this country and around the world that we will win every battle, we won't. And that this will be done in months, it won't. The average time span for an insurgency/counterinsurgency like this is 10 or 20 years. There are a couple of things you got to think about. First, the Kurds and others in Iraq have been doing pretty well. ISIS is not advancing. We've got to keep giving them tremendous amounts of assistance and helping them spot targets on the ground. Number two, we have to maintain the strikes in Syria to eliminate point targets. That is the individuals who conduct acts like this. And number three and final, Don, and toughest, we have got to get over this problem we have in terms of determining what the political future is for Syria. We got a choice. Go with a bad decision. That is, join with the Russians and say, we'll come up with an ugly solution in Syria that may include Bashar al Assad or, second option, allow a civil war to continue endlessly where we have Europe flooded with refugees and ISIS has space on the ground in Syria. I'd say we join with the Russians and figure out an ugly way out because the alternative, letting ISIS go is just not untenable.
LEMON: Colonel Francona -- couple things he said there. He said to 10 to 20 years and I think you were shaking your head in agreement...
LEMON: He has what talks about joining forces with Russia and Bashar al Assad, so now...
LEMON: That this fight is international, should the strategy change?
FRANCONA: Well, it has to change. And the Russians forced us into that change. And as your previous guest said, Mr. Kristof often and (inaudible), the Russians inserted themselves into this in 2013 and they've never left. And they've really make inroads. Right now, they're in the driver's seat in Syria. And I think what we were gonna see, and Philip is right. We're going to make a deal with the Russians. We're gonna ally with the Russians. It's going to be some bargain and whose gonna be the winner of this, Bashar al Assad and the Russians, and that's the only way. I see right now that we can defeat ISIS because they, the Russians, the United States, the French, and the other coalition allies can bring enough force to bear. And you can get some local forces on the ground. Once we can get people to -- unfortunately, the Syrian army may turn out to be some of those boots on the ground. It's hard to contemplate how Syria could be more of a mess than it is.
LEMON: Let's talk about these refugees, OK, because that has become a very big political football in the last few days. Philip, there are almost 700,000 refugees already spread throughout Europe...
LEMON: Joining a population of more than 40 million Muslims already on the continent. It's a big population. Does that necessarily mean that it represents a big threat, though?
MUDD: No. I don't think the refugees, to my mind, are the kind of threat, I've heard talked about on CNN and elsewhere. The reason is quite simple. If you look at the population of people, for example, the United Kingdom and France that have gone over to fight in Syria, you don't have to be, if you're an ISIS, an operational leader looking at a refugee. You've got to train to go back. You got enough people who are may have been born in places like Paris to send them back. So I've heard the political commentary on refuges, but if you're talking about threat, we're seeing that more from may have been born communities and from -- then from refugees. If you look at the attacks in the U.K., for example and the threat in U.K. since 2001, that threat is from populations that have been there for decade, first generation, second generation. So I personally think Europe, United States have a responsibility to help in a humanitarian crisis. But my security response is, if you're worried about refugees, I'd say, hold on a second. Your first concern should be what we've witnessed now for the past decade or so.
MUDD: People homegrown in communities who are isolated, who will do this themselves.
LEMON: I have a short time here, but do you know, just -- because we have a humanitarian, you said that we should, we should be able to do it. We should be doing our -- for humanitarian purposes. But does that necessarily, Colonel Francona, mean that it's not a threat, it can be both?
[22:55:12] FRANCONA: Well, I think the threat comes from the -- not from the refugees. These are people that are fleeing the same terrorism that we're trying to stop. They're coming for a better life. Now there maybe some amongst them that could be (inaudible), but the real threat are the people that have European passports already. The ones that went to fight in Syria, no one's are coming back. That's who conducted this operation in Paris.
LEMON: All right, gentlemen, thank you.
Coming up, the ISIS threat to the U.S. and Europe, how will it impact the presidential election? And at the top of the hours, we're back to Paris for the latest on the terror investigation and a hunt for an eighth suspect.
[23:00:02] LEMON: 11:00 p.m. here in New York, 5 o'clock Tuesday morning in Paris. Our Breaking News, the manhunt is on for the eighth terror suspect still on the loose tonight. And on a new video, ISIS...