April 26th, 2015
01:16 PM ET

McCain: U.S-Iran alliance an “illusion”


Today on CNN’s State of the Union, John McCain (R-AZ) joined Jim Acosta for an exclusive interview to discuss the U.S. drone policy, Iran-U.S. negotiations, and 2016 elections.

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

On the U.S. drone program: “ And there is kind of an internal struggle going on within the administration and within the Congress as to which - whether it should be an armed services operation, this whole issue of drone strikes, or should it be done by the CIA? Obviously, as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, I have some bias, but it seems to me that as much as we could give responsibility and authority over to the Department of Defense, because that's really not the job of the intelligence agency.  But back to your question, I think then that raises the debate. Do we need to continue drone strikes? And if so, how? Obviously, better intelligence. But we are now facing a new form of warfare, these nonstate terrorists organizations that are spread all over hell's half-acre. And, really, the only way you can get at them that we know of now that is viable is through the drone operations.  They have taken out leadership. And we can argue - in fact, I would argue strenuously we - there are places where we could have done a lot more, but this is sort of an aspect of the frozen conflict, where we are not going to send boots on the ground to go get those people, and that is certainly understandable. “

On the U.S.-Iran alliance: “ I think diplomacy should be given a chance. And what I was saying is - was - they are the facts. The facts are that the ayatollah depicts the state of negotiations as far as inspections are concerned, as far as lifting of sanctions are concerned and other aspects of this deal that are diametrically opposed to what John Kerry and the State Department is telling us. I mean, that's just a fundamental fact. I think George Shultz and Henry Kissinger were correct in the op- ed they had in "The Wall Street Journal," where they said these negotiations begin in order to rid of Iran of ever having a nuclear capability to delaying Iran from having another nuclear - a nuclear ability. And I can assure you, Jim, that if this deal goes through the way it appears it is, you will see a nuclear-armed Middle East. And that's incredible dangerous.”

On running as Lindsey Graham’s vice president: I don't think Lindsey would be - he is really a smart guy. So, I don't think he would ever consider such a thing.”
FULL POST


Topics: Iraq • ISIS • Jim Acosta • State of the Union
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Hosts ‘Blindsided: How ISIS Shook the World’ for Monday, May 04
April 24th, 2015
10:06 AM ET

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Hosts ‘Blindsided: How ISIS Shook the World’ for Monday, May 04

Special Premieres on CNN/U.S. and CNN International at 9:00pm Eastern

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria explores the origins of the terror group known as Islamic State or ‘ISIS’ for a rare inside look into the heart of darkness, and an examination of how and when the U.S. came to know about ISIS.  The one-hour special, Blindsided: How ISIS Shook the World, will premiere Monday, May 04 at 9:00pm and 12:00am Eastern on CNN/U.S..  Blindsided will air on Monday, May 04 at 9:00pm and on Tuesday, May 05 at 7:00am and 5:00pm Eastern on CNN International.

Despite the terrible beheadings of journalists, German journalist Jurgen Todenhofer crossed the border into Mosul, Iraq, in 2014.  In rare footage, Todenhofer shows what life is like in ISIS-held territory.  ISIS governance is both frightening and mundane – including ISIS-issued license plates, parking tickets, and other trappings of everyday life.

Among the most astonishing things we learn: the ISIS objective of luring the West into a grand battle.  The terror group wants its unique vision of a caliphate – and American boots on the ground in combat.

Deputy National Security Advisor for strategic communication Ben Rhodes; a former Islamist who founded a British counter-extremism think tank and is now running for the U.K. Parliament, Maajid Nawaz; former director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. General Michael Flynn; Middle East expert and London School of Economics professor of international relations Fawaz Gerges; former FBI agent Ali Soufan; and others discuss how ISIS grew to become a transnational terror organization, how it recruits followers, what is being done to try to stop it – and what does and doesn’t seem to be working.  Zakaria’s analysis will give viewers a sense of the direct threat ISIS presents for U.S. national security and the U.S. homeland.

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April 19th, 2015
01:24 PM ET

Webb: “looking hard” at White House run

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Jim Sciutto spoke to former Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) in an exclusive interview covering his potential presidential bid and his views on the Iran deal.

FULL POST


Topics: CNN • Iran • Jim Sciutto • State of the Union
April 19th, 2015
11:52 AM ET

Cardin on Iran deal

The ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), spoke to CNN's Jim Sciutto on State of the Union regarding the Iran nuclear negotiations. FULL POST


Topics: Iran • Jim Sciutto • State of the Union
April 19th, 2015
11:42 AM ET

Corker: Lynch vote coming in "the next 48 to 72 hours"

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Jim Sciutto spoke to the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), about the Iran nuclear deal and the nomination of Loretta Lynch. FULL POST


Topics: Iran • Jim Sciutto • State of the Union
April 7th, 2015
01:53 AM ET

Sen. Feinstein on Israeli PM Netanyahu "he has put out no real alternative"

On Sunday's edition of CNN's State of the Union, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) joined CNN’s Jim Acosta about Israeli’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Iranian nuclear deals, and the drought in California.

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS
Feinstein on Netanyahu: “this can backfire on him. And I wish that he would contain himself, because he has put out no real alternative, in his speech to the Congress, no real alternative, since then, no real alternative.”
Feinstein on the California drought: Well, I think our snowpack, which is a big source of spring runoff for the state, is at 8 percent of what it should be. That is an historic low.  I think it's very serious. We have, you know, close to 38 million people in this state. It's going to mean mandatory rationing. It's going to mean the fallowing of large amounts of agricultural land. It's going to mean being able to try to work our systems more efficiently. And it's a very, very serious problem. “
Feinstein on trusting Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif: “: I believe he is sincere. I believe that President Rouhani wants this. And it looks like the supreme leader will be agreeable. Now, having said that, we have got everybody jumping to conclusions in the Congress. This agreement has to be written up into a binding kind of agreement. And that's the document that we all need to see, the final document.”
 
TRANSCRIPT

FULL POST


Topics: Iran • Israel • Jim Acosta • State of the Union
April 7th, 2015
01:49 AM ET

Ben Rhodes: "we're not going to convince Prime Minister Netanyahu"

Sunday's edition of CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS featured an interview with Ben Rhodes, the Obama Administration’s deputy national security advisor for strategic communication, spoke to Fareed Zakaria about the Iranian nuclear deal.

TEXT EXCERPTS

Rhodes on concessions in the Iranian nuclear deal: “No, look, Fareed, we've always said that Iran would be able to access peaceful nuclear energy.  The question essentially is can we design a program with the Iranians and the p5+1 that could meet our bottom lines, and that's what this program does.  Because if you look at their Arak facility - they're not producing weapons grade plutonium.  If you're looking at their Fordow facility, they are not enriching uranium.  If you look at their Natanz facility, the only place where they will be enriching uranium, they're dramatically reducing the number of centrifuges that are operating and only operating their first-generation centrifuges.  That extends the breakout timeline, also in part because they'll be shipping their stockpile out of the country.  That goes from two to three months, the breakout timeline, to at least a year for ten years.  And there are additional limitations that continue.”

Rhodes on convincing Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu: “I think that we're not going to convince Prime Minister Netanyahu.  Frankly, he's disagreed with this approach since before the joint plan of action, the first interim agreement that was reached with Iran.  But what we will say to Prime Minister Netanyahu, as we're saying to our Gulf partners too, is we're making a nuclear deal here.  It's the right thing to do.  It's the best way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon for the longest period of time.  At the same time, though, we're not at all lessening our concern about Iran's destabilizing actions in the region, its threat towards Israel and our other partners, its support for terrorism.  And we can have a dialogue with them about what else can we be doing to reassure you of our commitment to your security, to counter those types of destabilizing activities, and make clear that, again, while we may have a nuclear deal here, we're going to be very, very vigilant in confronting other Iranian actions in the region that concern us.  “

On GPS: What the Iran nuclear deal means for Israel
FULL POST


Topics: Fareed Zakaria • Fareed Zakaria GPS • Iran
April 5th, 2015
02:46 PM ET

Netanyahu: I respect President Obama

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to CNN’s Jim Acosta about the international nuclear negotiations with Iran.


Topics: Iran • Israel • Jim Acosta • State of the Union
March 22nd, 2015
10:22 AM ET

Exclusive: Afghan Pres. on Fareed Zakaria GPS


The following is a transcript from an exclusive interview between the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, and CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. President Ghani spoke with Fareed Zakaria during his visit to the United States about the ISAF withdrawal from Afghanistan and the issues within Afghanistan’s borders.

HIGHLIGHTS:

Ghani on Afghanistan’s transitions: “What we need to realize is that 2014 was a year that we faced three transitions simultaneously – a political transition where authority for the first time was transferred from one elected president to another; a security transition where the combat role of the international community, particularly that of the United States, ended; and third, an economic transition. Our enemies were banking on collapse of authority. Because of that, they challenged us. But what I am gratified to share is that during the last six months, the Afghan national security forces have really shown their mettle. Now we are not in a defensive position. We have taken offensive.”

 Ghani on the ISAF withdrawal: “Well the first point is that I'd like to pay tribute to the Americans – I believe 2,215 who paid the ultimate sacrifice; over 20,000 Americans that have been wounded; hundreds of thousands of Americans, men and women, who've seen combat in Afghanistan. They’ve gotten to know our valleys, our desserts, our mountains. They have stood shoulder to shoulder with us. The result is that America has been secure, thank God. There's been no terrorist attack on mainland United States. We have been the front line. Meanwhile, what needs to be underlined is while tragedy brought us together, there are common interests that now can be articulated very clearly. The threats that we are facing on a daily basis, were they, God forbid, to overwhelm us, will threaten the world at large.”

FULL TRANSCRIPT: FULL POST

March 1st, 2015
02:21 PM ET

Israeli Opposition Leader: "Netanyahu's speech in Congress is a mistake"


CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS features an interview with Isaac Herzog, member of Israel’s Knesset and chairman of the Labour Party.  He spoke about Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress, nuclear negotiations with Iran, whether a two-state solution with the Palestinians is still  viable, and the U.S. – Israel relationship.

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

On whether a two-state solution with the Palestinians is still viable

ZAKARIA: The Israeli NGO Peace Now has released a report that says that there has been a 40 percent rise in settlement activity, construction, in the West Bank, since last year. A lot of people believe, at this point, a two-state solution is really going to be very, very difficult.  Do you believe, if you were prime minister, that there is an actual path to a two-state solution, and what is it? FULL POST


Topics: Fareed Zakaria • Fareed Zakaria GPS • Iran • ISIS • Israel
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