November 12th, 2015
05:43 PM ET

General Allen: Failure to address root causes of ISIS could “condemn” U.S. “to fight forever”

Wolf Blitzer



CNN's Elise Labott sits down with General John Allen (Ret.), Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, to discuss the threat of ISIS in the Middle East and around the world.

MANDATORY CREDIT // Elise Labott/ Situation Room

Additional information: The Situation Room:


Text highlights:


Gen. Allen on the possibility of long term fighting against ISIS: “If we don’t get at those issues over the long term, not just be compelled to constantly be fighting the symptoms of the problems, which is al Qaeda and which is Daesh - if we don’t get to the left of those symptoms and try to solve these underlying circumstances, working collaboratively with those who are in the region, who best understand the region, then we’re going to be condemned to fight forever.”

Gen. Allen explains the importance of military coalitions in the fight against ISIS: “So we, we've looked at the strategy in the context of empowering the indigenous forces and providing support to them, to isolate Daesh within the region, and to begin to bring pressure to bear in a global sense, in the context of its periphery and its functions and so on. And a year later we find Daesh shrunken significantly.  We find that there has been about 14,000 or so Iraqis that have been trained, we have partners on the ground in Syria, we have the capacity to work much more closely with Turkey… We should not measure the contributions of the Arab nations solely on whether they're flying missions over Syria.  The Saudis for example have been very aggressive in providing support on a humanitarian level.  In fact, they've given one of the largest single humanitarian contributions to, to help the people of Iraq and Syria, early along in the crisis.”

Gen. Allen on Russia’s growing presence in Syria: [LABOTT]: “Has Russian intervention made ISIS stronger?” [ALLEN]:  “It certainly hasn’t hurt ISIS in my mind.  We had hoped that when the Russians entered the fray that they would join us in attacking Daesh, and they have largely concentrated elsewhere…:  I don’t know.  I think we should look for every opportunity possibly that we can to engage the Russians in the broader conversation about the future of Syria.  And that’s what happened just recently in Vienna.  It’s going to happen again this weekend. The conversation ultimately needs to get us into a diplomatic political track, which includes the Syrians and all of the external players, to talk about how the process of succession will occur in Syria.”

Gen. Allen reacts to the idea of a no fly zone over Syria: [LABOTT]: “Is that a strategy that should be considered?” [ALLEN]: “Well, we should consider them.  Now, whether we would ultimately adopt them or not - and it’s not just a no-fly zone, you know, place or a no-fly zone in - whether it’s on the air or on the ground, it’s also a matter of timing as well.  And I have to tell you, because we have looked at this, that the - the intricacies and the complexities and the cost, frankly, in terms of resources, additional resources, of a no-fly zone or a safe zone are not insignificant. And the question then becomes what do we want to accomplish with them?  And if the conditions are not suitable right now for what we might want to accomplish, then now is not the time to seriously consider it.”


November 12th, 2014
06:39 PM ET

New ISIS plan to include Assad's removal?

CNN's Elise Labott reports the White House is reviewing new strategies to defeat ISIS, including Bashar al-Assad's removal.

September 11th, 2014
03:29 PM ET

Secy. John Kerry to CNN's Elise Labott: U.S. not at war with ISIS

Interview Highlights
By Elise Labott, Laura Smith-Spark and Ray Sanchez, CNN
updated 4:55 PM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014

"What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counter-terrorism operation," Kerry told CNN's Elise Labott in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. "It's going to go on for some period of time. If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL, they can do so, but the fact is it's a major counter-terrorism operation that will have many different moving parts."

Kicking off meetings with leaders from key Arab countries in Saudi Arabia to enlist regional support for a global coalition to defeat ISIS, Kerry defended the administration's insistence that the 2001 authority to go after al Qaeda and its affiliates does apply to ISIS even though the two groups have publicly split from each other. He insisted that the group's origination as an al Qaeda affiliate is enough to consider them connected.

Visit for the full story.

Topics: Elise Labott
July 21st, 2014
11:39 AM ET

CNN Coverage: the downing of Malaysia Flight #17 in Ukraine and Gaza-Israel Crisis

Monday, July 21:

CNN's Chris Cuomo sits down with the rebel leader of the self-styled Donetsk People's Republic Alexander Borodai to discuss the downing of MH17.

Sunday, July 20:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to CNN's Wolf Blitzer:  “I support taking whatever action is necessary to stop this insane situation…"

On CNN's State of the Union: Secretary of State John Kerry to CNN's Candy Crowley: "There is no trust with the Russians" 

CNN correspondents on the ground covering Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash in Ukraine and Gaza-Israel crisis from the following locations:


Phil Black – @PhilBlackCNN

Ivan Watson – @IvanCNN

Chris Cuomo – @ChrisCuomo

Nick Paton Walsh – @npwcnn

Kyung Lah – @kyunglahCNN


Moscow, Russia:

Diana Magnay – @dimagnayCNN


Amsterdam, Netherlands:

Erin McLaughlin – @ErinCNN

Saima Mohsin – @SaimaMohsin


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia:

Andrew Stevens – @AndrewCNN



Wolf Blitzer – @wolfblitzer

Martin Savidge – @martinsavidge

John Vause – @vauseCNN


Israel at Gaza border:

Atika Shubert – @atikaCNN



Ben Wedeman – @benCNN

Karl Penhaul – @karlpenhaul



Barbara Starr – @barbarastarcnn


State Department:

Elise Labott – @eliselabottcnn


United Nations:

Richard Roth – @RichardRothCNN


CNN Coverage: Malaysia Airlines: Flight 17 Crash in Ukraine
July 17th, 2014
01:18 PM ET

CNN Coverage: Malaysia Airlines: Flight 17 Crash in Ukraine

A Malaysia Airlines flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has crashed in eastern Ukraine, Russian news agency Interfax reported Thursday. The Ukrainian Interior Minister adviser posted on Facebook: Flight was "shot down" by "terrorists." There were 280 passengers killed as well as 15 crew members. Story: Malaysia 777 crashes in Ukraine


CNN journalists are covering the story from the following locations: 


Phil Black – @PhilBlackCNN

Nic Robertson – @NicRobertsonCNN

Ivan Watson – @IvanCNN

Chris Cuomo – @ChrisCuomo


Amsterdam, Netherlands:

Erin McLaughlin – @ErinCNN

Saima Mohsin – @SaimaMohsin


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia:

Kyung Lah – @kyunglahCNN

Andrew Stevens – @AndrewCNN


Moscow, Russia:

Diana Magnay – @dimagnayCNN



Christiane Amanpour – @camanpour

Fareed Zakaria – @FareedZakaria

Jake Tapper – @jaketapper

Barbara Starr – @barbarastarcnn

Rene Marsh – @rene_marshCNN

Michelle Kosinski – @mkosinskicnn

Jim Sciutto – @jimscuitto

Elise Labott – @eliselabottcnn

Brian Todd – @briantoddCNN

Tom Foreman – @tomforemancnn

Jim Acosta – @JimAcostaCNN

Richard Roth – @RichardRothCNN

Dr. Sanjay Gupta – @drsanjaygupta

Laurie Segall – @LaurieSegallCNN

Alison Kosik – @AlisonKosik

Jason Carroll – @jasoncarrollcnn

Deb Feyerick – @DebFeyerickCNN



March 3rd, 2014
02:55 PM ET

CNN's Coverage: Ukraine

As tensions mount in Ukraine, CNN's journalists continue to cover the crisis from around the world.  Anderson Cooper has traveled to Ukraine, and Christiane Amanpour had the first international television interview with Yulia Tymoshenko, the former Ukrainian Prime Minister who lead the Orange Revolution, since her release from prison.

Anderson Cooper in Ukraine @andersoncooper

Christiane Amanpour @camanpour

Wolf Blitzer @wolfblitzer

Jim Sciutto @jimsciutto

Fareed Zakaria @fareedzakaria


Matthew Chance @mchancecnn

Anna Coren @amcoren

Claudia Rebaza (CNN en Español) @crebazacnn


Diana Magnay @dimagnayCNN

Ben Wedeman @bencnn

Bosphorous Straits

Ivan Watson @ivancnn


Phil Black @philblackCNN


Erin McLaughlin @erincnn

United Nations

Richard Roth @richardrothCNN

Isha Sesay @ishasesayCNN

Traveling with Sec. Kerry

Elise Labott @eliselabottCNN


Fred Pleitgen @pleitgenCNN


Atika Shubert @atikacnn

September 25th, 2012
10:03 AM ET

Robert Wexler: US/Israel cooperation 'historic'

S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace President and former Congressman Robert Wexler, CNN Anchor Soledad O’Brien and CNN Foreign Affairs Reporter Elise LaBott discuss President Obama’s foreign policy record and U.S. relationship with Israel.

Wexler says, “Prime Minister Netanyahu has called the cooperation between the United States and Israel historic. President Shimon Peres, the beloved the president of Israel, has in fact raved about the relationship between President Obama and the state of Israel. Israel's most decorated soldier, its defense minister, Ehud Barak, has done that.”

O’Brien says, “If you were to take a look at comments over the past, let's say three months, that would not be the tone, certainly, for Benjamin Netanyahu.”

LaBott adds, “Well, I think that this is the whole thing about maybe why President Obama isn't meeting with any world leaders because he does want to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu. I mean, he has heard some real tough criticism from Prime Minister Netanyahu about not setting so-called red lines from Iran. What it would take to get the U.S. involved in military action. And he wasn't inclined to give the prime minister a hearing, after hearing that. So, he said I’m not going meet with anybody. I’m not going to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu.”

Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien airs weekday mornings from 7-9a ET on CNN.

Topics: CNN • CNN Politics • Elise Labott • Soledad O'Brien • Starting Point
September 25th, 2012
09:18 AM ET

Sen. Barrasso: Pres. Obama 'has failed on foreign policy"

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and CNN’s Elise Labott discuss President Obama’s foreign policy record.

Barrasso says, “[President Obama] says Osama bin Laden is dead and al-Qaeda is on the run. Al-Qaeda’s not on the run. What we’ve seen is al-Qaeda targeted and assassinated our ambassador in Libya. That’s the case. And then he called that a bump in the road. These are four dead American bodies who are in the road. So, I think he is absolutely wrong there. When he talks about pulling out of Iraq. What we now know is that his military advisors said leave people in Iraq, 15,000. He wasn’t able to accomplish that. So right now Iran is flying supplies to Syria over Iraqi airspace. It shouldn’t be happening, but it’s being done to supply the Syrians who are massacring their people. This president has failed on foreign policy.”

He adds, “The reset button on Russia has failed, we are still being held hostage by that. We know that China is funneling money to Iran in spite of all the sanctions we have. And I think the President, additionally, with regard to Israel needs to say exactly where the red line is, where the deadline is. And what it really means so people in Israel and the United States and Iran know when the President says ‘we have your back,’ what specifically does that mean.”

LaBott says, “I think on the issue of Iran, I mean, what US officials tell me is why should we spell out exactly what Iran needs to do. Want to keep Iran kind of guessing a little bit. Certainly, it’s coming to crunch time. I think it’s not so important necessarily that the President spells out to the general pubic and to the Iranians what he needs to do. He needs to spell out privately to Prime Minister Netanyahu, ‘this is where I’m prepared.’”

“Thirteen meetings with foreign leaders last year, none this year,” Barrasso says. “But time for ‘The View.’ I think that it misses the mark in terms of where the United States ought to be in foreign policy.”

Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien airs weekday mornings from 7-9a ET on CNN.

Posted by ,
Topics: CNN • CNN Politics • Egypt • Elise Labott • Iran • Iraq • Libya • Osama bin Laden • Soledad O'Brien • Starting Point • Syria
September 21st, 2012
10:04 AM ET

CNN Worldwide Announces New Freedom Project Programming for Second Year

Collaboration with NGOs Helps Free Trafficked Persons

As CNN Worldwide marks the first year of the CNN Freedom Project, the network today announced a sweeping slate of new digital and television journalism for the project for the second half of 2012.  Launched in mid-2011, the CNN Freedom Project shines light on the efforts of individuals and organizations working to fight the injustices of forced labor, sex trafficking, unauthorized organ harvesting, and other forms of human trafficking in the United States and around the world.

“The CNN Freedom Project marked a decision by our news organization to take a stand on an issue,” said Tony Maddox, executive vice president and managing director of CNN International.  “As journalists, we have resisted taking positions, but with our global resources, how could CNN not be involved in raising awareness to these horrible injustices?  And, through our collaborations with heroic NGOs working in these areas, we have pushed for change and are seeing tangible results: more than 1,000 people found freedom following a CNN Freedom Project story.”


September 20th, 2012
06:27 PM ET

Libyan PM reveals details about recent killings to CNN's Arwa Damon

CNN senior international correspondent Arwa Damon sat down with new Libyan Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur to discuss what Libya is doing following last week's attack on the U.S. Consulate.

On bringing perpetrators to justice:
"So far we have detained about 8 people who have been part of the attack that night. We have identified some of the leaders, and right now we're pursuing."

On perpetrators potential ties with terrorist groups:
"We believe most of them are from a splinter group – far extremists of their own."

On possible U.S. military strike in Libya:
"We are against any efforts taken by any foreign country in Libya...and we are prepared to handle the situation. I think we might need help in the investigation itself, but clearly for having a strike in Libya that would really throw this country in chaos."

U.S. officials say beefed up Benghazi security no match for ferocity of assault