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The following transcript is of an exclusive interview with Britain’s Ambassador to the U.S., Sir Peter Westmacott. Sir Westmacott discusses Britain’s intentions regarding joining the European Union, military interventions in Iraq and Syria, and responds on behalf of his government to Fareed Zakaria’s op-ed that Britain “has resigned” as a world power.
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Zakaria to Westmacott on the British Parliament’s vote not to support the US military intervention in Syria
ZAKARIA: …If you look at the vote on Syria, the United States threatened force… the use of force against Syria, drew this famous red line, and one of the reasons, perhaps the principal reason Barack Obama changed his mind, in an extremely embarrassing way, was that the British parliament refused to support any U.S. military action… Isn't that a sign that Britain is unwilling to act like a global power?
WESTMACOTT: If you look at what we're doing now, I think the evidence says the opposite. Yes, that vote took place during the holiday season, in August, at short notice. But if you look at what we are doing now in the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL, it is really very significant what we're doing in Iraq. We’re also active in Syria. We're not taking part at the moment in air strikes in Syria. That is, indeed, the case. But we are very engaged in the campaign to get rid of Bashar al-Assad...”
Westmacott on whether Britain will become part of the EU
The Prime Minister's intention…is to ensure that we can get improvements in the way the European Union works. There are a number of changes that we need to negotiate. But the strategy of the Prime Minister is to go to his colleagues, is to seek those improvements, and to then go back to the British people in a referendum with a strong enough package of improvements that the British people will conclude that their future lies in the European Union.
Westmacott on Europe and the U.S. still having a “special relationship”
WESTMACOTT: …when David Cameron was here a couple of months ago, I remember the President of the United States - I was there in the White House - describing him as a great friend and one of my closest and most trusted partners in the world. And that sounds to me like a pretty special relationship. When I was with the British defense secretary and Ash Carter a few weeks after that, I heard Ash Carter say that the special relationship with the United Kingdom was the cornerstone of the national security of both our countries…. I think if you look at the detail of what we are doing, the military cooperation, the interoperability, the way in which our intelligence services work closely together to counter terrorism and organized criminals and so on, I would not agree with your premise that there is a special relationship which has died or doesn't exist anymore.
Today, Fareed Zakaria held an exclusive interview with Charles Murray, Political Scientist and author of By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission. They spoke about what the American people should rebel against according to Murray which included, certain regulations that are “stupid” and “pointless”, as well as his proposal for a legal defense fund. See full story below.
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Today on Fareed Zakaria GPS, Zakaria held an exclusive interview with David Miliband, CEO of the International Rescue Committee, Gideon Rose, Foreign Affairs editor, Danielle Pletka, American Enterprise Institute Senior VP, and Ian Bremmer, Eurasia Group president. They spoke about ISIS and whether America should try and “fix” the world’s problems. See the full transcript below.
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CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS features an interview with Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA (2006-09), about the growing ISIS terror threat both at home and abroad.
On an attack on U.S. soil: “"It's the law of numbers, Fareed. And you're absolutely right...we're better at integrating than almost all of our European allies. That means the pool from which people like this can be drawn is going to be proportionally smaller here in the United States than it is in most of our European allies. But the pool isn't dried up. The pool isn't zero. We are, unfortunately, going to see this.”
On counterterrorism: “Fareed, I think the tide’s coming in and we're going to see more of what we saw in Texas last week. Now the good news is it's very, very unlikely that we're going to see the kinds of attack that al Qaeda really wanted to conduct, that carefully planned, slow-moving, complex, mass-casualty attack against an iconic target. That's actually a counterterrorism success, and we ought to actually quietly celebrate that. But these low level attacks, that's what's left of them and that's where they're going to go. Fareed, in a very unusual way, you might want to characterize al Qaeda as an elitist, terrorist organization and ISIS as a populist one. And we're seeing the violence from ISIS not coming from the top down, but from the bottom up.”
CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS features an interview with King Abdullah of Jordan. King Abdullah spoke with Fareed Zakaria in his first interview since ISIS released the video documenting the murder of the Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot, Lieutenant Moath al-Kasasbeh.
King Abdullah on ISIS ideology: “Ideologically, they represent one percent of Sunni Islam, and we should not be - we should not be victimized because of this one percent. They will - false prophets always fail. True Islam will always succeed. But we cannot be victimized as the enemy by the rest of the international community. So what we ask is other religions and societies across the world, stand with us. Stand with the good Muslims that are out there fighting this fight. Be part of our partners against this issue. And we will be victorious.”
King Abdullah on military force against ISIS: ” the underlying issues is how the Kurds are properly supported. Because that is going to be very, very critical. How do we all reach out to the Sunnis to feel that there is a future for them, and that they are not alone? And if we do not solve the puzzle of a future, political future for the Sunnis in Iraq, then they're sitting there saying, Baghdad and ISIS - what's the difference?”
King Abdullah on whether the ISIS fighting troops are good on the battlefield: “...tactically what they do...they're basically the cannon fodder....they're considered sort of the light shock troops. They are the suicide bombers, whether by vehicles or by cars. And they are the expendables....And then the heavy infantry, which is the hard core ISIS, are the ones that then exploit their positions. So they have an abundance of these throwaway jihadists, and that's the sad part about it. And then any foreign fighter that comes into Syria that suddenly realizes that this is not what they signed up for get executed.”
FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED
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 11 at 9:00pm and 12:00am Eastern on CNN/U.S.. Blindsided will air on Monday, May 11 at 9:00pm and on Tuesday, May 12 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.
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.
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. “
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
The following are video highlights from this Sunday’s edition of FAREED ZAKARIA GPS. The show included panel discussions on the Iran nuclear deal and the assassination of Boris Nemstov (transcript included below), and an interview with Hans Rosling about how the world is in making more progress than we think.
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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