September 24th, 2014
09:24 AM ET

John Kerry: The fight against ISIS is 'going to go on'

Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday it will take time for airstrikes to degrade the terror group ISIS, echoing previous comments by President Barack Obama.

In an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Kerry said, "There's a definitely a second day and there will be a third and more. This is going to go on."

The United States and coalition members conducted a second day of airstrikes Tuesday night in Syria and Iraq since the expanded military campaign against the extreme terror group began.

The campaign will be lengthy, Kerry said, partly because the Iraqi military needs to be reconstituted, and because it will take time to arrange the kind of local support similar to the Sunni Awakening years ago.

Kerry insisted, however, that airstrikes aren't designed to defeat ISIS by themselves. "You and others should not be looking for some massive retreat in the next week or two," he told Amanpour.

While Kerry said airstrikes haven't flushed out ISIS in Iraq, they have "stopped the onslaught," and have been effective in halting ISIS' march toward Irbil and Baghdad and prevented them from taking other important territory.

The secretary of state said the battle to stop ISIS is a multifaceted effort that includes foreign fighters, cutting off financing, and a major effort to "reclaim Islam by Muslims."

ISIS is a threat to the people in the region, he said, but also to national sovereignty.

Click here for part one of the full interview, and here for part two.

FULL POST

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February 25th, 2014
10:58 AM ET

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Weighs Options on Anti-Gay Measure

To veto or not to veto: It's up to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.

She must decide if she is going to sign into law legislation that would allow business owners, as long as they assert their religious beliefs, to deny service to gay and lesbian customers.

If she approves it, the state could face litigation and a boycott, potentially harming Arizona's economy and tourism industry as well as next year's Super Bowl.

In an exclusive interview with CNN's Dana Bash on Monday, Brewer addressed the aspects she must consider.

"I have a history of deliberating and having an open dialogue on bills that are controversial, to listen to both sides of those issues, and I welcome the input and information that they can provide to me. And certainly I am pro-business, and that is what's turning our economy around, so I appreciate their input, as I appreciate the other side," she said.

Speaking on "New Day," Arizona Senator John McCain said he does not believe she should pass the bill in the state.

"We welcome all people of all persuasions," he said. "This is not the message we want to send."

SEE INTERVIEW ABOVE 

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January 21st, 2014
12:22 PM ET

His Administration Under Fire, Christie Takes Oath for Second Term

[Breaking news update 12:05 p.m.]

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was sworn in to a second term on Tuesday as his administration battles allegations of scandal. In his inaugural address in Trenton, Christie praised how his state came together to meet the challenges of economic recession and Superstorm Sandy, as well as the landslide re-election victory voters gave him last November.

[Original story moved at 10:55 a.m.]

On the first day of his second term, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie faces brewing storms - literally and figuratively.

A scandal over alleged political retribution by his administration has already cost a top aide and campaign strategist their jobs, and now Christie faces multiple investigations that could harm the presidential ambitions of the early Republican front-runner for 2016.

Even the weather was against him, with a looming snowstorm forcing cancellation of his gala celebration on Ellis Island after Tuesday's second-term inaugural address.

Follow along as the story develops here.

November 25th, 2013
11:02 AM ET

Deal on Iran's Nuclear Activity Gets Mixed Reaction Among Congress, Allies

The deal between Iran and the six negotiating nations - the United Kingdom, the United States, France, China, Russia and Germany - has been met with staunch opposition, even from members of President Obama's own party, CNN's Jim Sciutto reports.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, an important Democratic voice on Iran, said the deal disproportionately favors the Islamic republic, and he predicted bipartisan support in Congress for new sanctions.

"This disproportionality of this agreement makes it more likely that Democrats and Republicans will join together and pass additional sanctions when we return in December. I intend to discuss that possibility with my colleagues," the senator from New York said.

And on State of the Union,Rep. Eliot Engel, D-New York, said the deal makes it "very difficult" to continue sanctions that are considered effective at hobbling Iran's nuclear capabilities.

Congress could choose to try to circumvent the deal and impose new sanctions on Iran, starting another battle between the President and the Congress.

Also at stake is the United States' relationship with its allies in the Middle East.

On Sunday, Israel and Saudi Arabia slammed the deal, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling it a "historic mistake."

President Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken explains that the Iran nuclear deal is the first step in stopping the advancement of its program. Blinken stresses that pressure on Iran “is not going away” and addresses why he thinks Israel and other nations may have a problem with the deal. (SEE VIDEO BELOW)

“In terms of Israel, we understand Israel has the right to be skeptical. An Iranian bomb would present an existential threat to Israel. And we have the exactly the same goal, which is to prevent Iran from getting a bomb. There may be tactical differences in how we get there. I think Israel would’ve preferred not to do this first step. If we could’ve negotiated a comprehensive deal right away in a matter of days, we would’ve done that. But because its complicated, because it takes time, we wanted to make sure that Iran couldn’t use that time to advance its program. This stops the program in its tracks. Rolls it back, gives us time to see if we can negotiate a comprehensive deal,” Blinken says.

“… Some of our Arab friends, for example, are concerned that if we get a deal with Iran on its nuclear program, a comprehensive deal, then we’ll be satisfied and we’ll forget about all of the other things Iran does that they don’t like and that we don’t like,” he says. “And the fact is we won’t. We’ll continue to confront what Iran is doing around the world that is a problem for us and a problem for some of our partners. But that’s their concern; we’ve reassured them that’s not the case.”

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Armed Services Committee member, says that he is “very worried” about the nuclear deal with Iran because it’s “so far away from the end game.” (SEE VIDEO BELOW)

Senator Graham says that Iran could still go nuclear with this deal in place, and Congress is going to “weigh in more aggressively” by passing more sanctions in the next couple of weeks to force Iran to stop enrichment and dismantle reactors.

“[Congress] is going to come up with a new round of sanctions that really defines the end game. I think there’s bipartisan support to dismantle the plutonium reactor and to stop enriching in Iran completely,” he says.

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