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Interview With Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger; Interview With Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh; Ukraine on the Brink; Jordan Retaliates

Aired February 5, 2015 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: New information about the survivors of a harrowing plane crash. Did their seat assignments help keep them alive?

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Breaking now, the Jordanian military says today's airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria are -- quote -- "just the beginning." The United States is helping its critical ally in the Middle East retaliate against the terrorists for the brutal murder of a captured jet fighter pilot.

We're standing by to get new information on Jordan's role in the war against ISIS. The Jordanian foreign minister, Nasser Judeh, there you see him. He is joining us live this hour for an exclusive interview. We have our newsmakers, our correspondents and analysts in the United States and around the world. They are here to cover all the news that's breaking right now.

First, let's go to the Pentagon.

Our correspondent, Barbara Starr, has the very latest -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight, Jordan going after ISIS, weapon sites, depots, personnel. But the real question of course is, will it be enough?


STARR (voice-over): Jordanian F-16s took to the skies over Syria striking nearly 20 ISIS targets in Al-Hasakah, an ISIS stronghold deep in eastern Syria. It came as King Abdullah paid a condolence call, Muath al-Kaseasbeh's family, Jordan bombs carrying scribbled messages, "Islam has nothing to do with your actions," and verses from the Koran, "Drop upon them stones of fire and they will turn their back and run."

King Abdullah with his own message, posting this on social media, a wartime commander delivering Jordan's vow of retribution.

MOHAMMED AL-MOMANI, JORDAN GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: We are in coordination with our American friends, as well as other allies in the coalition, in order to make sure that we go after the targets of Da'esh and that we hit them and hit them hard.

STARR: The Jordanians and the U.S. had been secretly working for days to develop a list of ISIS targets, even as ISIS tried to hide from the bombs.

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: They are dispersing. They are not as bold as they once were. They are not traveling in large, what might be even described as conventional masses.

STARR: U.S. warplanes, including F-22s and F-16s, flew alongside providing targeting assistant, intelligence and reconnaissance, jamming ISIS communications. It may be just the beginning of Jordan's response.

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), U.S. AIR FORCE: What needs to happen is an integrated effort where U.S. advisers are with them every step of the way, helping them plan missions, helping them direct forces in theater, helping them do things that they are not used to doing on their own.

STARR: The U.N. commissioner for human rights and King Abdullah's cousin saying bombing is not enough to defeat ISIS.

ZEID RA'AD AL HUSSEIN, UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: What is needed the addition of a different sort of battle line, one which principally by Muslim leaders and Muslim countries and based on ideas, on the reassertion of traditional Islam and the everyday narrative of Muslims.


STARR: And now tonight there is every reason to believe exactly what you said, Wolf. Jordan, King Abdullah, they are not done. There will be more airstrikes in the coming hours and days -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thank you.

Joining us now for an exclusive interview, the foreign minister of Jordan, Nasser Judeh.

He's joining us live from Amman.

Foreign Minister, thanks very much for joining us.

And first, our deepest, deepest condolences to the family there, for the -- of the horrific death of that jet fighter pilot. Please pass along our condolences to the family on behalf of all of us here at CNN.

Let's get to the news right now.

What are the targets, what targets did Jordanian fighter aircraft hit today against ISIS targets in Syria?

NASSER JUDEH, JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, thank you very much for your condolences, Wolf.

It's good to be on your program.

Again, today, as Barbara said in her report, we had a multitude of -- of targets, ranging from weapons and ammunition depots to training camps.

You mentioned in your report, and so did Barbara, that this is the beginning of Jordan's response.

It's actually the beginning of our retaliation over this horrific and brutal murder of our brave young pilot, but it's not the beginning of our fight against terrorism and extremism. We've been in this current effort for a good few weeks, now actually at the forefront of it, and we've been fighting terrorism and extremism for a number of years.

So, yes, we are upping the ante. We are going after them wherever they are, with everything that we have. But it's not the beginning and it's certainly not the end.

BLITZER: And there is a lot more to come.

So what's next, Minister?

JUDEH: Well, as you know, it's difficult to divulge military plans and strategies on the air, but we are, like I said, going after them in every possible way, wherever they are.

We will have to teach them a lesson. We have been teaching them a lesson. I think if there was any doubt by anyone about the -- that these terrorists are brutal murderers, barbarians, then that doubt has gone. If there was any doubt that this is a -- an organization that has anything to do with any religion on the face of this planet, that doubt has gone.

If there was any doubt as to who the enemy is, we all now know very, very clearly in the ugliest possible way who this enemy is. And we are going to go after them and we will eradicate them.

BLITZER: Is it fair to say, Minister, that that so-called Jihadi John, that guy with the knife who is the spokesman on those videos threatening to behead terror -- hostages, is it fair to say that he's on your target list?

JUDEH: Everyone is on our target list. And we don't specify. But as you know, they conceal themselves very well. They're crowds at the end of the day. But again, I think it's very, very important to see that the country today is united in its response to the brutal killing of our pilot, but united also in this effort which is our war, at the end of the day.

We have extremely fortunate to have friends and allies as part of a coalition. But we are at the forefront. This is our fight. And we work collectively with our friends and allies.

And this is how the outcome will be -- will be guaranteed.

BLITZER: Foreign Minister, I know your strikes today -- and so far, the Jordanian Air Force strikes have been against ISIS targets in Syria.

Are you ready to expand those targets against ISIS targets also in Iraq?

JUDEH: Wolf, we've been saying from day one, if you remember His Majesty, the king, and all of us have been saying that ISIS has completely obliterated the geographic border between Iraq and Syria. They are moving back and forth as if there is no political border.

And when you want to effectively go after extremists and terrorists, you have to also assume that there is no border.

So we've been attacking targets in -- in both countries, as far as we are concerned.

The coalition actually knows that ISIS is in Iraq and is in Syria. And you have to go after them in both countries...

BLITZER: What about...

JUDEH: And wherever they are. Don't forget, Wolf...


JUDEH: -- if I may just remind, that when we say this is a global war or a Third World War by other means, there are almost 80 nationalities, foreign fighters fighting alongside this renegade group. And we've seen incidents in Australia and Ottawa and the horrific incidents in Paris.

So, you know, this is global war. And it requires a global effort by the international community, effectively and collectively.

BLITZER: As you know, a lot of military analysts are saying you can, through air power, you can certainly degrade ISIS' capabilities, but you can't defeat them, you can't destroy them. That will require combat ground troops.

Is Jordan ready to commit combat ground troops to defeat ISIS?

JUDEH: It will require everything, Wolf. This is a fight along multiple tracks. You have the military track, which is as a result of the clear and present danger. You have the security of the region and the country, the countries in the region.

But you also have a very long-term fight, which is the ideological fight.

Now, in terms of military strategies, people can give you both sides of the argument. We know that the sustained air campaign in the last few weeks has seriously degraded the ISIS. As your report said, as Barbara said, they're on the run and they're hiding. And we know that they are moving from location to location.

But we're on top of them.

BLITZER: Who's supporting ISIS right now?

They're -- they're still getting money, they're still getting support from some outside sources, right?

JUDEH: Right. I don't know if it's outside sources or not, but let's look at the facts as they are on the ground.

They're in control of a vast territory. They have serious access to -- to funds, to serious funds. And they also have access to sophisticated weaponry.

So, you know, let's not fool ourselves. They're there. But listen, the collective will of the international community will certainly overpower them and we shall prevail.

BLITZER: And I assume the people of Jordan are united right now behind King Abdullah, right?

JUDEH: They are united behind their king, behind their leader. They're united in their resolve to defeat these terrorists, because these terrorists are a threat to all of us. And they're -- any doubt that were there by a few people has gone now. They saw that these people do not belong to a religion, to a faith or to either -- to humanity, even. And on top of that, they claim to be Muslims.

Well, at the end of the day, it's our fight. We can't find ourselves on the defensive every time you have a new terrorist or extremist organization and defend Islam and say it's a moderate religion versus, you know, extremist Muslims. At the end of the day, Islam, by definition, is a tolerant religion, a religion of peace and harmony and co-existence. And these people don't represent Islam in any way. They actually don't represent any religion on the face of this planet.

BLITZER: Foreign Minister, I just want to clarify, because out there in social media on the Internet, there are these suggestions that King Abdullah himself, he's a trained military man. He's a pilot, a helicopter pilot, that he may go up in one of those jet fighters and -- and sit in the cockpit.

Is that true?

JUDEH: His Majesty, the King, has a military background, but he's the supreme commander of the armed forces or commander-in-chief, as you would say in the United States. He commands the troops. He sets the policy.

But I think what -- what you saw there today is social media creativity.

BLITZER: That's creativity. So that's not true.

All right, what about the United Arab Emirates?

They suspended their air strikes after your Jordanian pilot had to bail out and was captured by ISIS. They didn't think the U.S.-led search and rescue operations were good enough.

Do you believe the U.S.-led search and rescue operations are good enough?

I assume you're worried, and we hope it doesn't happen, another Jordanian pilot could be lost.

JUDEH: Your report indicated that we are working very, very closely, our two militaries are working very, very closely with each other. The UAE is a crucial partner and a key partner in this -- in this effort. So are many other Arab and -- and Muslim countries and European countries, and especially -- especially all our friends in the coalition.

As you know, the coalition has over 60 members. In London, on the 22nd of January, the small group, the 21 countries who are effectively engaged in sorties and combat operations, met and logistical support, met. And I think our -- our resolve is -- is unwavering.

There was a procedural discussion as far as we know that was taking place between the UAE and the US. And I believe that the discussion is ongoing. But the UAE is a crucial partner in this.

BLITZER: We know -- I think we know, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, that following when his plane went down, his F-16, the Jordanian pilot, Muath al-Kaseasbeh, there was a rescue operation, right?

But, obviously, it didn't succeed.

Can you share information about what was attempted?

JUDEH: Of course I can't, Wolf. And everything that could have been done was attempted and was done, whether immediately after his plane went down or in the six weeks of emotional turmoil that we all lived until the tape came out with the horrific end.

But as you know, coalition forces talk to each other and they set procedures in place and in motion. And I think we're all on the same sheet.

BLITZER: That gruesome video came out just the other day. And within a few hours, Jordan said that you knew he had been killed back on January 3rd.

When did you actually learn that he had been killed on January 3rd?

JUDEH: Wolf, these are terrorists. They're extremists. When they captured our pilot, we knew that the chances of getting him back safe and sound were very, very slim, given their history and their brutality and the hostages that they have killed in the -- in the past.

But there was a glimmer of hope, because we were getting some reports that he could well be alive.

No one will -- will tell you that we knew for a fact that he was killed. We had suspected it all along, but like I said, there were messages coming back and forth, bits and pieces of information that indicated that he may still be alive.

And when they started sending messages that they -- especially when the Japanese hostages came into the picture, that they will not kill him if -- if the woman who we held here as a prisoner under -- on death row was released, we knew that, you know, it might not be true, but perhaps there was a glimmer of hope.

We -- when we saw that -- that video, I think that's when we all learned for sure that this was the end.

BLITZER: So when you were asking, through intermediaries, for proof of life, that the pilot was alive, you assumed he wasn't, but you had what you say, that glimmer of hope, is that right?

JUDEH: That is absolutely correct. When we asked for proof of life and we got none, our suspicions were almost confirmed, but we had no facts within our reach, so.

BLITZER: I know from my conversations with officials herein Washington, when King Abdullah was here the other day, you were here in Washington. You had to cut short the visit, unfortunately, because of that video. The King was asking for an acceleration in U.S. military assistance to Jordan.

What do you need from the United States right now?

Are you frustrated that the U.S. isn't providing the arms, the weapons, the financial aid that Jordan needs in this war?

JUDEH: No frustration whatsoever. We have an exemplary relationship. We are allies. We are friends. We are strategic partners. While His Majesty was in Washington, and I was with him, we signed a renewal of the MOU, which sets the ceiling of financial assistance to Jordan by the US. And it went up from $600 million a year to $1 billion a year split between military and economic assistance.

So the U.S. has been stalwart in its support for Jordan. Yes, with this new effort, with the escalation and with the need to continue this fight that we feel we are at the forefront of, there are certain more requirements that are -- that are needed. And these are being processed and across the board, we were extremely fortunate to have discussions with the administration, the president, the vice president, the secretary of State, and with Congress, the Armed Services Committees in both the House and the Senate, the Appropriations, Foreign Relations. We are very blessed to have this fantastic relationship between -- between our two countries across the board. So everything that we need, everything that you need, because at

the end of the day, we're together in this, is being processed and looked at and hopefully accomplished.

BLITZER: So there's -- so basically you're getting what you need.

Is there anything, any specific request that has not yet been accepted by the Obama administration and Congress?

JUDEH: No there -- there's nothing that has not been accepted, Wolf. This is what I'm trying to say. There is an at -- there is an intensive effort these days, which requires more. And these requests are being processed. They are technical military details. Of course I can't get into them.

But they're being processed. We have fantastic open channels of communication, military to military, administration to administration. And I think everybody is talking to everybody and we want to see this through in a very effective way.

BLITZER: I know that there are, what, how many millions of refugees, Iraqi refugees you've had to take in from the war in Iraq, Syrian refugees you're taking in.

How many refugees from Iraq and Syria has Jordan been forced to accept over the past seven years?

JUDEH: Well, not forced to accept, but I -- circumstances have forced us all to -- to accept. We've got, still, from the remnants of the Iraq War, about 300,000 Iraqis in Jordan. Since then eruption in Syria, almost four years ago, today, we have 1.5 million Syrians in -- in Jordan, half of whom, about 650,000, are registered refugees. The others are economic migrants who came here and cannot go back.

You are talking about 21, 22 percent of the population between the Iraqis and the -- and the Syrians. This is an awesome and extremely cumbersome burden on our already drained and strained infrastructure.

But the world is helping. It's way short of what's needed. Your country has been fantastic. But a lot more is needed and Jordan is going to continue shoulder this responsibility on behalf of the international community.

BLITZER: Well, Jordan certainly has been on the United States' closest, best friends in that part of the world.

Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, thanks so much for joining us.

Once again, our deepest condolences to you.

We will stay in close touch.

JUDEH: Thank you so much. BLITZER: Still ahead": a grave escalation in the battle for

Ukraine, a new warning from the United States. As Secretary of State John Kerry travels to the war zone, he turns up the heat on Russia. I will speak about that and more with a key member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Adam Kinzinger. He is walking into THE SITUATION ROOM right now.

Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: Great to be here. Thank you.

BLITZER: We're going to have a good discussion.


BLITZER: The United States is warning of a grave escalation, yes, a grave escalation in one of the deadliest European wars in years.

And, today, the secretary of state, John Kerry, he was in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, increasing pressure on Russia for a new cease-fire, even as the U.S. weighs sending lethal aid to Ukrainian troops fighting Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of country.

Our chief security national correspondent, Jim Sciutto, is in Kiev for us. He's on the ground there.

What's the very latest on this escalating, really dangerous situation, Jim?


Francois Hollande of France, Angela Merkel of Germany, they just met a short time ago with the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko. Now they have the difficult task of flying to Moscow tomorrow to try to rescue a peace agreement, a negotiated settlement out of the war on the ground here, a plan presented by the Russian president, described to me earlier by a Western official not as a peace plan, as a cynical document.

And of course they will be dealing with a president in Russia who has made and violated peace agreements before, all this while Russian forces and Russian-backed forces escalating the violence on the ground.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): Secretary Kerry arrived in Ukraine in the midst of what State Department officials called a grave escalation on the ground, and Ukrainians describe as barbaric attacks on civilians. The culprit, they made clear, Russia, and a massive influx of Russian heavy weapons and Russian soldiers.

Moscow's most recent denials to CNN sparked a bitter response. (on camera): The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, took

particular issue with your saying that there are Russian forces inside Ukraine escalating the situation. He said: There are no Russian tanks or army in Ukraine. These accusations are not true."

I wonder if you could react to that.

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Mr. Prime Minister, is it true that, as the Kremlin just said today, there are no Russians on the ground in...

ARSENIY YATSENYUK, UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER: It seems to me that the only country who strongly denies clear military Russian boots on the ground is Russian Federation and personally President Putin. If they need, I can give them my glasses.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): Following Secretary Kerry in a remarkable show of diplomatic muscle, President Hollande of France and Chancellor Merkel of Germany, who met with Ukrainian leaders before they would continue on to Moscow to see President Putin.

The immediate focus, a senior State Department official tells CNN, a new, even short-term cease-fire to stem the growing bloodshed. So far, no new round of economic sanctions and no military aid for Ukrainian forces, now overpowered by Russian forces, who have captured hundreds of square miles of new territory since the failure of the Minsk peace agreement negotiated last September.

YATSENYUK: To get peace, you have to defend your country. And you have to deter Russia, not allowing Russian troops to move further and further.

SCIUTTO: The westward move raising concerns in Washington, where lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are pushing the Obama administration to answer Ukraine's call for military help.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: This aggression continues unimpeded, Moscow may feel emboldened to challenge the integrity of the NATO alliance.


SCIUTTO: U.S. officials say that they are considering a new round of punitive sanctions, a number of options against the Russian economy. And they are also considering reconsidering the possibility of military aid to Ukraine, but, Wolf, no immediate decisions on either of those fronts, the focus now on simply stopping or even slowing the fighting.

BLITZER: Jim Sciutto in Kiev for us, Jim, thanks very much.

Let's dig a little bit deeper now.

Joining us, Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. He's a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.

KINZINGER: Yes. Thank you.


BLITZER: I know this is a huge issue for you, for Ukraine.

Do you want the Obama administration to immediately start providing weapons to Ukraine?

KINZINGER: Yes, I think we have to. I think it's time.

We have talked about this for a year. The president came to Congress and said, look, you can't defend freedom with blankets and MREs.

BLITZER: The president of Ukraine.

KINZINGER: Of Ukraine -- came and said, you can't defend freedom with blankets and MREs. It's time to give us weapons.

When you think about it, this is a military that really hasn't had any influx of new military equipment since the breakup of the Soviet Union. It's a country that gave up its nuclear weapons under this promise of freedom and integrity.

And now I think the United States is in a position to say, look, you need to have the tools and the ability to defend yourself. We're not giving -- we're not talking about giving Ukraine weapons necessary to invade into Russia, just to defend their territorial integrity.

BLITZER: Like anti-tank weapons, stuff like -- you are an Iraq War veteran.

Here is the question. Is the Ukrainian military up to the job of standing up? If you believe Russian troops have actually moved in, in big numbers into Ukraine, can the Ukrainian military, even with U.S. weapons, do the job?

KINZINGER: Well, I think that's a good question.

And I think, on top of the weapons, it's going to take some side- by-side probably training on these weapons to ensure that they there are various battalions that are able to take back a lot of urban fighting, by the way, which is very dangerous kind of fighting. So I think there needs to be -- beyond just giving weapons and saying, all right, see you, we're going to go home, there needs to be some American trainers on the ground.


BLITZER: So, you would support U.S. military advisers, shall we say, to Ukraine, to -- helping the Ukrainian military?

KINZINGER: Yes. BLITZER: Are you ready also to increase U.S.-led economic

financial and political diplomatic sanctions against Russia right now? Because so far the sanctions don't seem to have had much of an impact on Putin.

KINZINGER: Yes, I absolutely would.

The question is, have they had an impact? I guess you can never tell what hasn't happened yet. But obviously Russia is paying a price with low oil prices right now. I think one of the best things we can do is really talk about the long-term natural gas that we have in this country, helping Europe development their own energy resources, exporting some of what we have as well.

And it counters the Russian weapon of energy, which is very powerful. That's why you see Europe in some cases unwilling to take some strong, strong stands against Russia, because they are concerned about the economic side of things.

BLITZER: Are we on the verge of another Cold War?

KINZINGER: I'm afraid we are.

And I think this is something that we probably don't recognize yet. I think the Russians think we are. You look at what happened in Georgia. I have been to Georgia. I have been to Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and seen Russian troops in essence occupying those territories. This is just another movement about that.

If Russia finds themselves getting away with the an annexation of Crimea or the battle in Eastern Ukraine, what's next? And the biggest fear, as Senator McCain said, is Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. And will the NATO alliance stand up?

BLITZER: Those are NATO allies, those countries.

And if a NATO ally is attacked, all NATO allies must come to their defense.

KINZINGER: And that's what you hope. And that what actually works as the biggest deterrent.

The question is, if Putin feels unchecked in Ukraine, he feels unchecked in Georgia and other places, will he -- I mean, we don't know who he is. This guy may be crazy enough to challenge the NATO alliance. But maybe he thinks he can get away with it.

BLITZER: If he were to do that, the U.S. and the other NATO allies, I assume, would respond. Then we go beyond Cold War, we go into the hot war.

KINZINGER: That's right.

BLITZER: Representative Kinzinger, thanks very much for coming in.

KINZINGER: Thanks for having me.

BLITZER: Coming up, investigators now one step closer to figuring out what caused that deadly plane crash. We have new details, new information coming into THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Breaking now, Jordan making good on its vow to avenge the death of its fighter pilot burned alive in a cage by ISIS. Jordanian forces have now carried out more airstrikes inside Syria.

This hour, Jordan's foreign minister, Nasser Judeh, just told me, this is only just the beginning of his country's retaliation. His country's resolve, he says, is unwavering. And Jordan will, in his words, hit ISIS every possible way.

Let's dig deeper with our CNN counterterrorism analyst, Philip Mudd; our national security analyst, Peter Bergen; our global affairs analyst, retired Lieutenant Colonel James Reese; and our CNN intelligence and security analyst Bob Baer. Philip, we did hear Nasser Judeh, the foreign minister of Jordan, say, "You know what? That border between Iraq and Syria has been so muddied up by ISIS, Jordan is going to go after ISIS targets, whether in Syria or Iraq." That's news.

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I think that is news, and I think it shows resolve that we were uncertain about over the past 48 hours. Look, you have the emotional response in Syria. Clear reason why Syria is the headquarters for ISIS leadership, serious location of the murder of the pilot.

You go across the border. You get into a different kettle of fish. That is you're going into a location where the Americans intervened. You're going into a location that was clearly not the locale for the assassination, that murdered that pilot, and you're going into a sensitive area that is governed by a Shia government. Remember, Jordan is a Sunni state. So I think this is a show that the Jordanians are in the game maybe more than we expected.

BLITZER: Peter, the ISIS propaganda, they like this notion that they're fighting the United States. But when a Sunni Arab country like Jordan gets in there and fights them, that's a different set of propaganda challenge for them, isn't it?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, yes and no. They regard these Arab regimes as puppets of the United States. So in their telling, they will see the Saudi king as basically a puppet of the United States. The Jordanian king is. So for them, it's not necessarily a new propaganda problem. That's how they see the world.

BLITZER: Colonel Reese, is there a possibility that there can be a strong coalition of Arabs -- Arabs that will go in there and destroy ISIS?

LT. COL. JAMES REESE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Wolf, I believe there can be, and I believe King Abdullah and the Jordanians can be the ones that can lead the other Arab nations and start to take the lead. Like I said the last couple nights, allow the United States to step back in this true military consulting role instead of being the leaders or the American war against ISIS.

BLITZER: So this is -- Colonel Reese, you think this is a turning point right now. Is that right?

REESE: I do. I think what it does is it puts the Arab states on notice. King Abdullah said this is tragic, this is just unbelievable, this is not our religion. It gives him a chance to challenge the Saudi Arabias, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. And literally, it's kind of like, hey, guys, put your money where your mouth is.

BLITZER: Bob Baer, the latest video we've seen from ISIS features a masked man lighting a flame but not that so-called Jihadi John who usually speaks to the camera, threatening President Obama. Is this -- is this significant at all?

BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: No. You know, this is the best they can do in terms of propaganda. But really, the decision was to burn that pilot.

And as Colonel Reese said, this has infuriated the Arabs. At all levels, devout Muslims, the rest of it, they went way beyond the pale on this. And I think that's why we're seeing that King Abdullah received so much support in Jordan. Unquestioned.

Remember, Jordan was a country that stayed out of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Now things are different. Now they're going to go after these people. And I think you will see a lot of gulf Arab support, as well, whether it's money or actual troops. This is exactly what we want to happen, is Sunni Arabs to go after this movement and destroy it rather than the United States.

BLITZER: Philip Mudd, the Jordanians, they're vowing that they're going to go ahead and do their best to crush ISIS, and they're going to launch airstrikes galore.

MUDD: I think they're saying that. Look, if you step back and look at the targets that we've got, we've been going after this target since the summer. ISIS has been imbedding for three or four years.

To think that you can overnight turn a switch on with airstrikes and defeat al Qaeda and turn it back, I think, is not proper. We've got to look at the Jordanian commitment to go into Iraq and say this commitment better be around for months or years, because we're going to be at this for a long time.

BLITZER: I think you're right.

All right, guys. Stand by. We've got a lot more that we're watching here in THE SITUATION ROOM. We have new details on the horrifying plane crash captured on video. Did seat belts actually make a difference as to who lived and who died?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Tonight aviation officials are getting ready to reveal

what they learned from those so-called black box recorders recovered from the wreckage of a TransAsia plane. We're hearing more chilling accounts from the people who remarkably survived.

Let's go to our aviation correspondent, Rene Marsh. She's working the story for us.

Rene, what are you learning?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, I can show this was the plane's path and just for perspective. This is the overpass that the plane clipped on its way down. Now, we have seen this jaw-dropping video. But tonight, we are hearing amazing stories of survival.


MARSH (voice-over): Taiwan's president at the bedside of survivors of TransAsia flight 235.

The aircraft's final seconds caught on dashboard after takeoff from Taipei Airport in Taiwan.

PILOT: Mayday, mayday, engine flameout.

MARSH: The crippled jet narrowly escaped slamming into buildings before landing upside down in a river. At least 30 people died but miraculously, more than a dozen survived.

HUANG CHIN-SHUN, PLANE CRASH SURVIVOR (through translator): Shortly after takeoff I felt something wasn't right. I felt something was wrong with the engine because I always take this flight.

MARSH: From a hospital bed, this 72-year-old survivor tells how he helped fellow passengers escape.

CHIN-SHUN: I told the girl beside me to quickly release her seat belt, hold on to the chair in front and cover her head with clothes. Not long after, the plane went down.

MARSH: He unbuckled seat belts as the water rose in the cabin.

Lin Ming-wei fought his way out of the wreckage, then searched the murky water for his son seen here. After three minutes, he found the toddler. Local media reported his lips were blue, his heart not beating.

Ming-wei performed CPR. His son survived.

This father credits a last-minute seat change for their survival after hearing a strange sound, his family moved to the rear right side of the plane. You can see the aircraft dips left before the crash. Reports say that side sustained the most damage.

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Oftentimes, your seating and where the plane breaks open and whether you can get out of the plane from where you're seated can determine whether or not you survive, having your seat near the greatest concentration of exits so you can get out if you -- there's an opportunity to do so.

MARSH: Inside this taxi, two more survival stories. The plane's wing smashed the windshield. The 52-year-old driver and his passenger injured but alive. Just after the crash, he reported to his dispatcher a plane clipped his taxi. The details, hard for even the dispatcher to believe.

OPERATOR: A remote-controlled model plane?

DRIVER: Not a remote-controlled model plane, a small manned plane.



MARSH: At this point, investigators have secured the wreckage, the plane's recorders have been successfully downloaded the a transcript of the pilot's full conversation is now being drafted. Meantime, all models of this plane have been grounded for a thorough safety inspection. The focus, of course, will be on the engines. But, Wolf, when you look at the statistics for this airline, four crashes in the past 20 years, not a stellar safety record at all.

BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much, Rene, for that report.

We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: A Texas-sized uproar on Capitol Hill after a Florida Democrat called the Lone Star State, I'm quoting now, "a crazy state".

Our chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash is joining us now. She's got details of a serious, serious feud.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Congress is usually a place where people are angry at each other, they say things and express things that way by saying my friend from Florida or the gentleman from Texas. Rarely do they actually say what they mean. But this week, one congressman actually did and he's not backing down.


BASH (voice-over): It should have been a humdrum hearing ahead of House Republicans 67th vote to repeal, defend or change Obamacare.

REP. ALCEE HASTINGS (D), FLORIDA: I don't know about in your state, which I think is crazy state to begin with, and I mean that just as I said it.

(CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A very defamatory statement about my state,

and I will not stand here and listen to it.

BASH: But it quickly got weird and ugly.

HASTINGS: Well fine, then you don't have to listen.

BASH: Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings taking on the entire state of Texas for not joining in Obamacare exchanges.

HASTINGS: You can leave in you choose. I told you what I think about Texas. I wouldn't live there for all the tea in China and that's how I feel.

REP. MICHAEL BURGESS (R), TEXAS: There's no reason at all to impugn the people, governor of the state of this country and I will await the gentleman's apology.

HASTINGS: You will wait until hell freezing over --


HASTINGS: -- for me to say anything in an apology. I would apologize to you if I was directing my comments to you. I was commenting about the state that you happen to be a resident. I will not apologize.

BURGESS: Gentleman from Texas controls the time. I just do not see the value in a member of this rules committee hurling invective toward a state and its people and its governor.

BASH: When Michael Burgess Lone Star State Republican colleagues got wind of those invectives, they were livid. Twenty-four joined together to issue a simple statement, "Don't mess with Texas."

REP. PETE SESSIONS (R), TEXAS: I stand today for why Texas is a great state. Evidently, we've got to defend our honor.

BASH: Congressman Pete Sessions even gave a lengthy defense of his beloved Texas on the House floor.

SESSIONS: If Texas were its own country, it would have the 13th highest GDP in the world.

REP. JIM MCGOVERN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I want to thank the gentleman from Texas for the wonderful commercial for Texas.

BASH: But what Texans want for Congressman Hastings who was impeached as a federal judge and removed from office is an apology.

No dice.

HASTINGS (via telephone): Can you hear me? Ten, nine, eight, seven --

BASH: When I talked to him by phone, Hastings doubled down. HASTINGS: Evidently, I touched a nerve deep in the heart of

Texas. And I would ask them to tie a yellow rolls around it and do like frozen, and let it go.

BASH: But he just kept going.

HASTINGS: One of their cities have a law that says that women can only have six dildos and the certain size of thing. And if that ain't crazy, I don't know what is.

JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: Hastings just straight up messed with Texas.

BASH: He said after Jon Stewart picked up the fight he's getting a lot of attention.

HASTINGS: Somebody called me from Texas and told me because of my comments they were going to cancel their reservation to Disneyworld. How absurd is that.

BASH: But at least Hastings is self-aware he is from Florida, home of hanging chads. Here's what he said about his own state.

HASTINGS: Consider the fact I'm a native Floridian and dislike it. But listen, I wouldn't live in a lot of places. Texas happens to be one of them. I have cautioned about living in Florida and when I retire I'm not sure I'm going to stay there.


BASH: Maybe the first person to leave Florida to retire. This is war of words. It really seems like a lot. It's actually nothing comparing to other incidents in congressional history. In the 1800s, during the civil war debate, that was a debate that was leading to the civil war, a member of the House caned a member of the Senate into unconsciousness.

BLITZER: Stand by. Gloria is with us as well.


BLITZER: How embarrassing is all of this?

BORGER: I think it's hugely embarrassing. You have a member from the state of Florida, who, by the way, was elected, reelected last time with 82 percent of the vote who says that when he retires he's going to leave the state of Florida. You have a Texas delegation that's on the floor of the house acting like it's the Alamo, right?

Then, the question is, as you watch all this you think who are we electing? Don't they have anything better to do? And this is a rules committee that should have a certain amount of decorum and you have this sort of charges about the state of Texas. By the way, he didn't say it with good humor. It was pretty pointed.

BASH: Yes, I will say that when I talked to him today, he did say he thought this was funny. He said he has people calling him from his background people he hasn't talked to in years and years saying they couldn't believe how funny it is. So, he is trying to laugh it off even as he refuses to apologize.

But you're right about the decorum. The one thing I will say is that, believe it or not, this was hearing about not just Obamacare but the reason they were going after each other state by state is because Texas, the governor, has not gotten into the so-called exchange. And that is what it was about.

It was actually about a very substantive issue. It just didn't --

BORGER: But he made the point. Hastings made the point, which makes you kind of laugh, which is, I'm really not insulting you, Congressman, because I would have to apologize. What I'm doing, which is not so bad, is insulting the millions of people who actually live in the state of Texas.

BLITZER: It sort of reinforces the problem a lot of Americans have with Congress that it's not functioning the way it's supposed to.

BORGER: Sure, absolutely. You know, this was actually part of a hearing that making Congress function, which I won't get into the weeds on that. But, sure, this is not something as I said in the beginning.

Usually even when they are about to whack each other over the head metaphorically or rhetorically, they still say so by calling them their friend from whatever sate. This is something unusual. It's why it's so interesting. We don't hear this that much.

BORGER: And there's no hell to pay, 96 percent of the members of the House got reelected in 2014. So, say whatever you want. Your chances are you're going to get back into office.

BLITZER: Spokesman for Congressman Aaron Schock was just fired for posting some racially charged comments on his Facebook page. What's that about?

BORGER: That's a -- you know, it's a very serious matter. And, Dana and I were talking about this before we came in here. It's very hard for members of Congress or any employer these days to police people's social postings. These were racially charged postings on his Facebook page. The question that I have is if he posted that on his Facebook page, didn't he sound like that around the office, nor did anybody from the office ever see these things on his Facebook page and reported it congressman before this.

BLITZER: It's a serious -- you've got to be careful what you post nowadays on Twitter, or Facebook, or anyplace else.

BASH: Oh, absolutely. I mean, in this case, this was a staffer who posted things that are outrageous and racist. But again, this is Aaron Schock who's the congressman this staffer worked for has not had a great week. This is different (ph) from that. But it's hard to police, as you said, anybody's social media page and stay away from it.

BLITZRE: We've got to leave it there, guys. Thanks very, very much.

Remember, you can follow us on Twitter. Go ahead, tweet me @wolfblitzer. Tweet the show @CNNsitroom.

Thanks for watching.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.