Return to Transcripts main page


ISIS Wants To Redraw Borders Of Middle East; Luis Suarez To Play Against England; Barack Obama Weights Proposals For Iraq; Iranians Eager To Volunteer To Defend Shia Shrines In Iraq

Aired June 19, 2014 - 11:00   ET


JONATHAN MANN, HOST: The battle for Iraq. As clashes continue at a major oil refinery, CNN learns of a plan that could put U.S. special forces

back in harm's way.

Also, one reign as another begins. Can the swearing in of Spain's new king distract the country from its dramatic World Cup knockout?

And finally free -- how a German researcher was rescued after 11 days stuck underground in a cave.

Thanks for joining us.

We begin with new developments in Iraq. CNN just learning that the Pentagon is prepared to send up to 100 elite military advisers to Iraq if

President Obama gives the go ahead. The forces would gather intelligence and provide targets if the White House approves air strikes. Mr. Obama is

expected to deliver a statement on Iraq in about an hour-and-a-half after meeting with his national security team. We will, of course, bring that to

you live.

Meanwhile, Washington is growing impatient with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Senior U.S. officials telling CNN the Obama administration

believes that al-Maliki is the wrong man to unify the country and end the sectarian divide.

On the ground in Iraq, the government says the military now controls the nation's main oil refinery at Baiji, but police officials contradict

that. They say militants have taken charge of most of the sprawling facility.

Once again, the White House says U.S. President Barack Obama will make a statement in an hour-and-a-half.

Let's bring in senior international correspondent Arwa Damon joining us now live from Urbil in the northern autonomous region of Iraqi

Kurdistan. A lot of moving parts today. What can you tell us?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There most certainly are, Jonathan. And while the fight for control over the oil refinery in

Baiji, despite those conflicting claims, is already having a significant impact.

This refinery was geared mostly towards a local domestic consumption. We've been seeing massive fuel lines already in the capital Baghdad and in

other key cities. This in a country that was already struggling with something of a domestic fuel shortage despite its vast oil riches. That

impact also being felt up here in Iraqi Kurdistan, because even this region was also reliant for some of its fuel supplies from their lines here

ranging between three to four hours. And that is if people are lucky enough to actually be able to fill up at all.

Plus, it's also having an impact because of power shortage, many people reliant on generators that of course run on fuel for their


So, whilst the fighting is still ongoing, the effect of it is already being felt.

When it comes to Maliki's role in all of this that you are mentioning there, it's going to be quite difficult to try to figure out any sort of

government moving forward. A lot of debate going on as to whether or not Nuri al-Maliki can actually unify the government, unify the country given

how divisive he already has been, how little faith there is in his governing capabilities.

What is clear, though, is that any sort of government that does emerge needs to be able to first and foremost reach out to the Sunni opposition,


MANN: Now things are moving so quickly, but Kurdistan has been awaiting, slowly, a lot of Kurds hoping -- well, for generations -- for

independence. Does all this look like a crisis to the people around you, or like finally an opportunity the Kurds get the country they've long


DAMON: It most certainly is being viewed as a crisis, because of the sheer uncertainty and the violence that is surrounding everything that is

happening. But by and large, the Kurds do seem to believe that there is perhaps a silver lining in all of this for them. The line that divides the

autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan and central Iraq has always been disputed. We've seen the Kurdish forces of Peshmerga moving forward,

slowly drawing the line in the sand as they would like to see the territory that they control be drawn.

And they do seem to be intent on holding those positions, various statements being made that they're not necessarily planning on pulling back

from the territory that they do control right now any time soon.

But at the same time, whilst that is underway, one also needs to consider the fact that at this stage, the Peshmerga, Kurdish forces, now

control a territory that is about 1,000 kilometers long, a border that is about 1,000 kilometers long with a terrorist organization like ISIS and its

Sunni allies.

So in the future long-term planning, if they do want to hold on to that, they're most certainly going to have to beef up their own military

forces and consider trying to perhaps change their strategy in terms of holding on to that key territory, Jonathan.

MANN: Arwa Damon, live in Urbil, thanks very much.

We'll have much more special coverage of the situation in Iraq. Coming up on Connect the World, our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr

has details on that proposal to send elite U.S. special forces as advisers back to Iraq.

Reza Sayah is in Tehran with a look at the growing number of Iranians who say they are ready to fight in Iraq as well.

And Atika Shubert examines how generations old maps trace the lines of the conflict that we are seeing today.

It's the start of a new era for the Spanish monarchy. Crown Prince Felipe was officially sworn in as the new king in front of a packed

parliamentary chamber today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It is now proclaimed as king of Spain Don Felipe who will reign as the name of Felipe VI. Long live the

king. Long live Spain.


MANN: Felipe VI succeeds his father Juan Carlos who abdicated after 39 years on the throne. The new king told lawmakers he will lead a changed

monarchy for new times, in his words, a nod to the recent scandals that have plagued the royal family.

The swearing in ceremony was also a departure from tradition.

Al Goodman is outside the royal palace in Madrid and joins us now. Al, it must have been -- oh, it must be just a lovely, lighthearted day to

be in the Spanish capital.

AL GOODMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there was that part of the day in this historic day. Certainly along the parade route

with the new king standing up in an open car, even though Madrid is on a heightened terrorist alert, 7,000 police officers, snipers on rooftops.

But, yes, a lot of pageantry there. And especially in that balcony moment when the new king and queen, Queen Letizia, the former commoner, divorced,

the former presenter, or anchorwoman for our partner station CNN Plus (ph) in Spain came out with him, their two young daughters.

And then the outgoing King Juan Carlos who formally abdicated yesterday and his wife Queen Sofia.

But there was also substance in the speech of the new king in parliament. He immediately called out for a unified Spain. This, of

course, with the backdrop of Catalonia, the region in northeastern Spain, whose capital is Barcelona, clamoring for a referendum on independence

from Spain as early as November. And so there's a lot of attention there.

He talked about restoring trust in the monarchy. There was a lot in this speech in addition to the pageantry -- Jonathan.

MANN: I have to ask you about the pageantry, though. We have a young king, a beautiful queen, does -- does King Felipe inherit a big showy regal

tradition like the one we see in the UK? Or is it more modest like in the Netherlands or in Norway?

GOODMAN: More modest, clearly. And they may make it more modest and more transparent yet.

You saw that in the events this day. There were no foreign dignitaries, the foreign heads of state. There were no other royal

households that typically come to all the weddings from Europe and from all parts of the world. They wanted to focus this on the Spaniards. And

that's why what's done by Spanish tradition, the proclamation in the Spanish parliament, the house of the people where the elected

representatives are, of course it's the elected government that runs the country, but the king's role as head of state is more than just ceremonial

in this Spanish context -- Jonathan.

MANN: What happens next? Has he announced any real concrete plans?

GOODMAN: Yes, as a matter of fact, he has. He'll meet the prime minister tomorrow, Friday. That will become a regular routine for him. He

is due to meet victims of terrorism on Saturday, that would be from the Basque terrorist group, those who have suffered that and other victims of

terrorism, perhaps for instance those from the Madrid train bombings a decade ago.

And then his first trip, we are told, is going to be, where else, to the restive region of Catalonia. He wants to get right down to business --


GOODMAN: Al Goodman, our bureau chief live in Madrid. Thanks very much.

Spain may have a new monarch, but its kings of football have been knocked off their throne in Brazil. The defending World Cup champs have no

chance of retaining their title after back to back losses now in the group phase. A spirited performance by Chile beat Spain 2-0 in Rio, Wednesday.

The champs, also lost their opener, you may recall, against the Netherlands, a punishing 5-1.

That leaves Spain at the bottom of Group B with no chance of advancing to the knockout round even if they win their final game, that's against

Australia. It'll just be a small consolation prize.

CNN's Amanda Davies is in Sao Paulo and joins us now. What happened?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Jonathan, how the mighty have fallen. The Spanish coach Vicente del Bosque has been talking

about consequences since that defeat to Chile. He's faced a lot of criticism about his team's selection about how he lines his team up and

there's now serious questions being asked about his future after six years in charge.

Questions, too, about the future of some of the senior players who have delighted us with some incredible football over the past few years,

the likes of Iker Casillas, of Xavi Alonso, of Xavi.

It really was a performance that they will be keen to forget. We know that Spain weren't the force that we've seen in recent years, the force

that has seen them claim the last two European championships. And of course that World Cup title in South Africa four years ago. But we really

didn't expect them to be quite as bad as they've been.

They do have that match against Australia on Monday, a chance to gain a little bit of pride and see if they can avoid finishing bottom of Group

B. But the statistics really are horrible. They've conceded seven goals in just two games here, that is more than they conceded all the way through

to those title victories that I was talking about in 2008, 2010 and 20012.

MANN: The other big disappointment is still, I guess, just a rumor. Could Chrisiano Ronaldo be out?

DAVIES: Well, we've known that Christiano Ronaldo has been struggling with some knee and leg problems for some time. He did play Portugal's

first match against Germany. He struggled somewhat to make an impact. But he limped out of training on Wednesday and that led to a whole raft of

rumors and stories that his World Cup was over.

I have to say, the Portuguese camp have come out and very strongly denied that. They have said that their star man is 100 percent fit to


You wonder how much of it is smoke and mirrors. We've seen him sitting on the side of the training pitch with ice on his knee. There's no

doubt that Portugal really, really needs him. Their missing some of their top players for their next encounter against the USA on Sunday. Pepe is

suspended, Fabio Coentrao is out, injured.

And after that 4-0 defeat to Germany in their opening game, they really need Ronaldo to step up. If there's not pressure on him normally,

there is double the amount of pressure on him now.

But he's -- you know, they see Portugal, many people, as a one-man team. And you expect that they will be doing all they can to bandage him

up and send him out whatever the true condition, if we ever get to find out what that is.

MANN: One more reason to stick close to your TV. Amanda Davies, thanks very much.

We'll have more on the World Cup later in the program, including the fight for survival between Uruguay and England. Also ahead, a brutal crime

that chose how high ethnic tensions are running in France.


MANN: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World. I'm Jonathan Mann.

Once again, new developments from Washington on the crisis in Iraq. We're learning the Pentagon has sent a proposal to U.S. President Obama to

send up to 100 special forces military advisers to Iraq. Mr. Obama is expected to speak in about an hour and 15 minutes in the situation there,

but let's go straight to our Barbara Starr with more on the developments. She's joining us now from Washington.

How much do we know?


Here in Washington, they still awaits a final decision by President Obama, but what we are told is the Pentagon now fully prepared to very

quickly send 100 military advisers to Iraq. These would be U.S. military special forces, that means army rangers, Green Berets and Navy SEALs. They

will work in small teams, if the president approves all of this. They will deploy to the headquarters of Iraqi brigades around the country to work as

advisers. But make no mistake, also to help collect intelligence about the disposition of ISIS forces.

Where are the militant fighters? How are they equipped? Where are they moving around? Because this has been the big issue in any notion of

air strikes. The U.S. simply doesn't have that precise granular intelligence on the ground.

You know, you look at the video tapes and you see ISIS, they're in pickup trucks, moving around in trucks, in vehicles with AK-47s and machine

guns. From the air, this is almost impossible to precisely target.

So, make no mistake, these 100 U.S. special forces are not combat troops in terms of the traditional role of going into ground combat, but

they will be out in the countryside. They will be at disperse locations, not frontline combat positions, but potentially in areas that could be very

unsettled -- Jonathan.

MANN: Now the Iraqi government has said publicly it wants airstrikes. It sounds from what you're telling us like this could potentially pave the


STARR: Well, I think any notion of that is a fair bit off, because President Obama certainly has made it clear he wants to see moves by the

Iraqi government towards a more inclusive government, Sunni, Shia, Kurd. And there's been no movement on that.

The U.S. actually pretty resistant to becoming Maliki's air force, if you will.

But also, you know, obviously very concerned if ISIS was to make a move on Baghdad, that could be the gamechanger. The general assessment is

the U.S. can't just sit there and let Baghdad potentially fall.

So, there's a lot of back and forth on all of this.

Already, we are seeing U.S. manned reconnaissance flights, pilots in the cockpits, flying over Iraq, again conducting reconnaissance, gathering

intelligence. So really trying to get a better intelligence picture on what is going on. It clearly remains to be seen what the next steps may


MANN: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thanks very much.

And a programming note, as we're mentioning, Mr. Obama expects to deliver his statement on Iraq in a little more than an hour after meeting

with his national security team. That's due at 530 p.m. if you're watching from London, 8:30 in Abu Dhabi right here on CNN.

So, what are the risks, benefits associated with U.S. involvement in Iraq? Those are questions U.S. President Obama and his advisers are

wrestling with right now.

And to find out what factors go into those discussions, we're joined by Michael Williams, a former adviser to Mr. Obama joining us now from


First of all, what should we make of this news about special forces going in as advisers?

MICHAEL WILLIAMS, FRM. ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: It's actually probably good news. It signals that the administration is not completely

detached from reality. It certainly paves the way towards U.S. in a capacity to help augment Iraqi forces, in particular if the U.S. decides to

use air power or Iraqi ground forces, these gentlemen will be integral in ascertaining the strike packages and trying to make sure that this force is

used discriminately in a way that is going to minimize collateral damage against civilian targets.

And right now, the U.S. is blind on the ground and just relying on the Iraqis to call in strikes (inaudible) acceptable.

So this does open that possibility, although it doesn't mean the president will choose that course of action.

MANN: Does anyone have any reason to expect that this will be a gamechanger? 100 advisers going in to fight an insurgency that seems

pretty bold and on the move?

WILLIAMS: I wouldn't call it a gamechanger by any stretch. I think it is a signal that the U.S. is concerned. It is going to be the U.S.'s

eyes and ears on the ground to advance U.S. interests, which is to figure out exactly the extent of the situation on the ground, not relying solely

on media reports and firsthand accounts, but actually getting some people in place.

And like I said, it opens up the possibility for more robust action.

If the U.S. did decide to deploy air power against the militants, it certainly would be a substantial advantage for the Iraq government. It's

something the administration probably should be seriously considering. There's really a fundamental kind of misundersatnding about the role of the

use of force and diplomacy within the Obama administration. And this is not to say that we should use force liberally, that it should go around

liberating countries like in Iraq, but at the same time diplomacy needs to be backed up by force at times. And I think this is one instance where

it's not in the American interests to allow Baghdad to fall. Although we want to see some democratic changes in the government, you also can't

insist on that at this point in time.

MANN: I'm just wondering, in a personal way, in a political way, how tough a call this is for Barack Obama to make? He campaigned against U.S.

military intervention in Iraq. He ended U.S. military intervention in Iraq in 2011. And he basically has tried to put in the past. Now, the thin

edge of the wedge, American forces are going back in.

WILLIAMS: Well, the president pursued very admirable goals, which was to use Iraq responsibly end American involvement there. He did attempt to

pursue policies whereby U.S. troops could remain. The Iraqi government objected to that. They refused to agree to a status of forces agreement,

meaning that U.S. forces there would be subject to U.S. laws not Iraqi laws. So the force had to leave.

But although the president and much of the nation is (inaudible) war and conflict, it doesn't mean also that you can simply remove yourself from

the wider world and hope for the best. And I think unfortunately this is a situation that demands a level of U.S. involvement.

MANN: Let me ask you, your expertise is primarily from the administration side, not from the Pentagon, but what are these special

forces actually going to do? 100 advisers going in to tell soldiers who seen a lot of war already in their country, how much help do you think

they're going to be able to offer?

WILLIAMS: Well, just to clarify, (inaudible) administration and actually have worked for (inaudible) in Germany, so it's very similar, a

certain sense that what the Pentagon would be looking at are essentially logistics.

So first of all, clearly defining a goal of what they want to achieve on the ground and then you work backwards.

So the president has to set that goal. And the president has to set expectations. Then the defense (inaudible), Pentagon in this case, will

look at sort of what they have available, how they could execute the task. And (inaudible) force packets and (inaudible) into the president who then

make the decisions.

And so it's really a matter of first of having very clear objective that can be achieved and then the military will determine how best to

achieve that and make the recommendations to the president.

MANN: Michael Williams, live with us from London, thanks very much.

No matter what decision the U.S. president makes, it's safe to say his opponents will find a way to criticize him for it, that's because Iraq is a

very politically charged subject around the world. And on you can read an opinion piece that argues how Iraq needs political solutions, not

more war. Take part in the global conversation, head to

This is Connect the World. Coming up, Sunni militants in Iraq want to redraw the map of the Middle East. We'll talk about the possible scenarios

and their impact.

Also, a brutal attack on a Roma boy outrages many in France. Details up next.


MANN: You're watching Connect the World live from CNN Center. Welcome back. I'm Jonathan Mann.

A brutal attack on a teenage boy near Paris is casting an ugly spotlight on ethnic tensions in France. The victim was from the city's

Roma community. He was dragged into a basement and beaten by about 20 people last Friday.

Jim Bittermann has details.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The 16-year-old, only identified by police as Darius, is in critical condition at this Paris

hospital after being held captive and beaten.

The teenager lived in this squalid Roma camp in the suburbs of Paris. According to the police, a gang of about a dozen other young people who

live in this nearby public housing project, believing Darius was to blame for robberies there, abducted and beat him, leaving him for dead in a

shopping cart.

The young victim may not have had entirely clean hands. According to the prosecutor he had had several runins with police and was suspected, but

never charged, with a burglary in this housing complex behind me. Nonetheless, authorities were outraged at what happened to him and appalled

at the willingness of local residents apparently to take the law in their own hands.

Politicians right up to the French president have reacted to the crime, Francois Hollande calling it, "beyond words and unjustifiable."

But most, including the town mayor, played down any racial motivation, despite previous attacks on Roma. Over the past two years, several Roma

camps have been burned to the ground, at least one involved arson. And it's led Roma, who often lived on the fringes of French society and in

miserable conditions, to be mistrustful of outsiders and fearful that they are being targeted.

After abandoning their camp, Darius' family is apparently in hiding here. Journalists were prevented from entering. And at one point, CNN was

attacked by two people from the camp. Before French police intervened, a woman clearly indicated the communities fear saying, "our children die and

then if you film us, they could kill us as well."

Jim Bittermann, CNN, France.


MANN: Still to come tonight, the latest world news headlines. Plus, as ISIS militants advance across Iraq, we'll tell you why thousands of

Iranians are eager to take up arms against them.


MANN: This is Connect the World. I'm Jonathan Mann with the top stories this hour.

We're waiting for U.S. President Barack Obama to make a statement on Iraq coming up in about an hour from now. He's said to be considering a

proposal to send special forces advisers to Iraq, but Mr. Obama has ruled out sending ground troops, we are told, to the country.

Felipe VI was proclaimed Spain's new king at a ceremony before parliament today. The 46-year-old monarch faces a lot of challenges taking

over after his father Juan Carlos abdicated the throne. King Felipe says he wants a more transparent monarchy in the face of royal scandals.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said his country will sign an association agreement with the European Union. Such treaties pave the way

for closer cooperation with the EU.

Separately NATO's secretary-general says there's evidence of a new Russian military buildup near the Ukrainian border.

A Turkish news agency reports a court a ordered the release of more than 200 military officers convicted in 2012 of trying to topple Prime

Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government. This, one day after Turkey's constitutional court ruled that the defendants' rights had been violated.

There are more than 20 million Shia Muslims living in Iraq, that's about two-thirds of the population. Shiites, shown here in blue, live

mainly in the southern part of the country, Sunnis populate the west, Kurds live mainly in the north, but central and southwest Iraq is a mix of Shia

and Sunni Muslims.

Next to Iran, Shiites dominate the population. And many say they are ready to lay down their lives to protect Shia holy sites in Iraq.

Reza Sayah has more on that from Tehran.


REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Iran's armed forces prepare to defend Iran's border with Iraq, but President Hassan Rouhani has

made it clear for now Iran is not deploying troops inside Iraq.

But in the capital Tehran, some Iranians say they're ready to fight.

"With all my being," says breadmaker Dhabud Ramazani (ph). "If my leader calls on me, I put my life in the palm of my hands and go."

"100 percent I would go," says Namatullah Sorapor (ph).

"Whatever I can do, I would," says Said Mehdi Hosseini (ph).

This Iranian website not linked to the government claims more than 5,000 volunteers have signed up to fight ISIS militants bearing down in


For many Iranians, the willingness to help Iraq has very little to do with politics or helping the Iraqi government. Remember, Iraq under Saddam

Hussein attacked Iran, a bloody eight year war followed, and there's a lot of bitterness that still lingers here.

But what many Iranians still care about are the deep religious ties to Iraq that date back roughly 1,500 years.

In both Iran and Iraq, Shia Muslims make up strong majorities of the population. For devout Iranians, Iraq is the cradle of Shia Islam. Every

year, hundreds of thousands of Iranian pilgrims travel to Shia shrines in Karbala and Najaf.

ISIS insurgents, who claim to be Sunni, have already threatened to destroy many of Iraq's holy monuments.

For paint shop owner, Reza Parsa (Ph), the priority is protecting the shrines, not the country that once attacked Iran.

"We can go to Najaf and protect Imam Ali's tomb. I would go just because of Imam Ali, but I wouldn't do it for Iraq," he says.

"If tonight our government calls on all Shias to leave for Iraq, I would walk barefoot to Baghdad," say Sorapor (ph). "These militants are

enemies of Islam."

Heartfelt words from Iranians who say they're ready to fight if the crisis in Iraq spirals out of control.

Reza Sayah, CNN, Tehran.


MANN: Enemies of Islam? ISIS militants say they want to establish an Islamic state that would stretch across IRaq and beyond its borders.

At Atika Shubert reports, they effectively want to redraw the map of the Middle East.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In this video, ISIS militants appear to demolish a border post on the Syria-Iraq border.

Posted on YouTube, CNN cannot independently verify its authenticity, but this is exactly what ISIS has threatened to do, dismantle the borders of

the Middle East and redraw the map they see as imposed by colonial powers, all to become one Islamic caliphate.

This is the original map drawn up by British and French diplomats in 1916 in the middle of World War I. And it literally divides up the spoils

of war. Part A would be taken over by the French. That part is what we now know today as Syria.

B, would be British territory. A large chunk of that is Iraq.

Before you think that this is ancient history, consider that this map became the basis of the modern Middle East. And ISIS has specifically said

that they want to destroy the political boundaries that came about as a result of this map.

Starting with the Syria-Iraq border. By controlling the roads and major towns, ISIS now controls an area as large as a country, stretching

right over that border. And judging by the maps that ISIS puts out as propaganda, it aims for much more.

Usama Hassan is a senior researcher with Quilliam, a counter extremism think tank, but he was also once a jihadi himself fighting Communist forces

in Afghanistan. He explains the ISIS mindset.

USAMA HASSAN, QUILLIAM FOUNDATION: In the mind of the fanatics, who have a basic opposition to any kind of border between what they see as

Muslim lands, a very utopian vision, which is very impractical in reality.

SHUBERT: Do you think that it is possible that this ISIS offensive can effectively permanently redraw maps?

HASSAN: Iraq could break up into the Kurdish area in the north, the Sunni areas in the middle and the larger Shiite areas in the south. And I

think that's a distinct possibility.

SHUBERT: A conflict that splits Iraq into Sunni, Shia and Kurdish areas would have devastating consequences in the region.

HASSAN: Now the Shia-Sunni sectarian conflict with the kind of very violent massacres and bloodshed, which is (inaudible) has the potential to

incite Shia-Sunni tensions, which are simmering underground in many of these countries.

SHUBERT: Far beyond Iraq.

HASSAN: Far beyond Iraq -- Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan even, and Syria as well.

SHUBERT: Despite ISIS lightning offensive, Hassan says the militants gains maybe shortlived.

HASSAN: ISIS couldn't have taken all this territory without the implicit support of the Sunni tribes who refuse to fight them, for example.

They laid down their arms and let them take over.

But holding that territory is going to be much more difficult.

SHUBERT: ISIS is now fighting 30 miles from Baghdad. Even if the militants are stopped, they have shown a brutal determination to dismantle

the borders of the MIddle East as we know it.

Atika Shubert, CNN, London.


MANN: Let's go back now to more engaging international rivalry, the World Cup, and Thursday's action starting with Group C. Leaders Colombia

and Ivory Coast, a win by either team guarantees they'll advance to the knockout round. The kickoff about 20 minutes from now.

Next comes a Group D match between Uruguay and England, closely watched because both lost their openers. A second defeat would make

advancing extremely difficult.

Similar scenario in Group C when Japan and Greece finish the day. They also lost their openers and would have little chance of advancing with

another defeat.

Uruguay's fans will be happy to hear that their star forward, Luis Suarez says he's fit and ready to play in today's match. England

supporters meanwhile hoping Wayne Rooney will finally score in a World Cup match.

Amanda Davies looks ahead to a game that neither team can afford to lose.


DAVIES: Who would you rather have on your team Wayne Ronney or Luis Suarez?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Luis Suarez. No doubt, Luis Suarez.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Wayne Rooney on his day can equal Suarez.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Luis Suarez. He's the best, Luis Suarez, he's the best in the world. Luis Suarez.

DAVIES: This is a game dominated by a tale of two strikers. For England, it's about Wayne Rooney. The conundrum for boss Roy Hodgson, what

to do with the Manchester United star who still yet to score in a Three Lions shirt in a World Cup finals.

ROY HODGSON, ENGLAND NATIONAL TEAM MANAGER: As far as I'm concerned, I was more dissatisfied with Rooney's performance against Italy. He was

interesting to get the statistics back and find out that he ran more than any other England player, had more sprints than any other England player,

which maybe wasn't always evident.

DAVIES: After the impressive performances of Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling, there are those who have called for Rooney to be left out

altogether. But former England and Manchester United defender Phil Neville says that's ridiculous.

PHIL NEVILLE, FRM. MANCHESTER UNITED DEFENDER: Well, you've got to play him. I mean -- I guess we always talk about dropping Wayne Rooney.

He's our best player. It's like going to Brazil and say, you know, leave Neymar out, or Portugal you're going to leave Ronaldo out, it just doesn't


DAVIES: For Uruguay, it's all about Luis Suarez. He's been out injured after a knee operation at the end of May. Whilst the Uruguay boss

Oscar Tabarez refused to confirm whether or not he'll play, there's no doubt the Liverpool striker would prove a massive boost to a team who were

beaten 3-1 by Costa Rica last time out.

OSCAR TABAREZ , URUGUAY MANAGER (through translator): Now he's in one of the best leagues in the world. He was able to overcome many situations.

It goes without saying that for us, he's a very important player because of his technical ability and his personality.

NEVILLE: I find it incredible that 20, 24 days I think it is since his operation and I've had two or three operations on my knee. And to

recover in 24 days is asking a lot.

DAVIES: It was Suarez with the upper hand in the English Premier League this season, scoring 31 goals to Rooney's 17. He suspects the

player who makes the bigger impact on Thursday might just see their side taking victory in this crucial Group D encounter.

Amanda Davies, CNN, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


MANN: How do you think the World Cup has been going so far? Who do you hope will win it? The team at Connect the World wants to hear from

you. Have your say. And tweet me @JonMannCNN about any stories we covered for you today on Connect the World.

And before we go, we wanted to show you some images of a dramatic rescue in Germany. It took nearly two weeks and an international team of

rescuers to get explorer Johan Westhauser (ph) out of this cave in the Bavarian Alps. He was trapped 1,000 meters underground after he was

severely injured by falling rocks. Hundreds of workers had to navigate him through narrow winding tunnels and up steep climbs before hoisting

Westhauser (ph) up a 180 meter vertical shaft to an awaiting helicopter.

He's now on his way to hospital. A desperate man finally seeing daylight.

Tonight's Parting Shots.

We want to take you over to Turkey, though, before we go. You're looking at live pictures coming to us from the capital Ankara. A criminal

court in Turkey has ordered to release of 230 people, most of them military officers. That release has just begun from two prisons. They were

convicted in 2012 of trying to topple Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government. It was a shadowy conspiracy, raising a lot of questions. It

was called Sledge Hammer. The rest of the world didn't really know what to make of it except that the prime minister and his government took action

against its supposed opponents.

All this one day after Turkey's constitutional court ruled the defendant's rights had been violated. Again, the Turkish court ordering

the release of 230 people, most of the military officers, convicted of a shadowy conspiracy trying to overthrow Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's


I'm Jonathan Mann. You've been watching Connect the World. Thanks for joining us.