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CONNECT THE WORLD
Bali Suitcase Death; Airstrikes in Iraq, Not Syria; Family Escapes Mount Sinjar; Pope Francis in South Korea; Turkish Elections; Iraq Security Concerns Don't Raise Oil Prices; Erbil Flights Suspended; Ramping Up in Iran; Easing Sanctions
Aired August 14, 2014 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL HOLMES, HOST: Combating a catastrophe, the UN has used its highest emergency warning as the tide of refugees in Iraq keeps on coming.
The U.S. vowing to keep the pressure on ISIS as well.
Also ahead, tensions flare in Ukraine, unrest bubbles over into the corridors of power as the crisis in the east of the country deepens.
And murder in paradise, the latest on the U.S. socialite killed and stuffed in a suitcase on the Indonesian island of Bali.
ANNOUNCER: This is the hour we connect the world.
HOLMES: Welcome everyone.
We begin this hour in Iraq, of course, where the United Nations has issued its highest level of emergency for a humanitarian crisis. It is
estimating more than 400,000 people have now fled their homes in fear of Sunni extremists.
As for the minority Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar, some good news, perhaps, the U.S. military says it found far fewer there than it expected.
Once believed to be in the tens of thousands, the U.S. now says the number is in the low thousands as many have managed to escape. And it is unlikely
there will be an American evacuation mission.
But the airstrikes on ISIS militants in that part of Iraq are expected to continue.
For the refugees, though, few options remain. CNN's Anna Coren joins us now from the site of a United Nations camp near the Iraqi-Syrian border.
And we see the tents behind you, Anna. A far from ideal situation better than the top of Sinjar Mountain. But it's not going to be a permanent
solution, that's for sure.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, it's definitely not going to be a permanent solution. And when I put that to the spokesperson
for UNHCR, he said we are in emergency crisis mode. We are yet to deal with everybody who is coming in.
They are trying to cope with the mass exodus of people. Thousands have already arrived, but the stream is still coming in. We're seeing cars
of refugees arrive with the little belongings that they've managed to pick up along the way.
Obviously once they get here, they will be assigned a tent. The tent city that you can see behind me, it sprung up in the last 25 hours when we
were speaking to you yesterday there was just a handful, now there are several hundred and obviously that is just going to expand. They're hoping
that over the coming days it'll be something like 1,500 tents.
Now with those tents they get bedding, blankets jerry cans for water, cooking utensils, things that they need, a hygiene kit -- you know, like
the basic necessities.
They then obviously get access to food, to bottled water and to medical facilities.
But Michael, it is the bare essentials. People have not been able to move into those tents as yet, so they've been erecting makeshift shelter
with plastic cardboard blankets, whatever manage to scrounge together to get out of the blazing son.
You've been here many times, I know, so you know that the soaring temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius. And the people here, the families,
so many of them have young children.
So it is essential that they get into those tents, but as we say, Michael, it is not a long-term solution. These people need jobs, they need
livelihoods, they need a community, and this is not it.
HOLMES: Yeah, absolutely. It's a dire situation that they are in, but they're in it because they left something even worse. I know you and
the team -- Ivan and everyone has been talking to these people. What sort of horror stories are your hearing about what was done to them and their
families back home.
COREN: So many of these people have heartbreaking stories. And one in particular that we spoke to today, this one particular family seeking
shelter under a tractor, a family of seven. They pleaded with the ISI militants who came to their town close to Sinjar. They said we will give
you money, whatever you want, you just take it, please do not kill our children.
As they were fleeing, the militants shot one of their children, their eight-and-a-half year old was killed. They managed to take the body up
into the mountains where they have buried their child. They are now here with the remainder of their children and they are still traumatized, still
in shock. All they have to remember their eight and a half year old daughter is her identity card.
That is a story that you hear over and over again. Yesterday when we were here people were coming up showing us photos of relatives who had been
murdered, who had been beheaded. These people have been to hell and back. They fled their homes from these militants. They knew they were facing
genocide. They ran into the mountains. They were there for days. We know the conditions that they endured. The Kurdish forces managed to give them
safe passage, but you know, they are at a point, Michael where they just don't know what to do. They feel like they no longer belong here in Iraq
that is the Yazidis, this religious and ethnic minority they've been persecuted for so long and they are calling on the international community
to give them asylum in countries outside of Iraq.
HOLMES: It is impossible to do, but when you at least try to put yourself in their position and what they've been through and what they
face, it is just staggering and heartbreaking.
Anna, thanks for all your work there. Anna Coren there near the Iraq- Syrian border.
Well, U.S. officials say air strikes on ISIS positions in that part of the country is what allowed a lot of these Yazidis to escape on their own
off that mountain.
For more I'm joined by the Pentagon's spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby. Admiral, great to have you back on the program.
You know, what was interesting about this was everyone thought there were so many still up there and that the impact of the strikes hadn't made
it possible for them to leave in great numbers. But when you got guys up there -- and I'm not going to use that term boots on the ground -- but when
your guys got up there non that mountain, you saw a much better situation than you expected.
REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: Indeed, we did, Michael. And thanks for having me.
Yeah, the assessment team got up there. They spent almost a full 24 hours there on the mountain, did a very good thorough review of what the
situation was, found that in fact every night thousands and thousands were leaving safely from the mountain due in part -- in large part to the
security we were able to offer through airstrikes on ISIL position in and around the mountain -- mobile positions, obviously they were moving around,
But, yeah, we think the strikes had an effect. We also think that the food and water that we dropped also helped give them the sustenance to go
ahead and make that journey. And then I also want to credit the pesh merga who actually facilitated some of that movement off the mountain very
efficiently, very courageously.
HOLMES: Yeah, they've certainly been doing a terrific job in many ways.
You know, I'm curious, though, you were able to sort of put pressure on ISIS. And we're talking here about mortar -- mortar teams, artillery
piece of two, a vehicle or two. We've been hearing disturbing reports of ISIS advancing south of Kirkuk, even 100 kilometers north of Baghdad. You
know, 1,600 troops -- their troops, or soldiers or militants. I'm curious why the U.S. doesn't now step in and stop some of that advance. If they'd
put their foot on them in that part of the country why not stop this advance south while you're there?
KIRBY: Sure. Look, I mean, the missions that were assigned were very discrete, very targeted, and very determined to two things. One, to
protect U.S. personnel and facilities mostly around Irbil. We don't see the same threat on US. Personnel and facilities in and around Baghdad right
And number two, to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis up in the north, particularly on Mount Sinjar. And as I said, we think we did a
pretty good job there in terms of alleviating that pressure, making it possible for those refugees to leave the mountain and to get off -- to get
out of those conditions.
But we are constantly assessing the situation in Iraq. I don't want to prestage or speculate about any future operations. We still have
assessment teams on the ground inside Iraq. We still have two joint operation centers, one in Baghdad, one up in the north in Irbil. And we're
constantly evaluating the situation on the ground.
HOLMES: And of course it was the immediacy of the situation for the Yazidis on Mount Sinjar that, you know, sort of put a lot of pressure on to
get things done. And I'm certainly not asking you to make policy.
But a lot -- certainly would be a lot of Iraqis in most towns and villages being overrun now and themselves facing dire situations, death
even at the hands of ISIS. You know, it is -- is helping those people part of the discussion happening at the Pentagon?
KIRBY: There is a range of discussions going on, Michael, about the kinds of options that could be available here.
But I want to stress one thing, and that's that whatever we do there, it's going to be again aimed at protecting U.S. personnel and facilities
and trying to help -- and this is an important point -- trying to look for ways to help the Iraqi security forces defend their own people and defend
their own country. This is ultimately their fight inside their country.
The president was very clear in an interview recently, we're not going to become the Iraqi air force, that's not the right -- that's not the right
role for us to play. But we are looking for ways to help Iraqi forces battle this threat inside their country.
HOLMES: You know, a lot of Iraqis had wished their guys would be better at it. I mean, is there any sign that the advisers the U.S. has got
there who are trying to help out get things together or let the military get their act together, are they having any impact on the efficiency of the
You know, I went to so many training facilities in Iraq where your guys were doing the work and contractors as well doing the work. And, you
know, the money that was spent, the effort that went into it, and then it's almost like it's been a house of cards.
I mean, is a few dozen more advisers there on the ground going to heal that?
KIRBY: Well, there's a couple of things I would say to your question. In those joint operation centers, we do have advisers that are sharing
information and trying to help Iraqi leaders make the right decisions. But ultimately as I said this is a fight for Iraqi security forces.
I'd also say that in and around Baghdad we continue to see Iraqi security forces, bolstered in some cases by Shia militia, stiffen
themselves, stiffen their resistance. They are fighting back outside of Baghdad and even to the north. So they aren't folding, you know, in the
further south of the country.
And then to your second point, you know, what we saw happen in the north where Iraqi divisions did sort of melt away as ISISL advanced on them
was, we believe, really a reflection of lack of will and lack of leadership. And we believe -- and Secretary Hagel said this very clearly -
- that Prime Minister Maliki and the Iraqi government just squandered the opportunity that they were given in 2011 when U.S. forces left. We left
the ISF, the Iraqi Security Forces, a very competent, capable force for the threat that they were facing.
Over the last three years, they haven't been, the Iraqi government hasn't. Manned resource, trained, equipped, led the Iraqi security forces
in the manner in which was required, particularly as terrorism threats persisted in the country.
So, again, I think we're seeing the ISF stiffen themselves around Baghdad. We are going to look for ways in which we can continue to help
facilitate that. But ultimately, this is their fight.
HOLMES: Yeah, you make a good point there. Certainly Maliki replaced good generals with friends and lackeys in the words of some, and gave an
army no reason to have anything to fight for.
I wish we could talk longer. It's always good to have our thoughts on all of this. Rear Admiral John Kirby, Pentagon spokesman, thanks so much.
KIRBY: Thanks very much. Appreciate it.
HOLMES: All right, a lot more on the situation in Iraq still to come this hour. Just ahead, we're going to hear from a woman who survived a
brutal crackdown on Kurds by the former president of Iraq Saddam Hussein. She's now using her experience, her passion, to help people caught up in
this current crisis. We're going to investigate why the U.S. is stepping in to assist the Yazidis when it has kept out of the conflict in
neighboring Syria as well.
And we'll bring you details of a poignant reunion after a dramatic rescue on Mount Sinjar.
All right, fighting so intense in the city of Donetsk, Ukraine that nearly all districts are said to have been shelled at least to some point.
City leaders says shopping centers have been targeted. There's a fire, too, that's burning near an oil storage facility. Meanwhile, that convoy
of hundreds of Russian trucks has been heading to Ukraine sort of snaking its way along the border, not trying to cross it yet. Moscow says that
convoy there is carrying aid for victims of this fighting. But Kiev worries it could be carrying other things, too, perhaps arms for those pro-
The UN says more than 2,000 people have been killed and thousands have been wounded in the fighting that escalated back in April. Let's go now to
Will Ripley who is in Kiev following developments there.
Will, let's start with these growing death tolls and also Ukraine's attitude to this convoy. They have their own aid to deliver.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you talk about the intense fight in Donetsk where every, you know, every part of the city has seen the
most intense shelling that that has been scene so far in this conflict, which began in mid-April. And keep in mind there are still hundreds of
thousands of people in the city right now, many civilians, families, children, grandparents that are having to live through this right now
hearing this onslaught all around them.
It's a similar situation in Luhansk, more than 200,000 people are there.
Donetsk has fared better in recent days as far as keeping the lights on, keeping the water running, public transportation, all of those services
have been spotty, but still somewhat maintained. Luhansk, a much more complicated and sad situation there where they've essentially been cut off
from everything. They don't have any of the comforts that they were accustomed to just a few short weeks ago. And the lives that they had just
a few months ago before all of this began for many people it changed forever.
94 people now reported killed just in the last few days, more than 100 others injured. The United Nations saying more than 2,000 dead since this
began, and at least 20 of them are children -- 20 children at least. And that's a conservative estimate, because it's hard to get information out of
So the humanitarian convoys are now starting to make some progress. They've carved out these safety corridors where there's essentially a
ceasefire agreement that has -- is seeming to hold right now. A convoy with Ukrainian medical supplies -- and this is all, by the way, the Red
Cross talking care of this. There's no military escort. The way the Red Cross works is all sides have to agree they're going to let the Rd Cross
in. When they see that emblem you don't fire. That's how it works.
Red Cross convoy with medical supplies, Red Cross convoy with food supplies, all of this coming from Ukraine right now. And then we also have
this Russian convoy, which claimed to have a deal with the Red Cross, but we've been checking and the Red Cross tells us there's still no deal with
the Russian convoy, although video that we now have of the convoy shows that there were some red cross vehicles I the area. We don't know if they
were having discussions with members of the Russian Convoy.
We also saw a military escort with that Russian convoy.
And here's what we need to watch now and in the coming hours, Michael, the convoy -- we believe it is parked about 40 kilometers from the
Ukrainian border in the Rostov region of Russian. And if you looks at the maps and you look at where they've been -- and again we don't have official
confirmation of where this convoy is headed, but they are all along a road that would take them directly into the Luhansk region, which seems to
indicate that this convoy, even though the Ukrainian government has said, one, we don't believe that there's necessarily humanitarian aid. There are
two we really don't need it. We now have or own aid that we're sending to the region.
It looks like this convoy might be making a go of it anyway. We don't know, because it's parked right now. We don't know what the future holds.
But if it goes down this road, the Ukrainian government is now starting to take steps to prepare. They've closed off the roads leading
into Luhansk. So even though there might be some rebel controlled territory, this convoy would not be able to move forward without having to
talk to the Ukrainian military first. And the Ukrainian military would only allow the convoy's content to go in if they're unloaded off those
trucks, inspected, and put on other vehicles to get into the people in need. And that's if there's an agreement.
Tensions are running high right now. New video coming in from parliament right here in Kiev where two lawmakers -- it got so intense out
in the hallway they started punching each other. You know, this does happen from time to time in the parliament in Ukraine. But nonetheless
it's a sign, Michael, of just how tense things are right now.
Adding to the situation, an estimate 45,000 Russian troops stationed along the border. 50,000 Ukrainian troops engaged in very intense
fighting. People dying on both sides. Vladimir Putin down in Crimea speaking about the fact that Russian wants to do anything possible to end
the bloody chaos, that's what Vladimir Putin balled it. All of this developing very, very uncertain times right now here in Ukraine, Michael.
HOLMES: Yeah. It certainly is politically and on the battlefield. Thanks so much for everything, Will. Will Ripley there in Kiev
All right, still to come this hour, a dead American woman found stuffed inside a suitcase in Bali. Why police suspect her daughter may
have been involved in that.
And we're going to take a closer look at the humanitarian crisis in northern Iraq. The perspective of a woman who survived a genocide as a
child and who is now working to help vulnerable Iraqis.
HOLMES: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for being with us today.
Well, the possible evacuation of thousands of Iraqis under siege by extremist fighters in Iraq's north currently on hold. And that's due to
an assessment by the U.S. military. They put special forces up on the mountain for 24 hours and found that the minority Yazidis taking refuge
there are in better condition than previously believed. They do have access to food and water that was air dropped and are in much smaller
numbers than was first believed too. So that rescue mission now appears unlikely. Officials believe they can get off the mountain themselves, are
under no direct threat.
Meanwhile, though, the United Nations issuing its highest level of emergency for the humanitarian crisis over all. It says since June, more
than 400,000 people have been driven from their homes by ISIS militants.
Well, Taban Shoresth survived genocide in Iraq back in 1986. She was 4-years-old when she and her family were nearly buried alive by Saddam
Taban is now a director for Rwanga Foundation, that's an NGO that is working on the ground in Iraq and delivering aid to Yazidis stranded on
She joins us now via Skype from Irbil, Iraq.
I want to get to the work that you're doing now, but by way of context -- and it's important perspective, what you and your family went through
back in those dark days under Saddam Hussein when he committed such atrocities, how does that factor into what you're doing now?
TABAN SHORESH, DIRECTOR OF PR, Rwanga foundation: It was a big driving force for me to come back here and do what I'm doing now. My
experience in my childhood have had a lasting impact. And I've always wanted to give back or help in some way. And stacking up a comfortable
life in London was great, but when the humanitarian crisis happened here and I heard about Rwanga Foundation it felt natural for me to come back and
help the people, the vulnerable people.
There are so many displaced people here that desperately need our help.
HOLMES: Of course what we're talking about was, you know, (inaudible) and the gassing of thousands of Kurdish civilians by Saddam Hussein. And
when you look at what's happening now -- and I know that you've been up if I'm not mistaken you've been up on the mountain during those helicopter
drops there, what did you see?
SHORESH: We -- it was heartbreaking to see what I saw. When they say the conditions are bad, it is. You know, these people are stuck on a
mountain. The mountain is hemmed by ISIS. They can't come back in fear of being killed. If the only way out if roughly a 9 to 10 hour walk in the
heat with no water or food, I think that's quite hard for anyone to do.
And when we went there and we actually saw what conditions they were in and as soon as the helicopter landed they all rushed to get onto the
helicopter for safety. The first (inaudible) grasped for was water.
They are thirsty, they're dehydrated, they're starving, most of them didn't have shoes and, you know, terrain in the mountains. They're all
The conditions are bad.
HOLMES: You know, it's one -- it's a terrible thing what they escaped, first of all, what ISIS was doing to their loved ones in their
towns and villages and wheat they went through on Mount Sinjar, another humanitarian crisis.
But you know what strikes me, and we were talking to Anna Coren on the border there earlier, and you look at even once they are off and quote,
unquote safe off that mountain. My goodness what they have in front of them is just more humanitarian crisis isn't it?
SHORESH: Humanitarian crisis is incredible. I can't stress the strain on in the neighboring areas. We have at least 400,000 people
displaced. They're going to cities where its' not built for that many people so that the cities, the villages are automatically just over-
crowded. When you go through them, drive through the cities and the villages you can see people on the streets.
It's clearly evident there is a humanitarian crisis. And Rwanga foundation are doing -- we're doing as much as we can to help the Yazidis,
the Christians, the Syrian refugees. We are doing our bit by delivering basic essential aid in terms of food, water, diapers, mattresses, and a lot
HOLMES: And indeed think about what you and your family went through back in Saddam's days in the 80s and you look at Iraq today and, you know,
still such suffering going on in your country. We've got to leave it there, Taban. ]
Taban Shoresh there, director for Rwanga Foundation, that NGO really working on the ground there. Appreciate what you do. Thanks so much.
SHORESH: Thank you.
HOLMES: Well, live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World. Do stay with us. We'll be right back.
HOLMES: You're watching Connect the World live from CNN Center. Welcome back to the program. I'm Michael Holmes.
All right, a young American woman and her boyfriend have now been declared officially suspects by Indonesian police after the girl's mother's
body was found stuffed in a suitcase at a luxury hotel in Bali. Now that move designating them as suspects, that is, allows authorities to keep the
couple in custody for up to 20 days while police investigate further.
CNN's Pamela Brown reports.
PAMELA?BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Found inside this bloody suitcase the badly beaten body of a Chicago woman, left inside a taxi trunk
at the upscale St. Regis Hotel in Bali. Indonesian officials say the body of Sheila Von Weisemack was bundled into a hotel bedsheet and stuffed into
the suitcase. A forensic doctor says there were signs of a struggle. From the existing wound we found the victim was hit by a blunt object on her
face and head, the doctor says. Her 19-year-old daughter heather and Tommy Schaefer were taken into custody Tuesday in connection with the grisly
So far they haven't been charged. Police say the young couple hailed a cab at the St. Regis Hotel. When it arrived the cab driver told police they
put the suitcase in the trunk and then went back inside the hotel and disappeared. The driver became suspicious and contacted hotel employees.
When they opened the trunk they saw blood on the luggage and drove it to a police station and that's where police made the gruesome discovery.
Authorities say two smaller suitcases containing bloodied hotel towels were later found in the St. Regis garden seen here in this promotional video for
Six miles away, police found Mack's daughter and Schaefer sleeping in another hotel. The couple said they had been attacked by an armed gang who
killed Maxene, an affiliate Trans TV reported. The 62-year-old's death stunned her Chicago community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has a lot of friends and a lot of people knew her here and I think this will be a real shock.
BROWN: Just a day before her murder, Schaefer, a self-proclaimed rapper from Chicago tweeted this message, out of the country for a while,
#blessed. How long he'll be out of the country is now in the hands of Indonesian authorities.
TOM FUENTES, FORMER FBI CNN CONTRIBUTOR: They have whatever rights that country gives them. And I think Americans have this delusional
thought that they go overseas and think that they're in the United States, "I'm going to call my attorney, I'm going to do this, I'm going to do
that." When you're in another country, you're under their law. They could face the death penalty.
BROWN: Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.
HOLMES: All right, the latest world headlines just ahead for you. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, we'll be right back.
HOLMES: Welcome back to the CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Michael Holmes, and now the top stories for you this hour.
The US says a rescue mission for those minority Yazidis stranded on a mountain in northern Iraq now seems unlikely. Why? Well, because the
number of displaced people there are not in the tens of thousands as previously believed. Their needs, though, are still great. The United
Nations calls the situation for those on the mountain and those who've made their escape a catastrophe.
A new cease-fire agreed between Israel and Palestinian officials last night does appear to be holding. Fire was exchanged between Gaza and
Israel near the end of the previous truce and at the beginning of the new one, but the shooting did quickly stop.
A huge march is sparking fears of clashes across Pakistan. Protesters causing for the resignation of the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif. They're
accusing him of vote-rigging in last year's national elections.
Brazil declaring three days of national mourning for the victims of a plane crash in the coastal town of Santos on Wednesday. Seven people were
killed, including presidential candidate Eduardo Campos, who was a leading contender for October's election.
Another night of violent protest in Ferguson, Missouri, in the United States. That city has been in uproar after a black teenager was shot and
killed by a police officer. Each night, protests have become volatile, police firing teargas, flash grenades, and smoke grenades.
All right, let's return now to the top story, that is the ongoing crisis in Iraq. About 15,000 Yazidi refugees have now crossed the border
from Iraq into Syria, and many of them back into Iraq. That's according to the UN. Thousands more are on their way. Those pictures there as they
cross from Syria into Iraq.
The US says many have escaped the mountain from the north of the country where they had been under siege by ISIS militants. As we just
said, that has put the evacuation plans on hold, the US saying that airstrikes have successfully managed to open an escape route for the
refugees to walk out. There had been similar calls for airstrikes in Syria. They remain unanswered. Jim Sciutto explains why.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are neighbors, both plagued by ISIS and by humanitarian disasters.
So, why has President Obama ordered military action in Iraq, while avoiding it in Syria?
The two countries have some clear differences. First, US military action in Syria faced powerful international opposition from Syria's
allies: Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah. ISIS has no international protectors.
Second, limited airstrikes against a well-armed Syrian military with robust air defenses was likely to have had limited impact. Airstrikes on
ISIS have, at least temporarily, stop its advance on Erbil.
Third, while Iraq gives the US both an ally in the Iraqi government and a clear enemy in ISIS, the Syrian battlefield is far more confusing,
and so far, lacks a formidable ally in the Free Syrian Army.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's always been a fantasy, this idea that we could provide some light arms or even more
sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists, and so forth.
SCIUTTO: Still, for some, including former members of his own administration, the differences are not so clear-cut. US ambassador to
Syria, Robert Ford, resigned in disgust at the US failure to intervene.
ROBERT FORD, FORMER US AMBASSADOR TO SYRIA: I was no longer in a position where I felt I could defend the American policy. We have been
unable to address either the root causes of the conflict, in terms of the fighting on the ground and the balance on the ground.
SCIUTTO: And there's the humanitarian cost as well. In just the ten days since the Yazidis fled to the mountains in northern Iraq, more than
1300 Syria civilians have died virtually unnoticed. Administration officials defend a foreign policy they argue acknowledges that the US
cannot solve every crisis.
BEN RHODES, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Think carefully before you get into military interventions. I think that's a lesson of the last
ten years that the American people have internalized.
HOLMES: Ben Rhodes concluding that report from Jim Sciutto on the parameters of US foreign policy. The plight of the Yazidis in northern
Iraq has certainly factored into recent decision-making.
A report now from senior international correspondent Ivan Watson. He featured that family rushing to board the Iraqi helicopter taking them to
safety, and the girl, that memorable girl in tears on that flight. Well, he managed to find that family again in the town of Zakho.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the chaos of an evacuation from Sinjar Mountain, several faces stood out.
A 16-month-old baby and two very frightened sisters named Aziza and Dunya.
Two days after their airborne escape, we found their older brother, Keddem (ph), who was also on the helicopter. He led us to the place where
they found refuge.
WATSON (on camera): Can we see?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you can come.
WATSON (voice-over): After fleeing ISIS, this is how thousands of Iraqis are living.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We no have -- we no have food, we now have drink, we no have sleep. It is very, very poor. It's no good.
WATSON: Up on the third floor of this derelict building, we find our friends from the helicopter.
WATSON (on camera): Hi, guys. Marhaba. Look at you! I remember you! Hi.
WATSON (voice-over): It turns out 16-month-old Helene (ph) is a cousin of the teenage sisters Dunya and Aziza.
WATSON (on camera): Aziza. Hi. It's good to see you.
WATSON (voice-over): Dunya says she had mixed feelings when she escaped aboard the chopper.
DUNYA HAMID, REFUGEE (through translator): I was happy we survived, but I was sad and worried about my father.
WATSON: The ordeal began a week and a half ago, when everyone in the city if Sinjar immediately fled upon hearing news that ISIS militants were
fast approaching. Amid the panic, Dunya's older brother says his father refused to leave.
THABED HAMID, REFUGEE (through translator): We all tried hard to convince my dad, but he refused to go. He said it would be a humiliation.
I decided I couldn't let them capture the girls and women, so we left.
WATSON: The family didn't make it far in their car before they ran into ISIS fighters, shooting at fleeing civilians on a bridge. "I jumped
out of the car and off the bridge," Aziza says, "because I was scared of ISIS." The family of 12 fled on foot up Sinjar Mountain, from the frying
pan into the fire.
D. HAMID (through translator): If were able to find a tree where we could rest in the shade, we were lucky. For the first four days, we had no
food, only water. Any bread we found, we fed to the little kids to keep them alive.
WATSON: The family lasted a few more days, thanks to aid drops from the sky, and several sheep that they caught and slaughtered. But they
realized they wouldn't survive much longer unless they escaped.
WATSON (on camera): The family says they tried and failed several times to get onboard a helicopter to escape the mountain. When our chopper
landed, they say they were lucky that they were the only people around in that particular area. But the fact that in that chaos all of them were
able to get onboard the aircraft is just short of a miracle.
WATSON (voice-over): Now safe in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Hamid family lives like thousands of other refugees, on a few square feet of bare
concrete. On Tuesday, the family got amazing news: a phone call from their missing father. He escaped ISIS and made it up to Sinjar Mountain.
Like thousands of Iraqis on the run, the Hamid family's story is one of grit and survival against terrifying odds. It is a story that's far
Ivan Watson, CNN, Zakho, Iraqi Kurdistan.
HOLMES: And Pope Francis has been praying for the refugees from the conflict in Iraq. The pontiff, of course, currently in Asia, in South
Korea, actually, the first papal visit to the Asian nation in 25 years.
As well as addressing the crises in the Middle East -- that's crises, plural -- the pope called for more dialogue between North and South Korea.
And the team at CONNECT THE WORLD would love to hear your thoughts on all of the stories we've brought to you today, the crisis in Iraq and
everything else. Have your say at facebook.com/CNNconnect. You can always tweet me @HolmesCNN. And on that note, that is CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks
for your company.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, HOST: This week on MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, from prime minister to president-elect.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Recep Tayyip Erdogan!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEFTERIOS: Recep Tayyip Erdogan secures his win. We look at what it means for this large regional player and sizable emerging market.
And trying to rebuild the auto sector in Iran. We speak to industrialist Mohammad Reza Najafi about the extension of nuclear talks and
what could be a promising consumer market there.
Welcome to MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST. A first in Turkey this week: Recep Tayyip Erdogan will become the first president directly elected by
the people. A few years ago, this large emerging market was growing by 9 percent a year. It's about half that level right now, with the situation
complicated by the unrest in neighboring Syria and Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Recep Tayyip Erdogan!
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan secured his prize, making the transition from prime minister to president-elect.
But it appears the honeymoon period in financial markets will be a short one.
The first day of trading after the election, the main Istanbul Borsa 100 index finished down nearly 2.5 percent. Ratings agency Fitch
suggesting there remain political risks in Turkey, and that the long- serving PM may overreach in his new role.
DEFTERIOS: Erdogan, during acceptance remarks, says it's time to open a new chapter.
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF TURKEY (through translator): Brothers, I say this from the heart, let's start a new social
reconciliation period today and let's leave the old discussions in the old Turkey. Let's leave tensions, culture of clashes, and virtual problems in
DEFTERIOS: That softer tone comes after what's been a difficult 18 months in Turkey.
DEFTERIOS: He faced intense protests over development plans in central Istanbul and corruption allegations that reached to the top of the
ruling party. Before those setbacks, Mr. Erdogan represented a different face of Islam, one that could be pro-business.
The challenge now is getting growth back up to 8 to 9 percent, like it was just a few years ago. Or, as this recovery to 4 percent, after a dip
down to 2 percent, the new normal in Turkey?
BULENT ALIRIZA, DIRECTOR, CSIS TURKEY PROJECT: I think more serious questions will continue to be asked about whether the Turkish economic
miracle is going to continue. That's been a very important component of the string of victories that Mr. Erdogan has had.
DEFTERIOS: He has a plan to make Turkey a top ten economy by taking total GDP from $820 billion to $2 trillion by 2023. He wants to more than
double per capita income from just below $11,000 to $25,000 in the same time frame.
Many believe Erdogan would like to remain in office to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic that will take place also in 2023
to mark his place in history next to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.
DEFTERIOS: His first order of business is trying to prevent problems in neighboring Syria, and now northern Iraq, from defining his first
chapter as president and undermining his growth plans.
DEFTERIOS: A very delicate situation, of course, in Turkey right now. Investors are waiting to see what happens at the end of the month when the
ruling AK Party will likely pick a successor as prime minister to Erdogan. Now, let's take a look at the other stories driving headlines in the region
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): Despite security concerns and violence in Iraq, oil prices managed to touch a nine-month low as OPEC's second-largest
producer managed to boost exports slightly in the month of July. Most of the exports are being channeled through the south around Basra.
Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad joins Dubai-based Emirates and others suspending flights to Erbil in northern Iraq. However, Etihad says flights
to Baghdad and Basra will continue.
DEFTERIOS: The Iranian government's not normally a big supporter of Western popular culture, but it's not making a big fuss about one
entrepreneur who's going against social norms. He's building skateboards in his basement and helping develop a skateboard community in Tehran along
the way. Reza Sayah has the story.
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He is skilled at the throw-down, a move that gets you on a skateboard at near-
full speed. He can do a perfect mini-ramp jump, a leap off an incline that gets you and you wheels airborne. He's smooth at grinding the rail. And
he can kick-flip with the greatest of ease.
M.J. Rahimi has mastered some of the world's most popular skateboarding tricks. But the one skill that's fast making M.J. a
recognized name is crafting skateboards inside his basement in Tehran, Iran, a country that's steadily putting itself on the map in the world of
"I'm very happy I'm making skateboards," he says. "My biggest dream is to make a skateboard and have a professional skate on it."
Rahimi says his first homemade board shattered into pieces, but he kept at it. When the sport started picking up popularity in Iran several
years ago, demand for affordable equipment picked up, too.
M.J. starts by gluing together thin layers of maple wood, then presses them into sloped boards, and carves and sands them into shape. "When I
first started, my dad said it'll never work. But now he supports me," he says.
M.J. plans to create an affordable brand and sell his boards at a growing number of skate shops in the Islamic republic, where trendy
teenagers shop for gear to the tune of the latest techno beats.
ALI REZA ANSARI, T-SIXTY SKATE SHOP: We are doing our best to improve skateboarding here, and we have really good skaters here.
SAYAH (on camera): Ever since the 1979 Islamic revolution, the leadership here in Iran has been very wary about the spread and influence
of Western culture. Rock n' roll music, for example, is banned. So is dancing in public. But when it comes to skateboarding, not only does the
government seem fine with it, in many ways, they're actually supporting it.
The government has authorized six skate parks in the capital Tehran alone, and others in Ahvaz, Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz, and even the holy city
of Qom. Perfect arenas for Iran's growing skateboard community to ride M.J.'s skateboards, made in a basement in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
DEFTERIOS: The skateboard industry's not the only thing ramping up in Iran. Years of crippling sanctions nearly killed off the auto sector, but
ongoing nuclear talks are helping ease restrictions. Up next on MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, we'll speak to auto magnate Mohammad Reza Najafi
when we return.
DEFTERIOS: Welcome back to MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST. Mohammad Reza Najafi made his name in the Iranian auto sector, but he's watched that
industry, along with the economy of over 76 million people hit hard by Western-imposed sanctions.
Those sanctions have eased a bit with the ongoing talks between the P5 plus 1 and Iran. Najafi spoke to our Reza Sayah about the influence of
those negotiations on the Iranian economy and his sector.
SAYAH (voice-over): Twenty-six years ago, Mohammad Reza Najafi started manufacturing auto parts in Iran. Today, he's an industry leader,
supplying roughly 3 million springs and 1 million brake pads every year to Iranian auto makers.
Najafi's success has made him a leading voice in Iran's efforts to reenergize its struggling economy and earned him seats on Tehran's Chamber
of Commerce and the Board of Directors of the Iranian Auto Parts Manufacturers Association. Like many business leaders, Najafi watched with
great interest the recent nuclear negotiations between Iran and the world powers.
SAYAH (on camera): What was your reaction when they couldn't reach a deal?
MOHAMMAD REZA NAJAFI, IRANIAN AUTO PARTS MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION: As a matter of fact, it was a deal. But naturally, it takes more time and
we are happy that it is continuing.
SAYAH: Would you agree that Iran's economy is not going to improve unless the sanctions are lifted?
NAJAFI: Oh, it's a very difficult question to answer, really, because at the same time, during the sanction time, we tried to find our own way to
improve ourselves and so on. But we are interested to collaborate with them, so it is an obstacle, it should be closely removed.
SAYAH: Tell me about Iran's economy today. Where does it stand?
NAJAFI: These three months of the year, the first quarter of the year of Iranian year, the trade -- international trade from 18.5 billion has
increased to 24.5 billion.
SAYAH: It's increased?
NAJAFI: Increased. And we hope after removing the sanctions, then we'll have at least 6 percent growth in the economy of the country and at
least 10 percent growth in the industry.
SAYAH: Iran is still dependent on oil exports. That's been almost halved because of the sanctions. And then we have the banking sanctions.
DEFTERIOS: How --
DEFTERIOS: -- economy thrive if they're cut off --
DEFTERIOS: -- system?
NAJAFI: So, the banking system is one of the main points that we hope that is removed very soon. Of course, we have found our own way. But the
best way is that road to go through the normal way, which costs much lower and it is more normal.
DEFTERIOS: Do you sense that over this past year, when relations have thawed with the West, that investors and businessmen and women, they want
to come to Iran and invest?
NAJAFI: Exactly. Exactly. After and even before this, we see a lot of delegations coming from all over the world. All of them, we are ready,
we are interested, we are eager to come here for partnering here with us.
DEFTERIOS: Iran's position is they've made enough concessions, that their nuclear program is open for inspections. Even so, a deal wasn't
struck. Why are you optimistic that eventually a deal will happen?
NAJAFI: For sure it will happen. Why? Because we are a peaceful people, and we have a capable country. We have more than 4 million
students at university. We have the natural resources, and we are ready, we are open for collaboration with the world, and we hope that with
collaboration, everybody will have their interest out of it, and it will be a win-win play.
DEFTERIOS: For more about the program, visit our website, cnn.com/mme. You can reach out, of course, and comment about the program
on our Facebook page as well.
And that's all for this edition of CNN MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST. I'm John Defterios, thanks for watching. We'll see you next week.