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CONNECT THE WORLD
Israel and Hamas Agree to Egyptian Plan; Role Qatar Played in Freeing American Journalist; Qatar's Influences, U.S. Officials Claim Egypt, UAE Conducted Airstrikes Inside Libya; One Square Meter: Dusit Thani to Open First Hotel in Africa
Aired August 26, 2014 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Hamas says it's ready to hold its fire against Israel. Well, Israel itself is still holding its tongue. I'm Becky
Anderson live with breaking news about a possible long-term ceasefire in the Middle East. This is Connect the World.
All right, it's 7:00 in the evening in the UAE. Let's get straight to the details on this breaking news on what could be a major development in the
Reza Sayah is in Cairo, that's where on and off talks have been talking place now for weeks. He joins us live.
Do we have a deal at this point?
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't know yet, Becky. And we should point out over the past several weeks we've seen a lot of
these ceasefire reports turn out to be false. So, until and unless we have confirmation from both sides, the Israelis and the Palestinians, that they
have an agreement we're not sure exactly what this is. This Israelis aren't saying much. However, the Palestinians seem to think that both
sides have agreed to some sort of ceasefire.
And whatever this agreement is, the Palestinians seem to like it. They're describing it as some sort of victory. And they say an announcement is
coming, it's 7:00 p.m. local time. That's in roughly one hour.
Palestinian television a short time ago quoting Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh describing this agreement as being on the cusp of a political understanding
culminating in a victory for the Palestinians. That's the statement that would seem to suggest that there's an agreement where the Palestinians have
received some sort of concessions from the Israelis. We don't know if that's a fact. The statement could certainly be posturing by the
Palestinians, but when you hear a statement like that you're obviously eager to see the details of this agreement. And if, indeed, it means these
two sides are going to come back to Cairo and once again engage in indirect negotiations -- remember they've tried that four times over the past
several weeks, each time the talks have failed.
But if, indeed, this is true, it could be potentially another opportunity for negotiations here in Cairo -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Let me get this straight, no details of any deal and no timeframe as to when this announcement from Hamas might come at this point,
SAYAH: Correct. And that's why we're going to have to pay close attention to the announcement at 7:00 p.m. Once this announcement comes, we're going
to have to see if, indeed, this is a long-term agreement, which is probably unlikely, knowing the history of this conflict, or if it's a short-term
agreement on a ceasefire that will give these two sides an opportunity to come back to Cairo and discuss the big issues, the so-called core demands
that have caused this impasse.
Remember, on one side you have Hamas, the Palestinians, they want the lifting of the blockade, the opening of the border crossings, a sea port,
an airport. They say that's the only way to live with self-determination and dignity. And then you have Israel who says none of that will addressed
unless our security concerns are addressed, that means the disarming of Hamas and the demilitarization of Gaza.
So we'll be watching in about an hour to see exactly what this is and if any of these core demands have been addressed, Becky.
ANDERSON: As Reza suggests, that announcement expected at around 7:00 local time.
Reza, for the time being, thank you.
Well, it's easy to view this city, Abu Dhabi, where we are broadcasting from, as an oasis of calm in what is a highly volatile Middle East region.
But this is the capital of a country with a big role to play in regional affairs, and one that today finds itself accused of trying to force change
thousands of kilometers away in Libya.
The UAE is staying largely silent on U.S. claims that it took part in airstrikes against Libyan Islamists who are supported by another Gulf
state, and that is Qatar. And that country's influence in this region and beyond is in little doubt.
We now know Doha negotiated the release of U.S. journalist Peter Theo Curtis from extremists in Syria.
Now throughout this hour, we're going to investigate the dynamics of these small nations with lofty aspirations.
Well, let's start with Libya. The U.S. and its European allies are warning against outside interference in Libya after the recent airstrikes on
Islamist militias there.
Senior U.S. officials say Egypt and the UAE teamed up twice in the last week to bomb Islamists fighting for control of Tripoli's airport.
Well, now Egypt has flatly denied those accusations. And the UAE's foreign affairs minister issued a dismissal online.
But these strikes, whoever was responsible, do seem to indicate just how fearful the region is of the mess that Libya is today.
Well, Jomana Kardasheh joins me now from Baghdad with more insight in what is a complex situation. You're in Baghdad reporting on the story as it
roils there, but most times you'll be reporting for us from Tripoli, which is why clearly we're talking to you about this tonight.
The plot thickens, doesnOt it, in Libya with western powers ordering UAE and Egypt to keep out of the country. And those countries dismissing
claims that they are involved.
What do we know for sure at this point?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: We don't, Becky. We really do not know who is behind these airstrikes. They are still the
mystery airstrikes, accusations and counter accusations.
That report by the New York Times yesterday saying that U.S. officials are saying that it was the UAE and Egypt who were behind the airstrikes, that
it was the UAE's really capable and powerful air force that carried out those air strikes and Egypt provided them with a launching pad. They were
using Egyptian territory to launch these strikes on neighboring Libya.
And as you mentioned, flat out denial coming form those countries, a very most cautious denial, really, coming from Egypt on this. But within Libya,
as you and I mentioned this yesterday, Becky, people have felt that their country is a proxy battlefield between these various countries. You have
the Islamists on one side being accused by the anti-Islamists of being supported and funded by Qatar and armed. And on the other hand, we saw
these airstrikes with the Islamists coming out and blaming already, before these reports came out, saying that this happened -- this was carried out
by the UAE and Egypt.
So this is something that Libyans have been talking about.
One thing, though. In that report, they do say that the U.S. was taken by surprised with this. A lot of Libyans that I've been talking to find it
very hard to believe that the U.S., with its presence in the region, surveillance and military presence in the Mediterranean and around Libya
did not know who was carrying out these airstrikes or was taken by surprise.
ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating stuff. And we're going to do more, much more on this story as we move through this hour. For the time being, Jomana,
thank you for that.
Well, U.S. President Barack Obama has taken another step in the battle against ISIS militants. A U.S. officials tells CNN Mr. Obama has approved
the use of reconnaissance flights over Syria. One analyst points out these flights will be able to gather intelligence on ISIS training areas on
equipment, on positions and on encampments. And the flights could lay the groundwork for potential airstrikes.
Well, meanwhile, the president of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq says that Iran has been providing weapons to Kurdish forces to fight of
Iran's foreign minister says that support does not include any soldiers.
You can just see what a complex region this is.
Nick Paton Walsh joining me live from London with more.
And Nick, what is the latest out of Syria both on the ground and in the air?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Well, in terms of the push towards an airbase on the outskirts of Raqqa, that remains I think the
prevalent ISIS victory militarily in the past few days or so, a sign that they can continually put pressure on those holdout parts that the regime
managed to retain control over. And they appear to have liberated, in their terms, an awful lot of weaponry from there as well.
So, it's clear that no matter where they face setbacks in perhaps Iraq or other areas, too, ISIS continue to have a front foot that they're very
happy to operate on.
We know that now, of course, at some point in the imminent future air surveillance could happen over Syria by U.S. drones or spycraft. But that
is, of course, just a part of the intelligence picture they need. They would need people on the ground as well if they are to avoid civilian
ANDERSON: Nick, is it any clearer at this stage whether the U.S. will be prepared to take up the offer of help, or coordination as the foreign
minister of Syria called it when he offered this help from the Assad government in fighting ISIS?
WALSH: No. I mean, it's highly unlikely Washington would want to be seen in any public way being in cahoots with Damascus.
I mean, you know, remember for years they've criticized the civilians campaign against civilians that the Assad regime has waged, killing tens of
thousands and ultimately forming the radicalism, many say, that contributed to ISIS having a safe haven in northern Syria.
So bear in mind, too, that this time last year also we were in the middle of a discussion as to whether or not the Assad regime had in fact used
chemical weapons against its own people.
So I think the idea from a moral perspective of an open alliance with Assad, particularly coordinated airstrikes or seeking permission for them,
that's very farfetched. Maybe tacitly there will be an acceptance and some notifications silently perhaps that certain things may be underway. But at
the end of the day, I can't see any reason why the Syrians would want to prevent the Americans attacking their key enemy. And no reason why
Washington would want to be open and cooperating with the Assad regime, Becky.
ANDERSON: So, all right. Nick Paton Walsh out of London for you this hour.
Still to come, Qatar says it helped secure the release of the American journalist in Syria a couple of days ago. We'll analyze Doha's growing
influence in this region.
First, though, I want to take a look at the impact Qatar and other regional players are having in the growing chaos inside Libya. As promised, stay
ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson out of Abu Dhabi at 14 minutes past 7:00 this evening her in the
Well, Libya is on the brink of another bloody power struggle just three years after rebel militia toppled the long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Now, the rebels have turned on themselves. And the outcome of this fight could have massive implications for this region.
ANDERSON: Black plumes of smoke line the horizon, gunfire rings through the streets: it's the worst fighting Libya has seen since rebel groups
overthrew dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
Once united behind a common goal, the Zintan and Misrata brigades have now turned their guns on each other, fighting over political and economic power
and Libya's vast oil reserves.
And now reports that Libya has become the latest arena in a regional battle for influence between Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on
the one hand, and Turkey and Qatar on the other.
On Tuesday, the New York Times, citing senior American officials, reported that Egypt and the UAE have secretly launched airstrikes against the
Islamist allied Misrata Brigade twice in the past week, effectively coming out in support of the anti-Islamist Zintan fighters.
Misrata fighters have seized the main airport in Tripoli Saturday evening just hours after the suspected airstrikes rocked the capital.
The newspaper, citing the officials, reported that the strikes took place without the knowledge of the United States, catching Washignton by
But so far, the Egyptians and the Emiratis have denied taking part in military action in Libya.
Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman told CNN suggestions it was involved in recent airstrikes are nonsense.
And the UAE's minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash tweeted this reaction, "the attempt to drag the UAE into the Libyan issue is an
escape from facing the results of the elections and the legitimacy that it brought about and the desire of the majority in Libya for stability and
He's referring to the elections in June that brought to power new anti- Islamist government. But the administration so far proved ill-positioned to quell the violence.
MOHAMMED ABDEL AZIZ, LIBYAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): The struggle in Libya now is one between those who want to build a state with
institutions, law and legitimacy and those who will to impede the state institutions and law. We are suffering from terrorism, extremism and
ideologies that do not belong to the Libyan peoples.
ANDERSON: And to add to the already volatile situation, the outgoing group reconvened on Monday to elect a new Islamist-backed government, essentially
leaving Libya with rival government backed by armed militia and their foreign backers.
ANDERSON: Well, you heard from the Libyan foreign minister about just how concerned he is about what is going on in his country. That being said,
just 24, 48 hours ago in Egypt.
Let's take a closer look at the potential fallout in the Middle East and around the world if this chaotic situation in Libya continues to escalate.
Joining me now from Cairo is H.A. Hellyer a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution. He's also an associate fellow at the Royal United
And I, Hashan, wonder whether whose planes they were in the air over the past week or so, is slightly missing the point here. What they were doing
was intervening to help anti-Islamist groups where neither the UN, the U.S., the Arab League has provided assistance in the past. In a country on
the cups of civil war and staring down the barrel of a right-wing Islamist government.
H.A. HELLYER, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Well, I think what we have to look at here, Becky, is that this all takes place against a backdrop of a very wide
polarization within the region. Yes, what's happened over the last few days have been airstrikes that are directed at harming one side within
Libya to the benefit of another side, but it's playing it out as something very close to a proxy war within Libya, right.
So what would have been far more healthy, I think, over the last couple of weeks in Libya would have been for the different powers in the region to
come together to try to figure out a way to support the elected government of Libya, to restore some sort of stability in order to push back against
those militias that are aligned more and more closely to ISIS.
Instead, what we see, at least over the last few days with these sorts of strikes, especially since nobody seems to be claiming responsibility for
them, which again introduces this lack of transparency, it increases tension and it raises the stakes. If today one country or two countries or
three decide that they're going to intervene on one side, what's to stop another country or two or three or four the next day doing the say either
in Libya or somewhere else? And that's a domino effect that I think we really want to avoid.
ANDERSON: We've been talking for too long about this proxy war being fought one the one hand with Qatar and Turkey sitting on one side and perhaps
Saudi, the UAE and Egypt on the other.
Paint me the worst case scenarios here. I want to start wth Egypt for example. Why is it that the Egyptian government is so concerned. When I
talked to the Egyptian foreign minister about six weeks ago he said Libya is his number one concern -- why?
HELLYER: I think that's got to do with partly obviously the fact that there is an Islamist element within Libya that the Egyptians are concerned
about, because the present Egyptian government is obviously very concerned about Islamism having waged what they consider to be their own war on
terror with regards to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. So that's one element of it.
Having said that, they do deal with Islamist groups in other areas and in other countries. One thing that was very interesting over the last few
days is that the Tunisian government sent their own representatives to Cairo for a variety of different meetings. And the party with the largest
amount of support within the Tunisian regime at present is al Lahta (ph), which is the Tunisian version of the Muslim Brotherhood.
So it's not purely the Islamist aspect of it. There's an aspect here that I think relates far more, the stability. And the stability of Libya is
something that concerns the Egyptians a great deal, because it means that if the country completely breaks down then you're likely to see threats
coming across the border. And Egypt already has a terrorism history. It already has groups like Ansar Beit al-Maqtas (ph), Abna Mas (ph) and some
other smaller ones that are popping up. And if they were to align or join forces with groups across the border, especially across the border in a
country that's awash with arms, that's an incredibly worrying thing fo the Egyptian authorities.
ANDERSON: And a million Egyptians, of course, in Libya, something like 1.4 million Libyans in Egypt, of course.
Egypt and Libya on the back of the meeting at the weekend have announced a joint effort to bring stability to Libya. But the foreign minister in
Egypt Sameh Chokri says it will be done without interfering, backing up, perhaps, what we heard from the president who said the Egyptian planes were
not interfering in the air. Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMEH CHOKRI, FOREIGN MINISTER OF EGYPT (through translator): Sovereign principles. Most importantly, respecting the sovereignty of Libya,
refusing any foreign intervention in its internal affairs, committed to an inclusive dialogue and denouncing violence and terrorism while also
supporting the political process.
The initiative also includes a number of executive factors. Most importantly, the immediate halting to all armed operations and the
initiation of a dialogue between the political parties that denounce violence to reach a national conciliation and a new constitution for the
Also, the concession of all arms held by militia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Hesham (ph), just finally, do you think the U.S. has called it wrong on Libya. I guess sense from experts that I'm talking to in this
region that there is a bit of a pivot here perhaps towards Moscow and away from Washington at present, which might surprise some of our viewers, but
it certainly a story I'm hearing here.
Well, two things, Becky. First, with regards to non-interference, I think it's important to raise -- it won't be considered to be non-interference if
you have calls from within Libya, especially from the elected government, where they are to be interference and intervention of some sort. And that
intervention doesn't have to be militarily by airstrikes, it could be by other means as well.
And I see the building blocks for that taking place at present. And you saw that with the Libyan foreign ministry yesterday and from the speaker of
the Libyan parliament asking for assistance.
So that's one aspect of it.
Secondly, with regards to the Russian connection, frankly, that seems to be a bit of a bluff from within the region, particularly over the last few
months. With regards to trying to put the American administration on the back foot. A lot of people are very unhappy and very impatient with
President Obama's approach to the Middle East. And I think some of them feel that there's an opportunity there to try to put leverage on the -- try
to use Russian leverage to induce the United States to act a little bit more aggressively.
And there's also the suggestion that, OK, we have a great relationship with the United States, we're going to continue having that relationship, but
we're going to diversify our channels of influence.
I think it's very unlikely that we're going to see the U.S. displaced from the region in favor of the Russians, but I do think that there will be an
increased connection with Russia and Moscow over the coming few years.
And with that, we'll leave it there. Always a pleasure to talk to you. And we will speak very soon. Hesham Hellyer (ph) for you on what is an
incredibly important story here in the region.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. I'll be back with all your world news headlines in just a few moments.
Though, but just after this short break one of Asian's best known hotel brands expanding in a sub-Saharan Africa. We are bringing you a little bit
of luxury in this week's one square meter.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A Dusit Thani (ph) welcome. I'm here to meet Thierry Duon at his flagship hotel in Abu Dhabi.
THIERRY DUON, DUSIT THANI: So here you've got our team player, which is a typical Thai touch.
DEFTERIOS: Well, established in Asia and growing in the Middle East, the hotel chain is now looking at new horizons.
DUON: So the next restaurant is our (inaudible) Thai -- Royal Thai cuisine, which is our signature outlet.
DEFTERIOS: It will bring you a particular flavor of Thai hospitality to sub-Saharan Africa.
DUON: The natural gateway for us is Nairobi in Kenya where we are actually opening a Dusit D II, which is our second brand.
DEFTERIOS: You've been in this business for, what, three decades. Is it Africa's time, if you will?
DUON: Definitely. I think everyone is looking at Africa at the moment. It's definitely the continent with so much natural resources that present
lots of opportunities.
DEFTERIOS: Africa is rising. Over 77 million international tourists are forecast to arrive in 2020.
The global hotel brands can afford to wait to see what the carriers, particularly the Gulf airlines, are doing on the continent. Once a route
opens up, it's a very strong bet that the businessmen will be right behind.
As Nigeria's economic might grows, so does the desire for international hotel brands to be in Lagos. Over the next five years, the
Intercontinental Hotel group will venture into Uganda and Senegal for the first time adding six to its existing stock of 29.
The Marriott bought South African brand the Proteia Hospitality Group (ph) for $200 million. By 2018, it will have a total of 155 hotels and resorts.
Dusit Thani hopes its unique blend of Thai and local cultures will set it apart from its rivals. Opening day for D2 Nairobi is imminent. General
manager Olivier Francais oversees the finishing touches.
OLIVIER FRANCAIS, GENERAL MANAGER, D2 NAIROBI: Markets, all right. So, we want to be the market (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The market (inaudible).
DEFTERIOS: As with all new ventures, there have been some challenges.
FRANCAIS: In terms of record, not as well. It was a bit challenging. The numbers of hotels happening in the next couple of months are quite a few,
and obviously, now it's quite hard to find the proper associate. Since six to eight weeks already, we are training them on deliveries to be ready the
day of the D Day.
DEFTERIOS: Dusit Thani's ambitions won't stop in Kenya or in Sub-Sahara Africa. A Tunisian development will open in the resort city of Sousse four
years from now.
John Defterios, CNN, Abu Dhabi.
ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. The top stories for you this hour on CNN.
Rockets and airstrikes still flying across the Israel-Gaza border as word circulates of a possible cease-fire deal. That is coming from Hamas
officials. But Israeli government spokesman, Mark Regev has dismissed reports of an upcoming deal. We are looking at that in possibly a half
hour. Stay with us for more on that.
Senior US officials say Egypt and the UAE were behind recent airstrikes targeting Islamist fighters in Libya. The attacks reportedly took the
Obama administration by surprise. Now, Egypt has flatly denied the accusations, and the UAE's foreign affairs minister issued a dismissal
A US official tells CNN that President Obama has authorized reconnaissance flights over Syria to collect intelligence on the ISIS militant group
there. The flights could eventually lead to US airstrikes on ISIS targets there, but a Pentagon spokesman says there's no intention to coordinate
with Syrian authorities.
Elsewhere, the leaders of Ukraine and Russia have come to face-to-face for the first time since June. Russian president Vladimir Putin and the
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko are in the capital of Belarus and are expected to hold talks on the crisis in eastern Ukraine.
The mother of recently freed American captive Peter Theo Curtis is speaking to the media. Nancy Curtis told ABC World News she wasn't convinced her
son was actually alive and demanded proof from intermediaries working to free him.
Now, Peter Curtis was released after nearly two years in captivity in Syria. His mother said the first person she contacted after her son's
release was the mother of the beheaded American journalist James Foley to make sure she didn't hear the news from the media first.
Qatar helped broker Curtis's release. That raises questions not only about the country's influence with extremist groups, but also about the role
played by the US. "The Washington Post" says Washington asked Qatar for assistance and does so regularly.
ANDERSON (voice-over): A tiny country with huge coffers and a sizable international influence. Make no bones about it: Qatar has become a major
presence on the international stage. The release of American journalist Peter Theo Curtis from an al Qaeda affiliate in Syria is just the latest
diplomatic feat of many achieved by Doha.
In a statement, Qatar's Foreign Ministry said its efforts to secure Curtis's release were driven by, quote, "humanitarian principles."
In June, the government of Qatar, a US ally, helped broker the release of US army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl from the Afghan Taliban in exchange for the
release of five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay.
Qatar's communications channels with groups like the Taliban and Curtis's captors, the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, have made it a vital conduit
for tricky negotiations. But critics have questioned the extent of its relationships with these shadowy groups, despite the Gulf emirate's
contention that it does not support extremists.
Elsewhere in the region, Qatar has provided political support to Egypt's now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, and Doha has been accused of supporting the
Palestinian group Hamas, which the US considers a terror organization.
KHALID AL-ATTIYAH, QATAR FOREIGN MINISTER: Qatar does not support Hamas. Qatar supports the Palestinian. We reach out to our people in Palestine,
our -- we consider them our family, for humanitarian assistance.
ANDERSON: there is no question about Qatar's high global profile, but critics say its humanitarian role remains open for debate.
ANDERSON: Let's discuss this with Sajjan Gohel. He's the director for international security for the Asia-Pacific Foundation, joining us from our
London bureau. As I understand it, Sajjan, the negotiation was organized originally by an American media group, with the help of a former FBI
officer, at the behest of the families.
But in the light of this release of Peter Theo Curtis, how can we explain the increasing acceptability for the US, even if the US wasn't specifically
involved in this, but the US to talk, as it were, to terrorists through the third party of Qatar?
SAJJAN GOHEL, DIRECTOR FOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY, ASIA-PACIFIC FOUNDATION: Well, Becky, the US has shown a lot of faith, a lot of trust in Qatar, as
you'd mentioned earlier, that the US played a role in asking Qatar to negotiate with the Taliban for the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. And
in return, several Taliban members were released and now will be staying in Qatar itself.
And then also, there have been negotiations also directly with the Taliban through the auspices of Qatar holding the Taliban office in Doha. So, it
seems that Qatar has become the US ally in negotiating with these extremist groups rather than the US doing it directly.
ANDERSON: In a statement, Qatar's foreign ministry said -- and this was in my report earlier -- that its efforts to secure Curtis's release were
driven by, and I quote, "humanitarian principles." Nothing on whether any money was exchanged. But if it had been, and it had been through Qatar as
third party, surely the US could justifiably continue to say that it doesn't pay ransoms, correct?
GOHEL: Well, it does appear that the US has not directly paid or indirectly paid any money for a ransom for its hostages to be released. In
fact, it is because the US doesn't pay ransom money that their citizens are not seen as high valuable targets.
In fact, they are seen as quite low down the order in terms of order or priority for extremist groups to take people hostage. Usually, it's
Germans, French, Italian, where a lot of money is being paid.
This is effectively a double-edged sword because it is important that citizens of various nations can be released safely. But on the other side,
it raises questions about the murky relationship that countries in the Gulf have with these extremist outfits. Why do they have such closer
relationships, especially with groups that ideologically are very much opposed to the West itself?
ANDERSON: You make a very interesting point. Doha, it seems, deemed fair game when it provides political support and possibly funds to groups such
as Hamas or the Nusra Front. These are groups, of course, which are dismissed as terror organizations by Washington, who is -- and I put this
to you again -- who is using Qatar as a mediator, and Washington is quite happy to suggest that that is perfectly acceptable.
GOHEL: Well, Qatar is going to play an increasingly important role, whether it concerns the affairs of the Palestinian issue, the problems in
Iraq and Syria, or of course with the Taliban. 2014 is an important year, it's the troop drawdown. There will be more activities in Afghanistan,
especially with the growth of the Taliban, its resurgence.
The question also then remains, how long can the US maintain this relationship with Qatar, especially if the Taliban reassembles in
Afghanistan, establishes a foothold, forms relationships with groups like al Qaeda, as it had done in the 1990s, can the US expect Qatar to put
pressure on the Taliban to not let al Qaeda and affiliates from regaining a foothold there?
There are a lot of variables here. It's a bit cliched, but when it comes to hostage-taking and behind-the-scenes roles, it's very murky, a lot of
shadowing taking place, and there are many shades of gray.
Ultimately, I don't know if Qatar would play a role in negotiating if somebody had been taken hostage from one of the developing countries
because they wouldn't necessarily be seen as a priority, but Qatar wants to impress the United States.
And of course, in return, they get seen as the most trusted ally. And perhaps they'd expect something in return, like support for maintaining and
hosting the football World Cup in 2018 (sic) when there's already accusations that it should be taken away from them.
ANDERSON: Yes. 2022, of course, rather than 2018. But you make a very good point. All right, thank you for that, Sajjan.
Live from Abu Dhabi, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, 43 minutes past the hour. Just ahead after this short break.
Cashing in: we look at how ISIS militants have amassed what some could say is billions of dollars. All that and more after this.
ANDERSON: All right, you're back with us on CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. I want to remind you of a story that we are following out
of the region this our. There's word that Israelis and Palestinians have reached an agreement that would end the fighting between Israeli and
militants in Gaza.
However, an Israeli government spokesman is calling it just reports and isn't commenting any further. We're going to continue to monitor this
story to you and bring you any official announcements when and if they happen, right here on CNN.
Let's take a look at one of the other stories that we're following, its one of our top stories. A US official tells CNN that President Barack Obama
has authorized reconnaissance flights over Syria to gather intelligence on ISIS militants, possibly including training areas, equipment positions, and
encampments. Now, the flights could eventually lead to US airstrikes on militant targets.
We have been considering how ISIS funds its activities over the past couple of days. Some experts speculate that ISIS may be the wealthiest terrorist
group in the world. Well, the US is now trying to cut off the group's financing channels, but that might be easier said than done.
With more on this is CNN's emerging markets editor John Defterios, joining me now. John, earlier in the week, we discussed ISIS black market oil
trade. Upwards of something like, experts say, a billion dollars a year.
ANDERSON: A huge arc of wealth that this group has built up. Remarkable stuff.
DEFTERIOS: -- in that that has all happened in the last few days, this arc of wealth that you're suggesting, tapping into oil. But if that is the big
money today, the seed capital came six years ago -- and it's interesting what's coming out now -- from sympathetic trading families in the region
here, who were sympathetic to the Sunni Shiite cause.
Go back to six years ago under Nouri al-Maliki. Things had intensified under the strain of relations here between Sunnis and Shiites in the ouster
of Saddam Hussein. They started pouring money into Syria, pouring money into al Qaeda, and to the offshoots.
Now, this has come onto the radar of the United Nations. We have in my hands here UN Resolution 2170, and this ten days ago came out, specifically
talking about individuals.
Let's look at what they're suggesting, that the Security Council is gravely concerned by the financing and the financial and other resources obtained
by ISIL, or ISIS today; ANF, the al-Nusra Front; and other individuals as well. And it goes on to say --
ANDERSON: OK, hold on for one second.
ANDERSON: I need to get to Mahmoud Abbas, who I believe is making --
ANDERSON: -- possibly on the Israel-Gaza situation. Let's go straight to him.
SAMI ABU ZUHRI, SENIOR HAMAS SPOKESMAN (through translator): We, too, are people. We will stand by you. We are proud of you who has given
everything it owns, sacrifices. It did not abandon the resistance, and we will not abandon our people in the battlefield or this battle, this people,
who sacrificed their homes, their children, and their money.
And with God's help, we'll find Hamas and the resistance factions and every political faction of our people. We will not disappoint them, no matter
how things have come about. We will be -- always be thankful to our people.
We were a guardian of these people in this battle, and we'll continue to be serving them, after God, after the end of this battle.
As far as the Israelis, we have told them during this battle, the settlers in the perimeters of Gaza, we told them, don't touch Gaza. You will not
come back unless with a decision from Hamas, not Netanyahu. And now, we told the Israelis after the commencement of the agreement, now you can come
back to your homes with a decision from Hamas, not from Netanyahu.
(ZUHRI LEADS CHANT, CROWD RESPONDS)
ZUHRI (through translator): They have destroyed everything they have. Every minute has proved their failure. The latest signs of this failure,
of the destruction of the residential towers, they were not able to destroy the resistance. Now, that's why they targeted the civilians.
But our strikes, this resistance has struck this occupier in the depth to prove their failure after failure. Now for that, today, we are saying we
have been rendered victorious, with God's help, and the value of this achievement, it's not about opening this border crossing here and there,
but the value of this achievement, because it will pave the way, with God's help, in the next phase to liberate Jerusalem and the land of Palestine,
This is the true value of this battle. Yes, we have achieved most of our demands, the immediate demands. Today, we are more sure that we are closer
to Jerusalem, closer to our Palestinians lands.
Therefore, the resistance that has made the impossible and humiliated this occupier, this resistance, with God's help, that has struck this occupier
in the hallows and pictured and photographed, videotaped their soldiers while they're crying, in the future, it will be able to go to Jerusalem.
That's why the value of this resistance in addition to achieve most of the Palestinian demands, but rather it will pave the way toward our Palestinian
land and toward Jerusalem, if God's willing.
And that's why we congratulate our people with this great victory. We congratulate our nation, Arab nation, with this great victory. And we
congratulate ourselves, and we appreciate the role of this resistance, this great, brave resistance that has made the impossible, this resistance that
has lifted our heads high and the heads of the nation high.
Today, this resistance, the entire Arab nation, is cheering for this resistance and the Palestinians as well. This resistance now has become --
is departed and decides war and peace. But this resistance is the future, and it is our destiny as well.
FAZWI BARHOUM, HAMAS SPOKESMAN (through translator): In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful, this is a day -- one of the days of God's,
a day of Palestine. A day -- one of the Gaza days. A day of the victories for our people, for our resistance, and for our people.
Brothers and sisters, greetings to Gaza the steadfast. Greetings to Rafah, the Castle of the South. Greetings to hand units, the steadfastness and
the resistance and defense. Greetings to Nuseirat, Bureij camps, Maghazi. Greetings to Gaza, its east and west and north and south.
Greetings to Beit Lahem, Jabaliya, and Beit Hanoun. Greetings to the West Bank that supported us and stood by us with its men and its women and its
young and youth. They have given martyrs and wounded after wounded and martyrs after martyrs in support of Gaza and Palestine and the Palestinian
Greetings to our people in Jerusalem, the men of Jerusalem. The men of Al- Aqsa Mosque, who confuse the occupation, the Israel occupation, this battle, and all the battles in the defense of our principles and our rights
and the principles of our people.
Greetings to the -- to Sheikh Raed Salah of Palestine, who has defended us and who is still in the battlefield, greetings to you and to all of our
people inside 1948 Israel proper.
Greetings to the families of the martyrs. One by one, person and person, men and women and children, girls and the families of the martyrs, that we
are proud of them, and we declare with them and that because of them, we lifted our heads high in the skies of Palestine, in the skies of Gaza.
All the greetings to the families of the martyrs and to the wives of the martyrs and to the daughters of the martyrs, to the sisters of the martyrs,
and to the sons and to the homes of the martyrs. Greetings.
You have lifted Gaza's heads high. You have lifted the Palestinian heads high. And Jerusalem as well, and the people of Jerusalem, and you have
lifted the heads high of the entire Arab and Muslim nation.
Greetings to the wounded, each and every one of them, thousands of those wounded, greetings to you from the depth of our hearts, not just from Hamas
only, but also from all the men and the young men and the men and the women and the sisters, greetings from the depth of our hearts.
While you are staying in your beds, laying in your beds, you are watching this day and watching this victory day, the victory for Palestine and for
Jerusalem and for Al-Aqsa Mosque and for Gaza.
Greetings to those who have had their homes destroyed and those who have lifted their homes and displaced in the hospitals, in the schools, and
everywhere in Gaza, let them bear witness for this patience and steadfastness.
And I tell you, brothers and sisters, in addition that I will -- before I forget, that I greet the media, all of them, the journalists, female and
male, regional, the local, and international, who are still having their cameras high to show the truth and to send the truth to the entire world.
Brothers and sisters, before I also I want to mention to greet to the delegation of the resistance, to the delegation of Palestine, to the
negotiation delegation who stayed until today, and until this minute, stood fast, strong, and unified.
The occupiers have tried to break them, and the occupiers have tried to break them down more, and they have tried to disunite them, but they are a
delegation, spoke with one voice, in all languages, yes to the national unity, yes to the Palestinian unified Palestinian position, yes to
resistance, yes to the rifle in defense of our people and our land and our holy places until they have reached this historic achievement.
All the greetings and appreciation to the peoples of the Arab and Islamic nations who have defended and are still defending us despite their wounds
and despite the media, defending our people.
And finally -- and I say, brothers and sisters and before our people that we are still keeping our promise for Gaza. We are still keeping our
promise with the missiles, to keep the rifle high, and we'll continue to be with you, your wounded, and young men, until we liberate Palestine, for the
battle of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
And finally I say to you --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's done (inaudible)
(BARHOUM LEADS CHANT, CROWD RESPONDS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALES: Did you guys hear me talking about him?
ANDERSON: Keep going. Let's get it to the 12th.
Well, it appears, at least, that Hamas has announced that there is a cease- fire. The Israelis, as far as I can tell at this point, still saying that these are just reports, but conflicting reports, now, are coming in.
But you just heard from two spokesman who were congratulating the Arabs on their victory against Israel and the spokesman there saying that this was a
victory for Hamas, in their hands, not in Netanyahu's hands.
Let's get to Ian Lee, who is in Gaza. Palestinians in Gaza must have been watching this announcement. What's the word on the street?
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, just behind me, we have some of these UN schools where people have been staying, and we've
been hearing for the past half hour, people cheering and celebrating.
As well, though, I need to point out, is that we've been seeing rockets over my right shoulder going toward Israel, at least a few rockets. Now,
what we're hearing -- we're not sure, though -- is that this cease-fire is supposed to start at 7:00 local time. That has actually just come to pass.
No word yet -- we're expecting President Mahmoud Abbas to give the word if that is true. But as we've seen in previous cease-fires, there has been an
intense increase in fire just right before these cease-fires. And that is what we have been seeing here tonight in Gaza.
But what we're hearing from top Hamas political officials, and as we just heard from their spokesman, this is a victory, as Hamas is painting it.
They say that they have won, that these must be -- agreements of this cease-fire must be favorable for them.
But we do need to step back, though, and remember that over 21 (sic) people have been killed in this conflict, and 10,000 -- over 10,000 people have
been injured. So, if Hamas is claiming victory, this came at heavy toll, the heaviest toll they've paid during any sort of conflict, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes, Hamas saying that they have achieved most of their goals and targets. The -- Sami Abu Zuhri, who was one of the spokesmen that we
were just listening to there, and I quote, saying "Israel's occupation has been a failure."
There was quite some narrative in that press conference of course. A short time ago, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas appeared to confirm that an
agreement between Israel and the Palestinians had come about. Let's just have a listen to what he said.
ANDERSON: All right, we don't have that for you for the time being. Let me get you back, then to Ian Lee. Because Ian, you were explaining for our
viewers that, despite the fact that we have heard now from Hamas, we are still waiting to hear from Israel and, indeed, still waiting to hear from
those who've been brokering this cease-fire, which would be the Egyptians, correct?
LEE: Well, that's right, we're waiting. --
LEE: And actually, what it sounds like right behind me is celebratory gunfire. But you're right, we are waiting for a message from the Egyptians
and from the Israelis. What we're hearing, though, is that it's likely that this is going to come to pass, that this cease-fire is -- Israelis,
though, have been fairly tight-lipped up to now.
But it's likely that Israel would still say that they want at least the provision to protect themselves if there are any sort of rocket attacks or
anything of the such, mortar attacks. But when we look at what is potentially part of this cease-fire, there's going to want an opening of
the borders, so goods and supplies can come back -- come into Gaza to start the reconstruction of the city -- of the area.
And I can tell you that there's been a lot of damage done to the utilities, power, water, and sewage. So they're going to want to see that, the
construction, the reconstruction of that start right away, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes, well you can certainly hear a celebratory mood behind Ian, there. If this is a truce, if this is a cease-fire, people clearly
incredibly relieved in Gaza, where you have been reporting from for some time now.
But is it a truce? Is it a cease-fire? What are the details? As Ian rightly pointing out, what is it that Hamas claims it has achieved at this
point? And has Israel signed up?
Well, Egypt, of course, has played a key role in negotiations across these talks. Let's get you to Reza Sayah, who is standing by in Cairo for you.
Can you put any more flesh on what was the announcement by Hamas?
SAYAH: Not a lot of flesh at this point, Becky but we can tell you, we're learning more about this cease-fire, because now the Egyptians are talking.
We haven't heard from the Israelis, we know the Palestinians talked.
But now, according to state media, Egyptian officials are saying that indeed a cease-fire is in place and it's going to go into effect at 9:00 PM
GMT, I believe that's 12 midnight tonight local time. So, we're still waiting to hear from the Israelis. Obviously that's critical to confirm
from them that they're indeed onboard with this agreement.
But at least the Egyptians and the Palestinians are saying, indeed, an agreement has been established, although we don't know what the details of
this agreement is.
Once we hear from the Israelis, presumably we're going to find out if this is a longterm truce or if this is an agreement to come back to Cairo and
did what these two sides tried to do four times over the past three weeks, and of course, they failed each time. And that's to engage in indirect
negotiations to establish some sort of expansive, longterm truce.
But again, a few minutes ago, state media here in Egypt verifying what Palestinian officials are saying that indeed, the Palestinians and the
Israelis have engaged in an agreement to stop fighting at 12 midnight local time. Still waiting to hear from the Israelis.
Obviously, when you look at the history of this conflict, we've seen this script before, these two sides, deciding to stop fighting, to talk and
negotiate. Each time, they failed, Becky. It looks like -- it looks like, at this point-- they have an opportunity to try again.
ANDERSON: Yes, and you rightly point out, waiting to get any flesh on this deal. Let's have a listen to what Mahmoud Abbas is saying here.
MAHMOUD ABBAS, PRESIDENT OF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY (through translator): And through this period, the number of the martyrs have reached to more
than 2,000 martyrs and more than 5,000 wounded and injured and tens of -- homes.
Unfortunately, until this moment, the attack and the aggression is still indiscriminate, and for the most part, the aggression is against the
innocents and the civilians, who are the first victims of this aggression.
And as everyone knows, tens of the families, which can be more than 60 families, that have been annihilated completely. And from this, it is
important upon us to have all our efforts, the possible and the impossible as well, in order to end the fighting.
Especially after the Israelis have withdrawn from the negotiations and our delegation has returned and our efforts have continued on our intensive
efforts, in order to go back to the negotiations once more.
And indeed -- we have reached these moments to announce our acceptance of the Egyptian initiative to end the fighting. This stoppage of --
simultaneously is to provide the Gaza strip with aid, medical aid, and rebuilding aid that it needs. And afterwards, there will be more talks on
all the demands that will be put on the table.
Therefore, these efforts have resulted today, now, a few minutes ago, from reaching to this to return to the negotiations, and we have said before
that at 7:00, now, seven minutes ago, there will be a complete end for fighting and the delegations will return back in the nearest moment to go
back to Cairo to finish the negotiations.
We assure that our appreciation to the Arab Republic of Egypt that with us has made other efforts from a long time ago to reach an agreement that will
satisfy all the parties. And we assure again, once more, that the state of Qatar has contributed in this -- in these efforts.
And it is -- perhaps it is useful to mention that Mr. John Kerry has also made some efforts with us and has kept our communication with his --
communication with us to achieve this goal for all the -- appreciation and thanks to all the groups that have contributed to these efforts.
And thanks to the United Nations that it will immediately send all the aid and material for Gaza strip, because the tragic situation it is presenting
Gaza, it cannot be imagined by anyone.
The subject of the cease-fire and the cessation of hostilities that we discuss with the Hamas movement and Doha, and we also discussed other
topics and subjects that it was necessary for us to move, which were to emphasize and to support the national reconciliation, through which the
national unity government will be able to do its job.
Of course, this needs more time and needs more efforts. However, this is one of the goals that we have tried since the beginning, when we have
talked about the reconciliation and the forming of the national unity government.
During the entire period that has reached more than 50 days, we were doing all the efforts, therefore, to support our people with the material that
they need, whether from us, which had happened, from all our institutions here, and this is a great -- of the Palestinian people feeling with their
brothers, and the tragedies of their brothers.
And of course, we do not deny the countries and the states that have also sent aid and support to our people in the Gaza strip. But all that was not
enough. And we -- they need more material, a great number of materials, so the people of Gaza can live so they can drink water, to have electricity.
And then, after that, education, since all the schools are occupied with all the displaced families. The hospitals are filled with the families.
That's if they were not being destroyed.
Because the destruction has included, among other things, the hospitals and the schools and the places of worship. Therefore, this -- all this needs
an immediate look at it so we can have our wounds healed, the great wounds that have hit our people in the Gaza strip.
There is another topic I will mention, which is -- and what is after that? What's next? Meaning that the Gaza strip specifically has been the subject
of three wars: 2008, 2009, 2012, and 2014. Do we expect another war after a year or two? And for how long this cause without a solution?
We will put the before the leadership our vision for this solution and we will continue on with the consultations with our brothers and with the
international community. But the vision should be clear, very clear, and specific, very specific, and that has specific points from A to Z, other
than going through vague negotiations, will be something that we could not continue on.
This is what I would like to mention to you. And thank you.
ANDERSON: Mahmoud Abbas, announcing that the Palestinians have accepted what he called an "initiative" to end the fighting between Israel and Gaza.
He says this is to provide the Gaza strip with the humanitarian aid it needs.
Afterwards, he says there will be more talks on the demands of all sides. Ten minutes ago, he said at the top of this hour, there will be a complete
end to the fighting and the delegations will return to Cairo from both sides as soon as possible to resume negotiations.
Thanking Egypt for their mediation efforts, thanking the state of Qatar, who he said has contributed to these efforts. And also name-checking the
secretary of state, John Kerry, as having made efforts to achieve this goal.
And we have learned moments ago that Israel has accepted the deal as well. Senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman standing by for us in
Jerusalem. I guess the question is this, Ben: what is it that everybody is accepting at this point? What makes this different from anything that
we've heard over the past 50 days?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's a good question, Becky. We understand from a senior Israeli official that Israel
has accepted this open-ended cease-fire, that Israel will be sending a delegation to Cairo shortly to discuss the details of moving forward, where
we go from here.
But certainly we know that there's already opposition from within the Israeli cabinet to this cease-fire. Naftali Bennet, the economics
minister, saying that he's opposed to any sort of cease-fire agreement that bars Israel from taking action against what he calls "terror."
So, we can expect problems in the days and weeks ahead as opposition really boils up from within the cabinet itself. As far as the details of the
agreement, it's not altogether clear, other than the fact that guns and the rockets will go silent. Open-ended, as this Israeli official said. But
we've seen cease-fires collapse before, so, we're just 15 minutes into this one, according to the Palestinians.
WEDEMAN: According to the Egyptians, of course, the cease-fire goes into effect at midnight local time. Becky?
ANDERSON: Ben, you talked about the pressure on Netanyahu from the right wing of his cabinet. How is he doing in the polls? How has this war, as
it has dragged on, played out on his reputation with the people of Israel? What are the polls telling us?
WEDEMAN: Well, initially, he had a lot of support from the Israeli public for this current offensive, which is now into its 50th day. But what we
saw today was an opinion poll published that's saying that his approval rate among Israelis fell within simply one month, from 82 percent to 38
Many Israelis feel that for one reason or another, Israel really was not able to achieve its goals. The Israelis were calling, for instance, for
the demilitarization of the Gaza strip. That's clearly not going to happen.
Hamas, as we've seen, in Gaza is celebrating this cease-fire as a victory. There's no sounds of celebration --
WEDEMAN: -- behind me in the streets of Jerusalem. Becky?
ANDERSON: And I'm wondering how the sort of rhetoric that we heard from that press conference is going to go down in Egypt. And I'm alluding to --
sorry, in Israel. I'm alluding to the Hamas press conferences, which is what we saw about -- what? -- 20, 25 minutes ago.
Hamas declaring victory over Israel as the longterm cease-fire agreement is said to take effect, as you say, at midnight local time, saying that they
have achieved most of their goals and targets. Pretty fiery rhetoric, certainly, from the two spokesmen that we heard announcing this cease-fire
-- what? -- as I say, 25 minutes ago.
WEDEMAN: Well, here in the Middle East, it's almost -- usually the case that no matter how a war ends, every side declares victory. And for Hamas,
to survive is to triumph, so to speak. They have survived 50 days of an offensive by the most powerful army in the Middle East, and they are still
standing. They're still talking.
Israel's ground offensive was not wildly successful. They lost 64 soldiers in this operation. Keep in mind, let's go back to 1967. The Six-Day War,
during which Israel conquered the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Syrian Golan Heights.
After 50 days, Israel really doesn't have much to show for this, and Hamas is really making the most of it, as was to be expected. Becky?
ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman in Jerusalem for you on what is or certainly could be an historic day, but it's unclear what the details of this unlimited
cease-fire are. As we go forward, of course, we will learn more.
Egypt playing a key role in negotiations, you're well aware, between Israel and the Palestinians throughout this conflict. Reza with an update for us,
now, from Cairo. What more are you learning from there, Reza?
SAYAH: Becky, I just got off the phone with a senior Egyptian government official, and based on what he told me, these two sides have essentially
agreed to the Egyptian Initiative that was on the table one week ago today and was rejected by the Israelis.
And according to this agreement, Israel has agreed to ease the blockade on Gaza, not completely lift it -- ease it -- for the crossing of humanitarian
aid. Israel has also agreed to extend the area in which the Gazans can fish, according to the Egyptian official, six miles further.
And also, the Palestinians and the Israelis have agreed to come back to Cairo at some point, at a time of their choosing, to start indirect
negotiations again. So, when you get rid of all the rhetoric and all the flowery language from the Palestinians, this looks to be a rerun of what
we've seen over the past several weeks, what we saw in 2012, 2009.
Based on this announcement, this agreement doesn't address the core demands, the core issues on both sides that have fueled this conflict for
so many years. Essentially, they've stopped fighting. They've agreed to stop fighting temporarily. Israel seemingly making some concessions,
although we have to see if they follow through with that. And they've agreed to come back and talk again.
Again, it looks very much like what we've seen at the end of conflicts in years past, but this time, when you have more than 2100 people killed,
10,000 people plus injured, you have to wonder, what did both sides gain in this conflict that has cost so much, especially for the Palestinians?
But the good news is the fighting has stopped for now, and at some point, we don't know when, these two sides will return to Cairo and again engage
in indirect talks to hopefully address the core issues that have created this seemingly endless impasse. Becky?
ANDERSON: OK, Reza, stand by. I want to get to Gaza once again. A short time ago, the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas confirming an agreement
between Israel and the Palestinians, accepting what he called an initiative to end the fighting. He said this is to provide the Gaza strip with the
humanitarian aid it needs.
He says afterwards, delegations will return to Cairo as soon as possible to resume negotiations and to talk on all demands. Let's get to Ian Lee, who
is live in Gaza City, with the details.
And I have to say, I also heard Hamas thanking journalists who had spent their time in Gaza over the past 50 days, keeping their cameras on to
reflect what is going on in that city, 2100 dead, over 10,000 injured, too. I know I can see, put on your flack jacket there, clearly do you feel that
there is a danger ahead as the night continues?
LEE: Well, Becky, yes. Probably you're wondering why I'm wearing this, especially with the cease-fire. That's because behind me, a lot of
celebratory gunfire being shot in the air. We are at a high-up position and just protecting ourselves in case any of those rounds fall down.
But just looking at the streets below, cars driving up and down --
LEE: -- honking their horns here. You probably are hearing this gunfire over here. People are really just relieved, I guess you could say, and
blowing off a bit of steam. Relieved that this cease-fire has come about.
We're hearing that this is an open-ended cease-fire, not one of these cease-fires we've had in the past that had a time limit. This one is open-
ended. And people seen in the streets. Really, they've been cooped up inside for most of this war. And so now, they're coming out, they're
celebrating, they're able to really air out and just let it all loose, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes, you've spent much of the last 50 days in Gaza. I know you've been in and out. I was in Jerusalem reporting from there for about
ten days -- what, now? -- a month or so ago, and speaking to you as you came in and out of Gaza.
Just give me a sense of what people have been through. You've reported and we've seen your reports throughout this period, but if there were one thing
that really sort of struck you about the whole period on the sort of human side -- because this is about people, isn't it, at the end of the day --
what would it be?
LEE: Well, Becky, I really think when just thinking about it, it has to be the -- when you look at during this conflict, the stress, the nerves,
everyone was just very worried because there really wasn't a front line to this war. Anyplace could be hit at anytime.
And when you talked to families, there were -- mothers and fathers were worried about their children. We've met children, had psychological scars.
So, really, the one thing is just the effect on the average person. Really, no sense of safety and security.
And so, really, when you do see these people down there, a lot of that fear of potentially they could be killed, is now starting to melt away, and
they're starting to feel the security --
LEE: -- the safety come back again.
(CAR HORNS HONKING)
ANDERSON: Do you believe that those that you've spent so much time with over the last 50 days will seriously consider this a victory, as Hamas
declared in its press conference about -- what? -- 40 minutes ago, when it announce this unended cease-fire. Is this a victory for the people of
LEE: Well, we've seen a flurry of messages from Hamas leaders. Every single one claiming this a victory. They're not going to say that this was
a failure. Of course they're going to say it's a victory.
But you're right. This -- there is a lot of things, caveats, that go into claiming this a victory. We'll have to see the details of the cease-fire
to really determine in any future peace if this was a victory for Hamas.
Ultimately, what is going to be a victory for Hamas is the opening of the border so good and supplies can come in to the people of Gaza --
(CAR HORNS HONKING)
LEE: -- something that they desperately need. And if that doesn't happen, then victory, well, that'll be uncertain.
ANDERSON: All right, Ian. We're going to leave you for the time being. Our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman back with us, standing
by in Jerusalem. What more are you hearing, Ben, from the Israel side?
WEDEMAN: Well, actually, we now have a statement from the Israelis saying that -- this is from a senior Israeli government official. It says that
Israel has accepted once again the Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire, this one for an unlimited time.
As agreed on in the original cease-fire of July 15th, the Israeli and Palestinian delegations will return to continue negotiations, presumably,
of course, in Cairo. So, it's official. It appears that the Israelis have accepted it, and we shall see if calm is restored.
Really up to the last moment, last minute, however, there was violence. In fact, just minutes before -- at least according to the Palestinians -- at
7:00 PM, the cease-fire went into effect, an Israeli civilian was killed by mortar fire near the Gaza strip.
So, yes, we have a cease-fire at this point, but as we've seen, many have collapsed before, so one should not be overly confident that this one will
last any longer than those that came before it. Becky?
ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman for you in Jerusalem. We'll do more on this after this very short break. Going to take this break. We'll be back after
ANDERSON: All right, I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. Here are the headlines this hour. Both Israeli and Palestinian officials are confirming
a cease-fire in Gaza, and Egyptian officials say it will go into effect at midnight local time. Now, this truce doesn't have a time limit, and the
Israeli and Palestinian delegations will be returning to Cairo to continue negotiations.
Details not clear, but apparently will include Israel allowing more goods for humanitarian and rebuilding purposes through the border. Now, Israel
has also apparently agreed to an extension of Gaza's permitted fishing zone in the Mediterranean.
Well, despite the announcements, violence continued until the very last minute of the truce's start time as originally stated by Hamas, which was
about 30 minutes ago. Well, Egypt, as we've been saying, has played a key role in negotiations from the start of this conflict.
Let's get to Reza Sayah, who may be able to put some more flesh on the details of all of this.
Reza, we know that this is a cease-fire at present with no time limit. What else do we know?
SAYAH: Well, I think based on what the Egyptians are telling us we spoke to, a senior official just about 10 minutes ago, both sides, the
Palestinians and the Israelis, according to this official, have essentially agreed on the Egyptian peace initiative, the temporary cease-fire that they
had on the table one week ago today and that, according to Palestinians, the Israelis rejected and that agreement calls for the easing of the
Israeli blockade on Gaza, not the complete listing of the blockade, but the easing of the blockade to enable humanitarian aid to go back and forth
across the border, the Israelis according to the Egyptians have also agreed to extend the territorial limit for fishing approximately six miles and,
according to this agreement, the two sides have said they're going to come back to Cairo at some point and start indirect negotiations once again to
talk about those all-important core demands. It's not clear when they're going to come.
So when you take a step back and look at this agreement and ask what concessions were made on both sides, it doesn't seem to be much. Of course
on one side, Hamas, the Palestinians were steadfastly demanding for the lifting of the blockade; they wanted a complete opening of the border
crossing. They didn't get that according to this agreement.
And then you look at the Israelis. They were steadfastly demanding the disarming of Hamas, the demilitarization of Gaza. And according to this
agreement, they didn't get that, either. Presumably they'll talk about those core demands when they come back to Cairo. But the troubling thing
about this agreement, Becky, is that it looks a lot like the agreements, the cease-fire agreements that we saw over the past several weeks, that we
saw in 2012, that we saw in 2009 and the other conflicts between these two sides.
And we know what the end result was. The end result was that there wasn't a solution to this conflict and the two sides once again came back on the
battlefield and it was a battle that cost a lot of lives, especially for the Palestinians.
So the good news is the fighting has stopped, 7:00 pm local time about 30 minutes ago. But you have to wonder when they come back to Cairo and they
start these indirect negotiations again, will it be any different from the scenario that we've seen so often during the past few years?
ANDERSON: That's right. And Mahmoud Abbas says, speaking earlier, he said, do we expect another war after a year or two? We've got to get on
with this. He spoke a short time ago. Let's have a listen to some of what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAHMOUD ABBAS, PRESIDENT, PALESTINE AUTHORITY (through translator): Therefore, these efforts have resulted today now, a few minutes ago, from
reaching through this to return to the negotiations.
And we have said before that at 7 o'clock, now, seven minutes ago, there will be a complete end for fighting and the delegations will return back
even then there's a (ph) moment to go back to Cairo to finish the negotiations.
ANDERSON: Well, Hamas sees this cease-fire as victory. A spokesman addressed a cheering crowd just before we heard from Mahmoud Abbas. Have a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAWZI BARHOUM, HAMAS SPOKESMAN (through translator): To the delegation of the resistance, to the delegation of Palestine, to the negotiation
delegation, who's the -- until today, and until this minute, sits fast, strong and unified. The occupiers have tried to break them and the
occupiers have tried to break them down more and they have tried to disunite them. But they are delegations, but with one voice and all
languages, yes to the national unity, yes to the Palestinian, unified Palestinian position, yes to resistance, yes to the rifle in defense of our
people and our land and our holy places until they have reached this historic achievement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: And, Reza, bringing you back in for a moment, the spokesman went on to say that we have reached most of our goals and targets.
This is, as you and I have been discussing, the details very, very sketchy. And I have to say a deafening silence from the Israeli side. And we heard
certainly from a spokesman from the Israelis that this has been accepted, the long-term or unlimited cease-fire, as it were. When you consider how
often the Israelis have prepared to speak from their own side over the past 50 days, not actually hearing from anybody from the Israeli side sort of on
television, not actually hearing their own words, it's slightly eerie, to a certain extent.
SAYAH: Yes. And I think the Israelis, for the most part, have been silent in the past few weeks. Every time we've had these cease-fires, it has
taken them a while to comment. But I think we can expect both Israeli leaders and as we've heard Palestinian leaders to go back to their people
and describe this as a victory.
Obviously the Israelis have gotten some pushback, some criticism from the far right. We've heard the Palestinians using all sorts of rhetoric, that
this is indeed a victory.
But again, if you take a step back, you have to ask, what did they gain in this particular agreement? Did they get anything in their core demands?
The Palestinians wanted a lifting of the blockade. They don't have it with the agreement. The Israelis wanted the disarming of Hamas and the
demilitarization of Gaza. They don't have that, either. And, again, when you look at all the rhetoric, when you talk about the discussion happening,
you rarely if ever hear about a permanent solution.
And much of the world has long agreed that a permanent solution to this long-running conflict is a two-state solution with roughly the borders that
the 1967 borders.
And if you pay attention to the rhetoric, to these indirect talks that have been taking place for the past few weeks here, rarely if ever do you hear
about that possible permanent solution that the whole world agrees is the path towards ending this conflict.
Of course Washington has issues with that particular path and Israel, many of their leaders, have an issue with that, saying it's not a practical
solution because of their security concerns.
So we'll see what happens in the coming weeks. But many of the core demands, the obstacles that have led to this impasse remain.
ANDERSON: Reza, thank you for that. And speaking of Israel, let's get there to Jerusalem. Certainly in Gaza tonight, Ben Wedeman's standing by
for you, our senior international correspondent, of course, in Jerusalem.
Ben, certainly in Gaza tonight, we are seeing people on the streets; we are hearing gunfire in celebration of what Hamas has suggested is a victory for
Are we really looking as Reza was suggesting and asking the very same question, are we looking at the possibility of a permanent solution at this
WEDEMAN: No, no, there's no question about it. This is a temporary solution to the violence that's gone on for the last 50 days. But in the
absence of a real meaningful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, there's a very high probability that in a year or two years or three years
we'll be back here doing the same thing all over again, reporting on a conflict between Gaza and Israel because fundamentally until this problem
is resolved with a political solution, this is really simply going to recur again and again in the absence of a solution.
Now we saw that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last summer launched a very ambitious attempt to get the peace process moving again. In the
spring, he failed and it didn't take long after that for tensions to rise again and the specter of war to come to the surface once more.
So a very short-term solution to a long-term problem.
ANDERSON: And you were pointing out earlier on that as we are hearing celebrations in Gaza, the streets of Jerusalem behind you, very, very
WEDEMAN: Dead quiet. It's just as a normal evening, weekday evening here in Jerusalem; I don't think too many people here on the Israeli side are
celebrating a victory. We know that, for instance, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was calling for the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip. Now
whether that was realistic or not is another question.
But that certainly is off the table at this point. And therefore it really -- Israel has achieved very little. They may have -- they were able
assassinate some of the leaders of the military wing of Hamas, debilitate temporarily their ability to fire as many missiles; of course, Israel said
at the beginning of this conflict that Hamas had 10,000 missiles; they estimate between those fired and the ones that Israel destroyed that that
number has been reduced by maybe 60 percent.
But fundamentally Hamas is still standing. It's still there. So they can claim victory. But it would be hard for any Israelis to say that this was
in any sense a victory for Israel -- Becky.
ANDERSON: And I'm wondering what happens next with Benjamin Netanyahu, who, as we were discussing, some 10-15 minutes ago, you were pointing out
that the polls -- his standing in the polls found from something like 82 percent down into the 40s, a significant drop in support for the prime
minister and so much pressure on him from the right of his party, right of his government and his cabinet.
This is a man that many people around the world might have thought of as a very right-wing politician in Israel. But certainly that not the case when
you look at the makeup of his cabinet these days.
What happens to Netanyahu next?
WEDEMAN: That's a very good question. He certainly has been what we've seen is that he was considered a hawk but now there are many people who
are far more hawkish than him within his cabinet, within the Israeli body politic. And certainly when now that the guns have gone silent, hopefully,
for a little while, there will be recriminations. There will be criticism on his conduct of this war. And Israeli politics is not an easy place to
exist and certainly there will be those who are looking for political blood.
ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman in Jerusalem for you. Before we take another short break, I want to get back to Ian Lee, who is in Gaza, as we talk here.
Let's bring up the pictures of those in Gaza who are celebrating what Hamas has described as a victory tonight.
And I guess to be excused, in the end, it's been such a tough time for so many people in Gaza who have just been -- so many of them, who perhaps have
nothing to do with Hamas, who have just been trying to live a daily life, the kids are back at school, many of them have lost their homes, many of
them living in shelters now.
I mean, understandable that certainly as you see the kids on the street, their people feel like this is a step in the right direction.
LEE: Well, Becky, I think people on the street are taking a sigh of relief. We're seeing a lot of fireworks out in the distance, people
driving out, honking the horns, letting off steam of really the eight weeks of being cooped up, of being afraid that any wrong turn could result in
either them being hit by a rocket or their houses could be hit by a rocket.
So tonight it's a celebration. And it's one, a victory, as Hamas is saying, that was came out of (INAUDIBLE), over 21 (sic) people have been
killed in this conflict and over 10,000 people have been injured. But come tomorrow, it's all about picking up the pieces, a lot of families,
thousands of families have been left homeless by this conflict. They're going to have to figure out where they're going to go permanently, children
still not going back to school, a lot of these schools have been filled with refugees or people seeking shelter.
So it is going to be a long process, a long road forward. There's aid coming in, is going to be crucial to help these people in the short-term,
but really when those delegations go back to Cairo, it's going to be about the long-term solution that's going to really make a change in these
people's lives -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes, 2,100 people killed, as you point out, over 10,000 injured, so many people have lost their homes, their possessions, their livelihoods,
their jobs. Let's hope that this cease-fire, which is unlimited -- and that makes it different from that which we've seen over the past 50 days
really leads somewhere and doesn't just lead, as Ben was pointing out and as Reza was pointing out and as you have rightly pointed out as well, that
it doesn't just lead to another war down the road, maybe months, weeks, months or years ahead.
We're going to take a very short break here. We'll be back after this.
ANDERSON: Well, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. It's 8:47 local time here in the UAE. These are the headlines.
Both Israeli and Palestinian officials are confirming a cease-fire in Gaza. It's in effect right now, despite earlier reports that it would not start
for a few hours. Now this truce doesn't have a time limit. And the Israeli and Palestinian delegations will be returning to Cairo to continue
Now I have to say details aren't clear but apparently will include Israel allowing more goods for humanitarian and rebuilding purposes through
borders. Now Israel has also apparently agreed to an extension of Gaza's permitted fishing zone in the Mediterranean. Now despite the
announcements, violence continued until the last minute of the truce's start time as originally stated by Hamas.
I'll get you some other news making headlines this day. And the seemingly nonstop violence in Iraq took several more lives in Baghdad this Tuesday.
A car bomb exploded in the eastern part of the city, killing at least 10 people, 34 were injured. It happened during the morning rush hour in a
neighborhood known as New Baghdad. This follows similar attacks on Monday. And over the weekend, people have left dozens of people dead.
Well, in Northern Iraq, we are seeing the effectiveness of U.S. airstrikes against the ISIS militant group. Now U.S. President Barack Obama weighing
whether to go after ISIS in Syria now that the Syrian government has opened the door to international help. Mr. Obama has just organized
reconnaissance flights over Syria but as Barbara Starr reports, any decision to go any further than that is going to be very complicated.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. reconnaissance flights could begin over Syria at any time, according to
U.S. officials, using possibly drones, U2 spy planes or F-18s.
The Pentagon is drafting options to strike inside Syria, but the U.S. won't warn the Syrian government, who says carrying out airstrikes without their
consent would be a breach of its sovereignty and an act of aggression.
It's unclear, however, how much the president's top military adviser, General Martin Dempsey, supports immediate U.S. military action. A
spokesman confirmed Dempsey is preparing options to address ISIS, both in Iraq and Syria, with a variety of military tools, including airstrikes.
But the lack of action so far is prompting critics, like hawkish Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, to charge, "The White House is trying to minimize
the threat we face in order to justify not changing a failed strategy."
Before any bombs could fall, the U.S. has to get fresh intelligence.
REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Well, we don't talk about reconnaissance and intelligence matters. But, in general, when you are
thinking about conducting operations like that, you certainly want to get as much of a view on the ground as you can.
PETER THEO CURTIS, JOURNALIST: My name is Peter Theo Curtis. I'm a journalist from the city of Boston, Massachusetts.
STARR (voice-over): The debate comes as American Peter Theo Curtis, held hostage by the Islamic militant group al-Nusra for nearly two years in
Syria, gets his first taste of freedom.
NANCY CURTIS, MOTHER OF THEO CURTIS: He was over the top excited. I think obviously he's -- he has to decompress. He's been through so much.
STARR: U.S. officials won't say much about the circumstances of Curtis' release, which the government of Qatar apparently helped facilitate. But
they do say the U.S. policy of not offering ransom to terrorists still holds -- Barbara Starr, CNN, The Pentagon.
ANDERSON: Well, the beheading of American journalist James Foley by what appears to be a British man has turned the spotlight once again on
Britain's radical Muslim community. Many Muslims around the world have rejected the extremist views of ISIS.
But CNN international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh has been talking to some who seem to embrace them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any attempt by you, Obama.
WALSH (voice-over): When the world first heard this voice, the London accented tormentor of James Foley, it spoke of Britain's long and radical
past of Islamic extremism.
Here among the supporters a firebrand preacher Anjim Chowdhury (ph), in white, in an East London basement cafe, ISIS, the Islamic State -- Foley's
killers -- are not terrorists but a utopia to welcome.
WALSH: Would any of you condemn what happened to James Foley on that tape? Would any of the four of you do that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me just say this.
WALSH: Sir, can I give them the chance if any of them would or would want to respond to that?
Why is that? Because I think people --
ZAKARIYAH: Well, I think it's the same from (INAUDIBLE) people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But (INAUDIBLE) --
ZAKARIYAH: -- finish my answer here.
I feel very concerned (INAUDIBLE) and I would rather have my head cut off than go to Guantanamo Bay. Because this is definite. You know it's going
to happen. Guantanamo Bay held no trial, no idea why you're there.
WALSH (voice-over): People will ask, you clearly dislike life as what you refer to as a police state in Britain. Why would you not choose to leave
it and live Mishura (ph) in Syria?
ABU BARAA: I would love to do that, absolutely.
WALSH (voice-over): And your impediment is what?
ABU BARAA: If the government will be willing to give me safe passage there and not arrest me at the airport, not raid my home, my mother's home or my
brother's home, my sister's home, and arrest all my family and relatives, just because they suspect that I'm going there for something that they
don't like, why -- you know, what's wrong with going there to live under Islam?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe this is to some extent was spread (INAUDIBLE). And I believe it will be in Europe and even in America within
WALSH: So given your faith and given that the United States has attacked the Islamic State, do you consider yourself at war with the United States?
ABU BARAA: The USA has been at war with me and every Muslim around the world for the last 10 years.
ZAKARIYAH: If you attack someone, you should be -- expect to be fought against.
ZAKARIYAH: But if you drop a bomb on someone, do you think they're going to like, thank you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clearly two camps in the world today, a camp which believes our sovereignty and supremacy belongs to God. They are the
Islamic State. And the head of which is today Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Caliph of Ibrahim, Allah protect him.
On the other camp you have those people believe sovereignty and supremacy belongs to man. At the head of that camp is Barack Obama.
WALSH: One thing stuck in my head from your exchange earlier on. You talked about non-believers being punished in hellfire and he gave you a
Do you think those who do not share your values should effectively be condemned to hell?
ZAKARIYAH: So, no, it doesn't matter why. It matters with us. The creative one who creates the whole universe. And if you don't acknowledge
him and obey him and worship him, then you go to hellfire. It's nothing to do with me.
ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh reporting there.
Let's get you to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa now and how it is providing unprecedented -- proving unprecedented in many ways.
In a new report, the World Health Organization says a high proportion of health care workers have been infected out of the more than 240 workers who
have contracted the virus, about half have died. Well, the report also estimates that in the three hardest-hit countries, just one or two doctors
are available to treat 100,000 people. Ebola has also appeared recently in a different part of the continent. The Democratic Republic of the Congo
also now reporting two new cases. But the country's health minister said the virus strain they found is not the same as the one spreading in West
Africa. And these two cases have no link, they say, to that outbreak.
Well, Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf visited the quarantined area of West Point in the capital on Monday. She spoke with angry residents who
feel unfairly singled out and tried to ease their concerns.
But as our Nima Elbagir now reports, Ebola is not the only threat to those living there.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the drive in to West Point, you're met with barbed wire and barricaded shops. And at the
quarantine line, angry residents congregating to stare down police.
Crossing through the line, you are immediately swarmed, people desperate to be heard, desperate to believe this isn't happening.
At a rough estimate, there are over 70,000 people living in Monrovia's West Point slum, no sanitation, no running water. And since the government
designated it an Ebola quarantine zone last week, no way out.
This was after rioters looted an Ebola center, claiming the virus was a government hoax.
ELBAGIR: Were you here when the clinic was (INAUDIBLE)?
ELBAGIR (voice-over): A nurse at the center told us she arrived for her shift that night to find the center destroyed and not a patient to be
ELBAGIR: You could see the center; it's not extraordinarily well equipped. They're having to rewash their protective gear; a squirt of diluted bleach
and a door that was ransacked and left for broken during the riots. This is it. This is the only place people have.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): And even here, the most that they can hope to get is to be made comfortable while they wait to either overcome the virus or not.
Charming (ph) is a hairdresser. Like many here in West Point, she has to travel out of the township to make a living, the only breadwinner for her
"Right now my mother doesn't have anything. I was the one that provided for her. But as time goes by, now she's complaining the rice is finished."
Are you more scared of Ebola or are you more scared of the hunger?
"That's what's worrying us: the hunger, the Ebola, everything. I'm scared of everything."
Charming (ph) leaves us. She's going to see if her mother is right, if the food really has run out.
As we walk back out onto the street, the crowd has grown larger. At the quarantine line, the standoff continues. Desperate to at least be seen and
heard, if not released -- Nima Elbagir, CNN, Monrovia, Liberia.
ANDERSON: Tough watching. I'm Becky Anderson and we'll have much more on the peace deal that's being reached between Hamas and Israel just ahead on
"IDESK" with Isha Sesay. Do stay with us for that. You're watching CNN.