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CONNECT THE WORLD
Buyer's Remorse For Some Sunni Iraqis For ISIS; Government Forces Losing Ground In Southern Ukraine; Anti-Government Protests Turn Violent In Pakistan
Aired September 2, 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: Street protests are putting Pakistan's prime minister squarely on the defensive. Nawaz Sharif turns the parliament to
rally support. This hour, we'll hear from a key opposition leader demanding that he step down.
Also ahead, fighting intensifies in eastern Ukraine as Russia's president raises more eyebrows over his military intentions.
And the Middle East's richest nations have, until now at least, been strangely subdued over the issue of ISIS. But what if Syria and Iraq's
problem becomes their problem? We'll investigate.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: And first up tonight, a developing story, CNN is following out of Saudi Arabia where arrests were made earlier. 88 people were
arrested earlier today on terrorism charges. The Saudi Government says most of the men were Saudi citizens and were plotting to carry out attacks
inside the country and abroad.
Three Yemeni citizens were also arrested.
And we'll have more on the extremism challenges facing the Gulf region coming up on this show.
Well, if NATO leaders prepare to gather in Wales it's a sobering reality hangs over their meeting, they are policymakers in a world
increasingly defined by conflict and political crisis. And one in which personal freedoms are being compromised, or simply crushed in one nation
Pakistan dreamt of democracy. Today, it has a political standoff with no clear solution and death on the streets of the capital.
Eastern Ukraine is being torn apart by a fight for sovereignty. And in cities under siege there, it's the civilians who suffer the most.
In Iraq, the city of Mosul has become emblematic of life under ISIS. The militant's way is the only way. And society there is crumbling.
Well, we begin tonight in Pakistan where a majority hopes of a peaceful and democratic future remain under threat. Right now as we speak
lawmakers are rallying behind embattled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He called a joint session of Parliament earlier this Tuesday as a show of
strength after two weeks of what have been violent protests against his government.
Demonstrators excuse him of rigging last year's election and are demanding that he step down.
Well, our Saima Mohsin is in Islamabad with the very latest on this political crisis.
Now, this is a prime minister under pressure to resign, what did he say at this joint session of parliament today?
SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, nothing. And that let's us all scratching our heads, Becky, here. We were expecting the
prime minister to speak. It was billed as a great moment for the parliament, a joint session of parliament called by the prime minister
himself following those violent and bloody clashes over the weekend. And yet he sat through it and didn't speak at all as anticipated.
What he did do, and it seems to me that he is perhaps biding his time trying to work out how to deal with this crisis, is he allowed others to
talk for him starting with the interior minister defending the state, defending the constitution, and almost a rallying cry of their own to say,
look, this -- these protests risk not only our government, but risk democracy and the future of democracy in Pakistan.
The opposition, though, that were also there to show their support the prime minister had some sobering thoughts for him. You know, you and I
have spoken before about how Pakistan has been under various military dictatorships for more than half its history. Well, that was a reminder
for Nawaz Sharif, because he was last ousted in a coup by President Musharraf. And one opposition leader said, well, look be careful that you
don't find yourself out in the cold yet again. Act wisely.
And the concern is how can Nawaz Sharif really get out of this, Becky, because any which way he does his government will be damaged.
ANDERSON: Very briefly, how likely is the army to intervene at this point?
MOHSIN: Well, there's huge concern about that. As there seems to be this strange vacuum, no one moving, though the prime minister refusing to
resign. Imran Khan and Cleric Taril ul Qadri insisting that he's only in government because of a rigged election and that he must go.
There is concern, and all the while if we take a look at the context of what Pakistan is facing. It's a fragile democracy. It has a fragile
economy, great losses caused by these protests to add to that. And then of course fighting an insurgency.
And so there's huge concern that the military may step in and say, look, this is a country that cannot afford this kind of political
instability. We'll do the job for you if you can't work it out amongst yourselves.
But so far, as we've discussed, over the last few days the military has said they will not intervene, they want to support democracy in
Pakistan -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. Saima, thank you. We will take a closer look at what is driving the political crisis in Pakistan when we speak to
protest leader and Islamic theologian Tahri ul Qadri. That is coming up in about 10 minutes time right here on Connect the World with me Becky
Well, there are signs that Moscow could revise its military strategy, or doctrine, now that NATO plans to boost its presence in eastern Europe.
The alliance is expected to create a new rapid reaction force at a two-day summit in Wales later this week.
On his way there, U.S. President Barack Obama stops off in Estonia to meet the leaders of the Baltic states to reassure them that they have
NATO's backing, those that are NATO members.
Well, CNN's Reza Sayah is in Kiev and joins us now live with the very latest -- Reza.
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, much of the world is going to be anxiously watching to see the outcome of the NATO summit in
Wales this week. It could be that what happens with this conflict in Ukraine and where things go on the battlefield, will have a lot to do with
what happens in the NATO summit. Many people will be scrutinizing every comment, every statement. And some comments have already been deemed
provocative by Moscow.
For example, yesterday, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the NATO secretary- general, came out and said one of the aims of this summit is to bolster NATO's capabilities and capacities in Eastern Europe because of this
conflict. He talked about -- he talked about rapid response units that could be deployed in about 48 hours in hotspots. And that they would be
supported by additional bases.
Now if you know the concerns for Moscow. If you know what irritates and peeves Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, it is NATO expansion.
Many say that's the crux of this conflict here in Ukraine.
Russia's concern that NATO is steadily expanding towards the Russian border. Even so, Mr. Rasmussen yesterday suggesting that they're going to
be talking about some form of expansion during this meeting. Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia, weighed in, saying unfortunately
the rise of the party of war in Ukraine is being actively encouraged by Washington and some European capitals and more and more frequently from
NATO headquarters, Becky.
So many people agree that the only way to solve this conflict is through a negotiated settlement, but instead of that we're getting more and
more provocative statements like this. And we'll see what the outcome of this NATO summit is this week.
ANDERSON: Yeah. Fascinating stuff.
All right, thank you for that. And that NATO summit will be covered from all sides and extensively here on CNN.
We've got some of our best troops on that story for you.
Well, we promised to humanize these conflicts for you tonight. As civilian casualties mount in the battle for control in eastern Ukraine,
many in the city of Donetsk are turning their anger towards President Poroshenko. CNN's Diana Magnay reports.
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERANTIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Petro Poroshenko will have a hard time winning back hearts and minds in this city as the people
of Donetsk sweep up the debris of their homes and livelihoods, they are hardened against a president, they say, is killing his own people.
"We are Ukrainian, but they kill us," this man says. "So, we probably need our own country, because these people in Kiev they are not brothers
The shells hit these homes days ago, but the tears are still fresh.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We live underground. It was so hard for two weeks, especially for 27, 28, 29th. But only today
Sorry, sorry. I need to go.
MAGNAY: Two people were killed outside this block of flats last Wednesday, one of them was a 50-year-old woman, the other a 34-year-old
woman. Her husband, who won't talk to us -- he says he's in shock -- managed to make it down to the cellar with their little child, but she just
didn't have the time. And this is a story that repeats itself over and over in dozens of apartment blocks with civilians being killed by the
constant shelling around Donetsk.
The city's trauma hospital is filled with the civilian wounded, shrapnel embedded in the flesh and bone of market seller's legs. The
broken limbs of pensioners far too old to run.
"There was one war, and this is the second war," this old lady tells me. "I was born in 1940 in World War II and I will probably die before
this war is over."
Valentina Propova (ph) in the next door ward lost her leg and her arm to indiscriminate artillery shells. Switching to the Ukrainian language,
she makes a heartrending plea to the president.
"We used to dance, sing, do everything in Ukrainian," she says. "Poroshenko, Mr. Poroshenko, please listen to us. Why don't you understand
your people? Be a man, be human. Please stop your aggression. Stop this war."
But there is little sign of that. This once thriving city is now half-empty, its railway stationed bombed.
The forces unleashed by this conflict greater, perhaps, than Mr. Poroshenko can control.
Diana Magnay, CNN, Donetsk, Ukraine.
ANDERSON: Well, scores of families of Iraqi military members have stormed the parliament building in Iraq. They are demanding to know what
happened to their loved ones who are believed to have been killed in what was a massacre by ISIS militants near Tikrit in June.
Now video posted to YouTube around that time purported to show a line of soldiers captured by ISIS being paraded through Tikrit in civilian clothes.
Well, later, claimed by ISIS that it had killed 1,700 recruits. Their family members want their son's bodies to be returned so that they can bury
Amnesty Internationals says ISIS is carrying out ethnic cleaning on an -- and I quote, an historic scale. And minority villagers have taken the
brunt of the militant's rampage throughout the country. But in Sunni areas, like Mosul, many people invited ISIS in seeing them at first, at
least, as liberators.
Well, now as Anna Coren reports, deep regret in some places is now setting in.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When ISIS brazenly took control of Iraq's second largest city back in June, it sent shockwaves
throughout the country and the region. Alienated by the Maliki government and persecuted by his security forces, Mosul was fertile ground for the
But nearly three months after ISIS raised its black banner over the city, residents describe heavy-handed oppression and brutality under the
rule of these Islamic extremists.
"When they first came to Mosul, they told us they would protect and that this was a revolution," explains this man too afraid to reveal his
identity. "But after the people got to know ISIS, they felt hatred towards them."
The people of Mosul now live in fear of arbitrary arrests, punishment and death with eyewitness reports of a young man accused of adultery
publicly stoned to death. Conditions in the city are rapidly deteriorating with shortages of power, food and medicine.
"We are afraid to even go out," says this woman who must wear a veil and be accompanied by a male relative. "The best freedom is to stay inside
your house. We have known true Islam for years, but we have never seen anything like this."
It was here in Mosul that ISIS leader Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi made his only appearance as the self-declared caliph of a new so-called Islamic
State, but to the residents, his vision bears no resemblance to their beliefs.
"1,400 years we have believed in Islam and we have never seen this. How is it possible that they came up with a whole different interpretation
of Islam? This is a stupid interpretation." He adds that ISIS forced them to swear allegiance or face death.
For those who escaped, like these businessmen who spoke to us on the condition we wouldn't show their faces, it's been torture with family and
friends still in Mosul.
"I speak to my family on the phone. They say we wish we would die only to be free. We never wanted to live under their control, all the
people of Mosul are now imprisoned."
They believe there are people planning to resist ISIS. Last week, a group claiming to be an armed opposition to the militants posted this
But the businessmen say ISIS and its supporters are too powerful and can't be defeated without outside assistance, a move that would involve
"We fear they will use the people of Mosul as human shields," says this man. We need the international community to help."
But if no one comes to their rescue, they morbidly believe the only safe haven for the people of Mosul is death.
Anna Coren, CNN, Irbil, Kurdistan, Iraq.
ANDERSON: Well, still to come tonight, we're going to get some perspective from this region, the UAE, on events in Iraq and Syria. Find
out whether ISIS can be the unlikely glue that brings together countries around the Gulf. It's 15 minutes past 7:00 in the evening here.
First, though, violence on the streets of Pakistan. Some say the protest to oust the president -- sorry, the prime minister -- have gone too
far. That is next.
ANDERSON: This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson out of the UAE. Welcome back.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is on the defensive today, pushing back against the throngs of angry protesters demanding that he step
down. He rallied his supporters in parliament earlier, a likely sign he doesn't plan to leave office any time soon. But the protesters seem just
as determined to force Mr. Sharif out as he is to remain in power.
Well, one of the protest leaders calling for the resignation of the prime minister is the cleric Tahir ul Qadri. He's calling for a revolution
in Pakistan. And he joins me now from Islamabad.
Sir, it doesn't seem that the prime minister is going anywhere soon. Indeed, he is being supported as we speak by lawmakers in parliament. What
is your next move?
TAHIR UL QADRI, PAKISTANI PROTEST LEADER: Sorry, when we talk of the revolution here, let me explain it is not in the sense of any kind of
military coup or ability or violent struggle as it is sometimes perceived in western world. The whole revolution is very--
ANDERSON: Well, its you and your supporters, sir, that people are accusing of inciting this deadly violence, even fellow opposition leader
Imran Khan past 48 hours or so distancing himself from you. How do you respond?
All right, it looks as if we may have lost our Skype connection for the time being.
Let me take a very short break, because we want to continue this interview. I'm going to take a short break, back after this. We'll see if
we can reconnect.
LU STOUT: Right. Welcome back.
I was talking before we took a very short break with Tahri ul Qadri who is the -- one of the opposition leaders, along with Imran Khan, who has
been calling for the resignation of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan.
Well, Nawaz Sharif being very much supported by lawmakers, including those in the opposition in parliament today. I've got you back, sir,
apologies for that. The technology let us down earlier on.
They call you -- certainly your critics do, in Pakistan, the political hitman. Your critics say your invective is inciting people to storm the
parliamentary buildings. That is neither peaceful nor non-violent protests that you are calling for.
Even Imran Khan, I was making the point, has distanced himself from you of late. Your response?
QADRI: Yes. Our struggle is totally peaceful. It is absolutely democratic within the framework of constitution of Pakistan. And we are
fighting for security of human rights of the people, but alleviation of poverty for self -- respect of human beings, for endorsement of all
articles of constitution from article one to article 40 which ensure the basic human rights which have been never, never enforced in Pakistan for
the last 41 years.
ANDERSON: OK, sir. With respect -- with respect, you said that these protests -- hang on, sir -- with respect, you've said these protests have
been peaceful, they haven't. They've turned deadly over the past 48 hours. And your critics say that you want to unseat the government, you want to
entirely throw out -- hang on -- you want to throw out the political and economic system, the very constitution of Pakistan.
Listen, you live in Canada. What stake do you have in Pakistani politics? You didn't contest either the last year's election, which was
the first democratic transfer of power, or in -- or indeed did you contend the election in 2008. In fact, you haven't taken part in the process for
over a decade. You don't have a constituency. What's your end game here, sir?
QADRI: Basic thing is having Canadian citizenship, it is not illegal -- Pakistani law allows Pakistani people to have dual citizenships with at
least 20 countries all over the world.
This is not the question. Basic thing, I have not finished my Pakistani nationality. I have established a universities, 1,000 schools
and colleges, and millions and millions of workers of my party an we have hundreds of institutions for peace training, further educational
institutions and we have (inaudible) stakes over here.
Secondly, being a citizen of Pakistan, how -- hundreds of thousands of people. I will say more than 100 million people, they don't have food to
eat. They don't have clear water to drink. If they are clear, they have no right to get their (inaudible) case registered in police station. Their
girls are being gang raped. Nobody is here to provide them justice.
So the basic question is last time when I didn't participate in election your question, the reason why I didn't participate because the
election commission which was formed to conduct the election that was formed in violation of the constitution of Pakistan.
Constitution of Pakistan, article 2, 18 and 2, 13 they have given some provisions and these provisions has broke. And this election commission
last formed in violation of constitution.
So it was unconstitutional, it was invalid. It was illegal, illegitimate.
ANDERSON: OK. All right. And you've made a very good point.
I want to make a couple of points here and put a couple of questions to you. To remind our viewers that international observers did observe the
last election in 2013 and they said that they found no evidence of -- and I think I'm right in quoting them -- rampant rigging of that election. I
know that you agree with Imran Khan and allege that the election was rigged, and indeed you want to see the end of the prime minister.
Look, it doesn't look as if he's going to stand down any time soon. Indeed, as I've suggested, he's being supported as we speak by
parliamentarians and lawmakers in government.
What is it that you are looking for here, because you go any further and many experts will say -- hang on -- many experts will say that there is
the likelihood of a soft coup, a coup by stealth. Is that what you want from what is this new Pakistan military, a takeover effectively?
QADRI: So as the last portion of your question is concerned, I totally reject this possibility. I am absolutely against military coup,
any military takeover, any martial law. I am since from my birth till death, I am a democratic person. I believe in democracy. I believe in
people's participate in democracy. I am totally against any kind of theocracy, any kind of despotic rule and any kind of dynasty
Now this is dynasty of Sharif's. This is not democracy in Pakistan at the moment.
Coming to your first comment, I would say with respect this agree with your comment that the people and the organizations of the whole world they
declare that there was no rigging. I would say that their rigging takes place in two steps. One, rigging is pre-poll rigging, which takes place in
two to three years before election or polling day comes.
Second rigging is on the polling day. The western organizations, which monitor the elections, they just come during the polling days for
two, three, four days. So the whole rigging process is already complete before arrival of international organizations. For example, if Sharif is
in power, he was for the last five, six years. His brother Sharif in Punjab. The would appoint all the returning officers, session judges are
the returning officer on request of their MPs and MNAs (ph).
The police officers are appointed on their request.
All executive authorities are appointed with their request.
The key point being bribing them. They promote them out of turn without merits. They do corruption. They become a total mafia.
ANDERSON: OK. Fascinating, sir.
Listen, I've got take a break on this show, but it has been good having you on. Let's speak again. You've been listening to one of the
opposition leaders there in Pakistan. I'm going to take a very short break. Back after this.
ANDERSON: This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. The top stories for you this hour.
Dozens of Pakistani lawmakers are rallying around Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as we speak. Protesters have demanded his resignation for the past
two weeks over accusations that he rigged last year's election. But Mr. Sharif denies those claims.
Russian president Vladimir Putin's comments that Moscow could capture Kiev in two weeks was taken out of context, according to a top aide. An
Italian newspaper reported that the remark was made during a conversation between President Putin and the EU Commission chief, Jose Manuel Barroso.
The aide criticized Barroso for discussing the content of the phone call.
A suspected drone strike targeted an al-Shabaab stronghold near the port of Barawe. US officials tell CNN Shabaab commanders were meeting at
the time, and the opportunity, and I quote, "presented itself." It isn't clear if the group's top leader was hit. The Somali government and African
Union forces have been trying to drive out the extremists from the region.
Iraqi troops, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen are pressing on with their fight against ISIS. Media reports say they have now
retaken Sulaiman Beg, which had been held by the militants for month. That's on the heels of a celebrated victory in the town of Amerli. The
residents there cheered the Iraqi forces on Monday after they broke a two- month ISIS siege.
One of the most powerful tools available to ISIS, we are learning week by week, is propaganda. There's a video displaying the beheading of
journalist James Foley at one end of the spectrum, and the video of Yazidi minority members supposedly converting peaceably to Islam at the other.
And as Atika Shubert explains, when it comes to the recruitment process, myths can prove more effective than reality.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Scroll through the Twitter feeds and Facebook pages of self-declared jihadi
fighters, and you'll find videos like this one, that they say show the righteousness of their cause. Photos of dead jihadi fighters smiling.
Claims that their bodies don't decompose, and their blood is perfumed with musk.
After some digging, we were able to connect online with two jihadi fighters now in Syria, one of them, British. I asked if they truly
believed the claims.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We smell blood, we smell so nice, even after ten days. It's unbelievable things happening. And (inaudible), these are the
pillars of Allah which we believe is to keep us steadfast on this path.
(CAR HORN HONKING)
SHUBERT: Fantastical accounts like these are leading to a twisted interpretation of Islam, says Usama Hasan, an Islamic scholar who was once
an Islamist fighter himself.
USAMA HASAN, SENIOR RESEARCHER, QUILLIAM FOUNDATION: I heard the same thing myself 25 years ago when I was 19 and went to Afghanistan to fight.
The idea that if you were martyred or killed, you would not feel any pain whatsoever, you'd die with a smile on your face, and that your blood would
smell of musk, for example, or perfume.
And luckily, those I was with had a more analytical, rational approach to things. And they said, "Hold on, we've heard that before. But nowhere
did it say that it happened on Earth. The teaching about your blood smelling of musk is about the hereafter."
What ISIS do is use medieval justifications. They are stuck in a medieval mindset, especially around rules of war.
SHUBERT: Ironically, much of what Hasan describes as medieval thinking is propagated online. So to counter this, Hasan and other Muslim
scholars in Britain, have released a fatwa, a religious ruling that declares ISIS an heretical extremist organization that is haram,
prohibited, for believers to support or join. And the fatwa quotes not only the Koran, but also the Geneva Convention.
HASAN: This was deliberate on our part, to show that Islam, like any other world religion, can and must be reconcilable with modernity.
Otherwise, it makes no sense living in the modern world and accepting or using things like technology, mobile phones, internet, videos, which ISIS
do, and modern weaponry, but rejecting all of the civilization and human rights that comes along with it.
SHUBERT: But the lure of the battlefield is particularly strong for young Muslim men, including the two we interviewed, who see the fight as a
right of spiritual passage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We see people from around the world here, they are rich, they are poor, they are well-built, they are skinny, they are -- they
are single, they are married. But what makes a Mujahideen is one who sincerely strives for the sake of Allah.
SHUBERT: A fatwa is only one small step in countering the myths of groups like ISIS, Hasan admits. There is still a long ideological battle
ahead to win back the hearts and minds warped by extremist beliefs.
Atika Shubert, CNN, London.
ANDERSON: Well, certainly there is a Muslim majority that refuses to subscribe to the ISIS publicity machine, there's no doubt about that. Here
in the Gulf region, political and religious leaders have for some time been muted, though, in their response to the militant threat.
But criticism is building, and ISIS is proving itself something that these often uneasy bedfellows can bond over. I'm joined now by Abdulkhaleq
Abdulla, professor of political science at Emirates University here. And sir, it's always a pleasure to have you on.
The West, at present, consumed with concern about homegrown jihadis, the UK raising its threat level over the past 48 hours or so and
introducing new legislation to try and prevent the export and import of militancy. Regionally, how concerned is the leadership here about the
ABDULKHALEQ ABDULLA, PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, UAE UNIVERSITY: Homegrown jihadists, we don't have here in the UAE. We've never had it, I
don't think we're going to have it. This is a very moderate country, the UAE, this is a very open country. So, I think the version, the Islamic
version that we have in here is not very conducive to jihadism, to extremism.
ABDULLA: However, it is --
ANDERSON: But that's the export. What about the import? What about guys coming back through here --
ABDULLA: It is very possible. It's very possible. They are all over the place. ISIS is looming very large just next door in Iraq and all over
the place, so you have to be on guard, and I think the UAE is wise enough to have legislation as a preventive measure.
But it's a regional problem rather than a homegrown UAE problem.
ANDERSON: Let's talk about the wider region. Let's allude to the GCC, the group -- the six countries in this sort of loosely-grouped
regional committee, as it were. You alluded to counter-terrorism measures and legislation, which the UAE is getting on its books.
Arguably, the most powerful man in the GCC, Saudi Arabia's King Abdulla, has been the most vocal regional leader, it has to be said, when
it comes to the ISIS threat. And he said, and I quote, "Terrorism knows now border and its danger could effect several countries outside the Middle
He's been quoted as saying last week, "If we ignore them, I am sure they will reach Europe in a month and America in another month. At a
meeting of the GCC on Saturday, its members made a commitment to act against terrorist threats that face the region and, indeed, the world, and
to fight terrorist ideology, which is contrary to Islam.
Tonight, we are hearing about the arrest of 88 potential militants or those in Saudi Arabia who authorities believe were a threat. We've had the
Grand Mufti being very outspoken about ISIS. Thoughts?
ABDULLA: Well, Saudi Arabia has suffered from jihadism, from al Qaeda, fell extremism, just as much as anybody else. And they know how
dangerous it could be, and I think there is ideological affinity that everybody's talking about.
So, the Saudi's armed guards, Saudi's (inaudible) are on alert. I think they are very serious about attacking the problem, both internally,
if there is any, and later on, regionally. I think they are seeing the threat coming very close to their borders, so I think no doubt the Saudis
are taking this very seriously, Becky.
ANDERSON: While we're on the GCC, tell me how you read this rift, this ongoing rift between Saudi, the UAE on one hand, and Qatar on the
other. Because the Muslim Brotherhood story, which is the story of political Islam, of course, is one that they really -- there are real
divisions about what is going on here.
ABDULLA: We had a meeting in Jeddah just almost a week ago, and I think they pressed the freeze button to freeze the problem from
deteriorating, from escalating any further, and from falling into -- going into a free fall. So, we are so relieved that they did freeze the problem.
However, the problem is not resolved. It is going to be resolved when we see the three ambassadors back to Doha. So, it's a freeze --
ABDULLA: -- rather than a resolution of the problem.
ANDERSON: These are ambassadors that were withdrawn from three of the of --
ABDULLA: Withdrawn, yes.
ANDERSON: -- the UAE --
ABDULLA: Yes, sorry, in March.
ANDERSON: -- I mean the GCC countries back in March as a statement against Doha. All right. Here's a -- I want you to have a look at this
graphic that I'm going to bring up here, sir. Here's a reminder of the Islamic militant groups in North Africa and the Middle East. I'm going to
get wider than the GCC here and get across the entire region.
Al Qaeda may be the roots of the tree of terror. It was founded in the late 80s, of course, by Osama bin Laden. The Taliban established their
own Islamic state in Afghanistan and sheltered al Qaeda.
A few offshoots have also surfaced in recent years, including AQ in the Arabian Peninsula, based, of course, in Yemen. And we are, again,
seeing problems there to date. And al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, operating in North Africa.
Al Qaeda has inspired other groups, like Somalia's al-Shabaab, again, an attack on the leadership there from a US drone only in the last 24
hours, and Boko Haram, the group behind the mass kidnapping of more than 200 teenage girls in April.
Al Qaeda in Iraq was established in 2004, but over time, it evolved and turned into the newest branch of the ideological tree and most -- also
the most dangerous, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, or if you are listening to those who are a legion -- who are supporters, they will
call it the IS, the Islamic State. Do you, by the way, call it the Islamic State? Do you dignify this group --
ABDULLA: Not at all.
ANDERSON: -- with that term?
ABDULLA: Not at all. Not at all, Becky. I don't think they represent Islam --
ANDERSON: How big a threat are they?
ABDULLA: -- in any version of it, in any iota of conceivable possibility that Islam really breeds this kind of thing. You have
extremism, you have fascism, every society sometimes go through these episodes, and this is one of us, yes, but these are extremes and not
necessarily representers of the main Islam.
ANDERSON: I'm just wondering briefly whether you think it might be ISIS or IS that may eventually bring the two regional enemies together,
Iran and Saudi, in one fight against this one group?
ABDULLA: They are talking. We have seen them took in Jeddah just last week when an Iranian went to Jeddah to talk. However, they still have
a lot of problems to resolve. ISIS is, once again, looming large on the horizon. It's going to bring a lot of people together. Let's hope the
Iranian and the Saudis finally talk how to confront this together.
The Americans are in there, the European are there, so many different people who were never thought in our wildest imagination that they will
talk to each other are talking. So, the threat is real, the threat is imminent, and I think it might push some miracles --
ABDULLA: -- could happen to bring people who were never can talk to each other --
ANDERSON: Sure. The old --
ABDULLA: -- and who are talking again.
ANDERSON: The old adage, which has always been attached to the Middle East, my enemy's enemy is my friend, and we are seeing these shifting
alliances and relations primarily as a result, as you say, of ISIS here in this region. Fascinating times. Frightening times, but fascinating times.
Sir, always a pleasure.
ABDULLA: Thank you.
ANDERSON: Thank you very much, indeed.
ABDULLA: Thank you for having me.
ANDERSON: Live from Abu Dhabi, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. Next, as the US backs the fight against ISIS, the
fallout from the last Iraq War is still casting a shadow. I'm going to be live for you in Baghdad, coming up.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. In Iraq, families of Iraqi military members have stormed the parliament building in Baghdad. They are demanding to
know -- excuse me -- what happened to their loved ones who were believed to have been killed in a massacre by ISIS militants near Tikrit back in June.
And as the US continues its battle against ISIS in Iraq, a jury in Washington begins deliberations in the trial of four Americans accused of
killing 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians nearly seven years ago. With more on both of these stories, CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins me, live from Baghdad.
Let's start with the latest and these military family members storming parliament. What are they saying and what did they achieve?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, these are more than 100 family members of victims of what could be one of the worst
atrocities committed by ISIS here in Iraq.
They have been, as you mentioned, demanding answers. They want to know the fate of their sons, and they have not been getting any answers.
They have been protesting outside the green zone here, where the government and parliament are based, demanding these answers.
Now, their sons were recruits, mostly Shia recruits from southern Iraq who were based at Camp Speicher, this is in the city of Tikrit, and in
June, when ISIS took control of most of the city, it said that it had captured and executed 1,700 of these recruits. They released some images -
KARADSHEH: -- that could, they say, show the capture and execution of these recruits. And really, the Iraqi government here, Becky, over the
past few months, it's almost been three months since then, has not been able to release exact figures --
KARADSHEH: -- of how many are missing still, how many bodies have been retrieved. So, it's been a very, very tough time for the families who
are trying to demand answers.
ANDERSON: Yes. And with an ill-functioning, let's say, government at best at present, as it tries to get itself together, get its factions
together and somehow come out fighting against what is going on. Jomana, thank you for that.
I want to get our viewers back to September the 16th, 2007. I remember talking to you in Baghdad about this story. Four employees of the
US security company Blackwater accused of killing 17 Iraqis in downtown Baghdad. Well, today, a jury in Washington begins deliberations in their
trial. A bloodbath, Jomana, was how it was described back then. Remind us of the events that day.
KARADSHEH: Well, Becky, it's been almost seven years to the day since what Iraqis describe as a massacre and a bloodbath here in Baghdad's Nisour
Square. And CNN has followed the families of the victims and the survivors throughout these years, and they've always told us they want one thing, and
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Ali Abdul Razzaq's life ended with a bullet to the head on September 16th, 2007. Ali was not yet 10. Ahmad Rubaie was
studying to become a doctor. His life, too, tragically ended on that September day.
These are some of the faces of the 17 Iraqi victims of the shooting rampage in Baghdad's Nisour Square seven years ago in an incident involving
the US security firm known at the time as Blackwater Worldwide.
The firm said the State Department convoy it was protecting was in danger and that it had come under attack in the central Baghdad square,
something eyewitnesses interviewed by CNN at the time said wasn't true. The Iraqi government called the shootings unprovoked and premeditated
KARADSHEH (on camera): The incident sparked a diplomatic crisis and was a turning point in US-Iraqi relations. It also changed the rules on
the ground for security contractors who now operate with no immunity and under strict Iraqi regulations.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): For survivors like lawyer Hasan Jaber Salman, the physical wounds may have healed, but the memories haunt him, he says.
HASAN JABER SALMAN, LAWYER (through translator): No matter how you try to describe this, you can't do it justice. They killed 17 people in
cold blood. Families have lost a father, a son, a child. It's a tragedy I cannot describe.
KARADSHEH: Salman was driving to work when he got trapped in the traffic in Nisour Square. When the shooting started, like many others, he
tried to flee. He was shot three times.
SALMAN (through translator): It was horror. People were terrified. People running out of their cars were being shot at. Anything that moved
in Nisour Square was shot. Women, children, young people, they shot at everyone.
KARADSHEH: After years of a lengthy and bumpy legal process, a US jury will now decide whether four guards involved in the shootings are
guilty of more than a dozen counts of murder or manslaughter and other charges. The defendants say they acted in self-defense.
Salman, who recently returned from testifying in the US, says he has faith in America's justice system.
SALMAN (through translator): I felt that there are people who care about this case. I felt the US judiciary was interested, even if it's to
show the media that America is just and guarantees people's rights. I have trust that there will be justice.
KARADSHEH: For the families of the victims, the long wait for justice will not bring back their loved ones, but may finally mean closure.
KARADSHEH: For most Iraqis, Becky, what happened in Nisour Square is a distant memory, especially with what's going on in the country right now.
But for the families of the victims and the survivors, it's been seven years of wait -- a long wait for justice that they're still waiting for
ANDERSON: Jomana Karadsheh for you out of Baghdad this evening. Jomana, thank you.
Coming up, a colleague, a cameraman, and above all, a truly memorable character. We remember the life of CNN's Sarmad Qaseera.
ANDERSON: When you watch CNN, you watch the world through the eyes of our camera operators. You may not know their names, but they are in so
many ways the key to ensuring that our storytelling resonates.
Well, few have told stories better than Sarmad Qaseera, one of CNN's most prolific and most popular employees. Sarmad died suddenly in the
States in Atlanta on Monday. His legacy, though, will live on.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He was the face behind the camera. Egypt, Baghdad, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, he shot
our coverage of the World Cup, the royals' tour in Australia, the pope visiting Brazil. He covered it all, a dedicated, hard-working and
As an Iraqi, Sarmad spent years covering the devastating war in his country.
SARMAD QASEERA, CNN CAMERAMAN: As a journalist, you have to be honest. And at the same time, really difficult when you shoot your own
people. You do a story about your own people.
GORANI: He worked and reported from all over the Middle East before relocating to the United States, where he was also a devoted son to his
Qaseera producer, Jomana Karadsheh, who happens to be in Baghdad now said, "Many people who knew him here say he escaped death in Iraq only to
have it follow him to America."
Sarmad was a people person. He was a bit silly at times, and always made everyone laugh.
QASEERA: Yes, I took shower. Yes. Three days ago.
GORANI: But it's his life and his legacy that he will be remembered for, from producers to correspondents, he's touched each and every person
he worked with at CNN. The overwhelming reaction to his death is a testament to the impact he had, and his passing is a tremendous loss.
A loss that reminds us all of how precious and fragile life is, and how suddenly it can end. Sarmad Qaseera, rest in peace.
ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching. Your headlines follow this.