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CONNECT THE WORLD
Polls Busy As Scots Vote For Independence; Kurds Need More Help To Defeat ISIS; World Not Doing Enough To Quell Ebola Outbreak; Australian Anti-Terror Raids; New Video Emerges of Hostage Alan Henning; Parting Shots: Palestinians Follow Scotland's Referendum; Saudi's Stock Market Surge; Saudi Billionaire's Kingdom; Eliminating ISI
Aired September 18, 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: Decision day in Scotland. Voters are at the polls to answer one question on the ballot. Should Scotland go it alone as
an independent country?
Also ahead as the battle rages between Kurdish forces and ISIS fighters in Iraq, Kurds in Syria suffer a major loss at the hands of the
And new developments in the fight against the deadly Ebola outbreak. Why some victims are turning to blood on the black market.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: Well, the day has finally come when voters are deciding whether or not Scotland will split from the rest of the UK and become
More than 4.2 million people have registered to vote, that is a record high. And all that's needed is a simple majority for either side to claim
victory. Results will start coming in overnight into Friday morning local time.
Our senior international correspondent Nic Robertson joins us now from a polling station in Glasgow -- Nic.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, hi.
Well, nine hours into the voting, six more to go, it was very busy in the early hours this morning. 7:00 a.m. we were here when the doors
opened. There was a line of people waiting outside. There's been a steady, steady stream since then. Perhaps a little slower through the middle of
the day than those early hours when people were voting on their way to work.
But what we're told to expect is another flood of people, once people finish work and come to vote in the early part of the evening, that's
what's expected. But already this is a far higher turnout than has been experienced here ever before, not just because 16 and 17 year olds have got
the vote, 109,000 of them have registered, but there is such an exceptionally high interest here.
Everyone believes that their view will count. People I've talked to outside this polling station who have monitored previous elections tell me
that they have never seen so many people coming in to vote.
So, four-and-a-quarter million registered voters, 97 percent of the total possible electorate registered to vote and it seems so many of them
are coming out already today, Becky.
ANDERSON: It is the most extraordinary exercise in democracy when you talk about those who are registered and who are getting out to vote, these
newly enfranchised youngsters, 16 to 17-years-old, just describe the atmosphere. We've talked about those who have been coming out and chatting
to you and how engaged the Scottish population is.
What's the atmosphere like?
ROBERTSON: It's very pleasant and very convivial. There are people outside here supporting both camps. And there are conversations between
them and between the people going in and thumbs up to one side and thumbs up to the other and it's smiles and conversations and continuing the debate
that's been going on for weeks.
So, there's a real sense of there's something that people can do that they're really engaged in this sense of democracy and in the issues, of
ANDERSON: Amazing stuff.
All right, CNN is the place to be for the very latest on this referendum. The polls close as the -- a little less than six hours time.
And that is when our extensive rolling coverage begins.
Well, as the international community builds on a coalition to take on ISIS, the militant group continues its reign of terror. A Syrian human
rights group says in the last 24 hours ISIS has captured 16 Kurdish villages along Syria's border with Turkey.
Now meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure to train and arm so-called moderate Syrian rebels to fight ISIS. Now that
measure goes to the upper house, the U.S. Senate.
Meanwhile, Kurdish leaders say they would welcome international help to take back what is the densely populated city of Mosul from the grip of
Anna Coren joining us now from Irbil in northern Iraq.
And a lot of legs to this story today, but I want to get the sense from you, Anna, as to what is going on on the ground. And who where you
are is in control of what at this point?
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly fighting is continuing here in Northern Iraq. The Peshmerga, the Kurdish forces,
still taking the fight to ISIS not far from us here in Irbil. Fighting continues up near Mosul dam in that Zuma area.
The next phases of this operation certainly up here are going to be that area Zuma to cut off the artery from Syria, same with Mosul.
Basically what the Kurds want to do with the help of the global coalition is to cut off the flow of fighters and weapons coming in from Syria.
As we know, Syria is a safe haven, the sanctuary. They are untouchable at the moment in Syria.
So, if they can cut that off, that would certainly help in containing ISIS here and really chipping away.
Obviously, the U.S. airstrikes making a huge difference to the situation on the ground, allowing those forces to move in on these
operations. We've been in embedded with the Peshmerga earlier this week, as we have over the past several weeks, and you know, their modus operandi,
Becky, is to take back villages and strategic areas like a bridge, which is a critical link between us here in Irbil to the city of Mosul.
Mosul of course taken by ISIS back in June, a major stronghold and a very symbolic place for ISIS. That, of course, is where the ISIS leader
Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi made his speech, not just to his followers, but to the world, announcing his caliphate, his Islamic State.
So, really, the next phase of the battle, at least here in northern Iraq is to take out Mosul, but that is going to be an enormous task. And
you mentioned the commander of the Peshmerga forces, he has said that they do need help. They need weapons, they need arms, they need ammunition,
they need training, they need intelligence before they embark on this operation, which we must stress, Becky, is outside of Kurdistan's borders.
You know, this is really the territory of the Iraqi security forces, but they were the ones who fled Mosul. So this is going to be a big
operation that's going to take a great deal of coordination. And we are certainly, you know, weeks if not months away from embarking on that.
ANDERSON: Yeah, I think it was the Americans who said this could be a generational war -- or counterterrorism effort, as they like to call it.
Listen, it was interesting to hear the Kurdish leaders in the region that you are in calling for more international help. The Iranian
president, Anna, Hassan Rouhani says that ISIS is defying Islam by slaughtering innocent people. In an interview, though, that he did with
NBC News he denounced the beheadings of western captives as the offensive to all, but he also called U.S. efforts to defeat ISIS, quote,
"ridiculous." Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): How come they are doing only airstrikes? Are Americans afraid of giving casualties in
the ground in Iraq? Are they afraid of their, you know, soldiers being killed in the fight they claim it against terrorism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Anna, it's interesting to hear from the president Iran, of course, because it is, and has been, the Iranians who have been helping
equip those fighters on the ground in the areas where you are in the north in this fight against ISIS.
Now, Washington not agreeing to speak overtly to the Iranians. Indeed, the Iranians say that they've been spoken to, they're not willing
to get involved in this international coalition. What's your sense of the Iranian sphere of influence in the north of Iraq?
COREN: Well, certainly they were visible in breaking that siege in Amerli, those militia backed by Iran and Iranian fighters there that that
township very visible and certainly fighting back the ISIS militants.
You know, we put that question to the Kurdish president, President Barzani a few days ago. And we sat down with him and said, you know, there
is one partner that is excluded from this global coalition, that being Iran. You know, would you like to see them play a role. And he said, yes,
definitely. They have a role to play. We need them here to help us, to help the cause in Iraq and the fight against ISIS.
And he actually appealed to the United States and for Iran to put their differences aside and to really for their focus to be ISIS, defeating
At the end of the day, Becky, no one wants to have ISIS on their doorstep. The Iranians don't want that.
America doesn't want to get involved in another major war, combat role here in the Middle East, that is why they are really restricting their role
just to U.S. airstrikes.
Obviously, there are conversations happening in the back channels that we are not privy to, but you would have to say that Iran is going to have
to play some sort of role in this war.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. Anna, always a pleasure, thank you.
Still to come tonight, a gruesome terror plot for a public beheading. Two people charged after largescale raids by hundreds of Australian police.
That is a story that is forthcoming.
And can western Islamic militants be brought home to face justice and eventually persuade others not to join the fight? We're going to do that
with in depth analysis after this.
ANDERSON: This is CNN, Connect the World with me Becky Anderson out of London for you today. Welcome back.
I want to update you one of our top stories today. ISIS capturing 16 mostly Kurdish villages right along Syria's border with Turkey as they
advance toward the city of Ayn al Arab, that is according at least to a British based Syrian opposition group.
Meanwhile, authorities in Australia have charged two men in connection with a homegrown terror plot. The prime minister says that it included
plans to carry out, and I quote him here, "a public execution."
Well, let's delve deeper into this threat from ISIS in Syria and Iraq and at home, whether you're watching in Australia, here in London, in the
U.S. Richard Barrett joining us from New York. He's a senior vice president of the Sofan Group, a strategic security and intelligence firm,
perhaps more -- or equally as importantly, a former coordinator the UN's al Qaeda and Taliban monitoring group.
And I want to talk about al Qaeda shortly, because that has been a group that had been somewhat forgotten in the midst of all of this ISIS
Let me just start with some strategy here. I want to talk to what we're hearing out of the U.S. on ISIS. I wonder whether you believe there
is a disconnect between the White House and defense department in the U.S. as to what happens next. I want you to have a listen to what Obama said on
Wednesday, reminding ourselves that the defense secretary had talked about the possibility of putting boots on the ground just a couple of days ago.
Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But I want to be clear, the American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not
have a combat mission.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Richard, we heard from the president of Iran, for example. You know, you don't put boots on the ground, quite frankly, as America's
already admitted, this is going to be a generational problem, possibly two. We're not talking days, weeks, months, we may be talking years going
Do you believe there's a disconnect in the States as to what happens next, or what ought to happen next in any coalition?
RICHARD BARRETT, FRM. UN AL QAEDA/TALIBAN MONITORING TEAM: Well, I think it's fair enough that the military the Pentagon would see a military
role that's bigger than perhaps the president imagines at the moment. And I think the president is saying, yes, of course we do need some military
action to knock back the Islamic State, as indeed was very successfully done to get it out of the Mosul Dam.
But it's a much bigger -- as you say, a generational effort that is not going to go on just in Iraq and Syria alone, it's going to go on
elsewhere as well, because one of the things that the Islamic State has taken advantage of, of course, is the misgovernment, if you like, in those
areas, and also I think the disaffection of many people around the world who see them as offering something new and something they want to belong
And those sort of misperceptions need to be addressed as well as the sort of, if you like, the equipment and military capability of the Islamic
LU STOUT: And we're going to talk about the process of stopping the sort of, you know, homegrown jihadis from going out and what you do with
them when they come back.
Just one other questions to you, though, given the advances that ISIS has made just in the past 24 hours on the Syrian border and the fact that
al Qaeda's two most powerful branches have offered support for ISIS, do you see this as a sign of how U.S. intervention in what is this vicious
insurgency is serving to sort of unite a once fractured jihadi movement and encourage others outside of the region to get involved? And I'm talking
from Australia, from the U.S. from the UK for example and other European countries?
BARRETT: Yeah, I think that's a very good question to ask.
I think the capture of villages along the Syrian-Turkish border is a natural way that ISIS wants to secure its supply lines and so on whether
for fighters coming in or material going in and out. But your larger question about whether this is reuniting the extremist forces I think is --
should be seen in the context of the Syrian civil war.
All those groups, whether you call them moderate or extremist or whatever have the same objective in trying to get rid of the Assad
government. And they're all relatively weak. They've only got a chance to do that if they all fight together. So you may say, well, the United
States and other allies just want to fund moderate rebels, well, it's not a term that really makes much sense in the context of an overall opposition
against Bashar al-Assad.
ANDERSON: I wanted to remind our viewers -- and I think it was one French would be jihadi as it were, somebody -- I think it was France
stopped at their border as he made his way back home from the theater of war. And when asked what his defense to fighting for ISIS was, said well
I'm only fighting against Bashar al-Assad as the rest of you are.
Interesting times, of course.
Just how important are these deradicalization programs like the ones we've seen talked about of late. You know, with a view to the context of
this, which is this larger story. Australia stopping a would-be attempt at public beheading, we're told, just in the past 24 hours.
BARRETT: Yes, the Australian thing is horrid, isn't it? And those three or four really extremist Australians in Iraq who seem to be trying to
stir everything up, or maybe they're in Syria, but they're out there. And you'll remember very well, I think, the picture of the Australian who had
his child hold up a severed head of a Syrian soldier. So, they are really horrid.
And that whole plot indeed is a particularly nasty plot.
But it's sort of egregious, I think, because as you point out many people are going there because they think they're doing something good for
the Syrian community, and maybe for the Iraqi community to.
Now, the problem is that when they get out there, they're exposed to these extremely radicalized people, people like those Australians, and they
may pick up those views themselves and think, OK, the best way I can help is to go back and, you know, behead somebody in the middle of the street
type of thing. And that's why rehabilitation programs are so important, because you want to check with people coming back that they don't have
those radical views. And if they do, you want to mitigate them.
I'm going to leave there. We thank you.
ISIS militants say they want to establish a so-called caliphate. It's a system of government that dates back to the early days of Islam. But
once you get over their misguided romanticism and peer into the group you'll find a surprisingly modern structure.
Have a look at CNN.com/international where you can find out how the group operates, the anatomy of ISIS and many other in depth reports, part
of our complete coverage at CNN.com/international.
Live from London, this is Connect the World. A Briitsh Ebola victim who could be the key to helping others survive what is this dangerous
virus. That next.
ANDERSON: Welcome back.
A British nurse who survived the Ebola virus is on a lifesaving mission to the United States. We've learned that Willam Pooley is in the
United States to donate blood to an American Ebola patient.
Now since Pooley survived the disease his blood now contains antibodies that could help the victim recover.
Well, though transfusion have worked in the past, it's not a proven treatment. But that hasn't stopped desperate patients from turning to the
black market to get survivor's blood.
The illicit trade, though, can spread other dangers infections.
Nima Elbagir joins us now with more on all of this.
And there is a growing desperation around the world that is leading to this black market for blood, correct?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. I mean, you have no better way of really getting people to understand how terrified
people are. It almost feels like -- I mean, it's like a trade in this sense that there is an elixir, that there's a magic panacea to this.
But what's interesting to a lot of people we've been speaking to out in Liberia and West Africa is while the World Health Organization is saying
you can't be doing this, this isn't medically proven, we have Will Pooley getting on a plane doing something incredibly charitable, incredibly brave,
but it is really telling that these are the mixed messages that people in West Africa feel that they're getting.
We also had a lot of controversy, you could say when ZMapp, that experimental drug was given mainly to foreign aid workers and only three
Liberian health workers got it. And it adds to that sense of isolation and abandonment, these mixed messages they're getting.
ANDERSON: Three workers got that drug in West Africa.
ELBAGIR: One got it so late they passed away.
ANDERSON: What about this vaccine trial? And this real sense of urgency about this now. Where do things stand?
ELBAGIR: Well, they have actually taken it straight into production. While they're doing the human trials, they have started 10,000 of these
vaccines are coming out of the--
ANDERSON: Is that safe?
ELBAGIR: I mean, what else are the people's options? And that's why there are two British volunteers -- one went in yesterday, one went in
today, very young going in and just taking that risk to see if there are other indications to this drug.
But if you're in Liberia, if you're in Sierra Leone where a quarter of those with Ebola are children. What are your options?
ANDERSON: Well, you're options are that you get to a clinic that is functioning and you get your minerals and -- you know, your body kept in a
very sort of clear and humane environment, which of course don't exist in many parts of West Africa.
3,000 troops on the ground, Obama is promising, money and medical training. Is enough being done for locals in West Africa where we know
people might survive if the medical facilities were better.
ELBAGIR: Absolutely not. And I think you make such a great point there. It is that basic -- get people in there, get them hydrated, keep
them in a sterile environment and most of the time they will survive. And that's what's being lost in the panic and the mythology of this. This
isn't some alien virus that's come from outer space, this is something that in a first world country would be manageable.
If people around the world got over their fear and interfered earlier -- we are five months into this, Becky -- it's absolutely extraordinary
that more hasn't been done.
ANDERSON: Get over your fear and interfere, great line. Thank you very much indeed. Always a pleasure to have you on this show. Thank you.
The latest world news headlines are just ahead.
Plus, Australian police say they have prevented a terror attack. A man accused of supporting ISIS and planning a public beheading. The
details after this.
ANDERSON: This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. The top stories this hour.
In Scotland, millions of people have been voting in the country's independence referendum. Polls close in about five and a half hours from
now. This vote will decide whether or not Scotland will become an independent country or remain part of the UK.
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko is in Washington in an effort to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine. Addressing a
joint meeting of Congress, Mr. Poroshenko asked the US for more military assistance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETRO POROSHENKO, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: They need more military equipment both --
POROSHENKO: -- lethal and non-lethal.
POROSHENKO: Urgently need.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Some Ebola patients are turning to the black market to buy blood from survivors. The blood has antibodies that can fight the virus,
but the WHO says that blood could contain other dangerous infections.
Two men have been charged in Australia connected to a plan to carry out a public execution. Prime Minister Tony Abbott says intelligence
revealed that militants inside Australia were planning to behead someone chosen at random and then wrap them in the ISIS flag. Well, those suspects
were detained in an operation involving more than 800 police officers, as Ivan Watson reports.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pre-dawn raids across Australia's largest city. Authorities are calling it
the country's biggest-ever anti-terror operation. Armed with dozens of search warrants, Australian security forces detained at least 15 suspects.
The Australian media reporting disturbing details. The suspects allegedly planned to film the public beheading of a random individual and
then drape the body in the black flag of ISIS.
ANDREW SCIPIONE, COMMISSIONER, NSW POLICE: There is a serious concern that right of the heart of our communities we have people that are planning
to conduct random attacks, and today, we've worked together to make sure that that didn't happen. We have, in fact, disrupted that particular
WATSON: Among the suspects detained, a man named Omarjan Azari, who appeared briefly in a Sydney court, charged with a terrorism-related
offense. He did not enter a plea. His neighbors shocked a suspected terrorist lived next-door.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never thought I would see anything like this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's actually quite frightening. My heart is actually pounding.
WATSON: Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he believes at least 60 Australians are fighting alongside ISIS and other militant groups in the
Middle East. He's repeatedly voiced fears these Australian jihadis could pose a threat if they ever come home. Australian intelligence revealed
ISIS was urging homegrown sympathizers to carry out attacks in Australia.
TONY ABBOTT, PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: Quite direct exhortations were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL to
networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country.
WATSON: Last week, Australia raised its threat level to "high" for the first time in the country's history, warning a terrorist attack is
Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong
ANDERSON: Meantime, new images of the British hostage Alan Henning have emerged. Now, the video shows Henning in Syria before he was captured
by ISIS. Karl Penhaul has been doing more on this for you and joins us now. Karl?
KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Becky, Alan Henning was really the taxi driver with a heart of gold. He was loved by
Muslim fellow volunteers and other Muslim groups across Britain.
Now, they're all coming together and making a desperate plea. They are aware that the clock is ticking down, and they're calling for Alan
Henning to be released, to be brought back to his family. Let's take a look.
ALAN HENNING, ISIS HOSTAGE: It's all worth while when you see what is needed actually gets to where it needs to go.
PENHAUL (voice-over): That was Christmas day last year. Big-hearted taxi driver Alan Henning was taking aid from Britain to Syria.
HENNING: Salaam alaikum, brothers and everybody watching.
PENHAUL: He was the only non-Muslim in the convoy. His fellow volunteers nicknamed him "Gadget." He was deeply admired.
PENHAUL: Henning sacrificed Christmas, weekends, and family time to do his bit for Syria. He was kidnapped by ISIS a day after that video was
made. He's now under threat of imminent execution.
As the clock ticks down, those who made the trip with him are making this plea via YouTube to ISIS leaders.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alan was moved by the suffering of the Syrian people, in particular, the children, that he devoted all his free time in
raising money and awareness. Please do not take his life to pay for the crimes that the international governments have committed. Alan ignored
advice from the British government and took the risk to travel to Syria to help the people.
(MUSLIM PRAYER CHANT)
PENHAUL: And on Thursday, more than 100 British Muslim imams and organizations, including moderates and conservatives, issued a statement.
Their message is part appeal, part condemnation of ISIS.
MUSTAFA FIELD, DIRECTOR, FAITHS FORUM: The un-Islamic fanatics are not acting as Muslims, but as the prime minister has said, they are acting
as monsters. They are perpetrating the worst crimes against humanity. This is not jihad.
PENHAUL: Mustafa Field, one of the organizers of the appeal, has a direct message to this man, the black-clad ISIS executioner known as Jihadi
John, also believed to be British.
FIELD: John, we as Muslims are here to preserve lives. We can't continue this barbaric action. Bring back, please, justice and repent.
PENHAUL: Those who travel to Syria with Henning have steered clear of tough talk, adopting instead a softer voice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your prisoner, Alan Henning, traveled with us several times to Syria. On all occasions, we, your Muslim brothers,
brought him with us under our care and protection.
PENHAUL: There may be sharp differences in tone, but all those now appealing to ISIS agree the cabbie with the heart of gold cannot be left to
HENNING: No sacrifice we do is nothing compared to what they're going through every day on a daily basis.
ANDERSON: Well, the message is there, Karl. Is ISIS listening?
PENHAUL: I don't know. I mean, I don't think you can fail to see Alan Henning's humanity there. He's just a normal bloke from up Bolton
way, isn't he? Just a normal bloke. But that is the key. I mean, I did put it to one of these representatives of the hundred Muslim leaders that
have put out that appeal, is ISIS going to be listening to you?
They say that they believe that they can get the message to people near ISIS. They're not sure that any Muslim scholars really are advising
ISIS any longer because they believe that they've just radicalized so much their version of Islam.
And I think also there's this little bit of a division between the moderate Muslims, between this group of Muslims that also some of them
receive funding from the British government, and people close to the grass roots.
And the people close to the grass roots really want to get away from all the scholars, from all the organizations and just send a direct
message. That's why they put a message out by YouTube.
ANDERSON: That's part of the disconnect, it's part of the problem, isn't it, of course? All right, good, thank you. Karl Penhaul in the
house for you today.
The team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you, as ever, facebook.com/CNNconnect, have your say. You can tweet me @BeckyCNN. You
can get us on Instagram as well. But do keep in touch.
This show is yours, of course. You can use the website at cnn.com to find out what is going on and how we're researching and analyzing these
stories. But it's content like Karl's which is important. Stay in touch with us on that.
Well, Scotland's push for independence is being felt as far away, I've got to tell you, as the Middle East. In tonight's Parting Shots,
Palestinians stand in solidarity with the Scots who, of course, are voting as we speak as they, too, hope to have an independent state. Senior
international correspondent Ben Wedeman with this report.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the alleyways of Jerusalem's Old City, there's an echo of faraway Scotland.
Like Scotland, the British came, saw, and conquered the Holy Land. They pulled out 66 years ago, but left behind, among other things, the bagpipe.
At the Latin Patriarchate in Ramallah on the West Bank, the Scouts Band is busy practicing for their next parade. Religious holidays,
Christian as well as Muslim, usually feature marching bands, almost always with bagpipes. Their leader, Fayeq Habash, sees a parallel between his
land and Scotland.
"Just as we have a struggle with the Israelis and hopefully will be liberated," he says, "hopefully the Scots will get what they want."
WEDEMAN: The origins of this noisy bag of air, however, may not be in the Scottish highlands.
WEDEMAN (on camera): Now, one bit of information I came upon in a very quick cursory research of the bagpipe is that it actually doesn't
originate in Scotland, but rather, from here, in the Middle East.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Not only bagpipes and political solidarity, but also the kilt has gone local. Old acquaintances here not forgotten.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Jerusalem.
ANDERSON: I'll bet the Scots would argue the toss with Ben about where the bagpipes are from. Anyway, we'll leave them to do that. I'm
Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching. I'll be back with the headlines at the top of this hour.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, HOST: This week on MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, surging business in Saudi Arabia, as the country's stock market lays out plans to
open up to foreign investors, we head to the capital to take a look at what the kingdom's economy has to offer. Plus --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HRH PRINCE ALWALEED BIN TALAL AL SAUD, CHAIRMAN, KINGDOM HOLDING: Ah, how are you!
DEFTERIOS: Good to see you again.
BIN TALAL: Good to see you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEFTERIOS: The richest man in Saudi Arabia and an influential figure both at home and abroad. We have the financial magnet Prince Alwaleed bin
Talal al Saud in an exclusive interview.
Welcome to our special program from Saudi Arabia. I'm standing at the headquarters of the Saudi Stock Exchange in the capital of Riyadh. The
exchange is one of the best performers in 2014, based on the fact that this market will open up to international investment next year. Quite a shift
for an economy that was not open in the past.
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): The brands that scroll across the ticker are not global household names, but the Saudi Arabia Stock Exchange is laden
with corporate heavyweights. The Tadawul, meaning "to swap" in Arabic, is home to SABIC, the world's largest chemical company, SAICO, a giant
insurer, and big telecom operators like Mobily, Zain, and STC.
The kingdom is recognized as the world's largest oil exporter, but the chief executive of the state-run energy company says the country is eager
to go beyond crude.
KHALID AL-FALIH, CEO, SAUDI ARAMCO: We're very much part of this globalization that has been taking place, and it's taken place very
strongly in the kingdom, and I think the stock market opening is only one small step in a journey that we're traveling very deliberately.
DEFTERIOS: This journey is being led by the ruler, King Abdullah, pictured on the right, who is in a rush to modernize his country. That
effort has included membership into the Group of 20 largest economies, joining the World Trade Organization, and being ranked 26 in the World
Bank's ease of doing business survey.
Saudi Arabia is a top country in terms of revenue for GE. This gas turbine maintenance plant makes up part of the company's $1 billion of
foreign direct investment, or FDI. John Rice is their CEO of global growth markets.
DEFTERIOS (on camera): What's the signal about the stock market, in your opinion, which has been here for so long?
JOHN RICE, CEO, GE GLOBAL GROWTH AND OPERATIONS: I think the signal is that they want foreign capital. They want investors, they want people
to invest in Saudi's companies. The same -- it's the corollary of the foreign direct investment.
DEFTERIOS: Even though Saudi Arabia has a population of 30 million people, it has the largest economy by far in the Middle East and North
Africa, about three quarters of a trillion dollars. If all goes as planned, the Saudi Stock Exchange will be a member of the MSCI Emerging
Markets Index by 2017.
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): That prospect has sent the index up better than 30 percent this year. Stock exchange officials, however, are not
opening the floodgates, with plans that limit purchases by a single qualified foreign buyer of one company at 5 percent. Global players say
that rule is an indication that raising money is not the motivation here.
NATARAJAN CHANDRASEKARAN, CEO, TATA CONSULTANCY SERVICES: I think it is about integration, it is about job opportunities, it is about global
trade. So it is not just about capital. I don't think it's about capital. It's about everything else.
DEFTERIOS: But the companies at the Tadawul certainly won't shy away from that capital, nor the global recognition that is on the way next year.
DEFTERIOS: This is the most prominent building on the Riyadh skyline and home to one of the largest companies on the Tadawul. It's named after
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's investment arm, Kingdom Holding.
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): As the region's richest man, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al Saud's wealth has been one of contention. Ranked 30th on the
Forbes list of the wealthiest people at over $20 billion, he's estimated by Bloomberg to be worth over $30 billion.
But it was Alwaleed's $550 million investment into the embattled CitiGroup back in the 1990s that made him a billionaire and a global
player. Since then, he has maintained high-profile stakes in News Corp, CNN's parent company Time Warner, and Walt Disney, amongst others.
But in the new media sphere, his $300 million stake in Twitter has quadrupled in value in just two years, and he had a 5 percent position in
technology group Apple, which he bought for $115 million back in 1997.
DEFTERIOS: In my interview with Prince Alwaleed, I started by asking him if Tim Cook's strategy at Apple to bundle all the products is the
BIN TALAL: Well clearly, I think this was a very big experiment, an exam for the post era of Steve Jobs. When a company reaches beyond the $20
billion schematic tab, it is very difficult to sustain and maintain the same growth like if you have a $20 billion or $30 billion company.
So, we have to see. So, I think we have to give it a year or two to see how things will unfold in the Apple new story.
DEFTERIOS: We followed you and your investment with News Corp for years. Is it better that Rupert Murdoch was not able to take control of
Time Warner, the parent company of CNN?
BIN TALAL: Combining both companies would have been, really, a dream proposal, because the amount of content, there, the combined company would
have had would have been tremendous. But clearly, I think we'd have still faces some antitrust regulations.
But I think that Mr. Murdoch chose to withdraw the offer because he's now very careful and he's watching his share price, and you see that the
market was actually not very positive.
DEFTERIOS: He shouldn't go back in? You think he should just leave it?
BIN TALAL: No, I think he -- he'd have planted the seed now, but I think knowing Mr. Murdoch, I think the idea is still in his mind, but I
think that the time is not right now, because the management of Time was against it, and the shareholders of Fox were not also for it.
DEFTERIOS: It's interesting to me that billionaires usually like to downplay their wealth, but I know you're very upset at the Forbes valuation
of around $20 billion in 2013 and 2014. They have you ranked at 30, and you filed a lawsuit. What are you hoping to accomplish?
BIN TALAL: This thing's been going on for a decade, so it's not a secret. They've been undervaluing my wealth since ten years. Luckily, I
didn't give attention to that at all.
But when they came and they attacked Saudi Arabia and Kingdom Holding and myself, that's when I didn't accept that, and that's why we filed the
lawsuit in the UK. And the UK courts have accepted the lawsuit, and now this is taking its full course in the UK.
DEFTERIOS: As you know, Your Highness, the world's gotten very used to $100 oil, but we've seen some recent weakness. Does it concern you that
the break-even point for Saudi Arabia now is around $95 to $98 a barrel, because the spending's gone up so rapidly after the Arab Spring?
BIN TALAL: It's a huge concern. Actually, it's a worry, when the price of oil -- I would not say "collapse," but goes down drastically from
the $110 and $120 to the low $90s. I have always called publicly and privately for the Saudi government to be sure to reduce its dependence on
Because as stands today. 90 percent of our budget, annual budget, is dependent on oil. And 60 percent of our GDP is oil-based, which is very
dangerous and scary. It's not correct to have the (inaudible) very fast.
And hopefully, there's an early warning for the government, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of oil, Ministry of Economy, to really get the ship in
order and begin proposing to the king some serious alternatives for Saudi Arabia ad to be less dependent on this commodity, which is oil.
DEFTERIOS: Of course, the kingdom's oil wealth has sparked investment, but the regional terrorist threat could halt growth. In part
two of our interview with Prince Alwaleed, I ask him what should be the right response to ISIS.
DEFTERIOS: Welcome back to MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST. We know Prince Alwaleed bin Talal as a billion-dollar investor, but as a nephew to King
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, he's able to speak his mind on a range of issues. In our exclusive interview here in Riyadh, I asked Prince Alwaleed whether
ISIS should be contained or eliminated.
BIN TALAL: We've seen how President Obama developed from first of all containing, then degrading, and I now I think they reached the state of
demolishing and eradicating.
I think that with each killing that takes place, unfortunately, every time, hopefully, the world community will be more united in eliminating
this disease that's really infecting the whole Middle Eastern region that inevitably will be contagious to other countries in the world.
DEFTERIOS: Saudi Arabia held exercises earlier this year with 130,000 troops. Is it a fair assessment to say they want a very strong response by
the kingdom here? And would Saudi Arabia put troops on the ground, do you think?
BIN TALAL: No, I think that Saudi Arabia would not be involved directly in fighting the ISIS in Iraq or Syria, because really this does
not affect -- although it affects implicitly, it does not really affect Saudi Arabia explicitly.
But clearly, this military maneuvers that took place a few months ago, it's a multifaceted message. It's a message to Iran, number one, that
we're going to defend our territory and defend the GCC countries, number one. Number two, it's a message also to the ISIS group in Iraq and also a
message to the southern border.
So, there's a big vacuum in the Arab world, so clearly, military power is a very important message to the whole world because this could translate
eventually into political power.
DEFTERIOS: A mistrust with Washington, and a mistrust with President Obama. Do they not trust him after the Arab Spring and what's transpired
in Syria, Egypt, and even Libya?
BIN TALAL: I think when Obama took over, expectations were raised such tension dramatically in the Arab world and the Muslim world.
But clearly what took place by having this rapprochement without informing the Arab world and especially Saudi Arabia, by putting a red line
against Syria using chemical weapons and having Syria use chemical weapons and still he blinked when Russia exerted pressure on him.
And his later play on ISIS, took him more than two months to assemble this -- the team of Arab -- ten Arab countries and Turkey to really face
ISIS head on. So, all these things have shaken the trust, not only of Saudi Arabia, but the whole Arab world in the Obama administration.
But I believe there's a good chance right now to prove to the Arab world and the Islamic world and the whole world in general that Obama is
willing to follow up and follow through with his words right now to really eradicate and demolish completely ISIS, even if it will take three or four
years, to use his own words.
DEFTERIOS: Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in his Kingdom Holding Tower here in Riyadh. And that's all for this edition of CNN MARKETPLACE MIDDLE
EAST. I'm John Defterios, thanks for watching. We'll see you next week.