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CONNECT THE WORLD
Russia Faces Prsesure Over Ukraine At G20 Summit; American Aid Worker Peter Kassig Purportedly Killed By ISIS; Ferguson Braces for Grand Jury Results; Ukrainian Government Announces Halt of Government Services To Eastern Ukraine; Anger Grows Over Mexico's Missing Students; Doctor Under Israeli Travel Ban; Parting Shots: Ray of Light in Syrian Conflict; Terror Financing; Common Agenda; DIFC Turns 10
Aired November 16, 2014 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER KASSIG, AMERICAN AID WORKER: We each get one life and that's it. We get one shot at this. We don't get any do overs. You know, in life for me
it was kind of put up or shut up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RALITSA VASSILEVA, HOST: The life of a man on a humanitarian mission that appears to have been brutally cut short. Peter Kassig, the young U.S. aid
worker captured by ISIS is believed to be the latest westerner executed on video. This hour, we will remember a life full of achievements as defined
Also ahead, Russia left out in the cold at the G20 summit in Australia. We'll tell you why President Vladimir Putin wasn't the most popular leader
at this weekend's gathering.
And we will also speak live to a Norwegian surgeon who says Israel has blocked him from working in Gaza.
ANNOUNCER: This is the hour we connect the world.
VASSILEVA: An American aid worker captured in Syria has become the fifth western said to have been beheaded by ISIS terrorists. The gruesome video
posted online purports to show the killing of Peter Kassig who also went by the name of Abdul-Rahman Kassig.
A former U.S. Army Ranger, Kassig had been working as a medic and distributing humanitarian aid in Syria when he was captured more than a
Atika Shubert is joining us now live from London with more on this story. Atika, a very brutal video. What is the purpose behind it?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is a very brutal video. And we're still waiting to hear from both the UK and U.S. governments
whether or not they've authenticated this is indeed an ISIS propaganda video that does show that killing.
What's interesting about this video is that it is completely different from the other there videso released showing the killing of those hostages. In
those previous videos the hostages were brought out in orange style jump suits in the style of Guantanamo. They made statements to camera before
they were brutally killed.
In this video, there is none of that. There is no orange jumpsuit. And in fact it features only at the very end of a much longer propaganda video it
almost appears to be just stuck on at the end of this long message. And in that Peter Kassig, also known as Abdul-Rahman Kassig never has a chance to
address the camera. He is already dead when the camera gets to it. And all you see is in fact the masked militant with the British accent that
featured in all the previous videos, it's the man known here among the British press and Jihadi John. He features in all of those videos and he
again delivers a propaganda message to the west in this video.
What's particularly interesting, however, is that for about 14 minutes preceding that, is what appears to be ISIS's view of its own history. It's
an extended propaganda of ISIS's growth as an affiliate to al Qaeda to know growing the Islamic caliphate as they see it with allegiances from Algeria,
Libya and Yemen.
And then there is a section that is particularly gruesome and brutal and that is that is the -- what is essentially a very well staged mass murder
of some 12 Syrian soldiers. And this is led, again, by that masked militant we know here as Jihadi John, but also features 11 other ISIS
fighters unmasked carrying out this mass killing.
It is a horrific video. And we are still waiting to hear from governments from their reaction to the video and whether or not it is indeed authentic,
VASSILEVA: Atika Shubert live in London, thank you.
And coming up in about 10 minutes here on Connect the World, our Arwa Damon talks about meeting Kassig in Syria. She describes a young man who
desperately wanted to make a difference and is remembered fondly by the people he worked so hard to help.
After months of delays, the recovery operation to retrieve the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines MH17 has started in eastern Ukraine. Investigators
hadn't been able to retrieve the wreckage due to instability in the region.
The plane will be transported to the Netherlands where Dutch investigators will reconstruct a section of it as part of the investigation into what
caused the crash. The recovery is expected to take several days.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has taken the first steps in cutting off Ukraine's lifeline to the rebel-held eastern areas. He has
issued a decree ordering the withdrawal of state services and funding to the area.
Phil Black is joining me now live from near the Ukrainian city of Slovyansk with the latest on that decree.
And, Phil, there are reports of continued shelling in the region. What does this all mean: the decree and the shelling, is the ceasefire over?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ralitsa, first that decree, an end to government business, effectively -- government spending,
government services -- in that region. That's what it says.
But in reality it may not change an awful lot on the ground. Over the course of the year during our time in separatist territory, we've met many
government workers, pensioners, who say they haven't been receiving payments. People have been telling us government services aren't being
delivered. There's a very good reason for that, because for much of the year the region has been a war zone. Government offices have been overrun,
infrastructure destroyed, damaged or seized.
So it hasn't really been delivering services to the people there. It may not change much on the ground.
In the same way that that ceasefire you mentioned, brokered back in September, has not really affected the lives of some of the people living
in this region as well. As you touched on, shelling attacks have continued in recent days with Ukrainian government says their soldiers and civilians
have been among the victims.
We visited what is effectively the Ukrainian government's front line and met with Ukrainian fighters who say that attacks from separatists is a
constant threat and almost a daily reality. Take a look.
BLACK: Fighters in the midst, this armed camp is an exposed outpost of the Ukrainian military, about 30 men, volunteers from the capital, defending a
narrow finger of land. Their tanks, weapons and defenses point to the east, south and west. Their enemy is close, somewhere through that haze.
They say the pro-Russian separatists regularly attack.
This, they say, is the shrapnel from GRAD rockets that they say came into this position just yesterday.
They say two men were killed here yesterday, 40 in the last month.
To these men, September's ceasefire means nothing, so do Russia's denials about sending fighters and weapons across the border to help the
separatists. They say they know they're fighting Russians and they expect a major attack very soon.
To prepare for it, they've been working underground.
This is where dozens of these men sleep at a time. You can see there is one catching some rest just here. They dug this from themselves only a few
weeks ago. Concrete ceiling, timber supports. They desperately hope that this would be able to withstand a direct hit from rocket or artillery or a
In this place where they sleep, you can see they read, they keep cigarettes, it is so close to where the action is.
Out through this door, come and have a look. Defensive trenches heading in that direction and the other direction as well, because the fighters here
tell us that only about 800 meters that way are the forces of the pro- Russian separatists.
A short drive away is the town of Debultziva (ph), or what's left of it. This is government territory, but locals say artillery fired by both sides
falls here almost every day, often destroying homes.
This is a strange eerily quiet place, but clearly it has not always been so. Most of the people here have left. The locals tell us it's mostly the
young people that have gone behind. The old remain, because they say they are too scared and they don't know where else to go.
73-year-old Galina (ph) tells me of the terror of living under bombardment.
She says she feels like her heart will jump from her body. She's too scared to eat or sleep.
These people have little food or power. They dread the coming winter. And they don't care who rules over them. They just want peace.
BLACK: Ralitsa, today the Ukrainian government said that it is detecting signs that Russian forces and separatist forces are preparing for an
offensive, not -- no much -- no further detail on that. But it's consistent with what they've been saying through the week. Their
assessment was that Russian forces, weapons, have been coming across the border into that separatist territory. NATO agrees with that assessment.
Russia, of course, denies it. But the Ukrainian government says that its people shouldn't panic because it's been preparing for this sort of
eventuality. What we saw when we visited that front line and that particular fighting unit was a very committed group of volunteers.
But these are men who are not particularly well trained, not particularly well resourced and would have a very difficult time holding that position
in the event that this offensive, which the Ukrainian government predicts does eventually come -- Ralitsa.
VASSILEVA: Phil Black near Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine. Thank you very much.
Well, world leaders ended the annual G20 summit with an agreement on several measures aimed at boosting global GDP. But the economy was hardly
center stage at this annual meeting. That distinction belonged to Russian President Vladimir Putin who took heavy criticism for his country's
intervention in Ukraine.
For more on that and other topics that come up, here's CNN's Jim Acosta.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you everybody. Please have a seat.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They were not the words of a lame duck.
OBAMA: This was a strong week for American leadership.
ACOSTA: At a news conference at the end of the G20 summit in Australia, President Obama confidently rattled through the climate and trade deals
from his trip to Asia and offered a peak inside his latest runins with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
OBAMA: I had naturally several interactions with President Putin during the course of the APEC summit and then here at the G20. I would
characterize them as typical of our interactions, which are businesslike and blunt.
ACOSTA: Despite all of the tough talk aimed at Putin from world leaders at the summit, the president signaled no new U.S. sanctions against Russia
over its actions in Ukraine.
OBAMA: At this point, the sanctions that we have in place are biting plenty good.
ACOSTA: In the battle against ISIS, the president said circumstances might warrant deploying ground troops to Iraq.
As you are thinking on that change somewhat.
OBAMA: There are always circumstances in which the United States might need to deploy U.S. might need to deploy U.S. ground troops.
ACOSTA: The president offered a doomsday scenario.
OBAMA: If we discovered that ISIL had gotten possession of a nuclear weapon and we had to run an operation to get it out of their hands, then
yes you can anticipate that not only would Chairman Dempsey recommend me sending U.S. ground troops to get that weapon out of their hands, but I
would order it.
ACOSTA: But it was a slight shift in his past stance.
OBAMA: I will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq.
ACOSTA: On threats of a government shutdown from Republicans outraged over his plans to take executive action on immigration, Mr. Obama recalled what
GOP leaders had pledged in the past.
OBAMA: I take Mitch McConnell at his word when he says that the government is not going to shut down. There's no reason for it to shut down. We
traveled down that path before. It was bad for the country.
ACOSTA: The president confirmed he has received legal guidance from Attorney General Eric Holder on just how far he can go with an executive
order that would shield some undocumented immigrants from deportation, a move that could come next week.
OBAMA: We'd like to see them being able out in the open to pay their taxes, pay a penalty, get right with the law.
ACOSTA: But the president conceded his aggressive plan for executive actions in his final years in office could be undone by his successor.
OBAMA: You are absolutely right that the very nature of an executive action means that a future president could reverse those actions.
VASSILEVA: And that was CNN's Jim Acosta reporting.
Still to come this hour, protesters in Mexico criticize government inaction over 43 missing students. How some demonstrations have turned violent.
We'll also take a look at the life and work of Peter Kassig, the man believed to have been murdered by ISIS after devoting his life to helping
VASSILEVA: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World with me Ralitsa Vassileva. Welcome back to our show.
We want to return you now to our top story. ISIS militants claimed that they have beheaded another American hostage. In a video posted online,
they say they've killed Peter Kassig, a former U.S. soldier who was working as a medic in Syria when he was captured last year. While in captivity, he
converted to Islam and went by the name of Abdul-Rahman Kassig. He's the fifth western ISIS claims to have beheaded.
Peter Kassig returned to the Middle East after serving as a U.S. Army Ranger in Iraq. He says he did so, because he wanted to help the victims
of the war.
CNN's Arwa Damon knew him personally and tells us more about the important work he felt he was compelled to do.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The first time we met Peter was during the summer of 2012. It was quite the sight. Peter, a
former Army Ranger -- pale, tattoed -- and though at the time speaking only a handful of Arabic, tending to wounded Syrians with a compassion that
transcended the language barrier.
KASSIG: We each get on life and that's it. We get one shot at this. We don't get do-overs, you know. And like for me, it was time to put up or
shut up. The way I saw it, I didn't have a choice, you know. Like, this is what I was put here to do. I guess I'm just a hopeless romantic and I'm an
idealist and I believe in hopeless causes.
DAMON: For Peter, doing something meant starting his own nonprofit. Just months after we met him, he was already delivering humanitarian aid and
medical assistance to Syrian in refugee camps and inside the war-torn country profoundly touching all who lived and worked with him.
In the words of this Syrian activist, he would treat everyone. No one was exempt. He trained many on first aid. He lived in the house with us. He
was extremely kind. He was sad during our times of sorrow and happy for our times of joy.
Dr. Ennis (ph) recalls his last conversation with Peter saying, "I asked him if he was afraid he would be killed. And he said, no. My life is not
worth more than yours. And that he considers himself to be like any other person who was part of the Syrian revolution.
Peter was kidnapped shortly afterwards in October 2013. At some point during his captivity he converted to Islam and took on the name Abdul-
In this letter drafted to his parents during that time he wrote, "if I do die, I figured that at least you and I can seek refuge and comfort in
knowing that I went out as a result of trying to alleviate suffering and helping those in need."
And that is how Peter will be rememberd, for his humor, laughter, but mostly his drive and compassion and the way he inspired us all more than he
could ever imagine
KASSIG: There is this impression, this belief that there is no hope, you know. That's when it's more important than ever that we come in against
all odds and try to do something.
VASSILEVA: And if you'd like to do something to help people in need around the world you can get involved through our website just go to
CNN.com/impact. From there you'll be connected to charities and organizations that provide help to those who need it.
Live from the CNN Center, this is Connect the World. Coming up in the next 10 minutes, frustration grows over the dozens of missing students in
Mexico. What demonstrators are doing to shut down a town close to where they disappeared.
Plus, the city of Ferguson, Missouri is anxiously awaiting to hear their grand jury will indict a police officer in the Michael Brown shooting. In
the meantime, we have some new audio and video concerning the officer in question.
VASSILEVA: You're watching Connect the World. Welcome back. I'm Ralitsa Vassileva.
We could get a decision soon on whether a U.S. grand jury will indict a White police officer for shooting and killing an unarmed African-American
teenager. The city of Ferguson, Missouri has been rocked by protests since the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in August. Sarah Sidner
takes a look now at the newly released evidence in this case.
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The public can now see some of the video and hear some of the audio that fills in some of the gaps as
to what happened on August 9 when Michael Brown was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson here in Ferguson.
What you're seeing and hearing is some sound from the dispatch to Officer Wilson and some video of officer Wilson coming in and out of the police
And there are a few things that it tells us. The audio that you hear let's us know that there was at some point a call to Officer Wilson to tell him
that there was a suspect who was accused of stealing cigars from one of the convenience stores here.
But as the family Michael Brown points out, he did not know that in his very initial greeting of Michael Brown when he told him to get out of the
Now on to the video that you see of him going in and out of the police department, that surveillance video, that video shows you what he looks
like. It doesn't give you much sense of what his demeanor is, but certainly shows you what he looks like.
And at the very beginning of all this, there was some information that was leaked from the department and leaked from sources who still remain unnamed
who said that Officer Wilson had been badly beaten about the eye and that he had very bad injuries to his eye socket.
You can see that is not the case from the video.
However, the police department did come out not long after that and say, no, he did not have major injuries to his face, although he did have some
Now let's talk a little bit about what's happened here as far as whether or not Officer Wilson will immediately get his position back if, indeed, he is
not indicted. That is something that some of the local stations here had reported. We did talk to the mayor and the police chief and they say it is
much more complicated than that. There are other investigations that still need to happen before that could happen.
Here is what the mayor had to say.
JAMES KNOWLES, MAYOR OF FERGUSON: This is a criminal investigation that talks about things that rise to the level of criminality. It doesn't mean
that there might not be something still of concern through addressed in an internal personnel investigation.
SIDNER: So like breaking a policy rule or something like that.
KNOWLES: Sure. Sure.
And so, again, like I said, it's just -- I think it's premature to talk about what the status would be until all that stuff has been addressed.
SIDNER: Ultimately it's a waiting game. But what people are waiting for first is that announcement with the grand jury's decision. Everyone is on
pins and needles in this town, everyone is planning for it. The police, protesters, residents they are all waiting to hear the fate of Officer
Wilson and to see what that's going to mean in the streets of Ferguson and the surrounding cities.
VASSILEVA: And that was CNN's Sara Sidner reporting.
The latest world news headlines are just ahead on our show, plus a former mayor in Mexico is charged in connection with the disappearance of 43
missing students. Why protesters say more needs to be done.
VASSILEVA: Welcome back, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. The top stories we're following for you this hour.
The US and Britain are condemning the reported beheading of an American hostage, Peter Kassig, at the hands of his ISIS captors. He's the fifth
Westerner said to have been beheaded by ISIS since August.
A top US military officers says the tide is turning in the battle against ISIS in Iraq. General Martin Dempsey made a surprise visit to Iraq on
Saturday. He says the US military has helped local forces pull the country back from the precipice.
The G20 summit in Australia is in the books now with an agreement by leaders to boost the global economy. The meeting also saw, though, Russia
face intense pressure over the crisis in Ukraine. Several G20 members countries warned Russian president Vladimir Putin to stop interfering or
risk more sanctions.
Parents of over 43 missing students in Mexico are demanding the government find out what happened to their children. They held a march in Guerrero
state on Saturday. The students disappeared near the town of Iguala in September. Authorities believe they are now dead after being abducted by
police and handed over to the drug cartel.
CNN's Rosa Flores is joining us now, live from the capital of Guerrero state, where protesters, Rosa, have occupied part of the city. The tension
ROSA FLORES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The tension does continue to grow. The street that you see behind me, I want to point it out, because
that leads to the school, the place where these parents have spent countless agonizing hours waiting for answers about their children.
Now, like you mention, one of the things that they say that has helped them cope is the support that they're getting from thousands of people around
the state and around the country. Now, one of those groups is a teachers' union, who has occupied the city square of Guerrero's capital. We got rare
access. Take a look.
(EMERGENCY VEHICLE SIREN)
FLORES (voice-over): In Guerrero, they're know for some of the most explosive demonstrations.
FLORES (on camera): The fire department has just arrived, but guess what. Not only are the cars burning, but the inside of the building is also
FLORES (voice-over): All this in support of the search for 43 missing students. Lunging at police.
FLORES: A CNN camera catches protesters taking an officer captive during a tug-of-war over a bridge. He was later released.
The protesters are members of a teachers' union from all over the southern Mexican state of Guerrero. When night falls, a stark contrast.
Soft-spoken people enjoying times with friends and family. The protesters granted CNN rare access inside their tent city in the main square of
Guerrero's capital. They shut down City Hall and moved in days after the 43 students went missing. It's been more than a month.
FLORES (on camera): How many teachers are there?
(MAN SPEAKING SPANISH)
FLORES: Five thousand?
FLORES (voice-over): The announcement more than a week ago by Mexico's attorney general that three drug gang members confessed to killing the
students only made the protesters more angry. To date, no DNA evidence has been presented.
FLORES (on camera): He says that they feel the pain that the parents of these missing students are feeling.
FLORES (voice-over): Little sleep happens here. Teachers take turns guarding their makeshift homes at night and protesting during the day.
(MAN SPEAKING SPANISH)
FLORES (on camera): He says -- I was asking him about the charred cars, the charred buildings, if we are to expect more of the same, and he says
that yes, that they're ready to do more of the same.
FLORES (voice-over): Everyone in the tent city has a home, a family, a job, and even though the basics of living are rough here --
FLORES (on camera): She says that there's public showers, where they're able to pay 20 pesos and they can take a shower.
FLORES (voice-over): -- they don't plan to go anywhere until the students are found, even raising their own flag in the city square.
(MAN SPEAKING SPANISH)
FLORES (on camera): He says that the flag is a symbol of their fight.
(EMERGENCY VEHICLE SIREN)
FLORES (voice-over): Don't mistake their kindness in the camp for weakness on the streets.
FLORES (on camera): Protesters taking it to a whole other level.
FLORES (voice-over): They vow to make the government listen to their demands.
FLORES: So, the banner that you see behind me has been iconic for the movement that has been established to find these students. It translates
to: "You took them alive, we want them back alive."
As for the parents and the students from this campus, they tell us that they are in a caravan situation right now in three different states around
the nation, and they will culminate in Mexico City on this Thursday, which is also the anniversary of Mexican Revolution. Ralitsa?
VASSILEVA: So, Rosa, what is the parents' next step? They distrust this government, I cannot imagine their agony into the disappearance of their
FLORES: We've talked to some of them, and there is just so much pain in their eyes when you talk to them. Some of them say they haven't been able
to sleep, they haven't been able to eat. They just don't know what to do. A lot of them say that they feel dead inside.
We've also talked to some of the surviving students, the students that survived the attack, and they say they feel dead inside because of the
guilt, because they survived. It was a mixture of emotions.
They have an independent forensic expert out of Argentina that's working with federal authorities here so that they can make sure that they have in
an independent view of all of the remains that have been found.
So, Ralitsa, it's going to be a tough, tough probably days and months as they wait for these results to come back. But these parents continue to be
very, very strong, like I was mentioning, caravanning in three different states around the nation to bring attention to this issue.
VASSILEVA: Rosa Flores in Guerrero state, thank you.
Well, a doctor who treated Palestinians during last summer's conflict between Hamas and Israel says that he has been banned from returning to
Gaza. Dr. Mads Gilbert of Norway was outspoken against Israel during that conflict, accusing the nation of committing, quote, "state terrorism." He
says that when he tried to return to Gaza last month through Israel, he was not allowed in.
Israeli authorities say Dr. Gilbert is only banned from Israel itself, not from Gaza. A government spokesman told "The Independent" newspaper, quote,
"He is not on the side of decency and peace, and he's got a horrible track record. I wouldn't be surprised if his acquaintances are among the worst
people in the world."
Dr. Mads Gilbert is joining us now on Skype from Tromso, Norway. Dr. Gilbert, thank you for joining us. So, do you intend to defy this ban?
MADS GILBERT, DIRECTOR OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE, UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL OF N. NORWAY: Actually, I think you quoted wrong, because I'm not allowed to
enter Gaza. I did travel through Israel. And I will not stop trying to do medical humanitarian work in Gaza, so we'll see if we will challenge this
decision in the Israeli court system.
My government of Norway has already protested quite sharply against the decision. And in my opinion, and in the opinion of Norway, I think this is
not about me. This is about the Israeli government denying the Palestinian people in Gaza access to humanitarian support in a very, very difficult
VASSILEVA: Now, the Israeli government says that you are not banned from Gaza, you're only banned from Israel. Is there a way for you to go and
help Gazans if you're not banned from Gaza?
GILBERT: Well, I was standing at the border, at Erez Border Station on the Israeli side and the Israelis did not let me into Gaza. So, there's --
that's not right, that I'm not banned from Gaza. I was actually denied. I had a valid Israeli permit, and they said that that had been nullified.
This is confirmed in exchange with the Norwegian minister of foreign affairs. So, I am actually not allowed to go into Gaza from the Israeli
side. If and how I get in from the Egyptian side remains to be seen.
VASSILEVA: So, you will try to get inside through Egypt?
GILBERT: Absolutely. I mean, the situation in Gaza -- I'm a medical doctor, and the situation in Gaza, where I worked for the last 15 years, is
very difficult. It's extremely harsh. And in the medical field, the medical system is actually forced on its knees by seven years of siege.
They're lacking everything.
And on top of that, there were -- it was this 50 days and nights of attacks, even destroying large parts of the medical system.
So, I think the international community really needs to stand up and say that the Palestinian people have the right to have support from the
international humanitarian community. This is not about me. Yes?
VASSILEVA: Yes, Dr. Gilbert, but obviously, for the Israeli government, this is about you. We have a government spokesman saying that you're "not
on the side of decency and peace," that they wouldn't be surprised if your acquaintances are amongst the "worst people in the world." What is your
response to that?
GILBERT: It's absolutely ridiculous. And I think you have to ask the Israeli authorities to specify and document this ridiculous accusations.
I'm a medical doctor in Norway. I am a professor at the University Hospital. I work as a medical doctor. I have no bad connections, of
And this is the slander -- the type of slander and accusation that the Israelis are throwing at you when they have no other arguments. What is a
security threat to Israel is actually the facts on the ground in Gaza.
In 51 days, they killed, actually, 521 Palestinian children and injured 3,500 children. So, the reality is that we report from the ground in the
medical system in Gaza. That's what they tried to shut down.
As to my decency, ask others to define that. I am an honorable doctor. I'm a decent person. And I'm, of course, absolutely not an anti-Semite.
I'm an anti-racist. I criticize the state of Israel for the occupation and the siege of Gaza and the bombardment. They do not like that criticism,
and they do not like the documentation of the horrible effects of their bombardment.
VASSILEVA: Dr. Mads Gilbert, joining us from Norway, thank you very much.
GILBERT: Thank you.
VASSILEVA: Well, the team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you. Find our latest news and links to our strongest content on
facebook.com/CNNconnect. And you can tweet me @RalitsaCNN. Join our search for the most influential figure in the Middle East by using the hash
In tonight's Parting Shots, a ray of light in the Syrian conflict. Sheltering from enemy fire, a photographer uses a tiny sliver of light from
a hole created by mortar blast to frame his portraits of the soldiers he's traveling with.
SEBASTIANO TOMADA, PHOTOGRAPHER, REPORTAGE BY GETTY IMAGES: My name is Sebastiano Tomado. I'm 28 years old. I'm half Italian, half American.
I've been a photographer for Reportage by Getty Images.
I took the series of photos, portraits, in late 2012 while I was covering the conflict in Aleppo, Syria. And I had become quite close to a Free
Syrian Army commander, they gave me quite a lot of access to his unit and gave me the opportunity to follow some of his men during a quite important
As soon as we entered the area, we got a lot of incoming fire. We had to find safety in the basement of a building. And this building was pitch
black. We were underground. There were no windows. And we received a series of mortars that hit the actual building and made a hole in it, and
light started coming in.
So, I used this source of light to start taking pictures. I wanted to showcase what they carried with them on a daily basis. And that's how the
story came about.
We have to understand that these people were regular civilians that had businesses, that had everyday lives, and then after the civil war, and
especially after losing their businesses and their families, they had no choice but to pick up a weapon.
VASSILEVA: I'm Ralitsa Vassileva, and that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for joining me.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, HOST: Robbery, smuggling, extortion, and even oil revenues. The financial dealings of a terror organization. This week,
MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST takes an in-depth look at the tangled web of funding lining the pockets of ISIS and global plans to stop it.
Welcome to this special edition of CNN MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, this week from Manama in Bahrain. This tiny Gulf state played host to
representatives from over 30 countries to tackle a very big and pressing issue, and that is the financing of ISIS. From fundraising to oil
production and a lot more, they're facing a very different and difficult foe.
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): As airstrikes continue to rain down on ISIS strongholds, 30 countries, representing half the coalition in the fight
against the group, explored better ways to choke off terror financing.
The struggle to date, officials admit, has been keeping pace with the organization's multi-pronged financial strategy.
SHEIKH KHALID BIN AHMED AL KHALIFA: It is a much different challenge than what we've been seeing before in the region. It's not a different enemy.
It's the same enemy that we've seen everywhere, but they have gained more experience.
DEFTERIOS: ISIS quickly built out its base in eastern Syria and western Iraq by initially tapping wealthy regional Sunni sympathizers.
AL KHALIFA: They have managed to get into new areas and new fields of taking control of territories, taking control of oil fields, establishing
rockets, ransoms everywhere.
DEFTERIOS: Intense airstrikes have curbed the group's oil output. US officials say it is less than a third of the level back in June, when it
was earning nearly $3 million a day.
DEFTERIOS (on camera): This is not a new effort. In fact, legislation dates back since the 9/11 attacks. Experts within the round table suggest
it was pressure from the United States and the international organizations to get the Middle Eastern states to push ahead with laws. Now they suggest
there's a gap between what's been put on the books and what's actually being enforced.
DEFTERIOS (voice-over): UN Security Council resolutions have been expanded to force member states to step up international cooperation.
CHADY EL KHOURY, IMF SENIOR COUNSEL: Once you have that political commitments, the strident level, and more important is that these
institutions, for lack of capability and for lack of capacity experience, expertise, cannot put forward and use these tools efficiently.
DEFTERIOS: By the region's own measurement, two Middle East countries remain on the black list for non-cooperation: Iran and Algeria. On the
gray list, meaning improvements are still needed: Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Kuwait. Turkey came off the list in October, and Qatar back in 2010.
Washington has not been shy naming countries. The US head of the financial terrorism effort, David Cohen, recently singled out Qatar and Kuwait for
not stepping up international cooperation.
A sense of urgency emerged in the language of this meeting's final declaration, but it leaves many wondering if the effort is too little, too
DEFTERIOS: Bahrain's been wanting to take the lead on the fight against terror financing. And in fact, it is the regional headquarters for the
task force. But it's had its own set of problems over the last few years with dissident protests. I had a chance to tackle both those issues with
the central bank governor, Rasheed Al Maraj.
RASHEED AL MARAJ, GOVERNOR, CENTRAL BANK OF BAHRAIN: I haven't seen any kind of evidence about the magnitude of money that is allegedly going out
of this region. There is a lot of talk, but there is no evidence as such.
And Bahrain, and I believe in the rest of the Gulf, there has been very strict rules and regulations when it comes to the transfer of funds outside
of this region.
DEFTERIOS: So, the numbers that people have talked about of $200 million over the last 18 months coming from Gulf families, you don't buy this
number? Is that what you're suggesting?
AL MARAJ: I would dispute this because we have no evidence. People allegedly saying there is money going from this region, but for us in
Bahrain, we have not seen any money going out to any organization outside Bahrain that is not legitimate.
And Bahrain has been on the forefront of introducing laws and measures and regulations in order to ensure that our financial system is clean from this
DEFTERIOS: Any arrests? Anybody take to trial for money laundering, for financial terrorism in Bahrain themselves? Can you actually point and say
we did this?
AL MARAJ: We did recently. We have indicted a company that is involved in money laundering. The company went to trial, and there was a verdict. And
we monitor this continuously.
DEFTERIOS: How do you clean up the charitable organizations that perhaps have the right intention initially, but the money gets funneled into a
terrorist organization in the end. There are some that are still sympathetic to the Sunni cause, as you know.
AL MARAJ: Look, there is a very comprehensive rules and regulation and processes in Bahrain on how to collect and distribute funds locally and
outside Bahrain. So, it is not that things will just flow freely out without any kind of inspection and oversight from --
DEFTERIOS: You're suggesting that the tracing, all the way to the ground, all the way to the very end recipient --
AL MARAJ: We don't -- through the financial organization, there is absolutely no way that any fund -- any illegitimate funds can go out of
DEFTERIOS: Governor, what do you say to the critics that suggest not enough crackdown on those supporting the Sunni cause in Bahrain, but plenty
of crackdown on the dissidents that we've seen over the last three or four years. That's a very constant legal procedure. And less so when it comes
to those supporting the Sunni cause.
AL MARAJ: No, I don't agree to this kind of analogy. We apply the laws universally, with no prejudice against anyone. Anybody who violates the
law of the land will have to face the court.
DEFTERIOS: Does this surprise you now, almost two years into the ISIS campaign, how sophisticated the financial network really is? And it almost
caught the global community flat-footed if you will, off guard, not ready for the oil trading, the extortion, the ability to trade antiquities.
They're funded quite well.
AL MARAJ: It's still early to judge how they have been very successful in their efforts, because as the international community comes together to
fight them militarily and put all the restriction on dealing with them, that will be an effective way. And it's yet to be seen what the result.
DEFTERIOS: Central banker Rasheed Al Maraj on some of the real challenges facing Bahrain today and the effort to cut off ISIS funding.
Up next on MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, we go to Dubai and the marking of the 10th anniversary of the Dubai International Financial Center. We'll take a
look at some of the ups and downs when we come back.
DEFTERIOS: Welcome back to MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, this week from Manama. Bahrain for decades was a leader in financial services, tarnished in part
because of the unrest we've seen over the last three years.
But it's had another formidable competitor in Dubai, through the Dubai International Financial Center. That center, too, has had its ups and
downs over the last five years, as Amir Daftari reports.
AMIR DAFTARI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the economic heart of the UAE. A business hub for an entire region. Now,
Dubai's International Financial Center, the DIFC, is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
MAZEN BARBIR, HEAD OF FX TRADING, MENAP STANDARD CHARTERED: Maybe 55 percent of trade that goes throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia, passes
DAFTARI: Mazen Barbir is the head of foreign exchange trading at Standard Chartered. He's been working at the DIFC from the get-go and knows every
corner of it.
DAFTARI (on camera): When the global downturn hit, it must have had a huge impact.
BARBIR: Economies go through different stages of transition. They have a growth phase, adjustment/correction, and then, depends on what happens and
how that is tackled, you might have the growth phase continue. That's what we saw in Dubai.
DAFTARI: But for a financial center that's just trying to establish itself, it must have been quite traumatic.
BARBIR: In terms of traumatic, I wouldn't put it that way. Challenging, yes.
DAFTARI (voice-over): In fact, it was very challenging. Property prices plummeted. Leading banks cut staff and tightened their belts. But the
center managed to weather the economic storm, and now, it makes up 12 percent of Dubai's total GDP.
BARBIR: We have upwards of 16,000 people work in this place, and more than 1,000 companies, maybe 1100 companies. And it's not only finance. It's
financial services, retailers, insurance companies. It's just a fantastic growth story in 10 years.
DAFTARI: Parts of that growth can be seen in the retailers and restaurants that have sprouted up within the center.
DAFTARI (on camera): Do places like this offer an opportunity for networking? Do you see it as a positive, or does it detract from the
financial aspect of DIFC?
BARBIR: No, baking can advance as much as it wants to advance. In the end, it's a face-to-face business. You need to be in front of the client,
you need to be in front of the regulators. So, places like this, it creates proximity. With proximity, things move faster, things get done
better, things become much more transparent.
DAFTARI (voice-over): But it isn't just about food and finance. An unexpected outcome of the crisis was the birth of a cultural hub. Hisham
Samawi is the co-founder of Ayyam Gallery here in the center.
DAFTARI (on camera): So, Hisham, was art ever part of this 10-year plan for DIFC?
HISHAM SAMAWI, CO-FOUNDER, AYYAM GALLERY: I think in the beginning, the plan was to have a few galleries with some boutique retail concepts. But
then, when the actual economic downturn happened, all the retailers went out of business. And we saw an opportunity to kind of bring more galleries
And all of a sudden, out of the ashes of the economic downturn, DIFC just became the new hot spot.
DAFTARI (voice-over): At 10 years old, the DIFC has managed to mature out of its infancy, but its future will rest on its ability to learn from the
challenges of the past.
Amir Daftari, CNN, Dubai.
DEFTERIOS: Amir Daftari on the marking of the 10th anniversary of the DIFC. And that's all for this edition of CNN MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST, this
week from Manama. I'm John Defterios, thanks for watching. We'll see you next week.