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CONNECT THE WORLD
Despite Cease-fire, Fighting in Debaltseve Continues; Egypt Calls for Strikes in Libya; Iraqi Sunnis Object to Government Treatment and ISIS; Talking About the Oscars
Aired February 17, 2015 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MAX FOSTER, HOST: Violence flares around a key town in eastern Ukraine despite a three day old truce.
Is this a ceasefire in name alone? We're live from the rebel held city of Donetsk in just a moment.
Also ahead, Egypt's president says he wants the United Nations to back a bombing campaign against ISIS in Libya one day after he launched
airstrikes on the group there.
And a sectarian stalemate in Iraq after the killing of a tribal leader. Sunnis accuse the government of ignoring Shia militia crimes. We
ask why a common enemy isn't enough to bridge the divide.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World.
FOSTER: We start, though, this hour in Denmark where people are grieving and trying to make sense of the attacks that killed two people in
Copenhagen over the weekend. And the city was shaken once against on Tuesday.
Police cordoned off the area around a cafe that was hit on Saturday so they could check out what appeared to be a suspicious letter found at the
sight. It turned out to be a false alarm.
We're learning more about the suspected gunman in those weekend attacks and how he apparently swore allegiance to the leader of ISIS.
It's being followed by CNN's Nic Robertson who is in Copenhagen -- Nic.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Max, what we've been learning is that in the hours just before the attack, the gunmen Omar
Abdel Hamid el-Hussein posted to his Facebook page a pledge of support for the ISIS leader Baghdadi.
What's interesting here is that he hadn't been to Iraq and he hadn't been to Syria, that's what officials are telling us, but they fear because
of his gang background, his gang background led him to be in jail. He stabbed somebody in a violent attack on a -- on a commuter train back in
2013. He was sent to jail. And we've heard now from the Danish ambassador to the United States that that time he was in jail he could have become
And what's really interesting here is he was released from jail just two weeks before the attack. Then, in the hours before the attack posting
that support and pledge of allegiance for the ISIS leader.
So this is the image of this young gunman that we're learning. And we've heard today from the Danish intelligence authorities saying
essentially while they were aware of him, and they'd been drawn to their attention by the prison services, they didn't believe that he was on the
verge of an attack. Of course now they're having to reexamine some of that analysis, Max.
FOSTER: Is there a lot of criticism there of the authorities and not keeping up with this? Because of course this has been an ongoing fear
within Denmark for a long time.
ROBERTSON: It has. And I think generally what you find here, there's been support for the government and support in particular for the police,
the fact that there were guards, bodyguards at the cafe behind me, protecting Lars Vilks, they were able to return fire (inaudible) off the
gunman. The fact that the police were then deployed, additional police were deployed to the synagogue where the gunman attacked a little later,
really people -- the read that people have here is that while not every attack can be prevented, authorities here were pretty much up to speed, as
ready as they could, and did have a plan and did put it into effect and did save greater bloodshed.
What people also say, and this is what we've heard from the prime minister, that they don't want this attack to change their mark in any way,
the country remains united. And the importance of freedom of speech here remains as important as it was before the attacks, Max.
FOSTER: OK, Nic, thank you.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi says he wants the UN security council to support international action against ISIS in Libya. It comes
after Egypt's military hit 10 targets there on Monday in retaliation for the massacre of 21 Egyptian Christians.
Most of the men had traveled for work from the province of Minyar (ph) when they were captured apparently on account of their religion.
Monday's airstrikes were aimed at the militant stronghold of Derna not far from the Egyptian border.
Between the two areas sits Tabruk, currently the seat of a Libyan government recognized by the international community, but incapacitated at
The power vacuum within Libya has been a crucial factor in the rise of extremism. Ian Lee reports.
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the early morning under the cover of darkness, Egyptian F-16s roar into the night sky. Their target, ISIS
training camps and weapons depots in Libya.
The morning light reveals the destruction in Derna, the Mediterranean city close to the Egyptian border and just 200 miles from the European
The airstrikes revenge for the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians by ISIS militants.
ABDEL FATTAH EL-SISI, PRESIDENT OF EGYPT (through translator): Egypt reserves the right of retaliation, and with the methods and timing it sees
fit for retribution from those murders and criminals who are without the slightest humanity.
LEE: The families urged the government to rescue their loved ones sooner. Now, too late. The situation in Libya grows increasingly more
GEN. SAMEH SEIF ELYAZAL (RET.), CHAIRMAN, AL GOMHOURIA: Number one, first risk now is definitely the western border with Libya.
LEE: Egypt already wages a bloody fight against ISIS militants in Sinai. Hundreds of policeman and soldiers have been killed in the more
than yearlong battle.
But, will Egypt commit troops to Libya as well?
ELYAZAL: I don't think we would put boots on ground. I don't this is in our, I would say, aim now. Our aim is to strike whenever we can.
LEE: Egypt's foreign minister is in the United States to seek support from the UN security council. What Egypt would like to see is the
international coalition operating in Iraq and Syria expand to Libya as well.
Cairo is also asking for political and material support.
As Egypt bangs the drums of war, the effect on ISIS in Libya is yet to be seen. Analyst Mohamed el-Jarh spoke from the Libyan city of Tobruk
MOHAMED EL-JARH, ANALYST: I believe that the airstrike conducted by Egypt today are nothing more than a reactionary measure by the Egyptian
regime. Because it feels that it had to act somehow in a very swift manner. Will it change thing negatively for the Islamic State on the ground? I
don't believe so.
LEE: Egypt hasn't given a timeline for its current operation. But to fix Libya, it may take a lot more than killing ISIS from the sky.
Ian Lee, CNN, Cairo.
FOSTER: Still ahead this hour, we'll take a closer look at the circumstances under which ISIS has been allowed to expand its influence in
Libya. And we'll investigate whether moderates in Iraq are being pushed to the brink by extreme factions on either side.
A ceasefire brokered by some of the world's most powerful leaders hasn't stopped the fighting a key Ukrainian town.
A pipeline in Debaltseve exploded earlier today after it was hit by a mortar. The town has seen heavy fighting between pro-Russian separatists
and Ukrainian forces despite a ceasefire that took effect on Sunday.
I want to show you a map to help explain exactly what's fueling the fighting there. And rebels already control Luhansk to the north and
Donetsk to the south of Debaltseve. Taking that town from government hands would provide separatists with a major transport hub and crucial link
between their strongholds.
For the latest on the ground, CNN's senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh joins us from Donetsk.
So, what do you think is going on there, Nick?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it's probably sadly for the Ukrainian force inevitable that Debaltseve will be
entirely under separatist control in the days ahead. Those troops inside there, hundreds, perhaps thousands of them, the precise number not known,
have been surrounded now for perhaps over as long as a week. We were only able to get in there ourselves about two weeks ago.
That road in and out has been very heavily contested for a long period of time, impassable, frankly, now.
So, given the advanced state of the weaponry that the separatists have in their hands, some say supplied by the Russian military, it's likely that
their claims that they have taken 80 percent of that city are perhaps initially exaggerated, but may eventually have the fullness of time become
They are claiming to have taken prisoners as well.
The key point here is that this was always supposed to be the town whose fate could potentially derail the ceasefire. The separatists always
claimed it was theirs. And now it turns out that they consider it to be effectively in an internal matter inside their lines -- as they see it
through their interpretation of the Minsk agreement.
Now, the question is what do the Ukrainian military do dependent on the fate of their troops inside that town.
Now the separatists have said that they can surrender and give up their arms and be allowed to leave, but I'm sure the Ukrainian troops don't
feel great confidence in that. There have been many scare stories about their potential fate in separatist hands.
But, you know, I'm having this conversation with you, Max, when we're supposed to be in the third day of a ceasefire. And all we are talking
about is the artillery exchanges around Debaltseve. We have heard the occasional explosion. Hard to know what causes it or who is firing at who
here in Donetsk. It's been silent since the ceasefire came in the first hours of Sunday morning.
But it is not a truce across this conflict. And many concerned the next phase could, in fact, be significantly worse if both sides accept the
ceasefire has failed -- Max.
FOSTER: Meanwhile, Amnesty International saying thousands of civilians are actually trapped in the fighting and they're completely
stuck. And there's a humanitarian crisis unfolding.
WALSH: Well, certainly when we were there 10 days ago plus you could find in the basements around the city people who had been trapped, who
couldn't get out.
Often, as we've seen in many towns caught in the fighting, it's the least advantaged who are able to -- unable to actually leave those conflict
We saw ourselves yesterday in the neighboring towns of Debaltseve, (inaudible) people who were still living underground who had not actually
come out for three weeks because of the shelling.
Now, in Debaltseve, there are many, it's said to be, thousands potentially, hundreds, very hard to gauge because they are living in the
wreckage of houses underground, many of them, scavenging whatever food they possibly can. But yes, because of the extent of the fighting, the extent
of the siege that's been in place there, the level of the blockade, it will be a very perilous situation for them indeed.
The question is there was supposed to be a shipment of refugees or a convoy of refugees coming out at some point during today from the
separatist side. That seems to have been delayed. The question really being what has happened to civilians caught in this crossfire. As always,
it has been in the past months of this increasingly vicious war, Max.
FOSTER: And in terms of the diplomatic efforts around this, the four key presidents are still talking to each other as I understand it, but what
exactly are they talking about to try to resolve this?
WALSH: Well, this morning it was about how the thing they agreed upon three days ago still needed to happen. And that was he OSCE monitors
should be allowed to observe the ceasefire, should be given access to specifically Debaltseve.
Now of course that's impossible given the extent of the fighting happening around there, but we have to show how much in trouble diplomacy
is at this stage. If you're seeing people reiterating things they had agreed on paper days earlier. That shows you the place ceasefire. And
it's not really a surprise, because the last Minsk ceasefire in September fell apart relatively quickly, too, but not with this much international
scrutiny and pressure backing it up.
If this fails again, too, the question for frankly security in Eastern Europe is how do you slow down this war in which the separatists appear at
this stage militarily to have the upper hand -- Max.
FOSTER: Nick, thank you.
Still to come tonight, the White House-Israeli rift if growing deeper, or at least a story in the Washington Post says so anyway.
We'll look at what it's all about later his hour.
And the fight against ISIS expands westward, we'll examine how the terror group is able to flourish within Libya.
FOSTER: Hello, you're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Max Foster in London. Welcome back to you.
Now Egypt's airstrikes on ISIS in Libya take the war against the militant group into a new terrain. They also underscore the increasingly -
- increasing willingness of Arab leaders to join and indeed lead the fight. But Egypt does not want to go it alone. It's calling on other nations to
support its efforts against ISIS in Libya.
The widening of the war highlights the militant group's growing sphere of influence as Jomana Karadsheh reports, Europeans are worried about where
ISIS might expand next.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Islamist militants proudly parade through the streets, the ISIS insignia displayed on police
vehicles. The ISIS flag waves over government buildings. No, this is not Iraq or Syria, this is Libya.
In November, ISIS fighters took over the city of Derna along the Mediterranean coast, population 100,000. There are fresh concerns that
ISIS tentacles are creeping towards Europe.
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Derna is just a couple hundred miles south of the southern short of Crete. This is right on the
southern doorstep of the European Union. A lot of concern that ISIS are training people in more than half a dozen camps in the area between Derna
KARADSHEH: Libya sources tell CNN that ISIS has set up larger training facilities in the Green Mountains. Grip on the city includes
imposing Sharia law, carrying out punishments -- floggings and killings as public spectacles, and controlling education and local radio.
This video from late last year in Derna shows hundreds chanting their allegiance to ISIS and its leader Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi.
This ISIS branch in Derna is known as Barqa (ph), a name given to eastern Libya when Islamic rule replaced the Roman Empire.
Libya has a long history of extremism, now a country being dragged deeper into chaos that has swept Libya since the uprising and ouster of
Moammar Gaghadi in 2011.
ISIS makes no secret about its plans to expand. In the video announcing its murder of American aid worker Peter Kassig last year, the
barbaric terror group bragged about new outposts in five countries, including Libya.
Europe and the world now on alert. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN.
FOSTER: Hello, let's get some more context now on the political stalemate inside Libya and how that's contributed to the expansion of ISIS
Earlier, I spoke to Middle East expert Fawaz Gerges of the London School of Economics.
FOSTER: Here we have Libya, a map of Libya, just describe the impact ISIS is having on this map.
FAWAZ GERGES, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: You know, Max, I mean what you have in Libya are two rival governments. One nationalist-led in Tabruk
and one Islamist-led in Tripoli. They have been battling each other for legitimacy. So you have chaos. Libya is fragmenting along ideological,
social and political lines. And what did ISIS inspire the groups have done? They have exploited this particular vacuum, a vacuum of authority
and security. And basically now outside of Syria and Iraq, Max, they control two major cities Derna and Sirte.
And this is, as I say, is development as we have seen in the last 48 hours.
FOSTER: A huge part of the country as well. It really brings it home, doesn't it.
Now in this latest video, they talked about a march on Rome. There's Libya, there's Rome. Lampedusa, we've reported a lot on how migrants are
moving from this area up into Europe. And Suddenly it almost becomes feasible, doesn't it?
I know that's an exaggeration, but the map seems to say something different.
GERGES: Great exaggeration. They want us exactly you and I, Max, to talk about their imperial ambitions to march to Rome. Well, they cannot
march to Tripoli or Benghazi, but Libya really -- the reality is Libya is emerging now as a failed state. It could easily disintegrate before our
hours. And it presents a major threat not only to its neighbors -- Egypt and north Africa and west Africa, but even as a migrant (inaudible) to
Europe itself, in particular in Italy, because of the proximity. So that's why Italian leaders are very anxious about Libya disintegrating and
fragmenting and descending into all-out war.
FOSTER: But the sense of how close it is is interesting, isn't it? When we look at the region that we're talking about here, we've reported on
all of these countries and the concerns about ISIS, not so much about Libya. We've mentioned it a lot. But this latest video really brings it
home doesn't it.
But what -- I mean, look at what ISIS has achieved. They've brought this whole region into this crisis.
GERGES: It really is. Say what (inaudible) so-called ISIS, or the Islamic State, they have turned localized conflict in Syria and Iraq into
region wide and global wide conflicts. So you have Jordan now is very much involved in Iraq and Syria. You have Egypt now very much involved in
Libya. You have Saudi Arabia is very much involved in Iraq and Syria and so are Iran.
And this tells you about how much ISIS has been able to do since June 2014. It has basically forced regional powers, sucked regional powers and
global powers, including the United States and Britain here. We're in the heart of Europe. To really become deeply embroiled in unfolding conflicts
in the region.
FOSTER: Wants to create a caliphate. It wants the caliphate to be as big as possible, doesn't it, ISIS. We look at the next map. We see how
actually you know, it started in this area, dragged in these other countries. It's growing. It's succeeding, isn't it, ISIS?
GERGES: It is really spreading near and far. I mean, its homebase are Syria and Iraq. It has spread to Egypt. It has a major base now on
the Sinai. It has spread now to Libya, Derna and Sirte. It has now affiliates in Yemen, in North Africa. As far as Afghanistan and Pakistan,
not to mention west Africa.
But the major -- we should -- again, we should not really fall into the trap by saying ISIS, or the so-called Islamic State control major
cities. The only area outside, the only countries outside of Syria and Iraq that they control major territories are in Libya.
But there's a real -- I mean, threat that if Yemen descends into all- out war, you might have al Qaeda and its affiliates -- ISIS really establishing major bases in Yemen and other places as well.
FOSTER: Well, whether or not you believe it to be the root of many of the world's conflicts, there is little doubt it's been a tough week for
religion around the glove.
From the execution style killing of three Muslim students in the U.S. to the attacks in Copenhagen to ISIS decapitating Egyptian Christians in
Libya, the past seven days seem especially brutal.
This article also looks at how turning any battle into a matter of good versus evil raises the stakes. You can find all of that at CNN.com.
Live from London, this is Connect the World.
Coming up, Iran's nuclear program comes between the U.S. and Israel again. Details on the latest source of tension between Barack Obama and
Benjamin Netanyahu ahead.
And we'll look at the modern gold rush in San Francisco. Where the currency is information. That's next on One Square Meter.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Years ago Silicon Valley was the place to be for tech firms. It's the region that gave birth to
companies like Google and Apple. But fastforward to 2015 and the epicenter of technology has moved roughly 60 kilometers north to San Francisco.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: San Francisco has changed out of all recognition, because it now really is a 24 hour city. Information is a new currency.
And that currency is gushing through -- you have the streets of San Francisco in the form of the technology revolution.
DEFTERIOS: What's driving companies like Twitter to relocate?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are in your twenties, thirties, you want to live in a vibrant environment where you are surrounded by like-minded
people, where there's a lot of interesting cultural stuff to do. And with a great respect to the suburbs where Apple was born, there's a lot more
cultural diversity and a lot more, frankly, to do in San Francisco than there is there.
DEFTERIOS: Last year, commercial real estate in San Francisco was snapped up in large parcels. Fourteen different companies signed leases for
more than 9,000 square meters worth of space and property.
Among those leasing, tech heavyweights Pinterist in Trulia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now in 2015 where 60 percent of all leases done in San Francisco are for technology companies. Not only that, but 28 percent
of the top space users, all space users, occupy more than 250,000 square feet are technology companies. And that's up from 8 percent in the Dot Com
movement. So that's how dramatic the shift has been.
DEFTERIOS: These cash rich tech firms are also changing the game by shying away from the offices or yesteryear. Beer taps, foosball tables and
bike racks are now the norm at offices in the city.
Prima Opilla (ph) has seen the change firsthand while designing spaces for Yelp and Uber.
PRIMA OPILLA (ph), DESIGNER: The offices of just three or four years ago, they're definitely more hierarchically set up. And what we're seeing
now is that we are basically wanting to share all of that space, share the light and flatten organizations.
DEFTERIOS: But demand has driven prices way up with rates climbing higher for both commercial and residential properties.
In a city that spans 11 by 11 kilometers, space will eventually run out.
For now, though, the outlook is rosy for those riding the tech wave.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's never been a time when the world's economy depended so much on the ideas and the work product that comes out of one
location, even. That's its golden age. This is an era that is just beginning. The light isn't just shining on San Francisco for a brief
moment in time. I firmly believe that this is going to last long into the future.
DEFTERIOS: A golden age for the city of the Golden Gate.
John Defterios, CNN.
FOSTER: This is Connect the World. The top stories this hour. A ceasefire in eastern Ukraine has done little to stop fighting in the
strategic town of Debaltseve. You're looking at video of a pipeline exploding there after it was hit by shelling. Debaltseve has seen heavy
fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists despite a ceasefire that took effect on Sunday.
In Pakistan, at least eight people have been killed in an attack in the city of Lahore. Police say a suicide bomber set off explosives outside
a police station. All of the victims were civilians except for one police constable.
Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban, have claimed responsibility for the attack.
Carnival celebrations turned deadly in Haiti. Reports are sketchy, but at least 12 people, and perhaps as many as 18 were killed when a power line
apparently hit a float in Port-au-Prince. Dozens were reportedly injured in the panic that followed. The president has expressed his
sincere condolences to the victims.
The suspected gunman in the weekend terror attacks in Denmark swore allegiance to ISIS in a Facebook post before the shootings. A Danish
government official identified the suspect as Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein. Police say he killed two people in separate attacks at a cafe and a
synagogue before he was killed in a shootout with police.
While we seem to be seeing a rise in ISIS infamous attacks in many places around the world, the terror group's stronghold remains in Syria and in
Iraq, where a U.S.-led coalition continues to target ISIS positions. But on the ground, Kurdish Peshmerga forces are trying to retake territory in
The U.N. Security Council has been meeting in Iraq -- on Iraq, rather. For more, let's go to our senior U.N. Correspondent Richard Roth. He's in New
Richard, we'll get to Iraq just a moment. First, I want to ask you about Egypt's call that it's been making today. Can you just give us some more
details about what you've learned through the U.N. about that?
ROTH: Well, the president of Egypt in an interview said he wants a resolution that would, in effect, authorize a coalition to attack Libya --
this following the beheadings of Christians there that outraged Egypt especially. Now, that is not necessarily a slam-dunk. The last time there
was a resolution regarding military involvement in Libya, there were strong objections afterwards from China and Russia. However, ISIS is nobody's
friend here at the U.N.
The Egyptian foreign minister, who was visiting here, is going to request that authorization, we believe, at a meeting of the Security Council New
York time tomorrow afternoon, Max.
FOSTER: And on Iraq, what is coming out on that? (ph) Has there been some progress?
ROTH: Well, this is today, and also in New York, in a busy calendar for the United Nations Security Council, the regularly scheduled update meeting
on Iraq. However, a final meeting there for the U.N. special representative of Iraq -- he said he's a paranoid optimist. And he noted
improvement following the formation of a national unity government in Iraq, which faces vast security issues, of course, with ISIS. But he still has
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICKOLAY MLADENOV, U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF IRAQ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I am, however, also paranoid that things can go wrong. ISIL remains in control of most of Iraq's Western provinces. The
fragile efforts towards unity and reconciliation need to be carefully nurtured if they are to bear fruit, while the economy has been hit by
falling oil prices and skyrocketing security costs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROTH: The U.N. special representative for Iraq also said he wanted to ring alarm bells. By May, 60 percent of all humanitarian operations in Iraq may
be shut down if they don't get the funding. He is also very worried still about the security situation, of course, Max, which is now testing Iraq,
Egypt, Libya, the -- all the region, it seems.
Max, back to you.
FOSTER: It really is. OK, Richard, thank you very much, indeed.
Well, Iraq's moderate Sunni population finds itself in a very difficult position. Just over the weekend, Sunni members of Iraq's parliament said
they were boycotting government sessions after a tribal leader was assassinated. The grievances against the government continue to range, but
their anger towards ISIS may have grown just as deep. For more than a year, ISIS has controlled much of Fallujah and Ramadi, then took over
Iraq's second biggest city, Mosul.
Initially, some Sunnis worked with the terror group because they had lost trust in the Iraqi government and the army that was meant to be protecting
For more on the Sunni struggle, I'm joined by Iraqi journalist, Mina Al- Oraibi. Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.
First of all, let's just clarify what we mean by Sunni. This is not one group, is it?
JOURNALIST MINA AL-ORAIBI: Absolutely. There are various groups. Of course, one of the fallouts of the 2003 war is that we started to look at
Iraq on ethnic and sectarian divisions. So, most Kurds are Sunnis. But also, when you say "Sunni," you're referring to Arab Sunnis. And they are
-- the majority, as you said, are stuck in a bind between ISIS or terror groups. I mean, ISIS has changed hats so many times -- these extremists --
that -- we had Al Qaida in Iraq that targeted Sunni majority cities and towns more than others. And you don't really get those statistics and
figures because these people just get killed. And you also have, on the other hand, the militias. And often, these are, sadly, sectarian militias
that are Shia-run -- dominated. And so, those Sunnis actually participate in government -- can be assassinated either from Al Qaida, who sees them as
AL-ORAIBI: ... or from militias who don't trust them and think that they should be killed. And so, that's why we're having this difficulty for the
Sunni-Arab voices (inaudible) to emerge.
FOSTER: When the -- there was the fight against Al Qaida, backed by the U.S., of course. the Sunnis got on site, (ph) didn't they? And that was
one of the factors in succeeding to some against Al Qaida, at least. Why - - why isn't there the same support from the Sunni communities in tackling ISIS?
AL-ORAIBI: There has been. There has been. Sunni tribes have stood up and said that "We will fight ISIS." However, they didn't get the immediate
support in terms of arms and political support to actually take the fight to ISIS. In addition to that, when you had the awakening councils, you had
the American military on the ground. You had American generals that they were negotiating with. They were the guarantors.
At the moment in Iraq, there isn't the same sort of guarantors. Now, the government has made some steps since Haider al-Abadi became prime minister.
They have taken some steps, and they've given promises. So, promises, for example, to deal with tens of thousands of detainees from the Sunni
communities that have never been tried, and are just rotting in prison. So, he gave a pledge to deal with the detainee issue, but it hasn't
actually come to fruition yet.
Likewise, when they said that "We'll stand up and fight ISIS," they were promised the arms. Many tribes, for example, the Al-Bu Nimr tribe -- they
actually lost -- those that sit down (ph) and said that "We will go and fight" -- they were targeted by suicide bombing. They were -- had
assassinations, and the government didn't come to their support and to their aid in time. And that's why you find a lot of Sunnis saying, "OK, if
we stick our neck out there, there's no one really backing us up."
FOSTER: And so, well, is it more than a year ago that ISIS took over Fallujah or Ramadi? What sort of efforts are the tribes -- the Sunni
tribes making to fight ISIS in Anbar Province at the moment? Because it's still -- you know, it's still an ongoing situation there, right?
AL-ORAIBI: It is ongoing in Anbar. And you have a lot of skirmishes. So, you have at one point, one town being held by ISIS, and then they lose it
because it is the Sunni tribes who are fighting them. We had -- last week, it was very dangerous because they got very close to Ayn al-Asad Base,
which has American military personnel, in addition to Iraqi personnel. And it was the tribes who actually helped to fight them also. They have taken
The problem in Iraq is political.
AL-ORAIBI: So, the reason you see, for example, the head of parliament, you see major blocks of Sunnis who are in parliament, who will say, "OK, we
will stop participating with the government" because they're not taking the political steps to have people say that their government will protect them,
regardless of their sect. That's the biggest problem.
FOSTER: Many Sunnis also want an independent state, effectively, don't they, within Iraq, as well? So, that gets caught up in the...
FOSTER: ... debate, as well?
AL-ORAIBI: Actually, I would -- I -- well, we don't have polls or -- or census in Iraq to know. However, I don't think majority of Sunnis want an
autonomous region. However, there are those Sunni leaders, or tribal leaders, that want to take advantage of the situation and say, "Give us
arms. We want an autonomous region," because they see up in the North the Kurdish region those that aren't in power are very strong. And so, I think
it's much more about manipulating a power struggle, rather than Sunnis wanting an independent region. I think they see themselves as Iraqis
FOSTER: It's very complex. You explain it very well, Mina. Thank you very much, indeed, for coming in.
Returning to the crisis in Eastern Ukraine right now, where a tenuous ceasefire is hanging by a thread in some places, and practically invisible
CNN's Frederik Pleitgen has gained exclusive access to the town of Shyrokyne near Mariupol, where Ukrainian soldiers and residents alike have
yet to see any real change.
CNN CORRESPONDENT FREDERIK PLEITGEN (voice-over): The ceasefire remains elusive in this town. The fighters load their weapons with great care,
then head to the front line.
PLEITGEN: We're on the road here with a Ukrainian battalion called the East Corpus Battalion. And they say that they still get shelled all the
time, that there's attacks from pro-Russian separatists, and that they're doing their best to try and hold this town. But they've already lost a
considerable amount of it to the pro-Russian separatists in the past couple of days.
"Right now, only about a third of the village is under our control," Machine Gunner Yuri says.
With pro-Russian separatists close by, we need to move carefully -- and frequently run for cover.
So, the men tell us we have to really watch out here because apparently, there's a sniper, they believe, somewhere in the distance over there. They
say they take fire here pretty much every day and several times a day. So, they really don't believe in the ceasefire that's going on. They say it
never really took hold here.
PLEITGEN (voiceover): "The ceasefire's a farce," says Commander Oleg Shiryoyev. "The fighting is continuing now the way it did before. They
continue to attack us, shell us. They use artillery and mortars, and sometimes they launch raids."
It's impossible to tell which side is responsible for breaking the ceasefire here. But to the few civilians we saw, that didn't seem to
matter. They were packing any belongings they could and leaving.
"The fighting here is very heavy," this woman says. "All the windows of our house are broken. It's very terrifying. We saved all our lives to buy
our house, and now, we have nothing."
To get back to safety, the fighters lob a smoke grenade to mask our retreat.
PLEITGEN: At least in this village here in Eastern Ukraine, we can see that the ceasefire is not working. There appear to be many, many
infringements. And there certainly isn't any sort of faith that things will get better anytime soon.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Shyrokyne, Ukraine.
FOSTER: All right, from London, this is "Connect The World." Coming up, the White House is watching what it says to Israel's prime minister after
something he supposedly did back home. That's what The Washington Post says. Anyway, the story and the details next.
And at this time of year, Hollywood's leading ladies have one major priority: looking radiant on the Red Carpet, apparently. Ahead of the
Oscars, we'll get expert advice on how to pick a game-changing gown.
FOSTER: You're watching CNN. This is "Connect The World" with me, Max Foster. Welcome back to you.
Now, The Washington Post has reported a new setback in U.S.-Israeli relations, along with the details of what led to it. In an article
entitled, "A Perfect Storm Brews in the Middle East," Reporter David Ignatius opens up by saying, "Mistrust between Obama" -- the Obama
administration, at least -- "and Benjamin Netanyahu has widened even further, because the Israeli prime minister has reportedly authorized leaks
of details concerning U.S. nuclear talks with Iran."
The article says, quote, "The decision to reduce the exchange of sensitive information about the Iran talks was prompted by concerns that Netanyahu's
office had given Israeli journalists sensitive details of the U.S. position, including a U.S. offer to allow Iran to enrich Uranium with 6,500
or more centrifuges as part of a final deal."
Word of this deepening rift comes just two weeks before Mr. Netanyahu is scheduled to speak to the U.S. Congress about Iran. Last night, he spoke
on the issue before a group of American-Jewish leaders in Jerusalem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Just as Iran knows what deal it has been offered, naturally, Israel also knows what
are the details of the deal that is being formulated. We are the ones in the greatest danger if Iran arms itself with nuclear weapons.
Our consistent position is that the proposed deal is dangerous for Israel's security. But if somebody thinks that this is a good deal, why is it being
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: We're going to get more perspective on this new source of tension between the White House and Mr. Netanyahu. Our Global Affairs
Correspondent Elise Labott joins us now from Jerusalem.
It's not the first time you've reported on this tension. Where did it all start from, Elise?
LABOTT: Well it started, Max, from the decision by Prime Minister Netanyahu to accept the invitation by House Speaker John Boehner to come to
Congress kind of around the back, kind of doing an end-run a little bit about the White House and not letting them know that he was coming, and
that -- that tension has been deepening. But it goes back a lot longer.
I mean, clearly the Israelis feel that -- that the U.S. position on these Iran talks are not really looking after Israel's best interests. And
that's why this Israeli government, particularly Prime Minister Netanyahu and his close aides, are doing everything they can to influence the outcome
of these talks. And that's what U.S. officials think is going on here.
The -- the prime minister's office has been leaking details to the press about the U.S. position that look, U.S. and Israel are really communicating
in real time on these negotiations, on the intelligence that they both have on Iran, and so the U.S. has been pretty annoyed, to say the least, about -
- about these leaks.
But I think we have to be clear: intelligence cooperation between the U.S. and Israel does continue. Top White House official on the Middle East,
Phil Gordon, in town this week to meet with Israeli officials.
The Israeli national security advisor, Yossi Cohen, has been in Washington recently.
So that very close intel cooperation and intel-sharing continues. I think what you might see in these final days, as the U.S. seeks to formalize a
kind of political agreement with Iran by the end of March on these -- on a nuclear agreement to be negotiated by this summer, I think maybe that real-
time information sharing on the very close details of the talks might be a little bit more guarded.
But clearly, that very close intel relationship between the U.S. and Israel continues, despite the obvious animosity between the two leaders.
FOSTER: And we're going to just have a quick look at some of the recent incidents surrounding the latest flare-up, if we can call it that, between
the White House and Israel's prime minister. Washington Post -- Post says it started with a January 12th phone call between President Barack Obama
and Mr. Netanyahu. The post says it was during that call that Mr. Obama urged the Israeli leader to hold his fire diplomatically so, the U.S.
negotiators could have more time to see whether Iran agreed to a deal regarding its nuclear program.
Keep up, apparently that call ended with no agreement, and nine days later, Republican House Speaker John Boehner invited the Israeli prime minister to
speak before Congress. As we mentioned, that speech is scheduled for third of March.
So, Netanyahu does get on with Mr. Boehner. We read that into it at least.
LABOTT: Well, certainly the prime minister feels that he has a more receptive audience in Congress than he does at the White House. And you
know the relationship between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu has been frosty, to say the least, for years.
And when you see Prime Minister Netanyahu has gone and spoken before Congress two or three times, and he gets rousing, I think the last time, he
got something like 29 standing ovations.
So when you talk to U.S. officials, they say "listen, we know that he feels that Congress is really his soft spot, and he's -- has very sharp
disagreements between the U.S. and Israel over Iran, and is willing to kind of do whatever he has to work the political system in his favor, and that's
what these leaks were about, and that's what this speech to Congress is about.
He knows he's going to have a very receptive audience, and -- and Israeli officials think he'll -- he'll -- despite the tension between the White
House and his office, they think he'll get a very warm reception on the Hill. And so you know, clearly this frosty relationship goes back even
before January 12th phone call.
The U.S. and Israel have differences over Iran. Israel thinks that Iran is an existential threat, a nuclear Iran, an existential threat to Israel.
The United States is farther away and can -- and accept a little bit more of a risk in terms of these negotiations.
And I think as you move towards these deadlines for a nuclear agreement, it's going to get harder and harder to paper over these differences. And
that's what I think you're going to hear from the prime minister when he goes to the United States next week, trying to lay out the sharp
differences between the U.S. and Israel on Iran, and why he feels that this agreement could be very dangerous for his country next.
FOSTER: But Iran must be looking on this and thinking "actually, this all works in our favor."
So, is this backfiring for Netanyahu?
LABOTT: Well, I don't think it backfires for Netanyahu, because at the end of the day, why did these negotiations start a long time ago? Yes, it's
because the international community was very concerned about Iran having a nuclear program, but they've been pushed by Israel at every step.
I mean, I think in the back of everyone -- everyone's mind, if you see Iran inching towards a nuclear weapon, the U.S. knows that and Israel has said
that it might take matters into its own hands.
No one wants to see this region full of chaos, full of tension and violence, that's very combustible, be ignited even further by a
confrontation between Israel and Iran. And that's why the U.S. is so closely cooperating with Israel every step of the way, Max.
FOSTER: OK Elise, thank you very much indeed. Now, live from London, this is ConnectWorld.
Coming up on the program, winning and losing on Oscar night isn't just a matter of taking home a trophy. The fashion stakes are also sky high.
We'll consider the key to sartorial success right after the break.
ANDERSON: The countdown is on to the 87th Academy Awards in Hollywood this Sunday. For some, the occasion is all about the films. For others, it's
all about the fashion. Throughout the week, we'll take an in-depth look at the biggest event in the showbiz calendar.
Today, the editor of In Style magazine tells us why the -- the right outfit can make any celebrity a winner on Oscar Night.
MOORE: The Oscars is the one time in the year that if you get the right celebrity in the right dress, your look will be retweeted, will go on
thousands of webpages all over the world. It's a global moment.
It's not something like a fashion statement, at the time, you're making a statement to the world that you are beautiful, you are glamorous, you are
The planning is huge. All those dresses all made specially for them. These are not things that just got on a rail somewhere. They'll take, you
know, weeks to make. They cost thousands of pounds. Celebrities do spend a lot of time thinking about it, many meetings with their personal stylist.
There will be the personal stylist meeting with the -- the design houses. There's a lot of planning.
At the end of the day, that celebrity has to turn up on the red carpet and feel amazing. If you wear something really well and you look great, people
immediately forget failings in your career. They don't think about the film bombing, they just think that didn't you look great?
I think that lots of you (ph) have great roles, and they do it really well. I really loved Michelle Williams, when she wore that yellow dress. And she
kind of broke some fashion rules that year, kind of a thing in fashion design, because you don't wear yellow with blonde hair, you don't want to
(inaudible) sick of yellow, but it worked pretty well. Really amazing. Not many celebrities could pull that off.
It's hard to
because that moment when she wore the party dress was -- was kind of unforgettable, because she was so new and the film was so big and everyone
was talking about her film, and she just looks very, very soft and there's something about her.
I think that Felicity Jones this year has been quite a standout. She's got that kind of very kind of beautiful, understated British look that's really
nice. She's been wearing Dior and look, she looks great in that.
I love Emma Stone. I think she looks amazing. She wore a long dress suit to the Golden Globes. I'm interested in seeing her.
ANDERSON: Social media.
MOORE: It has made fashion so much more democratic. It has brought fashion to a massive global audience. Like an event like the Oscars where
you know that one picture that someone might show on Facebook or one Instagram picture can go all over the world simultaneously. And that's
massively powerful. That's really interesting and important for fashion designers.
FOSTER: It is a huge night. Who are you looking forward to seeing at the Oscars? What are your favorite dresses from past ceremonies? Get in touch
with us, let us know. Log on to Facebook.com/CNN Connect. Have your say You can also tweet me at MaxFosterCNN.
All right, we are leaving you every day this week with an off-beat take on Academy Award acceptance speeches. Today we leave you with Best Foreign
Language Film is really thinking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The films I make are challenging to audiences like you. You'd like something nasty that was stuck onto your shoe. It's not the
strangeness of the plot which has you all confused. Nor moody silent empty (ph) scenes; such indulgence is excused. A simple extra effort has you
tearing at your hair. To watch and read the subtitles more than you can bear. You shouldn't have to try so hard to understand my work. It's my
country, my language, not a cinematic quirk.
FOSTER: What they're really thinking. I'm Max Foster. That was Clint Wool (ph). Thank you for watching. Stay with CNN.
Robyn Curnow is up nest with "International Desk."