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CONNECT THE WORLD

Controversial Rape Documentary Banned In India; World Reaction To Netanyahu's Speech; The Saudi-Iranian Regional Rivalry

Aired March 4, 2015 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Well, as ISIS runs rampant in parts of Iraq, could the help of Iran prove the difference between victory and defeat?

Well, this hour we'll examine Tehran's increasing influence in this region. What the Sunni power players are doing about it. And why at least America

is grateful for Iranian help. Plus, one man who has zero appreciation for Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: This is a bad deal. It's a very bad deal.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Prime Minister Netanyahu has not offered any kind of viable alternative.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, a war of words in Washington, but the diplomatic dialogue on an Iran nuclear deal continues in Switzerland regardless.

And what the banning of a documentary in India says about attitudes towards sexual violence in that country.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: A very good evening. It is 8:00 here in the UAE.

The Iraqi army is three days into what is an attempt to push ISIS out of the city of Tikrit just north of Baghdad.

Well, it's the largest offensive so far by Iraqi troops who were much criticized for their failure to act as ISIS swept through towns and cities

this past summer.

Now several Iranian-backed Shiite militia are also involved. And a senior Iranian general is reportedly on the ground directing them.

Well, the U.S.'s top military officer says Tehran's involvement in Iraq can, I quote, could be positive if it doesn't feed sectarianism.

(BEGIN VDIEO CLIP)

GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN, U.S. JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: It's worth reminding ourselves Iran and its proxies have been inside of Iraq since

2004. This is the most overt conduct of Iranian support in the form of artillery and other things. Frankly, it will only be a problem if it

results in sectarianism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: I want to talk about General Dempsey's comments in a moment.

CNN's Ben Wedeman is with us in Baghdad and joins us now.

First, Ben, it seems that the Iraqi army and its partners plan to surround ISIS -- the ISIS stronghold of Tikrit before launching an outright

assault. Have they managed to do that?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are approaching the city from five different directions. So -- and it's pretty

much open countryside. So that's not really a particularly difficult, although as they have gotten closer to Tikrit, they're running into more

resistance and they're running into more IEDs. In fact, according to one report in one eight kilometer stretch of road they ran into more than 100

IEDs. And really, the real fight is going to begin, Becky, when they get to the outskirts of the city where not only where they'll certainly,

inevitably, be IEDs, booby traps and mines, but snipers and other things as well -- Becky.

ANDERSON: This Tikrit offensive, Ben, has once again revealed the extent to which Tehran is involved in Iraq, in the fight in Iraq. And to

that end, the General Dempsey comments that Iran can play a positive role if -- with a caveat, though, that this shouldn't feed sectarianism, are

interesting words.

What's the likelihood that that will happen, or already is happening, the idea that Shia militia involved alongside the Iraqi and other Sunni

militia will feed this sense of sectarian divide going forward?

WEDEMAN: Well, certainly the whole reason for this conflict, in a sense, is sectarianism that began after the arrival of U.S. forces,

coalition forces, in Iraq and certainly has gotten much worse in recent years.

Now, the worry is that there's going to be a replay in Tikrit of what happened in Diyala province just a few months ago when these mostly Shia

militias did -- according to Human Rights Watch -- have a bad habit of conducting atrocities basically reprisal killings against Sunni civilians,

many of whom it's believed were absolutely innocent in this instance.

But there is a real amount, a high level of bitterness. Keep in mind that last June there was the so-called Spiker Camp massacre when ISIS

killed as many as 1,700 Iraqi soldiers, most of them Shia, and many of them have relatives who are in these Shia militias who are going to go back into

Tikrit and revenge killings could be a problem -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah. All right. Well, we'll continue to discuss Iran and Iraq in the days to come. We're well aware of conflict across the region,

which displaces so many people, conflict that is simply not of their making so often.

You've spent some time with a group in Irbil, I know, who have simply nowhere it seems to call home. Can you explain.

WEDEMAN: Yeah, this is a group of people who arrived in Iraq, or rather their forefathers arrived in Iraq in 1948 fleeing one of the most

intractable conflicts in the Middle East.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WEDEMAN: He's a happy 8-year-old boy. His oversized plastic sandals don't stop Awad (ph) from enjoying a soccer game in the dirt of the Baharka

(ph) refugee camp outside Irbil.

Awad (ph) isn't Iraqi and he isn't Syrian, he's a Palestinian refugee from a family homeless for generations.

"Our grandparents came from Palestine," he tells me. "Then they went to Baghdad, the Ruqba (ph), then Fallujah, then Anbar, then Suleimaniya

(ph), the Irbil, and now we're in this camp.

18 Palestinian families live here and Awad (ph) speaks for them all.

"We want to emigrate anywhere," he says. "I want a future."

Palestinians sought refuge in Iraq after the creation of Israel in 1948. At best, they were second class citizens. And since the 2003 U.S.-

led invasion, they've been caught in the crossfire of a brutal conflict not of their own making.

Awad's (ph) father, Khalid (ph) would like to return to his native land.

"If Israel said come," he says, "I'd throw away my Palestinian nationality and become an Israeli. I'm serious."

21-year-old Selma (ph) echoes Awad's (ph) sentiments.

"All our lives," she says, "from our grandparents to our parents to our children, we've been moving from one place to another. We want a

future for our children, but there's no future in Iraq."

Ibrahim (ph) fled his native Haifa when he was 11 in 1948. Last year when ISIS took control of Mosul, he escaped the city with his family,

fearing his sons and grandsons would be forced to join the group.

"In things we've seen are enough to drive you mad," he says.

"We ran away," says his son, Tamir (ph). "I didn't want my children to see any more horrible things. In Mosul, we drive down the street and

see dogs eating dead bodies in the road."

Decades of uncertainty have taken a toll on Ibrahim (ph).

"What can I do here?" He asks. "It's the life of humiliation. We've been humiliated. Goddamn this lousy life."

A lousy life passed on to another generation of refugees.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WEDEMAN: So refugees in a conflict that they have -- not of their making. And they have no way out -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman for you in Baghdad in Iraq tonight. Ben, thank you.

We've got a lot more on the threads of the Iraq story throughout this hour. We are looking beyond the immediate ISIS threat and zeroing in on

the realities on the ground discussing what is described as a proxy war between Iran and Saudi playing out across the region.

And we'll see how Riyadh's new king is working on a United Sunni Arabi front to counter Tehran's influence. Nic Robertson will join us on that

for the show later this hour.

And we'll be hearing how some Egyptians actually blame the United States for the emergence of ISIS. A special report from Cairo coming up in

about 20 minutes time.

Well, as Iran makes its presence felt in the fight against ISIS, the country's biggest detractor has made his presence felt in Washington.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave his much anticipated speech to the U.S. congress on Tuesday at this time warning of the threat of Iran

and what it poses if it's allowed to make nuclear weapons.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Even if Israel has to stand on alone, Israel will stand.

(APPLAUSE)

NETANYAHU: But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel. I know that you stand with Israel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Apologies for the ambient sound here in Abu Dhabi tonight.

That was one of several ovations Mr. Netanyahu received. Much of the applause came from Republicans who make up the majority of congress. The

Republican House speaker invited the Israel prime minister to speak there in the first place and some prominent Democrats saying while they do

support Israel they disagree with Mr. Netanyahu's assertion that, quote, "no deal with Iran is better than the deal being discussed."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA: I was near tears because I love Israel very much. I value the importance of the relationship between

Israel and the United States. The United States of America has as one of the pillars of its national security and its foreign policy to stop the

proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. And that's what we do. And that's what the president is doing in the negotiations. And if the deal

isn't good enough, we won't accept it. I don't think we needed any lectures on that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: The U.S. president was not there for the Israeli prime minister's speech. He told reporters afterwards that there was nothing

constructive in it as far as he was concerned.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Prime Minister Netanyahu has not offered any kind of viable alternative that would achieve the same verifiable mechanism to prevent

Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, the latest talks on Iran's nuclear program, meantime, continuing in Switzerland. Even as Mr. Netanyahu gave his speech in

Washington, a U.S. State Department official says progress has been made, but significant gaps, they say, remain.

Well, CNN's Chief U.S. Congressional correspondent Dana Bash joining us now from Washington.

Some thought that there would be some damage control, as it were, ahead of this speech. It didn't seem like that was the case.

How much damage has ultimately been done, do you think, do U.S.- Israeli relations?

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's not good. I think that's probably an understatement. I've been covering congress for a long

time. I've been covering U.S.-Israel relations for a long time. And, you know, the U.S. Congress is so bitterly partisan, but Israel has been the

one -- one of the few things that is a non-partisan thing. I mean, forget bipartisan, truly non-partisan.

And it's different now. You know, you can say that there's blame all around perhaps from the Republican House speaker in the U.S., John Boehner,

inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu in the first place over the clear objections of the Democrat in the White House.

You can blame Netanyahu for wanting to do this at all, coming into the House of Representatives and, as you heard from Nancy Pelosi, that she is

the top Democrat, from their perspective giving them a lecture. That's why it was so incredibly divisive the idea of this speech.

But then you have Republicans, again those who invited him, who were thankful, because they say that they are truly concerned that the Obama

administration is going down a road with these talks going on in Switzerland right now that they shouldn't be going down, because they fear

that it's a legacy issue for the U.S. president, that he wants to get a deal, and that he'll get one whether it's good or not. And they don't buy,

as you heard from the prime minister, that no deal is better than -- a bad deal is better than no deal, rather.

So, there's a lot of division here. And the fact that he gave this speech. No question it was powerful. No question he pulled on a lot of

heart strings from members of congress, but it's probably going to take a long time for these wounds to heal.

ANDERSON: The view from Washington. And Dana, thank you.

Well, a British filmmaker says her documentary on rape is being silenced in India. And she wants the Indian prime minister to do something

about it. Well, the documentary features an interview with one of the men convicted in what was the fatal gang rape of a woman on a New Delhi bus.

The Indian government says his comments are so offensive and derogatory, that they could spark public unrest.

Well, a court has now barred the film's release in India. Parliament has been in an uproar over the documentary. Some members say that the

interview should never have been permitted.

In the past few minutes, the BBC has announced its decision to air the film India's Daughter in the UK tonight five days earlier than planned.

For more from New Delhi, CNN's Sumnima Udas joining us now.

And a tweet comment, Sumnima, earlier to CNN.com's article reporting this story said the following: "journalism doesn't glorify criminals. Its

job is to report, in this case report on the sickness that infects so many men #Nimbayainsulted (ph)."

Is that representative, do you think, of the reaction to this?

SUMIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are all kinds of reactions right now, Becky. And that is one of the prevailing ones that,

you know, that the journalists should be allowed to report on this, should be allowed to interview the rapists and that, you know, there should be

more awareness about what exactly is happening in India.

Now the counter argument is that what the rapist said doesn't represent the majority view in India, so why should we perpetuate, if you

will, his viewpoints. And perhaps that would encourage other rapists as well. That's something that some of the women's activists here are even

saying.

But still, this has really become a debate about epics, about censorship, about free speech versus promotion of hate speech. So there

are a lot of different viewpoints here. But certainly a lot of people opposing the ban on this documentary.

Now of course as you mentioned, the BBC will be airing it tonight. It will not be broadcast in India, but still once those clips get online a lot

of Indians will be able to get access to that documentary. So a really interesting debate that we're having here.

And we saw all the parliamentarians talking about this, all kinds of viewpoints, and quite a few female parliamentarians walk out today in

protest of this prevailing attitude as well.

ANDERSON: Sumnima, thank you.

Later this hour, we're going to speak to a supreme court lawyer about what is this public outcry against sexual violence in India and how the

government there is handling what are horrific cases.

And will Benjamin Netanyahu succeed in derailing negotiations between Iran and the U.S., those ongoing in Switzerland -- almost certainly were

when Netanyahu speaking in Washington yesterday? The view from Tehran and Jerusalem up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: The United States and five world powers negotiating with Iran are moving closer to reaching a nuclear deal. The time, though, is

running short.

And a key deadline falling at the end of the month may not be enough time to bridge what are significant differences.

The talks did continue today one day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the U.S. and congressmen and women that

negotiators are brokering what he called a bad deal.

Well, Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran for you this evening, Oren Lieberman is in Jerusalem.

And I want to start with you, Oren. A much hyped speech serving only, it seems, to prop what are fractured relations between the U.S. president

and the Israeli prime minister.

Obama accusing Netanyahu of having no viable alternative to what is going on in Switzerland, or certainly has been for the last 48 hours these

talks between P5+1 and Iran.

Is it clear, or any clearer, what a viable alternative would be from the prime minister of Israel at this point?

OREN LIEBERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Netanyahu certainly seems to think it's clear. And he want the world to hear what he has to say,

because right after he landed in this continued back and forth that we've seen between Obama and Netanyahu, right after he landed back here in Israel

his office put out a statement. And I want to read just a little bit of that statement that gets directly at this alternative that we've been

hearing about.

He says, I presented a practical alternative, which would impose tougher restrictions on Iran's nuclear program, extending Iran's breakout

time by years. That wording is absolutely no coincidence. He was responding directly to Obama's charge here that Netanyahu has no

alternative.

Netanyahu's plan is tougher restrictions, tougher sanctions until what Netanyahu wants to see is Iran giving up its nuclear ambition, its nuclear

program because one of the things that's agreed upon here generally by the public and the politicians is the threat that a nuclear Iran would pose to

Israel.

The differences in opinion come, especially as they relate to this speech, on whether the speech was the best way to sort of share that

concern with America and with Europe. So, that seems to be what we're hearing from the Netanyahu camp, from the prime minister's office as his

practical alternative would be tougher sanctions and pushing back, making it harder and eliminating any chance for Iran to go for a nuclear program -

- Becky.

ANDERSON: Oren, thank you.

Let's get to Tehran. Fred, President Obama intent that a political framework would effectively leave enough wiggle room so that going forward

the world would have something like a year to reverse any relationship with Iran if indeed it were seen to be intent on building a bomb going forward.

How is all of this being reported in Iran?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, of course. I mean, it's the biggest topic here in Iran currently. And if you look at

the reporting that happened on the speech that Benjamin Netanyahu gave, there were some very vicious reactions that happened here from Iranian

politicians calling this a very destructive speech.

The Iranians, of course, maintain that their nuclear program is only for civilian use, only for peaceful purposes as they said.

It was interesting, however, that earlier today there was a press conference by the foreign ministry of Iran where they then sort of switched

course and started to say that they really didn't care what Benjamin Netanyahu said, what they care about right now, they say, is trying to

reach an agreement with the other negotiating partners that they believe will be good for Iran.

But we do know, of course, that either there are still some major sticking points in -- on the road to that possible agreement. And as you

said, there really is very -- not very much time left.

The two big issues that seem to remain are on the one hand as far as research and development of new centrifuges is concerned, that's a huge

concern for the U.S., especially when you talk about the breakout time that Oren was just talking about as well. the United States sees that as a

significant risk to decrease the breakout time, which is certainly something that they don't want to see happen.

For the Iranians, however, Becky, the biggest issue is the lifting of the sanctions -- how quickly they'll be lifted and how completely they'll

be lifted. The Iranians, of course, want significant part of the sanctions to be lifted as fast as possible. The U.S. wants to take things slower,

wants to do this step-by-step. And those two areas alone are huge stepping stones.

And we always have to keep in mind, Becky, it's very important that there are very different opinions here in Iran as well. There are the

moderates around Hassan Rouhani who want this deal to go forward, who want to reach an agreement. But there's also hard-liners here in Iran who feel

that Iran should have walked away from any sort of negotiations a long time ago. They don't want any sort of deal with the west. And they're willing

to take sanctions into account, Becky.

ANDERSON: Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran for you tonight, Oren Lieberman in Jerusalem.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.

Coming up, a tale of two Middle Eastern powerhouses and the proxy war they are waging across the region. We look at what Saudi Arabia is doing

to counter Iran's influence.

And an idea to conserve the environment that's turned a profit for two young entrepreneurs in Rwanda.

Taking a break. Back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN DEFTERIOS, EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: It's said that one man's trash is another man's treasure. In Rwanda's capital city Kigali, two

young entrepreneurs partners to come up with an idea to conserve the environment as they build a fashion accessories company.

MARIA MIANJU (ph), FASHION: Hi, my name is Maria Mianju (ph).

MONICA UMARI (ph), FASHION: And I'm Monica Umari (ph).

MIANJU (ph): We are the founders of Angaza (ph) here in Kigali, Rwanda.

MONIKA (ph): Welcome to our place. Show you around.

DEFTERIOS: Mianju (ph) got inspiration to start her business after anticipating in an environmental education students at a local primary

school.

MIANJU (ph): We thought how can we make this fun for the kids not just going for them with lots of lectures. So we said let's collect as

many bottle tops as we can. And we had the kids involved as well. And after having the lecture series and videos and quizzes with them, we had

them all together in groups. And they made mosaics out of these bottle tops.

So, that got me thinking, what else can we do with waste?

DEFTERIOS: Having studied environmental engineering at University, Mianju (ph) went on to experiment with non-biodegradable waste like old

advertising banners. And in 2012, made a prototype of a handbag. She later sold the bag at a fair where she met her business partner Monica

Umari (ph).

UMARI (ph): (inaudible) company called Spectrum Media (ph). And we used to do a lot of outdoor advertising. So when I met Maria, I started

with a prototype. And I was like, wow, this is really creative. And that's how we partnered.

MIANJU (ph): As you can see, this is an advertising banner that we use for our products. Once it's brought down, we wash it, cut it and make

our products out of it.

UMARI (ph): Normally, what would happen with this banner after they use, there would be (inaudible) somewhere where they would be burned. And

that was the end of it.

DEFTERIOS: Angaza (ph) works with some of Kigali's advertising agencies to procure a steady source of raw materials, but the company still

faces challenges.

MIANJU (ph): One challenge that was very specific to us was finding a tailor who would be willing to work with our materials, because they're not

used to using such a material here in Kigali. They only use fabric, maybe some use leather, not so many.

So, it was hard to find someone who would say yes, I can be able to do this for you.

UMARI (ph): So if you can see this is a final product. So the advertising billboard banner. This is the body of the back and it's just

kind of some fabric. It's a very functional and a very funky accessory for anybody to have.

MIANJU (ph): I see Angaza (ph) as an environmental solutions company.

UMARI (ph): The best thing is that it's very unique. And some (inaudible) because they are nuts on the whole upcycling concept.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. The top stories this hour here on CNN.

And an explosion in a coal mine in Eastern Ukraine has killed one person, 32 others are missing. That is according to the speaker of the

Ukrainian parliament who says the mine is in an area controlled by pro- Russian separatists and the Ukrainian prime minister has accused the rebels of not letting rescuers in. But a representative of the Donetsk People's

Republic says Kiev has not offered any help.

Two members of the so-called Bali Nine could be days away from execution in Indonesia. Australia's Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were

found guilty of drug smuggling almost 10 years ago. And on Wednesday they were transferred to a maximum security facility where they will be kept in

isolation before being put to death.

Nepal's lone international airport in Kathmandu has been effectively shut down after a Turkish airlines plane skidded off the runway there.

Part of the aircraft blocks the runway and the Nepalese authorities say they don't have the heavy-duty machinery required to move it.

Mexican authorities say they have captured another high level drug lord. Federal officials tell CNN that Omar Travino Morales (ph) was

arrested near Monterrey. He is the reputed leader of the Zetas cartel. And his arrest comes less than a week after authorities brought in the

reputed leader of the so-called Knights Templar cartel.

Well, there is more strong reaction to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the U.S. congress. A spokesman for the

Iranian foreign ministry says, quote, the continued lies of Netanyahu regarding the aims and intentions of the peaceful nuclear program of Iran

are repetitive and sickening, end quote. Former Israeli deputy prime minister Dani Dannon (ph) meanwhile said Mr. Netanyahu, quote, "sounded the

alarm for the survival of our country."

Well, during that speech Netanyahu accused Iran of, quote, gobbling up capitals across the Middle East, a clear reference to Tehran's involvement

in Iraq, for example, but also their support for the Syrian government and their links to Shiite rebels controlling part of Yemen.

And Israel isn't alone in wanting to curb Iran's reach. Saudi Arabia also keen to reassert Sunni state leadership.

Well, the result, a tug of war across the region for power and influence. Have a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Welcome to the Middle East and North Africa, home to 3 percent of the world's land mass, 6 percent of its population. And you

don't need a statistician to tell you it's the basis of a far higher percentage of the world's news headlines.

But why? Well, there's no single starting point for this region's troubles.

For some, it's an infamous line in the sand drawn by colonial powers France and Britain, an arbitrary division that ISIS wants to erase as it

attempts to rewrite the region's borders.

Well, others see the root in more recent foreign intervention. Successful regional governments have also come under fire for failing to

tackle the problems they've inherited.

But overshadowing much of the Middle East's modern history is a power struggle still playing out between the Sunni powerhouse of Saudi Arabia in

the southwest and the Shia nucleus of Iran in the east.

Now several countries in between are caught up in that struggle for dominance.

Syria's civil war began in part, because the Sunni majority felt unrepresented by their authoritarian government, which was overwhelmingly

Alawite, a Shia sect. And as arms and fighters flowed across the border from both sides of the sectarian divide, it became much more than a

domestic dispute.

Well, next door is Iraq, currently in focus as a Shia dominated army with Iranian assistance attempts to stop the spread of ISIS. But the

moderate Sunnis say they, too, have been targeted.

Yemen, yet another example of the Saudi-Iranian tussle. Riyadh's worst fears were realized in January when a band of Shia rebels, known as

Houthis, overthrew the weak Sunni government in Sanaa. Tehran suddenly had a crucial ally on its old rival's border.

Another Iran ally, Hezbollah, is a major player in Lebanon's deeply divided politics. On the face of it, one of the more settled Middle

Eastern nations, but still unable to agree on a president.

Iran could now claim it has major influence in four Arab capitals on either side of the line in the sand drawn almost a century ago.

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would have it, Tehran is gobbling them up. ISIS, al Qaeda and other Sunni extremists will go to any

lengths necessary to ensure that such a claim is negated, while Sunni leaders and populations find themselves internally conflicted as they face

old rivalries on top of new threats from extremists.

If this region is ever to find its way off the front pages, analysts agree the Saudi-Iranian rivalry must first be resolved, but that is an age

old dispute.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, Saudi Arabia's new kind is already taking steps to reposition the kingdom as the leader of a resurgent Sunni Arab alliance.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has just been in Riyadh for talks. Turkish President Erdogan also paying a visit. All this is against the

backdrop of Saudi Arabia's continuing support for the coalition efforts against ISIS.

Well, Nic Robertson is in London following this story. He's visited Saudi a number of times, most recently when King Salman took power after

the death of his half-brother earlier this year.

It's the threat of the expansion of terrorist groups in this region, not least ISIS, of course, Nic, and the call to Arab arms for an active

Arab military force that seems to be informing these efforts to promote a new regional order. How do you see a new regional doctrine, as it were,

lead by Saudi shaping up?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Well, certainly we've heard the Saudis being very vociferous and strong about the need to take

down President Bashar al-Assad in Syria and, you know, a year or so ago trying to get an international force of up to 50,000 troops to do that.

There wasn't the international will for that. There still isn't.

But when we see the king Salman with the Turkish President Ergodan. This is an indication that you, know the relationships between these two

countries have been straights. But there's a real recognition in Saudi Arabia that you don't win the fight in Sryia without the support of the

Turks. And I think that certainly goes to how they view, or whether they got dissimilar views on the sort of rebel movement there and how to take on

ISIS.

But I think one of the places where we're beginning to see this reframing of how the Sunnis can be stronger working together and how they

see an encroachment of Iranian influence taking shape in Iraq, yes, for sure, but Yemen it's also -- it's almost sort of more touchable there, if

you will, more palpable. You have the Houthis taking power in the capital there Sanaa. You have the president Hadi moving eventually for sanctuary

to aid. And in the south of Yemen the GCC, the Saudis as well, supporting his position there. And the Saudis moving their embassy from Sanaa to

Aden.

You're beginning to see a drift apart of the old north of south of Yemen with the Sunni countries standing behind the south here.

And this is potential for reopening an old divide, but on those at the moment on a seemingly sectarian basis.

ANDERSON: Nic, a new regional doctrine, or partnership as its described by Washington, might suit the U.S. given its reticence to be out

front in the conflicts of this region. But there are fissures in this region. I'm just wondering how sustainable you think a sort of, you know,

regional strategy will be.

I just want to remind our viewers of one feud that split this region, had Saudi Arabia playing the mediator, a dispute over political Islam in

support, for example, for the Muslim Brotherhood has pitted Qatar, that's its foreign minister arriving for a regional summit in Riyadh, against

other Gulf states. Despite some promising noises several months ago Doha and Cairo certainly are still at loggerheads.

So, what's the prospect that these stakeholders will be able to pull off a sustainable strategy do you think? And can the Saudis bridge these

gaps?

ROBERTSON: Well, one of the lowest common denominators in it, if you will, is that sectarian denominator. And that does, you know, when things

get bad that's what's going to bind people together, certainly some Saudis would cast the Turkish president Erdogan into that sort of Muslim

Brotherhood basket along with Qatar as well.

So, the fact that they are now sort of getting closer and talking with each other more and the recognition perhaps they need to work together on

this.

But you know you see as well in Iraq how the United States apparently is getting out of step with the Iraqi military that's getting a lot of help

from the Iranians in taking on Tikrit. There's a sense that the Iraqi military for the U.S. perspective wasn't ready for big assaults. The Iraqi

military is pushing ahead and saying, you know, it'll go ahead when it's ready.

So, the sort of divisions and how to keep that coalition together is tough. But, you know -- and if we look at Yemen, how does Saudi Arabia's

position in the south of Yemen now, now they've put their ambassador there. And we notice also in the past few days that a senior Saudi consular

official who has captured by al Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula as al Qaeda in Yemen just a couple of years ago after years of trying to get him free

as the Saudis open that embassy in Aden in the south of Yemen, that man has been freed, that diplomat has been freed.

At the same time as the United States is using Saudi support to take on and target al Qaeda in Yemen, in the south of Yemen.

So, it kind of speaks to a whole panoply, a whole host, if you will, of competing interests. But people tend to come together on those more

common denominators, but in a more extreme situation.

So the that that's the way things are coalescing at the moment really speaks to the extreme nature that this is drifting towards.

ANDERSON: Yeah, not least in the emerging Saudi leadership and how it will view the threat of Iran going forward and perhaps how that will inform

its tactics as well.

Nic, thank you.

All of the Sunni powers we've just been talking about are on paper, at least, allies of the United States, but as they lead the charge against

ISIS, some Arabs don't feel particularly allied with the current coalition leader.

Ian Lee tells us why some Egyptians that he's been talking to think Washington is the problem rather than the solution.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Egypt battles ISIS on two fronts: in the Sinai peninsula and more recently in Libya. And at a huge

cost. ISIS has killed hundreds of security personnel in Egypt.

But it might surprise you to hear who many Egyptians believe is behind the terror group.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): America. It's made by America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I can see America. Maybe Egyptian intelligence with American cooperation. But what is happening has

nothing to do with Islam.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) they were planted to become terrorists so that countries with upper hand can fight terrorists who for sure we know

that it's USA and Israel.

LEE: Egyptian newspapers don't shy away from blaming the United States either, from the state-run El Ahraram (ph) newspaper showing Uncle

Sam and ISIS hacking away at the Middle East.

And again here, Uncle Sam inflating the terror group to this leading independent newspaper DAESH, the Arabic acronym for ISIS with, well, you

get the picture.

Then there is Egyptian TV who hosts revel in the accusation, including Tamer Amin of Rotana Masriyeh (ph).

TAMER AMIN, TV HOST: I'm confident that if the United States of America didn't make ISIS, they are happy that ISIS exists and they are

using them to the purposes that we discussed before in order not -- in order to weaken this region, this area, for the sake of Israel.

TIMOTHY KALDAS, PROFESSOR OF POLITICS, NILE UNIVERSITY: A lot of Egyptians have this impression that the United States is a very powerful

country that controls the events across the region. And it's difficult for them to believe, really, that an organization could emerge so quickly, so

effectively on its own without the U.S. having any sort of role. They really overestimate the capabilities of U.S. intelligence and the U.S.

government.

LEE: The Egyptian government does support the U.S. alliance to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but ISIS in Libya isn't on that list. Egyptians

have their own theories.

AMIN: ISIS in Libya, not that strong. ISIS in Libya is like a little baby, still needs cover, still needs oxygen to breathe and to grow and to

be a monster. And the United States wants this baby to have its own time to be a monster and then we think about weakening it.

LEE: Egypt doesn't want that baby monster to grow up, but the conspiracy theories are well into adulthood.

Ian Lee, CNN, Cairo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson for you.

Coming up live for many women across the Arab World does seem to me to be a daily struggle. I want to look at some trying to make a change by

getting an education. That is in Tonight's parting shots. And that's about 10 minutes from now.

First, though, the gang rape of a woman on a bus in New Delhi shook India to its core in 2012. We take a look at the public outcry over the

case. And why India is now banning a documentary about it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: In 2012, a shocking crime focused the world's attention on sexual violence in India. A 23 year old woman was gang raped on a bus in

New Delhi. She later died of her injuries.

Well, a new documentary exploring that crime and the people behind it has now been barred in India, but the BBC, which commissioned the film, has

taken the opposite view, moving forward its broadcast by five days and opting to show it tonight.

Well, joining me now with more is the attorney and women rights activist Kirti Singh. She's out of New Delhi for you this evening.

Do you support the banning of this documentary in India?

KIRTI SINGH, WOMEN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Well, in a way, yes, because I don't see what is the point of again and again you know giving time to

these rapists who have a completely misogynist view of women, who are obviously you know belong to the most retrogressive and backwards sections

of the society and whose viewers -- we know that such views exist, but it doesn't necessarily mean that we'd like to hear them. It's like adding

insult to injury.

ANDERSON: All right. Can I just show you a statement -- sorry, our viewers a statement, you may not be able to see this yourself, from the

British filmmaker Leslie Ardwin (ph) who made the documentary. If you just listen to this, she criticized the decision to the ban of the film saying,

and I quote, "India should be embracing this film, not blocking it with a knee-jerk hysteria without even seeing it. This was an opportunity for

India to continue to show the world how much has changed since this heinous crime."

Let's remember there was a victim in all of this, a young student who died after what was a brutal gang rape. Many people around the world will

be questioning why the country can't seem to have a conversation about the issue.

SINGH: Well, yes, but apart from this documentary, time and again we have state -- all kinds of statements emanating from people in certain high

positions. We know that a section of the society thinks that women don't need any freedom, that they need to be attacked if they wear certain kinds

of clothes, if they're out at certain times of the night and if they are with their boyfriends and so on.

So, I just feel that you know she doesn't understand that we do know this. And women's organizations have been fighting against this for the

longest time. And, you know, of course we have been sort of fighting a losing battle on some fronts, I admit, because the government doesn't seem

to get its act together, you know, and is not...

ANDERSON: Well, let's talk about that. Are you confident that the promises -- with respect, yeah, and that's what I was going to ask you

about. Are you confident that the promises made major reform of India's rape laws, the speeding up of trials and increasing penalties have actually

been made?

SINGH: No. I rather agree with you that the laws have been changed. Of course we all know that, that the law underwent a substantial change.

The penal code has been redone, overhauled completely, but many of the procedures that needed to be put in place, many of the court procedures

that needed to change, the protocols that had to be put in place, the police reforms that have to take place, to change the mindset of the

police, hasn't been done.

And you know, we have pointed this out again and again to the government and we hope that -- we know that we have to struggle and fight

for it. And we welcome any suggestion to go -- or any help to fight this. But I don't think that just showing this documentary, which is deeply

hurtful, which is just you know just gives air time to this misogynists, these, you know, completely regressive and horrific statements that they

made will do any good.

ANDERSON: All right, with that we're going to leave it there. We do, though, appreciate your time.

SINGH: Thank you.

ANDERSON: All right.

Well, thank you. And we hear your words.

Tonight, live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

Coming up, these women are hoping to break down gender barriers in their societies, and a photographer has captured their struggle. That up

next. Do stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: In tonight's parting shots, photographer Laura Boushnak gives us a glimpse into the lives of some Arab women trying to change the

status quo. Have a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA BOUSHNAK, PHOTOGRAPHER: My name is Laura Boushnak and I'm a Palestinian photographer currently based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and

Herzegovina.

My project titled "I Read, I Write" is about the importance of education in advancing and improving the lives of Arab women.

I show women who are role models in their own communities. They can inspire other women.

It gives them some positivity rather than then other way around.

In Yemen, I took pictures of women who were the first members in their families to go to university, because access to education in Yemen is quite

difficult for girls, only 27 percent of elementary age girls manage to go to school.

The difficulty that women face in accessing education is mainly poverty. In Tunisia, I interviewed university students who are politically

active and members at the student unions. So they' like play a major role in mobilizing the students around them.

Unfortunately, until now some parents could be that the education of women is not important, because eventually she, the daughter, would get

married and her husband would end up taking care of her.

What I'm trying to say in the project is that the education of women benefits not only women but also the entire society.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, some inspiring women challenging the status quo. And as we get ready to celebrate International Women's Day this Sunday, we want

to tell you -- you tell us, sorry, women past and present whose words have inspired you in your life and work. You can tweet me @BeckyCNN and for

this at CNNI women with the hashtag #inspirewomen. Good evening from the UAE.

END