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Christian Culture Under Threat In Middle East; al Qaeda, ISIS Take Advantage of Power Vacuum In Yemen, Libya; Pizzeria Owner Delivers Pizza to Pope. Aired 11-11:43a ET

Aired March 22, 2015 - 11:00:00   ET


[11:00:11] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Spiraling out of control, Houthi rebels extend their reach seizing Yemen's third largest city. Tonight,

we're live in Sanaa with widest power struggle in Yemen and the emerging political vacuum matters.

Also ahead, new year's message meet old school politics. We read between the lines as American and Iranian leaders take to the airwaves to

present competing narratives ahead of a nuclear deadline.

And we're hear from the Italian pizza maestro who was determined to deliver his pizza to the pope.

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

ANDERSON: A very good evening. It is 7:00 in the UAE. First up tonight, it is becoming a familiar scenario in the region, vicious mutli-

pronged power struggles creating chaos in already weakened states allowing groups like al Qaeda and ISIS to flourish. We've seen it in Syria, in

Iraq, in Libya and now in Yemen where a deepening conflict is forcing the U.S. to withdraw its last remaining troops.

It's also prompting Iran to suggest the president should resign.

As the United Nations security council prepares to meet for crisis talks, Jon Jensen takes a look at why what's happening in Yemen is so

important and so alarming.


JON JENSEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These are the final moments before one of the deadliest suicide attacks in recent years. In this surveillance

footage, a figure, hobbling with a cane, slowly moves toward the el Hashoush (ph) mosque in Sanaa, Yemen's capital.

They're wearing a cast laden with explosives, according to Yemen's Sava News Agency. Minutes later, a bomb detonates. At least 137

worshipers were killed in this and two similar blasts in northern Yemen on Friday. The attacks, purportedly claimed by ISIS, would be their first in

Yemen, and are already sparking new fears of escalating sectarian violence and possibly even a civil war in the Arab world's poorest nation.

Yemen is now more divided than it's been in the four years since Arab Spring protests lead to the ouster of the country's former ruler Ali

Abdullah Saleh.

In the north, Houthis, an armed Shia rebel group, controlled the capital. They called on supporters to mobilize. When 2000 Houthis

militants did, capturing key facilities like the airport in Yemen's third largest city Ta'izz, according to local officials. That sparked anti-

Houthi protests there.

In the south, Yemen's president Abd Rabbuh Manur Hadi renounced the attacks, but called for an end to what he called a Houthi coup of Yemen.

ABD RABBUH MANSUR HADI, PRESIDENT OF YEMEN (through translator): I draft the following. Firstly, the evacuation of all gunmen and popular

committees imposed by the armed militias (inaudible) ministries and government institutions. Secondly, the withdrawal of all gunmen from the

Yemeni capital Sanaa and other cities.

JENSEN: Hadi accuses the Houthis of receiving support from Iran, a claim they deny.

Thousands of Yemenis took to the streets Saturday to protest the bombings. But many there now see potential for a wider conflict played out

by proxies of regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.

This vitally strategic country lying at the mouth of the Red Sea is also home to a vital al Qaeda franchise and now perhaps other militants.

This weekend, the U.S. pulled out its remaining troops in Yemen, fearful, as many there are, that recent violence could soon spiral out of


Jon Jensen, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


ANDERSON: Well, as we heard in Jon's report the very latest this Sunday is that Houthi fighters are moving south and now control Yemen's

cultural capital, the city of Ta'izz after taking a key airport.

Now journalist Hakim Almasmari is in the capital Sanaa for you this evening.

Let's start with this very latest. It seems defying tens of thousands of protesters Houthi rebels have reportedly seized the city of Ta'izz. Now

this is the capital of Yemen's most populous province, 140 kilometers away from Aden where President Hadi is holed up.

What is the significance of this latest move by the rebels?

HAKIM ALMASMARI, JOURANLIST: There are strategic reasons why (inaudible) or the Houthis have (inaudible) or are in control of Ta'izz

right now. Number one is because their air strikes. If they wanted to attack President Hadi in Aden. Last week, air strikes had been conducted

from Sanaa, which would take 40 minutes for aircraft to reach Aden. Right now, from Ta'izz it would take seven minutes from Ta'izz. So the

airstrikes to be conducted from Ta'izz.

So that would give Hadi less time to react or use anti-aircraft missiles against anything that comes from Ta'izz.

The second strategic reason is because right now with Ta'izz will be or will soon be the Houthi's launchpad for its militants before they send

their hundreds of fighters from Sanaa to other provinces. Ta'izz is a different province. It neighbors, it's just minutes away from (inaudible)

province and 30 to 40 minutes from Aden Province.

So it's -- the Houthi militants will be launched from Ta'izz which will have them -- or make them reach Aden quicker than anyone expected at

any given time in case of emergencies.

[11:05:41] ANDERSON: Hakim, you have seen or will have heard Jon's report on the chaos in the mosque, for example, on Friday. Rebels claiming

there is no ISIS in Yemen. Yemen, of course, claiming responsibility for that attack on the mosque. Rebels say there is no ISIS in Yemen and that

al Qaeda, for example, is being coopted by the president to recruit more forces loyal to him.

What is going on within this power vacuum that's be left, this chaos in Yemen?

ALMAMARI: Very, very complicated, Becky. As you said, ISIS has no base in Yemen. ISIS has no stronghold in Yemen. Yemen is not Syria where

ISIS have a background. That is why some reports mentioned the ISIS could be behind the Yemen attack, Yemenis were shocked. Whether -- even the

intelligence in Yemen was shocked knowing that ISIS has no base in Yemen.

al Qaeda also denounced the attacks against those two mosques, which was unexpected by a terror group. And this is what's keeping everything

right now big and very mysterious that if ISIS was not behind it, then did not have a base in Yemen who could then be behind this attack in Yemen.

Could it be foreign intelligence, or could it -- the end result ISIS be behind it?

Persident Hadi right now had militant forces, or (inaudible) forces who are aiding with him and fighting with him alongside the troops. Some

of these forces are allies of al Qaeda or have links with al Qaeda, which makes it more complicating for the war on terror in Yemen.

ANDERSON: All right. Hakim, we've got to leave it there for the time being from you. Thank you.

What is the Houthi's objective, then, and how far will they, or are they willing to go?

More on this now. I'm joined by Hussein AlBukhaiti who is a Yemeni activist who supports the Houthis.

I want to set some context for this, sir, for a conflict that looks likely increasingly to draw in neighboring oil giants Saudi and its great

foe Iran, this has all hallmarks, of course, of a proxy war between the two if they haven't already got massive influence.

Just explain to me what you believe is going on in Ta'izz at present.

HUSSEIN ALBUKHAITI, PRO-HOUTHI ACTIVIST: I was one (inaudible after that terrorist attack yesterday -- on Friday that killed 147 people,

injured 381, and there was an attack as well (inaudible) that killed 25 soldiers by al Qaeda and another 12 people were killed yesterday,

slaughtered. They were guarding Ibrahim Haldoun (ph) hospital.

So after that, the revolution committee has declared a general mobilization in the army and security forces to fight al Qaeda and to fight

in the security service all around the country.

So there was some troops and security movements in Ta'izz. And then (inaudible), because you know they are linked to al Qaeda an we call them

Muslim Brotherhood, and so they wanted to stop this movement of the Yemeni security forces. And they tried to get people into protest in front of the

security forces. They were blocking the road. And this will delay the fight against al Qaeda.

And we must -- everybody have to know that the United States after the attack on September 11 has declared war on all (inaudible) like Bush haev

said either you are with us or you are against us. And they went all the way to Afghanistan, all the way to Iraq, and now when the Yemeni army tried

to attack and fight al Qaeda, everybody saying why is he doing that. And (inaudible) using protest to stop this movement of the security forces.

ANDERSON: Step back for a moment, step back for a moment. There is nobody within the Houthi infrastructure who will now suggest that President

Hadi is a legitimate president, clearly. That, I understand. I wouldn't expect you to say any different.

President Hadi, and indeed Saudi, the neighbor to the north just says that Houthi rebels are Shiite backed and that they are a terrorist group.

What's your response to that?

[11:10:04] ALBUKHAITI: No, I mean, the Saudi themselves they are one of the most dictatorship countries in the world. And they are the one who

support extremists all across the globe. So it's easy for them to call many movement as a terrorist and we actually we do care about what they

really think about Ansar al-Houthi (ph). And about Hadi, he's not a legitimate president. He resigned. And he refused to take -- to do his

duty. So after that, there was the revolution declaration.

ANDERSON: Let me ask you just one question, how deep is the influence of the Iranians with the -- with those that other people are calling Houthi

rebels, with those who are fighting in the name of the Houthis?

ALBUKHAITI: I mean, there is -- I mean, if you see the Houthi, all their support, all their funds, is from within the country. But this media

propaganda that tries to link the Houthi directly to Iran it just they want to make the same scenario that's happening in Syria and as well in Iraq,

they want to turn what's happening into Yemeni into sectarian violence. And this is all what the Saudis and I think that the United States is

involved in that, because in the United States they are backing President Hadi.

But if they know that President Hadi is in control of the south, why they have withdrawn their troops from al Anad (ph) airbase in Lach (ph),

because they know that al Qaeda is (inaudible) and al Qaeda...

ANDERSON: Clearly he isn't in control of the south.

All right, let me just put this last question to you, because we are running out of time. And I want to get your answer to this. All of this

comes hot on the heels of a defiant speech by President Hadi claiming that Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have staged the coup against him and he's

appealing for urgent UN intervention.

Given that law and order has broken down to such an extent that as you rightly point out, U.S. officials have evacuated their remaining personnel

from Yemen. It seems unlikely that the UN has much hope of providing any help. So what is the solution here?

ALBUKHAITI: If -- the solution is to go back to talks in Sanaa. These talks are like head by the United Nation and by Mr. bin Omar. So

they started in Sanaa. We have a national dialogue. We have an outcome to implement. And it start in Sanaa. It should continue and stay in Sanaa.

We're not going anywhere to Riyadh, especially if Riyadh declare us as Ansar al Houthi (ph), they declare them as terrorist organization. There

is no way to have talks in Saudi Arabia.

So what start in Sanaa, it must end in Sanaa. And fighting al Qaeda, it will continue. And if it's needed in every corner of Yemen.

ANDERSON: All right, sir. With that we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us out of Sanaa this evening.

Well, negotiators are trying to secure a deal on Iran's nuclear capacity now less than 10 days away from their agreed deadline. And one of

the key figures U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has left the latest round of talks in what appears to be at least a buoyant mood. But

divisions remain not just between Iran and the world powers engaged in the discussions, but within Iran and between those hoping to curb its nuclear



ANDERSON: New year in Iran. And new hope for agreement on the country's nuclear capacity if some prominent voices are to be believed.

The U.S. president was upbeat in a special no ruse message late on Thursday.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This year we have the best opportunity in decades to pursue a different future between our


ANDERSON: On Saturday, his Iranian counterpart joined the chorus of optimism.

HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through translator): Hopefully at the end of the talks we'll reach a deal and agreement that is in the

interest of all nations, Iran, the region and the world.

ANDERSON: But he qualified that hope, adding that hammering out agreements on certain details, quote, "will be a very tough and complicated

job," end quote.

Iran's supreme leader, not for the first time, went further in his words of warning. While Ayatollah Ali Khamenei notably omitted the word

enemy in his no ruse message while referring to Washington, he nonetheless dismissed Mr. Obama's address as, quote, "insincere." And later joined an

audience in Tehran in a call of death to America.

His conditions on a nuclear deal were clear.

AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, SUPREME LEADER OF IRAN (through translator): The lifting of the sanctions must take place immediately after an agreement

is reached. This means that the lifting of the sanctions is part of the agreement, not a consequence of it.

[11:15:01] ANDERSON: Herein might lie a problem, France's foreign minister Laurent Fabius believes sanctions should stay in place until Iran

proves its complying with the terms of the deal. He told a French radio station that France wants and agreement, but a robust one that really

guarantees that Iran can have access to civilian nuclear power, but not the atomic bomb.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had the final words of the weekend before departing from Europe to Washington.

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We have not yet reached the finish line, but make no mistake we have the opportunity to try to get this


ANDERSON: All eyes on March 31 to see if a spring thaw in U.S.- Iranian relations adds an extra dimension to these New Year celebrations.


ANDERSON: So on the face of it Iran's supreme leader at odds with its president Rouhani and France apparently at odds with the United States.

All of this on top of the basic points of disagreement on Iran's nuclear capacity. And the clock is ticking.

Let's examine this in more detail. I'm joined by Daniel Levy, a regular guest on this show from the European Council on Foreign Relations

joining me from Washington this evening.

Let's start with the rhetoric, sir. How do you explain it and what's its significance at this point?

DANIEL LEVY, EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, I think we have to understand that America and Iran are not about to drop decades of

hostility if a mutually acceptable nuclear deal is reached. America and Iran have similar interests on for instance the struggle against the

Islamic State, and they are pursuing those interests. And those interests overlap.

They may well find that they have similar interests in reaching a nuclear deal that is robust enough for the American and the international

side. And here I don't think America will go for a softer deal than France will go for. Ultimately, I think the deal with have to guarantee the kinds

of things that America has been trying to negotiate for years. And if the deal serves Iran's interests as well then Iran will also agree to that


Then, after a deal, we may slowly see a thaw. But this doesn't go from being worstest enemies to best friends forever overnight.

ANDERSON: All right, so how do you explain -- for those who don't watch the nuclear talks, nor Iranian politics on a day-to-day basis, how do

you explain the seeming disconnect between the supreme leader and the president Rouhani?

LEVY: Well, I think the important thing, Becky, is that the Supreme Leader has given President Rouhani backing in pursuing these nuclear

negotiations. There was an interim agreement reached. That interim agreement was not simple for either side, but it certainly wasn't simple

for the Iranians. It was reached. It's been implemented. The supreme leader stood behind it.

The supreme leader has stood behind the continuation of these negotiations.

What I would say is President Rouhani, Foreign Minister Zarif, they really have tied their political fate to the success of these negotiations

in many respects. The supreme leader, and I think this is understandable, is giving himself wiggle room. If there's a deal, I think he will back it.

If there's not a deal he doesn't own the failure.

ANDERSON: Daniel, like we really need to hear from Obama's arch critic Senator McCain to learn that he is fairly shocked by the U.S.

president's position, let's hear from him anyway.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: Does he believe that anyone in Iran is able to speak up? Are they able to speak up for anything that the mullahs

disagree with? They're either jailed or killed.

Again, this is a view -- a world view the president has which is totally divorced from reality.


ANDERSON: Divorced from reality.

McCain clearly no looking for a deal. Down the road, I'm sure would much rather kick that can down the road.

What does all of this mean for a deal going forward?

LEVY: Well, I think Senator McCain's point is slightly besides the point and irrelevant. America has plenty of allies where domestic politic

dissent is hardly how they run their political systems.

The question here is what is the best approach to an issue that has been addressed by the international community for so long, which is the

suspected Iranian nuclear program, the enrichment that takes place, is there a deal that can address the concerns, but could also give Iran

dignity. It seems that Iran is reachable on that. The rest of the issues with Iran will remain and will have to be addressed in different ways.

The problem with Senator McCain and for others is that they don't have a good alternative to the negotiations. The alternative, and some of them

have acknowledged it upfront, would seem to be war. And anyone who torpedoes the deal has to bear in mind that this might be the direction

they're taking things in.

[11:20:17] ANDERSON: Thank you, sir. We're going to take a very short break.

Live from Abu Dhabi this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Coming up, pushed from their homes and forced to live in an abandoned

school, Iraqi Christians struggle to get by in Baghdad after ISIS throws them out of Mosul. That coming up.

And is a united government possible in Libya four years after the revolution. As the latest round of peace talks comes to a close, we take a

look at life on the ground.


ANDERSON: This is Connect the World live from Abu Dhabi. Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson.

As the third and final day of Libyan peace talks come to a close in Morocco, recent violence in Tripoli threatens to undermine efforts to build

a unity government. And the U.S. and five European allies issued a joint statement on Sunday condemning the violence writing "those who seek to

impede the UN process and Libya's democratic transition, will not be allowed to condemn Libya to chaos and extremism. They will be held

accountable by the Libyan people and the international community."

Well, Libya's municipal representatives are meeting with the EU allies in Brussels starting tomorrow.

The chaos created by rival groups battle for control Libya has allowed another problem to grown, and that is terrorism.

ITN's Lindsey Hilsum brings us a closeup look at Libya's complicated fight against ISIS.


LINDSEY HILSUM, ITN CORRESPONDENT: Not just another militia, here in Benghazi these soldiers are welcomed as a new national army fighting the

jihadists who are proliferating in the chaos of post-revolutionary Libya.

There are no cars on the road towards the airport, because there's still fighting going on there. And as we were driving here we heard the

crack of sniper's bullets. They may have been targeting our convoy, there were no other cars on the road.

The soldiers say they're beating back the militants of the Islamic State, but the jihadists still control some neighborhoods in Benghazi and

certain buildings. It's not over.

Off to catch infiltrators, they said.

Not all their enemies are Islamic State, but the ideology is spreading.

CAPT. MOHAMMED HIJAZI, LIBYAN ARMY (through translator): There are Libyans with this extreme mentality like Ansar al Sharia. They have the

same beliefs, so we call them Islamic State. The heads, I don't want to call them commanders, are professionals. They fought in Afghanistan, Iraq

or Syria. They're well organized and are leading this war. They have many Libyan members, especially from the younger generation.

HILSUM: The army leader wants Europe and America to give him weapons. The attack by the Islamic State in Tunisia may strengthen his case.

LT. GENERAL KHALIFA HAFTAR, LIBYAN ARMYCOMMANDER (through translator): I believe that they will spread in Europe, too. If these countries don't

give real and genuine aid to the Libyan people and especially the Libyan army.

What we need, we need weapons and ammunition only. The men are available. The army is growing every day and increasing in number.

[11:25:13] HILSUM: But it's not so simple. This week, a rival Libyan army from the west of the country started to fight Islamic State in the

town of Sirte. You might have thought the two Libyan forces east and west would unite against the jihadists, but far from it. They are bitter


The attack in Tunis should give impetus to peace talks between the Libyan factions, but will it?

BERNADINO LEON, UN ENVOY TO LIBYA: we have to take very seriously these information. It might be perfectly true that this terrorists have

been trained and are coming from Libya to Tunisia. So these talks, this is another very important reason to convey a message to the participants in

these talks that Libya and the terrorism in Libya is becoming a problem for the Libyans and is becoming a problem for the region.

HILSUM: The Islamic State posted this video threatening suicide bombs in Tripoli. Anarchic Libya, with its endless supply of weapons, is the

ideal environment for them.

In Benghazi, volunteers are picking up the litter. That might not sound like a big deal, but it is. Before last October, jihadi groups held

sway here. Nearly 800 people were murdered. There was chaos.

The new eastern army and police have brought a modicum of order.

A lawyer who was in the front line of the 2011 revolution against Colonel Gadhafi is organizing the cleanup squad.

"Now I feel 1 million percent safe. I'm one of those who was on a target list, but now I'm walking around with no bodyguards or army. I'm a

free woman, thanks be to god."

"I'm a Muslim. I went to Mecca and visited the Kabbah (ph). I wear a hijab. So why shouldn't I ask for police and army? The main demand or our

revolution was the state of law. I'm a lawyer and they bombed the courthouses. Why? It means you don't want law and order. But this is

what I want."

Young Libyan men have become addicted to guns and conflict. But these days even Benghazi's revolutionary rapper wants security above all else.

ASHRAF "VOLCANO", RAPPER (through translator): This is the best way to build the army, the police and then the state. This is not just a

solution, it's the only solution.

HILSUM: Law and order may be returning to Benghazi, but today the force, which has taken control here was fighting its rivals near Tripoli.

The only winners are the Islamic State.

ANDERSON: Well, that was Lindsey Hilsum reporting.

The latest world news headlines are just ahead. Plus, this could be the end of Christians in Iraq. Christian families fleeing terrorism in

Mosul say they have no place to go. Their message for the pope in 10 minutes.


[11:31:00] ANDERSON: At just after half past 7:00 in the UAE, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. The top stories for you this


Houthi rebels are now in full control of the airport in what is Yemen's third city Ta'izz. That's the word from two officials from the

provincial governor's office. They say the Shiite militia also sees security and intelligence buildings and set up checkpoints. The Houthi

takeover has been met with an angry reaction from locals. These are the very latest pictures from the city. As you can see, residents out on the

streets protesting the Houthi presence.

Tunisia's president announced over Twitter that the Bardo museum will reopen this Tuesday nearly a week after what was a terror attack. 23

people were killed when gunmen opened fire inside the museum on Wednesday. Two gunmen were killed at the scene. The president says the third attacker

is still on the run.

The president of Sierra Leone is launching a lockdown campaign to curtail the spread of the deadly virus Eola. All residents are to remain

in doors next weekend from Friday through Sunday. Sierra Leone has the largest number of Ebola cases, nearly 12,000 people have had the virus.

U.S. President Barack Obama is speaking his mind publicly for the first time about Israel's newly reelected Prime Minister Benjamin

Netanyahu. Obama told the Huffington Post he doesn't buy Mr. Netanyahu's recent about face on the Palestinian statehood.


OBAMA: I did indicate to him that we continue to believe that a two- state solution is the only way for a long-term security of Israel if it wants to stay both a Jewish state and democratic. And I indicated to him

that given his statements prior to the election, it is going to be hard to find a path where people are seriously believing that negotiations are



ANDERSON: Well, a group known as the Islamic State Hacking Organization is calling for beheadings and attacks on about 100 U.S.

troops on American soil. They posted the purported names, pictures and home addresses of servicemen and women from the U.S. military, some of which

were publicly available.

Well, a Defense Department official says the validity of this information cannot be confirmed, similar threats, though, have been made


In Afghanistan the president is warning of a growing ISIS threat within his country. Ashraf Ghani says the militant group has man-eating

characteristics capable of swallowing its competitors. A growing number of reports say some Taliban commanders have been pledging allegiance to the

militant group.

Well, ISIS may be spreading its tentacles in new places, it's the people in Iraq and Syria who have faced the worst atrocities, of course.

Iraqi, Christians are among those who have been forced out of their homes. And as CNN's Jomana Karadsheh now reports, many feel they have no place

left to go.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: 27-year-old Saba Habid (ph) says she's surviving, but she can hardly call this a life.

Remembering the life she once had, Saba (ph) breaks down.

"It was beautiful," she says.

But for now, this is home for her and more than 50 other Christian families driven out of their northern city of Mosul by ISIS last year.

They found sanctuary here in this abandoned school in Baghad. With support from the church and aid groups, they're getting by. Everyone in the small

community has a story of loss and suffering, but most are too scared to speak.

Iraq's Christian community, once estimated at more than a million, has dwindled to a third of that since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 promting

many to flee.

For years they've been the target of extremist groups. Many of those who defied the threats and stayed say they no longer can.

"My message to the pope is we are worthless in this country. Get us out of here. Save us from this country. We don't belong here any more,"

Saba (Ph) says.

The latest news from home came from ISIS, releasing these photos on Monday vandalizing a church, taking down a cross and replacing it with the

group's black flag of terror.

Saba (ph) is emotional and angry looking at the pictures.

"This is the monastery we liked and visited," she says. "Why are they doing this to the churches? May god punish the evil monsters," she says.

Others like Father Martin Dewood says ISIS has done worse.

[11:35:41] REV. MARTIN DAWOOD, ASSYRIAN CHRISTIAN PRIEST: I felt very bad, it's not like when I saw our families leaving their houses and leaving

their properties and given (inaudible) ISIS. It hurt me more than seeing these crosses being fallen from the churches and destroying our culture and

our history in Mosul.

We can rebuild history, bit it's very difficult to rebuild the human.

KARADSHEH: Forcing Christians out of their homes was not enough. ISIS seems determined to wipe every trace of Christianity in the land it

now rules.

DAWOOD: If ISIS continues I think this is the last chapter of the book of Christianity or minorities living in Iraq or the Middle East.

KARADSHEH: The Christian identity under threat in the Middle East, the land where it was born more than 2,000 years ago.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Baghdad.


ANDERSON: As you saw in that report, Christians have been targeted by ISIS in Syria and Iraq for the past couple of months. The situation has

gotten so bad that the Vatican's top diplomat at the United Nations in Geneva is now calling for military force to stop what he calls genocide.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi recently told the Catholic magazine Crux "what is needed is more coordinated protection, including the use of force

to stop the hands of an aggressor." He went on to say "we have to stop this kind of genocide, otherwise we'll be crying out in the future about

why we didn't do something?

And the archbishop joins me now live from Geneva.

Sir, thank you for your time.

What do you mean by the use of force? Are you talking Christian militia here?

ARCHBISHOP SILVANO TOMASI, VATICAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: Use of force means that there has been too much suffering in the Middle East, especially

in northern Iraq and eastern Syria. And we need to cooperate and stop this violence that continues for too long.

So the use of force means that when every other means have been exhausted, negotiation, stopping the flow of arms, trying to have the big

powers that have an interest in the region to come together and find a way out. Then if there is no other alternative, self-defense implies also that

some force can be used to stop the unjust aggressor.

ANDERSON: So, let me put this to you again, because here clearly is the use of force with Sunni and Shia militia on the ground certainly in

Iraq. What do you mean? Who are you talking about? Is this Christian militia?

TOMASI: I think that first responsibility is the responsibility of the state. It should be the state who protects its own citizens from

having their human rights violated.

Then, there are groups that are becoming independently active in self- defense. But I think the road that is more effective is that of having the state to take the direction of the protection of its own citizens.

ANDERSON: The problem is that the Iraqi military doesn't function as an organization that is strong enough without help, it seems, to combat

ISIS on the ground, and hence the involvement of Sunni and Shia militia.

I put it to you again is there another group when you talk about those in self-defense, are you talking about groups of Christians in Iraq

fighting ISIS on the ground as a militia?

TOMASI: The international community can help the Iraqi government and the Iraqi army to become stronger enough to take care of the problem


But I don't think that it is a good idea to have groups organizing by religious identification because the consequences for the future will be

still open to eventual violence and revenge.

[11:40:05] ANDERSON: Sir, there have been reports of recent threats to the pope from ISIS. How serious do you think these threats are. And

what do you think ISIS hope to achieve by targeting the pope?

TOMASI: ISIS is like a bad source of negative influence. We have seen the consequences in Yemen, in Nigeria with Boko Haram, in Libya. They

threaten other people or other personalities it will not be a surprise, but I don't think there are immediate dangers as far as I know of attacks

against the person of the pope.

ANDERSON: Archbishop, it's a pleasure having you on. Thank you very much indeed for joining us.

Do you think the Vatican can work with governments, should work with governments across the Middle East to fight ISIS? Do tweet me @BeckyCNN

with what you think and let's get a conversation going.

You can head over to the show's new webpage for clips from the show and what we're working on throughout the day. Do use that as


Now a French court is ordering nearly 300 pieces of art work from the famed painter Pablo Picasso be returned to the late artist's family. A

former electrician claimed Picasso gave him the pieces as a gift, which sat in a box in his garage for over 30 years.

Well, a court disagreed and the electrician and his wife were given a suspended sentence of two years in prison for possession of stolen goods.

The pieces valued, get this, at between $64 million and $128 million.

Well, your parting shots tonight. And Pope Francis in a recent interview said he missed being able to get pizza without attracting a

crowd. Well, in tonight's parting shots, we show you how a pizzeria in Naples are granted part of his wish.

Here you see the owner Enzo Cacialli hand deliver a pie to the pope as he drives by. He told an Italian newspaper the pizza was made with fiber

rich flour, Buffalo mozzarella and yellow cherry tomatoes, the colors white and yellow are a nod to the Vatican flag.

We caught up with Mr. Cacialli and here is what he said about his special delivery.


ENZO CACIALLI, OWNER, PIZZERIA DON ERNESTO (through translator): In 1994 my dad did a little pizza for American President Bill Clinton. And

yesterday when I got to know the pope was in town I decided to make a pizza and give it to him as a gift.

While I was making the pizzas for my clients, I heard the pope's car coming and I got ready. While his car was approaching, I jumped over the

fence and I gave him the pizza. And with a smile he said, thank you.

It's really hard for me to understand what I managed to do. Giving a pizza you made with your own hands to the pope is very emotional. It's

really hard for me to express the value of this gesture for a man we really love and value, for a beautiful person full of humanity.

I'm proud that even me, a simple pizzaolo (ph), I managed to meet the pope.


ANDERSON: Your parting shots out of Naples this evening.

I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World with me out of the UAE at just before a quarter to 8:00 here. From the team, it's a very good

evening. Stay with CNN.