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CONNECT THE WORLD
Death in Afghanistan Mourning Loss Of Singapore's Founding Father; Woman's Sparks Calls For Justice; 11 Medical Students Reportedly Working In ISIS-controlled Hospital In Syria; Chaos in Yemen. Aired 11-12p ET
Aired March 23, 2015 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:31] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Yemen struggles to contain unrest as a peace deal looks further away then ever. In the last couple of hours, the
foreign minister has called for military help from Arab states.
We're going to speak to the minister for youth this hour.
Also ahead, demanding justice in Afghanistan: the case of one woman becomes the cause of many. We ask an Afghan MP how far the country has come nearly
a decade-and-a-half after the latest war there began.
And Bibi's backtrack: Israel's Netanyahu fudges campaign pledge on preventing a Palestinian State. We're live in Jerusalem for you to look
where stalled peace talks go next.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: A very good evening to you. 7:00 in the UAE. We're going to get to those stories for you momentarily.
First, though, we start with a developing story: the effort to bring -- find and bring home 11 medical students feared to be working in Syria for
Now, a Turkish lawmaker told the British newspaper The Observer that the students were, quote, brainwashed into helping ISIS. The group is said to
include seven Britains, an American, a Canadian and two Sudanese.
Now their families are calling on authorities to help track them down and return them safely home.
All of the students are believed to be from the same university in Khartoum in Sudan.
Well, our senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir knows one of those students who joins me here in Abu Dhabi. What have you learned?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, speaking to the families, they have now reached out to their families asking them for
forgiveness, confirming that they are inside Syria. This was such a quick turnaround, Becky.
The students went missing on Wednesday. Friday, their families received that text message.
And it really gives you a sense of the support they must have gotten to be able to move that quickly, to be inside Syria, but also to the two Sudanese
students, to be able to apply for visas, because both Turkey and Sudan have been working very closely, because there has been a big trend of Sudanese
students and students across North Africa, young people across North Africa moving into Syria.
ANDERSON: What do we know about this one particular student?
ELBAGIR: From a very affluent family, a very well known -- doctors, both of her parents. And that's what all of the students have in common.
They're either pharmacists or doctors. It's a huge shock to the community. It's a huge shock for the country, because this was -- these aren't what we
would typically expect in terms of the kind of kids that we've seen going previously. These are kids that have extraordinary future ahead of them.
One of them graduated top of his year in medical school and was in the UK as recently as December to take the medical board licensing exam.
And of course for western intelligence agencies, that's what they're going to start zeroing in on, that these are students that had access both to
North Africa, to the Middle East with their Arabic skills, but also crucially to Europe.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. You're on the story. And as you get more, we'll get it from you.
Nima, thank you.
We're going to examine the growing reach of ISIS throughout this hour on Connect the World. Just ahead, we're going to learn how the militants are
taking their recruitment machine to Afghanistan hoping to attract disillusioned youth there in what is this long troubled country.
And for a group that thrives on power vacuums, there is another nation that's very much on its radar right now. We're going to investigate the
crisis in Yemen.
Well, in Afghanistan, hundreds of protesters gathered outside a mosque in Kabul earlier expressing their anger over the brutal killing of a young
woman. 27-year-old Facunda (ph) was attacked by a male mob after she was accused of burning the Quran.
Now officials say there was no evidence of that. The men beat Facunda (ph) before tossing her off a bridge, setting her body on fire and throwing her
into a river.
Well, the Afghan president Ashraf Ghani has condemned the killing. And he has ordered a full investigation.
He is in Washington for his first official visit since his election in 2014 meeting today with U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and the U.S.
Secretary of State John Kerry.
President Ghani expected to press the U.S. to reconsider the pace of its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ghani's visit comes as concern over ISIS grows in Afghanistan. A CNN team captured new evidence showing just how much the
terror group is trying to expand there.
Nick Paton Walsh has more on that from Kabul and joins me now live -- Nick.
[11:05:09] NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, troubling signs of -- a moment here in Afghanistan where the Taliban face a
choice, some say, between potentially peace talks in the months ahead and the effect that will have on younger radicals in their ranks, perhaps
Well, in that volatile mixture, it seems, ISIS is trying to reach out its tentacles. And in a scene that one of our cameramen films, a troubling
sense that they are here to recruit disillusioned Afghans, or members of the Taliban towards their much more radical ideology.
WALSH (voice-over): Where there has long been faith and war in Afghanistan serene hills, a new and modern plague has now come. You're seeing rare
picture filmed by our cameraman of what we are told is an ISIS recruitment session in Afghanistan.
Brothers, I'm here to tell you, the recruiter says, about the mujahideen in Syria.
After a decade of war, the Taliban is strong but fractured and the U.S. is leaving. The U.N. warns ISIS is getting a foothold in Afghanistan and this
may be how. This Afghan says he's come back from fighting in northern Syria and is one of five recruiters. His pitch is simple. Come fight true jihad
for ISIS says Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi for a $500 wage. Some listeneres are driven.
"My aim is to fight infidels," one says, "in Syria or if they ask me to in Afghanistan, I will."
Others aren't sure and just poor.
"I definitely need the money but will stay here and hope peace come," one acts.
There is a bit of theater here. ISIS application forms for them to complete on camera. But also a clear message to angry young afghan s disillusioned
with Taliban wars. There is now an even now a more ruthless choice you can make ISIS.
WALSH: Now Becky few I think here think ISIS necessarily have a strong military capability or much territory, it's the greater fear really that
potentially those disgruntled with the Taliban -- in the words of the UN chief envoy here -- might consider ISIS's ideology as, quote, a flagpole
which they could adhere themselves to. That's the concern.
The economy is plummeting -- frankly always has been to some degree -- many disgruntled youths here. Always Afghanistan fertile terrain for extremism.
You can hear above me helicopter traffic that frankly has been quite high this evening. Rare, many say, for the capital here, a sense of volatility.
NATO pulling out, maybe perhaps announcing a slowing of that departure at the White House in the days ahead, some sources suggest, but still that
notion of ISIS trying to extend their branding, at least here, perhaps their recruitment to leaving many deeply concerned, Becky,.
ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh is in Kabul for you this evening. Thank you, Nick.
And an ISIS link in Yemen as the militant group announced their existence in deadly fashion on Friday claiming responsibility for attacks in the
Now the Yemeni foreign minister is asking his Gulf Arab neighbors for help with what is this nation's growing crisis. The call comes after a UN
warning that attempts by rival Sunni and Shia factions to wrest control of the country could end in catastrophe.
Well, after laying siege to the nation's third biggest city Ta'izz, the leader of the Houthi movement, Abdel Malek al-Houthi (ph) vowed to pursue
Islamist militants wherever they are active.
Now Houthi's Shia rebels have already taken control of the capital Sanaa forcing U.S. ally President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi into effective exile in
the port city of Aden.
Well, more on this. While the UN security council voiced unanimous support for Mr. Hadi at a meeting on Sunday, the UN's mediator on Yemen warned the
country stands at the brink of all out civil war. The UK now following the U.S. by withdrawing its special forces there.
Well, our senior international correspondent Nic Robertson is monitoring the situation from London for you. At the UN, Nic, in New York predictable
warnings against any party impeding the road to peace in Yemen. Thousands of miles away on the ground there is no sign of peace, just a rapid
downward spiral into chaos.
Nic, how significant is the latest from the Saudis on potential Gulf intervention at this point?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very signficant. And it's ominous as well. Not only ominous in what it may
mean that may happen, but really as a statement of where things are today.
I mean, you have President Hadi internationally recognized, elected across the country less than a 100 miles now for those Houthi forces who have
taken the city of Ta'izz.
The concern, you know, what we have the Saudi foreign minister saying, according to Reuters news agency is that he would rather that there's a
peaceful solution, but if there isn't then the Gulf states will take the necessary steps.
Now it's been clear for some time that the GCC has been intent on backing President Hadi doing what it takes to support him, but his foreign minister
has called for this outside military intervention. The Saudis seem to be responding positively to that at the moment. And when we discuss, you
know, the steps that the UN is taking to try to build consensus and deescalate the situation, you have the Houthi military commander saying in
the past 48 hours or so that the UN is really an international tool that's aligned with the Houthi's enemies and really not -- you know, not an
independent arbiter in this.
So, the notion that there can be talks in a short -- in the short-term seems to be very, very unlikely and that means we're on a path at the
moment to military escalation, Becky.
[11:11:16] ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is in London for you.
More on Yemen, the context and why this is such an important story to all of us whereever you are watching tonight.
After this short break, still to come as well this hour, an unusual sight in Afghanistan, protesters demand justice after the killing of a young
woman. We're going to explain why these images are so extraordinary.
ANDERSON: Well, a city in the throes of chaos, a country on the brink of catastrophe, these were the scenes in Yemen's third city Ta'izz on Sunday
after Shia rebels known as Houthis lay siege to it taking control of the airport and setting up military checkpoints throughout the area.
The move comes six months after Houthis captured the capital city of Sanaa.
You're watching CNN, the is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson out of the UAE. Welcome back.
The Houthi's leader justifies the group's actions, latest actions by highlighting a growing threat from al Qaeda and increasingly ISIS in Yemen,
both ideologically aligned with Sunni Islam.
But the United Nations security council continues to back ousted president and moderate Sunni figurehead President Hadi. That is despite a warning
from the United Nations envoy to Yemen. Mr. Hadi doesn't have the manpower to liberate his country.
Well, on Sunday, the UN security council heard dire warnings at the country teetering on the brink of civil war. The envoy to Yemen liking it to
Syria, Iraq and Libya combined.
Richard Roth was at the UN for that meeting. And he joins us now from the organization's headquarters in New York.
Richard, how does the envoy qualify that comparison?
[08:15:17] RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think he forecasted incredibly gloomy, dire situation with what you've already described as
virtually a hornet's nest of various extremist elements backed by powerful countries with former presidents trying to topple successors while hundreds
of thousands face a humanitarian crisis there.
A very gloomy Sunday in the security council, didn't have much to say after their unified statement. No ambassador came to the public area to talk to
journalists, that's how probably pretty bad this situation is.
I talked to one UN official today who said it's pretty hard to keep some semblance of the UN broker peace process going. The UN would like to have
a bigger conference, bring everyone to the table, that's what the security council wanted. But there's too much fighting and too much belief each
side thinks they could win, which the UN adviser told the security council is an illusion if the president or the Houthis think they can regain
control of the entire country -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Rich, as we mentioned a little earlier, the Houthi leadership is justifying its actions by casting itself as a protector against Islamic
extremism. Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDEL MALEK AL-HOUTHI, HOUTHI LEADER (through translator): Any political powers that want to ally with al Qaeda or are working to support al Qaeda
politically through the media or by any other form will be pursued, too.
And people have the right to oppose and encounter them. We will never allow al Qaeda or ISIS to protect themselves with any political or regional
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, if you look at this map of Yemen showing an orange where al Qaeda has a presence, you might think that he has a valid fear.
Certainly Gulf countries appear to be very, very concerned.
Just into CNN, Gulf Arab countries will now take necessary measures to protect the region against -- and I quote -- aggression by Yemen's Iran
allied Houthi group, a peaceful solution cannot be found to that country's turmoil. That according to the foreign minister Saud al Faisal on Monday.
It's clear, and certainly has been for some time, there is Iranian and there has been if not at the moment Saudi influence in this country. A
proxy war playing out, Richard, right down at the tip of the continent here. And Saudi, the oil rich neighbor to the north extremely concerned.
I guess what the world will be asking is, it's extraordinary to hear the UN saying this is a country on the brink of civil war. If you've been
watching CNN for the past few months you would probably suggest that this is a country completely in the middle of a civil war, on the brink of
catastrophe. Do you think the international community has just missed the boat on this one?
ROTH: Well, I think there are similar cases, as the special adviser mentioned, and the UN was not set up to deal with these imploding states.
Miss the boat, I think the -- the world already should recognize and know that Yemen, the al Qaeda elements, the Arabian Peninsula pose a grave
threat to any other part of the world. That's been the hotbed of where a lot of terrorist attacks have occurred, yet President Obama I believe last
year said Yemen represents a counterterrorism success.
That's before the Houthis, backed by Iran in part, staged a major move and forced the president to flee.
So I don't know if the world has missed anything. I think they want to turn their heads and duck under the covers because it's just a repetition
of what we're seeing even in Libya where the UN is also trying to broker talks to bring the two parties fighting and that's also proven unwieldy.
Back to you, Becky.
ANDERSON: Richard Roth is in New York.
Well, over the weekend -- thank you, Richard -- the U.S. removed its remaining military and diplomatic staff from the country. The UK is also
withdrawing its special forces.
I'm joined now by the Yemeni minister for youth Rafat Akhali. He's live in Sanaa for you this hour. And for transparency's sake, I know, sir, that
you're in support of President Hadi as part of a solution, but you say what is needed is consensus amongst all parties.
Quite frankly at this point that looks impossible, doesn't it?
[11:20:06] RAFAT AL AKHALI, YEMENI MINISTER OF YOUTH: Thanks, Becky.
Well, I wouldn't say impossible, because the dialogue is still ongoing under the auspices of the UN. As a matter of fact, the political parties
are going now as we speak to meet on their dialogue table.
So I don't think we've passed the point of no return yet. I think we need a lot of effort and a lot of support to make sure that the political
process is the dominant one as opposed to the military process.
ANDERSON: All right.
How significant are -- is this line out of Saudi today that Gulf Arab countries will take -- and I'm quoting here -- necessary measures to
protect the region against aggression by Yemen's Iran allied Houthis if a peaceful solution cannot be found.
A positive move at this point to hear that sort of rhetoric?
AKHALI: I mean, I wouldn't name this as a positive move, because any move away from dialogue, I would say, is not a constructive one. And what we
are really looking for in terms of international support is to play a constructive role, a mediator role, to try and convince all the different
political sides in Yemen that the only way forward is a political agreement, a political settlement to finalize a transitional period.
Because right now there is absolutely no one with a monopoly of power that is capable of controlling the whole of Yemen or enforcing their view on the
rest. So we are dispersed power across different political parties and movements. And to avoid a scenario of a prolonged...
ANDERSON: I'm sorry, sir, wading into this...
ANDERSON: Yeah, wading in -- sorry -- I'm sorry to interrupt you -- wading into this political vacuum, of course, al Qaeda and now ISIS claiming
responsibility for attacks. Seemingly capitalizing on this -- how significant do you think this militant presence is at this point?
AKHALI: I think the bombings of the mosques on Friday was a shock, basically, to all the citizens of Yemen. It's an alien act that we have
not seen before in Yemen attacking people praying in the mosques. And so at least all political parties agreed and got together very quickly to
condemn this attack.
But it also shows what we would be facing if we do not reach a political agreement very quickly, because this political vacuum not only on the
security front, but also on the economic front, which is what the people of Yemen worry most about. And have the most of their day thinking about what
would happen next, because people are already losing their jobs. Businesses are closing down. We have seen so far a huge hit on the
humanitarian front and on the economy as a whole.
And so that is where the politicians should be looking at. They should be worrying more about reaching a solution fast, not going into a military
conflict, which we know for sure would not be finalized any time soon.
ANDERSON: Because I guess the big question is how do you fix this chronic economy, disillusioned and disenfranchised youngsters. 53 percent of the
youth population, I believe, statistics from last April, either unemployed or underemployed. Just how significant is that?
AKHALI: That is basically Yemen's real problem, not all this political issues that people talk about all the time, it's really the issue of
unemployment, of dysfunctional economy not able to create enough jobs, especially for the youth, which make the majority of the Yemeni population.
And so there is no wonder that these youth are attracted to militant groups of all types that they don't have an alternative other than to go fight for
some group and get a salary that they can live by.
But the focus have never been really on the economy. We have taken our attention away from the economy, from development, into politics most of
the time. The hope was with the last government that it would focus more on development and on the economy, but there wasn't enough time or space
given to that government by the political parties to perform what it was supposed to do.
[11:25:14] ANDERSON: And you and I have spoken about that before.
Sir, we thank you very much indeed for joining us out of Sanaa this evening.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Coming up now that Benjamin Netanyahu is on his way to securing another
term as the Israeli prime minister, Palestinians are wondering what it means for their future. How he is dialing back from one of his campaign
First up, though, we look at a piece of Switzerland's history that's been transformed for a good cause.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Switzerland, a country famed for its neutrality. For 200 years, the Swiss have avoided a foreign
war, but that hasn't stopped them preparing for one.
Military bunkers dot the country. Built to defend against the Nazis and later to withstand a nuclear strike, they were enough to house
Switzerland's entire population. While many now lie empty, others have found a new calling as data storage banks, cultural centers, hotels, and
now a home for the homeless.
ESTHER ALDER, GENEVA CITY COUNCIL: It's not four star hotel, but we try to find the solution.
LU STOUT: Here, the reinforced the steel doors and thick concrete walls provide shelter from a different type of cold war.
ALDER: This bunker helps homeless people during the wintertime. We have many, many homeless people in Geneva. So the city takes care about those
LU STOUT: The 800 people are thought to be homeless in Geneva, but with the introduction of bunk beds and blankets, many now have a safe place to
ALDER: 200 people can use this bunker. And every night we have social worker who goes on the street and he asks them if they want to come here,
and we take here of those people.
LU STOUT: Captain Agnes Wahu from the Salvation Army ensures their stay is as comfortable as possible.
CAPTAIN AGNES WAHU, SALVATION ARMY: When it was build for the first purpose, it was to protect the people against the bomb or whatever and is
very quite secure. When you are here, you are really protected. And you have the sanitary, you have the kitchen, you have the air conditioner, you
have everything and you can feel comfortable.
WAHU: From the beginning of November til the beginning of March, there were about 1,000 people coming here to (inaudible). They have about 20,000
bed nights with an average of 20 nights per person.
[11:30:00] LU STOUT: During the winter months, occupants can stay here for 30 days. Yet its Cold War past remains unknown to some.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nuclear bombs? I never knew. I never thought this (inaudible). But the first day it was like strange to me, but after 24
hours I became used to it.
I'd have been in the streets, so that's why I say I'm 100 percent OK living in a bunker.
ANDERSON: At just after half past 7:00 in the UAE, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. The top stories here on CNN.
More than two dozen people have been arrested in connection with the brutal killing of a 27-year-old Afghan woman. She was beaten, thrown off a bridge
and set on fire before her body was tossed into a river. She was accused of burning a Quran, but officials say no evidence has been found for that.
In Tunisia, 15 people have been arrested following last week's deadly attack at the national museum. One person is still being sought. The
country's president tells CNN's Christiane Amanpour that the attackers were wearing suicide vests, but were stopped from detonating them by police.
11 medical students are feared to be working in Syria for ISIS controlled hospitals. A Turkish lawmaker tells the British newspaper The Observer
that the students were, quote, brainwashed into helping ISIS. The group is said to include seven Britains, an American, a Canadian and two Sudanese
And Yemen's foreign minister is calling for the country's Arab Gulf neighbors to intervene in the battle against Shia Houthi rebels. Within
the past few hours, its Saudi Arabian counterpart said countries in the region will take necessary measures against aggression if the situation
cannot be resolved peacefully.
The UN envoy to Yemen has warned that the country is on the edge of civil war after Houthi fighters took control of the cultural capital of Ta'izz.
For the latest on the ground, journalist Hakim Almasmari joins us now from the Yemeni capital Sanaa via Skype.
And, sir, if a peaceful solution isn't found, Riyadh threatening that Gulf countries will wade in without specifying how. How would taht change the
equation on the ground and the prospect of further violence, sir?
HAKIM ALMASMARI, JOURNALIST: Violence will escalate in Yemen, but not only in Yemen. If Yemen turns into a civil war nation like Syria, the entire
region will fall into chaos. The Houthis are very insistent and they have the manpower now to not only resist, but the ensure that this is a long-
term war. So that is why dialogue must be the only solution not only for Yemen, but for the entire region, especially Saudi Arabia, because this war
will not end on the Yemeni border are in doubt the Saudi Arabia, or suspect the Saudi Arabia is supporting or funding one way or the other chaos in the
country. So if war happens in Yemen, Saudi will not be set aside...
[11:35:47] ANDERSON: While we're speaking, Hakim, I just our viewers to see some pictures that have just been released reportedly by ISIS, photos
of five suicide bombers in the attacks on Friday at two separate mosques, Shia mosques, in Sanaa.
There is much discussion and speculation about the significance of the -- well, I believe that we may have lost Hakim. Is that correct? Yeah, it
sounds as if we've lost them -- just calling through here on these pictures just released of ISIS fighters apparently involved in the attacks on the
Shia mosques in Yemen.
I do believe that we got Hakim back.
And Hakim, I was just asking you about how significant you believe the ISIS presence is on the ground in Yemen today? Clearly this is informing the
debate worldwide about just how important it is to get peace talks going and a solution to Yemen.
Do we have Hakim? All right, it looks as if his Skype has fallen out again. Obviously not easy to get connections there. We're doing our best
And as we get connection on the ground, of course, we will bring that to you.
You've heard tonight from one of the former ministers of the government there, now dysfunctional of course, the youth minister talking about just
how important it is as we look to what is going on on the ground, the political mess, the vacuum that it appears militants are wading in to just
how important it is to remember how chronic the economy is and how a 53 percent youth unemployment rate disillusioned and disenfranchised
youngsters not helping of course in what is a really messy situation in Yemen potentially inflicting its pain on other parts of this region and
around the world. A very important story.
I'm going to move on. And a senior Israeli official says it is, and I quote, quite probably that the U.S. and five other world powers will sign
on to a, quote, bad nuclear deal with Iran.
Talks over that potential deal are set to restart this weekend -- or at least this week at least in Switzerland. They were suspended over the
weekend after a deadlock. Israel has been trying to influence those negotiations, you'll be well aware of, sending a delegation to Paris to
speak with French officials involved on Monday.
And that is not the only issue dividing Israel and the United States, for example, at the moment.
In the final hours of his reelection bid, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out against a two-state solution with the Palestinians.
Well, now he is starting to backtrack on those comments. CNN's global affairs correspondent Elise Labott reports now from Jerusalem for you.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For Palestinians, Benjamin Netanyahu's campaign pledge not to allow a Palestinian state was evidence of what they
have felt all along.
MAEN AREIKAT, PALESTINIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: This is someone who never believed in the Palestinian right to establish their own independent
sovereign state, nor he ever believed in ending the Israeli military occupation.
LABOTT: Even before the election, a two state solution could not have seemed more distant. The breakdown of U.S.-led peace talks last April led
the Palestinians to take unilateral moves at the United Nations and joined the International Criminal Court.
The Israelis responded by withholding tax revenues they collect on behalf of the Palestinians.
With the Palestinian Authority already in the midst of a financial crisis, they're not threatening to end security cooperation with the Israelis and
say now Israel will have no choice but to assume full responsibility for the occupied territories.
SAEB EREKAT, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRESIDENT: We're not bluffing, we're not threatening, I'm saying it in very, very clear language we are not
sustainable. Status Quo cannot be maintained.
LABOTT: Netanyahu tried to dial back his hardline stance, saying in TV interviews that the conditions in the region were too dangerous to cede
territories to the Palestinians for now.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PALESTINIAN PRIME MINISTER: I want a sustainable, peaceful two state solution, but for that circumstances have to change.
LABOTT: President Obama is unimpressed. In a post-election phone call to Netanyahu, he warned the prime minister those comments may force the U.S.
to reassess its relationship with Israel.
[11:40:06] BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We take him at his word when he said that it wouldn't happen during his prime
ministership. And so that's why we've got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don't see a chaotic situation in the
LABOTT: But the Palestinians predict Netanyahu will come back to the peace table to avoid action at the International Criminal Court where they become
members on April 1 and plan to submit cases of war crimes against Israel in the coming days.
BASSEM KHOURY, FORMER PALESTINIAN MINISTER: Netanyahu will surprise us. Again, when the first indictments start coming in, and I hope they start
coming in fast, you will see a different Netanyahu.
I think he will be begging for negotiations as a way out.
LABOTT: The Palestinians say there is one way Netanyahu can gain the credibility and trust of them and the international community: by telling
the Israeli people that the only way to live in peace is to recognize a Palestinian State. The alternative, they say, is a dangerous escalation in
which neither side will win.
Elise Labott, CNN, Jerusalem.
ANDERSON: Well, for more on Netanyahu's evolving position, Elise joins me now from the Jerusalem bureau.
I wonder what the reaction to Obama's comments over the weekend on Netanyahu have been?
LABOTT: Well, Becky, a few things. I mean, they know that there's a lot of back and forth, that the White House is concerned, and they're kind of
reiterating that their position on a two state solution has not change. They're trying to clarify, Israeli officials saying, listen, in the
abstract we do want a two-state solution, but if you look at what's going on now in the region, here in Israel the Palestinian pact with Hamas, the
fact that the Palestinians still won't recognize a Jewish state, the fact that they won't engage in Israel's security concerns, and then the larger
regional issues of the Islamic extremists engulfing the region, now is not the time to cede territory to the Palestinians, but they're saying that
they would like to work with the White House on making that vision a reality.
Now they're also saying, Becky, that they think a lot of this from the White House is to deflect from the Iran talks that are going on. You know,
a lot of the spat between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu really stems from Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech earlier this month
about President Obama's policy towards Iran. And so they think that the White House is trying to deflect from what they say shaping up as we
discussed before the piece to be a bad deal, Becky.
ANDERSON: Elise is in Jerusalem for you. Elise, thank you.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. After the break for you a country in mourning after the death of Lee Kuan
Yew we look at the legacy of transformation that he left behind.
First up, though, sights never before seen by many in Afghanistan. A young woman's death sparks demands for change with women at the forefront. We'll
explain what they want up next.
[11:46:23] ANDERSON: Showing you the latest pictures that we have from Singapore this hour as it begins a week of mourning for the city-state's
founding father who has died at the age of 91. You can see people leaving flowers and paying respects under a picture of their long serving prime
You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson out of the UAE at 46 minutes past 7:00.
Lee Kuan Yew is credited with transforming Singapore into a global economic powerhouse during his three decades in power. John Mann now looks back at
the life and legacy of one of Asia's most influential leaders.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A gleaming modern city-state of 5 million people, a financial center, with a reputation for clean government
and a clean environment, a high standard of living, and an educated and wealthy population: this is the legacy of Lee Kuan Yew, prime minister for
more than 30 years, towering influence on the skyscaper city-state for half a century. It is his son Lee Hsien Loong who rules Singapore today.
LEE KUAN YEW, SINGAPORE FOUNDING FATHER: What is it I'm trying to do? I'm trying to create in a third-world situation a first world oasis.
MANN: Born in Singapore in 1923, Lee was a fourth generation ethnic Chinese. After studying law at Cambridge University in England, he
returned home and entered politics.
In the early 1960s, he led the small island from British colony, to brief union in Malaysia, to full independence. Overcoming racial tensions at
home, and pressures from Communist insurgency and instability in its much larger neighbors, the city-state underwent a remarkable transformation from
an economic backwater to one of the most developed cities in Asia.
Some praised Lee as a visionary, but others called him authoritarian. He tolerated little dissent and was criticized for his government's tight
control over the press and political activity. Human rights activists attacked the city-state's use of caning as a criminal punishment and the
use of the death penalty. Lee was unapologetic about his approach.
LEE: I'm not following any prescription given me by any theoritician on democracy or whatever. I work from first principles what will get me
there? Social peace and stability within the country. No fight between the races, between religions or whatever. Fair shares for all.
MANN: In 1990, Lee stepped down as prime minister, but didn't bow out of politics completely. He took the post of senior minister in the cabinet of
his immediate successor Goh Chok Tong, and was given the specially created title of minister mentor in the administration of the current prime
minister, his son Lee Hsien Loong.
He will be remembered as the father of modern Singapore, a titan of modern Asia, a man who made his island a thriving modern state.
Jonathan Mann, CNN.
ANDERSON: A young woman's death sparks demands for change with women at the forefront. We're going to explain what they want in Afghanistan up
[11:51:25] ANDERSON: Well it was a very unusual sight in Afghanistan on Sunday. Grieving women carrying a coffin through Kabul. Inside, the body
of a 27-year-old Afghan woman who was killed by a male mob.
They'd beaten a woman known as Facunda (ph) before tossing her off a bridge setting her body on fire and throwing it in the river. She had allegedly
burned pages of a Quran, but officials say no evidence has been found of that.
Well, the killing of that young woman. It sparked anger across the country. Thousands of people attended the funeral and a large rally is
planned for Tuesday outside Afghanistan's supreme court.
I'm joined now by Fawzia Koofi in Kabul. She is a woman's rights activist, a member of parliament and the head of the Afghanistan women's parliament.
Women's affairs commission. We do thank you for joining us.
The Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Washington today condemning the killing and ordering a full investigation. What do you know about it?
FAWZIA KOOFI, AFGHAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER: Well, unfortunately what happened last Thursday is a sign of how a woman in Afghanistan don't have the
required protection and how Afghanistan is still a dangerous place in the world to be a woman.
We have been witnessing over the past 30, 35 years during conflicts different crime against humanity, but unfortunately what happened last
Thursday I think in our history was not repeated, because an innocent woman was killed just a few meters away from the checkpoints of police. And
there was no protection for her.
This actually has mobilized the whole nation.
And I guess the government of Afghanistan, we know that their intention is to protect women and to promote Afghan women's rights, but that intention
has to come into practice. We need to see that intention. We need to see the perpetrators of Facunda's (ph) murder come on trial, on public trial,
and that become in a sense learn for others who would like to commit any kind of human rights or women's rights violation against women in
ANDERSON: Let's just step back for a moment, the oppression of Afghan women under the Taliban was often quoted and highlighted by the United
States when American troops, of course, invaded in 2001. Five years later, former secretary of state Condoleeza Rice praised the progress made.
Here's what she said back then. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONDOLEEZA RICE, FRM. SECRETARY OF STATE: Now, some five years later, we talk about a different Afghanistan. We talk about an Afghanistan in which
there has been an election for a president and there has been an election for a parliament. We talk about an Afghanistan where the Taliban no longer
holds the people of Afghanistan to a standard so brutal, so repressive that women were beaten in stadiums given to the Taliban by the international
community to play soccer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, it's been, what, a decade since Rice made those comments. What do you think the situation is now? Are you saying nothing has really
KOOFI: Well, yes, it's true that the situations have been established. It's true that women are now part of the political process. It's true that
women are engaged in political hemisphere, but the institutions established -- the question is how effective those institutions, including our
government, have been in terms of protecting women's rights? How effective we have been as women activists to bring changes at the community level.
How effective the international community has been in terms of changing the -- bringing more awareness, more focus, empowering more women so that the
public perspective is changed.
I think initially when the international community came, if we really have to go back and see where are the mistakes. What went wrong.
I think one of the mistakes when international community first came, a lot of attention, a lot of focus went to women's rights. There was a
(inaudible) for a women political participation, a lot of focus and attention went to the women and plans went to the women's rights and women
issues. But eventually that attention has reduced over the fact that the talks and negotiations with Taliban, that the issue of talks and
negotiations with Taliban.
And in fact, it has become much more difficult for us also in the parliament lately over the past three or four years. It has been one of
the most difficult years for us to work in parliament. We had some setbacks on the electoral reforms, on the law on violence against women,
and it's very, very difficult for us.
It's not for women on the street only, it's for us parliamentarians because I think international community stepped back. And the focus has changed
now to talks and negotiations with Taliban.
I think women's rights is a global phenomenon. It's not just domestic politics of Afghanistan. And international community needs to continue to
keep its focus and attention on women's rights in Afghanistan.
[11:56:43[ ANDERSON: And with that we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us. And do join on the show again
and keep us up to date on exactly what is going on on the ground for you. Your guest out of Afghanistan this evening.
What are your thoughts on the situation there? Just consider 2001, women's rights used as one of the reasons that the U.S. and its allied coalition
got involved in Afghanistan. That's nearly a decade-and-a-half ago, billions have been spent, thousands have lost their lives, how do you feel
about the situation there?
Now the team at Connect the World wants to hear from you. We always do. Let us know what you feel about women's rights in your country, for
example. Facebook.com/CNNConnect. Have your say. You can get in touch with me @BeckyCNN. And you can get in the touch with the team as wel
From us here in the UAE at just before 8:00 in the evening here, it is a very good evening from the team. Thank you for watching.