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Bring Back Our Girls a Year Later; Iraqi Prime Minister in Washington to Lobby for More Washington Support; One Square Meter: Carlsberg City, Denmark; A Fishy Egyptian Tradition. Aired 11:00a-12:00p ET

Aired April 14, 2015 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:25] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Marching for action, marching for answers and marching for the return of more than 200 schoolgirls captured

365 days ago. This hour, we examine whether Nigeria is any closer to making that return a reality.

Also this hour, the prime minister of Iraq needs the president of the United States to discuss how a deal with -- how to deal with a common

enemy. We investigate whether Washington or Tehran offers Haider al-Abadi more hope in the fight against ISIS.

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

ANDERSON: At just after 7:00 in the evening in the UAE, a very warm welcome.

The crime is still almost too horrendous to fathom. Nearly 300 Nigerian girls kidnapped from a school where they were supposed to be safe.

And a year later, most of those girls are still missing and Boko Haram's reign of terror continues.

Nigerians rallied to mark the first anniversary of the kidnapping today in Abuja. The abductions formed the Bring Back Your Girls movement,

you'll remember. But today, Nigeria's president-elect says he can't promise that the girls will ever be found.

Well, CNN's Isha Sesay has reported extensively on the kidnapping. She joins me now live from Washington this evening.

A year on it seems almost inconceivable. But it is true that some 200 girls are still missing. Isha, there is no closure for these families.

How can they have just vanished?

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, that's the question that the families and people like myself who have covered this

story for a year still ask outloud. And you ask it over and over again. And it doesn't make sense.

How can 219 girls simply vanish into thin air. How is it that there is not a global outcry that these girls have not been returned to their

loved ones.

Becky, as you well know, we covered the story together. When the girls were taken a year ago today, the world has galvanized around that

Bring Back Our Girls hashtag. We saw the tweets. We saw the pictures. We saw the international media bear its full force down on the Nigerian


That has dissipated to such an extent that this story has largely faded from the global collective consciousness. And really on this day I

think it's an opportunity not just to bemoan the fact that these girls have not been returned to their families, but for us all to take a long, hard

look at ourselves and ask what kind of world do we want to live in, what kind of world is this that 219 girls can similarly disappear into thin air

and the world stay quiet about it -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Now as we know you've been covering this story since the start. And you haven't shied away from either trying to keep it in the

public conscience or expressing your own feelings that many appear to have moved on.

In an opinion piece by today, you write "for this we should all feel shame, shame that we live in a world where the lives of young

girls can be shattered with impunity by fanatical thugs, shame that when such horrendous acts occur our collective attention span is so fleeting,"

and shame perhaps that dozens of other horrific acts have been carried out by Boko Haram and the world has turned a blind eye to them.

SESAY: Yeah, I mean..

ANDERSON: It does seem absolutely remarkable. What happens next?

SESAY: You know, I just spoke to one of the Bring Back Our Girls campaigners on this extremely sad day. Her voice was racked with emotion.

I mean, she could barely speak. I think the full weight of a year's campaign finally really hitting home that for 365 days these people have on

a daily basis said Bring Back Our Girls and they are still not back.

And she said they will continue. They will continue. And she also pointed out that the families have hope, they have hope that their children

will come back. They have hope and expectation that the new incoming government of Mohammad al-Buhari will indeed stand up and make this a

priority, that these families -- even though that they're poor and socially marginalized, their children will be seen to have value and they will be

returned to them.

She said they will continue to use their voices. And we will stand with them, Becky. I think it is our responsibility as a global community

to stand with them at this time until these girls come back.

Don't get me wrong, I know it won't be easy. Boko Haram has said that these girls have been married off and have been converted to Islam. No

matter. For as long as they are breathing and they are out there, 219 girls cannot simply vanish. And it is not OK. We must not be silent.

[11:05:11] ANDERSON: And I want to read our viewers and excerpt from a piece that the new Nigerian president wrote in the New York Times today.

I know you've seen this piece.

"As much as I wish to, I cannot promise," he said, "that we can find them. To do so would be to offer unfounded hope only to compound the grief

if later we find we cannot match such expectation."

That is a bleak outlet, but it is -- is it a realistic one at this point, Isha?

SESAY: You know, as I just said, it's not going to be easy. I don't think anyone should underestimate the challenge facing the Nigerian

military. We have to put in context that these girls were taken as part of Boko Haram's war of terror, reign of terror on northeastern Nigeria.

According to Amnesty International, some 2,000 women and girls have been taken by Boko Haram since the start of 2014.

Each and every life has value.

In the case of 219 girls taken from the safety -- or the supposed safety of their school, the government must make this a priority. He's

right, it's not going to be easy. Nobody is looking for false promises. The families have received false promises for 365 days. What the family

wants to see is galvanized action. And they want to know that they are doing all that they can, and they want to know that they're following up on

each and every lead as it comes up.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Isha.

Isha is in Washington fory you this evening. And as we mentioned, she's written a very powerful editorial for She says we should

all feel shame that the girls still haven't been found. You can read that piece at

Well, anger and grief are still very close to the service in Nigeria. CNN's Christians Purefoy sat down with Nigeria's former education minister

explained why the one year anniversary of these kidnappings is so painful.



OBIAGELI EZEKWESLLI, FORMER EDUCATION MINISTER: There's no closure. There's no closure. 219 young women that went to be educated cannot simply

vanish into the atmospheric and then the whole world just moves on when as a matter of fact terrorists did show that they are with our girls. No,

there's no closure.

PUREFOY: How does that -- how do you feel sitting here?

EZEKWESLLI: Very, very angry. A week ago, I was so angry. Nothing anybody said to me received a calm response. I was snapped. My husband

understood why I was snapping, because I didn't think that when (inaudible) for one year.


ANDERSON: I want to get you a wider regional perspective now. I'm joined via Skype from Geneva by Bineta Diop. She's the special envoy for

women, peace and security at the African Union.

Thank you for joining us. She is also the president of Fam Africa Solidarite in Switzerland, of course.

My colleague Isha pointing out that promise after promise was made by Nigeria's government officials, that the girls would come home. So where

are they? And where is this global outrage over these broken promises and broken dreams.

BINETA DIOP, SPECIAL ENVOY FOR WOMEN, PEACE & SECURITY: It's a sad day, Becky, really. Today is a very bad day, anniversary. Because I

thought that before we will never get where we are, because Nigeria is a giant in West Africa. Even in Africa, you know. Nigeria defeated in

Liberia, the rebels movement in Sierra Leone. We could not expect that 300 girls are mostly disappeared like that.

So, that's why we were waiting. We waited. We waited. And until now we are waiting. It's a shame. It's a shame.

I was...

ANDERSON: Yeah, the new Nigerian president.

Let me put this to you, the new Nigerian president admitted he cannot be sure they will ever find the girls. He did today, though, set out his

vision to fight Boko Haram. He said he wants to deploy more troops. He needs better coordination with neighboring countries and alternatives for

young disaffected youngsters who might otherwise sign up with the militants.

Do his words inspire you to believe he can win this fight?

DIOP: I don't, because I think that 300 is not millions. And 300 you can find them.

I mean, if they have disappeared, vanished -- you know we need just to know where they are and what happened to them. We want them back, that's

what's had been said many, many times. Of course, defeating Boko Haram is a must, because we need to prevent. We don't want anyone good to


When I was in December, visiting the Bring Back our Girls the women outside there sitting and calling, I visit them, I sit down. And I met

with the girls that came back. I met with the mothers. I was able to feel the pain. The mother was telling me, could you imagine I have other

children, but I cannot attend to them, because every day I'm thinking what happening to my girl? So that's the situation.

So, I think Nigeria have want President Buhari to fix it. They need to fix it, to stop it or to also to bring back the girls. Bringing back

the girls, at least to tell us where they are. We need to know. The whole world needs to know.

ANDERSON: The 24th -- the 24th African Union summit earlier this year very much focused on this being the year of women's empowerment and

development in Africa. Would you agree that it's pretty hard to take on these initiatives, to really appreciate these initiatives and take them

seriously when these girls are still missing?

And what do you think Nigeria and Africa as a whole has learned from this Chibok abduction?

DIOP: Yeah, I think basically is of course this year is the year of women empowerment until end of the year. It will continue, because African

women cannot wait anymore. And that's African -- they're asking for more, demanding for their protection and their rights, right to education, right

to health, right to security. They will come out if the leaders don't listen to them. That's the reality. That is what is happening right now.

So, if the African Union have decided that this is going to be the year of women, it's because the movement is asking for it. We have still

the challenge of peace and security.

We have Boko Haram. I was in Somalia, we have al Shabaab, even though the troops are defeating them, but still this denial and kidnapping of the

girls is too much. We need to stop it. And in this year in this year, I think that women will continue to mobilize, to demand peace and security

for the girls, but also for the women. Don't forget that women are also suffering. They have been raped. They have been -- in those crises.

So we need to respond to the needs of the women and the girls.

ANDERSON: We've spoken a lot about the scourge of Boko Haram in and around Nigeria, but it isn't, of course, the only threat to young girls in

the region as you rightly point out. Also, according to the global slavery index, Nigeria has more people living in slavery than any country in Sub-

Saharan African. Indeed, some children are being bought and sold on the street in almost (inaudible) fashion. One of my colleagues, CNN's Nima

Elgabir found out about this for herself.

I just want you to have a listen to this.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I wore a hidden camera to show just how easy it would be to procure a child.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has given me assurance of a girl of three years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anytime from tomorrow.

ELBAGIR (on camera): Is there any document I need to sign or anything? No? Just the green light from you is enough?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Even verbal is OK.


ANDERSON: Some of Nima's reporting.

What is being done to reduce the risk of girls and young women being sold into slavery?

DIOP: Basically I think Africa have done a lot in terms of instruments when it comes to policy, when it comes to legal -- there are a

lot. We have the protocol on women's rights. We have so many.

But it's not sufficient. We need to act. We need action. And that's why I think this demand is there to say let's bring the -- at the border,

let's make sure that we protect even putting women police at the border to control what is going on.

So we need to do more action than talk and paper. That's what we women are demanding.

African Union, as you say it, there are a lot of we have adopted. There are a lot of laws. There are a lot of paperwork, even at the UN

level. But now what the women are saying solution, practical solutions. Let's see where it's -- for example in the intelligence service at the

border, can we ask the community -- because Boko Haram is infiltrating the communities. How do you make sure that we empower the community so they

can respond? How can we put in place the human security dimension?

Because we tend to only put military security, giving the guns. But it doesn't solve the problem. We need to put more education.

Look at the north of Nigeria. How many people have gone to secondary school, especially the girls? 4 percent. Nothing. We need to invest more

on behalf of the young girls and of the women.

So just add the human security dimension that we -- the women are asking for Africa.

Yes, Africa is rising. Yes, Africa has so many growth right now they're talking, but it's not inclusive. It doesn't -- it doesn't look

into the well-being of our population of the people.

So, what we are saying now is in conflict stop using the body of the women, stop using the body of the young girls. That's what the African

women are saying right now.

[11:16:27] ANDERSON: Bineta, it's a pleasure having you on from Geneva. We very much appreciate it on what is a very depressing day it has

to be said. Thank you. Bineta Diop from Geneva.

Well, coming up, four former Blackwater employees are sentenced for their roles in a 2007 mass shooting in Baghdad. We've got the details on

that for you up next.


ANDERSON: Right. 19 minutes past 7:00 here in the UAE. You're watching Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is meeting U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House this hour.

Now the fight against ISIS is set to dominate those talks, of course, before he left Baghdad. Mr. al-Abadi said he would ask the U.S. for more

arms and airstrikes to take on the terror group.

Iraqi forces currently battling ISIS at Iraq's largest oil refinery. And ISIS fighters have recently gained ground in Anbar Province.

Well, while the U.S. and Iraq work together to drive out the jihadists, for many Iraqis emotions are still raw over what was a deadly

mass shooting eight years ago. That is when U.S. security contractors working for Blackwater shot and killed 17 people after trying to disperse a

crowd in Baghdad.

Well now eight years later those contractors have been brought to justice in a U.S. court room. Fred Pleitgen has more.


[11:20:07] FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was one of the worst killings of innocent civilians by U.S. contractors in Iraq,

and a huge blow to America's efforts to stabilize the country. On September 16, 2007, security personnel working for the company then called

Blackwater opened fire at Baghdad's Nisour Square, killing more than a dozen.

Lawyer Hassan Jabbar Salman (ph) was driving to work that day and got stuck in traffic at Nisour Square. He was shot three times.

"It was horror," he says. "People were terrified. People running out of their cars were being shot at. Anything that was moving on Nisour

Square was being shot: women, children, young people."

Among the young people killed, Ali Abdul Razzak (ph), 9 years old, and Ahmed Rubeir (ph) who was studying to become a doctor.

Spent bullet casings on the streets showed the sheer force used by Blackwater's men. The incident deeply impacted U.S.-Iraqi relations

ultimately led to the loss of immunity for contractors operating in Iraq and caused America to make a promise that justice would be served.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: The United States is determined, determined to hold accountable anyone who commits crimes against the Iraqi


PLEITGEN: The legal process took time, but now, more than seven years after the killings, four former Blackwater employees have been sentenced

for their role in the incident, three of them to 30 years in prison on 14 counts of manslaughter. And one, Nick Slaton, to life in prison for murder

for starting the melee.

Hassan Jabbar Salman (ph), who testified in the case, says he never lost faith in America's justice system.

"I felt that there are people who care about this," he says. "That the U.S. judiciary was interested."

But even after the trial, for many Iraqis the Nisour Square killings remain a stain on U.S.-Iraqi relations.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: My colleague Suzanne Malveaux joins me from Washington with more on this case.

And what do you think the likely impact of this will be on the atmosphere in discussions during the Iraqi prime minister's visit to

Washington, Suzanne?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly that's a backdrop. And Blackwater had an extraordinary impact on U.S.

relations with Iraq.

But I want to set, first of all, the scene in the courtroom here, because it really was quite extraordinary. You had Iraqis who had traveled

from their home country to look directly in the eyes of those who had killed their sons as well as their wives. You also had others who -- those

four men who were actually apologizing, but didn't think that they had actually done anything wrong, that they said that they believed they were


You had at least 100 friends and family, those inside of the courtroom in support of the Blackwater contractors who wore matching t-shirts and who

had come as character witnesses saying that these were good, decent men.

And then you had this judge who essentially said that these were four men who had panicked and essentially handed that sentences down to 30 years

plus one and the life sentence to the other. And to this day I mean there is a lot of emotion. There is a lot of feelings about what had happened.

But this is playing out, again, as you had mentioned between the Iraqi prime minister who is meeting with President Obama today, because it really

offered this power vacuum, if you will, because it has allowed the U.S. forces had withdrawn, ISIS has come in. It is not the kind of scenario

that President Bush thought when there would be peace and security in that country to this day.

ANDERSON: Suzanne Malveaux is in Washington for you this evening.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Stay with us as we continue to follow Mr. al-Abadi's trip to Washington.

Plus, we head to Baghdad to get the latest on ISIS and how the terror group is now gaining ground despite a recent defeat. That is coming up in

the show.

First, though, after the break we're headed to Copenhagen this evening where a new development is brewing at the old Carlsberg Beer factory. One

Square Meter is up next.



[11:26:22] JOHN DEFTERIOS, EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: From Carlsberg the beer to Carlsberg the city. Over the next decade, a new city district

will emerge on the historic Carlsberg grounds in the heart of Copenhagen.

Since 1847, this area has been home to the famous Carlsberg brewery, and a big slice of Danish cultural history.

Now the brewery has moved on and the future is moving in. Amidst this treasure trove of protected architectural buildings will be some 600,000

square meters of residential, business, sporting, cultural and educational space.

Prices range from just below Copenhagen's average of $5,000 per square meter to about $12,000, well below other major European cities.

Modeled after intimate Medieval cities, Carlsberg City won best master plan at the world architectural festival in 2009. And the project

is, according to some, building interest from foreign investors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scandinavia has over the past years been attractive for foreign investors now. And given the number of

infrastructure and construction developments taking place in the greater Copenhagen area here, we really see an increasing demand and interest from

foreign investors.

DEFTERIOS: While the first apartments in Carlsberg has just gone up for sale in March, the area has been alive for years. In response to the

financial crisis, investors invited temporary renters into old buildings during the construction phase. They have been home to skateboarders and

bikers, modern dancers, cafes, the national football team for homeless people and a climbing course amongst others.

The CEO of Carlsberg City says it has more than paid off.

JORGEN BUHL RASMUSSEN, CEO, CARLESBERG CITY: The temporary activities is keeping the Carlsberg City on, you can say, on the landmap.

When the financial crisis started, temporary activities was a way to keep the buildings occupied. And it kept the city alive and opened up the

old beer brewery.

DEFTERIOS: And don't be surprised if you meet a delivery horse along the cobblestone streets.

Carlsberg is still very much inside Carlsberg City, making specialty beer and building a tourist center that is expected to attract half a

million visitors per year when it opens in 2017.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We call it Carlsberg brand and experience center, but look at it, it's not a brand house, this is a brew house. And this is

real. Until six years ago we brew 200 million liters of beer in these kettles. To a Dane, Carlsberg is more than a beer, it's art, it's science,

and it's culture.

DEFTERIOS: And soon it will also be a city.

John Defterios, CNN.



[11:31:47] ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. The top stories for you this hour. In just under three hours,

Hillary Clinton will hold her first campaign event as a 2016 U.S. presidential candidate. Now she plans to host a roundtable with students

and educators at a college in Iowa.

So far, Clinton is running unchallenged on the Democratic ticket, but it's a much different story in the Republican camp. By Monday, Senator

Marco Rubio of Florida became the third member of his party to announce a run for the White House.

Nigeria is marking a solemn anniversary: one year since Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls. Marchers gathered in the capital Abuja

chanting bring back our girls. 219 of the kidnapped women remain missing.

In Somalia, at least 19 people are dead after an attack by al Shabaab militants on a government building there, 16 others were wounded. A

government spokesman says five militants were killed inside that building. Police have since regained control of it.

The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is meeting with the U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House as we speak. Ahead of the

meeting, Mr. al-Abadi told CNN he wants to increase air support and arms from Washington to help in the battle against ISIS.

Well, back to that story in a moment. Iran's role in Iraq will no doubt be part of that discussion in Washington while at the UN Iran's

influence in Yemen has been up for debate.

Just within the past hour, UN security council passed a resolution on Yemen slapping an arms embargo on the Houthi rebels there. The resolution

also calls on the Houthis to pull back from the territory that they have seized.

For nearly three weeks a Saudi-led coalition, as you will be well aware, has been bombing the Houthis to try and stop their advance.

According to Reuters, Yemeni fighters in Aden report that they have driven the rebels from key parts of the city, including the area surrounding the

international airport and diplomatic missions.

CNN's Nic Robertson has been following on all of these developments and joins me now near the Saudi-Yemeni border.

Nic, new important developments out of the UN Security Council with the adoption of what is the GCC, the Gulf Cooperation Council's,

resolution. How significant do you think this is?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Resolution 2216. It is being taken as very significant. It certainly gives the UN and the

international community's backing to what Saudi Arabia and the coalition is pushing for, which is for the Houthis to put down their weapons and come to

the negotiating table.

We heard from both the Yemeni and the Saudi ambassadors to the United Nations saying that the Houthis should recognize that there is

international pressure being applied to them, so the only option they have at the moment is to come to the negotiating table. This resolution

effectively puts weapons ban on them, on them receiving weapons.

Interestingly, the Saudi ambassador was asked after that security council resolution was passed was asked by journalists what message this

sent to Iran. And he said this sends Iran a very clear message to stop its meddling in Yemen.

The Yemeni ambassador to the United Nations accused the Houthis of kidnapping the state of Yemen and demanded that it be returned to the

people of Yemen.

The Saudi ambassador was also asked a humanitarian question about the situation in Yemen at the moment. And he said that the Saudi authorities

were fully cognizant of their responsibilities to help with the humanitarian situation there. And that's what they doing with the

international community, allowing aid to get into the country.

So, it's -- this new resolution is seen as a further step to isolate the Houthis, a message to Iran. And the Houthis, of course, the Saudi-led

coalition, the president of Yemen yesterday, President Hadi, trying to move -- also in a diplomatic way to appoint a vice president that could be a

sort of bridge building with the Houthis as well.

So, this is a diplomatic initiative.

But, perhaps substantially the key question there for the Saudi ambassador to the UN was what does this mean about the possibility and

continuation of airstrikes, potential for troops on the ground. And he said, look, we're the diplomats. We're working on the diplomatic progress

here. I can't speak for the military situation.

But he said the message was clear. If the Houthis continue, then this military campaign will continue as well, Becky.

[11:36:23] ANDERSON: Yeah. And President Hadi just an article earlier on today once again describing the Houthis as puppets of Iran.

He's still a fairly strong rhetoric still coming out of the president who, as we know, is in Riyadh at present.

Will this resolution, do you think, have any impact on the war on the ground? Do you -- at the border just yesterday?

ROBERTSON: You know, I've got to say, Becky, when you go into the border frontlines, the army is in a defensive position, but the more you

look at it and the more you sort of examine how this is playing out at the moment and what the army, what the Saudi army and border guards, and it was

the army we were with yesterday face on the border, you get the growing impression that this is going to be a long, drawnout battle, at least for

security on the border is.


ROBERTSON: Bordering a bus full of fleeing Filipino medical workers, we find fear.

Tell me how the situation was for you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very hard, sir. It's continues bombing.

ROBERTSON: They just left Yemen, arrived at the Saudi border.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course, we're afraid. And we are stressed, tension (ph), everything. We cannot sleep nicely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every day we hear airstrike (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It came near in our place. We come here (inaudible).

ROBERTSON: Working inside hospitals, eyewitnesses to the war wounded.

Are there casualties coming to the hospital?



ROBERTSON: Many? You tell me about them.


ROBERTSON: Every day casualties?


ROBERTSON: Lots, or one or two or...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One family burning.

ROBERTSON: One family burning?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because of an airstrike.

ROBERTSON: Back where they came from, gunmen can be seen strolling on the Yemen side of the border. On the Saudi side, guns trained in their

direction. No trouble here so far.

This, no mass exodus, but with each fleeing Yemeni a picture emerging. There may be many more to follow.

Why are you leaving?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because of problems. There is no schools. No universities. Nothing in Yemen.

ROBERTSON: Tells me he's going to Turkey, continue his education.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some people get injured near by our houses, because of some people they have everywhere guns. You can see everything.

ROBERTSON: And not just fighting people are fleeing.

This driver from Ta'izz in the south tells me food is cut off, gas, food shortages everywhere.

But not everyone welcome.

What are you doing here today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to go to Saudi Arabia, but I can't go.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I don't have a visa.

ROBERTSON: Tells me he beat a policeman, went to jail here. Officials say he has drug offenses, too, has a 10 year visa ban.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel very scared.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I want to go to see my family, I can't go to see my family and I will go back to the war.

ROBERTSON: He won't be the last down on his luck at the border.

Plans already begun for a refugee camp not far away.


[11:40:00] ROBERTSON: And that's the view from the border there. The concern is that the growing number of people, scared by what's happening,

short of food, will come to the border. Of course, the Saudi border defenses all along there are very much dug in, the army with their big guns

pounding big shells from the border into Yemen. Border troops high up on the tops of the hills looking across into Yemeni villages, but a difficult

struggle, if you will, and fight in some parts of that border, Becky.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson there in Saudi for you. Thanks, Nic.

I want to get you back to our top story today. One year ago, Boko Haram militants stormed a school, kidnapping hundreds of teenaged girls,

most of them are still missing.

Christian Purefoy joins me now live from Abuja in Nigeria. And Christian, the new Nigerian president has vowed to step up efforts to fight

Boko Haram, but has conceded today in an article in the New York Times that they may never find these girls. How are his words resonating with those

that you have spoken to today with the families, friends and activists who have been on this story for 365 days?

CHRISTIAN PUREFOY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The president-elect's words are actually finding quite -- that are resonating quite a lot. It's a

significant departure what he's saying to what the outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan and his government have been saying after, you know,

President Goodluck Jonathan saying we will find these girls. But (inaudible) said anything at all about it. But for the president-elect,

the incoming President Buhari, to be saying, you know, honestly we really don't know where these girls are. We don't know if we can find them, but

we will try our hardest to do that is resonating.

What a lot of campaigners, this Bring Back our Girls campaign, Becky, has been about two things. One is bring back the girls. But very quickly

it took on a thing of, you know, who is responsible for this? And they began to focus on the government who was not really -- you know, there was

a lot of criticism that the government's reaction was very slow, muddled and took, you know, four years for it to start handling Boko Haram and one

year we're still sitting here waiting for these girls to be found.

We haven't heard anything from President Goodluck's government. We are hearing from President Buhari. But that is what these campaigners

want, Becky, they want someone to stand up and take charge and say, we're looking for these girls.

ANDERSON: Christian is in Nigeria for you today.

To find out what you can do to help the kids of Nigeria who have been impacted by Boko Haram's violence do -- do visit our website, our digital

site has all of the resources that you -- could help you make a difference. With 800,000 kids displaced, that according to UNICEF just

yesterday -- the youngsters of Nigeria will benefit from your support.

Well, coming up, we'll join Egyptians in celebrating an ancient holiday that brings everyone together regardless of religion. The main

attraction, a feast with a very distinctive main dish.

And as Iraqi forces battle ISIS at home, the Iraqi prime minister is in Washington meeting the U.S. president. We'll be live from those places

up next.


[11:45:43] ANDERSON: At a quarter to 8:00 in the evening in the UAE, welcome back. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.

Hundreds of Iraqi reinforcements have been sent to the country's largest oil refinery to help fend off an attack by ISIS. Now that assault

began about four days ago and comes as the Iraqi prime minister is meeting the U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington right now as we speak.

Well, for more on this, Arwa Damon is standing by in Baghdad to talk us through what is going on in country. And Michelle Kosinski is in


And I want to start with you tonight, Michelle -- stand by Arwa. The Iraqi prime minister clearly wants to gauge the scale of support that he's

likely to get militarily and financially as he's in Washington. What's he likely to hear while he is there?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's a big part of it. This is a first meeting between the two leaders here in Washington. The White

House is saying that this is a way to deepen that partnership, to talk about the way things are going on the ground and what more could be done.

Of course, Iraq already comes with a list of needs -- more money to support its budget, to repair that country. And that's something the White

House has really been emphasizing that is necessary -- the strength of the government, the strength of the infrastructure there, because as the White

House sees it, it's not a war that's going to permanently defeat ISIS, it's going to be political inclusion and a stable government there. That's what

the U.S. wants from Iraq.

What Iraq is asking for is much more concrete at this point. They want additional U.S. airstrikes, possibly more attack helicopters,

ammunition, drones, things that are needed in the immediate sense.

For the Iraqi security forces along with the coalition to keep making those gains, they have been doing well in the last few weeks. They were

able to take control of Tikrit back. But there are other losses in other places.

The U.S. doesn't want to keep playing whack-a-mole here, so we'll wait to see what the U.S. might announce after this meeting.

We're not really expecting a big announcement to come out of this, but the White House has already been asking congress for more, not just for

Iraq, but for the fight against ISIS as a whole along the lines of more than $5 billion worth. Because as the White House has acknowledged, this

is going to be a long-term fight. And yes it is going to be expensive, Becky.

ANDERSON: Arwa, what do you think Iraqis are hoping for?

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think at this stage they do want to see more coalition airstrikes. Just about everyone

we've been speaking to feel as if the airstrikes so far, yes, have been beneficial, but the U.S. can and should be doing more especially now that

Tikrit has been dealt with up to a certain degree and the fight is going to be taken to Anbar and Mosul.

We've already seen how effective those U.S.-led coalition airstrikes can be and that is exactly why the Iraqis do fundamentally believe that if

America really wanted to help Iraq in this battle it would be carrying out more airstrikes and it would not be dragging its feet with those various

requests by the Iraqi government for more ammunition, more weaponry.

Yes, the Americans are here. They are trying to train up the Iraqi security forces. But at the end of the day there needs to be a higher

level of U.S. engagement.

If we just look at what has happened since the fall of Tikrit, or since Tikrit was back in government control, over the weekend you had

Iraqis lose ground in the vital oil refinery of Baiji when ISIS was able to breach its outer perimeter, deploying a suicide bomber and launching a

fairly complex attack from multiple directions.

There, we saw coalition and Iraqi airstrikes happening on the outskirts of the refinery that, yes, have helped.

We look at al Anbar Province to the west where ISIS has managed to make some small gains. And one understands why it is that Iraqis do feel

that the coalition needs to do more. And at the end of the day if the U.S. does not step up, Iraq is going to have to turn more towards Iran, Becky.


And the involvement of Iran in training and advising militia fighting alongside Iraqi forces is clearly controversial, Arwa.

I guess the question is how important are they? And is there a sense in country that the U.S. really doesn't understand the makeup, the picture,

the sort of -- the story on the ground and why it is that these Shia militia are crucial in this fight, if indeed they are?

[11:50:17] DAMON: Look, a great source of frustration from the moment that the U.S. got involved in Iraq back in 2003 with the U.S.-led invasion

and then occupation of this country has been fundamentally about America's lack of ability to full comprehend and appreciate the dynamics that cover

and this nation.

And Iraq's prime minister put it quite simply on the -- before he got on the plane to go to the United States and that was that you know his

country has its largest border with Iran. Iran has been a great ally to Iraq when it comes to the battle against ISIS, getting involved

immediately, sending over advisers, providing them with weaponry, especially when it comes to arming and advising those Iranian -backed Shia

militias that have proven to be quite instrumental in the battle against ISIS. And that the U.S. needs to take the issues that it has with Iran

outside of the Iraqi battlefield. America needs to understand and accept that Iraq is going to have a relationship with Iran and that Iraq hopes to

establish a healthy relationship both with Iran and with the United States.

It's not an issue of choosing one over the other. They have to somehow coexist within this very complex arena here.

ANDERSON: Michelle, is that going to happen in Washington? How is the Iran in Iraq story going to play out for the president while he's there

-- the prime minister?

KOSINSKI: That's going to be a part of this discussion as well. There's been a real concern not just in the U.S., but other partners in

that region of how much influence Iran is going to gain. It's been this awkward, awkward scene that Iran's militias can be helpful there, very

helpful in some cases. I mean they are the boots on the ground in some of these places.

But the U.S. military isn't coordinating with them. And that's garnered so many questions to the White House of how is this even possible?

And is it practical? And how could this possibly work?

But the White House insists, well, we're not going to coordinate directly militarily, but we are going to coexist there and Iran can be


At the same time in other places, the U.S. is essentially against Iran, like in Yemen.

So you have this strange dynamic. And at the very same time that the U.S. is trying to hammer out a nuclear deal with Iran very delicate balance

that is going to have to be maintained for who knows how long, Becky.

ANDERSON: Michelle and Arwa, thank you.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Coming up we are in Egypt finally this evening where stinky fish is on the

menu. Find out why Egyptians are digging into this fish that is definitely, let me tell you, and acquired taste.


ANDERSON: Spring time in Egypt is celebrated around the dinner table bringing the family together. The centerpiece of the meal is a particular

type of fish that is -- well, it's not for everybody, I happen to know. In tonight's festive parting shots for you, CNN's Ian Lee takes a bit of -- a

bite out of what is a very Egyptian tradition. Have a look at this.


[11:55:12] IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The world's oldest ironic holiday begins here at a fish market. Egyptians crowd the counter early

preparing for Shemasine (ph). Translated to "smell the breeze," this yearly festival's signature dish, a putrid fish called fasih (ph). It's a

mullet, packed in salt, aged for over a month, without refrigeration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But this man, he know, good.

LEE: And it sells out quickly.

"I love fasih (ph). I love it like I love my son," says shop over Maher Shehata whose family has been supplying the fish for over 70 years.

"The most important thing is to salt and store it correctly," he tells me.

A crucial step as bad fish can send people to the hospital and at times the morgue.

Each year, the health ministry warns of the consequences.

The festival dates back to the age of the Pharoahs. The receding Nile floods stranded fish, leaving them to rot and eventually eaten.

In modern times, it marks the beginning of spring, a truly Egyptian holiday embraced by both Christians and Muslims.

As lunch approaches, preparation begins.

Fasih (ph) is simply gutted and plated. It shares the table with another dish, ringa (ph), a smoked fish that's gentler on the palette.

The holiday is akin to Thanksgiving, gathering generations around the table.

ADEL WAHBI: The old generations used to eat fasih (ph) every year. It is has to be. But now not all the youth people and the young people

doesn't like too much.

LEE: For those interested in tasting fasih (ph), here is some advice.

WAHBI: If you're going to eat fasih (ph) you just throw a little bit, because maybe your stomach cannot afford it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd advise you not to eat fasih (ph).

LEE: I'm told fasih is an acquired taste, but after living seven years in Egypt I still don't like it.

Ian Lee, CNN, Cairo.


ANDERSON: Doesn't mean it isn't good.

I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World. Thank you for joining us.

From the team here in the UAE, it is a very good evening.