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Kenya's Smuggler Routes; Opposition to Nuclear Deal in Both Iran, U.S.; El Chapo a Hero?; Ancient Quran Manuscript Found in UK; Eco Tourism Along the New Silk Road. Aired 11:00a-12:00p ET
Aired July 23, 2015 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:15] FRED PLEITGEN, HOST: Tough questions for the architects of the Iran nuclear deal. Why John Kerry and President Hassan Rouhani could
find their harshest critics on home soil.
Coming up, we'll look at the depth of opposition in both countries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Other routes al Shabaab are using to travel back and forth into the country. And we have
to put on our protective gear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: An exclusive report from the porous Kenyan-Somali border. A transit route for smugglers and extremists alike.
Plus, heading for a fall? The odd couple who got Mexicans talking. We're in the Mexican capital.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London this is Connect the World.
PLEITGEN: You are watching CNN. This is Connect the World and I am Fred Pleitgen for you right here in London today.
And after a week of selling the Iran deal to its allies, the Obama administration is now shifting its focus back home.
Happening right now, three sitting cabinet members are testifying at a congressional hearing on the nuclear agreement. The man you see right here
is of course Ernesto Moniz.
That includes Secretary of State John Kerry as well who alongside five other world powers negotiated the Iran deal with Iran.
We're a little less than an hour into the hearing. And we've already heard some tough criticism from Republican lawmakers as well as passionate
defense from Secretary Kerry.
CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott joins me now live from Washington. And Elise, the beginning of all this, I was hearing Bob Corker
speak. And one of the things he said, or accused John Kerry of was like a hotel guest only wearing his bath robe he'd been fleeced by the Iranians.
What do you think of the main point so far?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred. I mean, basically this is the whole Republican argument, that the administration
has given too many concessions to the Iranians, that -- I think the Republicans were really looking for some kind of deal that dismantled
Iran's nuclear infrastructure, dismantled those centrifuges, those facilities.
And what Secretary Kerry said to them is, listen, if you -- the alternative to this deal that the administration feels curbs Iran's nuclear
program, basically puts it on hold for the next 10 to 15 years, the alternative is not a better deal, which he called a, you know, a unicorn
fantasy what the Republicans are looking for when Iran has no nuclear program whatsoever. He said that just doesn't exist.
And one of the arguments that he's making, and a new argument I would say that I haven't heard a lot before is the Iranians already have the
nuclear knowledge. And so you can't sanction that away. If you dismantle it, they can rebuild it.
And so this program, this deal, what they feel puts Iran's nuclear program really in abatement for the next 10, 15 years is the best deal that
the administration could get that the international community signed off on, and the alternative is just unthinkable.
PLEITGEN: That was interesting, because he said you can't sanction away and you can't bomb it away, so he was very adamant about the fact that
this was really only about stopping Iran from getting Iran, not stopping them from getting the knowledge of nuclear activity.
One interesting thing, though, Elise that we're looking out for is will they be able to sway anybody -- Democrats, Republicans alike, most
members of congress presumably are against this. Will they be able to sway anybody to their side?
LABOTT: I don't think so. OK, you have Ernie Moniz, who is the energy secretary, who is really like the top scientist -- nuclear physicist
in the country. So if there are some people that are on the fence, maybe he can bring them over.
But I think people are pretty much going in -- this is a public hearing. Secretary Kerry did a private hearing yesterday. There was a
good give and take, but I don't really think they're going to be swaying any minds. I think this is really for the American people here.
The Israelis are also lobbying behind the scenes with their scientists. And so I think if it's going to -- I don't hink they're going
to sway any really in their favor, I would say. Certainly not any Republicans.
PLEITGEN: And of course we have Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew speaking right now.
The interesting thing is on the other side is, of course, those who don't want the deal. President Obama has said that he would veto any
action by congress to try and stop this deal from going forward. Do you think there's any scenario where they would get enough votes together to
override Obama's veto further down the line?
LABOTT: Right now I don't think so. I mean, certainly they don't have the votes right now. The question is can the Israelis, can the
Republicans pick off a few more Democrats to go against them. And, you know, a lot of the Democrats are remaining silent. For instance, Chuck
Schumer of New York, who is one of the leading Democrats has kind of been silent about where he stands. And he's being courted by both the
Republicans and the Israelis to come over to their side.
So, it is unclear where all the Democrats fall. I don't think the congress will be able to reject this deal. The question is, what do they
then do going forward? Do they find more ways to sanction Iran on other ways? Is the United States kind of isolated in its opposition to Iran?
I think the deal is going to go through with the U.S. or without it. It already went through the UN security council. The question is what kind
of mischief, if you will, can congress make for this president while he's in office regarding Iran.
[11:05:47] PLEITGEN: Elise Labott, great analysis as always. Thank you very much ther for us. In the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C.
Well, and thousands of kilometers away from Capitol Hill, the U.S. Defense Secretary is trying to rally Mideast allies behind the nuclear deal
or at very least ease some of their concerns.
After Said Arabia, which very opposed the deal, Jordan and Israel, which of course opposes the deal even more, Ash Carter is now in the Iraqi
capitol of Baghdad, his first visit to the country since assuming his role in February.
He's meeting with Iraqi officials, Sunni leaders, and U.S. commanders who are helping Iraq in its fight against ISIS.
Our own Jomana Karadsheh is covering Carter's trip for us from Amman, Jordan. She joins me now live. And Jomana, of course on the one hand he's
been talking a lot about the Iran deal the past couple of days. But this is really more about fighting ISIS and Iraq trying to forward that fight.
What's going to happen next? And what's he going to say?
KARADSHEH: Well, absolutely, Fred. You would expect the focus here to shift when it comes to meetings with the Iraqi leaders here, to be more
on the battle against ISIS. And Secretary Carter arrived in Baghdad, in the first hour of his arrival he visited a counterterrorism training
facility where he saw some of the troops that have been trained by these U.S. trainers who are on the ground in Iraq. And after that, he met with a
number of Iraqi officials, including his Iraqi counterpart the minister of defense al-Obeidi, and also Sunni leaders in the country, including the
speaker of parliament, and also Prime Minister Haider al Abadi. They had a one hour closed meeting.
And follow that, they came out and spoke briefly to the media. And those brief statements we heard what was expected out of this trip with
Secretary Carter saying that lots of praise there for Prime Minister Abadi for his government, for their efforts in the fight against ISIS and also
reiterating the U.S. support.
But at the same time that same message we've been hearing, Fred, from U.S. officials is that the fight here, they need to depend on ground
forces. They say they want to see capable ground forces. And to achieve that, it's going to take inclusive governance when it comes to Iraq.
Now that, of course, in reference to what the U.S. has been pushing for. They want to see an Iraqi government that brings the Sunnis into the
fold, that creates this Sunni fighting force that the U.S. is hoping would turn the tide against ISIS, especially in areas that it controls, the
Sunni-Arab areas, trying to replicate the model of 2006, 2007 that we saw at the U.S. strategy there turning the Sunni tribes on al Qaeda.
Now the momentum has been very slow when it comes to bringing the Sunnis on board in this fight, and this is something the U.S. wants to
Now at the same time we would expect Iraqi officials here repeating the same messages we've heard from them publicly in the past. They are --
they say they're grateful for the support they're receiving from the U.S. from the coalition, but they want more, Fred. And they have a long list of
things that they say that they want the coalition to provide them with, especially the U.S. Topping that list is more weapons. They want to see
expedited weapons shipments.
And now we're starting to see some of that from the U.S. In the past couple of weeks America delivered its first batch of F16 fighter jets to
the Iraqis, something that they have wanted to see for years now, an order that goes back to 2011. And they believe it's going to be key in their
fight against ISIS.
Iraqis, Fred, the feeling there is that they're fighting this battle against ISIS on behalf of the world. And they just say they need more
support when it comes to this battle.
Now, towards the the end of the day we're expecting that Secretary Carter is going to be meeting with U.S. troops there, 3,500 of them mostly
trainers and advisers in the country. He's going to be meeting with some of them. And we'd expect them to be repeating that same message we heard a
few days ago when they told General Martin Dempsey during his visit that right now they don't think they need more U.S. forces on the ground there -
[11:10:00] PLEITGEN: Yeah, and certainly also a tight rope walk there for Ash Carter, considering the way he criticized the Iraqi security forces
when ISIS moved into Mosul, of course.
Jomana Karadsheh, thank you very much there in Amman in Jordan.
And conservatives both in Iran and the U.S. have been lining up against the deal. Coming up, we'll get a glimpse into the sort of domestic
dissent there is in Iran over the agreement. And President Rouhani's response to those critics. Stay with us for that around five minutes time.
Now we could soon learn more about the death of Sandra Bland, the black activist who was found hanging dead in a Texas jail cell.
Bland was arrested when a minor traffic stop involving a white police officer turned confrontational. You can see a surveillance video right
Local authorities say Bland committed suicide in her jail cell. Three days later, officials have released documents that show Bland told jail
staff she had previously tried to commit suicide in the past. Results of an independent autopsy on Bland could be released in the coming hours, and
our own Ed Lavandera is following this story from Hempstead, Texas.
And Ed,we've been seeing that surveillance video, but there is a lot of questions about whether this really was a suicide. What do you know?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we were taken a much closer look at these newly released documents. And while, as you mentioned, there
is indications there that Sandra Bland attempted to commit suicide once before, her family points out that they see other inconsistencies that make
them want to keep asking tough questions.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): New details about Sandra Bland's condition have been revealed by local law enforcement.
ELTON MATHIS, WALLER COUNTY, TEXAS DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We have an initial report that she did have a quantity of marijuana in her system.
However, we are waiting to make any kind of formal determination of that.
LAVANDERA: The Waller County district attorney also says the preliminary autopsy results show some scars on her arm.
MATHIS: The opinion of the medical examiner appears to be cutting scars on the arm. It looks like where someone has been cut over time. Some
of those actually appeared to be fresher and that they were scabbed.
LAVANDERA: On this police intake questionnaire Bland notes a previous suicide attempt by way of pills after a miscarriage in 2014, but on another
page the answer to the question of attempted suicide is no. Conflicting information leaving her family with continued doubts.
SHARON COOPER, SANDRA BLAND'S SISTER: I have a hard time dealing with inconsistency. And that seems to have been the theme over the last couple
of days here. So I don't have a problem still asking questions.
LAVANDERA: Investigators are now analyzing DNA evidence on the trash bag allegedly used in Sandra Bland's hanging.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Step out of the car.
LAVANDERA: And on Wednesday police released another version of the dashcam video of Bland's arrest. But this one three minutes shorter than
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car. I will light you up. Get out. Now.
LAVANDERA: Attempting to clear up the visible anomalies in the footage where cars and people disappear and reappear, chucking up the glitches to
an error in uploading.
And for the first time we are hearing from Sandra Bland while in police custody, a haunting voice message to a friend the day after her
BLAND: I'm still just at a loss of words honestly about this whole process. How did switching lanes with no signal turn into all of this, I
don't know. But I'm still here. Just call me back when you can.
LAVANDERA: And, Frederik, a lot of that information coming from the initial preliminary autopsy report. The Bland family has asked and has
performed its own second independent autopsy, but we still haven't gotten any word on results from that autopsy -- Frederik.
PLEITGEN: Ed Lavandera, thank you. And you'll be continuing to monitor that case for us. Thank you there in Texas.
And still to come tonight, as Barack Obama heads to Kenya, we look at the almost unchecked rise of jihadist terror groups across Africa and
discuss how government should fight back.
Plus, cutting down the conservatives: Iran's president chides opponents of the nuclear deal. We'll be asking which political forces
inside Iran could potentially derail it. Coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:16:34] BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Does this deal resolve all of the threats Iran poses to its neighbors in the world?
No. Does it do more than anyone has done before to make sure Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon? Yes.
HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through translator): Iran is not looking for weapons of mass destruction and never will be. Iran is not
after imposes pressure on the countries of the region and never will be.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: When Arabs, many Arabs, and Israelis agree I think it's worth paying attention. Our fate is most
immediately affected by this deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: As you can see, a wide variety of views on the Iranian nuclear deal.
You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I am Fred Pleitgen sitting here in London. welcome back to the show.
Now about an hour ago, the U.S. Senate foreign relations committee opened its first hearing on the Iran nuclear deal. The White House is not
alone in its challenge of having to sell the agreement to congress and skeptical allies. The nuclear deal has its fair share of critics inside
Iran as well.
President Hassan Rouhani has once more defended it, saying critics should accept how, quote, "valuable it is rather than picking apart the
details." The target of Rouhani's remarks are the country's conservatives who say the deal endangers national security.
And for more on Iran's internal divisions, let's bring in Reza Marashi of the National Iranian American Council.
And Reza, one of the things I think many observers who are not inside Iran tend to forget is how much politics Iran has and how controversial
those politics tend to be.
REZA MARASHI, NATIONAL IRANIAN AMERICAN COUNCIL: Yeah, I couldn't agree more. Rule number one of Iranian politics is that Iran has politics.
And when you look at it from that perspective then you start to see how the president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, has put together over the past two to
three years arguably the most inclusive political coalition in over two to three decades.
And then when you look even closer and you see the nuclear issue, he's been able to keep most of Iran's various political factions under the tent
that supports these negotiations and overall supports the deal.
PLEITGEN: Well, one of the big issues that he has right now, for instance, though, is that the Revolutionary Guard has come out against the
deal. A couple of days ago, the head of the Revolutionary Guard, General Jafari has said that it crosses several red lines, especially as far as the
defense of the country is concerned.
How is he going to stand up to that? Because the Revolutionary Guard, generally the military, is very, very powerful.
MARASHI: You're right to point out that the general's comments are a cause for concern. You're also right to point out that the Revolutionary
Guard is very powerful.
But sometimes we also need to look at the fact that the Revolutionary Guard is not monolithic. It's a very diverse socioeconomic swath of
Iranian society composes the Revolutionary Guard, and there is a difference of opinion between a handful of top leaders and the rank and file who
overall support the negotiations and the deal as well.
So, within the back and forth of Iranian domestic politics, it's going to take more than a general in the Revolutionary Guard, powerful as he may
be, to sideline or to throw off the commitments Iran has made thus far in this deal.
PLEITGEN: Well, help me understand something, because one of the things that Secretary of State John Kerry said was of great concern, was a
speech that was given by Iran's supreme leader just recently where he continued to blast Israel, continued to blast the United States, said there
would be no security for Israel, but also criticized the deal pretty heavily. Is that something that we need to interpret as him being against
the deal? Because so far, he's sort of been trying to sit on the fence a little.
On the one hand, he's always said he was skeptical, but he also ordered all Iranians to get behind the negotiating team.
[11:20:21] MARASHI: You're absolutely right. He -- when you point out the fact that he's been talking out of both sides of his mouth. And
that's because this is a man who wants power without accountability. So he wants to take credit when things go good, and when things go bad he wants
to blame others that were below him, around him and for him.
But at the end of the day, the foreign minister of Iran Javad Zarif was the personal representative of the supreme leader in these
negotiations. Every step of the way, the supreme leader of Iran was briefed, and he approved each of the concessions that Iran has made. So if
he were to pull his support at this point in time, it would be very harmful to Iran, not just as a government, but as the country because the entire
world would know that it's Iran reneging on its commitments, and the problem therefore would be in Tehran, not in Washington or elsewhere.
PLEITGEN: But one of the things that we keep talking about is, is there a chance that even with a presidential veto that congress could
derail the Iran agreement.
Now of course we know that the Iranian parliament is going to -- can start discussing all of this. And will vote on it after congress does. Is
there a chance that all this could get derailed from inside Iran?
MARASHI: That's a great question, Fred. I don't think you can rule out the possibility entirely. But I think when you compare the domestic
politics in Tehran and in Washington, it's actually more contentious in Washington right now.
And the reason why I say that is because the parliament in Iran has ceded its authority to accept or reject a deal to Iran's national security
council. The majority of Iran's national security council have long been on the record supporting the deal. And looking ahead, I think that's going
to be the critical difference, is we don't know which way congress is going to go. It's going to be a fight. We do know that the parliament can have
a lot of bark, but at the end of the day they've ceded their authority to actually bite.
PLEITGEN: Reza Marashi, thank you very much there in Washington, D.C.
And live from London, this is Connect the World. Coming up, Donald Trump takes his presidential campaign to the U.S.-Mexican border. We'll
see how his tough talk on immigration is playing in Mexico's capital.
Plus, we take a special journey on the Silk Road. See how one spot on this ancient trade route is attracting modern day adventure seekers.
PLEITGEN: You're watching Connect the World live from London. Welcome back. I'm Fred Pleiten. And this Silk Road was once a crucial
commercial link thousands of miles long and attracting merchants from both east and west. Now, it's attracting a new kind of visitor: tourists
looking for adventure.
Our own Sumnima Udas had a very fun assignment. She continues her journey along the ancient route with a stop in Kazakhstan.
SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In the heyday of the fabled Silk Road, some 2,000 years ago, Almaty, or Almatu (ph) as it was
known, was major commercial center. And today, just beyond the city, there's another big opportunity many here are eager to cash in on:
beautiful untouched landscapes.
To get a sense of what's out there, I meet up with Vitaly Shuktar (ph). Vitaly runs a local nonprofit to raise environmental awareness. He
spent most of his time in the mountains, working with eco tourism companies on how to best protect the environment. And many local entrepreneurs are
hoping to make big profits up there with tourists.
Vitaly takes me to one such business, a white water rafting company.
Sergei Kradinov runs this operation. He's a Russian tour guide who saw opportunity here long before others did.
"When I started this business 10 years ago, people didn't even know what rafting was. So there was hardly anyone doing this. I know it would
Nearly 5 million tourists visited Kazakhstan in 2013. And they want even more in the next decade.
Vitaly, though, worries about pollution with more and more people coming here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nature, as it is shouldn't be treated as some product which you can sell until the moment when you sold it.
UDAS: He suggests we go for a ride. Sergei gives us a quick safety briefing, then we get in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See you.
UDAS: Bye. Here we go.
And before I know it, we're off.
We narrowly avoid branches, and rocks.
Big one coming.
We fight the icy water.
So cold, and I'm being soaked.
It's easy to see why so many people want to come here.
We made it.
Rafting certainly isn't a new concept, but the untouched landscapes here are unique to people like Vitaly, already working to protect his
country's new Silk Road.
Sumnima Udas, CNN, on the Silk Road.
[11:29:50] PLEITGEN: This is Connect the World. And these are your top stories this hour.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is on Capitol Hill facing tough questions on the recent nuclear deal with Iran. He's appearing in front of
the foreign affairs select committee along with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
The U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has arrived in Iraq on an unannounced visit. He's meeting with the Iraqi prime minister as well as
Sunni leaders and U.S. commanders. Earlier this week, Carter went to Israel and Saudi Arabia to try and easy concerns about the Iran nuclear
And a Turkish soldier has just by killed by crossborder weapons fire from an ISIS-controlled area of Syria. Several others were injured in the
clashes. They come just three days after a bombing blamed on ISIS killed more than 30 people in a Turkish town near Kobani.
In the U.S. state of Texas, officials have released documents that say a woman found dead in her jail cell indicated she suffered from depression.
Sandra Bland was arrested when a minor traffic stop involving a white police officer turned confrontational. Local authorities say Bland
committed suicide in her jail cell three days later.
All right, coming back to one of our other top stories, U.S. President Barack Obama heads to Kenya today. It will be his first visit to his
father's homeland since becoming president.
As you can imagine, there's a lot of excitement among Kenyans, but there's also a lot of concern, especially among his security detail.
Kenya has seen a rise in terrorism from al Shabaab, the military group based in neighboring Somalia. Despite determined efforts to fight them,
including U.S. airstrikes in Somalia in the past week, attacks have continued.
Now our own senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir has been following the militants rise. And joins us now live from Nairobi.
And Nima, one of the things that you found out is that there is a lot of cross border activity by al Shabaab through a very, very porous border.
Has anything happened there?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. This is the border that after the Westgate attack the Kenyan authorities said that
they believe some of those within that militant network crossed through. And since then, intelligence sources have been telling us that this
continues to be a concern, that al Shabaab continue to use this network. And in the runup to President Obama's visit here, there are going to be a
lot of issues on the agenda, a lot to celebrate, the global entrepreneurship conference, a burgeoning middle class, but there's also
going to be a lot of conversation about that border, which is why we headed out to see for ourselves. Take a look at this Fred.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dirt tracks crisscrossing through the bush. They're known locally as panya (ph), the
rat routes, essentially a backdoor into Kenya.
We've been told that these are the routes that al Shabaab are using to travel back and forth into the country and we have to put on our protective
Behind us, that's the official route, but this, this is the smuggler route. It takes you from Somalia into Kenya back out again. No government
presence, no checkpoints, you can bring in what you when and who you want.
Two years ago, we traveled these same tracks. We've come back to see if anything had changed. It's even busier than before.
Surprised to see us, some spot the camera and turn back. One man stops to threaten us with rocks.
When our producer approaches, he calms down enough to admit this is his regular route, ferrying people back and forth to the southern Somali
port town of Kismaya (ph). No passports, no questions.
And this junction isn't out in the middle of nowhere. It's only 20 kilometers from a major military base and the Dadaab (ph) air strip. And
yet out here, you wouldn't know it. There is no government presence, just clear access all the way to Somalia.
In spite of an increased security drive for the government, al Shabaab's attacks and ambitions have been spilling over into Kenya with
Once little known back roads, the panya (ph) are now a security nightmare.
In Nairobi, the spokesperson for the ministry of interior tells us they're doing everything they can to fight this, but it's not easy.
MWENDA NJOKA, KENYA MINISTRY OF INTERIOR SPOKESMAN: There is a border that is (inaudible) -- a border that is being constructed along the Kenya-
Somali border. It's a long border. It has been porous for a long time, because previous governments have not taken serious action to ensure that
there is -- there is proper control.
We have established a border patrol police that was a specialist police unit with a specialist. We are equipping them with specialized
equipment. We are not denying that there is a problem we have.
ELBAGIR: On the panya (ph) routes, the sun begins to set. Night falls as we wind our way directly into the heart of Dadav (ph) town. No
checkpoints, no security searches, and no one the wiser.
ELBAGIR: This is a security headache that's having regional and global implications and Kenya is a key U.S. security ally. The view from
those we're speaking to inside the Kenyan government is that they hope that President Obama will have even closer cooperation and closer ties to
announce on that security issue when he comes here tomorrow evening, Fred.
[11:35:15] PLEITGEN: And of course, Nima, Kenya has been dealing for awhile with extremists who want to destabilize the situation there.
It's one thing to look at the border area, but if we look at the general situation in northern Kenya, what's the security situation like
there? And how is it developing?
ELBAGIR: Well, the north is still reeling from that horrifying attack back in April at Garissa University, which killed almost 150 people. And
you can still feel the impact of that. And there is, of course, concern beyond that as you get closer to the border through Dadab (ph).
There are concerns about the fact that the mobile phone network doesn't extend across that region, so it's very difficult to get the kind
of intelligence coordination you would need.
You saw in that piece some of those roads. It's very difficult to pass through them. This is an almost 800 kilometer border. And although
here in Nairobi sometimes it can be easy to forget when you're wandering down the street how insecure that entire region is. But the reality is
from the government's perspective this is not something they can afford. And it is definitely something -- not something they can afford to ignore.
And it's definitely something they tell us is absolutely on the forefront of their forward planning and their efforts going forward here, Fred.
PLEITGEN: Senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir there in Nairobi in Kenya. Thank you very much for your reporting.
Now, Northern Africa has seen a wave of jihadist attacks. Among the most recent, the mass murder of 38 tourists on a beach in Tunisia last
Take a look at this map for a sense of the growing problem. It shows the vast spread of jihadist attacks stretching thousands of kilometers in
more than a dozen countries.
On the right, you can see al Shabaab's region of operation in east Africa.
And joining me now to talk about the terror threat is Ralfaello Pantucci. He's the director of international security studies at RUSI, an
independent think tank for defense and security issues.
And, sir, thank you very much for joining me today.
We know that Africa is obviously vast, very diverse, very different. The threats are very different. But how do you explain that violent
jihadist activity is on the rise there in so many places?
RALFAELLO PANTUCCI, RUSI: Well, I think in a lot of cases you're dealing with sort of longstanding local issues where the sort of jihadist
narrative is managed to sort of parasite on top and sort of project itself on to these sorts of clashes that we've seen for some time.
For example, if we look at Boko Haram, which is very active in that sort of top corner of norheastern Nigeria and has slowly spread across the
borders into Niger, Cameroon and some of the neighboring countries...
PLEITGEN: Why are they turning to violent Islamism all of a sudden? Because there used to be a lot of tribalism, there used to be tribal
conflict in many places, but now it seems that that Islamist factor...
PANTUCCI: Well, in some ways those tribal issues haven't really gone away. And those clashes continue.
But now you can see on top of them the sort of Islamist narrative is able to project itself.
So, if you look at what's happening in Nigeria, for example, you've had historical division within that country of a north, which is
predominately Muslim and a south which is predominately Christian. And that sort of narrative continues to boil along in the background.
If you look at what you're seeing in Somalia, you have questions there of problem in Somali and al Shabaab which sort of has projected itself on
top of the longstanding tribal clashes you've had there. But you've also had this start to express itself in Kenya and Tanzania where you have
Muslim populations as well, and some of them are from different tribes and those tribes are sort of clashing and the sort of Islamist narrative fits
on top of it.
So in some ways what you're seeing is this sort of jihadist narrative is one that is sitting on top or parasitic alongside some of the sort of
longstanding issues that have been there.
PLEITGEN: What influence do jihadist networks, jihadist organizations in other places play in the jihadism that has taken hold in sub-Saharan
Africa? Obviously you have the two main groups al Qaeda and ISIS. What role do they play? And how does that ideology transit through countries
like Sudan, for instance?
PANTUCCI: Well -- and sometimes it's individuals. So, for example, if we're looking in at Nigeria, in 2009 the government came down very hard
on the organization. It scattered. What ended up happening was some of those individuals went north. And they connected with the sort of al Qaeda
groups that are sort of across the Magreb region. Those guys then went back and that sort of developed...
PLEITGEN: So in many ways a crackdown on terrorist networks can actually lead to their spread to other places?
PANTUCCI: It can do in some cases. You start to displace them and these guys move. And ultimately as your colleague was just pointing out in
Kenya, these borders are very long and quite porous in some ways. So there's an easy sort of transit that can in some cases happen.
So, often what you see is that the groups will get displaced. And sometimes it just takes some individuals, you know, a couple of individuals
who are key figures, who are able to connect with others, obtain funding, obtain arms and then from there can develop a network.
PLEITGEN: How important are ISIS and al Qaeda in all of this? And how close are these groups to ISIS and al Qaeda? I think we've seen Boko
Haram, for instance, pledge allegiance to ISIS.
PANTUCCI: I think we have to look at it in each different case. And I think it's very different.
I think if you look at what is happening in north Africa, in Libya in particular, I think it's quite worrying, the connection that you can see
developing with ISIS there. And I think that is quite a strong link in many ways.
If, instead, we look at Boko Haram, which has claimed to sort of decide to move under the banner of ISIS, I would question the connection a
lot more. It's been very difficult to see much tangible change in frankly what Boko Haram was already doing before and after the sort of decision to
align themselves with ISIS.
The really notable change has been in the media output, which seems to have improved, which suggests maybe there's some sort of communication
But in terms of transfer of money, weapons and other things, it doesn't seem that there's been a huge change.
[11:40:31] PLEITGEN: How much is it on the rise? How big a factor is this in Africa? I know that's a pretty broad thing to say because it'll be
different for various countries, but I mean the map with the amount of attacks seems to be quite troubling.
PANTUCCI: It is quite troubling. And I think in some ways the most troubling thing is the fact that we're seeing it slightly spill across
So, if we look at the cases like...
PLEITGEN: Cameroon, Chad...
PANTUCCI: Yeah, exactly.
PLEITGEN: We haven't really seen that in the past.
PANTUCCI: There's always been some question of links back and forth of people going back and forth across those borders, but your actually
seeing attacks there as well, and that's sort of quite worrying in a way.
And so in some ways it's the way that we see this spread in this continent and drifting across some of these border, which is quite
I think the fundamental problem is that you've got sort of fundamental underlying problems that often, you know, are in the background that these
groups are able to profit from to able to grow and develop and recruit and radicalize people. And that's often sort of one of their major issues.
PLEITGEN: Of course the country at least for now we're focusing a little more on is Kenya, because that's where the president is going at
this point. A stable country, a country that -- where tourism is a huge economic factor. How big a threat is this to the stability of Kenya. And
how would you rate the Kenyan authorities dealing with this issue?
And they obviously have a huge issue on their hands and just having Somalia right next door as well.
PANTUCCI: Well, I think they've got their problem in Somalia next door. And I think they're very aware of that.
I think the other dynamic, which I think the Kenyan government is trying to increasingly do more about, is a question of radicalization at
home. You know, if we look at the sort of Garissa attack, for example, it was clear that those individuals were actually Kenyans. They weren't
really Somalis who sort of come from the outside. And I think that's a very important and worrying dynamic.
But I think that the Kenyan authorities have done quite a bit to try to counter that.
PLEITGEN: Ralfaello Pantucci, thank you very much for coming on today.
PANTUCCI: Thank you.
PLEITGEN: And still to come on Connect the World, one country's strange love affair with the outlaws. We're live in Mexico City.
And a Quran manuscript that could be nearly as old as the prophet Muhammad. We'll tell you how it was found and where.
PLEITGEN: Welcome back to the show. You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with my Fred Pleitgen.
The real estate mogul and billionaire Donald Trump is headed for the U.S.-Mexican border. The Republican frontrunner for the White House is
scheduled to meet with border police and hold a town hall in Laredo, Texas in just a few hours.
Trump soared to the top of the polls with tough talk on Mexican immigrants and putdowns of respected Republicans.
Those same comments have lead to questions about his temperament and negative ratings as well.
But Trump told our own Anderson Cooper he could turn those perceptions around. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do -- do negative favorability ratings worry you?
TRUMP: I don't think so. I mean I've -- I've turned a lot of them around. And as you know in North Carolina, it was negative, and now it's
like tremendously positive. And when people hear what I say about the vets and how strong my commitment is to the vets, they've been treated so badly,
and to the border, which is just horrible, I mean, every time people listen to me, all of a sudden it becomes very favorable. A good example would be
North Carolina, where it's so positive. I haven't seen that. But I think, generally speaking, we're doing very well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: Today's visit to the border will be interesting. Laredo, Texas is 90 percent Hispanic. Latinos on both sides of the border were
outraged when Trump declared that Mexico was sending criminals and rapists into the United States. That of course, is a direct quote from him.
His campaign appearances have drawn protests. And he's estimated to have lost close to $50 million in business deals because of those comments
Now, Trump says his remarks have been distorted by the media. Our own Polo Sandoval is in the Mexican capital where the name Trump is becoming a
bad one. And Polo, presumably Donald Trumps poll ratings in Mexico would not be close to those that he has in America.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. I think they would be very different, Fred. And I think you described it very well. Today's visit is
expected to be very interesting, to say the least. A lot of people here in Mexico City, and really throughout the country will be watching very
closely to see exactly what this real estate mogul actually addresses when he is on the U.S.-Mexico border in just a matter of hours.
And what's interesting here is we spent the day speaking to people here in Mexico City, just folks walking to work this morning. And I can
tell you that they -- they're still expressing outrage with respect to his comments when he initially announced his candidacy, calling several of
these undocumented people who are illegally crossing into the U.S., in his words, rapists and criminals.
And so many people here are still focused on those comments.
Now that being said, though, Fred, we also get a sense from the people her in Mexico that they are two separate sides of Mexico, so to speak.
Here in the nation's capital we continue to see people who are more worried about the potential for economic growth in their country, trade as well,
with the United States. And that's really what people are talking about here.
Now drive about 11 hours north to the U.S.-Mexico border and talk to people anywhere in those six northern Mexican states from Baja California
all the way down to the state of Tamalitas (ph) and I can tell you that their opinions are going to be very different. I just spent some time
working on the border as a reporter and we really heard from the people there who are more worried about the drug trafficking, the human
trafficking, those are the issues that they do want to see a potential presidential candidate address, or at least a potential friend to the
And so it'll be interesting, Fred, to see exactly what Trump talks about when he's on the border. Expect a bit of controversy and expect some
people to be talking about it after that happens. But as for the people in Mexico, I can tell you that they are concerned about Trump, but at this
point today, it is really not the big topic of conversation. They're more worried about -- or at least talking more about their nation's team
advancing to the Gold Cup finals.
PLEITGEN: I'm sure they are.
But of course you're absolutely right. The person who is in the oval office also has a lot of influence about what goes on in Mexico and the
relations are becoming more and more important, the economic integration is becoming more and more between the U.S. and Mexico.
The people there, do they believe that Trump is for real? Or do they just see this as a fluke, they're just waiting to -- what goes on and
seeing what happens next?
SANDOVAL: Yeah, it's a great question, Fred.
I asked a few people what do you think of this guy? Showed them a picture. Many people just seem to laugh. They don't believe that he is
really going to be a serious presidential contender here. So I think it'll be interesting to see how their opinion on this man actually changes as we
get closer to November 2016.
At this point, it seems that they're simply watching to see what he's going to say next, to see what kind of controversy he's going to stir up.
But I think many people are really banding together here in Mexico, including behind Carlos Slim, the richest man in this country, really one
of the richest men in the world. This Mexican businessman who even pulled out of a deal last month with Donald Trump, a potential TV deal with his
television production team here in Mexico. They pulled out, especially after this comments.
So I think really that seems to be a reflection of what people are talking about here in the streets of Mexico.
PLEITGEN: Polo Sandoval in Mexico City for us. Thank you very much for your analysis.
And Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is reportedly no fan of Donald Trump. Guzman is still on the run after escaping from a Mexican prison nearly two
weeks ago. The drug lord is reportedly worth a billion dollars. And Mexico is offering a 3.5 million dollar reward -- 3.8 million to be
specific -- for information leading to his capture.
Here is Polo Sandoval again. He reports that admiration some people have for Chapo Guzman and the efforts to track him down. Have a look.
[11:50:18] SANDOVAL: On the streets of Mexico City, everyone knows the name of Joaquin Guzman. At this market, we found that cartel boss known as
About $8 will get you a t-shirt that bears the face of Mexico's most- wanted man.
The shopkeeper here says that his Chapo tees became the hottest item after the bold escape.
(on camera): He says people of all walks of life and economic backgrounds come here to buy this shirt.
(voice-over): He says it's not about the face on the shirt. He tells me he is just filling demand.
(on camera): Money and even drugs.
It's interesting, they also have the custom-made T-shirts like this one here. It's a plane white T-shirt but they have the machine to print el
Chapo's face on there. Even has the FBI on top. This is the wanted poster that has been circulating in Mexico.
SANDOVAL: Then there are the musical tributes to el Chapo. Narco ballads flood the Internet telling the story of the so-called great
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People are saying it was epic. The escape was epic. It's amazing. It's incredible. Like el Chapo is a hero and it's not
true. This guy is a terrible criminal.
SANDOVAL: Mexican journalist Sanibel Hernandez (ph) says that el Chapo is admired and seen like a Robin Hood-like figure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, let's be like el Chapo.
SANDOVAL: She says it's this glorification of the narco culture that allows Guzman to remain camouflaged among the people that revere him.
SANDOVAL: Polo Sandoval, CNN, Mexico City.
PLEITGEN: And live from London, this is Connect the World. Coming up, is this parchment found right here in the United Kingdom the oldest
Quran manuscript in the world? And how was it found? That's coming up next.
PLEITGEN: Once again, welcome back to the show. You are watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Fred Pleitgen here for you in London.
And in tonight's Parting Shots, we're going to take you to Birmingham in the UK with an amazing discovery, and one that could date back all the
way to the time of the Prophet Muhammad.
Our own Atika Shubert has more.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ancient ink flows in hija (ph) script, an early form of Arabic, written on pages made from
animal skin, fragments of what may be the oldest Quran ever discovered, Islam's holy book.
Experts now believe these pages are more than 1,000 years old, going back as far as the 6th or 7th Century. Only years after the founding of
Islam by the Prophet Muhammad.
[11:55:05] DAVID THOMAS, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: This manuscript could well have been written just after he died. The parts of the Quran
that are contained in those fragments are very similar indeed to the Quran as we have it today.
SHUBERT: The Quran is believed by Muslims to be a recitation by the Prophet Muhammad as revealed to him by the Angel Gabriel. Researchers
believe a final version of the Quran was likely compiled around 650 AD.
And they say the writer of these pages may even have known the Prophet Muhammad or heard him preach.
The pages lay hidden for nearly a century in England at the University of Birmingham, buried among more than 3,000 documents in their Middle East
collection. The local Muslim community of Birmingham, home to one of the largest mosques in western Europe was invited to see the manuscript.
MUHAMMAD ATZAL, MOSQUE CHAIRMAN: This goes back to the very early stages of Islam. And I think it was written in the period of third khalifa
And all the Muslims in the world would love to see this manuscript.
SHUBERT: Fragments were also found to match a Quran now at the national library in Paris. The university says the pages will stay in
Birmingham for now, and in October, the public will finally have chance to see these ancient pages for themselves.
Atika Shubert, CNN, London.
PLEITGEN: I'm sure many people from all over the world will come to see them.
And you can always follow the stories that our team is working on throughout the day by going to our Facebook page. Facebook.com/CNNConnect
and get in touch with me on Twitter @FpleitgenCNN.
Once again, I'm Fred Pleitgen, that was Connect the World. Thank you for watching.