Return to Transcripts main page


Pro-Government Forces Making Huge Against Against Houthis in Yemen; ISIS's Troubling New Tactics; The Search for Debris on Reunion Island; President Obama Hits Back Against Critics of Iranian Nuclear Deal; Singapore Celebrates Turning 50; Nagasaki Remembers Atomic Bomb. Aired 11:00a-12:00p ET

Aired August 9, 2015 - 11:00:00   ET


[11:00:12] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Shuffling the pack. The Iraqi prime minister introduces sweeping new reforms. Tonight, will Haider al-Abadi's

actions quell growing protests, or lead to more instability? We'll be live for you in Baghdad this hour.

Also ahead...


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They do have a lot in common with hard liners who are much more satisfied with the status quo.


ANDERSON: On the offensive, U.S. President Obama hits back at critics of the Iran deal in an exclusive interview with CNN.

And happy birthday Singapore. The city-state turns 50 today. We're going to have all the spectacular pomp and ceremony for you later this


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

ANDERSON: Well, it is 7:00 in the evening here in the UAE. Iraq's prime minister is proposing well some truly startling changes to his

government. In a statement, Haider al-Abadi says that he wants to eliminate the positions of Iraq's three vice presidents and three deputy

prime ministers. Yes, you got it right.

The suggested changes are seen as a response to weeks of protests in Baghdad and southern Iraqi cities.

Now demonstrators have been calling for better governance. News of the plan broke on Iraqi television and on social media. Abadi's stated

goal is to make the government more efficient and less corrupt.

But two things make this standout, and are seen as problematic. For one, these positions were created to ensure some measure of equal

representation in government between Sunni, Shia and Kurdish groups. And second, they are currently held by senior politicians, including two former

Iraqi prime ministers.

Well, for more on the changes and their potential impact, I'm joined by Sajad Jiyad. He's the director of Integrity, a research unit within the

international center for integration and cohesion, that's a title and a half.

Nearly a year ago, sir, you wrote, quote, "corruption, sectarianism, nepotism, cronyism and just about every other negative ism are accusations

thrown at a generation of Iraqi politicians by a growing number of disaffected Iraqis. A year on, is it too late for the prime minister to

change all of that, do you think?


No, I don't think it's too late. He's definitely going about things the right with his actions today.

I think if he hadn't announced what he did earlier today, then it might have been too late for him and for the current generation of

politicians. The protests have not been not just in Baghdad, not just in southern Iraq, but all over Iraq calling for an end to exactly those

things: corruption, cronyism and nepotism. And I think the PM made a strong indication of what his intentions are.

Today is a first step to wiping out some of the corruption that we have embedded within the system of Iraqi politics. And I think the young

people will continue demanding and protesting and supporting PM Abadi and his reform measures.

ANDERSON: Listen, it's about the economy and jobs that people have been protesting, and indeed about corruption. Behind all of this, though,

likes this U.S. campaign against ISIS in Iraq, which is of course entering its second year. It relies increasingly on Shia-backed militia backed by


What are the consequences for Iraq if that is perceived as the most likely strategy going forward, do you think?

JIYAD: Well, firstly we have to identify the fact that there's more than one component of the PMU, the Hashd al-Shaabi. There are Sunni units

from various Arab tribes. There are Christian denominations taking part in the Hashd. And yes Iran is heavily invested in Iraq's security. At the

same time so is the United States. And for Iraq, they will take help from wherever they can.

At the moment, it's in their interest to take all available help from Iran. And of course Iran does not want to see Iraq totally destabilized.

At the same time, it obviously wants to maintain its leverage over Iraq's government.

I think in the long-term, the fight against Daesh will go well for Iraq, and this bodes for improved U.S.-Iranian relations. But at the end of

the day, Iraq will want to impose its sovereignty and say to the United States and Iran at the same time that, listen, we want to be able to make

our own decisions about how we conduct our security. Thank you for your support, but we have a democratically elected government and we will take

charge of our security from here on.

Obviously, this is something that's been underway for a number of years. And Iran and America have done battle for who controls influence

and leverage over Iraq. But at the end of the day, I'm sure a lot of Iraqis out there, while they're thankful for American support, and

especially for Iranian support, still want Iraq to be independent of both Iran and the United States of America.

[11:05:14] ANDERSON: All right. Thank you for that.

And we watch with interest as to whether Haider al-Abadi can actually get these reforms that he's suggesting through and how they will affect

what is going on, on the ground across the country. Thank you, sir.

Well, so far in the U.S. presidential campaign. Donald Trumps brazen comments have served him well. But one particular remark about a female TV

anchor has him on the defensive.

He was complaining about Fox New's Megyn Kelly on CNN after last week's debate. I want remind you exactly what he said. Have a listen to



DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER: Have -- you know, gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions. And, you know, you

can see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her, wherever, but she was in my opinion she was off-base.

And by the way, not in my opinion, in the opinion of hundreds of thousands of people on Twitter. Because it has been a brutal day...


ANDERSON: All right. Well, Trump back on our air today defending the comment. Here's what the Republican frontrunner said a short time ago.


TRUMP: But didn't even finish the thought. I was going to say nose and or ears, because that's a very common statement, blood pouring out of

somebody's nose. It's a statement showing anger. She had great anger when she was questioning me.


ANDERSON: Sunlen Serfaty joining us from Washington.

Sunlen, his comment about the blood clearly making waves, let's say that. His top adviser quit over the weekend, accusing the Trump of losing

his grip on reality.

Did he ever have a grip?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think a lot of people in the Republican Party are questioning now -- you know, this is just a

pattern of a lot of inflammatory and controversial remarks by Mr. Trump, and so there is definitely questions within the party what they should do

with him and how they should move forward.

But Trump, as you noted today, has been all on the airwaves. Our air this morning really defending his most recent controversial comments,

trying to explain and really offer no apologies. This after a wave of criticism, Becky, coming from many calling it crude and demeaning towards


But he's sticking to his guns, as we've seen him do and really as we've seen in the past, the pattern is that he has a boost in the polls

potentially when he makes these controversial comments. So it really is a balancing act within the Republican Party how they handle Trump and, you

know, he's validated by his poll numbers that are still on the top going forward.

ANDERSON: All right. Sunlen, you know very well that Mr. Trumps comments have sparked a very strong reactions across the political

spectrum. Have a listen to this reaction from the only Republican woman in the race for the White House, Carly Fiorina, who also spoke to our

colleagues Jake Tapper earlier today.


CARLY FIORINA, 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I started this campaign, I was asked on a national television show whether a woman's

hormones prevented her from serving in the Oval Office. My response was can we think of a single instance in which a man's hormones might have

clouded his judgment.


FIORINA: Yeah, me too. Maybe in the Oval Office.


ANDERSON: Well, perhaps that's quite clever. And perhaps we should ask the Democratic frontrunner Mrs. Clinton for a response to that.

Seriously, 16 months out from the election, is Donald Trump a candidate who stands a chance for running for president in November 2016, that's a

question I'm being asked internationally all the time.

SERFATY: Well, he is running for president, and right now the polls show nationally that he is the frontrunner in the Republican primary. And

he has a good lead. He in some early states he's doing well in Iowa. He's doing well in New Hampshire. So his candidacy is validated by these poll

numbers, which continue to show that he is doing very well and doing very strongly.

But certainly there are many questions over his candidacy, especially within the Republican Party. Many question whether the establishment wing

of the Republicans should continue to tolerate him as a candidate.

But it is a balancing act because in the back of their mind, Becky, they know that there's this threat here from Trump himself that he could

run as a third party candidate if he doesn't get the nomination -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

Well, it's been exactly one year since an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. A march

in Michael Brown's honor is set to take place in the coming hours. He death thrust Fergson as she will rightly remember into the center of a

debate over race and policing in Ameica.

Well, CNN's Sara Sidner has a look at what has changed since then.


[11:10:15] SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The scars of protestors' fury white clean, waiting for progress. This is Ferguson one year after a

white police officer Daren Wilson shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, unleashing months of protest. Though Wilson was not indicted

by a grand jury and he was cleared of civil rights violations by the federal government, Brown's life became a symbol for something more, that

black lives are too often treated as dispensable in American society.

CHRIS PHILLIPS, FILMMAKER: Regardless of if you saw what happened or not, it was the blatant disrespect that people feel because they left his

body here for four and a half hours. And so, that is really what charges people up.

SIDNER: Film maker and Ferguson resident Chris Phillips lives in the apartment complex were Brown was killed. So moved by the raw emotions he

witnessed, he began recording it, culminating in a documentary.

(on camera): Has anything changed in the relationship between police and people here, especially in this particular area?

PHILLIPS: I don't think anything has changed with the relationship. Because they are still not engaging their citizens.

SIDNER (voice over): After a Department of Justice investigation that found Ferguson was disproportionately and excessively ticketing and fining

its black citizens to bankroll its budget the white police chief, city manager and chief judge, all criticized in that report have been replaced.

The new interim police chief is black, so is the new city manager and the new municipal judge as are two new city council members.

(on camera): What's left to protest?

PHILLIPS: So, really, it's kind of like you can use the analogy of weeds in a garden. And for some people, it's just kind of like, you can

pull all these weeds out. But if you still have one there, then, you know, the weeds can grow back again.

SIDNER (voice over): To some protesters, the mayor is that weed that must be removed. They see the interim titles as a temporary smokescreen

with no real change at how citizens are treated. But Ferguson resident Blake Ashby disagrees.

BLAKE ASHBY, RESIDENT: We are moving forward. Our city is getting better. That will not happen overnight. You know, destruction is immediate

and for the people destroying, very gratifying. Change is hard and takes time.

SIDNER: Though Ashby says he is not blind to racial disparities in America.

ASHBY: Statistically, it's hard to say that our society values African American lives as much as wild lives.

SIDNER: He isn't the only one who worries that a small sliver of the new movement could tear the racial divide open even further.

ASHBY: Essentially, what they're doing, they are dismissing everybody else who doesn't do things exactly the way they do. If we're not out

shouting at the cops and threatening to rape their families, then somehow we are not really committed to the cause of social justice.

SIDNER: Back on Canfield drive, a plaque serves as a reminder of what happened here. Trying to make a point that this wasn't just about Brown's

death, but the rebirth of a civil rights movement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With this legacy, I think it has affected the world in a good sense. Because it affected. It did make people motivated to speak

up, to march, to rally, to fight for change.


ANDERSON: All right. Well, Sara is joining us now from Ferguson.

And race relations, Sara, not just highlighted in Ferguson, but in a series of events before and after that. How big a role will the racial

divide in America play in one of these upcoming 2016 election campaigns do you think?

SIDNER: I think it will be quite large. I mean, you're starting to see some of that even on the stage as some of these politicians come out

and start talking about what their plans are for America. Just recently, one of the well known liberal Democratic candidates found himself

surrounded by folks from Black Lives Matter who basically sort of shut down his ability to talk because they wanted him to talk about issues affecting

African-Americans and they wanted the audience to hear them.

And so you're already starting to see that. Whether or not it's going to be the biggest issue, I don't think so, but it will certainly be on the

top 10 what people want to hear from their candidates. It is a huge issue still in this country. There is no denying that.

And I can tell you from being here for such a long period of time, being in and out of this community, that it is certainly a polarizing

issue, still. A lot of emotion behind it depending on which side that you come from.

There is still a lot of talk about race in this country, and race -- racial issues affect a lot of people -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Sara Sidner is in Ferguson for you this evening. Sara, always a pleasure. Thank you.

You're watching Connect the World with me Becky Anderson live from Abu Dhabi for you this evening.

Still to come, as the U.S. lawmakers head to Israel and support in congress softens, can President Obama still get the wrong nuclear deal

past? We're live in Jerusalem for more up next.

Plus, as conflict in Yemen rages on, the humanitarian crisis there getting worse. We're going to get you live to the capital this evening to

speak to the president of the International Red Cross for more. That's coming up.


[11:17:33] ANDERSON: This is Connect the World live from Abu Dhabi with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

17 minutes past seven here in the region.

U.S. President Obama sticking by the Iran nuclear deal even in the face of defections from his own party, it's got to be said.

Late last week, the Senate's third ranking Democrat Chuck Schumer said that he won't support the agreement. Mr. Obama also sticking by a line in

a speech he made last week where he compared Iran's hard liners and his own U.S. Republicans.

Well, he spoke with CNN's Fareed Zakaria about those who oppose the deal in both countries.


FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, ZAKARIA GPS: In your speech at American University you made a comparison. You said that Iran's hard-liners were

making common cause with Republicans. It's come under a lot of criticism. Mitch McConnell says even Democrats who oppose the deal should be insulted.

The "Wall Street Journal" says this rhetoric shows that you've abandoned the hope of getting any Republicans or even moderate Democrats, and you are

targeting this message to the hard core of House Democrats who are going to sustain your veto.

OBAMA: Fareed, your question is about politics. Let me talk about substance. What I said is absolutely true factually. The truth of the

matter is inside of Iran, the people most opposed to the deal are the Revolutionary Guard, the Quds Force, hard liners who are implacably opposed

to any cooperation with the international community, and there is a reason for that because they recognize that if in fact this deal gets done, that

rather than them being in the driver's seat with respect to the Iranian economy, they are in a weaker position.

And the point I was simply making is that, if you look at the facts, the merits of this deal, then you will conclude that, not only does it cut

off a pathway for Iran getting a nuclear weapon, but it also establishes the most effective verification and inspection regime that's ever been put

in place. It also ensures that we are able to monitor what they do with respect to stockpiles, plutonium, their underground facility, and that it

does not ask us to relinquish any of the options that we might need to exercise if in fact Iran cheated or if, at some point, they decided to try

to break up.

And so the reason that Mitch McConnell and the rest of the folks in his caucus who oppose this jumped out and opposed it before they even read

it, before it was even posted, is reflective of an ideological commitment not to get a deal done.

ZAKARIA: You don't...

OBAMA: And in that sense they do have a lot in common with hard- liners who are much more satisfied with the status quo.


ANDERSON: Exclusive interview there with Fareed.

Well, Mr. Obama defending the Iran nuclear deal in that interview with my colleague Fareed.

But as he said, he's finding it virtually impossible to sell it to everybody. This comes as a group of 58 U.S. lawmakers from both parties

pay a visit to Israel. Now their trip is being paid for by a pro-Israeli lobbying group. It was in the works, we are told, before the current

debate over the nuclear deal.

Members of Congress will vote on the agreement in mid-September. Those visiting Israel will certainly be pressed on the issue during their


Well, let's cross to Israel for you now where CNN's Oren Liebermann is standing by for us in Jerusalem.

And Oren, the New York Times today suggesting that there are fears of a lasting rift as Obama battles this pro-Israel group on Iran. What do

these congressmen and women -- what should they expect to hear from Israel that they haven't heard already on Iran?

[11:20:16] OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it very much could be more of what Netanyahu has been saying from the very

beginning here. He's opposed this Iran deal since the beginning, since the framework agreement, since the final agreement. And now with those two

sort of deadlines gone, he knows his next stage is the congressional deal.

So right now he has 22 Democrats here. He met with them today. He'll meet with Republicans who arrive tomorrow. He'll meet with them later on

this week.

The Republicans he doesn't have to worry as much about, because many of them are aligned with him in opposing the deal, it's the Democrats. Can

he sway any of them?

Now, as you mentioned, they were scheduled to come here before we knew that Iran deal deadline. So, the visit is coincidental.

But not that he has this opportunity to sit down and talk with 22 Democrats, it'll be very interesting to see and very telling to see if he

can swing any of these votes. And some of Republican -- I'm sorry, Democratic congressmen, are considered swing votes. So if he can sway a

few of them to his side, this trip, this visit would have to be considered, I think, a success for prime minister Netanyahu as he lobbies against the


ANDERSON: It's either Iran nuclear deal, or the Iran nuclear deal, or, and I quote, "some form of war." That was a warning from President

Obama. How do words like that go down in Israel? That sort of narrative?

LIEBERMANN: Well, Prime Minister Netanyahu has for awhile now said all options are on the table and all options will remain on the table. He

hasn't specifically mentioned an attack, but of course that is what many view him as referencing there.

There hasn't been too much specific reaction to that comment yet. Prime Minister Netanyahu has simply pushed against the deal not referencing

any military strike or anything like that or saying that that is the only other option.

But again from day one he has said that the alternative to this deal is what he has called a better deal: more sanctions and pushing Iran harder

on the terms of a deal.

ANDERSON: Oren Libermann is in Jerusalem for you this evening.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. Coming up, one of the biggest stages in football kicks off a new

season. We take a look at Chelsea's start in defending their English Premier League title. That and more coming up.

And Singapore shows off how far it has come as it celebrates a major milestone. You're watching CNN. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. It is 24 minutes past 7:00 here.

Well, it may have been a long wait for some football fans. But the world's most expensive soccer league is back.

Champions Chelsea and Manchester United were in action on the opening day of the Premier League, which was Saturday. And tomorrow, Abu Dhabi-

owned Manchester City are expected to start Raheem Sterling, the midfielder that they signed for a recordbreaking $76 million.

Well, let's bring in CNN World Sport's Patrick Snell with more on what is always a huge weekend for football fans everywhere, whoever they

support, and wherever they are watching.

Before we talk about whether Raheem is worth it and how he's going to step up to the pressure, just walk us through what we've seen, what we've

heard and what the results have been?

[11:25:06] PATRICK SNELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, it's been a thrilling weekend so far, hasn't it, Becky? I know you follow the north

London footie scene in particular very closely indeed, that's where I want to start. Just a short while ago on Sunday Arsenal beginning their

campaign. Many people feeling that under Arsene Wenger maybe finally this is going to end the 11 year wait for a Premier League title.

I can tell you they started against West Ham, the first London Darby of the new season and this went disastrously for the Gunners playing at The

Emirates and for their new keeper Petr Cech in goal had a really, really poor game on his Premier League debut.

The Hammers winning by 2-0. The first goal coming form the Senagalese Cheikhou Koyate. When Cech came for the ball, he didn't get there. And

the header beat him into the back of the net.

And then the second one from Mauro Zarate, the Argentine, making it 2-0. The final score in that one.

So The Hammers will be absolutely delighted with that.

Food for thought already for Arsene Wenger and Petr Cech will be very, very disappointed, at fault as well for the second. He made a sluggish

dive and didn't get anywhere near the ball.

Now across London a day earlier on Saturday, the champions Chelsea on Jose Mourinho, they dropped points as well. A really intriguing start to

the new season. Jose Mourinho, the Special One, well there was another Mourinho moment. And he didn't comment about the red card, rightly

brandished in my book, to Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois, but he did speak afterwards criticizing his own medical team.

By this point late in the game where Eden Hazard, another Belgian player, required treatment, his medical team went on to the field of play.

Now once that happens it means the player has to come off and temporarily Chelsea were down to nine players. That certainly got Mourinho's goat.

And the Portuguese clearly though overall frustrated really, Becky, by drop points 2-2 at home to Chelsea. This is what he told reporters afterwards

about that.


JOSE MOURINHO, CHELSEA MANAGER: He's not -- the players know that -- they know that is a bad result. But they know also that one point is one

point. Playing with 10 men for such a long time is much more difficult. And fundamentally they know that I'm happy with the quality they had in the

first half. And I'm happy with their spirit in the second half.

So, we are in peace. We are not happy with the result.


SNELL: He does not look at all happy. And Becky, I know you follow Tottenham very closely indeed. They lost their opening. Harry Kane in all

that. 1-0 to Manchester United. Three points for Louis van Gaal's team. On Louis van Gaal's 64th birthday as well.

ANDERSON: Very good. Thank you for that one.

Very quickly, Manchester City opening up their campaign Monday of course as I said. How will Raheem Sterling handle the pressure, do you


SNELL: It remains to be seen. He's a rather confident young man at just 20 years of age, this Jamaican born English international of course

leaving Liverpool under controversial circumstances. And he is the most expensive English player ever at around $76 million that Man City paid to

Liverpool for his services.

There's no doubt that Manuel Pellegrini sees a player of huge talent brimming with confidence, but he's still in my book has to prove it week

in, week out on the biggest of stages. Inconsistency is typically a problem with young players. It wasn't a particularly nice scene of events

that lead to his departure from Liverpool when he reportedly refused to go on that preseason tour to Asia. We now know that this deal was being

worked upon quite clearly.

He's arrived at at the Etihad and he -- the key for him, Becky, is he needs to get regular playing time in that Manchester City starting 11, and

as you know at that club competition for places is extremely, extremely tough.

City opening up against West Brom on Monday at The Hawthorns -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Good stuff. Great start to the season.

Well, Tottenham obviously a great exciting start to the season. Patrick, always a pleasure.

And you will have much more on the start of the new Premier League season coming up on World Sport, and that starts in about 30 minutes


Still to come tonight on this show, foreign air strikes may help bring Yemen's conflict to an end sooner, but at what price to the country? Well,

let's go live to the capital for you to find out. That is just ahead.

Plus, bells ring in Nagasaki as people in Japan mark 70 years since one of the greatest horrors of war.


[11:32:17] ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. The top stories for you this hour.

And Iraq's prime minister has proposed getting rid of all vice president and deputy prime minister posts. The move in response to

widespread protests and claims of government corruption. Now the proposal must still be voted on by parliament.

Dozens of American lawmakers are arriving in Israel for what is a trip that was planned before the Iran nuclear deal was negotiated. Israel's

prime minister has vigorously opposed that deal. U.S. President Barack Obama trying to rally support for the deal and told CNN's Farreed Zakaria

that if it works it will be good for Israel.

At least 22 people were killed in a bombing in north Afghanistan today -- on Saturday, sorry. A day after violence in the capital left more than

50 dead. The Taliban claimed responsibility for attacks targeting an international coalition base and a police academy.

Donald Trump tells CNN that a remark he made after last week's Republican debate was misunderstood and he says he was not referring to

menstruation when he said a female moderator had blood coming out of her eyes and, quote, everywhere.

Well, Trump added as a White House contender he is serious about women's issues.


TRUMP: When you are negative on women's health you can forget about it. And I'm the exact opposite. I cherish women. I want to help women.

I'm going to do things for women that no other candidate will be able to do. And it's very important to me.


ANDERSON: To the investigation into MH370 for you now. And teams from France are intensifying their search for debris. The French Prime

Minister ordered air cruise ships and troops to comb the beaches of Reunion Island. CNN's Erin McLaughlin shows us what the searchers are dealing


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in San Andre on the very beach where they found that flaperon, the flaperon that has now been tied

to MH370, the search has intensified. Local authorities saying they're out searching all along this coast line today. We've seen a military plane in

the distance scouring the waters as well.

Taking a walk along this beach, you really get a sense of what these searchers are up against. The place absolutely littered with trash. And

you can see how it would be very difficult for them to differentiate between what is just garbage and what is potential plane debris.

We know from local authorities, volunteers have turned in everything from a flip flop to pieces of a ladder.

Now Malaysia has sent out its own team of experts to scour the coastline. They say they found a number of items that appear to be plane

parts. And we understand that they have turned those items over to French officials. And French officials so far saying that nothing appears

relevant enough at the moment to warrant sending on to Paris for further analysis, saying that the items are not obvious such as the flaperon, and

they require complex investigation.

Now we know that this search is expected to continue for the next week.

Erin McLaughlin, CNN, San Andre, Reunion.


[11:35:26] ANDERSON: Well, some U.S. officials are warning about a possible new shift in strategies used by ISIS. It is feared that the

militants may now be plotting attacks aimed at creating mass casualties. As our Jim Sciutto reports, competition with another group may be driving

that change.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From the bloody rampage in Paris on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, to attacks on commercial aviation, the U.S.

intelligence community divided on whether ISIS today focused on less ambitious lone wolf attacks maybe working to build the capability to carry

out mass casualty attacks, more complex, more coordinated, more deadly motivation, in part, to compete with AQAP.

That same competition was evident this week when AQAP made its own pitch to supporters to carry out lone wolf attacks that so far have been

largely ISIS's territory.

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: So I think they're taking a lot of the new recruits that they don't have time to train

who have not been brought up in their systems and they're using them to create the kind of mass casualty -- which produces the media attention that

exactly is what they want that shows they're still powerful.

SCIUTTO: U.S. intelligence assesses that the formidable flow of foreign fighters to ISIS has not abated. Today, the total number of ISIS

fighters numbers between 20 and 30,000, similar to levels when the U.S.-led air campaign began, despite thousands believe killed in coalition


The administration is also claiming gains on the ground.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: In Iraq, ISIL has lost the freedom to operate in some 30 percent of the territory that they held last

summer. Overall, ISIL has lost more than 17,000 square kilometers of territory in northern Syria.

SCIUTTO: Still, U.S. officials say the process of degrading ISIS will take at least three years. In fact, the president pledging no specific

timeline for defeating the group, not disputing that he will hand this war to the next president.

OBAMA: I think my key goal when I turn over the keys to the president, the next president, is that we are on track to defeat ISIL.

SCIUTTO: The U.S. believes it has been having success against the Khorasan Group, this is an offshoot of al Qaeda present in Syria at the

start of the U.S.-led air campaign. There had been concern of imminent attacks from this group, but now under pressure from the U.S. and the

coalition it is now believed that threat no longer imminent.

Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.


ANDERSON: Well, from there to Yemen for you where the Iran-backed Houthi rebels have been dealt another blow in the fight for control of that


Now forces loyal to the ousted government have recaptured the town of Zinjibar from the Houthis. You can see on this map that it's a short

distance from what is the strategically important port city of Aden.

It's one of the many recent victories that pro-government forces have won in what is this civil war as they surge to try and retake the country.

They are backed by airstrikes, like these, as well as weapons from Saudi Arabia.

Well, for the latest let's cross over to Yemen's capital Sanaa where Hakim Almasmari joins us now live via Skype. He's the editor-in-chief of

the Yemen Post newspaper.

Hakim, how significant a blow is this for these Houthi rebels at this point?

HAKIM ALMASMARI, YEMEN POST: Over the last week, there have been numerous blows to the Houthis, and this is by far one of the blows, and a

major one. But as of now, clashes are still continuing in Zinjibar.

But again, last week the Saudi allied troops in Sanaa, the pro-Hadi troops, have no gains where not even in control of any city. Today they're

in control of provinces, which is a very powerful blow to the Houthis who did not expect such continuous blows in just a very short time.

Aden is lost, Lahed (ph) is lost, by tonight or tomorrow morning Abyan, which Zinjibar is within, and other provinces are right now seeing

fierce clashes.

So, it's unpredictable right now, but unbelievable how things have switched and changed so quickly where the Houthis were very powerful and in

control just 10 days ago. And are today very (inaudible) and losing a lot of ground -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah, and you make a very good point, their power base, it seems, depleted by the day.

Is it more or less likely than at this point that a political solution and one that includes Houthi representation is possible.

[11:40:14] ALMASMARI: This is where Oman comes in the picture. Right now there's a very senior delegation, a Yemeni delegation in Oman

negotiating a ceasefire and a halt of this war in Yemen. According to our -- a Houthi sources, the Houthis are giving in to some demands, but again

this -- the Oman (inaudible) the halt of war and a ceasefire are now (inaudible) within the next couple of days Yemen could be going into a

long-term war, because right now Saudi is gaining ground, the Houthis are weaker today than they were last week. This is the right time for Saudis

to ensure that the war comes to an end and start dialogue.

The Saudi foreign minister has also welcomed the Houthis for dialogue and to be involved in the future of Yemen.

But again, under their restrictions and their only political faction in Yemen, one of the factions are not representing all of Yemen.

So the next couple of days are very vital to see whether the talks in Oman succeed or not. And everyone in Yemen 26 million are keeping their

fingers crossed.

ANDERSON: Yeah. We're hoping to get into Sanaa to -- another part of the city at this point -- to speak to the head of the ICRC who has been

witnessing the damage.

Before we do that, though, sir, just describe for our viewers, if you will, life in Sanaa today for the average man, woman and child who is

trying to live through what is this terrible conflict.

ALMASMARI: Becky, it's unbelievable right now in Sanaa. Yemen is -- what is already before the war, one of the poorest countries in the world

and by far the poorest in the Middle East. Now, there's 20 million, that's 80 percent of the population living in povery, hunger, the humanitarian

crisis is unbelievable right now. Millions cannot reach clean water. The UN as well and their humanitarian program have not been able to reach those

most in need because of the clashes that are taking place in different parts of the country.

Unbelievable right now. Sanaa is a bit safe because the Houthis are still in control, but people outside Sanaa, streets are full of militants

from all sides. No one knows who is fighting with other side and airstrikes -- today alone we had 65 airstrikes around Yemen. So, very, very dangerous

right now.

But again, this week is very vital and will decide whether this peace talk in Oman (inaudible)

ANDERSON: Yeah, OK. Thank you, Hakim.

And just for our viewers' sake, and we've been looking at pictures as you spoke, of ties in other city in Yemen, some of these pictures recent,

some of them a week or so old. The fighting in Yemen has caused what is a devastating humanitarian crisis, then, as Hakim was describing in what is

already a desperately poor country.

You can see some aid being passed out to locals in these following pictures, but there simply isn't enough to go around.

The United Nations estimates that some 80 percent of the population needs help.

Let's return to the capital then where Peter Maurer joins us from tonight. Peter, you -- the president of the International Committee of the

Red Cross.

I know that you've sent us some video. I want to roll that for our viewers and get you just to talk through what you have been witnessing on

your trip there.

PETER MAURER, PRESIDENT ICRC: Well, I have witnessed on my trip here. I have visited hospitals, I have visited population affected by the war

directly and indirectly. And Yemen, which has been a country already poor and difficult to manage before the airstrikes and before the outbreak of

the recent violence, has seen its full impact on the economy, on the social fabric, on the health system in Yemen. And you can see it when first and

foremost you visit hospitals. And areas affected by the bombardments.

In hospital, what struck me most is that there are not only the direct victims of the war, those wounded by weapons, but there is also a lack of

medicine, a lack of medical equipment, a lack of oxygen for surgery, a lack of energy to make the hospitals work. There are all over the country

hospitals affected, hospitals have had to close down. And so the impact on the health system at large is even bigger than the impact on people

immediately of the warfare and the fighting, both together create a serious -- a very serious humanitarian situation.

[11:45:00] ANDERSON: Peter, time and again we are told that a political solution is still a possibility. From what you have seen and

heard, do the innocent victims of this conflict, the people of Yemen, believe that?

MAURER: Well, there is no question that every -- all the political leaders I have met agree that the conflict in Yemen can only find an end if

there is a political solution. And I think people to whom I have spoken today also wish that the fighting stops. This is a recurring expression of

what people want in all the conflicts that I visit.

The question is how realistic this is, and at the same time as people express the wish for a political solution and the peaceful solution,

fighting in going on and we have to cope with the consequences of this fighting.

ANDERSON: We've been running a strap below you saying that 80 percent of Yemenis now need aid. Sometimes, these statistics just become, a,

another. So let's just remind our viewers of just how dire the situation is once again as we look at pictures that we've been sent by the ICRC.

We are talking about eight out of 10 Yemenis in need of what sort of aid, sir, specifically.

MAURER: Well, it is the basic humanitarian aid which is needed in all those situations.

First, let me say that Yemen is a country which is 90 percent dependent on imports. So, every restriction, every disruption, is

particularly affecting the people.

Now, what is most needed is definitely -- is everything connected to the health sector, it's medicine, medical equipment, it is fuel and energy

to run hospitals and medical centers. Water and sanitation systems are in shamble because of the fighting, which is going on. Housing is a big

problem, there is a huge number of displaced people in the country.

So, you have at the same time all the basic humanitarian needs and definitely no humanitarian actor, neither the ICRC or anybody else, can

cope to such a large extent the needs which we see evolving the very basic needs of the population in Yemen.

And moreover, as humanitarians can cope with the size of this -- of this crisis, we need to ensure that slowly, slowly, the economy can come

back and can restart that basic materials are coming back to the country.

ANDERSON: Yeah. At least there is some aid getting in, some months ago, that wasn't even a possibility. So I guess we should say there is an

improvement of sorts.

Peter, always a pleasure, thank you very much indeed.

You're watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. This at 48 minutes past 7:00.

Coming up, a nation remembers: Japan marks 70 years since the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Nagaski. We're going to hear from survivors up


And celebrations in Singapore as it marks a very special birthday.


[11:51:20] ANDERSON: What has been a somber day of remembrance across Japan, marking 70 years since the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the

Japanese city of Nagaski, these things are from a Catholic mass in the city. Earlier, the Japanese prime minister spoke at a ceremony honoring

the victims saying he will push to get rid of nuclear weapons.


SHINZO ABE, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): As the world's only country to have experienced an atomic bomb during a war, and

in adherence to our three non-nuclear principles, I've renewed our vows to lead the world in the efforts towards nuclear disarmament in order to

achieve a world without nuclear weapons.


ANDERSON: Well the bombing together with another one on Hiroshima led to the end of World War II in the Pacific after Japan's surrender. But

more than 70,000 people died in the Nagazaki attack and from subsequent radiation sickness, leaving a legacy that is still felt today.

Well, the ceremony was held at the Nagasaki Peace Park right where the bomb exploded in 1945.

Well, to a very different ceremony now. People across Singapore have been celebrating the 50th anniversary of the country's independence. The

spectacular fireworks were part of what was a wideranging celebrations planned for the weekend and those five decades may not seem much, the

country has changed enormously in that time as CNN's David Malko reports.


DAVID MOLKO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a country that was never meant to be, a tiny city-state with no natural resources. But Singapore has

proven in the last 50 years that it is a clean green economic powerhouse.

Tens of thousands of people have turned out today to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their country's independence.

Critics say this has come at a cost, especially when it comes to civil rights and political freedoms. But Sinaporeans who have turned out today

say they are here not only to celebrate five decades of history, but also to turn an eye to their future.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's amazing how Singapore has become from third world to first world in just 50 years. And that's really why

it's such a momentous occasion for our (inaudible).

MOLKO: Across the island, patriotic branding is in full overdrive, especially here at Marina Bay where they've got a front row seat to all the


You can't go anywhere without seeing a sea of red and white.

This long weekend of concerts, carnivals and performances all culminates with the national day parade and show, a celebration of history,

a show of military might, and a tribute to founding father Lee Kuan Yew who passed away earlier this year.

Like any country, Singapore has its challenges, including reinvigorating its economy and finding space to grow. But the fact the

city-state has come this far against the odds, Sinaporeans say, is in and of itself, worth celebrating.

David Molko, CNN, Singapore.


ANDERSON: Before we wrap up this hour, viewers love for animals in one of this region's most ancient cities. Tonight's Parting Shots up next.


ANDERSON: Tonight's Parting Shot, two brothers with a passion for caring for animals. Have a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My project Kashash Sharam (ph), which means the pigeonkeeper, is the story I shot in Amman Jordan about two identical twins

Dilal (ph) and Samir (ph). These two twins have a passion for animals, especially pigeons, which they have been keeping for the past 25 years on

the rooftop of their family home.

They live together in the family home where they grew up in the Jebel (ph) neighborhood, which is in the old part of Amman. And they live there

with an older brother.

Every single day these two animal lovers would feed 50 stray cats from the neighborhood, besides the one they have in their own home.

Seeing them take care of the birds, I can only admire the bond between them and the animals.

This home they live in is a big, old stone house with a garden and lots of charm to it. And it stands perched on one of the seven hills of

Amman where they are enriched by this breathtaking panorama of the city. And the view on the rooftop gets even more beautiful when you see all the

pigeons flying in circles in the evening time.


ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson, those are your Parting Shots. And that was Connect the World. Thank you for watching.