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Russia Begins Airstrikes in Syria; Interview with David Beckham; African Startup: SuperGeek; The Fight for Kunduz. Aired 11:00a-12:00p ET

Aired September 30, 2015 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:11] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Russia launches air strikes in Syria just hours after its parliament approves the use of force. Moscow says

it's hitting ISIS, but U.S. officials think the Kremlin may have other targets in mind.

We're live for you this hour in Moscow and in Washington as this new phase of the Syrian war begins.

Also ahead, back in the fray as the Afghan army struggles to retake a key city. NATO war planes attack the Taliban.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why don't you take your cheap camera and get out of this ring before I make you get out.


ANDERSON: CNN braves a round with the Arab world's first female wrestler, a rather gripping report up later.

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

ANDERSON A very good evening form the UAE. It is 7:00, or just after, here in the region.

And we begin with a dramatic escalation of the war in Syria as Russian war planes launch their first airstrikes against enemies of Syrian

President Bashar al Assad.

Russia's defense ministry says the attacks targeted ISIS militants and their military equipment.

Syrian activists release this video saying it shows the aftermath of strikes around the city of Homs.

Let's just have a listen to this for a moment.

Well, a U.S. official tells Reuters it does not appear that any ISIS- held parts of Homs were actually hit, but we are still getting information about the targets.

Syrian state TV just reported that strikes also hit Hama Province.

Meanwhile, at this hour, and as we speak on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Russia is chairing a summit on the fight against terror.

Now, within the past hour, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov made a brief comment about the airstrikes. Here's what he had to say.


SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): On the 30th of September in response to a letter by the president of Syria, the

president of Russia asked and received the consent of the council of federation for the use of the armed forces of the Russian federation in the

Syrian Arab Republic. We're referring here exclusively to operation of the Russian air force to carry out strikes against ISIL positions in Syria.

We have informed the authorities of the United States and other members of the coalition created by the Americans of this and are ready to

forge standing channels of communication to ensure maximally effective fight against the terrorist groups.


ANDERSON: Well, the airstrikes come just hours after Russia's parliament formally approved military action in Syria. Let's get straight

to our senior international correspondent Matthew Chance in Moscow for more.

And what do we know of the details of Russia's activities, then, in Syria? And what was asked of the Russians by the Syrian president himself?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it's first of all been moving so rapidly, hasn't it, Becky, that it's been sort of

difficult to keep up with all of these developments. We've seen not only the speech at the UN General Assembly two days ago, but just this morning

the formal rubber stamping of a Kremlin request for Russia to use its forces overseas. That was granted unanimously.

And then the commencement of airstrikes marking very violently, I have to say, the formal start of Russia's participation I suppose in the Syrian

war was those images that look quite dramatic that we've been broadcasting of the aftermath of that first Russian airsrike.

The Russians insist that what they're doing is first and foremost targeting ISIS, the group that of course -- that has captured vast swathes

of territory from the Syrian government along with other groups as well. And poses a threat generally to the entire region in the view of many

people, not least the Russians.

It is pretty dramatic. It's pretty astonishing that they've done this. And, you know, what they're saying is that again this is ISIS, but

what we're hearing, of course, is that these areas, this area here, Homs, this province of Homs, not necessarily a place where ISIS are particularly

strong. It actually tends to be held by other rebel groups who pose a more direct threat to the government in Damascus, to the regime of Bashar al-


And so the analysis of this is that even though on the one hand Russia is saying it's targeting ISIS, what it may really be doing in addition to

that is targeting any rebel group that poses a threat to its long-time ally in Syria. And that involves ISIS, but it involves other groups as well,

some of which are backed by western governments.

[11:05:18] ANDERSON: What chance Russian intervention risks the repetition of the Afghan debacle. How does the Kremlin prevent that? What

sort of support does it have from the Russian people?

CHANCE: I think that's a really good question, because we don't often talk about the sensitivities in Russia to the idea of military adventurism

overseas. They had their fingers burned very much as the United States die in Vietnam in their intervention in the 1970s in Afghanistan. Lots of

people, thousands of people were killed there. It's one of the reasons why Russia is so reluctant to admit its military presence in the various

theaters that we've seen it engaged in over the past year or two.

But it sought this formal approval as a way of sending a message not just to the international community from the parliament, but also to the

Russian public, to prepare them for the idea that there could be Russian casualties in this conflict.

They've also been very circumspect saying that this is, you know, not necessarily an open-ended engagement. It's going to be there for as long

as the Syrian government want it to be there. And it is focused, not on ground forces, but on air power only.

Take a listen to what Sergey Ivanov, who is a key figure in Russia had to say earlier. It think we might have some sound from him from earlier



SERGEY IVANOV, KREMLIN CHIEF OF STAFF (through translator): It's about using exclusively Russian air forces. As our president already said,

having our boots on the ground is out of the question. The military goal of the operation is purely an air support for the Syrian army in fighting



CHANCE: All right, well a quick straw poll by an independent polling organization here called The Lavada Center (ph) has suggested that actually

support for a Russian military intervention in Syria is quite low, only 6 percent of the population that they polled support an action -- military

action like this in Syria.

ANDERSON: Fascinating.

Matthew, thank you.

Our senior international correspondent for you in Russia on the story today.

Well, the U.S. has been worried about Russia's true intent in Syria ever since it began a military build up there fairly visibly about three

weeks ago.

We're joined by our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr. And what are intelligence officials, Barbara, telling you about the targets of these

Russian strikes?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, all indications are that four Russian war planes hit targets near and around the city of Homs

in central western Syria. And of course this is an area where ISIS is not located, this is not an ISIS stronghold. The Russians claim they were

fighting a terrorist organization. But the reality of Homs is something else entirely. This is an area where anti-regime militias are fighting the

Assad government.

And this is not what the U.S. wanted to see, which is the Russian military going after those targets basically propping up Assad. There are

a number of areas in and around Homs where the regime has, if you will, lines of access, lines of communication supply lines.

We don't know exactly what the Russians hit, but this is an area that very clearly was aimed in the U.S. view at trying to prop up Assad, Becky.

ANDERSON: What is the risk as far as Washington is concerned of an emboldened Moscow at this point?

STARR: Well, look, they wanted to sit down and talk to the Russians about deconflicting that air space so that everyone could operate safely.

One of the big questions right now is if you can't do that, if the Russians are just going to fly where they want and not notify people in the

proper manner, what if U.S. pilots encounter the Russians. What are the rules of engagement, what rights of self-defense or counterattack would

U.S. military pilots have if they find any even inadvertently Russian warplanes coming at them -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Barbara Starr is in Washington for you.

So, Russian war planes now actively involved in a fight that's been raging in Syria, as you are well aware, for more than four years.

Later this hour, I'm going to speak with an expert who says that Moscow has suddenly changed the dynamic in Syria and now holds the key to

ending the war.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. Secretary of State has a different perspective on what Russia's involvement will mean. He told CNN it could

create a very, quote, complicated situation for Vladimir Putin. You'll hear what else John Kerry told CNN's Elise Labott in about 30 minutes time.

Afghan forces struggling to regain control of a major city, the fall of Kunduz at the hands of the Taliban is raising troubling questions about

the ability of Afghanistan's military to stand alone against militants.

U.S. military official insists Afghan security forces have full responsibility for their operations in Kunduz, but did acknowledge that

coalition special force advisers are there to assist.

Have a look at this map from the Institute for the Study of War, it shows areas where the Taliban are currently fighting, including Kunduz.

What's worrying for the Afghan government, though, is several other districts, mainly in the north, are also at risk of falling to militants.

Well, let's get the view from Afghanistan. The Guardian reporter Sune Engel Rasmussen is in the capital of Kabul. And what are you hearing today

about what is going on, on the ground both there and elsewhere?

SUNE ENGEL RASMUSSEN, THE GUARDIAN: Well, things are moving quite rapidly right now and has done so for the past couple of hours. The

Taliban are advancing not just in Kunduz City itself, but also in surrounding districts. I just got reports from a good source in the Afghan

government that (inaudible), the biggest district of the province, apart from Kunduz itsel, has fallen. People are saying (inaudible) another

district has fallen.

So, not only have the Afghan government forces have a lot difficulties in reigning in the insurgency, but the Taliban are actually widening the

front in the north, not just in Kuduz, but also in neighboring Tahar (ph) and Bagdana (ph) provinces.

So, this is going to be a longer fight for Kunduz than many had first anticipated.

ANDERSON; All right. We'll leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us. Staying on this story for you viewers the more we

get you'll get here on CNN.

Coming up tonight, the flag of a stateless people will soon have a home at the United Nations. We're going to bring to you what is an

historic event full of symbolism for Palestinians and get reaction from Israel as well.

Could Russian involvement in Syria stop the bloodshed? Well, my next guest argues that Russia is in the best position to bring peace to the

nation now five years into a civil war. That interview up next.



[11:15:13] BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to

resolve the conflict.


ANDERSON: Well, that was U.S. president Barack Obama earlier this week at the UN opening the door to working with friends and foes alike to

resolve the crisis in Syria. But Washington remains at odds with Russia and Iran over the future of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

While they continue to stand by the Syrian leader, today U.S. ally Saudi Arabia insisted al-Assad must give up power or be removed by force,

perhaps not a surprising line from the Saudis.

Well, on a day when we are seeing Russian military action in Syria my next guest argues that Moscow is key to a solution in Syria, especially in

light of what he says is America's minimal impact on that war.

Vali Nasr, the dean of Johns Hopkins school of advanced international studies rights in Politico Magazine, I quote, the Obama administration's

critics fear Russia's power play could establish Moscow's primacy in Middle Eastern affairs and embolden Russia elsewhere in the world. The vacuum

Russia is filling, critics say, is the one left by American insouciance.

Well, Vali Nasr is also the author of The Indispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat. And Vali joins me now live from New


Is Russia's intervention in Syria a gamechanger?

VALI NASR, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Yes, it is, because it actually changes the dynamic on the ground by putting themselves in Damascus, by

carrying out attacks as they have done today impact the ability of the other actors in the region, particularly those that are supporting the

opposition, to be able to pursue their agenda. They're now confronting not Assad's military, they're confronting the Russian military and that changes

everybody's calculation.

ANDERSON: In recent months, Russia has been pulling out all the diplomatic stops trying to woe Middle Eastern leaders. Egyptian President

Abdul Fattah el-Sisi visited Vladimir Putin last month, the UAE's Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zaid stopped by the Russian capital to meet

with the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov back in May.

And you'll know that Lavrov also met with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir in August.

You wrote that unlike the U.S., Russia doesn't have to choose between Iran and the Gulf Arab monarchies. Does that mean, though, that Moscow is

in a better position to move regional foes into a compromise over Syria, really?

NASR: Well, first of all, they are in a better position because they have taken control of the facts on the ground, regardless of how much

complaining we do about Russian intervention, how skeptical we are that they can actually succeed, the fact of the matter is that they have taken

over the facts on the ground. They're going to be shaping those facts. They are going to be drawing lines in the sand. And that will decide the

parameters for diplomacy.

Secondly, they have been much more aggressive to talking to everybody. And in fact everybody has been willing to talk to them. Whereas in the

case of the U.S., we have been talking about doing diplomacy, but our diplomacy is not actually in practice. And then because of the way we're

situated between Iran and Saudi Arabia, we have difficulty satisfying both sides.

First of all, we don't talk to Iran very much. And if we did, the Saudis will think that this is really about their relationship with Iran

rather than about Syria. So, our diplomacy is not coming out. It's also hamstrung. The Russians have been much more aggressive and successful.

And then they've taken the step to actually try to shape facts on the ground to serve their diplomatic interest. So, they're much better

positioned to move forward.

ANDERSON: Vali, tensions, as we can see, rising between Saudi Arabia and Iran at this point, Iran's supreme leader, today warning the Saudis to

send back the bodies of Iranians who died in last week's Hajj stampede. I just want our viewers to see what he said, and I quote, "Saudi Arabia

failed to fulfill its duties concerning the desperate wounded pilgrims. Should we decide to show any reaction, our reaction will be tough and


These are harsh words from Iran's supreme leader. Earlier this week, the Saudis accused Tehran of playing politics with these Hajj deaths. How

significant is this ratcheting up of the rhetoric between the two? And how is it all will it complicate any possibility of compromise over Syria?

NASR: Well, it's a odd development that given that these two countries are at odds with each other, that so many of the deaths happen to

the Iranian. You couldn't have actually have written a script that was more cynical in that way.

So, with Iran it's seeing every kind of reaction Saudis are making to managing the stampede, releasing the bodies as a political act. And then

they're reacting in kind.

Secondly, within Iran, there is a lot of popular anger at what happened during the Hajj. And the government is also reacting to that.

It makes -- it makes it more difficult talking about Syria, because if these two countries cannot even talk in a normal way or engage in a normal

way over such a tragedy, then how can they actually talk to one another about resolving this crisis.

For Saudi Arabia, Syria is a zero sum game. Either Assad goes or they're willing to put all their effort to topple him. They see this all

about Iran. And now by Russia stepping in, Russia in effect is saying this is not about Iran anymore, it's about Russia. If you support the

opposition, we're going to bomb them. If you support the opposition, you're going against Moscow. So, in some ways the Russians have stepped in

to move the needle away from this being a Saudi-Iranian rivalry to make it about themselves.

ANDERSON: Vali, how big a risk do you think Washington thinks that an emboldened Russia is at this point?

NASR: Well, an emboldened Russia is not a problem immediately. And actually many in Washington may hope that the Russian adventure in Syria

will meet a bad end, as it did in Afghanistan, that they're going to be -- get bloodied in their confrontations with the Syrian opposition and they're

going to lose a lot of support and -- in the Arab world.

But we're worried about, I think, a Putin who can come up with policies and strategies that we had not predicted, that he's able to change

the game and change the conversation so drastically and turn the tables on us.

If we went back two weeks, we were talking about a new American initiative about Syria. Nobody had factored in the Russians in this

manner. Nobody had factored in that the Russians would sort of steal the show on discussions about Syria in this manner.

So, I think the ability of Putin to surprise us I think is more worrisome than his ability in the long run to project power.

ANDERSON: Vali Nasr, always a pleasure. Thank you.

Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Coming up, more on what has been a very busy day of headlines. Plus, as

FIFA's corruption scandal widens once again, we speak to David Beckham, get his thoughts on where the beautiful game is headed.



[11:25:32] UNIDENITIFIED MALE: When someone has a problem with their cell phone or laptop in Lagos, Nigeria, they generally get them fixed at

markets like these.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...specializes on iPhones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what inspired two entrepreneurs to start a more formal gadget workshop called SuperGeeks.

EDMUND OLOTU, CO-FOUNDER, SUPERGEEKS: The average Nigerian has two mobile phones, a laptop or a tablet. So we came up with the concept of

SuperGeeks. By the way, SuperGeeks is also his nickname. He was the Super Geek. He's a bit of a bright fellow.

UNIDENITIFIED MALE: With a team of 20 employees, SuperGeeks fixes up to 200 gadgets a month for a variety of clients.

SAM UDUMA, CO-FOUNDER SUPERGEEKS: Our customers are -- range from individuals like ad hoc customers, people that just walk in and they need a

device fixed to corporate customers where we sign partnerships with existing businesses that have their own customers and would might also

provide service to their customers.

We also have enterprise type customers, which is like a company that have a bunch of gadgets that it would like us to support.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Founders Sam Uduma and Edmund Olotu met while studying in the UK and decided to start a business today once back in

Nigeria, building on each other's strengths.

OLOTU: I think he is very, very structured, very, very process oriented where everything is done the right way and every single implement

of process can be held accountable to the entire value chain of your business. So he comes from that background.

UDUMA: He comes from a more entrepreneurial background in terms of who spend the most time in understanding the business dynamics, business

culture and so on, entrepreneurship in its entirety, it would be Eddie (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pair opened their first customer experience center last year. Today, they say, SuperGeeks brings in more than $10,000

of sales a month.

OLOTU: Where we would really, really like to see the business grow towards is our gadget protection plan. If you go and buy a device in some

of the big retailers you pay a little bit for premium over the price of the device and you're able to walk in and have your device, you know, repaired

for pretty much free.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: SuperGeeks also aims to start its own academy.

OLOTU: We see the SuperGeeks academy as one of the ways to reduce the unemployment gap in Nigeria. So, it's a means of training people not just

in the technical skills of repairing gadgets and devices, but also in some of the softer skills in terms of adequate bookkeeping, you know, customer

service, marketing, business development, you know, such that when someone comes out of the SuperGeeks academy, even if they don't work for

SuperGeeks, they have skills that can be transferred to other organizations.

SuperGeeks academy is in fact the most integral part of our brand dream of having a SuperGeeks on every street corner.



[11:32:06] ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. This is CNN. And these are your top stories.

Russia has launched its first airstrikes in Syria, dramatically escalating the war there. Russian officials say the attacks targeted ISIS,

Syrian state TV says several areas were hit including Homs and Hama Province (ph).

A U.S. official tells CNN the strikes served no strategic purpose and did not appear to target ISIS militants.

Afghan forces are struggling to recapture the city of Kunduz from Taliban militants. Reuters reports several forces, special forces from the

U.S.-led coalition, have joined the fight on the ground. A police spokesman says airstrikes have killed more than 100 insurgents. The

Taliban overran the strategically important city on Monday.

A U.S. official says American spies are being pulled out of China, because their identities could be revealed by recent cyber attack blamed no

Beijing. The hacking compromised the personal data of more than 21 million U.S. government employees. The Washington Post says the CIA has already

pulled a number of officers from the U.S. embassy in Beijing.

The U.S. state of Georgia has executed its first female prisoner in 70 years. Kelly Gissendaner died by lethal injection despite a written plea

from a representative of Pope Francis to spare her life. She was convicted of murder for persuading her lover to kill her husband.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas calls it our moment of hope, saying it proves his people are not alone in their quest for Freedom.

In less than two hours from now -- about an hour-and-a-half, the Palestinian flag will be raised at the United Nations for the first time in


Now the move is symbolic and doesn't change Palestine's non-member observer status, but it does reflect widespread international support for a

Palestinian state. Abbas will address the General Assembly very shortly.

Let's get more now from Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem. Oren, Israel's UN ambassadors called this a, quote, blatant attempt to hijack the United

Nations. What's the reaction today in Israel?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Israeli leadership, Becky, is very much opposed to this move to the raising of the

Palestinian flag. It was ambassador Ron Prosor, as you mention there, he said instead of raising the Palestinian flag, the UN should raise the white

flag of surrender to its principles.

Israel and the United States were two of the eight countries that voted against this, which gives you an idea of how widespread the support

was for raising the Palestinian Flag.

And make no mistake about this, this is a very big day for Palestinians. And they see this as a moment of pride. Palestinians

President Mahmoud Abbas called it a beacon of hope. And we've seen across the West Bank, even in Gaza, the raising of the Palestinian Flag indicating

how important this is.

Now it's still symbolic. It doesn't create a Palestinian state, nor does it bring official recognition of that state, but it is still

meaningful to a lot of people here.

Take a listen to some of these people.


[11:35:09] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that will mean for us as a Palestinians that maybe this is the beginning to get the freedom in


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a first step forward. I hope it will be followed by much bigger steps.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We feel happy when we see our flag, but we don't want to see only flag.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm very happy for that. And I hope it means it's only beginning for something more than official action.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They've had many opportunities to bring peace to their lands, to flourish. All our leaders have offered them amazing deals

and I feel that at this point in time to give them any credence in the world audience is just totally insulting to humanity.


LIEBERMANN: And there you have an idea of the mixture of emotions here from Israelis and Palestinians.

Now the fear here among Palestinians is that this is just a flag raising, a ceremony. Abbas speaks in a couple of hours and then the

spotlight is gone, that this opportunity isn't turned into concrete steps towards recognition of a Palestinian state. Becky, we've seen at the UN

the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has not been a big issue. It's barely come up in the first two days. President Obama didn't mention it. So this

is a chance for the Palestinian leadership to be in the spotlight and to see if they can get any concrete steps moving forward here.

ANDERSON: And the Palestinian leadership criticizing the White House for the lack of the issue so far as the White House's narrative was

concerned. That flag going up in about 90 minutes time. CNN will be on that. Oren, thank you.

Let's return to our top story now. Russian war planes now in the mix in Syria's civil war. Moscow says it launched airstrikes on ISIS targets

today after warning the U.S. not to fly missions over Syria.

Meanwhile, what should happen to the Syrian president in any potential settlement. There's been a major point of disagreement at the UN this week

as allies in Moscow are standing behind Bashar al-Assad. Powerful regional players like Saudi Arabia say he must go.

The U.S. has said the same, but the White House position seems to be evolving just a bit.

Well, CNN's Elise Labott spoke with the U.S. secretary of state about the situation in Syria. She joins us now from New York.

And Russia's involvement in Syria could be an opportunity for the United States. Kerry told you in an interview, explain the context for

those words and what else he said.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, it's really remarkable how secretary telling us that the U.S. campaign against ISIS could really

benefit from Russian strategic influence and military power on the ground, clearly trying to put a very positive face on what is becoming a very de-

escalating situation on the ground. Take a listen to Secretary Kerry.


LABOTT: A lot of talk this week about President Putin's actions in Syria creating new realities on the ground. And some have said that it's

kind of boxed the U.S. into a corner a little bit. Is that true?

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: I couldn't disagree more. I don't see how it boxes us in the least. I think it opens up more options.

But it makes life more complicated for Putin himself, for President Putin, because if he's going to side with Assad and with Iran and

Hezbollah, he's going to have a very serious problem with the Sunni countries in the region. That means we could become a target for those

Sunni jihadis.

So, this is very complicated for him. He needs to work something out.

LABOTT: But his...

KERRY: I think it's an opportunity, to be honest with you. It's an opportunity for us to force this question of how you actually resolve the

question in Syria.

The bottom line is, you cannot resolve it without including the Sunni in the political solution, political agreement, ultimately. And that will

mean that you're going to have to have some kind of transition, some kind of timing, because as long as Assad is there, you simply can't make peace.

LABOTT: For years, we've been saying -- you have been saying Assad should go.

KERRY: Yes, but no, the argument...

LABOTT: Now you are saying that he's going to choose his successor?

KERRY: We have not been saying it for years. We have said for the last year that he has to transition out over a period of time. We have not


LABOTT: How long are you talking?

KERRY: Let me finish the one thought. That for a period of time, all the coalition were saying he had to leave immediately. That was the

original statement, way back when.

We have changed that over a period of time. We said, no, that's not going to work. We need to have an orderly transition, a managed transition

so you don't have fear for the retribution, loss of life...

LABOTT: A vacuum?

KERRY: You don't have a vacuum, you don't have an implosion, all of these things. These are all legitimate concerns.

So, we concluded that it would be better and perhaps stand a better chance of reaching a mutual consent if it was done over a reasonable period

of time so that you have a strong, sustaining of the delivery of, you know, whatever government services are left. There aren't many, frankly.

But to hold the institutions themselves there, so you have something to build on unlike Iraq, years ago, where you can actually begin to put

together government and a future for Syria.


[11:40:41] ANDERSON: How concerned is Washington about Russia forging an axis, albeit against ISIS, of Iran, Iraq, Syria already talking to the

Sunni Arabs. It may not work for them, but they're certainly talking to the Sunni Arabs. And this emboldening idea of Russia. How concerned is

Washington briefly?

LABOTT: Well, I think they're concerned, but they're also trying to kind of harness this into the larger context of a political situation. A

political solution.

You know, look, you need to get the anti-Assad crowd on board. Now that Russia is on a playing field, they can't just say this is all about

Iran. The Saudis are not going to -- Turks are not going to go up against Russia.

So, I mean, I think that you know Russian influence on the ground, while it definitely creates new realities for the U.S. and a lot more

challenges of potential miscalculations and accidents that could get some people hurt, I think it also provides President Obama cover because he

didn't want to get involved. And if the Russians can now take the lead here, maybe there could be some kind of political transition in time,

because, you know, listen if they are talking about this then perhaps they could all put this under the umbrella of some real change in Syria, at

least that's the hope, Becky.

ANDERSON: Elise Labott is in Washington for you. Elise, thank you.

Live from Abu Dhabi, I'm Becky Anderson. This is Connect the World. Coming up, as FIFA's corruption scandal widens, we speak to David Beckham

to get his thoughts on the future of football.


[11:46:06] ANDERSON: Well, Michel Platini says that he is determined to run for the top job at FIFA despite being drawn into an investigation

into corruption at world football's governing body.

Swiss prosecutors have accused FIFA boss Sepp Blatter of making a, quote, disloyal payment of some $2 million to Platini, the head of European

football's governing body. Both Blatter and Platini deny any wrongdoing.

Well, one man who will be watching that FIFA election closely is David Beckham. The former England captain was in Dubai for the first time in six

years this week, not to play football, though, but to meet fans. I sat down with Becks and picked his brain on the trouble at FIFA, his thoughts

on Miami and the next James Bond. Have a listen.


ANDERSON: Your kids will soon be old enough either to play professional football or to pay to go and watch as fans. If FIFA is still

the game's governing body, how do you want to see it run?

DAVID BECKHAM, FRM. MIDFIELDER: The way it should be run. You know, it's a people's sport, it's a people's game, you know, and it's a world

game more than anything. And I think football is a game -- it's the biggest game in the world. So it needs to be run by people that love the

game, that appreciate the game and understand that it's a world sport and it's the fan's sport, it's the people's game. So, that's what it's all


ANDERSON: Advice from Beckham to Blatter at this point?

BECKHAM: I have none. You know, I think at the end of the day it's down to other people to decide what happens with FIFA and what happens with

the game, but you know it's the most beautiful game in the world.

ANDERSON: MLS. What can you tell us knew about the Miami franchise?

BECKHAM: That's going very well. It's an exciting prospect. It will happen. It's taking longer than I had hoped it would, but you know, all

good things and something as big as this is going to take time. You know, we have to build a stadium, we have to build a team. You know, at 12 years

old I used to sit with my friends and we used to say, OK, imagine if we could own a club, imagine if we could build a team, where would we build

it? What team would we play? What players would we pick? What color kit would we wear? And I'm doing that. So, it's kind of incredible.

ANDERSON: It wasn't going to be in Miami when you were a kid, though, was it?

BECKHAM: No. No, I don't think it was. But luckily, it is now.

ANDERSON: As a former England football captain, what is your advice to the somewhat underperforming England rugby team at the moment?

BECKHAM: I wouldn't say we're under performing. We've -- obviously we lost to Wales the other day, but you know, we're England. We've got an

amazing character. We've got an amazing resilience. And we've got amazing fans, so to have such a huge sporting event in our country, the fans love

it. You know, if you've not been to a rugby game in our country before, you should go because it really is truly incredible.

And I love our guys. You know, our guys show so much passion and want to win.

ANDERSON: Rumor has it that your new acting career could extend to playing James Bond. Can you confirm that?

BECKHAM: I can't confirm that because it's definitely not true. I've heard that many times before in the last four months. But, no, my

apparently launching my own acting career is definitely not something that I'm planning.

I've just enjoyed and I've had a lot of fun doing what I've been doing.

ANDERSON: And you're very good at what you do.


ANDERSON: Live from Abu Dhabi, that was David Beckham in town. I'm Becky Anderson. This is Connect the World.

Coming up, we get in the ring with the Arab World's first female wrestler who is determined to fight despite the criticism that she faces.


ANDERSON: Let's get you to New York crossing back over to the United Nations General Assembly, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is taking

his turn at the podium. We told you in how less than two hours -- in fact just about an hour and a quarter -- the Palestinian flag will be raised at

the United Nations for the first time in history. Palestinians and Abbas calls it our moment of hope for the Palestinian people. Let's have a