Return to Transcripts main page
CONNECT THE WORLD
Iraqi Forces Continue Push to Retake Ramadi; Ghana's First Car Company; British Muslim Family Denied Entry to U.S.; What Does Biblical Wine Look Like? Aired 11:00a-12:00p ET
Aired December 23, 2015 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:13] JONATHAN MANN, HOST: The Iraqi army says it's making progress against ISIS in a crucial city. The battle for Ramadi rages on.
We'll have an update on the latest defensive in just a moment.
Also ahead, a call for for the British prime minister to get involved after a Muslim family is prevented from boarding their flight to the U.S.
for a dream holiday in Disneyland. What could have happened?
Plus, what would Jesus drink? CNN put some biblical beverages to the test.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World.
MANN: Thanks for joining us. We begin with the vow to remain central Ramadi from ISIS. Iraqi security forces now say they're about 800 meters
from a government compound in the city center. The campaign to take Ramadi began weeks ago, but they just launched a new offensive just a day ago with
coalition air support. Iraqi they are approaching carefully because of explosives planted throughout the city.
Our Robyn Kriel has been following the offensive. She joins us now from London.
What can you tell us? How far have things gotten?
ROBYN KRIEL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the most forward advance that we're hearing, Jonathan, has been those troops, those Iraqi
security forces that are just under a 800 -- just 100 meters, just under a kilometer, away from the key
They've been battling ISIS since November. They've cut down key supply routes. There have been several air strikes in the last few days,
but the real offensive began yesterday morning when Iraqi security forces crossed over a bridge using a temporary bridge that
was built by the American forces, actually, and launched a dawn raid in the Humaya (ph) district.
Of course, being helped by a U.S. air support very similar to the battle of Tikrit. They've paved the way for them.
We understand that they encountered many, many IEDs all over the place. ISISI, remember, has had a lot of time to entrench themselves. It'
been in Ramadi since May, so it has had a number of months in which to prepare for a counter assault of this kind. 250 to 300 ISIS hardliner
fighters will still be battling the Iraqi troops as they start to close in.
MANN: You know, some analysts say that there is nothing particularly strategic about Ramadi. It's important only because it was a site of such
a stinging and embarrassing defeat for the Iraqi military. Is there any truth to that?
KRIEL: Well, it was a humiliating defeat. And it will be, of course, a very strategic win if they do manage to recapture this city just for the
psyche of the Iraqi army, as well as to prove itself to the Americans who have spent billions of dollars helping train and equip the Iraqi army, as
well as those American soldiers who lost their lives fighting in Ramadi those years ago when the U.S. had a more significant presence in Iraq.
So it is strategic psychologically, you could say. But many would argue, Jonathan, that it is also extremely strategic just in its location.
It's very, very close to Baghdad. It's the closest major city to Baghdad within striking distance of the capital. It's on that major
highway, and of course it's in the heartland of the major Sunni province.
So it is incredibly important in those terms as well.
MANN: Robyn Kriel, thanks very much.
Well, as they advance, Iraqi forces have said they're trying to minimize civilian casualties.
Hekmat Suleiman, a political adviser the Anbar's governor joins us now on the line from Irbil.
First of all, what can you tell us about the fight for Ramadi?
Hekmat Suleiman, can you hear us? You're on the air with CNN and we're trying to get the latest you can give us about the fight for Ramadi.
HEKMAT SULEIMAN, POLITICAL ADVISER TO THE GOVERNOR OF ANBAR: I am ready. And I'm hearing you very well.
MANN; Once again, sir, you're on the air with us. Can you tell us any information you have about the battle under way for Ramadi.
SULEIMAN: Well, the already you have reported the attack has started earlier today. It's through temporary bridges that the counterterrorism
forces managed to enter into the other bank of the river and retake and recapture three main districts of the southeast of Ramadi. And today, the
whole operation is search over and for any kind of jihadist hiding inside the ruins, or the houses, and also to lift all the IEDs that are
surrounding and obstacling the movement of the forces.
And now we are witnessing a lot of troops from the local police and the army joining across the river to try to establish a base there for the
forces to start a new chapter, which is to take the main compound which lie in the mental institutes and the headquarter of the local police of Anbar
over there and to capture all the city of Ramadi.
[11:05:24] MANN: Ramadi was once a large city of hundreds of thousands of people, maybe half a million. How many people are left? And
what kind of condition are they in while this is going on around them?
SULEIMAN: Well, according to our information, now there are around tens of thousands of people in Ramadi, and our information is that ISIS is
surrounded them, prevented them from leaving the city, and also a few days ago, an operation with hundreds of young people to prevent them from making
an uprise while the attack starting of the security forces, and here now we are about to face two phases of operation.
One is to release those detainees through a very special operation and also try to collect IEDs (inaudible) taking fire from everywhere to
absolutely the charges surrounding of those civilians so to be able to leave the city and target (inaudible) area.
MANN: Hekmat Suleiman, adviser to the governor of Anbar Province, thank you so much for talking with us.
To Syria now, another front in the fight against ISIS. Russia has been waging an air campaign there, of course. It says it's targeting ISIS
and other terror groups. Washington says the strikes are also hitting forces who oppose Bashar al-Assad.
And now Amnesty International says Russian air strikes are killing hundreds of civilians in what the Human Rights Group says may amount to war
CNN's Matthew Chance has details.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The report puts Russia's air war in Syria under close scrutiny, focusing on
six bombing raids, on areas where Amnesty says there were no obvious military targets nearby.
The human rights group says it's interviewed eyewitnesses, doctors and aid workers in Syria, who testified that Russian bombs struck homes, a
hospital, a market, even a mosque, indicating what the report calls "serious failures" by Russia to respect international humanitarian law.
Russian officials have not commented on the Amnesty report but in the past have rejected allegations that its raids in Syria have killed
civilians, calling its airstrikes "pinpoint" and "effective."
In a recent interview in Syria, a Russian defense official told CNN it is ISIS and other Islamist groups that are being struck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Every day we show you how Russian aviation is fighting international terrorism, destroying by
infrastructure in Syria.
CHANCE (voice-over): The Amnesty report also highlights what it says is Russian news of internationally banned cluster munitions and unguided
bombs in Syria. Their indiscriminate and disproportionate use, the report says, should be stopped.
MANN: Just two days before Christmas, one of the most important times in Jerusalem, there has been more bloodshed. Have a look at the scene in
the old city where two people were wounded in a stabbing attack, a third person was shot.
Let's cross straight to Jerusalem now where CNN's Oren Liebermann is standing by.
Oren, what happened?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this all happened right outside the Jaffa Gate to the old city of Jerusalem. That's
significant, because the Jaffa Gate is not only one of the main entrances, it also leads right into the Christian quarter, what should be a very busy
area this time of year.
Here's what police say happened. Police say two Palestinian attackers from the Kalandia (ph) refugee camp just north of Jerusalem came up and
attacked Israelis. Police say that two Israelis were seriously wounded and one more moderately wounded.
But police say one of those wounded was injured not from a stabbing attack but from gunfire. They say it is very possible at this point that
that was gunfire from Israeli security forces responding to the attack.
Police say one of the attackers was shot and killed at the scene, the other suspect was
shot at the scene, taken to a hospital where he later died.
Again, three Israelis injured, two from stabbing wounds, two seriously injured, one moderately wounded.
As you say, this happens at a critical time, Christmas in the old city in Jerusalem, in nearby Bethlehem, and this is sure to add a gloom to
Christmas year here in addition to what's already happened here over the last three months.
LIEBERMANN: You say three months. This has gone on four months, and it seems so random. I'm just curious if there is any organization behind
this string of attacks, if any of these people have been found to have been indoctrinated or trained?
[11:10:01] LIEBERMANN: There have been a few of these attacks that Hamas has claimed responsibility for, but that has been only a few.
For the most part here the sense is that these are unplanned, unorganized spontaneous attacks with a number of different motivating
factors behind them. Israeli authorities have had a hard time profiling who may carry out an attack to try to prevent it.
Now, the Palestinian leaders say this is frustration from the youth about the hopelessness of a -- towards a two-state solution and a
frustration at the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Palestinian territories. That could be a part of it, but there could be many other
factors here, including, perhaps frustration over the al Aqsa Mosque, which dates back more than three months, four months now, and even the Douma
arson and murder where Jewish extremists killed three members of a Palestinian family. That story has not gone away.
All those elements could lead to the frustration here that caused or inspired people to carry out
these attacks. The short answer is it's not simple at all.
MANN: What's the impact been?
LIEBERMANN: Well, there has been a sense of fear on both sides here, Palestinian and Israeli, and we've seen empty streets, people are not going
out. If they are going out, they're not staying out. And it has had a dramatic impact on tourism here. We have spoken to Jerusalem and to
Bethlehem and the numbers are down this year. The U.S. Department of State issued a travel warning, and vendors we've spoken with, tour guides say
that Americans and westerners for the most part are not coming here. They're simply afraid to come here even though there are certainly safe
areas and safe places, that general sense of fear has permeated not only the local populations, but also foreigners simply not coming for Christmas
MANN: Oren Liebermann, live in Jerusalem, thanks very much.
Still to come, British troops are back in Helmand a year after they left. Find out why the Taliban's insurgents in the southern Afghan
province is raising alarm bells.
And the dream family holiday that turned into disappointment. The British Muslim family that was told the U.S. doesn't want them to visit. A
look into U.S. immigration policy, next.
MANN: It was supposed to be a dream family vacation to Disneyland, but when a British family got to Gatwick airport to begin their Christmas
vacation, they were told they were barred from entering the U.S. No reason offered.
They say they believe it's because they're Muslim.
They told CNN, we've been trumped, a reference to Donald Trump's calls to temporarily bar
Muslims from entering the U.S.
This comes amidst a recent backdrop of increasing reports of Briitsh Muslims facing similar experiences. What's the reason behind it? Are
there rules? CNN's U.S. justice correspondent Evan Perez joins us now from Washington.
Thanks so much for being with us. I mean, what are the reasons that come to mind for why a person or a family might suddenly be suddenly denied
the right to get on a plane?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jonathan, one quick thing we need to do is, the Homeland Security Department, which is in charge of
these types of entry permits into the United States, they say it is absolutely not because this family is a Muslim family. They say religion
and ethnicity doesn't play any role in whether or not they're admitted into the United States.
Now, there are a number of reasons why this could have happened. And obviously one of
the big ones is the U.S. no-fly list which is what flags terrorists, potential terrorists, suspected terrorists, and bars them from entering the
United States. But there is also a lot of other reasons that have nothing to do with national security.
For instance, if their paperwork didn't match up, if they filled out the paperwork incorrectly, if their documents that they submitted did not
exactly match up with what the U.S. has on its own records, perhaps their failure to disclose all previous travel.
This family, I believe, their ancestry is from Pakistan, or their background is from Pakistan, and if they didn't disclose all past travel to
Pakistan, that would be something that would get flagged.
And if any one member of the family had a criminal charge or pending criminal charge in the United Kingdom, that also would be something that
would be flagged as well as any health issues.
So we don't know. The Homeland Security Department says that because of privacy rules, they will not discuss this individual case. But just to
give you a sense that there were probably about six dozen reasons why they would deny entry to people who otherwise would be able to travel to the
MANN: Are you surprised by this case? Because a lot of British Muslims suddenly feel that something has schanged in U.S. policy.
PEREZ: Well, it is surprising. And I think one of the things that's happening, obviously, it's the climate that we're in. This family
mentioned that they've been trumped, that's obviously a reference to Donald Trump, the leading Republican presidential contender, who has made a
big show of saying that he wants to bar travel by foreign Muslims to this country.
That is not in any way in the cards. That's not in any way even a proposal being considered right now.
However, the U.S. has made some changes in light of the Paris attacks which showed that
European countries were not doing a very good job of tracking the travel of some of their citizens who had gone to Syria to join ISIS and then
So one of the things that has happened is that the White House has ordered that people who
have, for instance, if you're a British citizen and you have traveled to Syria or you've traveled to Pakistan, you do get extra scrutiny before you
And one change that has not been made but is going to be made soon, is if you have dual nationality. For instance, if you're a French citizen who
also has ancestry, Syrian ancestry, you're going to get additional scrutiny. And of course, this is making European officials very upset,
because they believe that their citizens need to be treated equally.
This is an issue that's going to be very much on the minds of European officials and American officials in the months to come as they negotiate
some changes to the visa waiver program.
MANN: Well, I wanted to ask you about the visa waiver program. That really is making headlines. What is the thinking? And how advanced is it?
Because it's been passed by the House of Representatives. I think it's in the omnibus spending bill. I don't know if the president has signed it yet, but where do things stand?
PEREZ: Well, exactly. That's -- this is going to be the law of the United States because this is something the White House feels that it has
to accept as part of a deal to fund the U.S. government.
And so what -- these changes will take place. One of the interesting parts of this is that Iranian Americans are very upset because they think
that they're -- just because they have Iranian background or Iranian dual nationality with perhaps France or some other country in the United States,
they're going to get flagged, they're going to get restrictions on their travel.
It is very upsetting to a lot of people because they're going to be treated unequally, really. And so I think what you're -- we expect to see
is that the White House is going to get a lot of pressure from the European Union to make sure the privacy of their citizens are respected and also
their citizens are being treated very fairly.
And, you know, obviously these incidents are going to continue happening, and because the U.S. government won't discuss exactly why these
people were denied, this is the impression that is left.
[11:20:16] MANN: Evan Perez, live in Washington for us. Thanks very much.
We've got full coverage of the U.S. immigration debate and the changes ahead on our website. Head to CNNPolitics.com, follow the links on the
homepage, and we have background and analysis at CNNpolitics.com.
Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World. Coming up, Iraqis forces say they're closing in on a major victory against ISIS. A look at
the importance of Ramadi and what reclaiming it could mean in the fight against terror.
And cars made in Ghana. Find out why one ambitious businessman is investing in the idea. African Startup, next.
AMIR DAFTARI, CNN INTERANTIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One final inspection. Kwadwo Safo checks every minor detail. After all, the CEO of Ghana's
first automaker knows his cars have some serious convincing to do.
KWADWO SAFO, CEO, KANTANKA AUTOMOBILES: You get people asking you when you're driving the car, does the door come off or does the whole tires
fly out of the car or something?
DAFTARI: For the Kantanka Group, building a trusted brand is just as important as building reliable cars.
SAFO: We all know that in Ghana, the people who handle cars a lot is the Ghana police. So we give them one of the cars to test drive, chase
criminals. And for the past six months we haven't had anything.
So that was one of the few things we did to ensure, to build the faith in the masses.
[11:25:06] DAFTARI: Mass appeal, that's the main driver for Kantanka.
But it faces challenges. For now, this small factory can only produce around 100 cars a
month. There are just three different models with the cheapest starting at around $20,000.
The cars look great. The key question is how do they drive?
DAFTARI: This one? Mind if I drive it?
SAFO: Sure. Take the wheels.
DAFTARI: Let's do it.
Right now we're on a very tough, rock road, and I'm not feeling a bump.
SAFO: And that's why the car was built.
We come from Ghana, so we know how the roads are and we've built the cars to resist and stand all the bad roads.
DAFTARI: So, you must be very proud.
SAFO: I'm feeling like flying.
When I see the cars with my name on the back, whoo! Every young man's dream.
We've gotten this far, because believe in impossibilities. One day, Kantanka will be all
over the world.
DAFTARI: That day may be a long way off, but this new venture is certainly heading in the right direction.
Amir Daftari, CNN, Accra.
[11:31:20] MANN: Now, we return to one of our top stories, a British Muslim family say they were stopped from boarding a flight to the U.S.,
because, they say, of their religion. They say it happened at London's Gatwick Airport at the request of U.S. Homeland Security.
It is not an isolated case, though the Department of Homeland Security tells our Evan Perez that the family's faith had no part in it.
British Muslims do say they are being denied entry into the U.S.
Ajmal Masroor is an imam at the West Ealing Mosque in London. He had his visa revoked les than a week ago. He joins us now on the line.
What happened to you?
AJMAL MASROOR, IMAM, WEST EALING MOSQUE: Well, I was coming to New York, or was supposed to come to New York for Christmas. I was invited to
come and make Friday Prayers in one of the mosques and attend many programs, also see friends and families.
When I arrived at the airport, I went through the normal security check, as you do. I had my boarding pass. I went to the gate. And at the
gate, one individual came up to me and said he's from the American embassy and he was here to tell me that my visa had been revoked, and, therefore, I
could not travel.
When I asked him why, he said he doesn't know. But upon pressing him a bit more, he then said to me, you must have done something wrong. Get in
touch with the embassy, and he left with a smirk on his face.
I felt humiliated. I felt very embarrassed. I felt very angry and upset and of course very
frustrated at this bad behavior, and the irresponsible and very unprofessional ways of dealing with a genuine traveling arrangement that I
had made with a visa that is valid with my passport and that expires in 2024.
MANN: Did you ever pursue it further? Did you ever get in touch with the embassy?
MASROOR: Well, I tried initially. And I couldn't succeed, because in the UK, the embassy doesn't take any phone calls. Eventually, somebody
from the embassy the next day called me up because of the media furor. It had been on the news and in the newspapers. And they said to me I must go
to the embassy and sort it out and they can fix things, they can clarify things.
So I did go on Monday with good faith, but they didn't sort anything out. There was no apology. There was no explanation as to why I have had
my visa revoked, no conclusive answers. They said they would investigate further and come back to me.
They were not -- they may not even come back to me, and if I want to know if I'm allowed into America again, I have to apply for a visa.
I find that absolutely terrible. I think it's unjust, unfair, and why should I be targeted and many other muslims be targeted for this very
disproportionate, draconian, and very narrow-minded approach when it comes to immigration or simply allowing British citizens to travel to America.
MANN: Imam, you and I do not know each other. I've never had the pleasure of visiting your mosque or attending one of its services, so
you'll forgive me if I ask you a very basic question. Have you ever been to one of the countries where ISIS is active? Have you ever preached a
sermon that might have been reported to authorities? Have you ever been accused of a crime in a public way?
MASROOR: No. Never. In fact, I have received a death threat from ISIS-like groups such as al Shabaab for speaking out against them after the
murder of the soldier Lee Rigby in the streets of London.
In fact, The Economist magazine wrote a very praiseworthy article about me saying if it wasn't for my interview and my intervention, there
could have been worse crimes committed against Muslims in Britain.
I'm invited by ministers in different parts of different countries. I've just come ame back from Finland and Norway addressing
parliamentarians, former prime ministers. If UI'm good for those people in different parts of the world, and if I'm known for my community work,
everything that I do and say has been transparent and open, why am I not good for America?
And besides, I was in America in August. I've got a visa for ten years. What changed?
[11:35:16] MANN: What changed. I don't have to tell you, sir. What changed is the climate of fear that has descended on this country and other
western countries because of some horrific attacks.
And I want to ask you about that. And once again, I'm trying to choose my words as carefully as I can, because we mean you no disrespect,
but authorities in the United States, authorities in the west, are fighting an enemy that doesn't wear a uniform, that doesn't fight fairand that
carries out horrendous atrocities against civilians.
The confusion is great. It's not an exact science. Do you have any sympathy, any understanding for just how hard for authorities to figure out
who should be let into the country and who should not?
MASROOR: Here we say to the Muslims that all Muslims or terrorists, or a small number, those crazy lunatics are perpetrating crimes against
humanity, claiming to be Muslim.
If we enact policies like the one America is currently at least (inaudible) pursuing, it gives an indication that America is considering
all Muslims as potential terrorists. That is absolutely unacceptable, that is a complete (inaudible) to fairness and justice.
America has got a sizable Muslim population. America was built by many great brains from the Muslim world.
To isolate Muslims like this this is not going to solve the problem of the world.
I agree, that we are all under threat, but Muslims are also under threat. More Muslims die as a result of terrorist attack than anybody else
in the world. More Muslims die as a result of many bombings that happen across the globe.
Solution isn't to make your friends become your enemies, solution isn't to bar Muslims disproportionately from entering America, that's not
going to solve the problem.
The way to solve the problem is to create a narrative of inclusion. America where people feel empowered, where we work together to beat the
terror, beat the terrorists, beat the extremists together.
I am a big advocate of moderation and peace in the world. I'm paying a price for it by receiving a death threat. Isolating me and barring me
from entering America, the message America is giving is absolutely irrational, is not going to take away the fear, is not going to solve the
I am with you when it comes to fighting these lunatics, but barring me is not going to make me your friend.
MANN: Ajmal Masroor of the West Ealing mosque.
Imam, thank you so much for talking with us.
MASROOR: You're welcome. Thank you.
MANN: Another developing story this day: the battle for Ramadi. The city felt ISIS in May in a
major defeat for Iraqi forces.
Now government troops are fighting to take it back. Officials say they're closing in on the city
center right now.
We're joined by a Cedric Layton, a retired air force colonel and CNN military analyst.
Colonel, thanks so much for being with us. What are your thoughts as you see this battle under way?
CEDRIC LEIGHTON U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.): It's good to be with you, Jonathan. I think that, you know, Ramadi, of course, has a lot of symbolic
value. It has really has a lot of meaning not only for Iraqis but also for Americans because so many Americans lost their lives fighting for Ramadi
during the course of what we now call the second Gulf War.
But Ramadi has, beyond its significance in a symbolic sense, it also is in essence the gateway to a possible change in the way in which the
Iraqi government is perceived when it comes to fighting the war against ISIS.
So if they are successful in actually going ahead and defeating ISIS in Ramadi, retaking that city, then that could potentially open the way for
Iraqi forces to have even further successes. But it is not a guarantee.
MANN: It is not.
There is a big "if" here, and I don't have to tell you, the Iraqi army cut and run from Ramadi, at least that's the narrative that most observers
seem to agree on.
Are they in any better shape now? They seem to be profiting from a lot of help, a lot of aerial
bombardment, but this offensive has been slowly underway for weeks now even though it's moved
into high gear in the last two days. Are they doing well?
LEIGHTON: They're doing a lot better than they used to be doing, Jonathan. And here's the reason. They have a lot of elite troops,
basically Iraq's most elite units are fighting in Ramadi and they are paying a lot of attention to it because they understand not only the symbolic value, but they also see it as the only way in which they can
obtain further aid from the west.
And that's why the Iraqis are, I think, fighting so hard for it.
But you correctly point out that this is one of those areas where there was a significant setback
that Iraqi forces suffered, and because it has that stench to it, basically, that imprimatur a tour of defeat around it, it becomes very
important psychologically for the Iraqis to actually go ahead and in essence beat back ISIS at this point.
But it's taken a long time. And that's really the problem with this whole strategy, is it's taking
way too long and it has been something that should have been done basically within months of Ramadi falling back in May.
[11:40:27] MANN: Colonel, while you've been talking we're looking at a pontoon bridge that was built across one of the rivers that run through
Ramadi. I believe there are two rivers running through Ramadi. And so clearly they're bringing their best game but they aren't apparently
bringing their best forces.
The way I understand this, the government is intentionally keeping the Shia militia, who have been the best of the Arab forces Iraq has, the Kurds
aren't fighting there, and the Shia aren't fighting there. Why wouldn't they be willing to use the Shia? Why wouldn't that be an obvious thing to
LEIGHTON: Well, it's all about the ethnic makeup of Ramadi. Ramadi is in essence the center of the Sunni population in Iraq, one of the main
centers of the Sunni areas there. And because of this sectarian divide between Sunni and Shia in Iraq, you end up with a great risk to the
military operation if more Shia forces are introduced into Ramadi.
So there are some very good elements that are actually moving ahead in Ramadi. The issue, then, is all of them are actually on the front lines,
but you can be assured that they are actually providing a lot of advice. And the other person, the other power, I should say, waiting in the wings
MANN: Let me jump in, because crucially, Iran and the Shia and the Sunni forces of the regular army are fighting ISIS. A new report says ISIS
is in trouble. It estimates that ISIS has lost 14 percent of its territory this year. Analytics company IHS has been doing this study. And some of
the militants biggest losses are along Syria's border with Turkey. You can see them here in Red.
ISIS did make gains around Palmyra in Syria but it lost ground in northern Iraq.
Colonel is ISIS losing now? Has the momentum shifted?
LEIGHTON: The momentum has not shifted yet.
Now the administration, the Obama administration in the U.S. is actually touting this as a major success. The president himself has spoken
about the 14 percent loss of territory.
But it's too early to couch this as a success. And the reason for that is not only the gains in Palmyra in Syria, but also the attacks that
ISIS has mounted in Paris and of course the ISIS-inspired attack in California.
So what you're seeing is a shifting in the balance right now, but there is no strategic shift, and there is no real change in the disposition
A lot more has to happen before we get to the point where we can actually say that ISIS is on the run or ISIS is being defeated.
MANN: A lot more has to happen. I'm going to have to cut you off there, colonel. Cedric Leighton, U.S. air force, retire, thank you so much
for talking with us.
LEIGHTON: You bet, Jonathan.
MANN: Live from CNN center, this is Connect the World.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
: i've never sat on top of 4,000 liters of wine before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: It was a very good year. Wine makers in the Holy Land try to recreate wine from biblical times.
CNN went along for a taste.
But first CNN takes a look at the modern day Silk Road, and how it's transforming by land
and sea. Next.
[11:46:39] MANN: Welcome back.
Over the last few months, CNN has been retracing the ancient Silk Road trade route, looking
at how millennia-old industries exsist alongside cutting edge innovation.
This week, we're looking at one of the most important tools of modern day trade, wherever you are in the world. 90 percent of trade is done by
sea, and as Sumnima Udas reports from Copenhagen, the shipping industry is gliding into the 21st Century.
SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: From lasers and wind tunnels, to simulators and scale models, this company, Force Technology,
located on the outskirts of Copenhagen, uses the latest innovations to reimagine the shipping industry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now we are at about 15 knots.
UDAS: 28-year-old naval architect Dijin Ryu (ph), is conducting a resistance test of a scale model of an S-class Maersk container vessel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If a ship creates a lot of waves, it means it's wasting a lot of its energy in creating these waves. So the ideal ship
shouldn't make any waves at all.
UDAS: The Danish shipping company Maersk collaborated with Force Technology during the
development of one of the largest vessels in the world, the EEE.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You combine a lot of well-known technologies into a new ship. For the EEE, we have especially a lot of job on the hull form,
and here we are standing in the towing tank. We'll be testing the hull forms. But before we're testing the hull form, we do a lot of (inaudible).
UDAS: Founded in 1928, Maersk believes the these calculations, data and analysis, are revolutionizing the industry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the ships of tomorrow I see definitely be online. There will be sensors so that means the data is being picked up
constantly, analyzed by supercomputers and fed back to the crew.
You can do a lot on optimization with the connectivity, with sensor ships, smartships.
UDAS: With over 90 percent of the world's trade traveling by sea, taking the industry out of the past and into the future is crucial for
companies like Maersk.
The main reason: sustainability and cost.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even though the price of fuel in the recent year has reduced a lot, still the fuel consumption accounts for a significant
part of our cost structure. So from that perspective, it makes a lot of sense.
But then, of course, also from the point of being a global company, from the point that we
all are global citizens, we all want to contribute to also making the world sustainable.
UDAS: Today, the price of shipping a t-shirt from Asia to Europe is 8 cents. With growing efficiency and data analysis, that amount is set to
decline, saving money for companies and consumers.
Sumnima Udas, CNN, along Silk Road.
MANN: Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World.
Coming up, wine that could have been made with the same ingredients used in biblical
times. Winemakers in the Holy Land hoping it could be a unique selling point.
[11:53:02] MANN: Welcome back.
The Bible is awash with references to wine. Think of Jesus turning water into wine.
Well, in tonight's Parting Shots, we take you to meet some winemakers in the Holy Land who are trying to recreate the beverage of biblical times.
Oren Liebermann has more.
LIEBERMANN: Christmas in Bethlehem, a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the
beginning of the New Testament.
At a monastery nearby, they craft a key component of many a biblical story.
Wine as made in the time of Jesus.
FADI BATARSEH, WINEMAKER: We are concentrating on making the wine...
LIEBERMANN: The history comes with it?
BATARSEH: The history comes with it, of course, and hopefully god is happy with our work.
LIEBERMANN: The wine-making process has come a long way since biblical times, with stainless steel fermenting tanks that oak barrels,
which I would describe as epic.
I've never sat on top of 4,000 liters of win before.
Tradition and history part of every bottle.
ZIAD BITAR, MANAGER, Cremisan WINERY: When you say Jesus drank from this wine so it means it's a huge thing, so you have to continue making
this wine better and better every year.
LIEBERMANN: Cremisan was the first winery in the region to return to making wine from only from local grapes, the same used thousands of years
BITAR: The book is the name of the grape that grows only here in our country.
LIEBERMANN: After an intro to local grapes, we pour tasting, I admit not the first or last tasting on this story. Then a sniff -- smells good.
Smells fresh, ripe.
LIEBERMANN: Swirl, sip and enjoy.
It has that fresh, ripe taste to match.
At Ariel University researchers trace the genetic vine to uncover which grapes are native to the Holy Land, testing ancient seeds preserved
in archaeological digs.
ELIYASHIV DRORI, ARIEL UNIVERSITY: When finding an archaeological finding of seeds occurs, 99 percent of the time you get burned and they are
actually charred. This is the reason that they were preserved.
LIEBERMANN: You can see the right seed is the burned one. It's darker, it's a little more shriveled. And that -- on the left is a modern
day, fresh, Merlot seed.
Up the coast, wine maker Avi Felshtein (ph) shows us his vinyards of recently harvested Dabuki (ph) grapes.
There were heavy restrictions on winemaking in the Holy Land for hundreds of years under the Ottoman Empire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These of course way after the season, but you can still find a few edible berries.
LIEBERMANN: The grapes that survived were table grapes.
And so the wine from this grape could be the wine that Jesus drank.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly.
LIEBERMANN: Turning them into wine is still the idea.
There's a tremendous sweetness to it, but it's over ripe now.
The French tilouis (ph) which describes the place the wine is from. What does that mean here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It actually expresses the sense of the wine.
LIEBERMANN: A sense of people, place, and crucially, of history.
There is tremendous marketing potential here, a wine from biblical times, a wine that
Jesus drank being bottled once again.
Oren Lieberman, CNN, the Holy Land.
MANN: I'm Jonathan Mann, this is Connect the World. Thanks for joining us.