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CONNECT THE WORLD
Iraqi Military Flies Flag Over Ramadi Government Compound; Japan- South Korea Reach Rapprochement on Comfort Women; Brazil, Israel Feud Over Ambassador Appointment; Iraqi Conductor Inspires with Cello at Bombing Sites; Is Louis van Gaal Next High Profile Premier League Manager Out?. Aired 11a-Noon ET
Aired December 28, 2015 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:19] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Iraq says it forces have freed the city of Ramadi from ISIS after seven months of the terror group's reign
We'll be live in Baghdad to look at just what this claimed victory means.
Also this hour, scores of Syrian rebels are allowed to leave the besieged town. We look at whether local truces are pragmatic babysteps
towards a bigger solution. The UN envoy for Syria is with us this hour.
Plus, deadly storm systems hits parts of the United States. We are going to take you to one of the hardest hit areas to hear how people there
are coping. That is a report from Texas just ahead.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: 8:00 in the evening here in the UAE. We start with what could be a major blow for ISIS in Iraq.
Seven months after the terror group captured the city of Ramadi, the Iraqi army says it is now in control.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIGADIER GENERAL YAHYA RASOUL, IRAQI MILITARY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): Yes, Ramadi has been freed and the armed forces and the anti-
terrorist group and also we've raised our flag on all the government's building in al Anbar.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, the announcement follows days of heavy fighting in the city, which is one of Iraq's most strategic, close to the capital of
Though some ISIS resistance continues in and around Ramadi, its recapture could be a major boost for Iraq's embattled government.
ANDERSON: Victory in Ramadi, that is waht Iraq's army has declared over ISIS this week following a day's long military offensive into the
heart of the city. There will still be stiff resistance from ISIS fighters holed up in other parts of Ramadi, the army says. And while the bigger
battle is far from over, tactical success in Ramadi is very important for the Iraqis.
Part of it is geography. Ramadi is the capital of Iraq's largest province,
Anbar. It sits on the Euphrates River, located about 113 kilometers, or roughly 70 miles from Baghdad.
Recapturing the city will be Iraq's first major win against ISIS.
LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: The Iraq piece looks like it's coming together right now. It looks like the Iraqis have
reconstituted their army, they're on the offensive.
ANDERSON: Anbar is a mostly Sunni province and significantly, Baghdad recruited Sunni tribes into this battle, not Shiite militia backed by Iran
as it used in previous offensives.
FRANCONA: Now that you are seeing a Shia government, a majority Shia government in Baghdad supporting a Sunni province, it gives some good
indication of things to come.
ANDERSON: Up next, Iraq's army says it has its sights set on Mosul, the
country's second largest city. And while Iraq may have momentum in the fight against ISIS, the battle there will likely be their toughest yet.
ANDERSON: Well, neighboring Syria, of course, embroiled in a fight against ISIS and other terror groups trying to overthrow the government.
As the civil war rages on, there has been a breakthrough of sorts in a rare exchange brokered by the United Nations.
Now, Hezbollah, a regime supporter, is giving more than 100 Syrian rebels safe passage out of a besieged town near Damascus. In turn, Syrian
rebels are letting hundreds of Shia civilians go free from two towns that they had
Now this swap isn't unique. Just last week, there was a UN-backed plan for thousands of Islamist fighters, including members of ISIS from
Damascus to Raqqa, but that was derailed when a prominent rebel leader was killed.
And earlier this month, a truce allowed rebels and their families to leave
the city Homs and turned control over to the government.
And in Homs in May, 2014, activists estimate nearly 2,000 fighters and their
families left in a UN brokered deal. Government forces pouring back into territory that they had abandoned.
Well, to discuss the wider implications of these exchanges, UN special envoy to Syria Steffan de Mistura joining us now by phone from Brussels.
Sir, you've been a supporter of these local truces and these deals to swap people as the first steps towards a political solution. Sir, others
will say their logical conclusion is the country, de facto partition of the country.
Do you see that as a risk?
[11:05:08] STAFFAN DE MISTURA, UN SPECIAL ENVOY TO SYRIA: Yes, I do. But at the same time, I'm not a strong supporter of these deals, I am
simply saying that they are a formula to save lives, and that's what the UN always will be in favor of. But they are not the solution. They take
place after heavy pounding, long sieges, when people are exhausted.
But in all fairness, when people have been killed for so long and been (inaudible) for so long, any solution that we can help, we will do so. But
the solution is not local cease-fire, it's a general cease-fire.
Over to you.
ANDERSON: Is the solution de facto partition of the country long term?
MISTURA: If there is one thing that all Syrians, and I have been meeting now last year, 230 different Syrian entities, have in common is
their pride for unity of the country. In other words, they don't want this what is happening at the
moment, which is de facto a temporary petition in four of five areas, to stay as such. They want one country. And I think we should help them to
ANDERSON: Well, you've announced January 25 as the date in Geneva to begin talks to try to end the fighting. That is less than a month from
How concerned are you that fighting on the ground will derail those talks?
MISTURA: I mean, 42 years in 19 different conflicts, Becky, with the UN: Iraq, Afghanistan included, every time we got close to discussing, I'm
not saying reaching, discussing a cease-fire or a political solution, there will always be, unfortunately and sadly, an increase of rhetoric and
This is unfortunately -- it's illogical.
What we need to do is not to be derailed, not to be overly impressed, take that into account and push forward.
ANDERSON: What is your message to the stakeholders and, indeed, their sponsors?
MISTURA: A very simple one. End of January, middle of February, will be the test. We have been having a remarkable momentum. The momentum has
been in Vienna. Three times, would you ever have dreamed to see Russia and Americans sitting on the same table and actually agreeing on many things
about Syria? Would you ever imagine Iran and Saudi Arabia sitting for seven hours in the same room
and discussing the future of Syria?
So we got a long way. The momentum is there. We even had a security council resolution.
But the test will be do we really mean it? Will the sponsors allow and
support the Syrian sides to talk seriously and under their own facilitation about the future of Syria? Or will that be only a posturing? Test in
And we will be working, pushing for that.
ANDRESON: How soon, sir, will it be clear who will be at the negotiating table?
MISTURA: Well, you see, there are two issues which are still pending and by the way, the great initiative which came up from the U.S.-Russian
discussion is to actually start agreeing on points where they can agree and postponing those areas where they still have a major disagreement.
And some areas -- although the agreement is who is the opposition, who is qualified to an opposition. And B, who is a terrorist?
Well, as far as the UN is concerned, we have a very clear idea who is a terrorist, because there was a security council resolution saying, al
Nusra and Daesh, the same ones which are being now dislodged from Ramadi.
Second, regarding opposition, the idea is to include as many as possible of the Syrians who can participate to the future of their own
country, including, by the way, women, which has been very much sidelined.
Now, that is a job for the UN. But the UN will put the test back to the Syrians and say if you are really serious about all inclusive Syria, an
all inclusive diplomatic and political discussion, now is the time to show it. That's why we invite you here, not only to walk out, but to actually
discuss the future of your own country.
ANDERSON: You have a month, sir. We will speak about. We appreciate your time. What I know is generally a time for families at this time of
Sir, thank you. Speak to you again. UN special envoy for Syria.
Let's take you back to our top story, neighboring Iraq says it has freed the city of Ramadi from ISIS control.
I want to get you to Iraq's capital Baghdad where CNN's Nima Elgabir is standing by.
Nima, an epic victory is how the Iraqi military earlier described their, quote, liberation of Ramadi. To what extent are Iraqi forces in
[11:10:39] NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We know there are still some pockets of fighting to the north of the city. But it
does appear that that strategic central government compound where we saw them raging the flag in pictures on Iraq's state TV, that's also where ISIS
triumphantly raised their flag back in May, that that now does appear to be in Iraqi government hands.
The U.S.-led coalition, though, is taking its time in announcing this, a full liberation, the State Department has said that they congratulate --
crucially, they congratulate the Iraqis on their continuing successes in Ramadi.
But in spite of all the debate over how much is in whose control? The reality is to even get this far, really, as you said, at the beginning, is
strategical on so many different levels. This is now the blueprint for how the Iraqi government and the U.S.-led coalition want to try to take Mosul,
Fallujah -- I mean, Mosul will, of course be a far harder fight. But to have even come this far is really something that many people here are
absolutely euphoric about, Becky.
You remember those pictures back in May and the humiliation that it dealt, not just to the Iraq government, but to the U.S. coalition's
strategy in fighting ISIS.
Now they believe with the Sunni tribes on site that they're creating this proforma that hopefully, for the civilians caught between these two
sites, hopefully can be replicated across the country.
ANDERSON: Nima Elbagir is live out of Baghdad for you this evening. Appreciate it, Nima.
Well, as you have been hearing, events here in the Middle East in Iraq and in Syria have been felt around the world in 2015. We'll be analyzing
some of those issues later in the show, including orchestrated in Syria, ISIS attacks in
Paris shocked the world. Could other major European cities be next?
And Americans are now less confident than ever about winning the war on terror, despite costly involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. We've got
the latest on an exclusive CNN opinion poll for you.
Also to come tonight, we'll look at why this man is the source of growing diplomatic tension between Brazil and Israel.
First up, though, from the United States to South America to the UK, severe weather devastating communities around the world this holiday
season. Taking a very short break. Back after this.
[11:16:17] ANDERSON: Powerful tornadoes, flash floods and dangerous blizzard conditions all part of what is a massive storm system that has
claimed dozens of lives across the United States, Texas one of the hardest hit areas where December twisters tore through the Dallas region.
But the severe weather not over yet. Residents now bracing for near freezing temperatures and snow.
Other states are under blizzard warnings today, Missouri and New Mexico declared states of emergency.
Let's get more now from Nick Valencia. He's in Garland, Texas where eight people sadly lost their lives from a tornado over the weekend.
Nick, how are those affected coping?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, just in the last couple of hours, Becky, we have seen residents -- the first residents -- come back to
this devastated apartment complex. We are standing directly in the path of that EF-4 tornado took. You can see behind me, what's left of this
facility here. Walls just ripped off, roofs gone, cars damaged. The debris field is just extraordinary.
Of the 11 deaths, eight occurred here if Garland, and of course, residents telling me that the anxiety they have is still a very real
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whoa! I just got a lightning strike.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Overnight in eastern Texas, blinding rain,
lightning, and strong winds in the city of Marshall.
Downed trees and power lines, possibly the work of yet another tornado touching down in the
Lone Star State.
Last night, patrons inside a Chili's restaurant huddling inside a freezer as tornado sirens sound off, a tornado watch still in effect today.
This morning, the monster storm system wrecking havoc across the southern states, making its way eastward.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, it's a big tornado. A big, big, strong tornado
VALENCIA: Over the Christmas weekend, Texas bearing the brunt of the storm -- ravaged by
nearly half a dozen deadly tornadoes. An airplane passenger snapping this stunning photo of the massive storm on a flight to Dallas.
Two powerful EF-3 and EF-4 twisters carving a path of destruction in Rowlett (ph) and nearby Garland (ph) Saturday.
The death toll, 11, making this the deadliest December for tornadoes in 60 years.
Justin Shuler (ph) sifts through what was left of his home in Garland. He and his dog survived by taking cover in a bathtub.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I stepped out because I heard the roaring, and then that's when I saw it.
VALENCIA: Willard Jordan heard the tornado rip through his neighborhood in Dallas, his family and home spared.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Buildings cracking, I mean ripping stuff up. All we could do of run to the closet and pray.
VALENCIA: And this Garland resident rescued by family.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just stayed in my closet all night long shaking like a leaf on a tree.
VALENCIA: The deadly storm also spawning flash floods. Whiteout conditions and states
of emergency in New Mexico and Missouri.
In Missouri, more than 100 water rescues. At least six people in Pulaski County swept away by floodwater Saturday night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a small, dark highway. They probably did not know what hit them until they hit the water.
VALENCIA: The massive system dumping more than 16 inches of snow in New Mexico.
Icy roads backing up traffic and shutting down Interstate 40 in Albuquerque.
VALENCIA: Back here in Garland, Texas many residents tell me they had little if any warning at all the that tornado was on its way to this
apartment complex. Many people weren't home at the time when the tornado hit.
Some of these stories of survival, Becky, are jsut extraordinarily courageous stories of survival. I spoke to one resident here named Josh
White rode out the storm with his wife and 5-year-old. He says he thought it was the end and now he says he feels as though he has been given a
second chance on life, a second chance he says that he is going to take to try to become a better person in the year ahead. Just really sad situation
out here for all of those affected, Becky.
[11:20:09] ANDERSON: Yeah, remarkable stuff.
All right, Nick, thank you.
Well, other parts of the world also seeing extreme weather as well.
El Nino is blamed for the worst flooding in parts of South America in decades.
Now torrential rains soaking Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil. Some 150,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes for higher
And parts of Northern England also submerged. Residents call it the worst flooding in recent memory. The British Prime Minister David Cameron
has sent troops to help with evacuation efforts.
Hundreds of people have left their homes, including in the historic city of York.
The rain eased on Monday, but at least nine severe flood warnings remain.
Well, I'm out of Abu Dhabi for you. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Coming up, the latest security alert in Europe. The
warnings of possible terror attacks over the holiday period.
And you would have guessed it? But Leicester City continue to lead the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea. We're going to take a
special look at a bizarre season in English football. That's next.
ANDERSON: Well, it is being called one of the most unpredictable Premier
League seasons ever. England's top flight football competition have seen giant
struggles this year, while surprised leaders Leicester, yes, a club called Leicester City, continue to top the table. In a short while, though, all
eyes will be on Manchester as Louis van Gaal could be the latest high profile manager
out of a job. His side take on champions Chelsea, struggling somewhat themselves, in about an hour's time.
For more CNN's Don Riddell joining me now live. And Don, a must win game
as far as the Manchester United coach is concerned, right?
[11:25:10] DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and even a win against Chelsea at Old Trafford might not be good enough, Becky. But
he is under an enormous amount of pressure.
United at the start of the season, they kind of looked okay. They were defensively sound. They weren't particularly exciting to watch. And
there was -- at the time, a theory that in this wildly unpredictable season, being strong defensively might have been enough to maybe nick the
But in the last couple of months, they have completely fallen apart. They are on a desperate losing streak right now. They are out of the
Champions League. They have lost to Bournemouth and Norwich. I mean, complete Premier League minnows previously. Losing again at Stoke at the
weekend. Van Gaal feeling the pressure, giving reporters death stares when they ask about his future, storming out of press
You do get the sense that whatever happens today, this could be his last game, because it has just gone so horribly wrong for him.
ANDERSON: Yeah, former coach Alex Ferguson never liked the press much, but this one really is struggling isn't he?
What makes tonight's clash more interesting, Don, of course, is that recently recently sacked Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho favorite to take over
from Van Gall. Is that realistic?
RIDDELL: Well, it's by no means out of the question. And if you are outside Old Trafford right now, you can buy a Manchester United scarf with
Jose Mourinho's picture on it. The sales guys there not missing a trick. I can assure you, that is Mourinho there under our banner on the screen
there. There you can see him.
So certainly a lot of interest in Mourinho. We know that he would love to take that job. He is also interested in Real Madrid.
Remember, it was last year when Mourinho reportedly burst into tears when he wasn't offered the United job and it was given instead to David
So, he is very much a big manager. He is very keen to get back into the game. It is ironic that United are playing Chelsea today. At one
point it seemed as though he could well have been managing United in his game. That hasn't come to pass yet. But I think there are a very good
chance he could be in charge next at Old Trafford.
ANDERSON: Yeah, I think he's still the bookies favorite, isn't he?
Listen, what is behind this whole unpredictable season? Can we expect to see the likes of Leicester and Watford, for example, falling down the
table, or even dare I say it, winning it do you think?
RIDDELL: Well, we have been saying this for weeks, months, that this can't possibly last, but the longer Leicester stay on top the more we have
to start considering them as genuine title contenders. And it is incredible, because this time year last year they were bottom of the table.
The Premier League always used to be so predictable. At the very least, you pretty knew who the top four teams were going to be.
But this year, Chelsea have fallen way off the pace. They're only two points off the relegation zone. United are struggling. You've got a yoyo
team, Crystal Palace, knocking on the door of the Champion's League, Watford right up there too.
It is just absolutely remarkable. I think it's the most exciting Premier League season we've ever had. And if we ask about whether
Leicester can win it or not, I don't see any reason why they can't right now. They do rely on their two strikers, Mahrez and Vardy, who are
absolutely fantastic. I guess if one of those got injured in the new year, it might not be so easy for them.
But, right now, they are showing everyone else how it's done.
ANDERSON: Yeah, or get nicked by another club. Anyway, look, it's great. It's a great wide open season where all us football fans loving it.
All right, Don, thank you for that. Good to have you.
The latest world news headlines are just ahead, plus concerns grow over Barack Obama's strategy against ISIS as a new poll sheds light on how
Americans believe the war on terror is progressing.
Plus, from the concert halls to the streets of Baghdad, a famed Iraqi conductor responds to bombings in the capital with his cello.
[11:34:06] ANDERSON: Well, a landmark deal is being reached over an issue that is strained Japanese-South Korean relations for decades. Japan
is apologizing for its military's use of women as sex slaves during World War II, and pledging millions in retribution.
CNN's Alessandra Field reports for you from Seoul this evening.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After 12 recent rounds of negotiations and decades of tensions between South Korea and Japan, a deal
is finally reached to resolve the conflict over comfort women. Many of these women -- Korean women forced to serve as sex slaves in Japanese
military brothels. If the Japanese government carries out its end of the deal by putting up $8 million for a foundation to support the surviving
women, South Korea will consider the matter irreversibly resolved.
[11:34:02] PARK GYEUN-HYE, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH KOREA (through translator): In order to restore dignity and regain the impaired reputation
of the comfort women, as well as heal their wounded hearts through the agreement, I think it's most important that the Japanese government
explicitly and state-fully carry out the measures under the deal.
SHINZO ABE, PRIME MINSITER OF JAPAN: I think we did our duty for the current generation by reaching this final and irreversible resolution for
the end of the 70th year of the war.
FIELD: The announcement of the deal comes with a message that Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe again expresses his sincerest apologies, and it
takes responsibility for the military's use of comfort women. One group representing survivors says the apology is too vague and fails to make
explicitly clear the Japanese government's role in perpetuating the crimes against women. She was forced to leave her Korean village at the age of 14.
She was used for five years as a sex slave.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I can't put into words the scars it left me with. It still keeps me awake at night. It went on for
such a long time. By the time the sun went down, I couldn't use my lower body at all. In my old age, I couldn't have a single person who can call me
mother. I could never have a child.
FIELD: Kim is one of 46 surviving comfort women. There are estimates that 200,000 women were used as comfort women by the Japanese military.
Alexandra Field, CNN, Seoul.
ANDERSON: Well, security is beefed up in major cities across Europe after Austrian police said they received a warning about a possible terror
attack between Christmas and New Year's Eve.
For more CNN's Robyn Kriel joining me from London.
What kind of details do we have at this point, Robyn?
ROBYN KRIEL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well the press release itself, the alerts, Becky, left a lot more questions than answers.
Although, it did have a couple of specifics.
But really what we don't know is which cities were the targets, or the alleged targets of this alert. Also, who is this foreign intelligence
service, this friendly intelligence service, that the Austrian police were talking about, where they got this information? And just how did that
friendly intelligence service gain this information? Who are the names that were on this list? The intelligence service reportedly gave Austrian
police a number of names that they said they should investigate. Austrian policy say they've tried to follow up. They haven't.
What we do know, we haven't uncovered anything untoward at the moment. What we do know, Becky, is that this timeline between Christmas and New
Year and also that in this warning, they say that the attackers could be using weapons such as guns or explosives.
ANDERSON: All right. OK, Robyn. As we get more on this, we will, of course, bring it to you viewers.
Well, a CNN-ORC poll suggests diminishing confidence about the U.S. fight against ISIS.
60 percent of Americans say they don't approve of how President Obama is handling terrorism. The polls suggest Americans are more likely to say
terrorists are winning the war against the U.S. then at any other point since 9/11.
Well, from Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton, U.S. presidential candidates haven't been shy about bringing up security issues ahead of next
year's U.S. elections.
Let's get more from Stephen Collinson who is from CNN Politics.
Stephen, is this latest poll result, firstly, likely to worry the White House?
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: I think we have already seen
the White House being worried in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The president I think would
admit privately that he's not really got a handle on this issue since the Paris attacks. That's why you saw the president come out and give an
address to the nation about ISIS strategy, give a press conference, huddle with his national security advisers in the run up to Christmas as sort of
fear spiked that there could be some kind of Christmas terror attack.
And I mean, I think I would date this to the Paris attack, which although it was in Europe and not in the United States, it felt like it was
in the United States given the saturation media coverage.
Then a few weeks later, we have the ISIS-inspired attack in San Bernardino, California, which appeared to give credence to the argument
that many people were making that, look, if it can happen in Paris, it can happen here.
So I think we can say that definitely the politics of terrorism has turned on this issue and that's why it's such a big issue in the
presidential election as you mentioned.
ANDERSON: Yes. And how is public opinion likely to shape the presidential campaign as we move closer to what is now this nomination
phase? We're been talking 2016 for, what, feels like most of 2015. But we are nearly there and this presidential campaign will really ramp up in the
months ahead? Won't it?
COLLINSON: Right. Definitely. And I think what you have on the Republican side especially is candidates who have a vested political
interest in making it look like President Obama has no idea about how to handle terrorism.
And the Republican Party is a party that responds to hawkish rhetoric, to tough talk. It likes to hear candidates say they're going out to take
it to the terrorists. We've seen that from Donald Trump from people like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, for example, from Senator Marco Rubio
of Florida who says the president has failed to keep Americans safe.
So this is a very attractive argument for people on the Republican side.
And I think that's playing into this CNN poll. I think what you have is not just candidates
who are reflecting growing public anxiety about terrorism, I think they're actually shaping public opinion by the way they are talking about terrorism
in a way that I don't think anyone who is objective would saying, accurately reflects the actual threat the United States faces.
[11:40:53] LU STOUT: Yeah, and as you point out, terms like, we're going to take it to
the terrorists, what does that mean when it comes to solutions to what is deemed a problem? And when I say how does it play into the campaign, are
we going to get anything further than just we're going to take it to the terrorists? Anything solid at this point?
COLLINSON: Right, Becky.
Well, when you ask Republican presidential candidates what they would actually do, they say things like the Arab states need to do more. We need
boots on the ground from the Arab states. We need to work with our allies. All of these things are things the administration has tried to do. Fair
enough, they have not particularly succeeded in some of those areas, but you know, the White
House would argue that, particularly today with the full back to the Iraqi government of Ramadi, their strategy is slow, it's steady and it's working.
It's not clear what Republicans would do apart from talk tougher. You know, the one candidate who said that we should send 20,000 U.S. boots on
the ground to Syria to fight ISIS, Lindsey Graham has had to pull out of the race because he couldn't make traction in the race.
So, you know, I think tough talk is one thing, but in terms of new solutions, new plans from the Republicans -- the situation with ISIS is so
intractable, it's very difficult to see what new solutions there are. If there were good new solutions, the White House would have probably come up
with them already.
ANDERSON: Stephen Collison out of Washington for you this evening. Thank you, sir.
And the team at CNN Politics has got a lot more on that story online. Also a look at what to expect in 2016 as the U.S. selection battle gears
up. T that is CNN Politics.com for more.
We are out of Abu Dhabi for you. This is Connect the World. Coming up, we are going to take a look at how a pro-settler envoy is a source of
tension between Israel and Brazil. The details on that story up next.
[11:47:02] ANDERSON: You're with Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. Now Israel and Brazil are embroiled in what seems like a growing
diplomatic dispute. Israel stepping up pressure on Brazil to accept Israel's nomination of Dani Dayan to be its ambassador there.
Now, Brazil's left leaning government isn't keen to change its mind, though, because Dayan is a West Bank Settler and the former head of a
Well, for more, CNN's Oren Liebermann joining us now out of Jerusalem. Oren, last year, our foreign ministry spokesman described Brazil as a,
quote, diplomatic dwarf after it recalled its ambassador to protest the military offensive in Gaza. And now this.
What's likely to happen in this latest chapter of what can only be described as strained relations between Israel and Brazil?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNAIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, right now in the short-term, it'll be Israel's deputy ambassador to Brazil who
takes over as this is all sorted out. But how soon and how it will be sorted out at this point is anybody's guess, because neither Brazil nor
Israel are backing down on this one.
Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely says it's not Brazil's responsibility or their right to decide who Israel appoints as an
ambassador as long as that person is qualified. And she insists Dni Dayan is qualified. But that doesn't seem to be changing Brazil's mind.
Dayan was appointed five months ago. And his appointment hasn't gone anywhere in Brazil. They have essentially been dragging their feet hoping
that Israel pulls back the name Dayan. But Israel at this point refuses to do that.
The prime minister's office has been fairly quiet here, staying for the most part out of this one. But it's now the deputy foreign minister
issuing this sort of campaign to get Dayan accpeted and appointed, but it's not just the Brazilians who oppose this one, PLO Secretary-General Hassan
Arakat issued some very strong words here again Dayan saying Dani Dayan is an illegal settler who works to
justify Israel's criminal colonization of Palestine.
So, it looks like this spat will continue. Despite that, I did speak today with the foreign ministry. And they say the relations with Brazil
are strong in terms of economic insecurity, but right now no good guess as to where this one is heading..
ANDERSON: All right, let's stay with this story and get more for our viewers as and when it
develops. Live from Abu Dhabi -- thank you Oren -- this is Connect the World, coming up, music amid the rubble. A renowned Iraqi conductor plays
at bombing sites in Baghdad to bring hope to what is a weary nation.
[11:52:50] ANDERSON: Well, recent developments in Ramadi may push ISIS further from Iraq's capital, people in Backed still live under the
constant threat of bombings.
But the conductor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra is trying to ease their fears somewhat. Karim Wasfi often goes to sites after they
have been bombed and he comes armed with his cello.
Tonight's Parting Shots, then, with musical accompaniment.
KASIM WASFI, CONDUCTOR, IRAQI NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: I'm helping people empowering their self confidence, empowering their
commitments to life, not to death.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Our situation as Iraqis is not good. Our nerves are tense, we're not relaxed. We are afraid of being
attacked by ISIS. (inaudible).
WASFI: It gives them a choice to feel human, to feel alive. They were thinking freer somehow. They were less aggressive. They were less
malicious against each other, oragainst the situation.
I will not stop at sthi stage. We have a certain obligation where things are abnormal, our obligation is to turn life normal and worth living
[11:55:25] ANDERSON: A glimpse of one Iraqi's approach to the turmoil in his country that so often dominates our coverage, especially in the last
couple of days.
Do let us know what you think of that story, and of course the others that we have brought to you this hour.
You can send us your thoughts, watch exclusive digital content on our Facebook page. And that is Facebook.com/CNNConnect. You can tweet me
@BeckyCNN. I always like to hear from you.
And before we leave you this hour, a reminder of our top story. Iraq's military says it has liberated Ramadi, which is a key provincial
capital that was captured by ISIS seven months ago. Now this follows almost a week of clashes between government forces and the terror group.
Iraqi troops raised the flag over the government building in central Ramadi this Monday. But I have to say, the video showed some ISIS fighters
still do remain in the city.
A lot to discuss on that story, whether it's timing, tactics, or a look at what the next ISIS
targeted likely to be for an emboldened Iraqi army. A lot more to come, of course.
I'm Becky Anderson, that was Connect the World. Thank you for watching.
iDesk with Robyn Kurnow follows this very short break.
From the team here and those working with us around the world, it is a very good evening.