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Suicide Blast in Istanbul; Norwegian National Wounded in Sultanahmet Square Bombing; Full "Rolling Stone" El Chapo Interview Released; Speaking to Sister of New "Jihadi John" Suspect; Oil Dips Below $30 a Barrel; Cultural Icon Targeted in Istanbul Blast; ISIS Enlists Children to Fight; Terrorism, Gun Control to be Addressed in State of the Union; Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall to Wed. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired January 12, 2016 - 15:00:00   ET




HALA GORANI, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: a strike at the heart of Istanbul. A suicide blast hits a tourist hot spot in Turkey. Most of the

dead: foreign visitors. We are live in Istanbul.

Plus: new excerpts from El Chapo's interview with "Rolling Stone" magazine are released. We're live in Mexico for the latest on that.

Also this hour, CNN sits down exclusively with the sister of the man who could be the next Jihadi John.

And Obama's big night: the American president prepares for his last State of the Union address.

Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We're live at CNN London. Thanks for being with us. This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.


GORANI: Well, the suicide bombers are getting closer and closer to very important heritage and tourist sites and in fact hitting the heart of one

of those sites in Istanbul.

Turkish officials now say the terrorist who struck Sultanahmet Square was a member of ISIS. The blast killed at least 10 people, eight of whom were

German. CNN's Arwa Damon reports from Istanbul.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The very scene Turkey had feared, foreigners among the dead and injured from a blast

at the country's most popular tourist hub, Sultanahmet Square, home of the famous Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.

Authorities have identified a Syrian national as the attacker.

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through translator): I condemn the terror events in Istanbul, Sultanahmet Square, that has been evaluated

as a suicide bombing attack with Syrian roots.

DAMON (voice-over): An attack like this, targeting the country's $69 billion tourism industry, was not unexpected amid a security situation that

has rapidly deteriorated.

Just two weeks ago, authorities claimed they thwarted a plot to bomb New Year's Eve celebrations in Ankara. Two men with alleged ISIS ties were

arrested as they scouted locations and were found carrying a vest and bag packed with explosives, ready to use.

The Islamic group was also blamed for the country's worst attack in modern history, the twin suicide bombings in Ankara, which killed 103 people in


So, too, a bombing that claimed 33 lives in Sirte, near the Syrian border in July. The wave of violence has exposed Turkey's increasing

vulnerability to attack, despite country-wide sweeps that have seen hundreds of individuals with alleged terrorist links detained.

Many in Turkey have been bracing themselves for what unfolded in Sultanahmet Square early on Tuesday, a strike at the heart of an industry

that attracts more than 34 million visitors a year.

ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (through translator): Of course, we don't have all the information, neither about the victims nor about the

perpetrators but we are very worried German citizens could be among the victims and injured -- and probably are.

Those affected are members of a German travel group and, of course, the German foreign office has immediately established a crisis unit and we

tried to get all information as fast as possible.

DAMON (voice-over): Foreigners named among the casualties. This latest attack of terror on Turkish soil also an attack on the historic soul of the



GORANI: Well, we're tracking the developments of this story from all angles. Arwa Damon joins me from Istanbul; Atika Shubert is reporting

today from Berlin.

As we mentioned, so many of the dead were German.

Arwa, I want to start with you. Now authorities are saying ISIS, they're saying this was a Syrian national.

How is this going to change things with regard to Turkey's response to the terrorist group inside Syria here?

DAMON: Well, look, Hala, over the last few months Turkey has attempted to crack down along its very porous border with Syria. The government has

regularly launched these massive sweeps, detaining sometimes hundreds of individuals at a time, accusing them all of having ties to terror.

And on New Year's Eve, for example, they say that they foiled the plot and detained two individuals, whom the Turkish authorities also said had those

ties to ISIS. So we do have this ongoing effort by the Turkish intelligence --


DAMON: -- apparatus and the security forces to try to crack down.

But, again, this is demonstrating just how vulnerable the country is because at the end of the day, it is just about impossible to fully close

that border and it's also impossible to keep track of every single individual who comes across it.

Remember, this country is home to some 2 million Syrian refugees. So the country faces a vast number of challenges, which is also why Turkey, at

this stage, is also trying to reach out to various other nations, to try to create some sort of intelligence sharing because there have been other

cases where attacks, individuals have been detained, who are not necessarily Syrian, who are foreigners, who are transiting through Turkey.

But this is just the reality of the country faced at this very critical juncture.

GORANI: And Atika Shubert is in Berlin.

What's been the reaction in Germany to this terrible attack?

Eight German nationals believed to have been killed.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the majority of victims and people here are shocked. Government has set up a crisis response team. German

police are arriving in Istanbul to help with the investigation.

This is the deadliest terror attack to affect German citizens in more than a decade. So a lot of questions being asked here.

It's not clear at this point if German nationals specifically were being targeted or if they just happened to be the tourists in this very popular

area. But they were all part of one tour group, had 33 people in all, the tour operator has confirmed.

Most of them were retirees and this was their last stop on a regional tour. So it's very sad news and shocking and it's going to be a few dark days, I

think, for Germany ahead.

GORANI: And Atika, Germany is changing its travel advisory for Turkey, I understand?

SHUBERT: It has. What it said is that anyone who is in Germany at the moment, stay away from large crowds, stay away from tourist areas and,

remember, it's a tremendously popular destination for many Germans; an estimated more than 5 million Germans go to Turkey every year.

So this is going to have a dramatic effect on that and it's likely we'll see a steep drop in Germans visiting Turkey.

GORANI: All right. Arwa Damon is in Istanbul; Atika Shubert in Berlin, thanks to both of you there for your reporting on this story today.

A Norwegian national was among the wounded in that attack. He's been taken to the hospital. The country's foreign minister happened to be in Ankara

at the time. Borge Brende met with the Turkish President Erdogan earlier in the day. Foreign Minister Brende joins me on the phone now from Ankara.

Foreign Minister, first of all, you met with President Erdogan.

What did he tell you about this attack today after it happened in Istanbul at Sultanahmet Square?

BORGE BRENDE, NORWEGIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: President Erdogan, that used to be the mayor of Istanbul, was, of course, personally extremely concerned

about what happened. I had the chance to also convey my deepest condolences to Turkey and I also did to the German foreign minister, Frank-

Walter Steinmeier, Germany being so hard-hit.

It is in a very special day here in Ankara. Today the cabinet has met to discuss the security. And such an ISIS attack, in (INAUDIBLE) a place in

Turkey, shows that, I feel, it is exporting terror also into Turkey, very serious situation for this country.

GORANI: So can I ask you about Norway?

I know that the United States, I understand, requested that Norway, which is part of the anti-ISIS coalition in Iraq or over Iraq, extend its

participation to Syria.

Is this something that you would consider doing?

BRENDE: Yes. We are considering. But, as you mentioned, they are already part of the training of the military in Iraq but also of the Peshmerga,

they're also contributing in a lot of other areas.

And we are one of the main humanitarian donors for the region and now looking at what is unfolding in Syria, when it comes to starvation, when it

comes to bombing of schools and all this, that part is also important.

But I feel it needs to be -- we need to step up also to fight against ISIL. That's for sure.

GORANI: Let me ask you a question that many people who are observing the situation in Syria -- you mentioned the starvation. So I want to ask you

about that.

If coalition planes can drop bombs on ISIS targets, why can't they drop aid, medicine, food to communities, who are starving in Syria?

Why not go down that road, since you're involved in the anti-ISIS --


GORANI: -- coalition over Iraq?

What do you answer to people who ask you that question?

BRENDE: My simple answer is that access is core. We need to reach these areas. We have to look into different ways of doing so. But I would also

strongly underline that those that are using starvation as a part of the war is committing war crime.

And in the areas that have been most badly affected -- and shown in the media -- the last days are areas where President Assad is responsible.

There are 15 different areas, the different groups that are responsible, this is breaking fundamental humanitarian law. It's war crime.

But we need to also, of course, know -- be knowlative (sic) in the way we get access to this area with food, with water, with medicine, so we can


GORANI: You could access them from the air. I mean, there are bombing campaigns over ISIS-held territory every single day.

Is that not an idea you could consider?

BRENDE: And so I think we have to consider all options when there is such a serious situation. But we also have to be aware that the safety of the

humanitarian workers but also the safety when it comes to these kinds of flights is something that has to be accessed very much.

We know that these are areas are controlled by partly terrorists, you know, that are also partly controlled by the regime. And it's -- there is no

guaranteed safety for these drops. We can increase the challenges.

So this is, unfortunately, very, very difficult. But I'm glad that access in the International Red Cross committee had been able to access some of

the areas but this is unfortunately the top of the iceberg. So more needs to be done and access for humanitarian relief, should be in the 21st

century be something we took for granted. But it is not.

GORANI: If I could ask you very briefly, are -- is Norway going to change its travel advisory for Turkey?

Will you tell the Norwegians not to go to Turkey now?

BRENDE: So our current travel advice is that we advise Norwegians not to travel to the southeastern parts of Turkey. What we're saying now for the

rest is that you have to stay away from big crowds and be careful. But we have not changed our overall travel advice to Turkey.

GORANI: All right, Foreign Minister Borge Brende of Norway, thanks very much, the foreign minister was in Ankara. He was speaking to President

Erdogan and just coincidentally in Ankara on a visit and met with the president there on the day this suicide bomber attacked Sultanahmet Square.

Still to come this evening.


KONIKA DHAR, SISTER OF ABU RUMAYSAH: I was upset and sad more than anything because I don't understand it.

GORANI (voice-over): In an exclusive interview, CNN talks with the sister of a man who could be the new Jihadi John.

Also, this hour "Rolling Stone" releases its full interview with Mexican drug kingpin, El Chapo. The cartel leader says he's not a violent person.

More on that after this.





GORANI: Welcome back.

"Rolling Stone" has now released a 17-minute interview with the Mexican drug lord, El Chapo. The kingpin kept his answers fairly simple throughout

the interview. He emphasized that he does not consider himself a violent person.

Some of the questions sent by actor Sean Penn asked him about his most recent escape from a maximum security prison and whether he risked putting

anyone in harm's way.

But before we run this interview, we want to make a few things clear. This video that you're about to see was not recorded during Sean Penn's visit

with El Chapo. The questions were submitted to him and the questions were then read by one of El Chapo's people. That's when he answered, if you're

wondering why there was no follow-up questioning to some of the things he was saying.

So with all that having been made clear, take a listen to El Chapo's response.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Did it not worry you that you might be putting your family at risk with your escape?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): For your recent escape, did you pursue your freedom at any cost, at the expense of anybody?

GUZMAN (from captions): I never thought that -- of hurting anyone. All I did was ask God and things worked out. Everything was perfect. I'm here,

thank God.


GORANI: The entire interview is on "Rolling Stone's" website.

Now our Martin Savidge is live for us in Almoloya de Juarez, Mexico, that's west of Mexico City and it's where El Chapo is now in prison, in the same

prison from which he escaped last July.

So, Martin, first of all, I made clear to our viewers that Sean Penn was not present for this interview that was posted on

But tell us a little bit more about what we learn in this 17-minute clip.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, and you rightly pointed out that he is not the one asking the questions. That's very critical here because

I think that you also wonder were Sean Penn's questions asked the way Sean Penn would have wanted.

But that said, the extended version is now out and one of the questions that is poignantly put to this druglord is, is he aware of the devastating

impact of the industry and the addiction that he backs and supports?

And here's his response.


GUZMAN (through translator): Well, it's a reality, that drugs destroy. Unfortunately, as I said, where I grew up, there was no other way and there

still isn't a way to survive, no other way to work in our economy to be able to make a living.


SAVIDGE: Regardless of what he says, the important thing to note is that Mexican authorities say, because of that interview, they were able to track

down El Chapo and arrest him and once again put him behind bars here at this maximum security prison.

I should point out, by the way, that the officials here say that they have changed dramatically their security procedures so as not to have a repeat

of what happened last July, when he escaped through a tunnel. They won't tell us what those changes are -- Hala.

GORANI: And when was this recorded?

This must have been after the Sean Penn visit, right?

Because these questions were submitted later.

I mean, do we know?

SAVIDGE: Correct. Right. We don't know the exact timing. I mean, it appears to have been several weeks later. Whether it was longer than that

is not quite clear. It's believed that he was roughly in the same location where he may had been, when he had the face-to-face meeting with Sean Penn.

What we don't understand, though, is how that meeting led authorities to essentially home in Los Mochis, which is right on the coast some distance

away and two months later to conduct the raid that they did.

What was the connection there?

We don't know that and it could indicate there were other intel sources besides Sean Penn that provided Mexican authorities with El Chapo's



GORANI: All right. Interesting new development. Thanks very much. Martin Savidge in Mexico.

They are calling him the new Jihadi John, another masked man with a British accent, appearing in another brutal ISIS propaganda video. Authorities say

they're still working to confirm his identity but they're reportedly focusing on a 32-year-old Londoner who's a convert to Islam from Hinduism.

He calls himself Abu Rumaysah.

In response to recent questions in Parliament, Britain's home secretary would not comment about the name, citing the investigation. But CNN's

Clarissa Ward had an exclusive opportunity to talk with Abu Rumaysah's sister.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What was he like as a brother?

DHAR: Typical brother, I think just into sort of -- he liked playing his basketball a lot, which he was quite good at, video games and films and

liked to collect comic books as well.

WARD (voice-over): But after converting to Islam as a young man, things began to change. He fell in with radical preacher Anjem Choudary and in an

interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" shortly before he fled to Syria in 2014, he told me he was not able to love his mother or anyone in his family


ABU RUMAYSAH, ISLAMIC RADICAL: I don't love them as non-Muslims but I desire for them to become Muslim and embrace Islam.

WARD: But you love her as your mother.

RUMAYSAH: She's my mother and she has rights over me so I have to take care of her.

WARD: But do you feel love for her?

RUMAYSAH: (INAUDIBLE) love non-Muslims. So that's something that is a matter of faith.

WARD: What's your reaction to that?

DHAR: I was upset and sad more than anything because I don't understand it.

I'll be honest with you. One thing that I sort of noticed is that he has stripped his identity completely. And this is what -- because he had the

most colorful, creative personality and I don't know where it's gone and where we have gone wrong. But it's been lost.

WARD: You say "where we've gone wrong."

Do you blame yourself?

DHAR: I think, yes. There's an element of guilt. I feel, why could I not stop it? Why, you know, are we that bad that you have to leave, that you

have to go and live another life?

WARD (voice-over): Dhar desperately wants to believe that her brother is not the man in the new ISIS video, though she has conceded that the voices

are similar.

She says she is unable to reconcile that killer with the boy she grew up with.

WARD: Most people would say that anyone who joins ISIS, on some level, is evil, a psychopath.

Do you believe that to be true about your brother?

DHAR: Well, I can only speak in regards to my brother. And I can (INAUDIBLE) said that I don't agree with that. I see him as a

compassionate sort of family person, caring individual, somebody sort of who doesn't really engage in activities like --

WARD: Even after he's joined ISIS?

DHAR: Maybe I don't want to believe it. I don't know.

WARD: Do you believe that he's a killer?

DHAR: God, no. No, absolutely not. No.


GORANI: There you have it. Clarissa Ward reporting there.

Now to this story, and we've been talking about what's happened in Cologne on New Year's Eve. Well, German lawmakers are proposing tougher

deportation and sex offender laws after more than 500 reports emerged of mob violence in Cologne on the first day of the year, right when protesters

clashed with police during the weekend over what they say was an inadequate police response.

Police say at least 31 people, mostly from North African or Middle Eastern countries, have been charged in connection with the violence. The new laws

would enable Germany to more easily deport migrants found guilty of crimes, including those involving sexual or physical assault.

A big debate there ongoing in Germany after these attacks on New Year's Eve.

A lot more coming up on THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, the price of oil just keeps tumbling, dipping today below $30 a barrel.

How low can it go?

We have the latest numbers for you and how it impacts you as well coming up.





GORANI: All right. Here's a look at the stock market in the United States. The Dow Jones industrial average is actually up. Finally, triple

digits, trading at 16,506. A look at the other markets in the U.S. as well. The tech-heavy Nasdaq and the wider S&P 500 also higher.

And do we have Europe?

(INAUDIBLE), there we do, also up across the day.

Now what is not going up is oil. Oil prices show no signs of stopping on the downside. Light sweet crude dips today below $30 a barrel for the

first time since December 2003 and analysts are warning that further price drops are likely.

Here's how Brent crude was looking a few moments ago at just over $31 a barrel. Earlier in the day, it was fluctuating close to $30 a barrel as

well. These lower prices have OPEC's outgoing president considering an emergency meeting.


EMMANUEL KACHIKWU, NIGERIAN MINISTER OF STATE: Meetings will make it (INAUDIBLE) unless you have (INAUDIBLE) good positions. But ultimately

OPEC is the union of the interest of members. And a majority of the members are beginning to take (INAUDIBLE) in the oil markets environment

and the economists are really getting shattered.

There's something needs to give. And I spent a lot emotion, much more than the polemics of pricing, what's maybe what's going to drive an emergency



GORANI: All right. An emergency meeting -- and that was the outgoing OPEC president speaking to John Defterios.

Maggie Lake is in New York.

So let's talk a little bit about forecasts Here.

What are experts and analysts saying about how low oil can go here?

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, there seems to be a sense, Hala, that we are not seeing a bottom right now, even though price is down

19 percent year-to-date; some 72 percent from that peak. You have major analysts at major banks, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley,

Citigroup, Bank of America, saying this could go as low as 20.

Now they're not suggesting it's going to stay there permanently but there is a sense that all of the momentum is to the downside.


Part of what you just talked about. OPEC seems to be in disarray. Some members want an emergency meeting. But there are other members, including

powerful United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, who have thrown cold water on that, saying, no, our strategy is working.

So OPEC is in disarray. You have a lot of supply in the market and you have concerns that China slowing down. You put that all together and we

have analysts telling us there is no reason to step in and buy here or believe that oil is going to move higher.

So everyone sort of seems like coalescing around this idea that it could hit $20 and traditionally that is really that rapid move lower in all of

the consequences that brings has unnerved investors.

Interesting to see markets moving in opposite directions and seeing stock markets move higher. I would watch out, though. Volatility is certainly

with us.

GORANI: All right. Let's -- I remember actually covering an OPEC meeting in Vienna when I was in my business correspondent days, way back when, when

oil was at $11 a barrel and that was real panic at OPEC. We're not there yet. But there's still a lot of concern.

What about just ordinary people, if you had to explain to them what impact do -- because you think, oh, great, gas at the pump is cheaper.

What are some of the negative impacts of very low oil prices?

LAKE: Let me start with that positive because that is lost when you're talking in financial circles about oil. They're very concerned about that

because of the oil companies. We see BP laying off and the bankruptcies that might come and the political fall on the oil producer. It is great

news for consumer that oils are down. And you will find some analysts pointing to that as a benefit that's not being talked about enough.

But there are others worried about what this means. If you are Nigeria, if you are Russia, Venezuela, you have built your budget around much higher

forecast. You have the political risk associated with that. If you are a U.S. fracker and you have borrowed money in the junk bond market, you have

also done that on the assumption that you're going to be able to sell oil at a higher price.

Do we start to see bankruptcies?


Does it affect the job market in countries that employ a lot of people in that industry?

Again, I mentioned BP laying off thousands. So that is where the negative comes from and the concern. But there is that bright spot as well which

balances out. That is what people are trying to figure out right now -- Hala.

GORANI: All right. And super low inflation as well. Not always necessarily a good thing longer term.

Maggie Lake, thanks very much. I believe we'll see you on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" at the top of the hour.

LAKE: That's right.

GORANI: Well, in Istanbul it's not just any square. Turkey's prime minister says ISIS targeted his country's civilization. We'll look at how

Istanbul's identity is linked to the location of today's attack.

And the incredible tale of a young boy's escape from ISIS and its army of child soldiers. Nima Elbagir has that story coming up.




GORANI: Welcome back. Let's take a look at our top stories.


GORANI: Well, a suicide bomber targeted something bigger than a tourist hot spot in Istanbul today. They seemed to be striking at the social

fabric of Turkey. Sultanahmet Square showcases works of art from the Ottoman Era.


GORANI: A CNN security expert says it's a cultural crossroad, a very important cultural site. In fact, you don't need to be a security expert

to know that, frankly. But this is why ISIS wanted to target this location.

Germany is warning its citizens to avoid these landmarks after losing at least eight people in Tuesday's blast. Turkey's leaders are renewing their

promise to fight these terrorists. Let's get more on what this means for the country.

Fawaz Gerges joins me now in the studio. He's an expert on the Middle East with the London School of Economics and an author on the region as well.

So Fawaz, this is really the first time that, if it is ISIS, I don't think they have officially claimed responsibility. We know that the prime

minister believes it is an ISIS terrorist. This would be the first time they really hit at the heart of the tourist area of Istanbul.

FAWAZ GERGES, DIR. MIDDLE EAST CENTER, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: It really represents a shift in ISIS modes of operations. The previous

attacks last January, June, July, October, targeted two basically targets, the Kurds and the police.

This is the first time that ISIS allegedly targets not only -- I mean the heart, the beating heart of historical and cultural center of Istanbul, but

I would say the economy. It really, Hala, a pattern has emerged. ISIS, its affiliates, its supporters, its followers are basically waging economic

warfare, not just in Turkey --


GORANI: And by the way, I just want to interrupt you for just one moment because, to your point, here we're seeing Istanbul but the other attacks

were located either in different parts of the country. Here you have the Kurdish attacks, here you have Ankara, which is the administrative capital,

and there you have Istanbul, which obviously is trying to hit at the tourism industry.

GERGES: It's not just in Turkey. Think of what ISIS and basically Al Qaeda have done in Tunisia. They have devastated the tourist industry.

Think of what has happened in Egypt in the last three years. I mean, the Egyptian tourist industry is decimated.

In Turkey, this is the first attack that targets of course, I mean, Sultanahmet anyone who goes to Sultanahmet -- this is really one of the --

GORANI: This is your must-do on the tourism --


GERGES: It's waging economic warfare and most of those killed but all of those killed are German and we know that the Germans are the largest

basically segment that visits Turkey every year.

GORANI: Well, they're very tight and close ties between Germany of course and Turkey.

GERGES: Of course.

GORANI: So if this indeed is ISIS, what is the ultimate aim here?

I mean decimate the tourism industry, I get that.

But ultimately beyond that, what has been the aim?

GERGES: Turkey has recently joined the fight against ISIS -- recently. It has taken major measures to close the borders between Syria and Turkey. It

has also allowed the Americans to use its airfields to bomb ISIS.

This is retaliation. ISIS is sending a message loud and clear to the Turkish government, we can hit you and all of us think -- we focus on these

bombings. Hala, it has not been reported in the English press. ISIS is beheading Syrian rebels in the heart of Turkish cities.


GORANI: This was one of the most significant developments, as far as I was concerned. They're going inside Turkey. They killed a Syrian journalist

and then beheaded two activists as well in Southern Turkey.

GERGES: What does this tell you?

We have an infrastructure; they have supporters, they have followers, they have sleeping cells and the attack today in Istanbul is a powerful message

to Erdogan and the leadership of Turkey. We can get you, we can harm your economy. It's really the message, it's not the history and the culture.

It's about economic warfare.

GORANI: Now, Turkey is not Egypt and it's not Tunisia. So they -- ISIS, by downing that Russian plane, by attacking that resort hotel just a few

days ago, by attacking a beachfront hotel in Tunisia, they also want to destroy the economies of those countries.

Ultimately what is the aim from ISIS' global strategic -- ?

GERGES: Well, I mean, the global strategy is to reinforce its narrative of invincibility. To deter, to instill fear, to say we are standing tall.

The reality is ISIS is now waging a global war against basically not Western powers, France, Belgium, the United States, Turkey, because it

perceives to be it's besieged, it's on the defensive, it's losing territories in Iraq and Syria.

GORANI: Is it indeed because as some -- especially U.S. officials I speak to, defending the coalition's achievements over the last two years, saying

ISIS is on the back foot, that's why you're seeing more external operations?

Do you agree with that?

GERGES: I think to a certain extent, Hala, it's correct. Because remember, ISIS really is an identity-driven organization. It focuses

basically on Syria and Iraq, on the region itself. It's unlike Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is a global organization. It has always focused on the far enemy,

on the United States and its European allies --

GORANI: But ISIS is starting to use that.

GERGES: -- so in the last year or so, ISIS is shifting, basically is devoting more resources to attacking the far enemy, the global towers.

It's retaliation and also because it's losing territory, it's bleeding --


GERGES: -- it's on the defensive. So this is one way to reassure the base that we are winning, we are standing, we are still invincible.

GORANI: Well, Fawaz Gerges, thanks very much. We always appreciate your analysis.

And Germany, by the way, issued a new travel advisory for its citizens as well as Norway. I was speaking with the foreign minister said we're

advising people not to go to crowds. But that basically means don't be a tourist in Istanbul.

Because how are you going to avoid crowds?

Thanks very much, Fawaz.

The damage ISIS does to the living is just as despicable as their murders. Imagine strapping a suicide belt to a pre-teen. Think of training a 5-year

old to kill. Nima Elbagir has the exclusive story of a boy who escaped ISIS. Take a look.



NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Five-year-old Sara was captured alongside her mother by ISIS.

Now free, when her parents aren't looking, she runs to cover her face. It's what their ISIS captors taught her at gunpoint.


ELBAGIR (voice-over): Al Farouq Institute in Raqqah: ISIS claims it is their main child soldier training facility.

"To jihad, to jihad," they're chanting.

In this propaganda video, spread out on either side of an ISIS trainer, blank-faced rows of children sit. One boy shakes visibly. Others unable

to raise their gaze.

These are the so-called cubs of the caliphate, ISIS' army of child soldiers.

"And by God's grace," he's saying, "in the coming days they will be at the front lines of the fight against the nonbelievers."

The Gweyr front line, south of the Kurdistan regional capital, Erbil, the Peshmerga commander tells us this is one of their most contested front


ELBAGIR: Just the other side of that river there, that's where he says the ISIS positions are. Just the other side of that broken bridge and it's

from there, he says, that desperate children are fleeing, making their way through that river, swimming through the river, under cover of dark,

risking their lives to make it here to safety.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): But not all manage to escape.

AZIZ ABDULLAH HADUR, PESHMERGA COMMANDER (through translator): Many times when we are fighting ISIS, we see children at the front line. They're

wearing explosive vests.

ELBAGIR: What's it like for you to have to open fire on children?

HADUR (through translator): They are brainwashed. When they make it through our lines, they kill our fighters. It's an unbearably hard

decision. You don't know what to do. If you don't kill them, they'll kill you.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): U.S. military sources tell CNN, as ISIS comes under increased pressure on the battlefield, they are relying on child soldiers

to fill out the ranks.

This 12-year-old boy was featured in the Al Farouq Institute propaganda video. He says he was training to be a suicide bomber.

Now reunited with his mother, he's asked us not to broadcast his face or his voice. He's asked that we call him "Nasir," not his real name.

"NASIR," ISIS CHILD SOLDIER (through translator): There were 60 of us. The scariest times for us all were when the airstrikes happened. They'd

lead all of us underground into the tunnels to hide. They told us the Americans, the unbelievers, were trying to kill us but they, the fighters,

they loved us.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): This, of course, was all part of the indoctrination. His ISIS handlers would tell him they were now his only family.

"NASIR" (through translator): When we were training, they would tell us our parents were unbelievers, unclean, and that our first job was to go

back and kill them, that we were cleaning the world of them, of all unbelievers.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): "Nasir" says the youngest of the boys was 5 years old, none of them exempt from the grueling training.

"NASIR" (through translator): We weren't allowed to cry but I would think about my mother, think about her worrying about me and I'd try and cry


ELBAGIR (voice-over): Highly stylized and romanticized, ISIS has released a number of videos, showcasing its child army. But the reality is, of

course, very different.

HADUR (through translator): When they arrive to us, they are so skinny they barely look human. They tell us they've been living in a hell.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Back at the camp, Sara's mother hopes her little girl will evenly forget about the headscarf and the face covering and the

men with guns, who threatened her life -- Nima Elbagir, CNN, Gweyr, Iraq.


GORANI: There you have it. And don't forget, you can get news, interviews and analysis from the program on our Facebook page,,

Coming up, U.S. President Barack Obama is preparing for his final State of the Union address seven years after taking office on a wave of optimism.

We'll discuss what to expect live from Washington.

And from Mick to Murdoch: model and actress Jerry Hall is getting hitched --


GORANI: -- to media tycoon Rupert Murdoch. Stay with us.




GORANI: As he begins his final year in office, U.S. President Barack Obama is preparing to give the final State of the Union address of his presidency

just a few hours from now.

Mr. Obama's previous State of the Union speeches were used to set out a distinct agenda. But some analysts say they expect this speech to be

different, a mix of what's still to be done, a bit of a farewell and also a bit of a call to action for future presidents.

For a better idea of what we expect, let's turn to Josh Rogan in Washington. He's a CNN political analyst and a columnist for "Bloomberg


All right. So let's talk about this -- and we're hearing that there might be some unusual aspects to it.

What are we expecting -- Josh?

JOSH ROGAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Well, rather list a specific set of policy proposals and then call on Congress to help him implement

them, as you would typically see in a State of the Union speech, this year the president will take a 30,000-foot view, according to White House

officials, he'll try to paint a broad vision of where the country is going and how far it has come since he became president seven years ago.

He'll talk about broad themes. He won't be overtly political but he'll try to set the stage for the upcoming political season by presenting his vision

of where America is and where it should go and set that in opposition to what the Republicans have been calling for.

GORANI: But this is a legacy speech, isn't it?

ROGAN: Yes, that's exactly right. So the president knows that he's got a perception problem. According to the polls, 68 percent of Americans right

now believe that the country's on the wrong track rather than the right track.

The GOP candidates are out on the stump every day, tearing apart the president's record. This might be the very last and biggest audience that

the president has on the national stage before voters get consumed with the political process heading into the election.

So he wants to use this to frame his legacy, to make the argument that his presidency has been a net benefit for America and the world and then to

express optimism about where the country and the world is headed amidst all of this chatter, especially coming from the Republican side, that things

are really going the wrong way.

GORANI: And I thought was so they're leaving one seat empty to symbolize the victims of gun violence. I thought it was interesting, too, they're

inviting a Syrian refugee to attend the State of the Union speech, a scientist who was profiled on "Humans of New York" and that post went viral

and a lot of people were touched by his story.

So there are still some immediate issues that are dividing Americans that are very much in the spotlight at this State of the Union address.

ROGAN: Yes, that's exactly right. We can see from who the president invites and who the first lady invites to sit in the box, to watch the

speech, what kind of issues they're trying to draw the people's attention to.

So by putting a Syrian refugee who was recently admitted into the United States into the room, he's --


ROGAN: -- making the argument that Americans should be tolerant and accepting of Syrian refugees despite the security risk. But leaving a seat

open for the victims of gun violence, he's declaring -- and the president has said this -- that he will not support candidates who don't share his

vision of progress towards more gun control.

He's also inviting one of the soldiers who stopped the terrorism attack on a French train, this is part of his defense of his record in the war on


GORANI: All right. By the way, stand by, Josh, because I want to play for our viewers a little bit of an interview with Joe Biden. This is, of

course, one U.S. leader who permanently decided not to run for the presidency as the current vice president but he is weighing in on the

Democratic field.

He's praising Bernie Sanders for his stance, particularly on income inequality. Listen.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There used to be a basic bargain. If you contributed to the profitability of an enterprise, you

have got to share in the profit. That's been broken. Productivity is up. Wages are stagnating.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: They're always talking about that.

BIDEN: Well, it's -- but it's relatively new for Hillary to talk about that. Hillary's focus has been on other things up to now. And that's been

Bernie's -- no one questions Bernie's authenticity on those issues.


GORANI: And that's Joe Biden, speaking to our Gloria Borger.

What are -- I mean, what are observers making of this?

When Joe Biden, the vice president, says, "No one questions Bernie's authenticity on this," are they interpreting this as some sort of swipe at

Clinton, that people would potentially question her authenticity?

ROGAN: Well, there's no doubt that Vice President Biden is saying something that could potentially influence Democratic voters to support

Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton.

Whether or not he's doing that intentionally, only he could say. When he decided to forego a run for the presidency, Vice President Biden made clear

that he wants to maintain his position as a leader of the party, he wants to have a strong voice.

It's becoming increasingly clear that the way he wants to do that is by setting forth policy proposals and political statements that may or may not

jive with what Hillary Clinton thinks, says or does.

So we can say this is Joe being Joe. He's an honest guy. He likes to shoot from the hip. That's kind of his style. But it also shows that he

wants to stay relevant and one of the ways that he can do that is by very subtly -- if not sometimes so subtly -- putting his finger on the scale.

GORANI: We have just got a few seconds but let me show our viewers the latest polls.

Because Sanders is doing very well in New Hampshire and Iowa. All right, so what are -- I mean, here you have him leading by several -- I'm trying

to quickly do the math -- 14 percentage points over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire now. Is this a real -- this is a real threat to Hillary Clinton

here, isn't it?

ROGAN: Well, there is a lot of reporting from inside the Clinton campaign that they are concerned about these numbers. They're worse than they had

hoped they would be at this time. They're going to make some efforts to try to address what they see is a problem for the campaign.

In the end, New Hampshire is very close to Bernie Sanders' home state. Iowa has never been a big basis of support for Hillary Clinton. Remember,

she finished poorly there in 2008.

So the fundamentals of the race have remained the same. She's still the likely front-runner, the likely nominee. But things are not going quite as

well as she would have hoped. And that's something you might see her address perhaps by addressing some of these issues that both Bernie Sanders

and Vice President Biden are bringing to the fore.

GORANI: All right, Josh Rogan, thanks very much, always a pleasure.

Josh is in Washington.

And our coverage of President Obama's final State of the Union address begins at 2:00 am Wednesday in London, 3:00 am Central European time or you

can watch the replay a few hours later at 10:00 am in London if you don't want to stay up all night, that's 11:00 am Central European time on CNN.

We will be right back.





GORANI: He's 84, she's 59. But age is not getting in the way for the newly engaged Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall.

Nina dos Santos has our story.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN HOST (voice-over): More used to selling papers than being in them, media baron Rupert Murdoch announced his engagement to model

Jerry Hall with this discreet notice in "The Times."

The marriage will be his fourth and comes after a whirlwind four-month romance during which time the couple have made increasing public

appearances. Hall, a former supermodel and actress, spent more than 20 years with the Rolling Stones' frontman, Mick Jagger. Although in divorce

proceedings Jagger claims that they were never legally married.

Murdoch has been single since 2013, when he divorced from his former employee, Wendi Deng. Deng was famous for defending him in the face of a

custard pie attack at the height of the U.K.'s phone hacking scandal.

STEVE HEWLETT, WRITER AND BROADCASTER: Because the Murdoch family and the Murdoch business are so closely intertwined, it makes anything that happens

in the business and/or the family doubly difficult to deal with.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): Murdoch built his multibillion-dollar empire from humble beginnings after inheriting two small titles in Australia from his

father in 1953, a business which he turned into 21st Century Fox. With 12 percent of shares but a 40 percent stake in the voting rights, Murdoch's

lifetime goal has been to ensure his family keeps control as he begins to hand over power to his children.

HEWLETT: It would appear that succession planning, which is one of Rupert Murdoch's obsessions -- he has always been absolutely clear he wants to

hand the company to a member of the family. James Murdoch is sitting as chief executive of 21st Century Fox. Lachlan is sitting as chief executive

of News Corp, which is a newspaper interest. And now, to cap it all, the icing on the cake, the announcement to the marriage to Jerry Hall.

DOS SANTOS (voice-over): A match made in heaven?

Well, who knows. A match made in the media, that's for sure -- Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.


This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. I'm Hala Gorani, thanks for watching. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.