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CONNECT THE WORLD
President Obama Calls for Political Unity in Last State of the Union; Iran Releases 10 U.S. Sailors; The Child Soldiers of ISIS; African Startup: Cupcake Boutique. Aired 11:00a-12:00p ET
Aired January 13, 2016 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:15] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Iran releases these 10 U.S. sailors after pressure from Washington. Is this episode emblematic of a new
relationship between the two nations following the nuclear deal?
Also this hour this hour,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Barack Obama has delivered the last State of the Union Address of his presidency, and included a few swipes at the Republicans
vying for his job. We'll have a live report from the White House for you.
Plus, luck of the draw. It's the biggest lottery event in history. Someone could win 1.5 billion dollars, but before you can win, you need to
play. We'll ask ticket buyers what they would do with the winnings.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: And a very good evening. At just after 8:00 here in the UAE. The U.S. and Iran are hailing the swift resolution of a tense
situation in the Persian Gulf that could have turned into a major diplomatic crisis. Iran has released 10 U.S. navy sailors captured after
they entered Iranian waters near Farsi Island on Tuesday.
Now, this new video shows the moment the sailors were captured by Iran. They were detained for about 24 hours. But the U.S. Navy says there
is no indication they were mistreated.
A spokesman for Iran's Revolutionary Guard told state media the boats had strayed into Iranian waters by accident.
Well, Nic Robertson joining me now live from London to dig a little deeper into this.
And Nic, a swift and successful conclusion to an incident that in the past might have escalated, albeit with some shadow boxing in the language,
not least about whether there was, or is, an apology from the U.S.
How do you read the episode and the response?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we've heard from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry who got involved in this in
the very early stages to talk to his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, the two men had formed a close bond during their long, long negotiations over
Iran's nuclear deal.
Secretary Kerry said it was a peaceful and efficient process to get the men released. It was peaceful and efficient and that was the role of
diplomacy. And Zarif really responded in kind saying, you know, it was dialogue and respect, not threats and impetuousness that allowed for the
swift release of these men.
So, it does appear that the connection between Kerry and Zarif and the new understanding that they have played a role here. That's certainly how
they want to reflect it now. The Revolutionary Guards who had control over these 10 sailors, who captured them at sea there as we sea in that video,
took control of them, took them back to Farsi Island, they have later said that the sailors apologized for their mistakes.
At one point, however, the Revolutionary Guard spokesman had said that they were being interrogated for possibly spying, that they had been
provocative and unprofessional for a period of time. However, by the time the release of the sailors was happening, the
same spokesman was saying they discovered that the navigational equipment of the sailors was faulty.
So in terms of the way these types of things are are played out in the not too distant past, this was a relatively swift conclusion.
LU STOUT: Your reporting that Iran reporting that the sailors had apologized. The question is whether Washington apologized.
I mean, there has been this sparring in language, hasn't there, despite the fact that this seems to have been settled relatively quickly.
Was there an apology?
Hold on, Nic, don't answer that question. I want to get to John Kerry, in fact, who may speak on Iran. He is speaking this hour in
Washington on U.S. foreign policy. Let's listen in.
(JOHN KERRY PRESS CONFERENCE)
[11:09:01] LU STOUT: John Kerry suggesting that he is appreciative of the quick and
efficient response by Iran to this recent incident when 10 soldiers were captured for straying into Iranian waters. He said they were well cared
for. And he said we can all imagine how a similar situation might have played out in the past three or four years.
And he said that's testament to the critical role that diplomacy can play in foreign policy.
Nic Robertson is still with me. He also went on, Nic, to talk about the State of the Union Address by the U.S. president last night being bold
and ambitious. He said in these extraordinary times the demand for U.S. leadership is as high as it has ever been. We accept that responsibility,
he said. The U.S. will remain more engaged in more places around the world, than at any other time in history.
I suggest that when people in this region hear they, they might beg to differ. There are many in this region who said the U.S. isn't engaged
[11:10:11] ROBERTSON: Becky, I must admit when I heard those words as well, I reflected on my past week in Saudi Arabia. I was talking to very
senior officials there literally in the hours before I was leaving and the State of the Union speech was coming up. And I asked well what would you
in your ideal world like to hear President Obama say?
And, you know, I was given a short instruction we have to deal with the real situation, not what we want. But OK, what is it we'd like? We'd
like President Obama say he'd put boots on the ground in Syria, then we can all match that and we can all remove President Bashar al-Assad and help
bring peace and stability to Syria and get rid of ISIS.
So, certainly I know for officials in that country, President Obama's words are going to fall short of how they perceive them. But his words
also, he talked about sound bites on television don't go far enough for people in those regions and the United States wants the build coalitions
behind them and they're in the process of doing that in the Middle East, and it's a very
difficult process, because not everyone has the same end goal and the same mechanism and route to get
But absolutely, I do think there will be people that will listen to that and said, that's not our perception.
ANDERSON: Nic Robertson out of London for you on what is our top story and analysis of what John Kerry has just been discussing at the
National Defense College in Washington.
To Turkey now where authorities have detained one person in connection to the terror attack in Istanbul. Now, 10 German tourists were killed
Tuesday after a bomber blew himself up in a busy tourist square.
Ian Lee is in Istanbul with the latest. Let's start with what we know about the identity of the suicide bomber and whether there might have been
a lapse in security, authorities admitting this man was someone that they had come across in the last week to 10 days?
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. He came into Turkey relatively recently. We still do not know the name of
this person, although Turkish officials have identified him as someone who is in his late 20s and had recently come to Turkey.
But really, a lot of this focus right now is going to be on how he was able to get from crossing
the border into Turkey to Istanbul. Who helped him? Where was he able to get the explosives to carry out this mission? These are all questions that
Turkish officials are looking into.
And while they're looking at that part of the investigation, this still is very much a city in
LEE: A familiar symbol of grief in this age of ISIS: flowers marking the site of what officials suspect is their latest attack. Tuesday, a
suicide bomber killed at least 10 tourists in Istanbul.
"Everyone ran there to help them. We wanted to help them. I brought injured inside my shop. We tried our best, but people were killed. This
is very painful," a shopkeeper tells me.
This family missed the explosion by minutes.
COEN OLDENHOF, DUTCH TOURIST: My wife told me -- actually, we could continue our stay in Istanbul, visit other touristic sides. We are here
now and we're not afraid. We're not afraid. But of course (inaudible).
LEE: ISIS has struck Turkey at least four times in the past year, killing scores. This, though , is their first deliberate attack on
foreigners. The source of the violence, the neighboring civil war in Syria. Turkey is struggling to stem the flow of ISIS fighters.
More than 200 people with suspected links to ISIS were arrested to the in the bay before the
attack which shows just how entrenched the terrorist organization is perceived to be inside Turkey, because despite that crackdown, a suicide
bomber was able to make it here, the heart of Istanbul's tourism district.
Within 24 hours of the attack, police detained 68 more with alleged links to ISIS, including
As for the bomber, Turkish officials say he registered as a refugee.
EIKAN ALA, TURKISH INTERIOR MINISTER (through translator): One person was
detained last night in relation to the attack through the investigations. The examination and
investigation continues in multiple ways and in a very serious manner.
LEE: Tragically, Istanbul now joins other cities targeted by terrorists, including Paris. More of the world's residents and leaders
trying to do the impossible: make sense out of a senseless act.
[11:15:09] LEE: And Becky, the German minister of interior was in the country looking into those who were injured. At least 15 people were
injured, a lot of them were Germans. He said, though, that despite this incident, that they were not going to issue any special warning. That it
is -- they're going to tell Germans to come here and visit, just to be a bit more cautious.
But we were talking to one Turkish official who said that acts like this are going to continue
to happen, not just here in Turkey, but around the world, as long as ISIS has fertile across the border into Syria, so long as they're allowed to
exist, this Turkish official is calling for an ISIS-free zone in Syria. But we'll see if the world heeds that call, Becky.
ANDERSON: Ian Lee is in Istanbul in Turkey for you this evening. Ian, thank you.
At a quarter past 8:00, I'm going to take a very short break. Quarter past 8:00 in the UAE of course.
Still to come, though, tonight, a victory for diplomacy. That is the view from Washington and Tehran as 10 U.S. sailors are free from a brief
stint in Iranian custody. It comes days before the nuclear deal is set to take effect. More on that coming up.
And it's welcome news for drivers in many parts of the owrld, but oil producers are feeling
the pinch as crude prices plummet. A full report on that is still to come.
ANDERSON: The dramatic moment when 10 U.S. sailors were detained after straying into Iranian waters. Iranian they initially interrogated
the nine men and one woman, but later an Iranian official said the incident was believed to be an accident.
And the sailors soon back on board a U.S. vessel in the Perian Gulf.
You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson out of the UAE. Welcome back.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement saying he is grateful for the Iranian authority's cooperation in releasing the American
He said, and I quote, that the issue was resolved peacefully and efficiently is a testament to the critical role that diplomacy plays in
keeping the U.S. safe, strong and secure.
Well, the incident being very much downplayed by both sides at what is a crucial time for
relations between Washington and Tehran.
To elaborate on this, I want to bring in Robin Wright, a New Yorker contibutor and a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center's Middle East program.
She is an expert on Iran and the region joining me now via Skype from Washington.
A remarkably swift and successful conclusion to the incident, which, as John Kerry has just pointed out out of Washington would not have
happened three or four years ago. Your reaction to the response, Robin, from both sides.
[11:20:06] ROBIN WRIGHT, WOODROW WILSON CENTER: Well, it is remarkable compared with the 2007 incident with a dozen British soldiers
who were kept for a couple of weeks. And also in 1987 when the United States opened up fire on an Iranian vessel killing 22 soldiers and sinking
There is a very different tenor of relations between these two countries, even though they
don't formally talk to each other, they certainly have developed real back channel communication that have been helped end this accident and prevented
it from developing into a real crisis.
ANDERSON: Robin, what with the incident with the sailors coming as it did just hours before his speech last night -- and I say coming just hours
-- at least reported just hours before his speech. There must have been some pretty tense moments in Washington.
Iran did come up in the U.S. president's State of the Union Address with Barack Obama presenting the nuclear deal as a major success. Have a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (through translator): We built a global coalition with sanctions and principled diplomacy to prevent
a nuclear-armed Iran. And as we speak, Iran has rolled back its nuclear program, shipped out its uranium stockpile and the world has
avoided another war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: I'm just thinking about Obama's foreign policy legacy in this region. That, of course, was his last State of the Union. Is Iran an
unmitigated success, do you think? That nuclear deal in part fueling the destructive Saudi-Iran rivalry of course that's affecting so many parts of
the Middle East, including two wars, one in Yemen and one in Syria.
WRIGHT: The nuclear deal, which is expected to be formally implemented next week, is a major accomplishment because it takes the most
dangerous component of tensions between Iran and the international community off the table, at least for a period of time -- 10, 15, 25 years
depending on which part of the program.
But yes, there continue to be a lot of different (inaudible) with -- whether it's the Iran support for extremist movements, the human rights
issue, the ongoing detention of Americans in Iran, and of course the tensions between Iran and its regional nighbors.
So, there are lots of issues still to be discussed with the Iranians, still to be resolved. A lot of these are not likely to be resolved soon,
but it is certainly a beginning.
ANDERSON: Let's talk about the lifting of these sanctions or the replenishment of these funds,
however you want to look at it. Iranian media, Robin, quoting the deputy foreign minister saying that the EU and Iran are going to make a statement
this weekend on the implementation of the nuclear deal.
So, what is ahead after sanctions are lifted? Well, back in August, the World Bank estimated that Iran's exports will increase about $17
billion and that it expects foreign investment to jump up $3 billion in the next couple years.
But crucially it also estimated that Iran's return to the oil market will be lower prices, by 14 percent or $10 a barrel.
Now, Robin, with oil prices already so low, this last point is the most critical, one assumes, for Rouhani's government. The lifting of
sanctions won't be the full economic windfall he and other moderates were hoping for back in July when all of this was sorted out.
How do you think this would play out politically, particularly at what is a crucial time domestically given the upcoming parliamentary elections
at the end of February?
WRIGHT: The Iranians have been saying for the past six months that -- and trying to prepare Iranians for the lifting of sanctions, warning not to
have false expectations about miracles happening overnight. This is going to be a long process. not doing it overnight.
Only some foreign powers, foreign countries will invest more in Iran. I think the episode with the attack on the Saudi embassy will make people
The United States has introduced a new visa waiver restriction program, which will affect people who travel to Iran.
That there -- things are not going to change instantly. There will be new returns for Iran in terms of investment, trade, with its oil market,
but the low price of oil will, again, affect how much money they can anticipate.
But it is really the end of Iran's pariah status after almost four decades of tension with the international community that is the real boon
to Iran. It's the beginning of what I think people in Tehran know will be a very lengthy process, but again it's an important beginning for the
ANDERSON: Finally, and back to our top story, the detention, albeit fairly quickly sorted out, of these 10 U.S. sailors by Iran, how do you
expect that moment in time to play out domestically in Iran? We certainly did see once again the disconnect between Rouhani, the reformers, and their
narrative on this, and the Revolutionary Guard, perhaps, in the first hours of this incident and the more
conservative elements of the Iranian political system.
[11:25:36] WRIGHT: I'm not sure it's going to have a major bump inside Iran. I think they're much more focused on the implementation of
the nuclear deal. They want to engage in that process and ensure that nothing derails it. So, I would be surprised if much is made of it as an
I think this is a blip on the screen. And it's important hat it was only a blip on the screen I think for all parties involved.
With that, we'll leave it there. It's always a pleasure. Robin, thank you so much for joining us. Robin Wright on the show for you here on
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.
Coming up, founded in Ghana with eyes on Nigeria and Kenya. We meet three young women who are turning their passion for baking into a sweet
AMIR DAFTARI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They started with a plan to make life in Ghana a little sweeter. Now the women behind the
Cupcake Boutique have their sites set on a bigger piece of the pie.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I definitely think that we have so much potential within Africa.
DAFTARI: The idea started in the kitchen for Aina Aidi (ph). A few years ago she was working at a bank in Accra and baking in her spare time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, friends were kind of like, oh, you know, you should really take this thing really seriously. You should maybe start
DAFTARI: Aina (ph) got her sister Ruby and cousin Dede (ph) to then move over from
In 2014, they turned an old shipping container into The Cupcake Boutique.
Sales that first year beat their expectations. They say they've sold about 55,000 cupcakes so far.
I'm just going to go straight in. Here we go. Thank you.
These women say their sweet success is as much about the marketing as the cupcake.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Creating a complete package, everything from our logo down to
giving our cupcakes names. And people come here and they're like, oh, my god, can I have a picture? Our logo is like trending on social media.
DAFTARI: The logo and the slogan "you deserve it "give the company a unique identity not often seen in Ghana.
Adding to the brand is the fact that they only hire women.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're able to empower them to be able to let them know that, you know what, achieving your dream is possible in life.
You're not only limited to your circumstances or to your situation, that there's so much other things that, you know, you can actually accomplish in
life if you actually are focused and dedicated.
[11:30:06] DAFTARI: The brand's success has the company planning to expand with more locations in Ghana, then Nigeria and even Kenya.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our target market was very much, you know, the female mother of two or three, whatever, and now we have more men, I think,
that even come in here buying cakes. And they're like, yeah, Cupcake Boutique hands down all the way. I love your cakes.
DAFTARI: Amir Daftari, CNN, Accra.
[11:33:43] ANDERSON: U.S. President Obama struck an optimistic note in what was his
final State of the Union Address on Tuesday, but he also took on critics who accuse him of weakening American foreign policy and expressed regret
for the antagonism between the political parties during his presidency.
For more on Mr. Obama's address, our White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski joining me now live -- Michelle.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky. Right, you know, leading up to this speech, the White House was saying expect a lot of
passion from the president in this, his last state of the union. Some of them were using the word nontraditional to describe it, but I don't know
that this isn't really similar to what we've seen before.
You look at last year's address, and there was a lot of defiance and emotion. This one, though, was bound to be more political. I mean, one
year from now there's going to be a new president standing in that place.
And he was focused on optimism and moving forward, but what really stood out were these pointed barbs for certain unnamed Republican
[08:10:08] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of the United States.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Entering the Capitol for his final State of the Union address, President
Obama was met with such energy it took a good five minutes to get started.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let's bring this to order. For this final one, I'm going to try to make it a little shorter.
OBAMA: I know some of you are anxious to get back to Iowa.
OBAMA: I've been there.
KOSINSKI: He acknowledged the difficulties he's faced.
OBAMA: We won't agree on health care anytime soon. But --
OBAMA: The applause right there.
KOSINSKI: But wasted no time in repeatedly, sharply digging Republican candidates for their criticism.
OBAMA: Anyone claiming that America's economy is in decline is peddling fiction. Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies
getting stronger and America getting weaker. And our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians. That may work as a
TV sound bite, but it doesn't pass muster on the world stage. And we need to reject any politics, any politics, that targets people because of race
KOSINSKI: A sentiment that interestingly was echoed in the Republican rebuttal by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.
GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist
KOSINSKI: Donald Trump tweeted that the president's speech was, "boring, slow, lethargic." Senator Ted Cruz didn't attend it but said this.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will apologize to nobody for my commitment to kill the terrorists.
KOSINSKI: One of President Obama's goals here was optimism, which lately, the White House uses to try to build a contrast with how they see
the Republican field.
OBAMA: Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn't deny Sputnik was up there. We didn't argue about the science or
shrink our research and development budget. We built a space program almost overnight and 12 years later, we were walking on the moon.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: That spirit of discovery is in our DNA. Let's make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.
KOSINSKI: That statement brought both sides of the aisle to its feet. In a room filled with guests as diverse as a Syrian refugee, nuns suing the
administration over Obamacare, American Muslims, and Kim Davis, the president conceding that the politics remains a barrier.
OBAMA: It's one of the few regrets of my presidency, that the rancor and the suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better.
KOSINSKI: Calling on individual Americans to set aside cynicism and vote.
OBAMA: Because I believe in you, the American people. And that's why I stand here as confident as I have ever been that the state of our union is
strong. Thank you.
KOSINSKI: So today the attitude of the administration is, OK, that's over, it's back to work. The president is on the road for the next couple
of days take some of those goals that he vows to still work on directly to the American people -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Michelle, thank you.
Well, to something that has been weighing heavily on global markets in recent months, and
that is the price of oil. Now, it has plunged some 72 percent, 7-2 percent, since is peaked in 2014.
Remember those heady days of $110?
Well, on Tuesday, it dropped briefly below the $30 a barrel mark. It's the first time that has happened in 12 years.
Your emerging markets editor John Defterios has more on what it's hitting countries in this region, this part of the world, so hard.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Becky, while some within OPEC are calling for an emergency meeting due to the severe slump in
prices, the core Middle East producers, led by Saudi Arabia, are not budging from their position to fight for marketshare over prices. That
message came out loud and clear from the minister of energy here in the UAE, at a roundtable in Abu Dhabi.
Suhail Al Mazouei said it will be a bumpy road ahead when it comes to prices in the
first half of this year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUHAIL AL MAZOUEI, UAE ENERGY MINISTER: it's not going to be in the first quarter, or the second quarter. I think we will -- the first six
months are going to continue to be tough. On average, we're not expecting a significant move because of the lower oil prices in the first half of the
year. Were not -- if you look at the whole year as an average, you're not going to see a significant jump like we used to see.
DEFTERIOS: You raise a very interesting point. Are we at that level today because of the pressures to call an emergency meeting and regroup and
look at the strategy within OPEC today?
MAZOUEI: In my assessment to the strategy, I think the strategy is working. If we do something artificial, I don't think that's going to last
because we're so small compared to affecting the whole world on what they are going to do.
Once you have that magnitude of a problem, I don't think it's fair to ask OPEC to come and withdraw 2.7 million barrels to just keep the prices
where they were.
DEFTERIOS: So, there's no reason, minister, for OPEC to call an emergency meeting to change course at this stage of the game some 14 months
into the strategy that was adopted in November 2014.
MAZOUEI: I don't think it's a big problem not to have the meeting, but what are we going to agree? We need to be convinced, and I'm not
convinced that OPEC alone can change. I don't think we can solely, unilaterally change the strategy just because we have seen a low in the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEFTERIOS: In fact, Mazouei said we are starting the second year of a process that should eliminate enough higher cost production to stabilize
the market by the close of 2016. But as he admits, the days of sharply rising oil prices are long gone -- Becky.
ANDERSON: John Defterios on the energy markets. Do keep an eye on them. Interesting times.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson for you.
Coming up, stripped of their childhood, an exclusive report of how ISIS grooms the next generation of soldiers. That is up next. Taking a
very short break. Back after this.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. This is CNN and Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.
The terrorist group ISIS is feeling the pressure after losing major ground in Iraq last year, or at least we assume they are. Those setbacks
prompting the group to ramp up its recruitment, especially of child soldiers.
We are now getting more details of how those kids get indoctrinated.
Our Nima Elbagir spoke exclusively to some youngsters who have managed to escape ISIS rule. She joins me now live from Irbil in Northern Iraq.
What did you learn, Nima?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky.
Well, we understand from coalition sources that as that pressure is ramping up against ISIS, they're pulling any and all experienced fighters
to the front line, leaving the children to man the sentry posts and to take on most of that burden of the suicide bombing in ISIS front ranks, some of
those children who managed to escape from those suicide bomb training squads, very bravely agreed to speak to us, Becky. Take a look at this.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): 5-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
"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
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.
ELBAGIR: Their families, Becky, are so happy to have them home, but also, they tell us, utterly helpless in the face of the trauma that these
children have gone through. And as much as the Kurdish regional authorities are attempting to support the families and the communities that
these children are returning to, they themselves tell us they just don't have the capacity -- Becky?
ANDERSON: Nima, this is remarkable stuff and so sad to see. You've been in Baghdad recently, you spent some time in Ramadi. You've been in
region now for some time once again. Is this a group on the run? Is this a group ceding ground to the coalition and the Iraqi security forces? That
is certainly what we have been lead to believe. What is ISIS' scope and footprint at this point? Is it clear?
ELBAGIR: There is definitely a sense that this is a group that is under pressure, absolutely, and
that they have lost territory. But what we're seeing is, in an attempt to camouflage that -- and we saw that with the recent attacks on Haditha, and
their movements up and down that Euphrates River valley is they're trying to hit and hold, even if it's just for a few hours. But what we're not
seeing them have the capacity to do far beyond those territorial strongholds that they do have like Mosul or Tel Afir (ph), or even
Fallujah, is to hold and gain new territory.
That really is the sense that leads a lot of people to believe that perhaps we are at a turning point, but it is woefully misguided and
optimistic. And that was the phrasing that we heard from one coalition officer. It's woefully misguided, he said, to believe that we would be on
the road to Mosul any time soon.
There is still so much least of all a political agreement among all these parties that are coming together to fight ISIS, whether it's the
Kurdish regional authorities, whether it's the Shia popular forces, whether it's the Sunni forces of who is going to go where, who is going to hold it?
Who is going to control that border if and when that border is returned? And that's the headache that the coalition faces.
But ISIS for the time being does seem to have a reduced capacity.
What they need to do, and this is what we're hearing from everyone, is there needs to be an agreement that will allow them to act quickly enough
to take advantage of that reduced capacity, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yeah, fascinating.
All right, it is 7:50 in Irbil. It is 8:50 here in the UAE. And Nima, thank you.
You can find more on Nima's exclusive report on our website. And you can read the harrowing account of the 12-year-old boy who was training to
become a suicide bomber.
He also recounts some of his scariest moments. That is CNN.com.
Back after this.
ANDRERSON: We are about 11 hours away from a record $1.5 billion Powerball. That's the jackpot drawing in the U.S.. People lining up in
droves, understandably, to buy lottery tickets.
Our Polo Sandoval joins us live from a ticket seller in Georgia.
Polo, good ticket business for your friend, I assume?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's interesting, because the crowds were relatively small this morning. But the owner of the shop
said, just you wait and those crowds will come. And sure enough, Becky, you look over my shoulder and you see this lines that snake around the
Robinson and Sons convenience store here. Actually just makes its way out the door.
If you look off in the distance, Becky, you're able to see that really this line is only getting longer and longer and those people anxious to get
to these counters to be able to get that ticket to at least guarantee them a chance at that $1.5 billion pie.
I can tell you when you talk to some of these people, Becky, a lot of folks will tell you
everything they plan to do with it and, of course, some noble causes.
What's interesting here, is some people that are in the crowd behind me are from the neighboring state of Alabama, that's because there are six
states in the U.S. that do not participate in the Powerball drawing. There's Alabama, Mississippi, Alaska, Hawaii, Utah and Nevada. So, people
in some of states are instead getting in their cars, some folks driving for hours to the state line as long as it
means getting their hands on a ticket ahead of tonight's big drawing -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Thank you for that.
Well, get this, if this is a rollover, if no one wins tonight, the jackpot will reach $2 billion cash value, a cool $1.25 billion.
How would spend the jackpot prize, Polo?
[11:55:09] SANDOVAL: You know, that's one of the big questions that people asking themselves, what would happen if they win that jackpot? And
I can tell you that, again, we're getting all sorts of different responses from, of course, paying off debt for several people to perhaps the more
One woman said it would go toward cancer treatment for her husband, another one told me she would buy cars for the members of her community as
So again, it's going to be very interesting to see what happens tonight. Would it happen in the southeast or perhaps another part of the
country as well?
ANDERSON: Polo, good luck.
I see the lines are going to get even longer. How long do we have to go?
SANDOVAL: At this point we do understand that the drawing will happen at just short of 11:00
p.m. Eastern, so the crowds are only going to get even longer later today as people head home from
The owner of the shop here told us that yesterday this place was packed. The parking lot, there was -- you couldn't fit any more cars. They
did stop the sales at 1:00 a.m. this morning Eastern. So as a result some of the people that got cut short, they said, you know what
I'm going to stick around here. There were some people that spent the night in the store standing, waiting. At 5:00 a.m. Eastern this morning,
they were the first to get their tickets and the first out the door.
This crowd is relatively small compared to what the owner expects later today as people wrap up work. A lot of those individuals hoping that
today may be their last day on the job if they get lucky tonight.
ANDERSON: All right, good stuff.
All right, Polo Sandoval is with us this evening, as I pointed out.
If this is a rollover, if it is, the jackpot going forward would be $2 billion. As I said, that is a cool $1.25 billion if there were to be a
rollout cash value.
So, Polo has been asking people what they would do, some of them charity minded, some of them perhaps less so -- cars, boats, that sort of
What would you do? That is the question. What would you do? Are you charitably minded? And if you are, who would you be giving the money to
In our Partin Shots, what does $1.5 billion get you? Well, with that much money, you could
give everyone in China a dollar and still have enough left over to give everybody in Germany a dollar. If you spent every dollar every second in a
vending machine, it would take 47 years to spend it all.
Or if you piled up 1.5 billion in pennies, you would have a stack of more than 238,000 kilometers high, more than halfway to the moon? You got
I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World. Thank you for watching from the team working with us here in the UAE and those working
with us around the world. It was a very good evening.