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CONNECT THE WORLD
Russian Cease-fire Timeline Draws Criticism; Markets Continue to Tumble of Uncertainty; U.S. Presidential Election from Middle East Perspective; Interview with Legendary French Singer Charles Aznavour; Venice Tames Canals. Aired 11:00a-12:00p ET
Aired February 11, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:06] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Global markets take a nose dive and oil drops to
near 30 year lows. This hour we'll tell you why this latest selloff is keeping investors on edge.
Also ahead, a war of words as the battle for one of Syria's largest city's intensifies. Washington and Moscow spar over the Syrian crisis
while thousands continue to flee the violence. An exclusive report from inside Aleppo coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They bring something with them through their misery, something to teach to us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: ...gives his take on the migrant crisis.
ANOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: So good we did it twice. You're in -- with us at Connect the World out of the UAE at just after 8:00 in the moment.
We get you to those stories in a moment.
First, though, got some breaking news to bring you. Scientists say they have detected gravitational waves for the first time. The reports in
space were first theorized by Albert Einstein a century ago. Now researchers say they discovered the waves coming from two black holes which
orbited each other, spiraled inwards and then crashed into each other. These are live pictures coming to you out of Washington.
The waves were the product of the collision of the two black holes which are 30 times as
massive as the sun.
Rachel Crane has more.
RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The gravitational waves -- technically, they're described as ripples in the fabric of space and time.
But they're also thought to be the Holy Grail of modern physics.
For over a century, physicists have been trying to confirm the existence of gravitational waves. One of the last remaining pieces of
Einstein's Theory of Relativity. In 1915, Einstein introduced his general Theory of Relativity and the notion of gravitational waves hit the physic
scene the following year.
Einstein proposed that accelerating masses such as two neutron stars or two black holes cause distortions in the fabric of the universe. When
those masses eventually merge, they set of a cataclysmic event that shoots off tons of gravitational waves into space. He predicted that these waves
travel across the cosmos at the speed of light, changing the shapes of the matter they encounter. In theory, these waves would eventually hit Earth,
but their detection has eluded us.
An observatory called LIGO has been using the most sophisticated optics, lasers, and seismic isolations since 1988 to find them. MIT and
CalTech operate twin detectors that are located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington.
The detectors are shaped like an L and they shoot lasers down vacuum tubes that are 2.5 miles long. If gravitational waves pass through the
detector, the distance the laser beams travel changes by a very small amount. I'm talking about 10 to the negative 19 meters or less.
Why does all this matter? Well, unlike electromagnetic radiation, like radio waves and visible light, gravitational waves are unimpeded by
So, as they travel through the universe, they don't interact with matter. They slice right through it and remain pristine remnants of the
By observing gravitational waves, we may be able to understand that some of the fundamental questions about how our world works.
ANDERSON: Amazing stuff. More on that as we get it.
Let's move on to other breaking news story for you today. Nervous investors bracing for
another tumultuous trading day in the U.S. with oil futures crashing below $27 a barrel. European stock markets in the red dragged down by a poor
performance, a very poor performance in the banking sector not just today but all month or since the beginning of the year.
Asian stocks didn't do much better. Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed down nearly 4 percent on its first day of trading after what was the Lunar New
Year of course.
And then there's the chaos on Wall Street. Have a look at this. The big board, it's down, it may
not look that impressive when we're looking at nearly 2 percent, but do remember the drag on this, this market now for some weeks and down once
again today over 300-odd points into the trading day.
Let's see what happens with that.
Maggie Lake joining me from New York with more.
What is causing this market turmoil? What is it that's dragging these markets lower, Maggie?
MAGGIE LAKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just a terrible amount of uncertainty out there, Becky. We can detect ripples and disruptions in the fabric of
space, but we can't figure out why oil continues to go down every day.
And it's not just regular investors, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen testifying in front of congress once again today, taking questions from
senators said listen the fed is surprised by this slump in oil prices, and they also underestimated the degree of dollar strength. They did not
If the fed didn't see any of this coming, you can imagine how average investors and money managers feel.
They just don't know what this commodity bust means for the global economy so they are
selling everything, piling into gold, especially if you're short-term. If you're looking at the next quarter, there's a lot of fear out there, Becky.
But I will say underneath that number you see there is a debate going on and a lot of people and traders at the New York Stock Exchange telling
us today, earlier on World Business Today are we getting to the point if you look at some of those year-to-date figures, which I think we have for
you just before we sat down this is where we stand for U.S. equities year- to-date. Wre we getting to the point where longer term investors start saying you know what some of these names in energy and some other areas
maybe even banks are looking so beat down that we may see a buying opportunity. They are not there yet, which is why we're down 300. But are
we starting to get to that point?
Especially if you look at the NASDAQ. If you go from 52 week highs, recent highs we're
down, getting close to bear market territory, 20 percent.
So, when do you step in and buy that's a big debate going on here. Right now, however, the bears remain in control.
[11:06:30] ANDERSON: All right, Maggie, thank you for that. We're going to do more on this.
The slump in oil prices creating a lot of this market turmoil of course. CNN emerging markets editor John Defterios joins me to discuss
Now, John, you know, many of us recall the days of irrational exuberance in the 1990s, of course, when unsustainable investor enthusiasm
drove asset prices to levels not supported by fundamentals. I wonder whether we're not witnessing a case of ration or irrational panic here and
I think Maggie perhaps touching on that. But there is a lot going on in this
oil market isn't there? Explain.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Without a doubt.
And in fact it's not just oil, it's commodities across the board minus gold, because we see some
safe-haven buying right now. And there is the worry about the spill over. I think there's a recognition now that it's hurting investment for the
longer term on more expensive projects. There's spill over for jobs. We saw 250,000 job cuts in the energy sector and there's spill over, Becky, in
particular, to other oil producers who are much more vulnerable -- Nigeria, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Angola, particularly Venezuela. And
there's a worry that this is going to shock the global economy. It's not going to be a Latin America debt crisis or an Asian debt crisis, this could
be an oil debt crisis because these economies are very dependent on oil at this stage.
ANDERSON: We remember the heady days of 110 bucks on the barrel. You and I also remember the old days back in the early 2000s of something like
12 or 13 bucks on the barrel. So it's not -- we haven't skidded that far.
But is $26 on the barrel low enough to get these major players to move beyond talking and to start cutting, because supply and demand -- we're
looking at a glut here, aren't we? We don't need this much oil.
DEFTERIOS: A good time to bring up the 13 year (inaudible) to give us some perspective.
Believe it or not we were $147 back in 2008.
But important point for the Middle East producers between 2011 and 2014 we were averaging $100 a barrel. It's fair to say everybody was
spoiled by that. Interesting, Goldman Sachs came out in the last few days saying it will take $20 barrel to wash out the marginal producers. We're
at $26 a barrel right now. It's not $13 a barrel, if you factor in inflation clearly it is extremely painful.
Now, the politics you talked about here, Iran reached out to its archrival Saudi Arabia and say maybe it's time for us to sit down to give
you a sense how cutthroat the politic can be, Iran started cutting prices to Saudi Arabia's consumers or customers right now, fighting for
Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft said, look I think the major producers need to cut. Perhaps it's not us, it's OPEC's problem, because they added
so much production. But the reality is Russia has never has produced so much oil and the OPEC nations, particularly right here in the Middle East,
never produced so much oil. No one is blinking. They are trying to push out the
higher cost producers. They are more next flexible than they were just two years ago. So maybe it's $20 to wash out the excess in 2016.
ANDERSON: We can certainly see the impact that the fall in the oil price and its impact on
producers is having on equity markets and commodity markets around the world. There is a good news story here at play. You and I travel for
less. Our heating bills might be less.
DEFTERIOS: Interest rates will stay lower, because of this downturn. So, this is not lifting the economy. And this is what Janet Yellen, the
fed chair was suggesting why we so panicked about oil prices. The Federal Reserve started to raise interest rates. I can bet you right now, they are
not going to be raising them very fast going forward. European banks are under pressure.
I think there's a real concern about the debt levels in the U.S. oil sector, but particularly those nations I was talking about. They are
teetering right now on the edge and they're asking for money from the international monetary fund and the World Bank.
Nigeria's already gone. Azerbaijan has done the same. Kazakhstan's currency is under pressure and Venezuela, which hasn't talked to the IMF or
World Bank for at least a decade, they could go bust. That's what we're looking at right now because of the mismanagement of their finances.
[11:10:33] ANDERSON: And 93 percent of their GDP export revenues from the oil industry.
DEFTERIOS: Yeah. Under a lot of pressure. And they've mismanaged their economy right across the board for the last decade.
ANDERSON: Yeah, fascinating.
John Defterios is with me here. Of course our emerging markets in energy.
DEFTERIOS: Yes, more often than not.
ANDERSON: Yes, exactly. Yes, you're absolutely right. More often than not these days.
John, always a pleasure. Thanks very much.
Dozens of people have been killed in an overnight prison riot in Mexico. It happened at the Topochico (ph) prison in the northeastern city
Flames could be seen rising from the building. And this violence comes just ahead of a visit to Mexico by Pope Francis.
Well, Shasta Darlington is in Mexico for that trip. She joins me live now.
What's the latest so far as you understand it from this prison this, riot, the violence and the
deaths in Monterrey?
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, we just had confirmation from the governor of Nuevo Leon (ph) that a total of
52 people were killed in those prison riots, 12 injured, five of them critically. And it all started when a fight broke out between rival
factions in the prison, one of the factions led by the infamous Zetas drug cartel.
They set fire to part of the prison and it was just hours of anguish for all of the family members who rushed to be outside the prison when they
saw the fire, trying to get information about what was going on. It took authorities hours and hours to finally provide that information and as you
said this comes just a day before Pope Francis touches down here in Mexico. And he's planning on visiting some of Mexico's most troubled locations, including
another notorious prison in Ciudad Juarez where there was a bloody riot there back in 2009, another 20 people killed.
Just really highlights the violence, the lack of control over so many of the institutions here in Mexico.
And ironically, before his trip, the Pope Francis sent a video message to the Mexican people saying he was not going to brush the problems under
the rug. He was going to address head on these issues of almost a war that Mexicans are living.
And the authorities here really bridled at that, saying oh well he'll see what it's really like when he gets here.
Of course, with this coming just hours before he does, the Mexican authorities are going to have a really tough time ensuring his security and
trying to highlight other aspects of Mexico which is what they say they want to do, Becky.
ANDERSON: Shasta Darlington in Mexico City for you this evening. I'm in the UAE. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Thank you,
Still to come tonight, diplomatic efforts to end the Syrian war resumes in Germany, but the fighting shows little sign of abating. I'm
going to get you some reports out of Munich and Aleppo up next.
[11:15:36] ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back. Quarter past 8:00.
As the war in Syria intensifies yet again world powers meeting to try to find an to end the conflict. Among the countries taking part in talks
in Munich are the U.S. and Russia.
Now rhetoric between the two ratcheted up again on Thursday as Russia accused the U.S. of carrying out two air strikes in the city of Aleppo.
The United States called the claims false, saying no coalition aircraft flew in the area.
Well, the International Committee of the Red Cross says the surge in fighting around Aleppo has displaced 50,000 people. Syrian government
forces backed by Russian air power are trying to drive out rebels.
CNN's Fred Pleitgen has been given have exclusive access to war-torn city and we have this
report from the front lines.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Years of urban combat have laid waste to Aleppo's old town.
Bashar al Assad's forces have made major gains in the Aleppo area in recent weeks. But for years, this battlefield was in a stalemate, the front
line: right around Aleppo's ancient citadel.
As Syrian and Russian warplanes hover overhead, the commander knows who to thank for the newfound momentum.
"It's only a matter of months now until we win," he says. "Thanks to the Russian support with their airstrikes flown from the Syrian airfield,
we will defeat the rebels once and for all."
Aleppo was Syria's largest and one of its most historic towns. Tourists from all over the world used to flock to the old town before it
was engulfed by Syria's brutal civil war.
(on camera): The old town of Aleppo is a UNESCO world heritage site. Some of these buildings are hundreds if not thousands of years old. And
now, as you can see, most have been completely destroyed and burned out.
(voice-over): But now, Assad's troops believe they are on the verge of a decisive victory. The commander warns the U.S. not to interfere.
"We are steadfast," he says. "You cannot defeat the Syrian army because we are determined to win and we're loyal to President Assad."
Amid this divided and destroyed city, Syrian government forces believe they're dealing a crushing blow to the opposition. One that could end this
five-year civil war that's destroyed so much more than just the landscape.
ANDERSON: Fred's exclusive reporting out of Aleppo.
Well, as we've been doing from the outset of this brutal conflict we're covering it from all angles for you. And today Nic Robertson is at
talks in Germany.
Nic, Geneva one week, Munich the next. Conflicts like this rarely end because of peace talks, conclusive peace talks. Whether the western
stakeholders like it or not, the Russians and Iranians took a position in backing the
regime. They stuck to it. And barring any major gains by rebels, and as Fred was pointing out, it appears not even the rebels think they will make
major gains in Aleppo, at least, we may just be looking at the best prospect to end this war of five years, correct?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The hope here in Munich is that those peace talks got derailed last week in Geneva, that the
UN put on pause, they say because the air strikes by the Russian -- by the Russian aircraft and the
movement by President Bashar al Assad's ground forces in and around Aleppo, were at such a momentum, and such an intensity it created an environment in
the context of a peace agreement that was supposed to be discussed and negotiated on the basis of cease-fire, humanitarian access, prisoner
release, that it really made a nonsense of that. It made at it no go. The only thing to do was put it on pause.
So, what's happening today in about an hour the international Syria support group, that's that group of 16 countries plus the Arab League plus
the European Union -- countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran, all of those who have a vested interest in the outcome in Syria are all going sit around
the table and of course people are looking to put pressure on Russia to back off on those
But as we heard in Fred's story there, Fred's report, that the Syrian troops on the ground, the government troops on the ground feel they are
making gains. This is no time to stop and it's not clear what kind of leverage can really be put
on Russia at the moment when strategic gains potentially to the government's advantage are happening on the ground, Becky.
ANDERSON: And that is my point. The Russians and Iranians have played their cards, they stuck to them. They've lost troops themselves.
There is blood being shed. But they back the regime and they see this clearly as the only option going forward.
My point is this, as stakeholders continue to talk, we see lives continue to be destroyed. This idea that the western stakeholders still
believe that they have to see then end of Assad before this can be -- a conclusion can be found on the
ground seems to be pie in the sky to a certain extent at this point, doesn't it?
ANDERSON: You might think so but I think, you know, there are diplomats around the table there and the UN envoy himself remains hopeful,
those are his words -- there are diplomats around the table there say what is the alternative? The alternative is to walk away and let the bloodshed
and carnage continue.
You have to get in there and you have to have talks. And what they would point to is the fact that Russia as part of a permanent member of the
UN security council signed up to this UN security council resolution that people keep
talking about that paved the way for peace talks in the first place. Russia signed up to it on those principles we talked about, the cease-fire,
et cetera, et cetera.
So, you know, in theory the diplomats would say, hey we have something to hold Russia to here.
The reality is we've been down this road a couple of years ago and as you say, there isn't a leverage, there's strategic gains for Russia's
strategic interest in Syria in terms of continuing the fight.
So when Russia comes to talks here and says, look, we'll have a cease- fire on the 1st of March everyone else, says, well, if you're serious have it now.
The real concern is that if you leave a cease-fire for a few weeks anything can happen on the ground. And they said all along this is a real
test of Russia.
Well, if this is a test of Russia and Russia doesn't have a cease-fire where does got it from here?
It's a very, very incremental process, Becky, and as you say during that process, five years of it, hundreds of thousands of people are dying.
ANDERSON: Nic Robertson for you tonight in Munich.
Thank you, Nic.
Live from Abu Dhabi this is Connect the World. Coming up, how do the U.S. presidential candidates stack up when it comes to foreign policy? And
what the next U.S. president could mean for you, our viewers, around the world. That is in about ten minutes time.
First up, though, our nine month journey along the Silk Road. Tonight closes out in Venice. We're going to show you how its beautiful canals are
being tamed by modern technology. That's next. Taking a short break. 23 minutes past 8:00 here in the UAE. Back after this.
[11:25:20] SUMNIMA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is known as the floating city. Venice is strategically situated on the shores of
the Adriatic Sea. Yet its very beauty, its crowning glory, the water that surrounds it has been its biggest challenge.
Here, high tides, known as aqua alta, are a part of life. But come winter, wind driven exceptionally high waters cause the canals to creep
into the far corners of the city, flooding places like this the Saint Piazza San Marco (ph).
Last year, the tide exceeded 110 centimeters seven times. Engineers decided the only way to protect the city was to create a manmade barrier.
And so MOSE (ph) was born.
It was an idea proposed in 1988, but it took 15 years to break ground. Here in the control room, engineers have been monitoring the conditions of
the lagoon since 2011.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The gates are raised according to Archimedes principle, something discovered over 2,000 years
The innovation lies in combining ancient physics principles with cutting-edge technology.
UDAS: It's a long-term project, Monica Ambrasini (ph) has followed for years. Work is expected to finish in June of 2018, but already 85
percent of the barriers have been installed.
Here we are.
So we're over the gates right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we are in the northern canal of the (inaudible) inlet and here under the water at minus six meters there are
the 21 gates already installed.
When a tide comes, we put air inside the gates so they float to stop the entrance of the high tide inside the lagoon.
UDAS: Standing side-by-side like dominoes, the barriers are designed to protect Venice for a century.
You've got a lot of countries are looking at what's happening here in Venice. Can this technology be emulate elsewhere?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, a lot of countries are interested, for example, in Jakarta or New York City is looking at this because they think
that this system can be used in case of flooding.
UDAS: Here in Venice, the sea is a way of life. It is a place made strong by the economy of the harbor and the traffic of ships and trade, but
with revolutionary technology it may have found a solution to take advantage of the sea once more.
Sumnima Udas, CNN, along the Silk Road.
[11:32:56] ANDERSON: Boko Haram is believed to be behind an attack that killed 58 people in Nigeria. Two female suicide bombers blew
themselves up at a camp for people displaced by the terror group, at least 78 people were wounded.
CNN's Robyn Kriel has the latest from Nairobi in Kenya.
ROBYN KRIEL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Emergency relief officials said the female suicide bombers were disguised as displaced
people. They entered the camp early in the morning and detonated their vests killing dozens.
But a third female, also wearing a suicide vest, refused to detonate hers. She surrendered to officials. Her reason? She realized her family
was inside the camp at the time.
She says she was sent by ISIS-linked Nigerian terror group Boko Haram.
Boko Haram has often used female or child suicide bombers in brutal attacks such as this in the past. More than 50,000 people who have fled
attacks much like this one are sheltered that IDP camp under military protection. This sort of brazen attack, experts tell CNN, shows that Boko
Haram's operational capacity has not been diminished despite recent offensives against strongholds along the border with Cameroon.
This attack also has major implications for Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari who has expressed plans to return displaced people to
areas liberated from Boko Haram.
Robyn Kriel, CNN, Nairobi, Kenya.
ANDERSON: Well, in recent days several tunnels running from Gaza to southern Israel have collapsed. Now these tunnels are a significant
concern for the Israeli government and have been used by Hamas militants during previous conflicts.
Let's get you the latest from CNN's Will Ripley who is in Jerusalem for you this evening -- Will.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, I visited the Israeli side of the border with Gaza and can tell you the tension there is
palpable. Hamas leaders have stated that they are aggressively expanding their underground labyrinth of tunnels, several of those tunnels have
collapsed. And there are even reports from some residents they are hearing digging underground. Even though some experts here in Jerusalem dispute
those claims, it is clear that the tension on the border with Gaza could be at its highest level since the conflict in 2014.
[11:35:15] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at that. There's a lot of smoke.
RIPLEY: Whenever spoke rises above Gaza, Israelis wonder if violence is flaring up again.
Jewish families live behind barbed-wire and motion sensors. They hide in bomb shelters when mortars come raining down.
ALYELET SHACHAR-EPSTEIN, LOCAL RESIDENT: So, this is our safety room right here. A heavy metal door.
RIPLEY: From the time the alarm sounds, Alyelet Epstein and her children have just 15 seconds, scarce time to shield themselves from
But even 60 centimeters, about two feet of steel reinforced concrete, can't fend off a surprise attack from underground.
SHACHAR-EPSTEIN: This won't help.
RIPLEY: The safe room won't protect you?
SHACHAR-EPSTEIN: Not from that. Not from that.
RIPLEY: The Israeli military says Hamas used secret tunnels during the 2014 Gaza conflict entering Israel from Gaza at least seven times. In
2006, Hamas used a tunnel to ambush and kidnap an Israeli soldier.
So, we're about 20 meters underground right now. That's about 60 feet.
The Israeli defense forces say the average Hamas tunnel is 3 kilometers, nearly 2 miles, costing millions of dollars and tons of
valuable concerete, resources badly needed by the long suffering people of Gaza to rebuild their cities.
Israel bombs any building suspected of hiding a tunnel entrance, even civilian homes. Residents become willing or unwilling pawns of war.
The tunnels began over there in Gaza sometimes more than a kilometer from the border and the digging continues all the way through here to the
Israeli side often coming up in fields like this.
So far, the IDF claims to have destroyed more than 30 tunnels, suspecting there could be dozens more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. This is a threat.
RIPLEY: Reserve Colonel Atai Shalat (ph) was commander of Israel's anti-tunnel unit. He says eliminating the danger could take decades.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will take time, but we will have a solution.
RIPLEY: Israel's iron dome shoots rockets out of the skies, now they are developing an underground equivalent with secret technology to detect
and destroy tunnels. When asked if Israel had a hand in a series of Hamas tunnel collapses one major general answered only, god knows.
At a funeral for seven militants killed in a collapse last month Hamas' leader in Gaza said the group is preparing for battle.
"We are underground in tunnels, in the air with rockets, in the sea," he says. "Everywhere."
For those living close to Gaza, it seems only a matter of time before it happens again.
SHACHAR-EPSTEIN: I want keeps me awake at night.
RIPLEY: Wondering how to keep her children safe from the danger above and lurking below.
RIPLEY; now it's important to point out these are attack tunnels so they are different from the smuggling tunnels that connect Egypt and Gaza
that the Egyptian government recently flooded.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that if these tunnels are used to attack Israel they are promising retaliation even
stronger than 2014.
But Israel is in a predicament here, because even though they suspect they know the locations where the entrances are to these tunnels they can't
exactly go in and take preventative action because any sort of unprovoked violence would face a lot of international condemnation.
Nonetheless, a very scary situation for residents there who are simply waiting and wondering what's going to happen next, Becky.
ANDERSON: Will Ripley out of Jerusalem for you this evening.
Will, thank you.
All this month, we have been discussing the U.S. elections. And we will continue to do so through November.
The domestic machinations of the Iowa caucus and of course the New Hampshire primary of late, but these elections matter to people well beyond
the borders of the U.S. The next occupant of the White House is going to face a host of challenges particularly here in this region.
Just take a look at this map. The war in Syria is in its fifth year with diplomatic efforts to end it faltering. The fight against ISIS in
Iraq and Syria is top of the minds for U.S. voters and for people around the world. The next U.S. president will also have to manage relations with
allies like Turkey and Saudi Arabia and rivals like Iran, not to mention the all but abandoned, by this president at least, push for peace between
Israelis and Palestinians.
Well, joining me now to discuss all of these trouble spots is Adam Ramey. He's an assistant professor of political science at New York
University Abu Dhabi.
Adam, this is how Stephen Walt writing for Foreign Policy summed up the
presidential hopefuls when it comes to foreign policy. Let me bring this up for our viewers.
"Rubio is a naive this neo-con. Everybody hates Ted. Hillary is a hawk. Bernie has bigger fish to fry. And who the hell knows how Trump
would screw up the world."
Yes, you're laughing, and I did, too, when I read that.
But there are some serious issues at stake here aren't there?
ADAM RAMEY, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY ABU DHABI: Indeed, there are. This is one of the most exciting and one of the most uncertain presidential
elections in my lifetime. That's for sure.
And we've really seen a tremendous amount of variation in both parties in terms of what we're hearing for them in terms of foreign policy.
I mean, we have got Bernie Sanders a bit more dovish on the Democratic side, willing to fight ISIS but not willing to commit ground troops and
everything to Donald Trump who is perhaps the most uncertain candidate in American presidential history in my lifetime, that's for sure. Who knows
what he would do.
And Marco Rubio has said that he would be willing to put boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS.
So, depending who ends up winning this thing in the end, it's going to have significant repercussions for the entire region, frankly for the
ANDERSNO: Let's start with just the next sort of seven or eight months. There's an awful lot going on in this region, not the least the
bloody conflict in Syria. You see Kerry efforting peace talks in Geneva this week. He's in Munich
talking to the Russians, arguing about the best way forward. Can we really expect much from the Americans in this, what appears to feel like a vacuum
of foreign policy in the months leading up to November not at least what happens afterwards?
RAMEY: I wouldn't expect anything drastic. I mean the Iran deal that was
struck late last year is something that's very controversial in this cycle. A lot of Republican candidates, in fact, virtually all of them, have come
out actively against the Iran deal.
And I think the Obama's administration hands are tied to a great extent. Congress is not going to be wanting to do a heck of a lot in terms
of new things with respect to policy. And they are going to adjourn early because of the elections.
I don't think much is going to change. I think that there might be policies that are chipped at around the edges but I don't see any sort of
major change coming this way.
ANDERSON: All right. Well, Hillary Clinton most recently served, of course, as President Obama's secretary of state and the former top diplomat
touting her expertise when it comes to foreign policy on the campaign trail.
She has also taken aim at her rival, Bernie Sanders on the issue. Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FRM. U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Senator Sanders does talk
very much about foreign policy, but when he does it raises concerns because sometimes it can sound like he hasn't really thought it through. For
example, he suggested we invite Iranian troops into Syria. That is like asking the arsonist to be the firefighter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Hillary Clinton would like people to believe that she was the only candidate in town when it comes to foreign policy and experience
particularly of this region.
You've explained how, you know, you see the other candidates in the most sort of basic of terms. But so far as the Middle East is concerned is
she the only candidate in town?
RAMEY: Well, I think it would depend. I mean I think certainly I would
think Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush would do themselves as a candidate for the Middle East, but in particular candidates that would be standing up for
Israel's right to exist and Israeli interest in the region and I think that they would potentially
be very good friends of Gulf countries in the continuing war on the radicals in Syria.
However, I think that Hillary is trying to take her experience as secretary
of state and lean on that. That -- her experience is unrivaled by anybody in the
ANDERSON: But as secretary of state she got no progress when it comes to
Middle East peace so far as the Israeli-Palestinian issue is concerned and nor as John Kerry over the past four years. And that is an issue that for
so many years we've all agreed, those of us who have worked this region underpins so much of the -- so many of the issues and conflict that we have
in this region. It's used as an excuse by many people, ISIS not least, to continue to foment problems in this region.
Do you see anybody with any viable alternative who is on this campaign trail at present who might sort out the crux that is the Middle East peace
RAMEY: Well, I think that the person who probably would have been the most radical in this respect, Rand Paul, dropped out of the Republican
On the democratic side Bernie Sanders has argued that he's going to do things differently, but he hasn't offered anything by way of specifics.
And I suppose even Donald Trump could potentially do something drastic that would shake things up in the region.
But both Bernie and Donald Trump are outsiders, they're anti- establishment and they're pretty much wild cards in this race.
So my assessment is basically, yeah something could happen, but I think it's too soon to tell.
[11:45:08] ANDERSON: Fascinating. But also concerning times for those of us watching this from afar. Thank you very much indeed. Good to
have you on from NYUAD tonight.
And remember, you can always head over to CNN.com/politics to find out about the latest in the race for the White House. We'll bring the PBS
Newshour Democratic presidential debate on Friday at 12:00 p.m. local. Sorry 12:00 London, 1:00 p.m. Central European Time right here on CNN.
Well, coming up, I sit down with a living legend the French Armenian singer Charles Aznoval who explains his love for the Middle East and he
sheds light on his colorful 80 something year career.
ANDERSON: Well, jubilation as scientists announced they have detected gravitational waves for the first time. The reports in space were first
theorized by Albert Einstein a century ago. Researchers say they discovered the waves coming from two black holes which orbited each other
and spiraled inward and then crashed into each other.
The waves the product of the collision of the two black holes which are 30 times as massive as the sun.
Well, for more, let's bring in Roger Jones a physics professor at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom. Thank goodness for you
An exciting day for people in your field, I would imagine. I know this is a big deal, but it makes my brain hurt. So please explain why.
ROGER JONES, LANCESTER UNIVERSITY: This is very longstanding prediction made by Einstein way back 100 years ago, as you said. And it's
really the last remaining prediction from that theory that needed to be confirmed by experiment and
finally we have that confirmation.
And it's going to open up a whole new field of astronomy, a whole new way actually of probing the way that the universe works and looking back
into the past of our universe using this new technique.
ANDERSON: Which means what for likes of you and I and our regular viewer?
Well the actual idea of the gravitational wave is probably quite unusual. One of the predictions that we had from Einstein is that when
very violent events happen in the universe both space and time can actually be distorted, they stretch, and particularly events like this collision of
two massive black holes cause ripples that stretch space itself spreading outward from the event.
So, this event seemed to happen 1.3 billion years ago and has now reached us. And it distorted space by something one-ten-thousandth the
size of a proton, of the nuclear sort of hydrogen atom. And yet amazingly with this LIGO detector they have actually been able to detect that little
distortion in the size of space, the little stretching.
And we can now look for other events like this and so look for many other violent features that happened in the history.
[11:50:38] ANDERSON: Yeah. And that's what this is all about because clearly this is to help us as an incredibly exciting opportunity to help
all of us understand how the planet life came about, correct?
JONES: Certainly. Or in fact, even bigger scale than that. It tells us a lot about the actual structure of the universe itself on the level of
So, you may remember a result which turned out not to be confirmed a couple of years ago that was looking at the very early expansion of the
universe, some of the very earliest events, which itself should of caused rips in space
and time. That's not actually confirmed yet.
But this actually shows that these sort of ripples really do exist and that's one of the many things that we can now go out and look for with
renewed confidence that we'll find them.
ANDERSON: Fascinating stuff. You've broken it down for the benefit of somebody like me and I'm sure some of our viewers around the world who
know this is a big deal but really didn't understand why. Thank you, sir, out of
Lancaster in the UK for us this evening.
Live from Abu Dhabi, you're watching Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson.
Coming up, singer, actor, diplomat and that's a few of the accomplishments in Charles Aznavour's 91 year ecclectic life. Think
Einstein, but only a few years afterwards. The special interview with the man up next.
ANDERSON: Well, many of you will know that song. The likes of Elvis Costello covered it, but that was a song that was originally sung by French
Armenian singer Charles Aznavour.
The 91-year-old has had a remarkable career, collaborating with greats like
Elton John, Frank Sinatra and Liza Minelli. And he has also championing the cause of Armenians around the world.
He's about to do his first ever gig in the Gulf region.
I sat down with him in Dubai earlier today. Have a look at this.
ANDERSON: For a young man whose critics said he was too ugly, too short and had a terrible voice, you've been very, very successful.
CHARLES AZNAVOUR, SINGER: Yes. Unfortunately for the critics who have said all that, they disappeared. I'm still here.
ANDERSON: What's the secret to your success?
AZNAVOUR: I read a book every night one hour. And I learn something in
different languages every night one hour before go to sleep.
ANDERSON: What have you learned recently then?
AZNAVOUR: Right now I'm trying to learn a little Russian.
AZNAVOUR: Seriously, yes.
ANDERSON: You took on subjects way back when which were taboo at the time -- homosexuality, cross dressing, transvestite. Why?
AZNAVOUR: All the songs say the same thing. I love you, you love me. You don't love me, I don't love you. Always the same thing. So, what's so
interesting about that when there are so many things around us which are very interesting.
ANDERSON: What does it mean to you to be Armenian?
AZNAVOUR: Being French is much more important for me than to be Armenian, but I am Armenian so I'm not going to deny that. It would be
terrible. I don't like people who hide something because they are afraid of not being welcomed
somewhere. You don't like the Armenian? I leave, good-bye.
ANDERSON: You were in Armenia in 2015 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of a massacre. You've said you don't particularly mind whether
people are prepared to use the word genocide or not, it simply is about recognizing what happened, am I correct in saying that?
AZNAVOUR: Absolutely. Yes. Everybody, the French have recognized the error, the German were fantastic in the way they've learn it. Why not
the Turks? Nobody never asked the Turks why did you kill the Armenians? What was the reason? Religion? I don't believe it. I read the Koran
because I wanted to know if there was anything in it. Nothing was there. So, it's not religious.
ANDERSON: What's next for you?
AZNAVOUR: One song may be about the migrant. Why to refuse people to come and be French, when we talk about French painter, we talk about
Picasso, everybody is not French. I'm not French. Basically I'm not French and many others and that makes France.
So why are we going to ignore that? It's something -- they bring something with them through their misery. There's plenty of things to
teach to us.
ANDERSON: That was Charles Aznavour.
I'm Becky Anderson. You've been watching Connect the World on CNN. Thank you for watching.