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President Obama Calls off Meeting with Duterte; London Radical Cleric Anjem Choudary Sentenced; Fitch Downgrades Turkey's Credit to Negative; Syria Becoming More Complicated, Not Less. Aired 1100a-12:00p ET
Aired September 6, 2016 - 11:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:17] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: No end in sight to the war in Syria as various parties
pursue their own agendas there. This hour, Turkey intensifies its military campaign while Russia and the U.S. have yet to hammer out a deal over the
raging conflict. More on that is coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have seen some of those colorful statements in the past. And so clearly...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: From colorful to downright offensive. Why U.S. President Obama called
off a meeting with the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
And a critical stretch in the race to the White House, a new CNN poll finds Donald Trump edging past Hillary Clinton. We'll have the very latest
numbers and what they mean in the U.S. campaign.
Hello, and welcome to Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. I want to begin tonight with Turkey's ongoing thrust into Syria and
Iraq's multidimensional battlefields. Over the last 24 hours, viewers, Turkey has been keeping its guns fixed on ISIS militants, hitting nine
targets in Syria. And in neighboring Iraq it says its warplanes took out a dozen PKK sites. They are the Turkish fighters.
Well, among the latest casualties of Syria's civil war: hope. After months of talks, the
united states and Russia failed to nail down a peace deal on Monday, but their leaders agreed to try
for some kind of an agreement over the coming days.
Let's get into all of this. CNN's Arwa Damon is live for us from Istanbul, and our Fred Pleitgen is standing by in Moscow.
Arwa, let's begin with you. It would be fantastic if everybody were involved in this conflict could come up with an agreement in the coming
days. I think we're all raising our eyebrows somewhat at that.
Let's begin with what's going on in the Turkish border with Syria. ISIS has now lost control in Syria along the Turkish border, that is
according to Ankara. How significant is this?
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: It's very significant, Becky,
in the sense that they going to severely impede the freedom with which ISIS is able to move fighters, weapons, and other supplies across what was up
until very recently an extremely porous border. It's also significant in the accepts that Turkey is now actively involved in the war in Syria,
having pushed those tanks across the border some two weeks ago.
And since then, it steadily made progress to recapture around 91 kilometers of border that was
previously under ISIS control on the Syrian side.
Turkey, of course, has been pushing for a safe zone to be created within Syria for years now, well before the U.S.-led coalition and Russia
even were involved within the Syrian battlefield.
This is an idea, a military strategy that Turkey was planning on undertaking unilaterally last year, but was unable to do so because of a
lack of U.S. backing. And then of course you had the incident with the downing of the Russian fighter jet that then made it
militarily speaking, a bit too treacherous for the Turkish military to attempt to enter into Syria.
But with the recent rekindling of relationships between Turkey and Russia, it would seem that
the Turks are confident enough at this stage to be able to have moved in and really in the last two weeks as Ankara been stating fairly significant
Of course, the key question in all of this is, Becky, what happens next? Do the Turks keep pushing trying to potentially break the siege on
Aleppo, which could quite possibly pitch them against the Syrian regime on the Syrian battlefield that would effectively put them up against Russia?
Will they try to turn and push the U.S.-backed Kurds further away from the area that they are under control? So it's still an incredibly messy
situation at this stage with a lot of uncertainty.
ANDERSON: Fred, we are -- or were offered some hope. CNN sources speaking to those who were finishing out their stint at the G20 meeting
being told that the diplomats involved in this multidimensional conflict say they will try for some kind of agreement over the coming days.
Should we hold out any hope of that?
[11:05:11] FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it's something, Becky, that we've been hearing a lot over the
last week, I would say week and a half. Where on the one hand you had the Rrussian side that kep saying they thought that an agreement between the
U.S. and Russia was imminent, in some cases even saying that they believed an agreement
had already been reached. And at the same time you had the U.S., which seemed to be more skeptical whether or not an agreement was actually close.
And we heard yesterday from U.S. President Obama after his meeting with Vladimir Putin
say,m look there are issues of mutual trust that make it very, very difficult to get an agreement on Syria at this point in time. Then a
couple of minutes later, Vladimir Putin himself went in front of the press himself and said he believed that it could be reached within the next
couple of days.
Now, both sides are saying they want to keep pushing for an agreement but we have to keep in mind that this is something that's going to be very,
very complex. It goes a lot further than, for instance, a ceasefire. It would also see these two countries, which of course are not very trustful
of each other, to coordinate their military activities in Syria.
At this point in time they can't even agree on which groups to bomb and which groups not to bomb. Of course, the U.S. saying that the Russians
are bombing a lot of U.S. vetted rebels, whereas the Russians are saying the U.S. is not bombing a lot of groups that are affiliated with al Qaeda.
Then you have the whole issue of humanitarian access, especially in places like Aleppo, that Arwa was just talking about, getting humanitarian
aid in there. And the terms of the ceasefire itself.
There are still important technicalities. The U.S. in particular is saying, oh, it is very, very important to try to get an agreement as fast
as possible, because as you very rightly said the one thing that the people in Syria seem to have all but lost at this point in time is hope.
ANDERSON: Right. Yeah, and I don't suppose for a moment anybody watching this in Syria trusts a single diplomat out there.
I do know that in London this week there was supposed to have been a big Syrian meeting trying to get hold of some of those who should have been
attending the likes of the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, not attending -- Kerry, John Kerry, not attending, the
Jordanian FM, I'm told, not attending. It's really difficult to do anything at this stage an empty seat these characters, because one was
hoping that if there was some hope that meeting might have nailed it for people.
So, we've talked about happens next on the ground for our viewers' sake, Arwa, just describe what conditions are like and how awful things
DAMON: It's almost impossible to truly put into words, Becky. And I think the images that we've been seeing coming out of Syria over the last
five years do more than speak for themselves.
You have had these moments throughout the last five years where the international community has sort of jumped up and said oh, well what's
happening in Syria? Those moments when after the chemical attacks that took place some three years ago that then resulted in basically nothing at
all, no sort of repercussions at this stage.
You then of course had the image of Alan Kurdi, the Syrian refugee lying on the beach in Turkey after drowning when he and his family were
trying to make it to Europe. You had the more recent image of that little toddler in Syria, Omran, who was pulled out from underneath the rubble
looking completely stunned. These are all moments that have, for some reason, caused people around the world to stand up and rally behind Syria.
The thing is, these individual moments are not isolated incidents. They happen every single day, and every single day we hear voices pleading
from the battlefield. We hear voice of doctors, volunteer medics like the white helmets, crying out trying to draw enough attention so that attention
will actually result in action.
And I think for the Syrian population, that is perhaps the most disheartening thing of all. The world is watching. The world does know
exactly what is happening there. It knows that areas are under siege, it knows that areas are under bombardment, it knows that
across both sides of these battlefields there have been war crimes that have been committed, chemical weapons used, there have been chemical
weapons that have been used. There are people who are starving as we speak right now, there are people that are being bombarded as we speak right now.
But despite the fact that the world knows this, despite the fact that key leaders knows this is
happening, all that Syria has seen at this stage is rhetoric. And, you know, we hear people over and over again saying never again. We are never
going to allow this type of slaughter to happen on our watch. Well, it has already happened.
ANDERSON: Arwa Damon is in Istanbul for you. Fred is in Moscow. Both of you, thank you.
Well, U.S. President Barack Obama has canceled what would have been his first meeting with the new president of the Philippines, Rodrigo
Duterte. The diplomatic row between started when the Philippine president made very crude remarks about his been his first
meeting with the new president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte.
The diplomatic row started when the Philippine president made very crude remarks about his U.S. counterpart. But in a statement released just
hours ago, Manila now says that President Duterte was directing the insult at a journalist and not at Mr. Obama.
Anyway, the two leaders were set to meet the insult was direct of a at journalist and not as Mr. Obama. The two leaders were set to meet in the
sidelines of what is the ASEAN summit in Laos.
CNN's Michelle Kosinski is in the city and has been following the fallout from Mr. Duterte's comments. Have a listen.
[11:10:30] MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right, how do you overstate how unusual, really shocking this is? The new
president of the Philippines, on the eve of what would have been his first meeting with President Obama, a treaty ally, calling him a son of a whore
to reporters and threatening to curse him further if President Obama so much as brought up the vigilante-style killings of thousands of people in
the Philippines over the last couple of months during the drug war there.
Listen to President Duterte and then President Obama, who responded to all of this in a press conference yesterday.
RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENT, THE PHILIPPINES: Who is he? I am a president of a sovereign state, and we have long ceased to be a colony. I
do not have any master except the Filipino people. Nobody but nobody.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just heard about some of this, but I have seen some of those colorful statements in the past. And
so clearly, he's a colorful guy.
KOSINSKI: Well, those comments were enough today for the White House to say, you know, there was no way that this was going to be a constructive
meeting. And went a step further, saying it would have been a disservice to the Filipino people to have this meeting now.
Duterte has now apologized, saying he regrets that his words were taken as a personal attack on President Obama.
Today, though, in Laos, President Obama wants to focus on this relationship, starting with a commitment to remove some 80 million
unexploded bombs of the more than 270 million cluster bombs that the U.S. dropped on Laos during nine years of the Vietnam War. Those bombs continue
to cause casualties to this day and, in fact, tomorrow President Obama will meet with some of the victims.
Back to you guys.
ANDERSON: Michelle Kosinski reporting for you.
Well, there is nothing even remotely humorous about an earthquake or its victims. But the French satirical magazine Ccharlie Hebdo seems to
disagree. It published this cartoon depicting the victims of the disaster as popular Italian dishes like lasagna. The image has been widely
Ben Wedeman joining me now live from Rome. Ben, how are Italians reacting?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are rather shocked at
what they say is the bad taste that's represented by this cartoon, by Charlie Hebdo. Of course, they specialize in sort of down market humor, so
to speak, but this at a time when Italians are mourning 295 people killed in that earthquake on the 24th of August just seems to be in the worst
Italians are responding. We've heard, for instance, the interior minister, Angelino Alfano, saying, we wept for their dead, they laughed at
ours. Using their sarcasm, I suggest -- I have a suggestion about where they should stick their pencil.
Now, CNN did reach out to Charlie Hebdo. They say they do not respond to every single criticism of their cartoons, but on the same day, they did
publish another cartoon that said -- the caption said "Italians, it is not Charlie Hebdo who built your houses, it's the mafia. It seems that they are trading in all sorts of stereotypes that
Italians find highly offensive.
Now, we did get -- a statement was put out by the French embassy in Rome, however, saying that the Charlie Hebdo cartoons do not represent the
position of France -- Becky.
ANDERSON: I mean, the magazine posts controversial sketches of course. It is a satirical magazine. The argument here, though, is there
is a difference, isn't there, between this and satire.
WEDEMAN: Yes. I mean, look, this was a country that was shocked by this earthquake. So many -- nearly 300 people killed. And this magazine,
which it's important to stress, does not represent the opinion of most French people, comes out not only with the first cartoon, but the second
saying the houses were built by the mafia, which is nonsense, if you know Italy well.
But this is going to be something that will pass like a cloud in the summer. This is not something that's going to cause some sort of major
rift between these two countries, it's just going to reinforce perhaps the opinion of many Italians that the French have overrated food, wine, and an
overrated sense of humor -- Becky.
[11:15:46] ANDERSON: All right, Ben, well put.
All right, Ben Wedeman is in Rome for you.
Still to come tonight, nine weeks out and it is a near even race. A new poll suggests a remarkable turnaround for Donald Trump in his battle
against Hillary Clinton.
ANDERSON: You are watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. Welcome back.
Donald Trump will no doubt fire up his supporters with some impressive poll numbers when he
takes the stage at a rally in Virginia today. A new CNN/ORC poll shows he has closed the gap with Hillary Clinton, making the U.S. presidential race
a statistical dead heat.
The survey interviewed likely voters across the country. As you can see, Trump has a
slight edge over Clinton, 45 percent to 43 percent. The libertarian Gary Johnson has 7 percent, and the Green Party's Jill Stein polls at 2 percent.
The numbers a bit different when a broader electorate was polled, but they still show the race is tighter than ever, just nine weeks before the
Let's bring in CNN political director David Chalion. David, rounding the final bend, as it were, in the race to the White House, the finish line
in sight. And this. Tell us what happened when registered voters weighed in?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Right, this is the traditional time that pollsters start looking at likely voters, because now we are
getting closer to the election.
All year long we've been polling the broader universe of registered voters. In this poll, I think Hillary Clinton has a three point edge over
Donald Trump among registered voters.
So, your takeaway here is this is a margin of error race. And it is close. And this is different from where we were a month ago after the
Democratic convention. Hillary Clinton had a big bounce and Donald Trump was immersed in controversy for a couple of weeks, sort of at war with his
own party. And now we see this margin of error race.
And this is what both campaigns kind of expected it to be, a close race in the home stretch.
[11:20:13] ANDERSON: We were talking about this just earlier on as a team. And we were talking about what the takeaways are here. Because,
look, you know, with this finish line in sight, I think for our international viewers, these are remarkable numbers. And we
came up with three. Basically, it's anybody's game. Trump supporters are enthusiastic about him. It seems that Clinton has trust issues.
Where do you think things stand at this point?
CHALIAN: I think you and your team came up with three pretty good takeaways.
I think, listen, you also have to remember we don't have a national popular vote for president here in the U.S., it is a state by state battle
to get to 270 electoral votes. And right now when you look at those battleground states, Hillary Clinton does have a slight advantage in many
of those -- almost battleground states.
So, Donald Trump has a long way to go to put together what he needs for those 270 electoral votes. But you are right, Hillary Clinton's
persistent problem with trustworthiness, honesty, this is a problem. I think it's why you are starting to see her talk with the
press more. She did it yesterday. She's going to do it again today. I think you're going to see her out there, out and about a lot more than
you've been seeing her.
And Donald Trump, since our last poll, has really fortified the Republican Party. They were concerned after the conventions about him.
And now he is really gotten his Republican Party support, his home team up and running and really enthusiastic about him.
ANDERSON: Yeah, these are remarkable -- these are remarkable numbers. And it's quite a remarkable race at this point.
Trump, well-known, of course, for giving his rivals condescending nicknames. His campaign now has a new one for Clinton. They are calling
her Hiding Hillary, as you know. Ttrump's website keeping count of the days Clinton has gone without holding a formal press conference,
insinuating she is dodging tough questions from the media.
Clinton did take some questions yesterday on board her new campaign plane. It was the first time she had flown with a traveling press corps
since the race began. She welcomed them on board and promised to talk to them more formally later.
David, do you think it -- he is calling her Hiding Hillary. Does the voter ultimately care whether or not she holds press conferences?
CHALIAN: I think that the voter ultimately cares to get a complete picture, as complete a picture as possible of the candidates, of their
choices. And certainly one way to do that is to subject yourself to the scrutiny of the press corps, have them poke and prod you and ask you
questions. And the voters do like to sort of assess the information they get from that and how the candidate handles that.
Do I think that the voters are going to take up the cause of the press for more access? No. I think we are rated below politicians in this
country. So I don't think that the press is going to be sort of the -- is going to be where the voters rally around. But I do think they want that
complete picture. And this is certainly a way to do that.
And she clearly was feeling the heat, right, because she hold a press conference yesterday on her plane. We are told she is going to meet with
reporters again today. She clearly knows that the notion that she might be hiding something is not a character trait she wants implanted in voters'
minds for the next nine weeks.
ANDERSON: All right, sir, thank you for that.
Well, the candidates don't have much time left to win over undecided voters. But there are three important events coming up on the calendar
that could still shake things up: the presidential debates.
Let's bring in CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter. He is the host of Reliable Sources.
Remind us when the first of these debates is and what we should expect.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: 20 days from today, September 26. It's a Monday. It's at Hofstra University on Long Island
here in New York. And that will be the first time Trump and Clinton share the same stage.
We found out last week, Lester Holt of NBC News will be the moderator. And according to Trump he will actually show up. You know, there's been
questions about this, because over the summer Trump complained about the schedule. He said he didn't like the fact that two of the debates
conflicted with NFL games.
But yesterday on board his plane, he told reporters as of this moment, he will be there. He is planning on attending all three of the debates.
So, we'll see if that changes between now and the 26th. But as of now, Trump and Clinton both on board.
ANDERSON: Well, with 62 days, then, before the election, the candidates hitting the campaign trail hard as you have been suggesting.
And that means a lot of talking. Here's Hillary Clinton at an event Monday in Ohio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump does not have the temperament to -- to be our commander-in-chief.
Every time I think about Trump, I get allergic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:25:11] ANDERSON: Well, every time I think about Trump I get allergic. That is Hillary Clinton trying to laugh off that coughing fit.
The Trump campaign responding saying Hillary must be allergic to the media again attacking her saying she's been distancing herself from the
And the Trump campaign trying to get people to believe there is an issue with Clinton's health.
How is that all going down?
STELTER: You know, it does seem that sthere is a concerted evident in conservative media circles and sometimes supported by Trump aids and Trump
surrogates to raise questions about Clinton's health.
We have heard conspiracy theories for years that she has a secret illness, a secret brain injury she has been covering up. And it's all been
built up on a grain of truth. The grain of truth was that she had a concussion in 2012. She had a health scare and then she recovered.
And then from that grain of truth there's been this mountain of lies built on top of it. Websites like the Drudge Report promote this idea that
Clinton is secretly ill and hiding something.
But the reality is, she is someone who is followed around by cameras all the time. So, yes, once in a while she is going to have a coughing
fit, once in a while she is going to slip on stairs and fall. Frankly, I do the same thing. It happens in television, too. So, I think it is
And yet, Clinton tried to make the most of it yesterday by pivoting and making it a joke about being allergic to Trump.
ANDERSON: Let's talk about something substantive then, because you -- I want to talk
about something that you have been discussing on your show, Brian, and you shared on Twitter.
The number of policy proposals on the candidates' website varies widely. Viewers, here's Hillary Clinton's issues section. We've got
papers on combating terrorism and keeping the homeland safe, disability rights, gun violence prevention. There are 38 policy proposals in all,
just over 112,000 words in total. Hang on Brian. Let's bring up Trump's site. Here is his position section. We've got his economic vision plan,
health care reform, and his much talked about immigration reform policy -- seven policy statements. Their word count, just over 9,000 words.
Your thoughts, sir?
STELTER: 9,000 words versus more than 100,000 words of policy on the Clinton website. I think that in some ways explains this entire election,
that Donald Trump is not in the weeds on policy, has not taken detailed positions on many issues and sometimes seems to flip-flop on issues.
Clinton on the other hand a well-known policy wonk, someone who loves getting in the weeds
of these issues and has detailed plans.
So, do detailed plans matter in this election? I would suggest no they do not. For better or worse this is an election about what kind of
country the United States is. It's an election about race, class, and gender, not an election about policy prescriptions.
But I think the Clintons would like it to be, and that's why you on her website so many details,
so much information. That stat by the way came from the AP and I through it very well summed up the
differences between the two campaigns, 9,000 words versus more than 100,000 words.
ANDERSON: Yeah, all right. Remarkable, this on a day that a new CNN poll finds Donald
Trump edging past Hillary Clinton. Right.
Before you go -- I can't let you go without asking you about this. We are learning that the parent company of American television network Fox
News has settled the sexual harassment lawsuit brought by former host Gretchen Carlson. She has received an apology, apparently. And a source
tells CNN she'll be paid $20 million.
Carlson had accused her former boss and CEO of Fox news Roger Ailes of sexually harassing her. And this prompted Ailes, of course, to resign from
the network and led to at least 20 other women to come forward with their own stories of harassment.
Brian, what more do we know?
STLETER: $20 million. This is an incredible amount of money for a settlement. I think it's going to have ripple effects across corporate
Ailes will pay a portion of the settlement. We don't know how much. His lawyer just told me she and he are not going to comment today.
Look, Fox has taken the unusual step of publicly apologizing to Carlson for the mistreatment
that she experienced at Fox News. And there continue to be consequences for Fox more broadly. Today, the 7:p.m. anchor, one of the most important
anchors of the networks, Greta Van Sustren, left, that's because she has a clause in her contract that allows her to leave after Roger Ailes left.
So, the ripple effect, the consequences of this lawsuit by Gretchen Carlson continue to be felt
inside of Fox News in some ways financially, in other ways with the changes to the channel ad who is appearing on the channel.
The Murdochs are trying to get this to go away but I don't think it's going away yet.
[11:30:00] ANDERSON: Fascinating. Always a pleasure having you on, sir.
Brian is is out of New York for you. I'm out of Abu Dhabi. This is Connect the World with
me, Becky Anderson.
The latest world news headlines are just ahead.
Plus, a notorious hate preacher in London is sentenced. Our the reporter is live for you outside the Old Bailey.
[11:34:15] ANDERSON: A radical preacher who British police say is a key recruiter for ISIS has been jailed for inviting support for the Sunni
extremist group. Anjem Choudary was sentenced to five and a half years in prison.
Phil Black joins me from just outside the Old Bailey courthouse in London where the sentence was delivered -- Phil.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, dishonest, calculating,
dangerous: these were just some the words the judge used today to describe Anjem Choudary in the leadup to announcing what his sentence, his
punishment would be.
In the end, it was five-and-a-half years out of a potential maximum sentence of 10 years. He got a little time knocked off because he has been
in custody over the course of the trial.
This all results to a charge of inviting support for a prescribed organization, specifically ISIS. And the evidence came from some speeches
that were uploaded to the Internet in which Choudary not long after ISIS declared its caliphate in Syria and Iraq supporting Muslims around the
world to support them in doing so, to lend their support.
Now, Choudary is an absolutely notorious figure in this country, easily the loudest best known
cheerleader for radical Islam perhaps not just in the UK, but internationally as well, someone who became pretty famous for interesting
giving interviews around the world arguing the merits of radical while refusing to condemn specific terrorist incidents, in fact, often saying
there was justification for them.
But he walked a careful legal line for so long by not endorsing or calling on people directly to act in a violent way.
So, through that behavior, he became widely loathed here in Britain. He was seen as a clown by some, but police, anti-terror security services,
they came to believe that he was a dangerous figure, an influential figure, someone who inspired people to commit terrorist acts, to want to commit
terrorist acts or to travel to Syria to fight with ISIS there.
So, today, the police, well, by their own admission, they were pretty satisfied with this result. This was them reacting to the sentence outside
the court only a short time later.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN HAYDON, METROPOLITAN POLICE COUNTER TERRORISM COMMAND: These two individuals, they are significant extremists in my mind, had significant
influence over a number of people across the UK, and their sentence today is extremely welcomed.
Of course now what we have to do is work with communities to make sure that people don't step into their shoes and backfill their positions. So
we have to work with communities to make sure that we safeguard individuals, prevent individuals from traveling, actually clamp down on
extremist speeches, and when necessary people do commit the line and start committing
criminal or terrorist offenses we will bring them to justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: Choudary's lawyer had argued prior to the sentencing for a more lenient punishment saying that Choudary regretted his actions, that he
regretted straying onto that other side of the law despite years, decades of really trying to avoid doing that. But the judge dismissed that
outright saying he knew what he had been doing all along. He dismissed what had been a very common argument from Choudary over the course of the trial,
which is that he doesn't support ISIS as an organization nor its behavior or its terrorism, but he supports the Islamic State as an intellectual
idea, from an ideological and Islamic point of view.
The judge didn't buy that. He said the hadn't bought that as well. And so that was why he said a significant sentence was needed. Both the
Choudary and the man, a co-accused who was sentenced alongside of him today, a 33-year-old follower of Choudary, as I said, they both received
five-and-a-half years in prison -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Phil Black is in London for you. thank you, Phil.
Syria's civil war is a burning catastrophe, not just for the country, or the region, but for all of us.
ISIS, using it as a base to launch and inspire attacks around the world, from Paris to Bangladesh, including right next door to Syria in
Turkey as well.
Looking to stamp that out, as you've been hearing, Turkey has been rolling its firepower onto the battlefields using its close proximity and
massive muscle to pretty much do whatever it wants there.
Well, at the same time, the Turkish president has been calling for an area free from fighting to help the civilians trying to get looking to get
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDNET (through translator): We persistently
told all leaders to establish a safe zone in Syria that is 95 kilometers long and 40 kilometers from north to south. And with this establishment of
the safe zone, we can solve the immigrant problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: With so much fire power aimed at Syria, pulling that off would take a stroke of diplomatic genius, something in very short supply
these days. Despite a lot of hope and an awful lot of talk, Washington and Moscow failed to come to terms over a peace deal this
week. Instead, as its leaders stared at one another, we are all left to stare into the abyss of this conflict.
Among the many losers in Syria, there are some winners. Let's get into all of this with
a guest with us Vali Nasr, dean of the the school of advanced international studies at Johns Hopkins University. He's with us from Baltimore,
Vali, when I say that the winners are definitely not the Syrian people, of course. Syria can feel exhausting to many. It's an incessant
situation of carnage. Who is winning at this point?
VALI NASR, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Well, let's say there are four major protagonists on the ground: there is the Assad regime, there is the
opposition, there are the Kurds, and then there is Turkey.
And I think Turkey and Assad look to be gaining in the past week. Assad has now almost dominated most of Aleppo and has put the opposition on
its heels in that city. The Turks have successfully enter into Syria, have cleared the border area of ISIS, and then have gone after the Kurds
And it looks like that that Turkey is basically asserting its control over its border area and the Kurds. And Assad is asserting his control
So I would say right now at this moment in time, the snapshot would make those two look like
the winners for the moment.
ANDERSON: Yeah, and, again, I made the point that if you ask most Syrians they would say nobody is winning in this war, this game of Risk, as
it were, because that's what it feels like, doesn't it?
What difference would a promised U.S.-Russia deal make to Syria on the ground at this point?
NASR: I actually think that was largely a foil. The most important meeting in China was not between the U.S. and Russia, i think it was
between Russia and Turkey in terms of building their understanding over Syria. The Russians wanting, as I said, that Assad would win in Aleppo and
put the opposition on the back end. And the Turks wanted an agreement that would allow them to come into Turkey to clean house with the Kurds.
I think the United States keeps talking about wanting a ceasefire. The ceasefire is very important for civilians in Syria, because in order to
be able to give them humanitarian assistance, reduce the number of killings, bring some stability, have the fighting to stop.
But the U.S. actually does not have any leverage in this. It is not a participant to fighting on the ground. And it's not in a position to
actually shape the fighting. It has no way in which to persuade the Russians, the Turks, the Assad government, Iran, the opposition to actually
look at this conflict in a different way.
And it's not a surprise that nothing came of the U.S.-Russia discussions.
ANDERSON: That's fascinating, because the eyes of the world have been on those two. And the American president, of course, saying that the
Russian and American foreign ministers were, quote, keep working at it over the next several days.
So fascinating to hear your analysis of that.
Let me break down Syria's war by the numbers for our viewers, if you will. It's fast approaching its sixth year. We'll mark that grim
anniversary in March.
The United Nations envoy has estimated some 400,000 Syrians have lost their lives, 400,000 have lost their lives, more than 11 million have been
forced from their homes because of the fighting. Still, the world watches and does, it seems, certainly for Syrians and the rest of us, nothing.
Do world powers see Syria as a more useful tool as a place to settle scores than they would as
a stable country?
NASR: Well, I think the great surprise is first that the world has been quite insouciant in the face of the statistics that you mentioned.
Secondly, we've come to understand that this is not just a purely humanitarian crisis.
You know, this humanitarian tragedy has also reverberated in Europe by pushing many refugees
into Europe, that has impacted European politics, it has encouraged terrorism to come to Europe. And still, European governments and the
United States are reluctant to get serious about Syria.
I mean, one of the factors about this war is that the U.S. has been completely disengaged. In other words, there is no sort of rivalry with
Russia about influence and control in Syria. It's Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia Turkey that are playing the game in that country.
It remains to be seen whether a new American president would begin to look at Syria differently as a place that it has to get involved in order
to contain Russia, in order to have a say in the future of the Middle East. But for now, we've only got engaged minimally when necessary, but without
any kind of a resolve to get to a better place in this conflict.
ANDERSON: Always good to have you, sir. Thank you.
NASR: Thank you.
ANDERSON: Well, as we've been hearing, the war in Syria has had devastating repercussions across the region, as you know. And Turkey's
incursion there comes at a difficult time for the country economically.
For more, CNN Money's emerging markets editor and my colleague here in Abu Dhabi, John Defterios joining me.
As we've heard, John, a lot of pressure on Turkey, a messy and costly war on the border, and of course an attempted coup at the beginning of
How is Turkey holding up?
[11:45:16] JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN MONEY: Well, it's very interesting, Becky. You put those factors together, an attempted coup, a major purge
that's still taking place, then the incursion. It's going to dent an economy. And in fact the president of Turkey, Mr. Erdogan, has suggested
they are going to have to forego this target of 4.5 percent growth for 2016.
But the news isn't all that bad. Prime Minister Yildirim suggested that what's happening in the south that's going to cost the economy some
$10 billion in the short-term. So, it's an immediate hit for the move going over the border of Syria.
But by and large, they're likely to going to hit 4 percent growth this year. Now, a couple of key factors I'm watching for the remainder of this
year and then spilling over to 2017, the drop in tourism revenues. This is not a huge surprise. In the second quarter, revenues were down 35 percent.
That's going to be even worse when we get the summer numbers.
One tour operator is suggesting it could take two to three years to see that tourism sector recover.
On the other side, as you know, President Erdogan has had an ongoing battle with the credit
rating agencies. They are at it again. Fitch put out this quote in the third week of August suggesting that the political uncertainty is in fact
going to going to hit the economy going forward and that's not a big surprise. There is a risk because of the politics spilling over to
We were expecting the same from Moody's even perhaps downgrading Turkey into junk status. That hasn't happened. And the caveat here from
Fitch was they maintain the investment grade status. They downgraded from stable to negative, but they didn't put it in to junk status.
And overall the numbers aren't bad. International Monetary Fund and the OECD also adjusting -- that 4 percent is entirely possible in 2016.
I can't imagine anybody at Fitch having the nerve to take it into junk. And then want to receive the telephone call from the president.
Listen, President Erdogan never sits idle, of course, what has he been doing to tackle these economic challenges that he has?
DEFTERIOS: Well, he's been a very shrewd operator, let's put it this way. I call it the tilt to the
east that he has moved aggressively. Let's go back to the G20 summit that just took place in China. He had meetings with President Obama and
Chancellor Merkel of Gemany, very tense meetings, but the rhetoric they had conversations regarding the European Union and immigration.
But while that was taking place and preceding it, President Erdogan tilted to Russia primarily, going to St. Petersburg. The sanctions are
easing, the flights are connecting, and they are going to boost gas supplies going into Turkey.
This is very important because they are a big importer of oil and gas. We have a weaker lira, weaker oil and gas prices, that's lowered their
current account deficit, at the same time being reengaged with Russia. He did the same with Israel, and kind of overlooked by everybody else in the
world he reengaged with Iran at the same time. Very interesting. He wants to again be a key conduit for energy supplies going out of Iran through
Turkey, coming into the European Union.
So, it's fascinating. The big surprising number for me when I went to go dig through and research this, foreign direct investment in 2015 held up
at $16 billion, it was up 32 percent. The business people I've spoken to think it can even surpass that in 2016.
The other caveat to that, the European Union is dominating that foreign direct investment. European investment represents 85 percent of
it. Only about 10 percent coming from Asia right now and about 5 percent coming from right here in the Gulf.
ANDERSON: So, the opportunities are endless if they start tapping into those markets.
DEFTEIOS: It's a low cost producer, as you know. And they export into the European Union at a much lower cost.
ANDERSON: Watch this space. John will keep you honest on it.
Live from Abu Dhabi -- thank you John -- live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson coming up. The tale of being marked
forever by a trip to the Holy Land quite literally. We meet the businessmen who are giving pilgrims to Jerusalem some very, very special
ANDERSON: Well, lighting the Olympic torch ahead of the Paralympics. This is (inaudible) a black belt judo fighter doing the honors. The flame
has arrived in Rio and will tour several neighborhoods on the eve of the games.
Competitions get underway Wednesday and with just a day to go, there are still a million unsold tickets. So, if you fancy one, get online.
More than a unanimous 1.5 million tickets have been snapped up, though, and the organizing committee says athletes can expect to perform in packed
stadiums, which is a fantastic thing.
Right. You are watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. A very warm welcome back to Abu Dhabi.
When we think of the Holy Land we might think of pilgrimages and prayer, right? Well, what about permanent tattoos? Well, it's not the
first thing you'd associate with Jerusalem. But as the Razzouk family explains it is a century's old craft.
Ian Lee with the story for you.
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Andrew Saropian (ph) got his
first tattoo when he joined the U.S. army, but this Armenian cross means the most for the veteran of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was seven meters from a rocket that blew up and no protection on, and I took the full blast. And I believe I could have
been dead or missing an arm. I do believe I was protected and blessed by god.
LEE: Saropian (ph), like pilgrims before him, made one last stop before leaving the Holy
Land. For 700 years, pilgrims sought out the Razzouk family.
ANTON RAZZOUK, TATTOO ARTIST: We have the ancestors started the tradition of the tattoo. And it before electricity was available. It was
done by hand.
WASSAIM RAZZOUK, TATTOO ARTIST: The Christian tattooing has always been used as certificate of pilgrimage. And the only way for people to
prove and to get a certificate or a stamp, sort of a stamp that will last forever they have done the pilgrimage is by actually getting tattooed.
LEE: The tattooing technique originated in Egypt and evolved over the centuries, but the designs last through the ages.
W. RAZZOUK: We are not only old school. We can say we are ancient school. We have designs hundreds of years old.
LEE: Wassaim Razzouk shows me one such design carved from wood blocks.
W. RAZZOUK: For example, this one is about 500 years old. This actual block was specifically was used in 1669 to tattoo a pilgrim that has
documented his pilgrimage.
LEE: Pilgrims travel to the holy land in search of something. It could be adventure, inner
peace, or god.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tthis was a really emotional journey for me to renew in my faith, and this for me as become an external version of what I
am now feeling inside.
And I feel that I have a renewed and a new found faith that I feel is more permanent.
LEE: The holy ink almost dried up. Wassaim initially had no interest in the family business.
WASSAIM RAZZOUK: This is not a tradition and a heritage that is easy to let go of. I'm not going to be the one who is going to stop it or kill
LEE: The mark of faith is secured for the next generation as future pilgrims will seek out Wassaim's son.
Ian Lee, CNN, in Jerusalem's old city.
ANDERSON: Live from Abu Dhabi, you are watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. Coming up, creating posters and paintings on a canvas
that you may not expect. It is a great story, and it's up next.
[11:56:37] ANDERSON: A couple of minutes to go. Want to get you our Parting Shots tonight. This hour, we have our question for you, 2D or not
2D? You can be is judge. Take a look at the work of a unique photographer who is brushing off the old and creating living illustrations. Have a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The project 2D or not 2D was created three years ago.
Me and my team was inspired by pop art authors and painters, graphic designers and computer art.
All of this has helped to create real life posters. The human face has natural volume. The model faces look absolutely two dimensional.
Every image plays with a style, with the imagination. Looking at the pictures of the project, you cannot always understand what you see. The
painting or a real human face. This was a trick with the light, make up and camera angle.
ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World. Thank you for watching.