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CONNECT THE WORLD
Battle for Mosul Begins; Donald Trump Steps Up Rigged Election Claims; Concerns From Aid Organizations Humanitarian Crisis from Mosul Will Overload Capacity. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired October 17, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:27] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: The battle begins. A long touted push to free one of Iraq's most important cities from ISIS is under way this hour,
a fight that lays bare Iraq's fractured political landscape, a fight that world powers are supporting on the ground and in the air, a fight that sees
hundreds of thousands of civilians caught in the middle. We're live on the ground near Mosul this hour, bringing you the very latest details and
analysis of this crucial assault.
Welcome to Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. The son has just set in Iraq where a fierce offensive is underway to retake the
biggest city under ISIS control.
Well, the stakes couldn't be higher as the battle for Mosul could very well determine the future of Iraq itself. This video shows Kurdish Peshmerga
forces just outside the city. They're fighting to recapture outlying villages as they advance on Mosul. Thousands of Iraqi government troops
are backed by U.S.-led air power are also taking part in the offensive.
Iraq's military says it has inflicted, and I quote, heavy losses on ISIS, southeast of the city. Iraqi TV reports that nine villages have been
liberated so far.
Well, more pictures here of Kurdish forces near the front lines. More than a million civilians,
though, remain in Mosul. And there are concerns that ISIS may try to use them as human shields when troops reach the city.
About 100,000 troops are expected to be involved in the Mosul offensive in one way or another -- some fighting, some in support. That includes more
than 54,000 Iraqi army troops, 40,000 Peshmerga fighters, 9,000 fighters from the popular mobilization unit militia. There are about 500 U.S.
troops in northern Iraq. Most, though, are there in logistics and support roles.
Well, just a short time ago, my colleague Nick Paton Walsh was reporting from outside Mosul
when heavy gunfire broke out. He and his crew are embedded with the Kurdish Peshmerga forces. Have a look at what happened.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Behind me now, has just gone in, what must surely be a substantial explosion. We haven't been
hearing aircraft in the past few moments, so that may well be one of a number of car bombs that ISIS have been deploying in their bid to keep the
Peshmerga off this road.
It is a volatile situation and it is also one in which the Peshmerga at this stage appear to be prevailing. They've taken this five or six
kilometer stretch of the road here, but the villages around it do still remain volatile, and that is the question, what kind of resistance will
they continue to face?
The Iraqi military, too, at some point will have to push down here towards Mosul. But this has been an effort with much international support, a lot
of coalition planning, American air power.
One came right at me. What are they shooting at? Let's move, yeah.
ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh reporting. The team are OK. Just in case you're wondering.
let me break down why Mosul then is so important. It's Iraq's second largest city before ISIS took over. More than 2 million people lived in
that city. It's close to important, but oil fields and a major pipeline pumping into Turkey. Before it fell into the militant's clutches, a lot of
trade between Iraq, Syria and Turkey passed through Mosul. And it's the terror group's largest major
stronghold in Iraq.
Let's get you to Arwa Damon. She is live for you this hour near Mosul. And Nick's reporting, Arwa, revealing the volatile nature of this fight on the
ground. We are, what, 11, 12 hours now into what was the official start of this campaign, this advance towards Mosul. Describe what you've seen and
heard from where you are today and the sort of logistical challenges that lie ahead.
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you saw it in Nick's reporting there. Is leaving behind elements that have been engaging the
forces as they have been moving forward through these villages and towns. And the plains that surround the Mosul area also deploying suicide car
bombers throughout the course of the day. We've been hearing fighter jets overhead. We still are, in fact.
We've been seeing air strikes. There's been artillery fire, rocket fire, as well as sporadic fairly intense gun battles that have been taking place.
At this the point in time, relatively speaking, the situation much quieter as these forces have continued to move through, but there are still plumes
of smoke that are rising from fires that were set by ISIS as it set oil that it had dug into trenches ablaze. Fires also from the various
different air strikes and other explosions that have been taking place throughout the day.
But it's important to note the terrain out here, very open. The villages that they're going through fairly small. The civilian presence there
almost nonexistent. And that is starkly different to what theses forces are going to be facing once they actually reach the city of Mosul itself.
You have the added challenge that ISIS is by everyone's expectations going to be putting up a much bigger fight. You have the reality that within
this city, Iraq's second largest, there are most likely to be booby-trapped roads. You're going to have buildings that are going
to be inlaid with explosives. We've seen this in other cities that ISIS controlled before like in Tikrit, for example, where Iraqi security forces
went into a building thinking it had been cleared of fighters. It had been. But as they went up one of the staircases, they set off an IED, a
bomb that then managed to kill, in fact, one of the Iraqi soldiers.
Those are the kinds of things they're going to be facing inside Mosul. Plus, what is perhaps the biggest challenge of all, the civilian
population of 1 to 1.5 million people still trapped inside that city, Becky.
ANDERSON: Arwa Damon reporting. Thank you, Arwa. And I think it's important to point
out, viewers, that those who are in this advance towards Mosul -- and Arwa there describing the offensive once it gets there -- those advancing could
take days or hours, days or weeks, to get there. Nick joins us now live for more on what he is seeing near the front
lines of this fight.
And we've just played your report from earlier on, Nick. What's the latest on what you are seeing and hearing?
WALSH: Well, we've pulled away from the area now, Becky, obviously as night has fallen. But it was clear while the Peshmerga in substantial
numbers with a lot of U.S. support, coalition airpower, playing a strong role there, were able to take quite a lot of ground, to move quite swiftly.
I didn't mean the places they passed through were necessarily secure. That is the broader issue really they're facing here. And of course they will
in days ahead see what pockets of resistance are, in fact, left behind them in that area, Becky.
But as we were along that road there, you saw some of the fighting that still continued. The attempt to attack us and the Peshmerga we were with.
But also if you go to the north of that road as well, we saw a remarkable scene separately.
In fact, during the time we were there, one man, appearing to be an ISIS fighter, had in fact run away from the area he was and was being pursued by
the Peshmerga. They shot at him. He shot back at them. They seemed to close in after one of their party was injured in a tunnel, some sort of
fortification there. As they moved in, the ISIS fighter blew himself up in front of him. That's the kind of tenacity they are facing there. And
that's what will play, Becky, into the mix as Peshmerga try to secure that area, but most importantly as the Iraqi army push further towards the urban
sprawl of Mosul where those 1.2 million civilians lie. They are trapped. They are looking for safe passage.
Here's what President Masoud Barzani running the KRG here, the Kurdish autonomous region,
suggested miht be available fro them in terms of safe passage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MASOUD BARZANI, IRAQI KURDISTAN REGION PRESIDENT (through translator): I would like to reassure the people of Mosul that there is coordination
between the Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi army. We do hope that this is going to be successful one and we also hope that there will not be any
kinds revenge and their dignity is going to be protected and that they can go back to their homes
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:10:10] WALSH: Now we've seen (inaudible) in place around the area here, potentially able to deal with tens of thousands, nothing like 1.2
million. The official plan for the assault hopes that Paramilitaries will work with Iraqi army to ease sectarian tensions, keeping people in their
homes but making it quite clear today they were not going to go without a fight, less perhaps (inaudible) than they expected. But (inaudible)
evidence heavy resistance, Becky.
ANDERSON: All right. All ight, and you can see viewers and hear, viewers, that the technology is a challenge. But you got Nick's reporting right
there on the ground, important to get that to you. The very latest as this advance begins on Mosul.
Well, human rights groups warn that the battle for Mosul could be a humanitarian crisis in the
making. The UN estimates more than a million people may be forced to flee the city. More than 64,000 civilians have already been displaced from
Mosul since March.
Nationwide, remember, more than 3 million have been forced from their homes since start of 2014 alone. And agencies readying themselves to respond to
the impending crisis. This is the Dabaga (ph) displacement camp. It opened in 2015. And the Norwegian Refugee Council provides people arriving
at the camp with emergency relief -- food, water and basic hygiene needs, items necessary to help families, of course, through their first days being
Well, the council and the camp are now preparing for massive waves of people coming from Mosul.
And for more on the impact the fighting is likely to have on the local population, I'm joined now by Jomana Karadsheh. She's monitoring
developments from neighboring Jordan. And it is unclear just how many people are left in Mosul.
It is, though, in the high hundreds of thousands, we understand. And what is clear, Jomana, they face a very uncertain future.
I spoke to a representative from the Norwegian refugee council just an hour or so ago. And what he said, and he implored was that they had been asking
now for some time to be provided with safe route, safe passage for those civilians who may want to leave Mosul. They are also imploring for funding
and help, of course, for more camp facilities in order to help those who may actually affect that escape.
What are you hearing?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, the concern here is for civilians. Now, if they're inside the city and, as you
mentioned, these are all estimates. No one really knows the exact figures. The estimate is about 1.5 million people may be inside Mosul. We're look
at up to 1 million people who would be fleeing in the coming days, weeks, ahead as this offensive gets under way.
Now the concern is while they are trapped in this city that they could be used by ISIS as human shields or if they are expelled from the city, that
they could be caught in the crossfire, of this raging battle, so a lot of concern there. And of course that dangerous journey,
the really difficult conditions for them until they get to safety.
Now, as you mentioned, the United Nations and other agencies now for months have been saying that they need more support to be ready to deal with what
could be one of the worst displacement crisis we've seen in recent times and they just haven't gotten enough, Becky. They have gotten some funding
from international donors, but right now at this point in time the UN and other agencies are ready with shelter to accommodate about 60,000 people.
That is just a fraction of the numbers of people we could be seeing fleeing in the coming days.
Now, according to officials, they say they expect about 200,000 people to be fleeing in the firm couple of weeks of this offensive. Now, they might
have a bit of time. They say that they could be seeing that mass kind of - - the large numbers only starting to come out in about five to six days.
So right now, they're working day and night to try and set up other locations to be able to accommodate these people who are fleeing and who
have gone through so much already, Becky.
ANDERSON: Jomana, I know that you caught up with a family from Mosul who had fled some years ago. They are in Amman. What are they telling you?
KARADSHEH: Well, if you remember, Becky, in 2014, when the Christians of Mosul were driven out by ISIS, many of them, hundreds of families, ended up
coming here to Jordan. And in Amman, churches here opened their doors and they were hosting a lot of these families. And we met some of them then.
And we went back to that same church that we visited in 2014 yesterday and we met that same family, still here. And I asked them if they would go back to Mosul once the city is
liberated, if it's liberated, and they said no, Becky.
They said Mosul for them is finished. They have gone through so much as a minority, the Christians they say have been persecuted in Mosul. They say
that they dealt with al Qaeda before, ISIS, and they dealt with ISIS and now they just believe there's nothing left for them to go back to and they
are just waiting to be resettled somewhere else. They say they cannot put their children through this one more time.
[11:15:50] ANDERSON: Underscoring the crisis that is this region for families like that.
Jomana, thank you.
And we will be staying with the massive assault in Mosul throughout this hour, viewers. It's just a few minutes before we'll be joined by one of
Iraq's key political players to ask him about the political ramifications of this attack.
Then the enemy within: we'll take you inside the secret resistance hacking away at the terrorists from inside Mosul itself. That is all to come.
And this hour Donald Trump claims the U.S. presidential election is rigged and he's pointing the finger squarely at the media. Why critics say his
latest line of attack may be dangerous.
Plus, the battle for Mosul bringing Iraq's arguing factions alongside each other, but will that translate into political harmony? Later on, the fight
for Mosul is a fight for Iraq's future, and I'm going to ask Iraq's former deputy prime minister about that. That's next.
ANDERSON: Right, the latest on the all out battle underway in Iraq in what could be the last stand for ISIS in that country.
Iraqi and Peshmerga forces are closing in on the militant stronghold of Mosul. It's the largest Iraqi city still in the hands of ISIS. The ground
troops are being helped by coalition air strikes. Still, the offensive could last for weeks. These videos of the early hours of that offensive,
it's been ongoing now for some 12, 15 hours, but it could last for weeks, even months.
You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with Becky Anderson. Welcome back. We're out of Abu Dhabi for you.
For more than a decade now, Iraq has been splintering along its ethnic and religious fault lines. While still very volatile many factions are now
fighting side by side in the battle for Mosul.
Around 100,000 troops in all are taking part in some way. With more than half of them coming from the Iraqi army, many of them on the front lines
punching into ISIS defenses to get into the city.
Well, the number Kurdish fighters isn't far behind. These fighters are known as the Peshmerga and they are piling into the battle as well, because
of Iraq's delicate politics, they're not even going to set foot inside Mosul.
So they say they will be part of the advance forces, that is what we are witnessing at the beginning of this assault.
Then their are the paramilitaries. We can't give you an exact figure, but there are at least 14,000 of them. There are Shiite and Sunni Muslim
groups as well as Christian, Turkmen and Yazidi units as well.
And there is a small contingent of American troops, most of them providing advice and support.
But, importantly, there's this: the coalition is bringing vast air power to bear.
So the political equations around this battle could be as puzzling as the military ones. To dig into that, Hoshyar Zebari is with us live from
Irbil. He is one of the biggest names of Iraqi politics, a senior member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party who has held several cabinet level jobs,
including deputy prime minister.
Sir, thank you for joining us.
I want to start off with what we have heard today. American estimates reckon there could be as many as 5,000 ISIS fighters in Mosul. It is
difficult to get exact figures on those who are fighting them, the scope of this offensive. What is your estimate on ISIS fighters and how long do you
think this offensive will last?
HOSHYAR ZEBARI, FRM. IRAQI DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Well, it's good to be with you, Becky. It's always a pleasure.
In fact, the numbers is around 5,000 to 7,000, I mean, according to most intelligence. But this is a lethal force. I mean, we've seen today in the
battles with the suicide bombers, with the car bombs, with the technique, this is not a conventional war.
So -- but today was just the beginning of the offensive. And the Peshmerga led the charge in close coordination with the combined joint task force of
the coalition and the Iraqi security forces. The gains have been magnificent so far. A number of villages and settlements have been cleared
And this is just the beginning. I mean, this campaign will intensify as we go, as the days go by. I think there will be -- there is a clear division
of labor between all the players who should do what and the coordination has been unprecedented.
But we in the Iraqi security forces and Peshmerga at least -- I can't speak for that -- with other forces too, but the number of ISIS in Mosul...
ANDERSON: OK, let me speak to that, sir, hang on for one sec.
ZEBARI: ...really is around...
ANDERSON: Yeah, let's just speak to that, because the coordination, as you rightly point out, is a huge challenge here.
I spoke awhile ago to an expert on conflict. And let me read you something that he said back in June, and I quote, Absal Ashraf (ph). He said, it's
going to be disastrous if there isn't coordination. You'll get two forces or more who are trying to achieve the same objective who are trying to get
rid of Daesh coming into contact with each other, not knowing who's firing upon
They may also, of course, sir, not have the same long-term objectives.
You've got a lot of troops on the ground not used to working together, some of whom quite frankly hate each other. How are you ensuring coordination?
ZEBARI: Well, the joint command is the center of coordination. And every party is playing its
role accurately, and according to the roles. And what we've seen today, Becky, was really a magnificent achievement.
And Mosul is unifying the people of Iraq. The Iraqi security forces also. I think it has been unifying rally for all of them. So the coordination is
going on. There could be some conflict, tensions here and there. But everybody, every player knows what is his role and where does he need to
move and where does he give way to other forces to jump in and move further.
So this is a sustained campaign, a persistent campaign actually. We will see in the coming days the nature of this offensive...
ANDERSON: And there is a real effort from all parties to ensure that their narrative is on message as it were. Everybody is on board, everybody
understands their role.
But I just wonder from the Kurdish point of view, there has been a promise that, for example, the Peshmerga, won't enter Mosul. Has your government
struck a deal with the Iraqis. I mean, this is an enormous Kurdish army here. Have you had promises of independence within a federal Iraq?
At least, what do the Kurds get out of this at the end of the day?
[11:26:15] ZEBARI: Well, the Kurds definitely will neutralize that Daesh's existential threat to Kurdish regional government and region. That has
been a federal region within Iraq. And as long as Daesh is in Mosul nobody is going to sleep quietly in the region because it's very close.
So the Kurds really are going to clear those areas that Daesh have extended.
Secondly, the Iraqi constitution have a way, a mechanism, to resolute all the disputed territories between Baghdad and the KRG which will come later.
As for the advancement of the Peshmerga, they led the charge today, actually. I mean, they were the key force that moved. But again, in the
coming days, the Iraqi security forces, counterterrorism forces, Iraqi special operation forces, will move in to sustain, but in close support and
backup by the Peshmerga.
I mean, remember, Becky, also Mosul is a multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian city, also. I mean, the province as a whole. And Mosul City, there has
been nearly 150,000, 200,000 Kurds that have been driven out by al Qaeda, by the extremists, by Daesh and so on. So these people have a legitimate
right to go back like everybody, like the Yazidis, Christians...
ANDERSON: Of course, Mr. Zebari, and I want to talk about -- let's talk about those civilians, if we will. Let's talk about those civilians,
because I totally understand there is a very mixed population there who are under an awful lot of pressure at this stage, very little information
coming out of Mosul. And there is deep concern that the battle to oust ISIS could
have a devastating impact on those civilians who stayed in Mosul.
Earlier, I spoke to a member of the Norwegian Refugee Council who's on the ground in Irbil, the same city you're in, and just have a listen to what he
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARL SCHEMBRI, REGIONAL MEDIA ADVISER, NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL: I think they have been repeatedly and the Iraqis in general have been repeatedly
let down by the international community, the military funding, the military spending on this doesn't match at all the
humanitarian gaps that we are left with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: And he is concerned this will be be an absolute catastrophe.
The President Barzani speaking earlier said that he would ensure those who left Mosul, should they want to leave, would be able to go back.
The Norwegian Refugee Council pointed out today that it is an absolute priority to provide
safe routes for those who want to leave. What is this coalition effort doing to support those civilians
who are likely to want to get out once this battle gets very heated in Mosul? We're talking hundreds of
thousands of people, aren't we?
ZEBARI: Yes. Becky, actually, this is a top concern for all the participants in this operation -- the coalition, the Iraqi federal
government, the Kurdish regional government, the UN agencies that have been active and preparing let's say makeshift camps and stockpiles for exodus of
But there are some exaggerated claims so far really. I think the majority of the people in Mosul would prefer to stay if the operation is swift.
Speed is the key, in fact, to this operation. If it is left to drag on for months and so on, really, then the humanitarian crisis could be a major,
major disaster for everybody.
But as far as I know, there have been good planning. Yes, they are underfunded as the Norwegian colleague has said. The UN making appeals to
the international community for more funding. But all parties are doing their utmost to accommodate any major humanitarian exodus from the city of Mosul.
ANDERSON: OK, all right. And with that, we're going to leave it there, sir. It is always a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you for joining us on
what has been a really momentous day as the advance on Mosul, the official operation, begins to rout ISIS from Iraq's second major city.
The latest world news headlines are just ahead.
Plus, Donald Trump waging war with the media. He says new organizations are out to get him. That's news organizations. That's next.
[11:34:25] ANDERSON: Well, as a new front opens up against ISIS in Mosul, in Aleppo, the story is one of depressing familiarity. Since Sunday, 45
people have been killed in airstrikes, including 14 from the same family.
But amidst the horror, tiny glimmers hope, this dramatic video from activists shows a child being rescued from the rubble from a building hit
by an air strike.
Well, Ian Lee following the developments from Istanbul for you tonight. And joining me now live. And tell us more, Ian, about what you know about
what's happening in eastern Aleppo while the world's attention, of course, is focused in the country next door in Iraq and Mosul.
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDNET: Yeah, Becky, that video that you just referenced is just the latest to come out of Aleppo. And it's videos
like this we've seen time after time and are recently in the past 24 hours there have been two neighborhoods hit in particular, the Tarji (ph) as well
as the Marjeh (ph) neighborhoods in eastern Aleppo, part of the rebel-held area that is under siege.
Now 45 people have been killed as you mentioned, 14, including two infants, and eight children. But this humanitarian disaster continues. Yesterday,
Secretary of State John Kerry called it the largest humanitarian disaster since World War II.
And there have been international diplomatic efforts to try to stop it. Yesterday, Russia vetoed a UN security council resolution that called for a
halt to violence as well as a humanitarian aid to reach that besieged part.
Western powers are saying that war crimes are being committed by President Bashar al-Assad as well as his supporters inside Syria.
But to give you an idea of what the humanitarian crisis looks like on the ground, there's just
a lack of medicine, a lack of food, people really are scraping by day by day trying to make it.
There's 250,000 people in this besieged part. And as we've seen world powers come together to try to put an end to it, to try to find some sort
of resolution, two previous ceasefires afterwards they also see the violence get worse.
And so they are weary about another cease-fire. But they would like to see this violence end -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Ian Lee is in Istanbul in Turkey.
Let's get you the state of the race as it were, a new CNN poll of polls shows Hillary Clinton widening her lead against Donald Trump in the race
for the White House. U.S. presidential race, the democratic nominee, eight points ahead. She's only two ahead in a similar survey taken last month.
The poll of polls averages results for the four most recent national surveys with his poll numbers down, Trump stepping up claims that the media
is rigging the election. For more, here's CNN's Phil Mattingly.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Remember this, it's a rigged election.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Donald Trump, there's only one reason he's trailing in the polls: a conspiracy to keep him out of
the White House.
TRUMP: The election is being rigged by corrupt media, pushing completely false allegations and outright lies in an effort to elect her president.
MATTINGLY: In rally after rally, tweet after tweet, Trump pushing the theory, without any evidence or recent historical precedent, that the
electoral results will be rigged.
Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, trying to tone down the rhetoric, saying Trump doesn't mean literal electoral rigging.
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We will absolutely accept the results of the election.
The American people are tired of the obvious bias in the national media. That's where the sense of a rigged election goes here.
MATTINGLY: But Trump undercutting that very message only minutes later, tweeting explicitly that the election is, quote, "absolutely being rigged"
at, quote, "many polling places."
This part of a Trump Twitter storm that included multiple personal attacks against House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Ryan pushing back on Trump's rigged election theory. A spokeswoman telling CNN the speaker is, quote, "fully confident the election will be carried
out with integrity."
Hillary Clinton's running mate, Tim Kaine, calling on more Republicans to speak out against Trump's allegations.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He started to make wild claims, kind of scorched-earth claims about the election being rigged, et
So we have to keep putting out a message, and we need to call on everybody to speak out about the fact that we run elections and we run them well
here. And we ask the GOP leaders also to stand up for the integrity of the electoral process.
MATTINGLY: Trump also continuing to fire back at allegations of sexual assault and unwelcomed sexual advances, now, accused by nine women. Trump
attacking their veracity, their character and their looks.
TRUMP: Believe me, she would not be my first choice. That I can tell you.
MATTINGLY: And unleashing one new line of attack on Hillary Clinton, that she's taking performance-enhancing drugs.
TRUMP: We should take a drug test, because I don't know what's going on with her.
MATTINGLY: The Clinton campaign calling this a shameful attempt to undermine the election.
[11:40:01] ANDERSON: Phil Mattingly reporting for you. Well, adding to an already Republican Party headquarters was firebombed in the state of North
Carolina. No one was in the building when a flammable substance was thrown inside. The vandals also spray painted the message Nazi Republicans, get
out of town or else.
Police say they don't know who is responsible.
Well, for more on the latest controversies and claims I want to bring in CNN's Brian Stelter out of New York, a regular guest on this show. One of
our colleagues, Brian, brilliantly summed it up I think when he said with 22 days to go, The Donald trades the Trump train for the big rig ramping up
claims of a rigged election and laying the blame squarely on the media.
What's his argument here? And does it have any traction with his base and beyond?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: With his base it does. With his base, there's a lot of agreement with the idea that this election is being
taken away from Trump, that he's being robbed in some way, whether that's through voter fraud, or whether it's through a media that is ludicrously
biased against him.
I think the truth, however, is that yes there are journalists who dislike Trump. Yes, there are journalists who are worried about the possibility of
a Trump election but there is not a vast global conspiracy the way Trump is alleging.
In fact, it would be impossible. There is no way to have that kind of conspiracy the way he is
claiming, nor is there a way to rig a national election in the United States. To be honest, these elections are run on a statewide level, run by
Republicans and Democrats. There are lots of check and balances. And voter fraud is actually very, very rare.
Those are the facts that Trump is ignoring when he makes these claims.
ANDERSON: There have been controversies in the past, of course, let's be clear.
STELTER: Well, you know, in 2000, of course, we all remember the Bush/Gore election and the dispute about the recount in Florida. The difference,
then, is that Gore conceded. Gore respected the natural transition of power. Once his options ran out through the court system, he stepped back.
He actually kind of disappeared for a while. And George W. Bush took over.
The prospect of Trump not conceding is on the minds of many people now. The prospect of Trump not accepting the results if he loses is a very
worrisome prospect. Historians say you have got to look back to the brink of the civil war to find a presidential nominee who is using the kind of
rhetoric Trump is using now.
ANDERSON: All right, we've got a certain final debate scheduled at least for this week, for
Wednesday. What are you looking out for during that?
STELTER: I'm curious to see if Clinton tries to present a closing argument that's more about her and less about Trump. So far, she's made this
election a referendum on Trump. Will she try to make a more positive argument about her presidency in this final debate.
And on the other side of that, what will Trump say and what will Trump do that he hasn't said yet? You know, he said that Clinton should take a
drug test before the debate. He's brought some of Bill Clinton's accusers to last debate. What does he have in his back pocket so to speak that he
hasn't pulled out yet. So, I'm curious to see what kind of ammunition he might be
bringing that he hasn't used in the prior debates.
And by the way the moderator, Chris Wallace, he's under a tremendous amoung of pressure. He's going to have to ask about these voter fraud allegations
from Trump that have no basis in fact.
And Trump is not giving any interviews right now. He's avoiding interviews and press conference settings. So, this debate will be the first
opportunity in over a week to question Trump on some of the ludicrous lies he has said in the past week.
ANDERSON: Brian Stelter in the house for you this evening. Thank you, Brian.
Well, Hillary Clinton may be ahead in the polls, but she is dealing with a growing controversy of her own. WikiLeaks released more emails it says
were hacked from the inbox of her campaign chairman.
They appear to include transcripts from three paid speeches that Clinton gave to financial firm Goldman Sachs.
Her campaign won't confirm or deny their authenticity in them.
Clinton implies banking regulations are needed for political reasons. And she comments on Syria, saying she wishes the U.S. could intervene as
covertly as possible.
The White House has said Russia was behind the hack.
You're watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson live from Abu Dhabi for you. Coming up, a lot more coverage of the Iraqi offensive to retake
Mosul from ISIS. I'm going to speak to a retired U.S. brigadier general after this.
[11:47:43] ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson for you. Welcome back.
47 minutes past here in the UAE.
And I want to get you back to our top story this hour, which is the battle for Mosul. As you can
see on this map, the aim of the Iraqi forces and their coalition partners who started this offensive officially early this morning Middle Eastern
time is to wrest control of that red patch of territory from that terror group. And that fight is under way.
This is video of Kurdish forces near Mosul. They're fighting to recapture outlying villages surrounding Iraq's second largest city.
Let's get you some analysis on this ongoing offensive, and some strategy here. CNN's military analyst Mark Hertling is a retired lieutenant general
joining me now via Skype from Florida. And this isn't going to be over any time soon. Some estimates suggest this could take weeks even just getting
to the outskirts of Mosul.
What's your best guess on what we should expect to see happen over the next few days?
MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Over the next few days, Becky, I think we're going to see continued emphasis on the surrounding suburban
sprawl of Mosul. And this is an area that takes up a distance of between about 20 kilometers east to west and about 15 kilometers north to south.
That's the size of the sprawl the city with a whole lot of suburbs with some very interesting sectarian and ethnic diversities around the north and
east and south of the city.
So all of those areas are going to have to be secured before the main effort goes into Mosul and
I think it's going to take a lot longer than many people are suggesting, and that's just the fight. The stabilization period where the government
of Iraq brings in the humanitarian assistance, helps the government, that's going to take much longer.
ANDERSON: Yes, that's sort the morning after the night before, isn't it? And that's what's called contingency planning. And there are a lot of
question marks around that. Very difficult to get to the bottom of exactly what plans are.
But before that happens, ISIS needs to be routed from Mosul. Having been in Mosul several
times when you were there in 2007, 2008, when you led an operation against al Qaeda in Mosul, what are the troops on the ground going to face?
We're talking, what, some 5,000 ISIS fighters, best guess at this point?
[11:50:13] HERTLING: Yes, that's about right. Between 3,000 and 6,000 fighters. 5,000 is what most people are saying. And you're talking about
anywhere, and I don't have the exact numbers, anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000 Iraqi forces, and that includes their Iraqi army, the police that
will come in afterwards, the Peshmerga from the Kurdish region. The PMUs from the various militias and the tribal fighters, all of them are going to
be taking part in this fight in and around.
So, that makes an extremely complex,what we call in the military command and control problem for the main element, the Nineveh operations command
that is controlling this fight. But each area of operation around that city has different requirements. You've got a bifurcated city in Mosul,
Becky, where the eastern side is the old ancient city of Nineveh, with some urban sprawl. It wasn't built up until the 1970s or 80s to a lot of
population, and in the western part of the city, that's the old city of Mosul. So, that's where you have the airport, a lot of roads, a lot of
labyrinth and streets, some very difficult challenges for any military operations to do house to house fighting. And ISIS is going to throw
everything they have primarily to the eastern side after in my view conducting delaying -- I'm sorry, on the western side, after conducting a
belaying operations -- delaying operations on the eastern side against the Peshmerga.
ANDERSON: Mark, very briefly, what will success look like?
HERTLING: Yeah, success will be a coordinated offensive by all of those forces I just explained. And then real success, not only digging ISIS out
of the tunnels and the basements and the rooftops as they conduct these operations, it's countering suicide bombings, it's countering major suicide
vehicles, and it's ridding the city and quickly getting humanitarian operations and stabilization
operations into the city and keeping it there and regaining the trust of the Nineveh and the Mosul government to Baghdad.
ANDERSON: Sir, with that, we'll leave it there. Mark Hertling, thank you for your analysis.
Live from Abu Dhabi, you're watching Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson.
Coming up, as Iraqi troops, then, fight to reclaim Mosul, they may be getting help from the inside. Details on that up next.
ANDERSON: Right, your Parting Shots this hour. We've been covering the battle to recapture Mosul from ISIS. So far for our Parting Shots, we give
the last word to a group that is fighting ISIS from within.
Arwa Damon tell us about Mosul's secret resistance.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Operating deep within the shadows of ISIS territory in Mosul, is a network so secretive, even its
own members, do not know each other's identities. The letter "M" spray painted on Mosul's walls. "M" for Muqawama, the resistance. The message to
ISIS? We are here. We are among you. The Mosul battalions watch for weaknesses in ISIS defenses, carrying out hit and run operations, or
waiting for a moment to strike isolated targets, like this check point on the outskirts of the city. This man, Abu Ali, is one of their liaisons. How
did the Mosul battalions even managed to initially organize themselves?
[11:55:30] ABU ALI, LIAISON (through translator): It started as two friends, who trust each other, and they would arrange to target ISIS, in a
DAMON: The same happened elsewhere, and by the end of 2014, the Mosul battalions had formed. Their weapons are basics, but they found and hid in
the city, or what they snatched from ISIS.
ALI (through translator): The roadside bombs they use, they would steal from ISIS. ISIS puts bombs in certain areas and those who have previous
military experience would go and steal those bombs and place them where they target ISIS.
DAMON: They operate in two to three-man cells, independent of one another. No cell knows specifically of another. No fighter knows the name of more
than two others. Abu Ali calls the man he says is with the battalions in Mosul. He's speaking from an orchard just outside of the city. Talking on
the phone is punishable by death.
ALI (through translator): We carry out assassinations, sniper operation against senior ISIS members, we target the houses they live in.
DAMON: The distorted voice in this video says they assassinated an ISIS fighter. The images then show what they say is the dead man's I.D., pistol
and suicide belt. And Abu Ali says they are providing for intermediaries intelligence and coordinates to the coalition. Here, the aftermath of a
strike they say was based on their information. And they are waiting for what they call zero hour. Distributing leaflets warning ISIS its end is
coming. They are ready, ready for the day the Iraqi army breaches the city, and they rally the people to rise.
Arwa Damon, CNN, Irbil, Iraq.
ANDERSON: Who is on the ground this hour outside of Mosul. As the Mosul offensive continues, you can keep up today on the operation by heading to
our Facebook page for details coverage and for any of the interviews that you may have missed this hour
or at any point in the past couple of weeks. That's Facebook.com/CNNConnect.
I'm Becky Anderson from the team here. That's a very good evening. That was Connect the World. Thank you for watching. CNN, though, of course
continues after this short break. Don't go away.