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U.S. Navy Prepares To Respond To North Korea Nuclear Test; Air China Suspends Flights To North Korea; A Trip Inside The President's Heartland; Voters To Decide On Presidential Powers Sunday; Coalition Spokesman On Battle In Iraq And Syria; Pope Francis Leading Procession At Colosseum In Rome; Christians Around The World Marking Holy Day. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired April 14, 2017 - 15:00:00   ET





HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We are live from CNN London. Thanks for being with us on this Friday.


The situation on the Korean Peninsula is on the knife's edge, and China says that the conflict between the U.S. and North Korea, quote, "could

break out at any moment," end quote. Pyongyang seems to making final preparations for a nuclear test this weekend. An American naval group is

moving closer to the Korean coast adding to all the tensions.

Now if this the test goes ahead, Washington says it could retaliate with military force. Pyongyang says its response to American aggression would

be merciless, and there are signals that neighbors are growing worried.

China's national carrier is suspending flights to Pyongyang. Japan may even evacuate its own citizens from South Korea. Russia is calling on both

sides to show restraint. CNN's Alexandra Field has our story.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Even in Washington they are not saying if but when North Korea is going to carry out its sixth nuclear test.

Satellite images show increased activity around the country's main nuclear site and analysts have concluded that North Korea is ready to carry off

that test at any moment.

The U.S. vice president is making his way to region. He'll be in Seoul, South Korea this weekend and then on to Tokyo, Japan, where North Korea

will be a top topic on the agenda.

He'll be discussing all of the options that Washington has put on the table including the military option. The recent decision to redeploy the "USS

Carl Vinson," an aircraft carrier strike group to the waters off the Korean Peninsula have enraged Pyongyang.

Their state news agency now saying that the presence of strategic nuclear assets in these waters has threatened global security and could led to

thermo nuclear war. That's the propaganda from Pyongyang.

They've also been putting out pictures of their leader, Kim Jong-Un overseeing training exercises carried by their special forces. All of this

is in advance of the most important day on North Korea's calendar, the celebration of the founder's birthday.

The holiday falls on Saturday. It is of interest for the rest of the world, because in the past, North Korea has timed its most provocative

actions around this holiday, and sometimes conducting missile launches between the days before or after the day of the sun.

U.S. officials say that North Korea could carry out nuclear test with almost no warning. The first indication of it would be picked up by

seismic sensors. The decision to carry out a test falls on Kim Jong-Un alone. In Seoul, South Korea, Alexandra Field, CNN.


GORANI: Interesting, seismic sensors will tell us whether or not a test took place. Now this escalation which is significant comes just 85 days

into Donald Trump's presidency, and Pyongyang is blaming the new administration for raising tensions.

In an exclusive interview with the "Associated Press," North Korea's vice foreign minister accused Mr. Trump of, quote, "Always making provocations

with his aggressive words," end quote.

From Athens, Georgia, I am joined by Han Park, the author of, "North Korea Demystified" and professor at the University of Georgia. Thanks for being

with us, sir.

First of all, how worried should the world be that we might see a military confrontation between the U.S. and North Korea at this stage?

HAN PARK, AUTHOR, "NORTH KOREA DEMYSTIFIED": I think that we should worry quite a bit. Nothing has changed in North Korea or South Korea or China.

What is changing is American administration. The new president is in North Korea is feared and believed it to be unpredictable and Mr. Trump can

attack North Korea preemptively, and this is what North Koreans are believing.

Before their offensive capability military is wiped out. They may do something. That is another source of beginning of another Korean war.

[15:05:09]We are living in the very tense moment, and in fact, a war can break out in a minute.

GORANI: So what form would this military confrontation take? I mean, what is the most likely scenario here?

PARK: If Americans attack strategically in some areas in North Korea, North Korea before they exhausted their offensive capability, they tried to

do something against the South Korea, and American troops in that part of the world.

So we have some 25,000 American troops, and 30,000, and 35,000 American troops in Japan, and all within the missile distance of North Korea. North

Korea is having some 200 missiles now. If America preempted them maybe half of them or more than that may be wiped out.

So, North Korea is prepared for that possibility. So it is important that we do not scare North Koreans to the extent that it will become a more

provocative return.

GORANI: But isn't that what is happening? I mean, American vessels heading to the Korean Peninsula. Donald Trump tweeting several times that

we will take care of the North Korean problem, even if the Chinese don't cooperate, we'll do it ourselves. I mean, are you -- by acting and talking

this way, is the president, Donald Trump, perhaps risking or raising the possibility of a confrontation?

PARK: It is ill advised to move and ending the statements, because if in fact some kind of military confrontation takes place there, we are talking

about hundreds of thousands of perhaps a millions of people in South Korea and many Americans in Japan and South Korea, it will be unacceptable.

That is why we have decades of the strategic patience, and the strategic patience was not for nothing, it is a very important. Now, this

administration in Washington declaring that we are not going to respect strategic expectation, and then what?

It is a very -- maybe, maybe the president, the new administration of Washington may not know what to do and right now, asking China can do

something. Chinese going into North Korea is quite limited, and is so it is not interested in changing North Korea fundamentally.

It is very nice to have a neighboring communist state as a buffer adjoin. So Chinese in the Korean Peninsula is guarded and limited and trying to --

GORANI: OK. I was going to say we will see if that test goes ahead. We'd love to be able to speak with you again, Han Park. Always appreciate

your expertise there as we continue to keep our eye on the Korean Peninsula and especially on North Korea over the coming days. Thank you so much for

your time.

From North Korea, let's turn our attention to other big story today. Turkish voters face a pivotal voice at the ballot box on Sunday and the

political future of their president, Recip Tayyip Erdogan, is in their hands.

Tens of millions will vote on a constitutional referendum to abandon their parliamentary democracy for a much more powerful presidency. Critics say,

not a good idea, a yes vote is a vote for dictatorship, especially since Turkey is currently under a state of emergency.

The campaign has split the vast country straight down the middle. The president's supporters see him, though, as a champion of the poor and the

working class, and a leader who's brought the traditional Islamic values back to public life. He's especially popular in the Turkish heartland.

Becky Anderson has that story from Konya.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Witness the city waking up. Ankara, a metropolis, and Turkey's political nerve center.

(on camera): Just like in the U.S. and the U.K., to really understand the political realities of a vast country like this, you have to get out of the

big cities like Ankara and Istanbul and into the rural heartland which is why today, I am taking the train to the ancient city of Konya in Anatolia.

[15:10:08]This high speed rail service (inaudible) just a couple of years ago is a good example of the Erdogan's landscape changing infrastructure

projects, roads, railways, airports and canals, which helped him to shore up his base amongst Turkey's burgeoning middle-class.

(voice-over): New transport links have not only made the country easier to navigate, they also serve a political purpose. Built over the last 15

years, they link Turkey's major hubs to its once forgotten rural cities.

Erdogan's investments in infrastructure super charging businesses, while boosting his popularity in a city like Konya.

TAHIR AKYUREK, KONYA MAYOR (through translator): Konya is hugely supportive of the Act Party and President Erdogan, that is why we are

preparing this beautiful gift for him ahead of his arrival.

ANDERSON: Tahir Akyurek is the mayor. He has come to check on the preparations for the president's upcoming visit. A campaign rally just

days before a referendum that could consolidate even more power in Erdogan's hands.

AKYUREK (through translator): I was born in a small village just outside Konya. The city has seen enormous development over the past 15 year.

Today, it is a leader in education, industry, and agriculture. None of that would have been possible without the government's support.

ANDERSON: That is a view shared by Taha Buyukhehacigl (ph). He is the fourth-generation of a family owned conglomerate that has reaped the

benefits of government support and investment over the past decade and a half.

TAHA BUYUKHEHACIGL, ZADE VITAL: In the past 10 years, our workers have numbers of people and 300, and it will be 400 people working with us, and

50 percent customer are R&D people. They will be working just for R&D.

ANDERSON (on camera): And those R&D employees are as a result of the incentives that the government has provided to a business like yours to

innovate, correct?

BUYUKHEHACIG: Yes, that is correct. That is what we needed.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Taha's company once only produce food products, but now it is become a leader in cutting edge pharmaceuticals. Businesses like

his have transformed Konya's economy from almost wholly agrarian to a center of industry.

But despite the progress, Konya remains a city rooted in its past, a past that comes to life in the court yard of the (inaudible) as a troop of

whirling dervishes perform their spiritual dance. Swirling and spinning symbolizing, some might say, the many twists and turns of modern Turkish



GORANI: Well, Becky joins me now live from the Turkish capital. What is the expectation in terms of opinion polls here just a couple of days before

the vote?

ANDERSON: Well, despite the fact that there is still a state of emergency here after the July coupe which many critics suggest means that there is

very little opportunity for freedom of expression and the press.

This is by no means a done deal at this point, Hala, both the yes and the no camps can see that this is a poll on a knife edge where there is as many

as 10 percent as yet undecided, and that is important here.

And the nuance is this, I think, beyond under no illusion, should this country vote no and that is a potential path, slim chance, but there is a

potential for that constitutional change on Sunday night, we won't see Erdogan conceding defeat and stepping down like the British prime minister

did after he was on the wrong side of the U.K.'s vote to leave the E.U. back in June.

As one commentator warned today and this was a piece published in one of the daily newspapers here, Erdogan she said will not easily give up on his

aspirations for a presidential system, and will look for opportunities to get back at those who prevented him from fulfilling his dreams.

So it is an interesting one, and 51.5 percent for yes as opposed to 48.5 percent for no is probably the only poll worth quoting today. That worries

some, they fear the lack of a real mandate to a certain extent for Erdogan could actually exacerbate things here, and be further rule with iron fist,

which could deprive this country the sort of economic stability, security and freedom that many crave.

GORANI: All right, a divided country. We will hear more from Becky a little bit later in the program. She has a special guest with her in

Ankara. Becky, we'll see you in a bit.

Do stay with us after a quick break, still to come tonight, the battle against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. We will get the latest on the fight for

Mosul from the spokesperson for coalition forces. That's next.

[15:15:04]And then Christians around the world mark Good Friday, one of the holiest days on their calendar. We are live in Rome.


GORANI: There's some big evacuations underway inside Syria. Civilians and rebels from separate besieged towns are being allowed to leave their

enclaves. Now, first, thousands of people from two Shiite towns that remained loyal to the government are being bussed to Aleppo.

Meanwhile, Sunni rebel fighters, who've also been under sieged are being relocated to Idlib Province. Iran brokered this deal with Russia's support

so today in Moscow, the foreign ministers of Russia, Iran, and Syria met to talk about the civil war. The Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, had

this message for the United States.


SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): We confirmed our position. It is a united position, and it consists of our condemnation

of the attack on the Syrian state and we demand that the United States should respect the Syrian state, and thwart such actions that threaten the

current world order.


GORANI: Well, there you have it, Sergey Lavrov speaking in Moscow. And speaking of Syria and Iraq, the fight against ISIS militants there is a

battle of inches after years of slow progress backed by airstrikes.

The U.S. now says that ISIS only controls 7 percent of Iraqi territory. So how tough will it be to get them out of that remaining portion of land they

control? I put that question first to Colonel John Dorian, the spokesperson for the coalition.


COLONEL JOHN DORRIAN, SPOKESMAN, OPERATION INHERENT RESCUE: Well, it is going to be very difficult to dislodge them. They have proven that they

are willing to do almost anything to continue the fight. They have put civilians in harm's way.

In fact, they've intensified the tactics, techniques and procedures that they used to do this. What they are trying to do is it's an extension of

this (inaudible) tactics that we have seen them before.

Everywhere where they gain control of an area as they are losing it, they try to make it very difficult for it to ever return to normal. So they

burn things down. They blow things up.

They kill civilians. It is just a very difficult situation, but our Iraqi Security Forces partners are making good progress. It's incremental and it

is very, very tough, but they are making progress every single day.

GORANI: And where do the ISIS fighters who flee Mosul, for instance, go? I mean, they are not all dying in battle, where are they going? I am sure

there are fears that they would go somewhere else perhaps toward Raqqah. Regroup at a later date, go underground, and come back. It happened with

al Qaeda in Iraq, why not with ISIS?

DORRIAN: Well, I have to correct you on that point. This enemy is not going anywhere. They are completely surrounded in Mosul and not they

haven't been killed yet, but they have two choices.

[15:20:08]They will either surrender to the Iraqi Security Forces or killed in Mosul. The Iraqi Security Forces are moving in. They have the city

completely cordoned and surrounded. They built berms across the areas with the main roads moving to the west so there is nobody in Mosul going to

Raqqah, and that is not going to happen.

GORANI: So there is absolutely no escape route for the ISIS fighters inside Mosul?

DORRIAN: That is correct.

GORANI: And let's talk a little bit though about the wider fight, because there have been some issues with coalition air strikes by accident

targeting the Kurdish fighters themselves fighting ISIS that's a major mistake. There was in Mosul as well with collision airstrike reportedly

killing civilians up to 200 as well, those are lots of mistakes, don't you think?

DORRIAN: Well, what I would say on this is there is never has been a more precise air campaign in history than the campaign that has been put on by

the coalition. But that doesn't mean it is perfect and whenever something goes wrong, we examine it.

The incident in Mosul is under investigation, and there is also an inquiry into this incident, the more recent incident in Syria. We will review what

happened and take whatever steps to further reduce the possibility of a mistake or unintended casualties.

We are trying to focus every bit of our energy and our attention on the destruction of this enemy, what I would say is this, there are more than 2

million people able to return to their homes since the coalition has begun conducting air strikes in support of the partners in Iraq and Syria. That

number would be a small fraction without those strikes so they really must continue.

GORANI: Can you confirm that it was a coalition strike that killed those 18 Kurdish fighters, right?

DORRIAN: Yes, I can. It was a coalition strike, and what it appears now is that there was some confusion about the positioning of those forces on

the battlefield, and our partners unfortunately called in the strike on some of their people. So it is heartbreaking when things like that happen.

We are working very closely with them. We expressed our condolences to them, and they have expressed to us their commitment to continue the fight,

but we are going to look into this and make sure that we understand what happened and try to prevent things like this from happening again.

GORANI: And following that Tomahawk cruise missile attack against Shayrat air base in Syria, Russia said that it was considering suspending the

deconfliction channel with the United States that essentially is designe to prevent mid-air issues between the two countries. Has that deconstriction

channel been suspended now?

DORRIAN: Well, we continue to do all of the things in Syria that we have done before. We are satisfied that we are conducting our operations in a

safe and effective manner as possible. Immediately following the strikes, we did slow things down a little bit to make sure that we are assessing the

situation properly and didn't have any of miscalculation during the times of increase tension. But since, we have ramped back up, and we are going

to continue to do that, because this enemy --

GORANI: But is the hotline still open?

DORRIAN: We are not going to discuss the day-to-day actions on the hotline. We had conducted those calls for quite some time and the purpose

of it was to maintain safety of flight, daily discussion, and readouts of what the calls were, we found not to be productive so we are not going to

continue to do that.

GORANI: All right, so not confirming nor denying either way?

DORRIAN: That is correct.


GORANI: All right, there you have it. Our guest, Colonel John Dorrian, the spokesperson for the Operation Inherent Resolve. He was joining us

from Iraq with the very latest on that coalition fight against ISIS.

Speaking by the way of the fight against ISIS, the U.S. military is defending the use of its most powerful nonnuclear bomb in Afghanistan

calling the right weapon against the right target.

These are new pictures of this enormous blast giving us a view from the sky. It's a massive ordinance. It's nicknamed the mother of all bombs

that was dropped Thursday night on a network of ISIS tunnels, the military says near the Pakistan border.

Afghan officials say 36 militants were killed. ISIS is disputing that number denying suffering any casualties.

Sharp right turn from the war zone to a part of the world where the leader of the Catholic Church says wars should end. The pope is in a sacred

tradition this hour to commemorate Good Friday. Pope Francis is presiding over a way of the cross candle lit procession at the Colosseum in Rome.

[15:25:01]Good Friday is the day that Christians mark the crucifixion of Jesus. It's part of a Holy Week that culminates on Easter Sunday. Let's

bring in our Vatican correspondent, Delia Gallagher live in Rome. So this is just a very, very important day for the world's Catholics.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely, Hala, for the world's Christians. I mean, this is an event which is commemorated in

Christian churches around the world. It is the moments leading up to the crucifixions of Jesus and they call it the Stations of the Cross or the way

of the cross.

In Rome, the pope does it at the Colloseum, that's a tradition that was started by Pope John Paul II. He doesn't actually walk around the

Colloseum. He stands on a hill, just outside of it. You'll see him there.

And the people from various countries around the world are chosen to carry the cross. Interestingly this year, Hala, somebody is chosen every year to

the write the meditations or the prayers for this ceremony.

And normally, it is a priest, and Pope Francis has chosen this year, a woman, a French biblical scholar, Ann Marie Peltier (ph) is her name, and

so the words that we'll be hearing tonight were written by her -- Hala.

GORANI: He is always going against the grain, isn't he, choosing a woman. By the way, standby, Delia, are these live pictures? I am asking my

producer, Laura, they are. Let's take a look -- these are gorgeous, gorgeous pictures I have to say. Tell us a little bit more about what's


So the woman leading the procession, her words are being read, how has Pope Francis changed some of these crucial and very important Christian holy

days like today, Good Friday?

GALLAGHER: Well, Hala, I would say, of course, the whole thing is steeped in tradition, and Francis is very much aware and respectful of that. At

the same time, we've seen throughout this pontiff is that he introduces smaller changes perhaps.

Something like having a woman writing the reflections, something like yesterday when he went to wash the feet of prisoners on Holy Thursday and

they reenact the washing of the feet which Jesus did at his last supper with his apostles.

And Pope Francis has taken out of the Vatican basilica, which is where they normally held it, and he went to the prison outside of Rome, but not just

any kind of prison.

This is a prison for mafia informants who had agreed to cooperate with the law to reduce the sentence, and there he was washed the feet of the 12,

three women and a Muslim man. So again, another small point, but Pope Francis maybe the symbolic gesture of this inclusiveness and openness that

he is trying to bring into the Catholic Church -- Hala.

GORANI: We have to wrap -- and I know it, but it is a small point but a huge point as well. I mean, all of these overtures, the hands extended to

the Muslims and to people doing prison time and poor people, I mean, of course, these are symbolic acts but don't they have more power than just,

the -- what is contained in the symbolism of the act?

GALLAGHER: Well, of course, because the image is important and speaks to the content of the thing. It is a longer discussion, but we should say he

is also go going to Egypt in two weeks' time so he is not just speaking, and doing the smaller acts, but the larger acts, too.

And there he will be meeting with the Muslim community in Egypt and Cairo and with the Egyptian authorities so he is certainly busy and very keen to

get out there as well as to do some of the more symbolic gestures -- Hala.

GORANI: Certainly, this is only after a few weeks of the attack on the Coptic churches so it is going to be also a very important visit for that

among other reasons. Delia Gallagher, thanks so much, our Vatican correspondent.

When we come back, we will return to our coverage of the Turkish referendum. It's only a couple of days away with the view from the "No"

camp from Turkey's former ambassador to the U.S.

Also, missiles in Syria, a massive bomb in Afghanistan, and ships are steaming towards the Korean Peninsula, President Trump is flexing his

military muscles. We will take a look at what he is hoping to achieve.


[15:31:37] GORANI: China says a conflict over North Korea could break out at any moment. Satellite images suggest Pyongyang is preparing for its

sixth nuclear test this weekend, defying warnings from Washington. China and Russia have called on both the U.S. and North Korea to show restraint.

Large-scale evacuations are happening in Syria. Civilians and rebels from besieged towns are being allowed to leave. Thousands of people from two

Shiite towns that remain loyal to the government, they're being bussed to Aleppo. Meanwhile, Sunni rebel fighters, who've been also under siege by

government forces, are being relocated to Idlib province.

Turkish voters go to the polls on Sunday to decide whether to abandon their parliamentary democracy for a more centralized powerful presidency. Now, a

massive crowd of supporters greeted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a rally in Konya earlier in the day.

My colleague Becky Anderson is in Ankara, Turkey with more coverage. And she's joined by a guest -- Becky.


We have been speaking a lot about the domestic issues over the past, what, 24 hours also, and we will continue the do so over the weekend, those that

are impacting the referendum. And, of course, that is very important, but what about the possible impact that the results will have on Turkey's

relations with the world?

Well, Osman Faruk Logoglu, he's a former ambassador. He's a foreign policy expert and former deputy chairman of the main opposition party here who

says a yes vote on Sunday is a final goodbye to democracy.

Sir, thank you for joining us. With respect, this is a referendum. The people have a choice. It is a simple yes or no, the very expression of

direct democracy many would argue, no?

OSMAN FARUK LOGOGLU, FORMER TURKISH AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: Yes. If you define a referendum in that sense alone. But referendums are not

always very reliable in terms of the expressing the will of the people. The will of the people is not just a matter of numbers, you know.

You win more votes, that is the will of the people? What about the people who don't vote for you? And a referendum simplifies the issues, you know.

This is an 18-article package and not many people, very few people, know what this constitutional amendment is about.

ANDERSON: These are 18 reforms, constitutional changes. I have read them. I must say --

LOGOGLU: Amendments. Amendments.


LOGOGLU: Reforms is too positive.

ANDERSON: Yes, yes. OK. I have read them, but I think that you're right.

LOGOGLU: Yes, yes.

ANDERSON: Many of the people that I have spoken to since I've been here, many of the voters that we have spoken to on the streets, particularly

those who are as yet undecided, are very clueless, it seems. Or confused as to what it is --

LOGOGLU: Confused.

ANDERSON: -- that they're voting for.


ANDERSON: OK. Be that as it may, let's talk some hypotheticals here.


ANDERSON: The current polling that which is worth quoting puts the yes vote at around 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent no. Should Erdogan win this --

and let's face it, this is about Mr. Erdogan -- should he win his vote, should he get a decent mandate, or at least over 50 percent, of course,

which is what he needs, how will the foreign file change? I'm thinking, relations with the E.U., the management of the refugee crisis, NATO, his

relationship with the ISIS coalition. You tell me.

[15:35:01] LOGOGLU: Well, I think a yes vote would certainly embolden him in the continuation of the policies that he is pursuing at the moment, that

he's challenging Europe, challenging the European Union, and challenging just about everyone in our neighborhood and elsewhere. And a yes vote

would not bring about changes in the, basically, negative policies that President Erdogan has been pursuing, vis-a-vis the European Union, vis-a-

vis Syria, vis-a-vis the Middle East, his understanding of terrorism and so forth.

ANDERSON: Well, let's talk about Syria because I think --


ANDERSON: -- a lot of people are quite confused as to what Turkey's position on Mr. Erdogan as being the sitting president, let alone an

emboldened president going forward, what his position is. While, at once, he is supportive, it seems, of the coalition on the ground in Syria, he's

also tying himself, to some degree, with the Russians and the Iranians who are in support of President Assad, although he continues to say that Assad

must go. Where does he stand at this point?

LOGOGLU: I think the driving force behind President Erdogan's approach to Syria are two. One is the removal of Bashar Assad from power. And

President Trump's latest position in that regard has, I think, brought some comfort to President Erdogan. The other is handling and dealing with the

PYD/YPG, the Syrian Kurds, whom the Turkish government and President Erdogan regard as terrorists.

ANDERSON: I have to ask you, very, very briefly.


ANDERSON: What about a no? What if he loses this vote? What happens to foreign file?

LOGOGLU: I think a no could compel him, compel President Erdogan, to lose some of the political ground -- to regain some of the political ground he

has lost if that is a no vote. He might take some steps, some improvements in Turkey's foreign policy vis-a-vis the European Union, vis-a-vis Syria,

and certainly some softening steps reducing the tensions with the United States.

ANDERSON: Fascinating.

LOGOGLU: So I think a no vote might serve Turkey's interests better in its foreign relations.

ANDERSON: And many would say you would say that, wouldn't you, being the formative chairman of the opposition party.


ANDERSON: But be that as it may, we absolutely appreciate your analysis tonight.

LOGOGLU: Thank you. Thank you.

ANDERSON: Fascinating stuff. Hala, that is how things stand. You and I have discussed this now, that this is a poll on a knife-edge, conceded by

both camps, including the yes camp.

It is clear that the A.K. Party and President Erdogan are looking for a clear mandate in this pole. And that would mean something like 54 or 55

percent on the yes vote. Have they got that at present? Well, sources I have spoken to at the A.K. Party, as yet unclear as to whether they have

got that in the bag. Hala.

GORANI: Yes. And we'll be following your coverage throughout the weekend and Sunday, of course, the big day. Becky Anderson is in Ankara.

All right. Let's talk about how, sometimes, diplomatic posturing and rivalry spill into ordinary song contests, this time between Russia and

Ukraine on the musical stage. This is the stage in Kyiv where the Eurovision Song Contest will take place next month, but Russia won't be on

it. They say they won't take part in the competition or even broadcast the event because their contestant was barred from entering the country.

Yuliya Samoylova was banned from entering Ukraine for three years after performing in Crimea in 2015. This is the first time ever that a host

country bars a contestant from taking part. So there you have it. It's a song contest. It's a bit silly, but there, it's happened. This is THE


The United States is sending military troops to Somalia. It is just the latest instance of Donald Trump showing his military might, but what is the

military and political plan of the Trump administration? We'll discuss next.


[15:41:34] GORANI: It's been a very busy week for President Donald Trump on the foreign policy front. And the U.S. says it is now sending dozens of

troops to Somalia. This is the first time since the early `90s.

Their mission is to train and equip Somali and African Union troops. They join U.S. special operations forces already there as part of an advisory

mission that has been under way for some time. The aim is to fight al- Shabaab militants. CNN's Farai Sevenzo is in Nairobi and joins me now with more.

So the role is an advisory role. Obviously, we're not talking about combat at all here. What is the expectation on what the U.S. troops will be


FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we know, Hala, is that about 40, the number we have from the U.S. African command, is that 40 troops of

101st Airborne Division will be in Somalia to lend logistical support, which is logistical support that has been asked for by the Somali

government. The Somali National Army would like this kind of support.

And the U.S. article command is keen and very at pace to tell us that this is not about special troops fighting. This is not about engaging in drone

strikes. This is about helping the Somali government deal with to al- Shabaab by providing them the kind of logistical support they need to set up warehouses, to set up bridges, to fortify the hotels.

As you know, bombs go off in Mogadishu almost on a weekly, monthly basis we report here. They call it Mogadishu music. The explosions go on because

al-Shabaab is determined to hold back this government that's trying to reach for democracy.

And, of course, speaking to you here for Kenya, you know that two weeks ago, it was the anniversary of the University of Garissa. One hundred

forty-eight students were killed there. Sixty-eight people were killed in Westgate. Al-Shabaab is a very real threat in this area, and this kind of

support is sorely needed, not just for the Somalis, but for the Kenyans and the African forces that you mentioned.

GORANI: All right. Farai Sevenzo, thanks very much, joining us from Nairobi, Kenya with the very latest on this U.S. troop deployment to


When Donald Trump spoke on the campaign trail about ISIS, he had a pretty stark message.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.

I would bomb the (inaudible) out of them.



GORANI: Well, that is a vow that he seems to have kept in one instance, and with the so-called mother of all bombs as well. It's just one of a

number of examples of the President flexing his military muscles in the last few days, with the missile strike in Syria and ships heading toward

the Korean Peninsula, the handful of soldiers heading to Somalia, that big bomb over Afghanistan. What in the end is his military and political plan?

Is there one?

I'm joined by Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt. He's the former Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs. Jackie Kucinich, CNN

Political Analyst and Washington bureau chief of "The Daily Beast." Thanks to both of you for being here.

Jackie, I want to start with you here. Politically, there are easy acts. These are easy decisions to make. For instance, the missile strike on that

Syrian air base in central Syria, it is a symbolic act, but it has an immediate political impact. How has it been received in Washington and

across the country in the last week?

JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: Largely positively. However, there is a big but because what you're hearing from

members of Congress on both sides of the aisle is that if he decides to do anything further, he's going to need consent of Congress, be it troops on

the ground or any further engagement.

[15:45:05] You are hearing pushback from some members of his own party who are the more libertarian strain, is saying that he should've cleared this

first strike with them in the first place. So this is something that, no matter where he turns, unless this was a one-off, he is going to have to

consult with Congress politically in order to, you know, avoid some heartburn down the road.

GORANI: And, Mark Kimmitt, militarily speaking here, I mean, these are actions and military interventions that, you know, perhaps some people

didn't expect with the America first foreign policy statements he made during the campaign. But he's opening the door to more intervention in

Syria as well. Do you think we'll more?


I'd like to the take issue with the point that was made about the authority piece and military force.

Every time there is a military strike of some kind, the Congress always suggests that we're going to have to get the authorization from Congress to

conduct those military operations. When push comes to shove, they rarely push for the AUMF to a vote simply because, in many ways, they don't want

to put their name against an operation or denying an operation. So I would be surprised if an AUMF actually comes to the floor of the Senate, but

we'll see.

GORANI: But a major escalation, Mark Kimmitt, would require that, wouldn't it? I mean, we're not talking here about a one-off 59 Tomahawk cruise

missile attack. If we talk about something bigger, for instance.

KIMMITT: Oh, again, I think you will hear a lot of voices in Congress suggest that an authority for the use of military force is required under

the law 60 days afterwards, but it's also important to note that that hasn't happened since 2003. But, again, everything is in the hands of

Bashar al-Assad right now.

KUCINICH: Because they were relying on the old one though. They've been relying on the old AUMF. This is kind of a new front, correct?

KIMMITT: Well, this is exactly -- there is absolutely no precedent under the current AUMF which was to go against al Qaeda and its affiliate

movement. That doesn't apply in this case, that's right. But that AUMF was post 2001, and I think we understand what happened on 9/11, which is

why they decided to use AUMF. But back to the point, Hala --

GORANI: All right.

KIMMITT: But back to your point --

GORANI: Yes, go ahead. Finish your thought, yes.

KIMMITT: It's clear that this AUMF has no application to any future AUMF as it has regards to Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian situation.

GORANI: OK, because that is new situation. Jackie, I want to ask you about the political implications, the ripple effect, for Donald Trump. He

suffered some setbacks, the health care law, other issues, his approval rating in the, I think, 36 or the 37 percent range.

These are very simple decisions to make. And they have, as I was saying to you, an immediate impact. Is there a political motivation behind, do you

think, for the Trump administration making some of these military decisions?

KUCINICH: What they'll tell you is no, but could there be? Sure, absolutely. They did need a win here. But, you know, what you're hearing

from the White House, particularly when it comes to Syria, is that the President saw the image of the chemical weapons attack there and felt like

he had to act.

But, again, are there some political benefits from him? Does he look like he is moving closer to, perhaps, more hawkish Republicans, more traditional

Republicans in the party? Yes, that is also true.

GORANI: But he's turning into a traditional Republican if he continues down this road, isn't he?


GORANI: This is not the anti-establishment, stay out of other people's conflicts president, Jackie.

KUCINICH: Of course. Yes, absolutely. And it is not what he promised on the campaign trail. He was talking about America first. He talked about

not increasing intervention in the Middle East. That was one of his -- he criticized President Obama for the Syria debate just a couple of years ago.

So this is a very new term for this President, and he is getting heat from his base on this. They are saying, you know, you promised. You've seen

movement in the White House among his senior staff as a result. It seems like he is listening less towards Steve Bannon, who represents the more

populous part of Donald Trump's base, and more toward, again, these more traditional Republicans, to some of the generals that he has surrounded

himself with.

GORANI: All right. And --

KUCINICH: We are seeing a shift.

GORANI: Yes, absolutely. Mark Kimmitt, militarily, you say it depends on Bashar al-Assad. What do you mean, that if Bashar al-Assad uses chemical

weapons again, then the U.S. will intervene? And if so, what can it do? The Shayrat base strike really, I mean, was, you know, operationally not

that important. They'd have to do a whole lot more.

KIMMITT: Well, I think one of the things we've got to understand is that these countries are testing a new president, and the President is standing

up to them, whether it's drawing the red line with Iran early on, whether it's saying to President Kim in North Korea that we will do a preventative

strike if necessary, or what we saw in Syria. They are testing, he is responding.

[15:50:07] What could be done? There's a whole range of options. You can imagine if that, quote, "mother of all bombs," unquote, was used in either

Syria or elsewhere against their facilities before they tried to use chemicals again.

GORANI: Well, it's a very densely populated civilian area. You, hopefully, would not use a bomb like that over Mosul and Raqqa.

KIMMITT: Well, that's not correct, Hala. That's not correct. You certainly know the area.

GORANI: Well, it actually absolutely is. They use human shields all the time. They're in densely populated areas in people's homes.

KIMMITT: I'm not suggesting Raqqa.


KIMMITT: I didn't say that, Hala.


KIMMITT: If you take a look at where he has based his aircraft, they're not in densely populated areas. And, frankly, they're in open areas.

That's where you put airfields. So please, don't suggest that we're going to use or even consider that we would use that bomb inside of Raqqa.

GORANI: Yes. I'm just saying, if you're attacking ISIS targets inside Syria with that type of weaponry, you're going to end up with a whole lot a

civilian casualties. And you'd agree with that, right?

KIMMITT: Again, as I said, Bashar al-Assad is not part of ISIS, and he used chemical weapons against his own population. That's the situation

that we're talking about where we might have to ramp it up.

GORANI: All right. OK, I get the point. Jackie, let's look a little bit forward here for Donald Trump in terms of his options, North Korea in

particular. Now, here is a very dangerous situation. China is saying conflict is a real possibility. How in Washington are people preparing for

the possibility?

KUCINICH: Well, the administration has said that they have their options, but no one's really jumping to use any of them yet. It seems like they are

keeping everything very close to vest.

The President is in Florida right now -- he is not with any of his senior staff -- for the Easter holiday. So we're not anticipating any sort of

action this weekend, but we'll have to see. And they have made it clear they're ready, but they're not really revealing their options.

GORANI: Well, it's a tense time. They're interesting times we're living through. Thanks very much, Mark Kimmitt --


GORANI: -- for joining us. We appreciate it. Jackie Kucinich as well. Always a pleasure. Thanks to both of you.

Don't forget, you can check us out on Facebook, We'll be right back.


GORANI: So when you think of horse racing, you think of what? The Kentucky Derby or Royal Ascot? But believe it or not, there is the tiny

east African nation of Mauritius. It has a very rich horse racing history. Take a look.


SHAN IP TING WAH, COMMUNICATIONS AND EVENTS MANAGER, MAURITIUS TURF CLUB: The Champ de Mars is the second oldest racetrack that we have in the world.

Racing here was introduced in 1812. There was a bit of clash between the French and the English at that time because the English took over from the

French, and this is why they introduced horse racing to get these people to get together here so that they can build up a new nation, a new population,

I mean, in better atmosphere.

Mauritians are very fond of horse racing. I think in a family of five, you could have three people following horse racing in Mauritius. They are mad

about horse racing. They have horse racing in their blood.

[15:55:06] SIMON JONES, TRAINER, MAURITIUS TURF CLUB: To ride in Mauritius is like a Melbourne Cup of the Year. It's like a Breeders' Cup every

Saturday. You've got so many people there.

The betting starts on Thursday before Saturday, which is unique in itself. And as you get closer to the event, the pressure gets -- it just builds up

and builds up and builds up. It's just a fantastic place to race and run.

MUKESH BALGOBIN, PRESIDENT, MAURITIUS TURF CLUB: Most of the jockeys, you know, like Dettori, a lot of international jockey like Soumillon and son,

they always keep saying that the atmosphere is unique in the world in Mauritius.

We have been doing it for so many years, but I want it to be something similar to Dubai, you know. Open it to other countries where people can

come with their horses. At the same time, it will be a tourist attraction. Like every Saturday, there is a lot of tourists visiting us here.

And I think if we move and got the big race course with all the facilities, and I think that people will come maybe from over the world. This is my

dream, to see Mauritius becoming like the second Dubai in this spot of the Indian Ocean.


GORANI: Now for a natural phenomenon so spectacular -- I'm going to leave this on a Friday -- so spectacular it can be seen from space. California's

four-year drought was broken in breathtaking fashion this spring with the so-called Super Bloom. It rained with a lot of rain all at once, and this

happened. Hundreds of species of wild flowers have now colorized the once parched dessert planes of southern California. The floral fields are so

vast they can be seen from space.

This satellite image captured a few weeks ago -- take a look -- gives us some idea of the scale. Californians should enjoy these flowers while they

can. In just a few weeks, many of these lovely flowers will disappear as the summer heat sets in.

This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani.

If it's your weekend, enjoy it. I will see you same time, same place on Monday. Thanks for watching. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.

No trading on Wall Street or indeed the major markets in Europe, come to that. It is Good Friday. It is April the 14th. Tonight, a world that

seems to be on edge.


[15:59:54] RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR: No trading on Wall Street or indeed the major markets in Europe. Come to that. It's Good Friday. It is April

the 14th.