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Dismay At Trump's Nuclear Decertification; Syrian Democratic Forces Say 80 Percent Of Raqqa Liberated; At Least 100 Killed In Mogadishu Car Bombings; No Claim Of Responsibility In Mogadishu Blasts; Lawmakers Seeks Probe Into Puerto Rico Water Shortage; Polls Open In Venezuela For 23 Governors; Motion Picture Academy Expels Weinstein; Bannon Declares War On Republican Establishment; Tillerson Won't Say If He Called Trump A Moron; Immigration Dominated Election Campaigns; Kurdish Peshmerga Sends Reinforcements To Kirkuk; Building A Legal Case Against ISIS Leadership. Aired 11-12p ET

Aired October 15, 2017 - 11:00   ET



[11:00:16] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: A critical chorus on the world stage. U.S. President happy, he's satisfied, he's faced an Iranian leader

lashing out. We are following the fallout of Donald Trump refusal to certify the Iranian Nuclear Deal. The view Tehran in just a moment. And

so ahead this hour, the ISIS caliphate crumbles on the pieces threatened to make a very messy aftermath. The latest on the battle for Raqqa and what

lies ahead. Also, tonight, gaging a political earthquake in Austria and unexpected lurch to the right. We'll have exit polls within the next few


A very warm welcome. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi with reaction to the week that (INAUDIBLE) of what is to come. The

smiles you see after these world leaders signed the Iran Nuclear Deal are now not as wide. Heads have been shaking over the weekend and key U.S.

allies dismayed over U.S. President Donald Trump's move to dissert his (INAUDIBLE) the Iran Nuclear Deal. Now the reaction was particularly

stinging in Iran with President Hassan Rouhani saying that Donald Trump is "apparently not in the know for believing that he can unilaterally

decertify this deal." We'll show Trump's refusal on the deal, it's considered a domestic issue in the United States but has reverberations all

around the world. Let's get reaction now from Fred Pleitgen who is Tehran. Fred, what is the Iranian reaction to all of this and how has it impacted

hardliners specifically?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. It certainly has impacted the (INAUDIBLE) there's a lot of anger that has come

forward here from Iran, as you noted the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani saying that he doesn't believe is in the know that the U.S. can't cancel

this deal unilaterally. It's interesting though because especially the concern that's here in this country who have been against this deal from

the very get-go and had been very critical of it who are now almost gloating at all of this.

They're saying, look, we told you from the beginning, America can't be trusted, we never should have negotiated with the U.S. in the first place.

They believe for a very long time that Iran was the country that gave up too much in this nuclear agreement. And now they are seeing many moderates

that also quite disappointed in the reaction that you've seen from the United States. Here's what we heard when we went out on the streets of

Tehran. Among the many criticisms, President Trump hurled at Iran.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The regime remains the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism.

PLEITGEN: Believe it or not, it was this one that most enraged Iranians.

TRUMP: It harasses American ships and threatens freedom of navigation in the Arabian Gulf and in the Red Sea.

PLEITGEN: At this Tehran market, folks were fuming of Trump saying Arabian Gulf and not Persian Gulf.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I think some of what he said was OK but when he talked about the Arab Gulf, that cost the Arab countries to

jubilate, this woman says, I got very upset of him because he insulted our history and our nation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It shows that he's not an educated person, this woman says, and he doesn't know anything about how

the world works. Of course, Iranians are concerned after President Trump decertifies the nuclear agreement that curbs Iran's atomic ambition in

return for sanctions relief. But the move seems to be uniting Iran's various political factions.

PLEITGEN: There are deep divisions in this country between moderates who want to Iran up to the world and hardliners who are suspicious of the west.

But after President Trump's Iran speech, both sides are coming to each other's defense. On the president's order, the U.S. Treasury also put new

sanctions on Iran's hardline revolutionary guard or IRGC over its support for terrorist organizations meeting the Moderate Foreign Minister Javad

Zarif to tweet, "Today, Iranians, boys, girls, men, women, are all IRGC."

Hossein Shariatmadari is the head of the most influential hardline newspaper and an adviser to Iran's supreme leader. He says President Trump

has helped conservatives by verbally attacking Iran.

HOSSEIN SHARIATMADARI, MANAGING EDITOR, KAYHAN (through translator): Trump made us realize that if we don't stand together, the enemy will exploit the

distance between us, he says. A widespread unity was created among us.

[11:05:10] President Trump's new and tough approach to Iran has disappointed Iranian moderates while hardliners are gloated saying Tehran

never should have negotiated with America in the first place.

PLEITGEN: You know, one of things that of course disappoint the moderates most is that many of them are really looking forward to the sanctions

relief and the economic benefits that they thought that it would bring for this country. Now, of course, many of them fear that all of this is under

a threat and you've been able to see in the past year and a half or so since this deal was in place. Many international companies in here wanting

to invest here. Now, of course, many folks who were in favor of this agreement here in Iran, they see all of that under a threat and that is

something that is really a downer on the mood especially of those who want to open this country towards the world, Becky.

ANDERSON: Fred, let me just bisque this line on the revolutionary guard. This is a major military, economic, and political player of course in Iran

and you're 38 years old on the business front, it has strong ties to Iran's gas and oil business with roughly 125,000 fighters on the (INAUDIBLE) and

the ground, it runs forward, intelligence operations in key countries like Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. And Fred, it is also responsible for Iran's

ballistic missiles and is a key player in the country's nuclear program. This group is very controversial inside and outside of Iran, correct?

PLEITGEN: Yes, you're absolutely right. It certainly is. I mean, there are a lot of people who of revere the revolutionary the revolutionary guard

especially if you look at figures like Major General Qasem Soleimani who's responsible for the -- a lot of the outside operations especially in places

like Iraq and Syria. And if you go, you speak to people in Iran, they will tell you, they believe that for instance in 2014, the only reason why

Baghdad wasn't overrun ISIS is because Qasem Soleimani of the revolutionary guard put together a force, a local force here, the popular mobilization

unit that then came together and stop ISIS in its tracks there. They've been doing that in other places as well.

At the same time, of course, there are lot of people here who feel that the revolutionary guard is too powerful with all those economic ties that you

were talking about, a lot of business that run by the revolutionary guard, also things like the ballistic missile program, that is not without critics

here in this country. But one of the things that you do see among Iranians is that there will be controversy here in this country. There will be

political discussions back and forth about this organization as well. But when there's criticism from the outside, that's when Iranians band together

and they certainly become very angry for instance at some of the things that President Trump was saying about the revolutionary guard but also of

course about the nuclear agreement as well as we've been seeing.

ANDERSON: All right, Fred. Thank you for that. Fred is in Tehran for you. So, this in Fred's report, I want to show you again Iranian Foreign

Minister Javad Zarif on Twitter saying, today, Iranians, boys, girls, men, women, are all IRGC. Standing firm with those who defenders and the region

against aggression and terror but no more Iranians agree. Some using the #irgcbyebye and writing, we support Donald Trump's choice of designating

the group as a terror group and thousands of citizens have been killed and jailed by the agents. These tweets and many more. A glimpse into the

mindset of many moderate Iranians, a story that will only continue to develop. We will, of course, stay on it for you and get you the very

latest as you will expect from this show.

We are getting reports of major progress in the fight against ISIS in Syria. U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic forces say they are now in control of

90 percent, nine-zero percent of Raqqa, a former ISIS stronghold. A deal strapped by tribal council leaders allowed local ISIS fighters to evacuate

the city safely. Now officials say a hundreds of civilian were also able to leave. Women in Raqqa celebrating after their part of the city was

liberated. The fighters say they will continue to battle to remaining militants hold out. So CNN International Correspondent Nick Paton Walsh

was in Raqqa as the operation to liberated began. He joins us now live from Moscow where he is currently on assignment. Your perspective, Nick,

if you will.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Difficult to know exactly how much time this has and it does seem though we could be talking

about possibly a matter of days, Becky. The issue is the numbers of people still in that now, 10 percent area of Raqqa which (INAUDIBLE) a spokesman

for the coalition. They think it's realistic possibly to agree with the SDF, that U.S.-backed force fighting ISIS suggests that perhaps 3,000

civilians have emerged under this recent deal between what they refer to as Raqqa tribal elders and there's ISIS fighters inside the city.

[11:10:12] A negotiation really on local terms to get the civilians out but also too importantly between 200 and 300 Syrian ISIS fighters. That's

local fighters fighting for ISIS. The coalition spokesman referred to them as ISIS affiliates. Now, what's interesting is he says, in fact, they have

-- since they've left, remained in our SDF-held territory, so that's the anti-ISIS territory, being biometrically checked and enrolled and a future

he understands will be decided for negotiation, reconciliation with those same Raqqa tribal areas.

So very much a local solution for the faith of those 200 or 300 Syrian ISIS fighters and those civilians in freedom, not normally what the coalition

would ask for, they are very much key in (INAUDIBLE) "face justice" but that now leaves if he do the basic math. About a hundred hardcore ISIS

foreign fighters in that 10 percent area and the killing possibility that after a thousand civilians, that's the coalition's basic math here playing

out. Possibly a thousand civilians could be in there missed. So potentially some very deadly and messy fighting ahead with those human

shields, possibly in the crossfire, Becky.

ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh on the story for you today. Nick, thank you. Somalia's capital Mogadishu has endured tremendous violence as you know in

recent years and it doesn't seem to be getting a break at this point. At least a hundred people were killed police say after two car bomb blast,

struck the city one after the other, and additional 200 people are injured. Somalia's president has announced three days of national mourning. CNN

Correspondent Farai Sevenzo joining us now from (INAUDIBLE) and Farai, it seems that carnage and devastation in the city, all too familiar with

deadly attacks since this Islamic insurgency began a decade ago. What do we know of the details of the attack and any claim of responsibility at

this point?

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): We are still waiting, Becky, for somebody to claim responsibility but as you say, since 2008,

there had been one player in the terrorist field in Mogadishu and that's been Al-Shabaab. Nothing has been heard from them yet. I spoke to

Somalian Foreign Minister Yusuf Garaad this morning (INAUDIBLE) but this ministry, the ministry of foreign affairs just (INAUDIBLE) where this

explosion took place. Our men in Mogadishu say that the trigger is more than likely to rise. He just heard from the Somali (INAUDIBLE) 230. As

well, Becky, it's that when the truck exploded, it didn't have attached some incendiary device, just take a little fire on.

And a result our men in Mogadishu had been bring on the hospitals and he's telling us that people are being beyond recognition. It is by far the

worst attack on Mogadishu since this insurgence began in 2008. And course, the guards that (INAUDIBLE) destroyed including one hotel that (INAUDIBLE)

completely leveled by this explosion. They're observing people caught up in the rubble. And don't forget, 10 minutes after this bomb went off,

another blast went off which injured so many people. And we're hearing reports that the Somali Security Forces had been tracking this truck and

unfortunately it paid off a deadly load just before they could get to it. And that's where we are at the moment. Lots were injured, lot more people

killed expect overnight and we are watching now to see what the Somali government done beyond our people to give blood to the injured and the


ANDERSON: Terrible scenes in Mogadishu. Thank you. Well, let get off spins on the other stories that we are calling (INAUDIBLE) radar at this

point. U.S. lawmaker calling on the government to investigate Puerto Rico's terrible water situation. Now, this comes after CNN reported that

workers were distributing water from a hazardous waste site. Officials say about one-third of the island's residents still don't have clean drinking

water. More than two weeks after Hurricane Maria. Venezuelans are casting ballots today for 23 governorships. This is the first major votes since

opposition parties boycotted a controversial referendum back in July. Opposition party say electoral authorities intentionally made ballots

confusing and moved polling locations to hurt their chances.

The Academy of Motion Picture, Arts, and Sciences has expelled movie producer, Harvey Weinstein after numerous allegations of sexual abuse and

misconduct. Board members say they want to send a message that such behavior will no longer be tolerated in their industry.

[11:15:02] Well, in Austria, a run-in-the-mill general election has become one of the most watched votes in Europe threatening a political earthquake

across the country and the continent. The voting has just (INAUDIBLE) and we do appear beginning some results. European leaders will be watching

very closely because these results are expected to follow a trend in Europe. Austria predicted to swing sharply to the right (INAUDIBLE)

immigration sent to write foreign minister Sebastian Kurz is expected to become chancellor and to align his party with the far-right Freedom Party.

Let's get your straight over to Atika Shubert who is watching the story closely for us from Vienna. And I know that we have just got some exit

polls. Atika, what are they saying?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. They just came in a huge cheer from the crowd earlier. Basically the people's party, the party of

Sebastian Kurz (INAUDIBLE) they're very happy to get (INAUDIBLE) he will be the youngest chancellor in the world (INAUDIBLE) well the question is, it

was the people's party did not win (INAUDIBLE) form of coalition. Which of these two parties, the Center, Left, Social Democrats, or the Far-right

Freedom Party will they choose as coalition partners? That's the next step of the story, Becky.

ANDERSON: Right. Well done, Atika. I'm afraid we didn't hear very much of what you just said. There's clearly huge jubilation behind you. I

think you can probably hear what I'm saying now just. Let's talk about exactly as this foreign minister to leave the country then. Sebastian Kurz

poise to become Austria's youngest ever leader, just 31, also making the youngest leader by some distance in Europe. He's only been head of the

Center-Right Austrian People's Party since May, that party is, as you rightly pointed out, taken a hard line on immigration, seeking to limit the

numbers coming into Europe and also trying to cut benefits from migrants who recently arrived. The noises come down behind you. You're on again,

was it personality or policies that appealed to voters?

SHUBERT: I think it was vote frankly. It's undoubtedly the young and fresh-faced completely revamps the party. The tortious blue behind me is

actually one of his decisions changing (INAUDIBLE) was before. And he really just turn the party inside out. He brought and lives as an

independent candidate who did a lot of talking to voters, you know, saying, listen, we need to rebuild the chart.

So what really made his mark was the 2015 decision as foreign minister to close Austria's borders amidst of the refugee crisis. That was a very

popular decision with voters. They felt like the government had lost control of its own border. And building on that, he then moved the party

further to the right even as he revamps it in a much more useful party. And I think this is clearly been a success for him, a 30 percent of the

vote is very good. But let's not forget the Freedom Party has taken 26 percent, this makes them a very strong coalition partner but it would also

move the whole country even further to the right.

ANDERSON: So a watershed election with an incredibly important result which could have ramifications not just where you are but around the

continent. We're going to come back to you, Atika. Thank you for the time being. More analysis on what is a very important development in European

politics later this hour. Also ahead for you here in CONNECT THE WORLD. The former White House Chief Strategist declares a season of war on the

Republican establishment. How is promoting the U.S. president's agenda? That after this.



[11:21:26] STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: This is not my way, this is our war. And it all didn't start it, they establishment

started it. But I will tell you one thing, you all are going to finish it.


ANDERSON: Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon there rallying U.S. President Donald Trump's conservative faith at an event against the

Republican establishment. His message is clear, either you're with the president's agenda or you need to go. And is -- in his words, "Nobody can

run and hide on this one." Bannon praised later to advance his opt-out agenda, the president's move to dismantle Obamacare and the Iran Nuclear

Deal which we have been discussing this hour. CNN Political Analyst and Washington Post Columnist Josh Rogin joining me now from Washington. And

Josh, can you explain what Steve Bannon, Trump's former and I repeat, former chief strategist is playing up here and this hope of his influence

behind the seats.


ANDERSON: Right. I'm going to get to you, Josh, in just a moment. We've also had a reported rift of course between Mr. Trump and his secretary of

state under all hinges on whether or not America's top diplomat called his boss a moron. Rex Tillerson appeared on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" a short

time ago and again, refused to deny the claim despite repeated prods by my colleague Jake Tapper. Have a listen.



REX TILLERSON, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: Jake, as I indicated earlier when I was asked about that, I'm not going to deal with that kind

of petty stuff. I mean, this is a town that seems to relish in gossip, rumor, and innuendo. And they feed on it.

TAPPER: But here's the thing. Either you didn't say it in which case there are whole bunch of administration officials telling the press and

telling the president that you did and that's a serious problem or you did say it. Can you please clear it up?

TILLERSON: As I said, Jake, I'm not playing. These are the games of Washington.


ANDERSON: Right. So what is going on in Washington? Let's get Josh up. I think he can hear me now. Look, let's start with Tillerson and then get

back to Steve Bannon's comments --

ROGIN: Sure.

ANDERSON: -- as he goes after the Republican establishment as he rallies this. Pretty quiet hardline conservative faces. Start though with

Tillerson. What did you make what he -- what he said to Jake there? Jake pushing him on this saving rift between the two of them, him and Trump.

Does it exist?

ROGIN: Yes. The rift exists and it's definitely something that Tillerson doesn't want to talk about but what Tillerson said to Jake Tapper was

interesting because he admitted that even if he didn't call Trump a moron, that means that the rest of the people in the administration saying that he

called Trump a moron are intentionally trying to knife him to the press, and that's also true. So we've got this situation where part of is that

the president and the Secretary of State are not getting along.

And part of it is that there are many, many people throughout the administration who want to see Rex Tillerson go and they're leaking about

him, some of it is true, some of it is not true and that -- both of those situations put him in a very precarious position and he doesn't really have

a way out of it. So he's trying to be a good soldier here and he's trying to, you know, put forward the -- in the Rand Paul seat that the president

can get behind, he's trying to work on North Korea despite the president undermining hi publicly on Twitter, et cetera.


[11:25:03] ROGIN: And he's trying to play his role and he's getting it from all sides, he's getting it from the president, he's getting it from

the White House staff and he's getting it from the press. He's in a really tough spot.

ANDERSON: Well, believe me. The announcement by Trump on Friday about Iran may have been playing to his conservative base. It's gone down like a

led balloon to many people internationally (INAUDIBLE) the U.S.'s allies who all signed up to those who signed up to this deal. Look, I want to

talk about what Steve Bannon is up to here. As I pointed out, this is - - this is Trump's former chief strategist, he's playing to the conservative base, not least in the -- in the speech we made -- we heard in making just

a little bit earlier on. I just wonder whether you can explain what the scope of his influence is behind the scenes. Just how consequential is he

at this point?

ROGIN: I think that's the key question. I'm sure that Steve Bannon has some influence. I'm sure he's done as much as Steve Bannon would have you

believe, right? The question is whether or not he is more influenced now that he's left the White House than he did before when he was inside the

White House. And what we can see is that he's doing the same thing. He's leading attack on the GOP establishment, he's trying to promote candidates

and officials and ideas and policies that go against what the establishment led by people like Mitch McConnell want. And he's got money and he's got

support and he's building infrastructure and he's got his media out, the Breitbart, to promote all of that that can't be discounted, it's a real

thing, it's going to have an impact on a number of races especially Senate races in 2018.

You know, we won't know whether or not it's going to be decisive until 2018 elections come around. In the past we've seen that these kinds of

challenges usually don't work, the establishment actually has the ability to fight back. They have their own donors, they have their own

infrastructure but this is a new environment because we've got a president who comes from that anti-establishment wing. We got the most anti-GOP

establishment, GOP president ever and President Trump. So, if you combine that, plus with what Steve Bannon is doing, that's a real threat that the

establishment GOP has to take very, very seriously.

ANDERSON: A week ago Steve Bannon reportedly -- thinks that Trump has just a 30 percent chance of finishing out this term. Now he says, he's not only

going to finish his term but that he will be reelected in a landslide in 2020. Briefly, can you just explain what's changed?

ROGIN: Yes. What's changed is that Steve Bannon doesn't want people to think that he thinks that Trump is going to get ousted by his own cabinet.

So overcorrecting and he's trying to change the media narrative. I mean, the bottom line is that Steve Bannon thinks that Trump is under attack by

his own cabinet members, by the GOP, by the media, and he thinks that if he survives that attack then he'll win reelection. I happen to think he will

survive that attack whether he'll win reelection time when we feel.

ANDERSON: Always good to speak to you, sir. Thank you. Tillerson also threw his support behind President Trump's unusual way -- and let's get

back -- Rex Tillerson, I'm talking about him, unusual way of doing things to achieve his agenda. He tells Jake Tapper that even the president's

often controversial tweets serve a purpose. Listen to what he said.


TILLERSON: I see him often. Speak to him nearly every day. I'm in the Oval Office a number of hours every week. We have -- we have a very open

exchange of views on policy, at the end of the day, he makes decisions. I go out and do the best I could to execute those decisions successfully.

And he understands it all times what we are trying to achieve to fully implement his foreign policy. And he understands at all times what we are

trying to achieve to implement his foreign policy. He has assembled a very, I think, unconventional team, he himself is an unconventional

president. He's assembled an unconventional cabinet, I'm an unconventional secretary of state.

But that's because he does not accept the status quo with many threats that we're confronting in the world today and he is going to take forcing action

and often times the tweets or decisions he takes are intended to cause this forcing action to get off of the status quo to force people to take action

and move to a different place. So whether it's the decision on the Iranian agreement that was announced, to force action to address this defective

agreement where there's decisions on forcing North Korea to move to a different place of engagement, all of those are steps the president is

taking to force action. He is not going to accept the status quo. The American people elected him to change the status quo. And that's what he's



ANDERSON: Rex Tillerson explaining some of Donald Trump's thinking to my colleague Jake Tapper. Next, we're back in Austria for you taking a closer

look at what today's vote in subsequent swing to the political right means for that country and for the continent.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. And if you joined us, you are very welcome. This is (INAUDIBLE) in Abu Dhabi. Let me get you back to Austria this hour

because there has been a seismic shift in politics there that doesn't just affect that country. The (INAUDIBLE) around Europe and beyond as well in a

huge swing to the right (INAUDIBLE) Sebastian Kurz is on route from Austria's youngest chancellor leader. And he could be aligning with the

far-right Freedom Party to do that. Our Atika Shubert is on the ground joining us now. Briefly, why does what's happening in a country with the

population roundabout the size of London's matter?

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the reason is because, remember, Austria was really the country that brought a lot of the refugee right

there. This is where so many of these refugees crossed over, making the (INAUDIBLE) and beyond. And it was on Austria, at the height of the

refugee crisis that said, that's it, we're closing off our borders. And that was a decision taken by Sebastian Kurz who was foreign minister at

that time. Now, that decision appears to be one of the things that made him so popular with voters.

Not only that he do that but he completely rebounds the party and move it further to the right. It does look like now he is on track on the

chancellor, his party is what needs 30 percent of the vote. They are still counting the final third of the vote and it does seem to be moving up. In

fact, they announce it goes won by the people's party. But the question is, who is it going to be in coalition with, and for that, he could have

taken the party that won the second biggest amount of votes, the Freedom Party before it fall right.

ANDERSON: Atika, two years ago, I just want to show our viewers what the theme was, migrants seeking asylum in Austria, getting a warm welcome form

some. Since then the country has taken in more than 100,000 asylum seekers and as you pointed out, public opinion has soured. So, what does Kurz want

to do and legally what can he do at this point? Clearly, he's going to build this coalition but if it is with the far right, what are his options

at this point?

[11:35:11] SHUBERT: Well, if he's already taken that decision to close the border, so now he's looking at whether or not that should be continued or

what to be done about the borders after that. The other decision is what's, you know, that the country took rather was to put a cap on the

number of refugees that could end to Austria and this something that the Freedom Party has long been advocating and could even attribute to make

that number much lower. Now, Kurz is an interesting politician. He has shifted more to the right putting that cap on numbers for downfall banning

the Islamic faith's fail but remember, before he was foreign minister, he was integration minister and he actually set up the (INAUDIBLE) process for

those asylum seekers and refugees to show that they have learned German and (INAUDIBLE) so forth. So, there is, you know, there is a distinct shift to

the right but Kurz has the option. He took it limited however by who he chooses at the coalition department.

ANDERSON: Atika Shubert battling the noise for you but on the story which is important. Thank you, out of Vienna for you. Back to a story that we

follow closely here in CONNECT THE WORLD. Then a U.S. --backed forces or as U.S.-backed forces battle to retake Raqqa in Syria enamoring Iraq now is

longer controlled by ISIS. And now themselves fiercely contested. This is the mess that this region now presents. Kurdish Peshmerga forces are

sending reinforcements, the old rich region of Kirkuk, Iraqi forces threated an attack if the Peshmerga do not stand down. Kirkuk is in the

heart of disruptive territory off to Iraq Kurds as you will remember voted for independence last month. Well, as ISIS retreat, investigators must

move quickly to gather evidence of the crimes committed by the terror group. Legal experts are hoping to build a case against ISIS leadership

and charge them with war crimes. My colleague Jomana Karadsheh has more.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The caliphate ISIS declared three years ago now lies in ruins. Its fighters dead, captured, or on the run.

ISIS ravaged more of Northern Iraq but their organized campaign to destroy, kill, and torture left behind a trail. Thousands in documents, phone

records, and videos.

As ISIS retreated investigators move too quietly coming through the offices of the so-called caliphate like this one. Their goal, to find the evidence

that would allow teams of lawyers to build cases against the men who directed the horror.

For more than two years, a team of Western and Iraqi investigators from the Commission for International Justice and Accountability worked undercover

with Kurdish authorities in Northern Iraq. ISIS had left plenty of clues. Speaking to CNN on the condition, we conceal his identity, one investigator

describes the inner workings of ISIS.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bureaucracy of Islamic States Leadership is council upon council upon council and it's where very little happens without

various pieces stamping and signing in document, will enable them to be so effective is actually helping us to demonstrate that whole structure of

organizational chain from the guys that committed the atrocities to dyssemia leadership.

KARADSHEH: In a secret location in Europe, evidence retrieved in Iraqi's analyzed links are made in cases built by international criminal lawyers.

Bill Wiley has worked for more than 20 years in high profile international tribunals.


electronic devices or any kind of -- anything with a hard drive basically. And these things because of obviously that capacity of a hard drive hold so

much material.

KARADSHEH: He found that the commission whose work is independent is ISIS investigation is funded mostly by the Canadian government.

WILEY: The key focus for us or certainly in an international criminal prosecution is what -- is on what call linkage and that's establishing the

connection between the low-level perpetrators for not ultimately ventures for prosecution. Running the linkage that runs up to the highest-level

perpetrators ultimately al-Baghdadi the head of the Islamic State.

KARADSHEH: The commission has two war crimes cases ready for prosecution. They're related to ISIS's assault on Sinjar and to Iraq's Yazidi minority.

Thousands were captured and executed. Women enslaved and raped.

WILEY: There's -- it's like -- we'll put it this way. Creativity in their criminality which I have not witnessed anywhere else.

[11:40:05] I'm quite accustomed to mass murder I worked in (INAUDIBLE) and the Eastern Congo. So if you will mainstream routine murder, torture,

sexual offenses and so forth, myself and my colleagues are quite familiar with it and never seen in my whole career that I've been -- I've been in

this field for over 20 years. I've never seen organized sexual slavery before.

KARADSHEH: And ISIS boasted about it. This 2014 video purportedly shows ISIS militants joking about buying and selling Yazidi women. $300 the

slight used he says, but you'll pay more if she is younger. Two dozen ISIS leaders and members with links to the persecution of Yazidis have been

identified. According to Wiley, to the top-level leaderships sets the overall policy but when it comes to the day-to-day criminality, ISIS's

governors are the key players. Suspects include ISIS's former governor of Mosul, Abu-Layth believed to have been killed. And this man, Abu Hamza, a

local Amir who remains at large. Witness testimony has been critical. Dozens of rescued Yazidis have been interviewed by investigators as the

caliphate crumbles, survivors emerge. This 21-year-old rescued just weeks ago from Syria says she was a slave for nearly three years. Raped

repeatedly by an American ISIS fighter. Afraid to reveal her identity, she tells us she was sold four times. Yet the hardest thing she endured was

being separated from her mother.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): When I got out and didn't find my family, it felt like ISIS had taken me again. I can't stop thinking of

my family. I was liberated but I don't feel free.

KARADSHEH: She wants ISIS fighters trialed and punished as criminals. Even so, she tells us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing will bring back our families and erase what happened. Nothing will give us back our lives.

KARADSHEH: Whether this evidence will be ever heard in court is tied up in the complex politics of the Iraq and the Kurdistan region. Both gathering

support for special ISIS prosecutions. While many ISIS leaders may never face justice for the lawyers pursuing the worst of the worst, this is about

holding an organization accountable for its crimes and telling the world this is what they did. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN in Northern Iraq.

ANDERSON: Well, as always you can find more on the stories that we are working on. And on -- for a lot more, in fact, it's at Facebook page, Get in touch with me on Twitter, tweet me, @BeckyCNN. I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for

watching. "MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST" up next.


[11:45:07] JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN HOST: Times they are changing, 18 months into Saudi Arabia's major plants had transformed its economy. We assess

progress so far.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody who talked that this is just a switch that will top and has been misled.

DEFTERIOS: And this is device international financial center known as a gateway for business with plans for a lot more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have global banks working with, you know, startups and was seeing really (INAUDIBLE)

DEFTERIOS: In the major hubs of the region from here in Abu Dhabi to the other energy-producing states, they're adapted to a new reality. Oil is no

longer above $100 a barrel but about half of that. So they're pushing to change. And the best example of that is the largest economy, Saudi Arabia.

The future face of Saudi Arabia came into focus with a strong signal from on high. Women finally being given the green light to drive. Officially

starting June next year. The move came by royal decree from King Salman that this have the fingerprints of his son, the crowned prince, and his

vision 2030 all over it. That plan from Mohammed bin Salman is designed to reduce Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil, create non-oil jobs and boost

economic growth. Last spring, one year into the master plan, key government officials widely admitted it's not a simple task.

KHALID AL-FALIH, MINISTER OF ENERGY, INDUSTRY AND MINERAL RESOURCES OF SAUDI ARABIA: I think we realized that the transition will set you back

initially a little bit and all added no pain, no gain, it's very much have to play. Anybody who thought that this is just a switch that will top and

has been misled and I think the Saudi population is really for the long hold.

DEFTERIOS: The biggest effort of them all, a five percent flotation of the state oil giant, Saudi Aramco, which bank advisers say it's still on track

for the second half of 2018, despite market ramblings to the contrary. But it's the near-term targets through 2020 that may need adjusting. 1.2

million new private sector jobs firmly averages less than 20,000 a year. Take a double-digit jobless rate down to nine percent. And jumpstarting

growth which the International Monetary Fund projects to be just 0.1 percent this year. The fund also award if this full consolidation proceeds

rapidly, it would adversely affect growth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't care particularly if some of the targets, the timeline slip. They were always ambitious, you need to drive people faster

than they can go. Fair enough. So I'm encouraged in one hand. I believe in it, I think it's the right call, it's the right generation but you got

to have some political space with people who make mistakes.

DEFTERIOS: Some worry that the young --crowned prince may stifle internal descent and have those in government second-guessing his ambitious plans to

develop an entertainment sector. A defense manufacturing industry and a $100-billion technology investment fund. There's been overwhelming support

from global business and government leaders, especially from U.S. president Donald Trump. Well, recently, King Salman made a high profile debit to

Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin. They signed a series of joined agreements that will impart help Saudi Arabia with its economic

overhaul. Many who want to see the hard-driving crowned prince succeed. Which in turn helps boost demand for U.S. and Russian companies beginning

from here to the finish line will indeed be full of challenges. Monica Malik is an economist who obtained her Ph.D. on Saudi Arabia's need to

reform its public sector.

MONICA MALIK, CHIEF ECONOMIST, ABU DHABI COMMERCIAL BANK: Last year, the pace of physical adjustment is very deep and that resulted an economic

activity, non-oil activity grinding to hold. It's difficult to continue with that pace. But we are seeing progress in other areas of the National

Transformation Plan whether it's on the social aspect or institutional building which are also very important. But critical point as well where

the growth come from because it's difficult to progress with physical reforms, with that having some great support.

DEFTERIOS: These two distinct camps, for example, Goldman Sachs was saying push the button and push ahead with these reports. The IMF is suggesting

it should be watered down a little bit because it's such a painful transition. Where do you see it?

MALIK: I'm probably be on the side of the IMF. The physical reforms last year whether it was budget cuts or few price increases have been very

painful and the economy has slowed down substantially as a result. With that growth support coming in, it's difficult to progress and we are at the

beginning of the fiscal reform program.

[11:50:14] So, we need to see growth coming in to support the physical adjustment.


DEFTERIOS: From Riyadh to neighboring Manama, high road to Casablanca, cities are competing against each other to get their share of the financial

services market in the hope of diversification. As a result, Dubai keeps on broadening out its offering to include startup incubators, Islamic

finance plus retail and entertainment. This is Dubai's International Financial Center or DIFC. It's the dealing financial hub for the $7.4

trillion MEASA region. The Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. It was recently awarded the accolade of being among the top 10 international

financial centers by the financial times, the Banker Magazine. We are fitting the day with its CEO, to see his ambitious growth plans to triple

the size of the financial hub.

ARIF AMIRI, CEO, DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTRE: Today where we stand we have the largest five Japanese banks situated here at DIFC doing

probably a lot of business and we also have the top 10 Indian banks, we have the Global Bank last year which almost sounded Middle East and

(INAUDIBLE) which really bought an asset of $50 billion.

DEFTERIOS: One thing that the DIFC is banking on for its future is FinTech or Financial Technologies. This is the region's first Financial Technology

accelerator called the FinTech Hive. It's designed to bring in tech entrepreneurs to meet with the banks. Where they're located, introduced

cutting-edge applications. Here on the Hive, 11 entrepreneurs from around the world are being mentored and will bid for funding to launch their

applications from the big DIFC-based banks next month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of the banks that are operating from here actually run right across the region. And including markets like Africa

which one of the biggest markets for us and for our technology.

DEFTERIOS: Among them is Bridge which uses Bluetooth on smartphones to send and receive money while offline.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're literally bridging that gap, that --

DEFTERIOS: Perfect for the African market where WiFi can be patchy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Smartphones are becoming cheap and cheap phones are becoming smart. And the vast majority of smartphones that are being

deployed today around the world are going to developing markets. Because Bluetooth is more malleable. So for example with our technology, we're

being to allow smartphones to make transactions offline. So, off the grid just like cash works.

DEFTERIOS: FinTech is one of the hottest topics in the startup scene at the moment. It's a global billion-dollar industry. Now major cities across

the Gulf want a piece of the action.

AMIRI: Within the DIFC we thought that it's really important for us to get both the financial community together alongside the innovation provider,

the solution provider working out of a single platform. So today we have global banks working with, you know, startups, with, you know, entities

that are eager to really deploy the solutions into this part of the region and we're seeing really magic happened.

DEFTERIOS: Nearly 22,000 people currently work within the DIFC.

[11:55:07] It has 1750 financial-related companies and grew by 14 percent in 2016. It plans it triples in size by 2024.

AMIRI: Welcome to the Gate Avenue. So we'll build the Gate Avenue very soon.

DEFTERIOS: The development of a one-kilometer retail and entertainment avenue is another key aspect of these growth plans.

AMIRI: So what you see down on the north side is a little bit different than the central side and that side.

DEFTERIOS: This $300-million investment will have 200 retail and dining options when it opens next year. Making it the new go-to location on

Dubai's tourist land.

DEFTERIOS: When you think of financial centers, they focus on the core of offering products and the proposition to banks and other institutions.

You're cobbling that, well, with the development strategy. Why do you put those two together?

AMIRI: I think because they go hand in hand. I mean, I think you need to have world-class regulations and infrastructure, soft infrastructure in

place. But then like every human being would want, every professional would want, they want an operating environment that, you know, provide the

best of lifestyle, best of office space, connectivity to everything that you need. And I think we provide that into DIFC. And it's really an

important element of our proposition, value proposition through Dubai and the center itself.

DEFTERIOS: You don't have to take your foot off the pedal in the $50.00, $60.00-oil range. It seems like you're making huge investments thinking

there's going to be continued growth. You want a sharp.

AMIRI: We've announced H1 results for 2017 on an annualized figure. We're looking out around percentage, we're looking about 12 percent or 30 percent

in terms of growth, in terms of number of entities. So that's just, you know, we're going quite well and if you look at -- if I go three years

back, so we have volatility in the oil prices, you see that we're standing at about a thousand entities within the DIFC today that we are at 1750

entities. You're looking at a balance sheet of about $50 billion U.S., today we're at $150 billion U.S. So there is massive amount of attraction

we're getting despite what we see with those oil prices or anything else around this.

DEFTERIOS: So we know FinTech, I know you want to expand the financial base, the Islamic economy. Asset management is a big key next target. Do

you think there's growth and competing against, say, on Abu Dhabi or other entities like Riyadh that wants to go in that space?

AMIRI: I believe if you compare us to the region of the U.S., we are the New Yorker for region. So we are natural marketplace and I think, you

know, level of competition is always good but, you know, to be at the marketplace, to be able to really have the major brands reflected here, the

major financial institutions doing business day and day-out, having all the elements that really make up a financial center whether it's deregulation

what we have here, the (INAUDIBLE) infrastructure, the connectivity that really airlines brings in to and the busiest airports in the world. I

think all of these components really makes us stand at a very good point and really depreciates us amongst anything else.

DEFTERIOS: The UAE and Saudi Arabia pushing the envelope to go beyond crude what trying to strike the right balance to sustain growth during this

energy transition.


[12:00:13] MELISSA KNOWLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello. I'm Melissa Knowles --