Return to Transcripts main page


Battle against ISIS nearing final stage; At least 300 dead after Mogadishu bombings; Islanders drink from wells that may be toxic; At least two dead as Ophelia hits Ireland; Inside the dhows of Gujarati fishermen. Aired at 11-12p ET

Aired October 16, 2017 - 11:00   ET



[11:0014] BECKY ANDERSON, CONNECT THE WORLD, CNN: Two U.S. allies' face- off in northern Iraq, as tension over a Kurdish bid for independence threatens to boil over. We're live across the region for the very latest

for you tonight. And a closer look at the disputed city at the heart of the issue. Meanwhile, across the border in Syria, hundreds of ISIS

fighters have reportedly surrendered. A live update on the battle for Raqqa, but is this a fight for a ghost town?

Plus after the devastation comes anger and grief. As the death toll in Somalia soars, I speak to the United Nations and voice to the county.

Hello, it's just after 7:00 in the Abu Dhabi in UAE. This is "Connect the World." I am Beck Anderson for you tonight. We begin here in this region

with the effort to crush ISIS and the fracture of war torn country that the terror group is leaving behind. In Syria, the militant self-declared

capital of Raqqa has nearly fold as it surrender. U.S.-backed Syrian democratic force, say they have cleared over 90 percent of city formerly

controlled by the group, a victory, seemingly in sight there. But in Iraq tensions rising around Kirkuk and 2014 Iraqi forces fled the city of ISIS

attempted to overrun it. And the Kurds stepped in, sending fighters and ultimately repelling the terror group. Kirkuk has been in Kurdish hands

ever since, but now a Turf war. Iraqi forces along with Shia Militia are moving to quote imposed security aiming control of several site around the

city, including the city's airbase and oil field. All this leading to an escalating crisis, pitting two fighting forces that have been both

obtained, funded and equipped by the U.S. fight ISIS against each other. Now reports coming in that the Iraqi federal police have entered central

Kirkuk and have taken control of more key sights, including the Kirkuk government offices. Jomana Karadsheh is reporting from across the border

in neighboring Jordan following the latest developments for you.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky the command of the forces releasing a statement saying that the government of Prime Minister Haider

al-Abadi will pay heavy price for they describe as this aggression. The Iraqi's are saying that they have captured some key sites including a

military air base and oil field taking part in this operation are Iraqi forces that include some of their elite troops in addition to Iranian back

Shia militia. Now we have not had reports of any large scale of fighting, but in their statement, accused some officials of treason, these are

officials they say from one of the Kurdish parties saying they abandoned their positions. The situation remains very dangerous, extremely volatile,

we he had reports of civilians fleeing, what we are seeing right now, is that worst-case scenario unfold. That scenario that so many for years had

warned about with these tensions between the Arabs and the Kurds and unresolved disputes over territories claimed by both sides, like the oil

rich City of Kirkuk, this is the scenario that so many were also warning about before that Kurdish independence referendum on September 25th. The

concern has always been that would be the tipping point.

One Senior Kurdish official I spoke with earlier said it's not too late to try and diffuse the tensions that the international community can do more.

They're especially urging the United States to use its influence over Baghdad and the Kurdistan region to try and an end and, quote, prevent war.



ANDERSON: The U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS strongly urges all sides to avoid escalatory actions, wishful thinking you might say. As ISIS faces

the loss of the last scrap of its territory in Iraq have Syria' defeat, it seems is setting off multiple turf wars, and for now, most of those seem to

be working in Tehran's favor. CNN senior international correspondent Frederick Pleitgen is in Tehran for you this hour, reminds us how powerful

a player Iran is in Iraq and in Syria and what their game plan might be. Let's start with this operation around Kirkuk.

[11:05:36] FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, well I think it's easy to make the case, Becky, that Iran is probably

the most powerful player inside Iraq, probably even more powerful than the United States itself. On the one hand you have very close relations

between Tehran and the government in Baghdad. Some of those majority Shiite government. And then you have these militias, including the popular

mobilization units. The popular mobilizing unit have been put in place by the revolutionary guard, Kirkuk force, headed by a man (inaudible) a major

general in the revolutionary guard who is well known for drumming up militias. Now those popular mobilization unit, many Iraqi feel, many

Iranian feel save Baghdad from being overrun by ISIS in 2014 and now they wield a great deal of power an apparently are also involved in that

operation there in Kirkuk. On top of that, the Iranians so have major influence with some Kurdish groups as well, which apparently left its

positions today where they were supposed to be fighting along the other Kurdish groups, so the Iranians have influence on both sides. They didn't

want the referendum for independence by the Kurds, they said there would be retaliation for that. They want Iraq to remain one single state and they

said they are going to do everything they can to make sure that happens. They have already closed the border to Iraqi Kurdistan and there will be

other measures as well. You can certainly see a very clear game plan that Iranians to keep the territorial integrity of Iraq up and to use those

government forces and used those militias as well. Becky.

ANDERSON: So Fred, these government clashes coming only days after Donald Trump's decision to designate the Iranian revolutionary guard to supporters

of terrorism a move that you have been s reporting as emboldened hard liner in the country, so these --reportedly using U.S. provided equipment in this

fight against the Kurds, will be ringing alarm bells in Washington no doubt.

PLEITGEN: Well, I am sure it will be and you can already see it over social media, you can already see it with various U.S. agencies like you

just said, the U.S. is saying, look, everybody should be focusing on ISIS and all this is not helpful. That is certainly something that we can see.

But I doubt that will have any influence on the Iranians since they he already put their game plan into action. You have seen the hard liners

here very much, feeling emboldens Iran rallying around some of the revolutionary guard which leads a lot of these operations, and so certainly

it doesn't seem as if the Iranians are changing their course in what they are doing I Iraq, and they now believe they have a lot of control in Iraq,

and that is the something they want to maintain, to them, Iraq is by far the most important foreign policy issue. They have wars with Iraq under

Saddam Hussein in the past that cause great deal of suffering on both sides, but specifically on the Iranian sides, they want to make sure they

have a government in Iraq that is very much positive towards Iran and they want to make sure their stability - in that state's govern that way, Becky.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. All right. Messy times in the Middle East, Fred is in Tehran for you, an extraordinary tale of how two U.S, funded armies

allies of Washington came to this. Facing off around a flashpoint City with tensions at an all-time high. CNN Lisa breaks that down for you on

Well, let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are now on our radar right now. The investigation into movie producer Harvey Weinstein is

widening on both sides of the Atlantic. British police now looking into new allegations of rape. France moving to strip of his legion of honor.

Over the weekend, the academy of motion pictures arts and sciences expelled him and now there is word TV and movie studio reach to financing deal to

help stay afloat and in talks to sell off its assets.

[11:10:13] Spain's prime minister has given the Catalan leader until today to clarify whether or not he declared independence for Catalonia. Instead,

he asked two months of dialogue to resolve the issue and Spain's prime minister says she doesn't understand the answer. After months of deadlock

Brexit talks, Britain's prime minister is embarking on a large last-ditch charm offensive. Theresa May heading to Brussels to meet with the European

commission head John (inaudible). Mrs. May said making phone calls that she does from Germany, France and Ireland trying break what is his impasse

before the weeks EU.U summit. Somalia grim history of political violence, but Saturday's double car bombing in Mogadishu is now the deadliest attack

in Somalia's modern history, at least 300 people are confirmed dead, hundreds more are still being treated in hospitals. More than 30 of the

victims are so badly hurt they are now being flown to Turkey for treatment so far no claims of responsibility, but the Al Qaeda link al-Shabaab group

is suspected. CNN Faria Sevenzo is monitoring developments from Nairobi in neighboring Kenya, a joint is now live. Right this attacked that evil a

whole box about Shabaab and ominous sign it seems is a concern that they are opting the stakes at this point in the campaign of terror.

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is probably the best way to look at I Becky. I mean just on Friday the 13th, the day before this terrible

tragedy occurred in Mogadishu, we learned that the army, both the Somalia army, chief Mohamed, resigned from his post as well as the defense minister

Abdullah also resigned, now the whole of Africa will try to see a correlation between these two massive resignations 24 hours before this

happens to Mogadishu taking the lives of 300 and now men in Mogadishu are to the rebel, more bodies are emerging all the time. Now you remember

Somalia's real issues they don't particularly trust each other, these resignations are nothing new. And of course when we have reported to you,

Becky, about the bombings of a hotel or any other terror happening in Mogadishu, usually it has been one of the people working in reception was a

suicide bomber. You can't give these people arms, they're going to turn them against you, despite the efforts of the African union forces, and the

U.S. drone strikes, terrorism is still a part of it. Even though they haven't claimed responsibility many people suspect that they will.

ANDERSON: Farai on the story for you. A dreadful attack and after math. Thank you

We'll have more on that later when we get reaction from the U.N.'s special envoy to Somalia, and we are on top of tensions in Kirkuk for you, a

Kurdish politician who says what goes on there has a huge influence around the region and beyond. That is next.


[11:15:50] ANDERSON: Kurdish tanks rolling through the streets of the Flash Point City of Kirkuk earlier today, this as Iraqi forces take control

of areas near inside the Kurdish controlled city, including a government building right in the center. It's been reported in the past hour or so.

Our top story this hour on "Connect the World" because it's a complex story with an awful lot at stake. I'm Becky Anderson, welcome back. Two U.S.

allies fighting side by side in the war against ISIS, now headed towards possible conflict on their own in the crucial city of Kirkuk in northern

Iraq. We're talking about a disputed city, just over 260 kilometers from the Iraqi capital Baghdad. It's an already complicated situation made all

the more complicated by last month' Kurdish independence referendum. Mowaffak al-Rubaie, a member of the Iraqi parliament and former national

security adviser. Earlier he spoke to CNN and said the government is implementing the rule of law across the whole country. Have a listen.


MOWAFFAK AL-RUBAIE, IRAQI PARLIAMENT MEMBER: The decision of the parliament as to for the government to implement the rule of law and the

sovereignty of Iraqi all over the country, whether above the blue line or there is disputed province or below the blue line. Whether Kirkuk, the

disputed areas. The government exercising the rule of law all over Iraq.


ANDERSON: We want to go the Kurdish perspective on all of this. Bayan Rahman joins me now from Washington, the Kurdish regional government

representative to the U.S. You heard the Iraqi reasoning here. What is your understanding of what's going on the ground and what you just heard?

BAYAN RAHMAN, KURDISTAN REGIONAL GOVERNEMENT REP TO U.S.: I'm surprised that Mr. al-Rubaei describes as a enforcing the rule of law. These are

PMF, popular mobilization units, Shia Militias, they are manipulated and guided on the ground lead by Iranian people Iranian agents even. The

sovereignty of Iraq is being put into question and in your introduction, Becky, you described this as fight between two allies of the United States.

I don't realize that the PMF, the Shia militias are allies to the United States, they are linked to Iran and the United States has made some very

tough statements about Iran. So for us, this is a terrible catastrophe. We did not want to see any violence, the Peshmerga were ready to defend

Kirkuk, they were not taking any provocative action, this was an attack by the Shia militias, the PMF and I'm afraid Prime Minister Abadi hasn't

played a role so far but we hope that he will and we hope that he will engage in dialogue, which is what we have been asking for from the


ANDERSON: We have spoken and that is exactly for some time, that this is an opportunity for dialogue however the Peshmerga general command earlier

today, released a statement, saying that Iraq has declared war on Kurdistan, Abadi should pay a heavy price for the injustice. Those are

fighting words, what chance that this could seriously escalate?

RAHMAN: Well we have heard far stronger words from the other side, tragically unfortunately, there is a real risk that this could escalate

into something catastrophic for all of Iraq. And I think our friends in Baghdad need to realize that yes, they can hurt Kurdistan, but the rest of

Iraq will suffer too. And I don't think this is in anyone's interest, except perhaps some of our neighbors.

[11:20:00] At the end of the day, we will need to sit down and talk and negotiate. I also want to mention that today Senator John McCain issued a

very strong statement about the Shia militias using U.S. weapons against the Kurds in Kirkuk, and he is calling for a dialog between Erbil and

Baghdad. We need more statements like that from the United States.

ANDERSON: Do you blame Iranian-backed militia for this escalation?

RAHMAN: Yes, we do. But there are also of course elements in Baghdad, let's say indigenous Iraqi elements that have wanted this. But for us in

Kurdistan, the moment the popular mobilization units or Shia militias were created, we rang the alarm that they will one day attack Kurdistan. We

have been saying this for a very long time, way before the referendum, because we knew what their agenda was, Prime Minister Abadi has repeatedly

said Iraqi forces will not attack any citizens. Well, they have, there are people who are killed in Kirkuk, I have seen footage, there's so much

footage on social media. Let's be realistic about what's happening, this was a coordinated attack on Kirkuk and people are being killed and injured

and we need to stop this from escalating. Unites States need to take a leadership role it cannot continue to say we are monitoring, it cannot

continue to say things that downplay the seriousness of what's happening.

ANDERSON: One senior Peshmerga commander told CNN two years ago that post ISIS, larger conflicts would erupt in the region. And what he said that

the Kurds really fear is an expansionist Shia Militia, well equipped funded by Iran, ghosting your words, it's used to eradicate ISIS. The U.S. has

trained and back both the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces. Has your feeling for help from Washington? Has Washington lays a focus on ISIS unwittingly set

off turf war that is working out in Tehran's favor?

RAHMAN: We have heard this phrase so many times, Becky. We have a laser focus on the defeat of ISIS and we all have had that focus. But I think

the problem with that coalition policy has been that it ignored all of the problems that led to ISIS coming to Iraq or being created in Iraq by ISIS

is a creature of Iraq. So all of those problems have festered. We are politically in Iraq, neither the Kurds, the Sunnis nor the Shia since 2014,

if anything, things have gotten worst and now you have more and more people armed, you have Shia political parties now with armed wings, that didn't

exist before. You have militias that are loyal, spiritually and politically to foreign authorities, not to Iraqi for authorities, so while

the Peshmerga were armed and trained then equipped by the coalition, led by the United States and we're grateful for that, but we have never received

the kind of equipment that we wanted and well needed because Baghdad always put a ceiling on what we were allowed to receive. So today we have seeing

various different form they are using U.S. equipment against fellow Iraqi citizens, if we're still part of Iraq. And the United States is not saying

anything about this if anything we're hearing from official statements downplaying of what's happening. But what's happening in Kirkuk is very

serious and it needs to be dealt with internationally not just locally.

ANDERSON: With that going to leave it there, we thank you very much indeed for making time for us today.

This disputed Flash Point City of Kirkuk and crucial for both Iraqi Arabs and Kurds. The massive oil reserves there, an indication of why that it is

no wonder that Iraqi and Kurdish forces have been trying to secure different key sites on the ground. Including the air base near the north

oil company and other oil reserves. John Defterios joins me now, this region important, why is it so prized by the Kurds? And why is it does it

seem that Iraqi so desperate to get it back in its hands? Follow the money on this?

[11:25:12] JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Certainly oils right at the heart of this dispute, in fact I think we can go a step

further tonight in a market has been awash with crude for four years, this introduces geopolitical risk to the oil market. And I'll tell you why.

It's set in the numbers. Since the last time you and I sat down here, the production in Kirkuk has gone up. Let's look at the production in the

norths which is pegged, I just got this numbers in the last 15 minutes 7900 barrels a day of that 555,000 is coming from the Kirkuk area. That is a

lot. To put it in perspective, Iraq is in number two producer right now. A healthy 4.4 million barrels a day. Perhaps more importantly the reserves

that Kurdish region claims the 45 billion barrels, that is apparently a third of the overall proven reserves in Iraq. We have seen two major

fields go out of production, they have added another wild card to this. You know, President Erdogan of Turkey, was threatening to shut down the

pipeline coming from the Kurdish region, exported through the world market. The federal government suggest lets re-open the Kirkuk pipeline, so it

could be putting the Kurdish regional government against Turkey although President Erdogan has not lives through that threat yet to shut down that

pipe line it is in play as we speak tonight.

ANDERSON: So bottom line here, this region has gotten a lot of attention internationally. What is at stake for the global oil markets at this

point? Cause that will seriously affect the price.

DEFTERIOS: Yes. In fact, we can't discount the geopolitics of it all. You remember a few years ago, ExxonMobil and Chevron went in to the north

against the wishes of the federal government, because they are involved in the south around Basra. They went in, they thought they were going to have

a big bounty, it didn't materialize. The others majors that are there, is a French company offering to develop five fields and offering to open up

piping line through Turkey. So you can see the geopolitical plays here, the U.S. oils, the European major oil companies and the Russians doubling

down to go into play here. I spoke to one source in Abu Dhabi. As bountiful as we once thought, we go into the northwestern and the Kurdish

region and in fact is paying off handsomely. So it is kind of a mixed picture what the Kurdish regions think. Again going back, they said they

had 45 billion barrels of proven reserved some suggest say it's about fourth of that. So that makes it delicate around the Kurdish regional

government trying to control Kirkuk in particular which the fight we are talking about tonight.

ANDERSON: Follow the money with John Defterios in the house for you tonight. Thank you, John.

The world news headlines just ahead and Kirkuk of courses one of them. Civilians fleeing to Syrian City of Raqqa, another, that's just in time, we

look at what appears to be the last says for the battle for this former ISIS stronghold.


[11:30:00] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: If you are just joining us, you are most welcome and it's half past 7:00 in Abu Dhabi, that is in the UAE.

This is Connect the World and the top stories for you this hour.


ANDERSON: The Iraqi forces have taken control of some of the areas in and around what is strategically important city of Kirkuk. The Iraqi prime

minister has ordered forces to impose security in the Kurdish control city. Tensions have been high since the Kurds, they voted for independence from

Iraq last month.

Tensions between North Korea and the United States are ratcheting up for the Pyongyang as President Donald Trump is quote a war merchant and

strangler of peace. And it comes as the U.S. and South Korea sought a joint naval drill around the Korean Peninsula.

At least one person has been killed as tropical storm Ophelia battered the island and the storm made landfall in the last few hours and it is tracking

along the west coast. More than 100,000 people, apparently without power.


ANDERSON: Well, you heard earlier, the battle against ISIS could be nearing its final stages in the Syrian city of Raqqa. U.S.-backed forces

say they now control 90 percent of the city. Since the surrender of nearly 300 ISIS militants, Syrian Democratic forces said the battle will continue

until the city is completely free of ISIS fighters.

Now the loses of ISIS in Syria mirror the -- close era the groups -- terror groups decline in Iraq. Let's get more on this, Nick Paton Walsh was in

the front lines of the battle to recapture Raqqa's Old City from ISIS back in July. He spent many, many months in Iraq, knows the story like the back

of his hand.

He joined me now live with more details on how far the fight has come. Let's start in Raqqa if you will. Are we looking at the lost vestiges of

this terror group and is this -- is this a defeat or a surrender at this point?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is very hard to tell. Obviously we are looking at days now as the measure units of which you count exactly

how long ISIS probably have in that 10 percent.

The last counts I got from a coalition official yesterday was they believed something in the amount of 100 -- maybe 200 foreign hardcore ISIS fighters

were still holding out in that small area. And they could possibly have had about 1,000 civilians in their midst, using them as human shields.

That came about because of rather strange development, a settlement negotiated between Raqqa, tribal elders and ISIS to let out Syrian ISIS

fighters and maybe as many as 3,000 civilians part of this broader evacuation, you must see pictures as of now.

That massive reduce the number of people potentially in the battle zone. Now the question really is in the days ahead, I'm sure they're going to

hear repeated signals that the battle is won and is over. But there is still this hardcore ramp of ISIS holding out with many human shields in

their midst -- I mean the crossfire, Becky.

ANDERSON: Nick, as we walked what looks like the demise of this group at least on the ground then over the demise of its influence on the ground

both in Syria and Iraq.

So we seem to be seeing the fractures of these war torn countries and revealing some tough wars that are going on within. What's your take on

what we are seeing across this region at present?

WALSH: Well, sort of a rather freakish moments of timing that we see this flare up around Kirkuk with the Iranian-backed casual militia and the Iraqi

military is moving forward quite so fast, literally almost as the hours begins at the sounds of ISIS' defeat in Raqqa.

It is almost as the right moment, the smell of that war finally ending happens. People start to work out exactly how they would like territory

divide the vacuum that ISIS have left. But putting that aside, we have to also work out exactly where this leaves us with ISIS.

[11:35:00] Here is pretty much when they lost most of it was clear but symbolically in Iraq, they were gone. It took very little time indeed for

Tal Afar for -- for Hawija to fall shortly afterwards and in Syria, too.

They have been the back foot very quickly. There are now pockets to the sort of southeast of Raqqa which will remain ISIS territory but they are

being hunted there quite intensity by both the coalition and also it seems Syrian and Russian forces moving in there as well.

So it is a territorial force there pretty much spends at this point, but the issue about ISIS really has been for years now that being an idea and

that idea is still sadly going strong amongst the mind of those who might deranged looked to kind of seek allegiance

But among the internet, and it was hard to know how do you defeat that given the sort of sense of disfranchisement, so I'll just say, the

arrangement is off to seem burnout, Becky.

ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh on the story for you, as ever. Nick, it was good to get your analysis, thank you. I want to get you back to Saturday's

double car combing in Mogadishu.


ANDERSON: There is still no claim of responsibility for attack. But the al-Qaeda linked group al-Shabaab. At least 300 people died in what is the

deadliest attack in Somalia's modern history.

And rescue workers could still pull more bodies from the rubble. Somali's president inspected the damage on Sunday and declared a three-day mourning



ANDERSON: Well, United Nations Special Envoy to Somalia, Michael Keating is calling Saturday's attack simply revolting. He joins us now from Rome.

Michael, we know what happened.

What we don't know who was -- knows who was behind this attack, it has hallmarks of al-Shabaab and if that turns out to be the case, just how

significant is the timing of this?

MICHAEL KEATING, U.N. SPECIAL ENVOY TO SOMALIA: Well, it comes after a period in which actually security has been improving in Mogadishu for the

last eight months since the new federal government came into power and there's been a big uptick in security coordination, and security capacity

in Mogadishu.

In some ways it's a sign of desperation. As you say, it does have all the hallmarks of al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab was under enormous pressure in

financial, military and social, and this is their way of showing that they are you know, as it were still capable of inflicting enormous damage.

But it really is a disgusting attack. I mean, it is against civilians. It is not against military targets. It is school kids and local businesses

and women, and pedestrians who have been killed.

So I'm not sure it's going to do them any good whatsoever. It will confirm in the eyes of most Somalis that they are an obsolete, irresponsible, and

brutal group you know. And that claims to have some kind of moral high ground in terms of the future of Somalia are very, very hollow.

ANDERSON: Michael, as you speak, we are looking at what is like apocalyptic scenes of the aftermath of that horrific attack. The attack

that you call simply revolting the shifting times in Somalia. Should we really buy this?

I'm not sure you can see this but I wan to show -- put it up for the viewers benefit and I think you have seen it yourself, a tweet by its

former Minister of Planning and International Cooperation today, an image of the recently defected cofounder of al-Shabaab giving blood to the

victims of the attack in Mogadishu.

And he added quote, I recognize that this image is deeply upsetting on a day like this, but such as the paradoxical reality in Somalia. Michael,

the paradoxical reality in Somalia, do those words resonate with you?

KEATING: I'm not entirely sure what they mean though the sight of a former al-Shabaab senior figure giving blood is pretty dramatic.

I think you know what's very sad and maybe paradoxical about what has happened is that actually if you step back and look at what's happened in

Somalia over the last three, five, even 10 years. The country is making definite, if very fragile progress.

You know there has been an electoral process that results in the government is now development plan where is there only used to be humanitarian.

There are plans to build a national army and police force. There is some good things happening, but unfortunately, an event like this makes one

realize just how vulnerable those Somali people.

[11:40:00] And the whole Somali as it was state building and peace building project is. I think one lesson that has to come from this is that if

Somalis are going to get through them, unbelievable challenges they face, including a devastating droughts and conflicts over resources.

Unfortunately, al-Shabaab insurgency isn't the only conflict that the country is facing as a legacy of 30 years of conflict, then real solidarity

is going to be required among Somali, political leaders, as well as in the international community if they are going to get through this.

And so in a way saying a former al-Shabaab senior operative giving blood, yes, made that that is a paradoxical reality, on the one hand, it's a

strange reminder of the needs and reality of solidarity.

At the same time, a reminder of just how you know unacceptable the practices of organizations like al-Shabaab and other extremists are if the

country's ever gonna find its feat.

ANDERSON: Well, Michael Keating as the U.N. Special Envoy to Somalia coming to you today from Rome. Sir, thank you. You're live from Abu

Dhabi. You are watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson.

Coming up, why people in Puerto Rico are taking dangerous race risks simply stay alive three weeks after hurricane Maria, that's next.


ANDERSON: All right, hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico nearly a month ago now but things are far from back to normal in what is a U.S.

territory. Just about half of the island had torn out open.

Over 80 percent of the island though still don't have electricity, and the third still doesn't have access to clean water.

[11:45:00] Some Puerto Ricans are taking dangerous risks to the simply survived. Ed Lavandera with this report.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nearly a month after Hurricane Maria hit, residents around the town of Dorado have been tapping into this water

faucet behind a chain-linked fence with a sign that reads "Danger, Do Not Enter." And despite the warnings from a police officer, they come here to

fill containers of water.

But few of them know this well sits in an area designated by the Environmental Protection Agency as a Superfund site where the ground is

known to contain dangerously high levels of toxic chemicals. It's located on the northern edge of the island, west of San Juan.

In the Dorado Superfund site, there are at least six wells that residents have reportedly tapped into for water. One of the wells is accessed in a

shopping center parking lot.

And there have been long lines of residents waiting to fill up what they can. The governor of Puerto Rico insists that the water is safe. He says

the territory's Department of Health has tested it.

GOV. RICARDO ROSSELLO, PUERTO RICO: Well obviously, if it's non- drinking water we're not -- we're not going to be serving it. But if it complies

with the Clean Water Act then it is going to happen.

LAVANDERA: But it's not clear if the other wells are safe and Environmental Protection Agency teams spent the weekend gathering water

samples for further testing.

GARY LIPSON, INCIDENT COMMANDER, EPA, PUERTO RICO: We're not saying that somebody is in immediate danger by drinking this water. We are considering

it a long-term risk.

LAVANDER: Gary Lipson is the EPA incident commander in Puerto Rico. He says they're looking for signs of industrial toxins often linked to serious

health problems, including cancer. And EPA documents show that as late as last year, dangerous levels of those industrial toxins were found in the


LAVANDERA (on camera): How concerned are you about what might happen to them?

LIPSON: We're concerned because it's not absolutely clean, you know, pure water. There are some contaminants.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Right after the EPA team left and locked the site, Juan Carlos Oquendo (ph) and his brother showed up, peeled back the fence,

and filled up dozens of containers with water.

LAVANDERA (on camera): You going to drink this water?


LAVANDERA: You're going to drink it?


LAVANDERA: You're willing to take the chance?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Foreign Language)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Foreign Language)

LAVANDERA: So this is it? There's no water. You'll take the chance?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Foreign Language)

LAVANDERA: If I don't drink water, I'm going to die. I might as well drink this then. Juan Carlos brought us to his home where he lives with

his family. The top floor was destroyed by the hurricane.

His mother says they've only received two packages of water since the storm and she's been drinking the water from that potentially contaminated well

for two weeks and says she now has stomach pains.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Foreign Language)

LAVANDERA: She says the stomach pains started about two weeks ago and that she's trying to ignore them. Do you think it has something to do with the


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Foreign Language)

LAVANDERA: She doesn't know for sure but she thinks it might have something to do with the water she's been drinking. It's impossible to

know for sure if the stomach pains are related but in these desperate times with every drop of water, many Puerto Ricans could be flirting with another



ANDERSON: Ed Lavandera reporting for you live from Abu Dhabi. This is Connect the World. Coming up, we're going to take you to the West Coast of

Ireland for updates from there on storm Ophelia.

And back here on Abu Dhabi, we will dive straight into what is a financing community taking us back to what many would call a forgotten era right here

in the UAE. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Right now, Ireland is being battered by a rare tropical storm. Ophelia made landfall in the last few hours and it is blamed for at least

two deaths.

Hundreds of thousands of people are without power. Well, let's get you to West Coast of Ireland. Phil Black is in the town of Dalkey. How bad has

it been, Phil?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, throughout of the day we have been really hit by these incredible winds that have been causing such havoc

across the Southwest of Ireland.

You've got a sense of just how strong they are by simply standing out and if have got to lean to it, you've got plant your feet, it's going to hold

you ground, or else they will drive you back. They are also doing a great deal of damage to homes and infrastructure.

They have ripped roofs, they have down power lines. There are some 360,000 homes in this part of the country that have no electricity and probably

would havoc for at least another day or so.

And they have also taken lives. You said two people, that deaths are recently increased. Three people have now died as a result at this storm.

Two people were killed in separate incidents where trees fell on their cars.

Another person was killed in a chainsaw accident. Someone was trying to clear away a fallen tree. So it's all pretty treacherous stuff.

This is why the authorities here have been warning people to stay indoors, if at all possible to not go out among these sorts of conditions, unless it

is absolutely necessary.

The storm is continuing to track north along the West Coast of the country and they hope that after a few more hours, it will in fact clear island

altogether, and the trick will have pass, for the moment, it remains very real.

This country remains under the highest level of weather threat assessment that the authorities taking gear, that's a red threat warning and that's

why as I said, they want people to stay indoors, not go outside and to continue to be very careful because they believe that these winds continue

to pose real risks to both property and to lives as well. Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Phil. For today's Parting Shots, one man explores the lives of Indian Gujarati fishermen in the UAE, here, a fascinating

glimpse of what is a close knit community. Have a look at this.


SOHAIL KARMANI, PHOTOGRAPHER: This spot here in Abu Dhabi genocide is that -- it is a very popular spot for photographers. There is a very small

closely mid community here.

There are Indian fishermen in a Arab country. I was interested to just capture their individual stories. I grew up in a Pakistani household.

And so I was able to -- to use that to get close to the fishermen here. People were very comfortable with me coming on board and taking their

pictures. I found out that these fishermen go about their everyday lives much like all of us do.

They get up in the morning and they make coffee or tea. They are very particular about grooming, about washing, and what's striking about them is

what I found is how closely neat they are. And there is a sense camaraderie among them.

UNIDETIFIED MALE: (Speaking Foreign Language)

KARMANI: (Speaking Foreign Language). What I have tried to do is, imply as authentic as possible and not trying to romanticize their lives.

I guess, just living out here in the United Arab Emirates has helped me connect to this part of the world because it was such a huge salvation

connection here. And there was interesting, I think irony about this place, if you're visiting the United Arab Emirates.

[11:55:00] You might want to see this part of Abu Dhabi because it's got that natural charm if you think about it. This was once a very proud

maritime nation. In a sense this is a remnant of that bygone era.


ANDERSON: Parting shots this evening, many of those short films that we have shot for the show, you can find on our Facebook site.

You can always follow the stories that the CNN is working on throughout the day there from the depths of Abu Dhabi, report for the edges of Puerto Rico

to Palestinian politics by going to -- that is

You can tweet of course @Beckycnn -- that is @Beckycnn. Let us know what you think. It's your show. I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the

World. Thank you for watching.

From the team working with me here and those who are working with us around the world, it is a very good evening from the UAE, back same time tomorrow.