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CONNECT THE WORLD

Raqqa Liberated ISIS; Dow Jones Hits 23,000 For First Time; Trump Picks Both Sided In GOP Civil War; Netanyahu Blasts Iran's Prime Minister In Twitter Message; Space Spectacle Two Neutron Stars Collide. Aired at 11a-12p ET

Aired October 17, 2017 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[11:00:22] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came out of hills, she said from came out right fire.

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BECKY ANDERSON, CONNECT THE WORLD, CNN: ISIS has been ousted from Raqqa. Iraqi forces in Syria had completed a major military operation to clear the

Islamic faith. Next an exclusive look at the terror groups last strongholds. Also this hour - flying different flags, Iraq's military

takes complete control of the keys cities of Kirkuk in Iraq ahead with the changing of the God mean for Baghdad's central government and the Kurdish

region. And --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: To refuse the obligations of international leadership in our duty to remain the last best hope of earth for the sake

of some half-baked spurious nationalism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: We'll stop right there, an attack by US Sen. John McCain on the American presidents leadership, hear the rest of the eldest statement later

this hour.

Hello and welcome you are watching Connect the World and it is 7:00 in the evening here in Abu Dhabi, I am Becky Anderson. We began this hour in the

Syrian City of Raqqa it was one the symbol of a terrorist group deadly grip on the region. Democratic forces had finally, cut of the head of the ISIS,

the fighters say they eradicated the extremist group from Raqqa for a four month battle and in an official statement declaring the city liberation

good come very soon, now the FBS is working to clear Raqqa of minds and any potential sleeper cells. We begin our reporting with the Paton Walsh who

has this exclusive film on the final assault and the victory.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The execution square, but this is now what ISIS meant to send once to public beheadings

now so called slowly by U.S. supplies Humvees the Kurdish forces him a swift progress kicking ISIS out of Raqqa, the former self-declared capital.

The fights as being total costly destructive beyond imagination. As these exclusive drawing pictures, films Monday show this is where ISIS used to

plot attacks on the West, but now made their very final last stand some of its lost form fights is likely dying. It's bombed out skeleton and ISIS

late Monday lost this national hospital where a few dozen surrendered the civilian human shields. They held that also rescued. This is a place with

so much smoke fills the horizon. Hospitals of not really being hospitals for months.

Those who have emerge this some of the hundreds who fled or have their exit negotiate to speak the unspeakable. That came out of hell. She said from

hell I came out right from under fire. Some perhaps ISIS family's. This two women scared still to even get out of their vehicle. We may never know

how many died in the intense coalition bombardment drive ISIS out, but some who live felt abandoned, Situation is very bad, she says (inaudible) but

may God gives you strength, now you have help.

The US back fighters declared major operations over here late Tuesday, the last time that ISIS name was writ large over a major city. This is the

end. Nick Paton Walsh CNN.

(END VIDEO)

ANDERSON: Well CNN Arwa Damon has reported extensively on the rise in full all of ISIS. She joins me now from Iraq which is just across the border

from Syria a hugely symbolic day. Describe what you also telling you about the situation in Raqqa as they declared major military operations over

there.

ARWA DAMON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well we are hearing that at this point. What they're really trying to focus on is rooting out

any remaining ISIS element.

[11:05:01] I.E. small pocket of fighters that may be part of the sleeper cells, may have been hiding out in the rubble as you just saw in the

images, the drone images there. The destruction is so wide spread a lot of areas for a potential individuals or small pocket of fighters could hide

(inaudible) and we know just how divested the fight measures are especially those hardcore ISIS fighters who stayed until their very end.

We are also hearing that of a growing civilian humanitarian crisis, the refugee camps that are within Syria that had been housing and absorbing the

people of been fleeing the fighting in Raqqa are bursting out the scene. And now you also have the fighting shifting to their door where 8 agencies

are saying that some 10,000 of civilians are fleeing from there a day as battle really begins to intensify. Speaking of Raqqa significant Becky,

this was the first major city to fall into ISIS control, some 4 to 5 years ago. It is the city we saw some of ISIS most horrific atrocities on full

public display, beheading, women being sold into slavery often times to sexual slavery. City from where ISIS directed a lot of its operations, but

within Syria the region and beyond. Meantime, all the incredibly significant victory for those fighters on the ground. Although they still

have the very tough task kind, also clear out the very different explosives that ISIS had left behind. There will sizable territory that need to be

cleared, if you look at the entire map that stretches from Iraq and Syria. Having ISIS loose territorial does not necessarily mean the end of the

organization.

ANDERSON: Yes. Let's be clear. This is a country which is still volatile. There are many, many proxies on the ground that is in the

situation we get to Iraq in a moment where we will continue to look at the post ISIS Methodist. That country going forth. If you just set back from

a moment and consider the significance of today. What happens next for this country of Syria?

DAMON: And that really critical question at this stage. Because one of the key, things that needs to be unfold is some sort of system. Some sort

of governance, some sort of rehabilitating a former ISIS-spiders for getting children back into school to create a counter narrative to the

population. The children know only violence in an ISIS way of life for the better part of the last four or five years as I was saying all they need to

happen to prevent the very same scenario that allowed entry like ISIS to emerged from re-emerge, if you look at the history of an organization like

ISIS, it stared out as Al Qaeda in Iraq in 2004 that was declared defeated came back on the Islamic state of Iraq. That was declared defeated in Iraq

managed to reemerge eventually become the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria, so this very grievances and corruption. The widespread unemployment, the

sense of isolation, alienation that allows an individual then turned toward the ISIS. It is such a complicated region. There are so many different

for Iraq and Syria. The fighting might not necessarily be over even when the battle against ISIS is actually done. Because all the different

competing dynamics that come into play here.

ANDERSON: A messy situation, borders clear. Thank you Arwa. We are looking certainly at the end of the 3 year old, this barbarians as they

called themselves, ISIS and what goes on next not clear and whether great influence goes on outside what was that caliphate again not clear at this

point. While the age old saying goes, cut of the head and the body will die while the loss of Raqqa may be lethal blow to ISIS as we know that they

will comes this will be uncertain. Just take a look at what's happening in Iraq that is crucial in fishing ISIS back from the strategic city of Kirkuk

are now being pummeled by that former allies, the Iraqi army we said it taken the city. Most importantly, all of the lucrative oil fields and

refineries will fighting alongside the Iraqi forces. In the Kirkuk operation where Iranian trained Shia militia.

[11:10:15] Frederick Pleitgen is in Tehran with that perspective, but we will start off with Ben Wedeman who is in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad with

all been on exactly what, as far as you understand it is happening right now.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At this point is obvious that the Raqqa government is in full control of (inaudible), they

were assisted by the (inaudible) or the popular mobilization unit expenses Iranian armed and trained paramilitary units that have played a critical

role in the war against ISIS. Now the moment it appears that the KRG the Kurdish Regional Government based in Erbil is licking his wounds at the

moment. It of course was the entity that held the referendum for Kurdish independence on 25 of September. This after being told by the Americans by

many European countries as well as Baghdad not to hold that referendum, and this has really been a miscalculation of historic proportions.

The Kurds are essentially more isolated than ever. The Iranians have close the border, the Baghdad government has stopped international flights flying

to Erbil. We are expecting Masoud Barzani the head the president of the Kurdish regional government to make a speech this evening. He is now

facing serious splits within Kurdish ranks, because the fighters of the PUK which is the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan which is based Sulaymaniyah

pulled back unilaterally as Iraqi forces entered Kirkuk leaving the fighters that are loyal to Barzani of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan to

flee essentially as Iraqi forces moved forward. Now there are serious concerns that because of Kurdish divisions. There could be something of a

Kurdish Civil War, as a result of that, so everything suddenly very much up in the air on the whole effort to completely destroy ISIS seems to put on

been put on hold at the moment, Becky.

ANDERSON: Let's get to Tehran, stay with me, Ben. Let get to Tehran, because these are sort of post ISIS walls, as it were. Now sort of the

front and center and as Washington influence that is lessen, because after all, its Middle East policy of late has been counterterrorism as being

after ISIS. So Tehran looks to gain more influence in Iraq just explain what is going on.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: You are absolutely right, Becky. Certainly doesn't go so right now the Iranians

are the ones who clearly have the biggest influence inside Iraq and especially in light of this crisis between the Kurds the Iraqi central

government. The Iranians have really been using all of the influence they have to project power inside Iraq. Here is what they are doing.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As Kurdish forces continue to lose ground to Iraqi government troops and their affiliated Shiite militias, the Kurdistan

regional government blaming Iran for allegedly facilitating Baghdad events. This attack waged by the Iraqi government and forces associated with the

headquarters of the Islamic Revolutionary guards could force is in retaliation against the people of Kurdistan, who asked for freedom, the KRG

state in a statement.

That could force the foreign operations wing of Iran's elite Revolutionary guard board formed Iraqi Shiite militias called Popular Mobilization Unit

to fight ISIS in 2014. Those groups are now also participating in the operation to seize your cook and surrounding areas from the Kurds, Iran is

one of the most influential players in Iraq while Tehran denies any direct involvement in the conflict between the Kurds and the Iraqi government. It

also made clear they are on Baghdad side in this matter.

And Tehran has influenced among Kurdish groups as well. The cofounder of the powerful Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and former Iraqi president Jalal

Talabani was laid to rest earlier this month Iran's Foreign Minister was on hand. Only a few days later (inaudible) the head of the Revolutionary

guards could force was also photographed paying his respects at Talabani's grave. The Kurdish government now accuses members of this very group of

colluding with Iran to allow Iraqi government forces to easily enter your Kirkuk and Iranian political scientist says that is possible.

[11:15:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Iranians have a very clear policy on Iraq. They believe that the territorial integrity of the country must be

preserved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The U.S. is merely voicing concern President Trump says he will not take sides in the conflict between the Kurds and the Iraqi

government. Iran appears to be playing an active role trying to shape its outcome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PLEITGEN: If we look back just a couple of days. The President Trump's speech on Iran. We heard of course last Friday where he not only said that

the nuclear agreement was in jeopardy. We also to curtail Iranian influence in Syria and also in Iraq for the past 24 hours. Becky certainly

looks as though the Iranians are far more powerful. Specifically, the Revolutionary guard at any point before Becky.

ANDERSON: And Ben, what is the consequence of that influence across the region, not just in Iran, but across the region.

WEDEMAN: The consequence is what we had been seeing basically accelerating since the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein remember

was the most adamant enemy of Iran in the region for his removal basically open to this country up to Iranian influence, and we've seen Iranian

influence going back to the fall of the shocks in Syria they have been close allies since then. Iran is the major backer of Hezbollah, which is

the predominant player in Lebanese politics. So it's got a huge regional role, and it continues to grow and here in Iraq keep in mind that you know

the Americans really became involved on the ground in this country in 1991. The Iranians are rather the Persians to be more specific have played a role

in Mesopotamia going back to before the creation of the Roman Empire. This is their front lawn. They are intimately involved in this countries in

ways that the Americans, I don't think could ever come anywhere near to and therefore trying to counter Iranian influence here is like trying to stop

the tide. It's a strong country with a very strong central government, which can really project its power all the way from Tehran to the

Mediterranean, Becky.

ANDERSON: Bend Wedeman is in Baghdad's and Fred in Tehran on what is a very big day for this region. Thank you both for your analysis. The Iraqi

operations in to Kirkuk ordered by Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. This week after Kurdish independence referendum could turn Baghdad to

suspend walls suggesting later in the show. We will be getting insights to the Iraqi thinking of all of this. The Iraqi ambassador to the US

(inaudible).

ISIS has also form in the Philippines, at least according to the President Rodrigo Duterte. He says his forces had regain control of the Southern

city of Marawi from militants, who say they are linked to ISIS, but the general says some 20 to 30 militants still remain there and they are

holding about 20 hostages. Military Chief of Staff said mopping up operations are on the way against at the remaining fighters.

Breaking news just out of Wall Street for you. I want to bring out by what the Dow Jones industrial average is up to it is breaking records just in

the last few moments before, wanted below - what is the key psychological level of 23,000. You can see it is knocking around just about 23,000 for

the first time ever. You'll remember back in January 20,000 for the first times so back and forth be buying and selling around what is a very

technical level of a psychological one as I say. Just by that with a 1% up at this point and you expect that set to linger around that'll be a lot of

money on that 23,000 let see that while I'm talking to you, to gamble on and what he gave 23,999 but it has flick above that key level, just in the

last few moments. Well still come tonight Puerto Rican has their breaking point. How resident thing any signs of improvement. What is the hurricane

devastated island. We will get you to that story this hour. Don't go away.

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[11:22:07] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Don't like the fact that the flashing would not taking sides, but we don't like the fact

that their clashing. We that we've had for many years very good relationship with the Kurds, as you know, and we've also been on the side

of Iraq.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Two American ally clash both sides strained, funded and equipped by the US to fight ISIS, but the militant group crashing down. It sends

tremors surround the land once terrorized all tensions seemingly inevitably flaring up. Turf wars, US President Trump weighing on the fighting on

Kirkuk on Monday saying that he is not happy. But America is not going to take sides. We are following a fast moving developments out of Iraq and

out of Syria for you at this hour. I am Beck Anderson in Abu Dhabi this is CNN and welcome back.

The city at the center of what is going on in Iraq is a strategic oil-rich city of Kirkuk. It has a complicated history. In 2014, Iraqi forces fled

to city as ISIS attempted to overrun it. The Kurds step in. And pushing the terror group back that could be seen in Kurdish hands ever since, but

as you can see the Kurdish flag is now being replaced by the Iraqi one. Iraqi security forces have control of the city. Hundreds of families,

living there had been forced to flee the Iraqi side. Will they are taking back and what was once theirs as they say let's get more clarity on what is

an extremely nuanced story. The Iraqi ambassador to U.S. Dr. Fareed is in Washington, yesterday we see sides clashing, and sides back trained and

equipped by the United States. How do you explain the use of for example US equipment in a fights against the Kurds? You are too intense, friends

and allies of the U.S. in the fight against ISIS.

FAREED YASSEEN, IRAQI AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: Well thank you for having me here. Before I start addressing the issue that you want to raise, I like

to go back to statement made by Ben Wedeman and whom I quoted before. Before Iraq being anything else anybody's frontline the front yard.

Everything like that is first and foremost our home and we want our home in a house in order the necessary constitutional order Iraq is governed by the

Constitution that was voted on overwhelmingly in the 19th 2005 in the KRG. For example, the three provinces of the KRG. It was approved by rates

exceeding 98%. That's you know almost anonymously and so what the government is trying to do is not to fight it is trying to reestablish

constitutional order to the status quo ante before ISIS came and did what it did.

[11:25:15] ANDERSON: I appreciate you need to and my point is this, let get to details here. You say that was the ambition, the goal with the use

of US equipment is what he sees as an enemy. How do you explained that Washington?

YASSEEN: Well look, I mean we don't have any other equipment. How are you drive our people up to occupy the basis where there were position before

2014? I mean all we have are Humvees in the American produced equipment, that is a fact and you have to I have to add to the movement into the bases

and the areas surrounding Kirkuk happened reasonably peacefully. There have been some clashes but like the U.S. military stated they were due to a

certain misunderstanding and now if you go to Kirkuk, you will see that life is coming back to normal.

ANDERSON: With many, many, many people, Kurds he had to flee in fear of their lives. Let me put this to you, Bayan Rahman who is the Kurdish

Regional Government representative to the United States and have a listen to what she had to say.

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BAYAN RAHMAN, KURDISTAN REGIONAL GOVERNEMENT REP TO U.S.: For us. This is a terrible catastrophe. We did not want to see any violence. 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 beginning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: You heard that she is open for dialogue. Is Iraq open to dialogue? That is what -

YASSEEN: We indeed are we always have been on the coefficients between the prime minister's office and the presence of the KRG have been flow fluid

and constant and daily all this in fact began with this idea of a referendum to us is unconstitutional and to the rest of the world, and I

stress this the rest of the world was disruptive and provocative in the areas particularly in Kirkuk. And also distracting from the important task

at hand, which is to defeat ISIS. All of this is a consequence of that action and many things happened alongside that, you know Kirkuk is not part

of the KRG. It is part of Iraq. If I made it is it is an independent governorates. I mean, and why did the forcefully imposed the KRG flag on

it. This created a lot of resentment. Kirkuk is not entirely a Kurdish city it has a lot of minorities and I want to stress this point, it has a

lot of minorities in Iraq are an important component of our society. Iraq is not Iraq without its minorities, and one of my criteria for judging and

gauging our success is how these minorities will return to their homelands and this is something that the Iraqi government is entirely committed to.

ANDERSON: let me ask you this. How do you explain the increasing influence of Iran in Iraq? We thought Iraqi at special voltage yesterday

supported by Iran backed militia and how do you explain the increasing influence of Tehran in Iraq to Washington to a Trump administration

suspicious of Tehran hegemonic behavior around the region?

YASSEEN: I am pretty sure that you got some Iranians who are saying how can you explain increasing American influence in Iraq? Look of the

Iranians is as well. I'll tell you. I'll also tell you know we are in an existential fights in 2014. We stood all alone the first to send us

equipment's and resources and ammunition were the Iranians. That's not nothing that accounts for something, then several weeks later, after having

lost. You know, hundreds of thousands of kilometers to the -- to ISIS, you know the Western countries came led by the United States, realizing that

that this was a danger not only to Iraq, but to the entire region. These things have consequences. We live in a neighborhood we have to live with

our neighbors, our neighbors have influence in Iraq as we do actually have influence in their countries. Just as the United States has influence in

Mexico or in Canada that's a fact of geometry.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: How that message going down in Washington, just out of interest -- how that message going down in Washington? You

must be being asked.

There is huge concern and from Washington, from the Trump administration about the regional influence of Iran not just in Iraq but in Syria, and

various other places.

Are you happy to defend Iraq's position in using Iranian-backed militia on the ground, and for example a fight against the Kurds, whether you're

right, support a referendum.

YASSEEN: I questioned that. I mean, you call it -- you call them Iranian- backed militias, what's your evidence for this? There is something called the -- the actual popular globalization units.

These are guys mostly men, old and young, who hurried to respond to the call of our religious leadership in June of 2014. Almost everything was

lost in the tens of thousands. And if you look at this -- this popular globalization, you have got out there.

There's something in excess of 100,000, you've got minorities, you've got Christians. You've got Sunnis and it's -- I mean this is a whole

exaggeration part. Iran does have a...

(CROSSTALK)

YASSEEN: It does not have authority. We are an independent country. We maintain good relations with the United States as we would like to maintain

good relations with all our neighbors.

ANDERSON: And you have explained -- and you explained at length the support when the Iranians gave you when you say others didn't come in

support of Iraq. We have to leave it there. Thank you very much for joining us.

YASSEEN: That's a fact of history. Thank you, Ma'am.

ANDERSON: Fareed Yasseen is the Iraqi Ambassador to the U.S. We will be right back.

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ANDERSON: You are watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. These are the top stories.

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ANDERSON: In Syria, U.S.-backed fighters say they have eradicated ISIS from Raqqa after four months battle. The Syrian Democratic Forces raised

their flag of the city spokesman to the USA coalition spoke just moments ago.

[11:35:00] COL. RYAN DILLON, SPOKESMAN, U.S.-LED COALITION: After more than four months of operations, Raqqa is more than 90 percent cleared. We

are aware of the reports that ISIS has been defeated in Raqqa.

However, clearance operations continue and we except our Syrian Democratic force partners to hit pockets of resistance as the final parts of the city

is clear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: And in Northern Iraq, the country's troops at the Old City of Kirkuk ending years of Kurdish control. Peshmerga commander said these 15

Kurdish fighters we're killed and dozens more were wounded. The Kurds secure the strategic fit in 2014 after it was abandoned by Iraqi forces

during the major ISIS offensive that year.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones has hit yet another milestone as it reached 23,000 for the first time ever, just a short time ago, it just come up that

level but this comes just about nine months after it hit 20,000 for the first time. Let's get you to Maggie Lake who is in New York. Just explain

the significance if you will of this historic.

MAGGIE LAKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Becky, they are psychological. I think it really shows how far we've come to right. In fact, that's a need

to that.

It barely rippled down here when we went over 23,000 because we have been here so many times now this year. It's been an extraordinary run of more

than 4,000 points since the election. Second longest bull run on record.

And it just underscores the strength of (Inaudible), that they are the investment destination but it has to said Becky. They are underpinning but

what is once again, proving to be a good earning season.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the catalyst today but these games have been broad days, and that paired with improving goal economy seems that

given the -- the further need to push us through yet another round historical number.

ANDERSON: Maggie Lake on the business story for you. That's number knocking around a bit the she says a lot of money, I'm sure, so we may lost

at that level, that's what happens in the market.

So another appointment gone wrong, the U.S. president Donald Trump -- Mr. Trump announced on Twitter that is fight for drugs has withdrawn his name

from consideration calling Tom Marino a fine man and a great congressman.

Reports, Tom Marino took nearly $100 thousand from the pharmaceutical lobby while sponsoring a bill that helped drug makers distribute opioid. So

(Inaudible), CNN polls finds Mr. Trump's no approval rating is remaining steady 37 percent of Americans approve of the way he is handling the

presidency.

While 57 percent disapproved. The percentage of those who say things are going well in the U.S. still has fallen as CNN's Joe Johns reports the

president trying to please both establishment Republicans and the anti- establishment that voted for him.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're probably now, I think, at least as far as I'm concerned, closer than ever before. We're fighting

for the same thing.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump attempting to put up a united front with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, despite lobbing

this criticism moments just hours before at the Senate McConnell leads.

TRUMP: I'm not going to blame myself, I'll be honest. They are not getting the job done.

JOHNS: The president attempting to appease both the GOP leaders he needs to get his agenda passed and the anti-establishment wing of the party

spearheaded by his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon.

STEVE BANNON, FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST: This is not my war. This is our war. Mitch, the donors -- the donors are not happy. They've all left you.

We've cut your oxygen off, Mitch.

JOHNS: Mr. Trump backing Bannon's anti-establishment attacks during a cabinet meeting Monday morning.

TRUMP: Steve is very committed. He's a friend of mine. You had a few people that really disappointed us. They really, really disappointed us.

So I can understand fully how Steve Bannon feels.

JOHNS: Before vowing to pressure Bannon to back down in his effort to unseat a number of Republican incumbents.

TRUMP: Steve is doing what Steve thinks is the right thing. Some of the people that he may be looking at, I'm going to see if we talk him out of

that because, frankly, they're great people.

JOHNS: Senator John McCain making a passionate plea against the nationalist world view championed by Mr. Trump and Bannon while accepting

the Liberty Medal.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, ARIZONA: To abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our

duty to remain the last best hope of earth, for the sake of some half- baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems, is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any

other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash cheap -- ash heap of history.

JOHNS: Mr. Trump also breaking his silence about the deaths of four U.S. servicemen in Niger nearly two weeks ago.

TRUMP: I've written them personal letters.

[11:40:00] They've been sent or they're going out tonight.

JOHNS: The president immediately growing defensive, making this false claim about his predecessors.

TRUMP: If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls.

JOHNS: Former White House photographer Pete Souza responding with this image, showing President Obama comforting a Gold Star family, as multiple

aides to the former president recalled specific times Obama consoled the families of fallen soldiers.

Obama's former deputy chief of staff lashing out at Mr. Trump on Twitter, Mr. Trump also boasting about his administration's response to hurricane-

ravaged Puerto Rico again, placing blame on local officials.

TRUMP: It was in really bad shape before. We have done -- I will say this. We have done...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People don't have drinking water.

TRUMP: We have -- well, we've delivered tremendous amounts of water. Then what you have to do, is you have to have distribution of the water by the

people on the island.

JOHNS: A new CNN poll shows the president's approval rating for his response to recent hurricanes has dropped 20 points since September as the

majority of the island remains in the dark, one month after the storm.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. Coming up, the Israeli prime minister lashes out at Iran's foreign minister on Twitter.

We will tell you why Netanyahu told Zarif it was time to delete his account.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson and Welcome back. The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

is blasting Iran's foreign minister in a video message posted on Twitter and he said, it's time for Javad Zarif to delete his Twitter account.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I want to know what the Iranian people think of that tweet. Profoundly the regime bans him from

using Twitter. Ironic, don't you think?

Apparently, I have a higher opinion of the Iranian people that their leaders. See, I'm sure that ordinary Iranians aren't proud what the

Revolutionary Guard murders innocent men and women around the globe.

I'm sure that ordinary Iranian mothers and fathers wouldn't have drawn up a Jewish community center in Argentina field with little children because

that's what the Revolutionary Guard did.

I'm sure that ordinary Iranians want to live in peace and don't want their government to shoot students in the streets and gays who claims, torture

journalist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, Oren Liebermann joining me now live from Washington -- from Jerusalem. Oren, it goes without saying that there is absolutely no

love lost between Israel and Iran. What's the perspective where you are of the prime minister weighing in the way he did.

[11:45:00] OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's no surprise, as you pointed out, this is not some new feud between the Israel and Iran.

And it's just at this point, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu taking a crack at Iran essentially following up President Donald Trump's speech a

few days ago when he labeled the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.

This was now Netanyahu's turn essentially, there was no surprise that in style and in substance in many ways this matches President Trump, an attack

directly at Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif.

Netanyahu even him to delete his account. The difference and this is worth noting, is that this doesn't have the spontaneity, that sort of knee-jerk

reaction that some of Trump's tweets have. This is Netanyahu, so it's a calculated response design for a purpose.

That purpose, to target his favorite enemy, that is the regime in Iran. And that's what we see here. Notably this isn't the only time Iran has

come up here in the past 24 or 48 hours. The Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu was here today.

And when he -- when he met with Israeli prime minister, Iran was tops on Netanyahu's agenda and Netanyahu making it clear that Israel won't allow

Iran to establish itself militarily in Syria and warning that Iran will have an arsenal, he said of nuclear weapons within some 8 to 10 years.

Becky.

ANDERSON: What is the sense of the Russians response to that? What was the goal of that conversation effectively?

LIEBERMANN: Interestingly, in the readout we've got from the Israel prime minister's office, there was no Russian response, there was only

Netanyahu's statements about Iran and that's because Israel is very aware of who has the power in the Middle East.

It might be the U.S. that is the strategic ally, it is Russia that is and has been for years now. The strategic presence in the Middle East and

Israel needs to play its relationship with Russia very carefully because both Israel and Iran are simply allies of Russia.

So Israel manages that very carefully. Israel and Russia share military coordination over the skies of Syria. Israel is essentially just trying to

draw its redlines.

Becky, the interesting question and this is what we got, no insight of meeting, where are Russia's redlines when it comes to Israel's actions over

Syria? That's something the Russians have never given us insight to.

ANDERSON: Fascinating, interesting times there in the Middle East. Live in Abu Dhabi, thank you, Oren. This is Connect the World. Coming up,

long-ago clash in space is just becoming visible, and it comes with remarkable surprises. We have the details on what is a fascinating

discovery, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(STAR WARS SONG)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Wait a minute, this isn't a movie. This is real. This day's Parting Shots, we are witnessing actual cosmic combat in the galaxy. Two

neutron stars observed twirling and whirling each other here until they collide.

And what that collusion created, well, I'm told it's frankly astounding massive elements such as gold, platinum and lead scattered across the

Universe. This happened 130 million years ago -- for a long time ago in a galaxy far far away you might say.

[11:50:00] But astronomers just getting to see it now, let's bring in expert Mr. Tom Kerss. He is an astronomer at the Royal Observatory in

Greenwich. He joins us from London. I find it so hard to get my head around anything that is further away from Dubai, from Abu Dhabi. So tell

me, what's going on?

TOM KERSS, ASTRONOMER, ROYAL OBSERVATORY GREENWICH: A long-time ago, the galaxy far far away is pretty good. That's a pretty good assessment

actually and that is much of what astronomy is like.

And this is the kind of thing that would be almost unbelievable if not for the recent progress that has been made in this field. Nobel prize-winning

progress actually into the study is something called gravitational waves, which are incredible busts of energy that are released in very, very

violent events.

In this case, the merger of two very compact super dense object which we call neutron stars, the smallest and most dense type of star you can get.

So when these two neutron stars collided 130 million years ago, they released an intense burst of gravitational waves.

In the process of acquisition, the amount of energy they released was comparable to about 50 times the energy the sun will release in its entire

lifetime and in that moment, they sent a signal out if you will, a shockwave out into space, which we have not just felt this year.

But also seen and imagine seeing a fireworks display. It's all very well if you watch it on TV but nothing beats seeing it in real life, because you

don't just see it, feel it and that's what makes this such a landmark observation.

Astronomers have not only seen this occurring, seeing the light, the radiation emitted but felt it, felt the gravitational waves at the same

time and this is fast.

And this means we can finally start to pin down the physics of this sort of event. So it's incredibly exciting and it's already revealed some amazing

discoveries but there is so much to learn from it as well.

ANDERSON: And that was going to be the next question because you made it sound absolutely remarkable, so well done. For those of us who really

didn't get it, I guess, the question is, so why do care? What do we learn from this? Why is it important?

KERSS: I guess, at first, there are several key things that have come to light as a result of this observational along or just go through the list

and do ask if you need any more clarification, but I will try to make it easy to understand. The first is...

(CROSSTALK)

KERSS: When this event occurred, as he say about 130 million years ago in this distant galaxy, the gravitational waves which is very mysterious

shockwave passing through space and the like, the radiation.

The sorts of things we can see flashes of light to other types of radiation like x-rays and so on. They left at the same time and crucially, they

arrived here on earth at the same time, and this proves an age-old notion that was actually proposed by Albert Einstein about 100 years ago.

That gravity travels at the speed of light. And this is the first time that has been such a conclusive, definitive proof of that.

And another thing that's really fascinating is that we now observed in a neutron star collision directly, the creation of elements like gold,

platinum, precious many elements, which are found here on earth but also in our own bodies.

We carry these elements in our bodies and we are learning now that they are produced when neutron stars collide, producing an extraordinary event

bigger than a supernova. We actually call it a killer nova.

It's about 10 times brighter than a supernova. So really extraordinary energetic event and that means that we are carrying in our bodies the

products of these incredibly violent events that have occurred across the cosmos for billions of years.

So there are many other things which are coming to light and that means that events like this these are absolutely invaluable to study. And

astronomers are just thanking their lucky stars they were able to sing so readily and to point so many telescopes acted so quickly.

ANDERSON: I feel your enthusiasm as an astrophysicist. I hear this is kick started effectively a new chapter in astrophysics for you to be around

and seeing this and studying this at this point must be absolutely tremendous.

And you have explained brilliantly, Tom, why this is important to the rest of us. Astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, Tom Kerss,

joining us from London, thank you Tom, as always you can follow the stories that our team is working on throughout the day and they are busy at it for

the hours before this show of course.

From the collusions in outer space to the conflicts right here. The incredibly important conflict right here in this region on the ground that

we follow all for you.

Check it out, that's on the Facebook page, Facebook.com/cnnconnect -- that is Facebook.com/cnnconnect. You get to me at Twitter -- on Twitter, that's

@Beckycnn.

And a reminder of the breaking news from Wall Street this hour, it's important Dow Jones continues breaking records and hit milestones and hit

the 23,000 mark for the first time ever this hour.

[11:55:00] And you all remember back in January, it hit 20,000 for the first time and even see just quickly it's moving at just below that level

now.

Of course, all the technical buying and selling, it's all very technical when you get into these markets. The reason they have dropped back just a

little bit.

It would have trigger itself at 23,000 but don't be surprise as it pushback above that level either in today's session or as we move on throughout the

week for the important times, for the business world there, the Dow Jones industrial library taking another milestone.

I'm Becky Anderson, that was Connect the World, from the team working with me here, thank you for watching. Much more on Dow's milestone, ahead is my

colleague Richard Quest on Quest Express, up next.

END