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CONNECT THE WORLD
U.N.: Attack On Ethnic Village Kills 134 In Rural Mali; Terror Group Loses Ground In Syria But Ideology Lives On; Congress, President Trump Await Mueller Report Findings; Huge Crowds In London Demand Second Brexit Referendum; Group's Final Territory Liberated, But Treat Remains; Inside the Devastation Across Southeastern Africa. Aired 11-12p ET
Aired March 24, 2019 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
RICL FOLBAUM, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Rick Folbaum, and we begin with breaking news out of Africa.
The United Nations is reporting that a group of armed attackers has killed at least 134 people in Mali.
The massacre happened in a rural village in the central part of the country. The U.N. believes the attackers targeted an ethnic community who
are accused of having ties to jihadist organizations. Many of the victims were told are women and children.
The attack taking place while U.N. ambassadors were in Mali to talk about increased violence there. The U.N. Secretary General's special
representative in Mali called the attack an unspeakable tragedy. He also called for a de-escalation of violence. Meantime, Pope Francis is asking
for prayers for the victims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPE FRANCIS, HEAD, CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): We pray for the many victims of the latest inhuman attacks in Nigeria in Mali. May the
Lord welcome these victims, heal the wounded, comfort the family members, and convert the cruel hearts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOLBAUM: Pope Francis earlier this Sunday. And we're going to continue following this story for you. We'll bring you any new details as they
become available. We're also following significant developments in two other major stories that have gripped the world's attention for months but
in both cases still no final conclusions.
Washington awaits as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle brace for the conclusions of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
Officials say the US Attorney General plans to send Congress a summary by the end of the day today. A short time ago the deputy press secretary said
the White House has not yet received or been briefed on the report.
Meantime, U.S. backed Syrian forces declare victory of their own as ISIS loses its final stronghold in Syria. But with the fall of the Islamic
state, is the world really any safer from the terror group? On Saturday, the Syrian Democratic Forces announced the 100 percent territorial defeat
of ISIS in the now liberated city of Baghouz, a battle that they have been waging for weeks.
Soldiers raising a yellow flag in the eastern Syrian town celebrating the end of the so-called caliphate declared by the terror group in 2014. But
fight is far from over and there are major concern still that the dangerous ideology will morph into a virtual caliphate where it will try to inspire
more deadly attacks. We are covering this story from all angles.
Our Jomana Karadsheh joins us from Erbil in the Iraqi Kurdistan, CNN's Arwa Damon is live in Istanbul, Turkey, but let's begin with Ben Wedeman who has
been on the ground in northeastern Syria since the final battle against ISIS began weeks ago. And Ben, what does a town look like and feel like
once a defeated ISIS moves out?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rick, interesting is that even though final defeat of ISIS was declared
yesterday, I was up at 4:54 in the morning and heard an air strike on Baghouz and heard two more just a little while after that.
We've heard from the Syrian Democratic Forces commander that today, somewhere between 60 and 90 Isis members surrendered. So it wasn't quite
so clear that it was as final as they said. Nonetheless, the area around Baghouz, the last bit of territory that was occupied by ISIS was actually
on the side edge of the village of Baghouz.
What we saw there was a moonscape of wrecked cars and tattered tents in which transit trenches had been dug. It certainly was apparent from there
how much -- how many airstrikes had occurred, how many artillery and mortar rounds had landed in that area. Rick?
FOLBAUM: Ben, as you say, Baghouz still a very dangerous place, the surrounding areas as well. We heard about an explosion that killed a
member of an American news crew. How much work needs to be done clearing the area of any potential IEDs and then how much rebuilding is going to be
WEDEMAN: Well, on both sides a lot of work. There are IEDs everywhere, not just in the case of that NBC crew where their driver was killed by some
sort of explosive device, but in many of the houses not just in Baghouz but along the Euphrates River. There are lots of booby traps, mines, and
In fact, where -- one place where we were staying just around the corner, an SDF soldier walked in the house and had his leg blown off when we were
there. But as far as the destruction goes, it's not just Baghouz, every town going up the Euphrates valley is largely destroyed. The
reconstruction effort is going to cost tens of millions, perhaps billions of dollars in that part of Syria alone.
Now in the area of Baghouz, there are no civilians there. It's still essentially a closed military area. In those areas that civilians have
moved back in, and in fact we were in one of those towns Hajin where they were just in the process of moving back, the people who moved back and saw
what had happened to their homes were shocked.
One man telling me looking around his destroyed home trying to salvage whatever goods were left, he said that what had happened to his town was
much worse than what had happened to it under ISIS. Rick?
[11:05:56] FOLBAUM: Jomana Karadsheh, you have gotten a chance to talk with foreigners who joined ISIS and are now in SDF custody. What is life
like for them and what happens to them now?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is the big question. As you recall, Rick, back in 2014, 2015, thousands of men and women around the
world, basically left their lives around the world in the West and moved to join that so-called Islamic state. And as that Caliphate crumbled, many of
those foreigners ended up in the custody of Iraqi security forces here and also the SDF in Syria.
But during that battle for Baghouz, the number of foreign men, and women, and children in SDF custody has really spiked. And this is renewed that
debate in the West of what to do with those foreigners. And during our trip to northeastern Syria recently, we met some of those foreigners and
asked them the question of what should happen to them next.
KARADSHEH: This is not any refugee camp Rose is where some of the women of the Caliphate and their children end up. For them, this is how ISIS is
perverted promised of a utopian state ends. They've traded one miserable existence for another. ISIS' so-called brides like American (INAUDIBLE)
Athena and British born (INAUDIBLE) are now housed in these blue tents.
As we've been told that we cannot speak to any of the women here. There are about 2,000 women and children. These are ISIS family members.
Certainly as we're walking around, you feel that no one really wants to talk to us. The women seem to be hiding in their tent.
But at the sprawling (INAUDIBLE) camp, they do.
She says, the Islamic state will be back.
Only offense separates these defiant true believers from the tens of thousands of refugees whose lives were shattered by ISIS. Some of the
women claimed there were naive victims who are only chasing the dream of a true Islamic state oblivious to the reign of terror upon which that so-
called state was founded.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the people here should just realize that all people here are not terrorist.
KARADSHEH: This woman declined to give us her name but she's been identified by Irish media as Muslim convert Lisa Smith, a former member of
the Irish military. She says she came to Syria an ISIS bride, now she's a widow left alone with a two-year-old daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to go home.
KARADSHEH: But you might be prosecuted when you go home. You might end up in jail. Are you ready for that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I know they took me off my passport and stuff and I wouldn't travel and maybe watch kind of, but prison, I don't know.
I'm already in prison.
KARADSHEH: And that may be the point. These prosecutions by home countries could be complicated by lack of evidence. Officials here worry
that foreign ISIS members are being left for them to deal with.
It's not responsible, the spokeswoman says, especially from countries that are part of the international coalition.
The mostly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces are now holding thousands of women and their children.
People are asking this question. They're saying that you all have the opportunity. To me you shouldn't have been here --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course -- listen, when you marry someone, and in - - halfway in the marriage you realize this is not the guy, you try to get out, but if it's an abusive marriage, do you get out even in the west?
Nothing in life is easy to walk away from.
Some of the women have been duped by ISIS. But when those women joined and saw some of the events, why did they not try to escape, she tells us. They
could have, but they chose to remain under the control of ISIS.
But perhaps the riskiest burden is the more than 1,000 foreign fighters from 50 different countries now in SDF custody. We were granted access to
one of those detainees who agreed to speak to us. A Canadian recently captured during the battle for Baghouz. The Vancouver native like so many
others claims he wasn't a fighter but a humanitarian who joined the terror group to help refugees.
So many people in the West don't want you back. People in this part of the world don't want you because you are a reminder of the heinous crimes that
took place. What do you think should happen to you? You must have thought about this.
[11:10:21] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I thought about it. I don't -- I would just like to -- even if they put me in prison and at home, it's a better
than being in here.
KARADSHEH: There are signs of permanence pushing into the camps. A school, satellite dishes, and concrete foundations, and a warning from
officials here, the longer these sites remain packed with those indoctrinated with ISIS' toxic ideology, the more likely they become a time
bomb for a generation trapped here paying for the wrongs of his parents.
KARADSHEH: And Rick, Syrian Kurdish officials today are renewing that call to the international community to countries around the world to take back
their citizens. They say that this is simply a burden that they cannot deal with. They don't have the infrastructure to take this to the next
phase, a judicial phase. So they want these countries to take them back and they say that this large number of radicalized women and men are not
only a threat to Syria to this region but to the entire world and to their countries of origin.
FOLBAUM: What a fascinating window, Jomana. Let's talk to Arwa Damon now who's in Istanbul. And Arwa, as we heard in in Jomana's report, there are
still some true believers out there. But talk to us about the future of ISIS, its influence in the region now that it has failed to deliver on its
big promise of a caliphate.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, Rick, the fact that ISIS was able to establish a Caliphate most certainly gave it a
significant amount of credibility with all the territory that it did control and it also gave its followers an area to congregate in.
But those who are intimately knowledgeable about the organization will say that from the moment that Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi declared the caliphate, ISIS
a very forward-thinking organization was already readying itself for the day that it would lose its territories. They have sleeper cells all over
the worlds. They have a vast financial network that they can tap in to. Plus, it is an incredibly patient organization as we have seen if we look
back on its history and how it every step every stage where it was declared defeated it managed to re-emerge more powerful than before.
ISIS right now it does still operate in small gangs and lawless areas in both Iraq and Syria where the security forces don't have a permanent
presence. So to think that it somehow does not pose a threat any longer would be incredibly naive. And I think what is going to be especially
crucial right now is going to be ensuring that those factors that allowed Isis to emerge no longer exist. And as of this very moment in both Iraq
and Syria, Rick, they do.
FOLBAUM: Ben Wedeman, Jomana Karadsheh, and Arwa Damon, thank you all three. I appreciate your reporting on this very important story. And now
to our other big story this Sunday, and it's the waiting game in Washington following the end of the Special Counsel's Russia investigation.
It has clouded nearly the entirety of U.S. President Donald Trump's presidency and now lawmakers and the public at large are anxiously awaiting
to hear the findings of the special investigation. We're told the White House hasn't even been briefed on it yet.
The Mueller report is in the hands of the Attorney General William Barr who arrived at the Justice Department just a short time ago. An official
telling CNN that the plan is to get a summary to Congress by the end of the day today, but that's not enough for some Democrats. They're demanding the
full report as well as any underlying evidence to be released publicly.
CNN Political Analyst Julian Zelizer joining us now from New York. Julian, good to see you as always. No more indictments. That's pretty much all we
know at this point. And the president and his allies, they're sensing victory. Can you blame them?
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they were going to sense victory whatever we knew at this point. Part of this is to spin the report
to claim victory. They're obviously happy there's no indictment coming against the president. That was unlikely from the beginning. So at this
point we don't know any more about the substance of the report. All we know is about what's accumulated until this point.
FOLBAUM: What do you expect to be made public? We've heard the main conclusions will be handed over to Congress. And of course, when Congress
gets it, it'll be linked to the general public. But once that executive summary is released, what do you think we'll learn that we don't already
ZELIZER: Well, the Democrats are going to want the evidence. Ultimately, this was supposed to be an investigation that put forth evidence and put
out a roadmap as it's often called for other investigations, for how Congress handles the matter, for how the courts handle this matter.
If that evidence is not put forward, you're going to have a lot of pressure from House Democrats to release that. I don't know if we're going to see
that coming through automatically upfront.
[11:15:16] FOLBAUM: Any reason to think, Julian, that this will move the needle at all. I mean, it seems like those who support the president will
support him virtually no matter what, and that his detractors will never like him no matter what. So is this going to change anything?
ZELIZER: I don't think so. I think what we've seen many times in the presidency is these turning-point moments are not turning points, and that
the electorate is pretty set in stone. One effect this will have if the findings are not devastating to the president which it appears they might
not be that it solidifies Republican support for the administration going into the election over the coming few years which would be significant
politically but you're not going to have a big change in how much of the electorate thinks.
A lot of the electorate who oppose the president, who are critical of the president are not resting everything on the Mueller report. There's
multiple investigations with Mueller. There's been many convictions and indictments, and that's the basis of their concern.
FOLBAUM: Well, let's talk about the politics and dig down a little bit more there because this investigation, the Mueller investigation has been
going on for so long. It is virtually blanketed the entire Trump presidency. So what does a post-Mueller landscape politically speaking
look and feel like?
ZELIZER: Well, it won't change that dramatically, and that there are many other investigations already underway. The House Democrats have launched a
series of investigations which are really only starting those will be much more public than the Mueller investigation. They are done through
And then there are several major courts including the Southern District in New York which are investigating criminal activity, campaign finance
violations, the inauguration, all of that will continue. They don't actually care at all about political timetable. So I'm not sure this will
diminish this kind of questioning as much as some people think.
FOLBAUM: Well, again we may learn more before the end of business today. And Julian has a great piece on cnn.com. I would urge everyone to go check
it out, a very interesting read as always. Julian Zelizer, thank you very much.
And still to come, put it to the people say the hundreds of thousands who took to the streets of London yesterday to demand a second Brexit
referendum as a way out of the mess the U.K. is currently mired in. Also - -
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As people try and reclaim the land from the waters, you can see the awesome destructive power of that cyclone, and this is the end
of the roads.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOLBAUM: Emergency crews are trying to reach parts of Southern Africa cut off by flooding. A powerful cyclone has destroyed entire towns and
impacted countless people. We'll have that story and more on CONNECT THE WORLD next.
[11:20:00] FOLBAUM: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Rick Folbaum in for Becky. Brexit might feel like a bad cold you just can't shake. But
for the hundreds of thousands of people who took to the streets of London on Saturday, it is far more serious than that.
Organizers say one million people March to demand a second referendum on the UK's membership in the E.U. At the end of a week when Prime Minister
Theresa May managed to convince the European Union to grant Great Britain more time to work out what it wants. But she is likely to have a harder
time convincing Parliament to vote for the third incarnation of her Brexit deal.
And as the chaos continues, the voices to cancel Brexit altogether grow louder, and not just on the streets, an online petition to remain in the
E.U. now has close to five million signatures. And those pushing for a second referendum seem to have an unlikely supporter. The British
Chancellor of the Exchequer telling Sky News earlier that a fresh vote is "a coherent proposition that deserves to be considered," he says.
He also denies there's a plot to oust the Prime Minister after a Sunday Times report claimed that eleven cabinet ministers are planning a revolt.
Our Nina dos Santos joining us now from London. And Nina, if you read the British tabloids as I did today, it certainly makes it seem as though
they're ready to March Theresa May right down to the Tower of London. What are you hearing?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know that's saying from Julius Caesar, beware the Ides of March. It's something that you saw
emblazoned upon a lot of those placards that the marchers were holding yesterday when they were demanding a second sail in the subject of Brexit.
I have either via referendum or via the opportunity to cancel Brexit and revoke Article 50 altogether. This is the type of thing that seems to have
precipitated with this and the Prime Minister's handling of the Brussels negotiations to try and get a delay to Brexit over the last week is the
type of thing that seems to have precipitated this talk of a Tory coup at the cabinet level with two of the big Sunday newspapers having front page
articles saying that essentially the Conservative Party from the Brexit side to the remains side are all unhappy of Theresa May's handling of this
She herself acknowledged at the end of last week that it was unlikely she was going to get a Brexit deal through Parliament unless you could muster
up some last-minute support that doesn't look to be forthcoming. And as such, we have two figures who've been touted. One, the de facto Deputy
Prime Minister of Theresa May, a pro-Remain figure, his name is David Lidington, and also Michael Gove the pro-Brexit Environment Secretary.
Both of those individuals have said that they don't necessarily feel that they would be the right person to lead the Conservative Party and they
fully back the prime minister. Here's what Lidington had to say outside his constituency home today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID LIDINGTON, CHANCELLOR OF THE DUCHY OF LANCASTER: I don't think that any wish to take from the P.M. I think is doing a fantastic job. I tell
you this. One thing that working close with the Prime Minister does it cure you completely of any lingering shred of ambition to want to do that.
NOBILO: I must warn you though, Rick, in British politics and particularly covering the Conservative Party, this is not the first time that we've seen
people say I don't want the top job and then we could see some kind of maneuvering over the course of the week to come in Westminster. Either way
to prepare for this busy week where we've got these reports in these newspapers of potentially the cabinet, 11 cabinet ministers rising up
against Theresa May in a big showdown tomorrow.
Well, Theresa May has already taken steps to try and prevent that happening by inviting leading Brexit figures to our country retreat of checkers where
apparently at the moment they're having tea and discussing some of the difficult issues of the day. But what's really been worrying, these are
pictures live pictures you can see if the Prime Minister's beautiful retreat in Buckinghamshire around about 30, 40 miles from where I am in
Of course Checkers was home to the famous unpopular plan that was the seed of the Brexit deal that she's tried repeatedly to try and get through
Parliament here. So what that will be lost on those pro-Brexit figures that Theresa May is trying to rally together as a last ditch attempt to try
and save her premiership.
Now, technically, Rick, according to conservative party rules, she should be safe in her job until December because she faced down a vote of no
confidence at the end of last year. But there are many other ways that they can try and maneuver, especially if she loses the confidence of the
whips, the party managers.
And there was a report in the newspapers again yesterday saying that the whips themselves have had a stern talking to Theresa May and said that her
Brexit strategy at the moment hasn't been getting the confidence that it needs from both sides of the party and she hasn't done enough to reach out
across the aisle. Downing Street not commenting on this speculation for now, though. Rick?
[11:25:57] FOLBAUM: Nina, we mentioned the petition that now has about five million signatures. We saw the tens of thousands of people that came
out to march yesterday, perhaps close to a million. But the idea of holding a new vote, it seems to be gaining some support. But any reversal
of the original referendum, that's just going to anger those who voted to leave the first time around, right?
NOBILO: Well, Brexit was always going to be difficult to deliver. And one of the reasons why Theresa May is facing the backlash she's facing from all
sides of the conservative party is that they're terrified politically speaking for being the party that didn't listen to the people, albeit a
small majority of the people who voted to leave. Just a slight amount more than those who voted to stay, they don't want to go down on the record.
(INAUDIBLE) be the party that didn't actually manage to deliver Brexit in any form at all. That could make them unelectable some say over the next
generation to come.
And this is why this subject of having a second referendum or revoking article 50 and going back on the whole idea of Brexit is such a toxic one
within the conservative party. As you pointed out in your introduction, now faced between a rock and a hard place, so the idea of potentially
having another referendum and then revoking Article 50, so not asking the people but just the government deciding to go back on the whole process all
together, what they have to do here is decide between the cleanest dirty shirt in the drawer, if you like and the most democratic one of that would
be to go for another referendum.
But the -- what has to be different this time to make it slightly different is to put a slightly different question to the people. And so what Philip
Hammond, the chancellor heard suggested a few hours ago in one of the breakfast talk shows is that he said we could put perhaps an element of the
deal to the people rather than making it the same question, do you want to say or do you want to go, as we had three years ago.
FOLBAUM: Nina dos Santos breaking it down for us, just a fascinating story to watch unfold, Nina, thank you so much from London.
And coming up, we'll have a moment of history in Eastern Syria as a flag marks the liberation of the last territory held by ISIS. But world leaders
agree the threat is not over. We have in-depth analysis in just a moment. Join us.
[11:31:50] FOLBAUM: And you're watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Rick Folbaum, glad you're with us this Sunday. I want to give you an
update now on the breaking news out of Africa. The United Nations is reporting that armed attackers have killed, at least, 134 people in Mali.
The massacre happened we're told in a rural village in the center of the country. The U.N. believes the attackers targeted an ethnic community,
accused of having ties to jihadist organizations.
The attack took place while U.N. ambassadors were in Mali to talk about the increased violence there. The U.N. secretary-general special
representative in Mali called this attack an unspeakable tragedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNADIF KHATIR MAHAMAT SALEH, SECRETARY-GENERAL SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF UNITED NATIONS IN MALI (through translator): We clearly and firmly condemn
these attacks against civilians, which with the information in our possession at the moment have cost the lives of more than 100 victims
including women and children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOLBAUM: We are following updates on this story. We'll bring you the very latest news as we get it.
Well, it was a name once unanimous with terror itself. A group that seized millions of acres across Iraq and Syria as part of a promise to create a
new caliphate. And now, these are the remnants of ISIS as we knew it.
Wrecked vehicles, tattered tents, dead bodies left abandoned. The final chapter, perhaps, of the so-called caliphate playing out on a hillside in
eastern Syria this weekend, captured on camera by CNN.
But the end of a chapter doesn't mean that we can close the book on ISIS. The U.K., Spain, and France among those that are warning that ISIS and its
ideology remain a global threat. And Britain's Sunday Times also says that it has obtained documents from ISIS fighters that reveal a plot to attack
various places in Europe.
Fawaz Gerges is the author of ISIS: A History. And professor of international relations at the London School of Economics. He says, make
no mistake, ISIS will be back unless the conditions that gave birth to it are addressed.
And Fawaz joins us now from London. How can you be so sure, sir?
FAWAZ GERGES, CHAIR, CONTEMPORARY MIDDLE EAST STUDIES, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL SCIENCE: I'm not sure at all. We have been wrong
before more than once. First of all, that the five-year caliphate has been shattered for good. ISIS used to rule a country as big as where I am, the
It controlled the lives of 8 million people. So, make no doubts about it, this is a catastrophic military setback for the physical rule of ISIS. But
remember, and this is what I know. The conditions that gave rise to ISIS are still there.
What are the conditions? ISIS is just a symptom. A symptom of fierce geostrategic rivalries in the MENA region, in the great term, at least.
ISIS is a symptom of a severe governance crisis in the region. ISIS is a symptom of also great power and foreign powers interventions in the region.
So, as unless you deal with these symptoms that gave rise to ISIS, we fear that other ISIS or al-Qaeda, or a different organization by a different
name might come to fill the security and the governance void that exists in the region.
[11:35:05] FOLBAUM: How does ISIS explain, though its territorial loss to its supporters? How do they spin it -- you know, to try to attract -- you
know, more followers, if they don't have the land that they promised they were going to have?
GERGES: They have been trying very hard in the past two years to spin this particular catastrophic military setback. By saying that losing land does
not really mean the end of the network, the end of the organization.
In fact, they have been preparing for this particular day for more than two years. But let's also not belittle and underestimate what has happened in
the past -- you know, two years.
ISIS is not invincible, invincible. They would like us to believe they are invincible, unstoppable, undefeatable, they are. But the reality to come
back to a critical point, you cannot just defeat ISIS or al-Qaeda, militarily.
We have to think of a complex strategy, more than just counterterrorism, an economic and political and ideological strategy. And sadly, and
tragically, President Trump, all he cares about is basically throwing military might at it and using the end of the physical rule of ISIS as a
bargaining card in the political electoral process in the United States
FOLBAUM: Let's address the conditions that led to ISIS in the first place that you say are so vital to defeating it once and for all. What are they?
And if U.S. President Donald Trump, in your estimation is not interested in addressing that, how can the rest of the world?
GERGES: Well, this is -- this is really what we are facing today. You have spiraling civil wars in the region and beyond. You have Syria, you
have Libya, you have Yemen. The situation is very fragile in Iraq. Not to mention, Somalia, West Africa. You just reported on another African
And one of the lessons we have learned is that non-state actors, sectarian militias, like ISIS and al-Qaeda are nourished in conflict zones. So, you
have to end the conflicts, the civil wars that basically provide ISIS with a void. And where is the United States and all of that? I don't see the
United States really now interested in real investment in making political and diplomatic investment.
Think of the geostrategic rival is now. In the region between the major regional powers, you have Turkey, you have Iran, you have Saudi Arabia, you
have Russia and the United State. And President Trump, again, is pouring gasoline on geostrategic rivalries.
He's also inflaming Arab-Israeli tensions and giving ISIS and other radical groups, justification, and rationale to appeal to popular opinion in the
region. Not to mention the idea is that the United State now is not interested in really making a major investment in trying to bring about the
international community, to help Muslim dominated societies, heal, and reconcile, and rebuild.
No one is saying the United States will give money. Donald Trump will not give anything. He wants -- he does not give. But the reality is now what
you have is a vacuum of global leadership because the United State is not really interested in developing and constructing a strategy to deal with
the long-term consequences of what ISIS and al-Qaeda have done or have ravaged, Muslim dominated societies in the greater Middle East.
FOLBAUM: The views of Fawaz Gerges, joining us today from London. Thank you very much, professor. Good to get your insight.
GERGES: Thank you.
FOLBAUM: The Israeli prime minister is on his way to the United States, where he'll meet with one of his greatest allies just two weeks before
Israelis go to the polls. Benjamin Netanyahu will visit the White House Monday in his first meeting with Donald Trump since the president announced
the recognition of Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights this past week.
That decision hands Mr. Netanyahu a big foreign policy victory right before Election Day. While in Washington, the prime minister will also address
the pro-Israel lobbying group, AIPAC at their annual convention.
So, will his biggest election rival, former military Chief Benny Gantz will address AIPAC, as well? CNN's Oren Liebermann is live in Jerusalem and
what is the mood there ahead of these two opponents who trip to United States in the upcoming election?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, there haven't been to many election polls yet, since President Donald Trump announced he would
give U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the occupied Golan Heights. That will be the best sense of how it has affected things, and it seems
blatantly apparent that, that was President Donald Trump's intention from the very beginning to hand Benjamin Netanyahu, a major political and
diplomatic victory right before the elections with just over two weeks to go at this point.
There's also no doubt here that it's a move that's celebrated by all Israelis, no matter who you support in the upcoming election.
So, it's something that, perhaps, was expected from Trump even if there was a long shot because other presidents haven't done this. But here it comes
with official recognition, perhaps, coming on Monday. Trump signing that official recognition with Netanyahu trying to hand him another major
political victory with just a couple of weeks to go here.
[11:40:30] FOLBAUM: And this is a president -- a U.S. president that did what other presidents have not done, as far as moving the U.S. embassy to
Jerusalem. And now, the recognition of the Golan Heights. What is the view of President Donald Trump in Israel right now?
LIEBERMANN: Well, he's more popular here than he is anywhere else in the world if I'm not mistaken. According to Pew Research, is certainly more
popular here than he is in the U.S. Here it's somewhere in the 60 percent, so there is somewhat of a split about him.
But, because of the move of the embassy to Jerusalem, because of the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the cancellation of
the Iran deal, and now the Golan Heights, Trump is more popular here than he is in the United States.
FOLBAUM: And talk about President Trump under investigation and being embattled in the U.S. Benjamin Netanyahu is facing some legal problems of
his own -- potential problems in Israel ahead of this election.
LIEBERMANN: And they both have used the same strategy. Try to denounce the investigations as a witch-hunt, say they won't lead anywhere and that
they were manufactured from the very beginning. And it's worked, at least, with the base of each one. With Netanyahu's own constituency, it seems
very few have decided to change their opinion of him. And the same goes for Trump.
Has it changed any opinions though? And that's the bigger question here. It seems those who already liked Netanyahu liked him even more and believed
his denunciation of the investigations, while those who didn't like him still don't like him, or don't like him even more to that extent.
FOLBAUM: A lot of parallels between the U.S. and Israel, politically speaking, Oren Liebermann. Thank you very much, Oren.
Live from Atlanta, this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, rescue teams are overwhelmed by the devastation they're finding in southern Africa. Many
people are waiting to be rescued days after a powerful cyclone flooded that region. We are live on the ground in Mozambique. That's coming up.
Plus, breaking barriers for women. We will take a look at the woman who became Japan's first female commercial airline captain. That's straight
ARI FUJI, FIRST WOMAN PILOT-IN-COMMAND AND TRAINING PILOT FOR DOMESTIC PASSENGER AIRLINE, JAPAN (through translator)
[11:44:36] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "I don't remember when I started thinking of becoming a pilot. However, I met a friend from elementary school who
said to me, 'You said you wanted to become a pilot since you were little.' My name is Ari Fuji. I became Japan's first female commercial airline
captain in 2010."
It was in high school when Fuji started putting in the research hours to figure out a way to earn her wings.
"The wall was high. For example, I wasn't tall enough to qualify for Japan's civil aviation college. The self-defense forces weren't recruiting
women because there were no female pilots back then. I realized all of a sudden that the route to becoming a pilot was unexpectedly narrow."
Yet, she refused to give up and looked abroad for opportunities, getting her pilot's license in the U.S. before returning to Japan to get her
In 1999, she joined JAL Express, the subsidiary of Japan Airlines as a trainee, which eventually led her to where she is today.
"Every time before training, I would say in the mirror, I am the captain. On the outside, I felt I could never show weakness. The last thing I
wanted to hear from people if I failed was that it was still too hard out there for women.
When I got married, a year after becoming a copilot, another pilot said to me, now you've become a pilot, you've got your dream job and got married.
Why don't you quit now?
I was like, what? I guess he thought that as a woman, I was just doing this as a hobby."
Outside of her role as Captain, Fuji is also a pilot instructor. Educating the next generation of pilots, male, and female.
"I'd like to tell them to set their own lifestyles, knowing that gender is not an issue. It was a challenge before as there were no female captains
in Japan before me. Yet, there were many people who were my allies and supported me in my role. I was blessed by them and given encouragement
like, 'you did a good job.' I suppose a played a role in promoting the fact that women too can be pilots."
FOLBAUM: You're watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Rick Folbaum, welcome back.
A powerful cyclone has killed more than 600 people in southeastern Africa, making it one of the deadliest storms to hit the continent in recent
history. It's been more than a week since the storm brought extreme rain and wind. Emergency workers say they are overwhelmed, they're airlifting
food and medical supplies.
Tens of thousands of people have been rescued. The waters have flooded an area so large, it's created an inland sea visible from space. One survivor
says, the storm just swept everything away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIMI MANUEL, SURVIVOR OF CYCLONE IDAI, MOZAMBIQUE (through translator): The water from the beach came up a lot. And the houses, we no longer have
them, and the food is all gone. We don't have any means to live and nowhere to go with the children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOLBAUM: Farai Sevenzo joins us now from the town of Beira, Mozambique, where the cyclone made landfall. Set the scene for us, Farai.
[11:50:03] FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rick, without trying to sound like a doom monger, it was pretty apocalyptic what happened to these
people. It's -- it arrived, Cyclone Idai, during their sleep.
And, of course, it affected in even not just Beira when made landfall. But it went on up to Zimbabwe, to Malawi. That's three countries in southeast
Africa that it affected. And, of course, take a look now at the path the cyclone took on this road.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEVENZO: House after house, factory after factory, Cyclone Idai swept all away before it made landfall in Beira, Mozambique.
So, we've left the city of Beira. And I'm traveling at the road that should lead us all the way into Zimbabwe. But already, as far as the eye
can see, there's nothing but water.
On this drive into the interior of Mozambique, the sea should be behind us by now. But instead, these are the scenes greeting motorists. Farmer's
crops have disappeared and their livestock have nowhere to graze. For many ordinary of Mozambicans, the cyclone he dies waters have taken over their
These southern waters were not clear away soon because the rains continue to fall. The poorest have lost everything. Hastily improvised shelter has
been set up.
Here, there's displaced a sheltering at the railway station, some 80 kilometers away from Beira. With so much water everywhere, rescuers are
concerned about the threat of disease. Cholera, malaria, thrive on stagnant waters. It is thought many people cannot be reached, and that is
the problem here. The dead, the missing, the trapped, nothing has been easy to quantify.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEVENZO: And it is absolutely true. You know, the thing that puzzles me, Rick, as a reporter is that sometimes in these remote areas of Africa, the
government has no senses. That they have no idea which village is occupied by how many people. And, of, course, when things like Idai strike, they
completely covered the whole area under water.
So, then, rescue workers are kept scrambling to find out where the communities used to live, what part can they reach. And, of course, in
areas like Buzi, where the river Buzi versus banks. Just as recently as two days ago, CNN we're hearing reports or people still sitting on their
rooftops. We spoke to people would escape that area. And would lift their families and kids behind to try and seek help. It's a mammoth task for
rescuer workers under this kind of conditions, Rick.
FOLBAUM: And those images that you and your crew captured just really hit home and it breaks your heart to see the challenges that these people are
now facing. Talk to us about the rescuers who are understandably overwhelmed, and the government organization behind getting a food and
clean water and medicine to those who need it. How would you describe that?
SEVENZO: I think, that's a -- that's an operation that is obviously with so much good intention in their hearts. If you come to Beira Airport right
now, Rick, you'll be met by all manner of nationalities. The French, the Canadians, the South Africans, the Zimbabweans, Red Cross, humanitarian
workers from everywhere try to get these people out of this crisis.
And it's a huge beehive kind of activity of choppers from World Food Programme of South African Defense Forces. But, of course, no one knows
exactly where to look for. The one saving grace, Rick, is that the waters, the rain are be speaking about in that report is starting to recede. And
sort of evaporate in this incredibly blistering heat of this high summer.
But, and of course, with that comes the many dangers that bodies -- more bodies are going to be discovered. We're talking about an area not just in
Mozambique. The Chimanimani Mountains of eastern highlands of Zimbabwe crumbled under the very serious ferocious force of this cyclone.
And many people were buried under mud and rubble and rocks. And with that, with the festering heat, it means that the wageworkers have to be seriously
on their toes to prevent cholera, typhoid, and all those waterborne diseases.
FOLBAUM: Devastation in southeastern Africa. Farai Sevenzo, on the ground in the town of Beira in Mozambique. Farai, thank you very much for your
Passengers on board a cruise ship are anxious to arrive in port after spending hours stranded off the coast of Norway. Rough seas, sent the boat
tumbling through waves eight meters high. Take a look at this video that one of the passengers filmed.
Wow. The ship was down to one engine rocking dramatically in the open water. Some passengers say, they hid low in the ship to avoid getting
seasick, rescuers airlifted about 400 people to safety.
The cruise liner has three of its four engines now restored. It is moving slowly back to dry land.
And in tonight's parting shots, a poignant tribute to the Christchurch massacre victims. Rugby players from opposing teams huddled together ahead
of Saturday's Super Rugby game.
The Crusaders, Christchurch's most prestigious sports team were playing their first game since last week's mosque shootings that killed 50 people.
And in another display of solidarity, the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai was lit up with an image of New Zealand's Prime
Minister Jacinda Ardern on Saturday night, a tribute to her response that is being praised after the Christchurch attack.
Ardern's empathy and support for the bereaved families of the victims of the terror attack has earned her worldwide respect. I'm Rick Folbaum.
That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks for watching.