Return to Transcripts main page


Mideast Politics Takes Stage In Annual Song-Fest; U.S. Warns Commercial Airlines Of Risk Over Persian Gulf; Vincent Kompany Leaves Manchester City; Iran F.M.: There Will Be No War With U.S.; Israel Struck Secret Syrian Nuclear Reactor In 2007; CNN On The Ground In Yemen; Alternative To Eurovision Held In Protest Of Israel; Game OF Thrones Series Finale Airs Sunday. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired May 20, 2019 - 11:00   ET



[11:00:00] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: It's camp -- (INAUDIBLE) now, well, it's a giant political spectacle. Madonna sneaking

in two tiny pieces of fabric distracting everyone from all this. Tonight, how all this might be playing to the deal of the century. Then singing a

different tune.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No war will occur.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Saudi Arabia does not want a war.


ANDERSON: Well is so much American might nearby everyone claiming that but do they mean it? Right now complex geostrategic positioning going on

behind the scenes. We are of course, across the region for you. Then, in good Kompany but now Vincent's on his way to where we look at this man's

magic touch.

It is 7:00 in the evening here in Abu Dhabi, half 7:00 in Tehran, 6:00 over in Tel Aviv. We are connecting you through all of these destinations this

evening. Hello and welcome. I'm Becky Anderson.

Well, first this breaking news out of Egypt. At least 14 people were wounded by an explosion near a tourist bus in Egypt. The blast happened

outside the new yet to be opened grand Egyptian Museum close to the Giza pyramids near Cairo.

25 South African tourists were on the bus. The Ministry of Interior telling me moments ago they are all minor injuries not -- and are right not

now being treated at a nearby hospital. More on that as we get it.

Well, now to a glittery camp spectacular. A celebration of music, friendship and joy. I'm talking about Eurovision this year's contest was

unlike so many others in recent years. It went beyond just a song and a dance coming at a tense time for host nation Israel and for the region.

Eurovision 2019 needed to go off without a hitch and it did mostly.


MADONNA, SINGER: Not everyone is coming to the future, not everyone is learning from the past. Not everyone is coming to the future, not everyone

is learning from the past.


ANDERSON: Madonna brought star power to this year's competition. The halftime shows seemed anything but controversial. Then this happened. A

performance snuck in two flags Israel's and the Palestinians.

The Queen of Pop turning a non-political event into a political one. And team Iceland joined her. Here you see the electronic heavy metal group

reveal the Palestinian flag as results were being announced. CNN's Hadas Gold is in Jerusalem for you this evening. You were in Tel Aviv last

night. The Organizer is eager to make the point that the contest isn't supposed to be political. That didn't stop Madonna, Hadas?

HADAS GOLD, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: No Becky, that did not stop Madonna. That did not stop the group from Iceland who had warned that they are

planning to make some sort of statement during their performance. Now Eurovision is supposed to be all about how music can bring people together,

about unity.

It was founded in the aftermath of World War Two. And for the most part, the competition usually goes off without any sort of sense of politics.

Every now and again, politics seems to have a play into the voting system or sometimes you hear boos for certain countries when certain things are

going on around the world.

But this year especially with the competition in Israel, with the tense a situation here, with the situation at the Palestinians, it was bound to

come up.

Now, Madonna, we didn't think that she was necessarily going to do anything on stage. and then those two flags that she put on her dancers, the

European Broadcasting Union, the ones who organized the event and put it on said that it was unplanned, unrehearsed, they were not aware of it, and

that she was aware of the rules about it being political.

Now Iceland seems to be in more trouble because they were the -- they were actual contestants and there are strict rules against keeping politics off

the stage in this contest. And I want to read a part of what the European Broadcasting Union said.

They said the Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event and this directly contradicts the contest rules. The banners were quickly removed

and the consequences of this action will be discussed by the reference group the contest's executive board after the contest.

Now, the punishments for the Iceland group could be everything from a reprimand up to and possibly banning them from competing next year, Becky.

[11:05:17] ANDERSON: Hadas is in Jerusalem for you. And later in the program, I'm going to speak to British-Iraqi Rapper Lowkey. He was one of

the artists that performed at an anti-Eurovision alternative called Global Vision. We speak to him about that, still to come in the show.

Well, turning now to Iran and an emphatic declaration amid heightened tensions with the United States. The country's foreign minister says there

will be no war between the two countries underscoring words spoken by Iran's supreme leader just days ago.

Javad Zarif added that no one is "under the illusion of being able to fight Tehran." This comes as U.S. aviation officials warn of an increased risk

of miscalculation or misidentification for commercial airliners flying over the Persian Gulf. CNN's International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson with

me here in Abu Dhabi. First, let's get you to our Fred Pleitgen in the Iranian capital. Fred?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Becky. Yes, it really feels as though the Iranians feel like they've called the

bluff of the U.S. here in the Persian Gulf. Of course, the U.S. sending an aircraft carrier here to the region and B-52 bombers but then towards the

end of the week President Trump saying that he wants to talk to Tehran.

The Iranians now saying that they are not willing to talk at this point in time. Let's listen to a little more of what Javad Zarif had to say.


JAVAD ZARIF, FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER, IRAN (through translator): I am sure that a supreme leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran Ayatollah

Sayyid Ali Khamenei said no war will occur as neither are we seeking a war nor anyone else as the illusion of being able to fight with Iran in the



PLEITGEN: So essentially what the Iranians are saying on the one end, Becky, is they don't want an escalation here in this region. At the same

time, if an escalation does happen, they have been saying for a very long time that they would be ready for it and that it would be painful for the

United States.

Now, Javad Zarif has said and then overnight last night the president Hassan Rouhani has once again said at this point in time absolutely no

negotiations with the Trump White House. They say they believe that the current policy of the Trump administration that maximum pressure policy is

essentially coercion. And the Iranians say under these circumstances they are simply not willing to talk, Becky.

ANDERSON: That's the view of the lawmakers, those who make decisions for and on behalf of the Iranian people. What's the word on the street?

PLEITGEN: Yes. Well, you know, I think that people have really relaxed and calmed down a little bit. There were a lot of people that actually

towards the middle of the week or a few people who even with us on the street, they came and they asked us, look, is there going to be war between

the U.S. and Iran, but then towards the end of the week the thing that really changed a lot I think for many Iranians was, in fact, the Supreme

Leader coming out and unequivocally saying look, there's not going to be a war between the U.S. and Iran.

Then, of course, you had these other officials saying that as well. I want to listen to what some people on the street I had to say about what their

current mood is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think there won't be war because a war would endanger the U.S. interests and will be costly. This region is

the main oil traffic routes. A war will not only damage the region's economy but also the global economy. I think this situation will be

resolved with negotiations, God willing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I don't think there will be a war. I feel like that I don't know why. I think it's all just threats.


PLEITGEN: So there you have the view from some folks on the streets here in Tehran. The mood certainly a lot more relaxed as I said than it was

towards the middle of the week. At the same time, we can also see the Iranians maybe also trying to take the temperature down themselves a little


One of the things that we've heard of course from our own Barbara Starr is that currently some of those dhows that the U.S. believes were carrying

missiles have returned to their port. And then also quite on Friday, we believe that the Friday prayers here would be very, very fiery after the

week of course that we saw with that aircraft carrier being deployed. It was actually fairly subdued. So it looks like both sides at this point in

time trying to take the temperature down a little bit, Becky.

Stand by Fred. Let's connect you to the very alternative view now with Saudi Arabia calling for emergency meetings within the region following

attacks on its oil industry. Attacks it blame squarely on Iran. Have a listen to this.


ADEL AL-JUBEIR, MINISTER OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, SAUDI ARABIA (through translator): Saudi Arabia does not want a war in the region and

it's not seeking it and will do its best to evade it. At the same time if the other party chooses war, then we will respond with all strength and

determination, and will defend itself and its interests.


[11:10:06] ANDERSON: While de-escalation does seem to be the focus at present, it is worth stepping back and considering how we got here -- Nick

Robertson with me. The U.S. maximum pressure campaign rather than leading to Iranian capitulation has actually led to the potentials for

confrontation as Fred was pointing out.

The U.S. Secretary of State last week said and I quote, our mission set is very clear. The problem is, Nic, it's not clear that is, is it?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, and the problem is if you step right back, everyone has got a mission set here. Let's not

forget that President Rouhani in Iran promised the Iranian people once the international nuclear agreement was signed, therefore their economy would

get better.

That hasn't happened because Iran is still under sanctions for other things like sponsoring terrorism, by ballistic missiles. So the Iranians have got

something to achieve here. They need to get a better state out of where they are right now probably because of the maximum sanctions.

The United States wants something out of this right now. It wants those ballistic missiles curved. It wants Iran to back off supporting what it

says is terrorism in the region. You have the ally, the United States Gulf allies here who all see Iran's growing influence in the region and backing

proxies in Yemen and Syria and Lebanon and on all these places, and that's a concern.

So yes, everyone is sort of dialing back the rhetoric. But the reality, the fundamentals that got us here to this position today haven't changed.

And you ask yourself well what about the Iranian diplomat was arrested with explosives in Europe last summer, the allegations of the plans for attacks

in Europe, the Iranians pulling out potentially from the Iran nuclear deal or parts of it thereof, the missiles onboard boats.

And you know, the questions that diplomats here are asking is what is Iran's real intent here? So the questions haven't gone away. When the

Saudis have that summit and in a couple of -- in about 11-days-time, these are going to be the questions around the table.

ANDERSON: That's right. That is a GCC summit called by the king of Saudi, the GCC countries. It will be interesting to see whether Qatar is one,

invited and two, show up. Also have enormous airbase -- U.S. air base, the El Obeid Air Base in Qatar.

The questions are out whether you know, should the U.S. intend to strike Iran at any point rule permissions be given by these -- by these Gulf

allies to use these bases. We got this warning from the U.S. on the risk for commercial flights over the Persian Gulf.

Iranians will surely remember this, Nic. Back in 1988, an Iranian air passenger jet was shot down by a U.S. guided missile cruiser all 290

passengers and crew were killed. The U.S. said the Navy ship mistook the plane for an Iranian fighter jet. I'm going to get to Fred and find out

what that thought is still high in Tehran. Just your thoughts on this warning from the U.S. that --

PLEITGEN: The warning is real because there's a lot of military hardware in the Gulf right now. It was interesting that the line in that statement

also said as well, we don't believe that the Iranians want to target civilian aircraft, remembering it was the USS Vincennes that had this

state-of-the-art technology that thought a pass an Iranian passenger jet was actually an F-14 Tomcat fighter plane on an attack run to them.

Meanwhile, they were fighting small Iranian vessels. One of their helicopters was out in a gun battle with him. They were fighting these

small Iranian ships have gone into Iranian waters. Mistakes, miscalculations can happen. And I think that's what underlines you know

this warning that actually these things are very real.

You have sophisticated technology at the time that technology computer- driven told the crew something that wasn't true and they acted on it.

ANDERSON: Fred, your thoughts at this point.

PLEITGEN: Well, I mean it certainly seems as though there's a really real concern on the part of the FAA. And I think one of the things that we have

to keep in mind also with that Persian Gulf region with the Gulf of Oman as well is that you have an unbelievable amount of air traffic going through


There's all the air traffic that goes essentially from Europe to all of the Gulf nations, obviously, to the UAE, first and foremost, to Qatar as well.

If you look at that for instance on apps like flight tracker, you have an amazing amount of planes.

I actually -- I've actually flown through that airspace with the U.S. military on various occasion. And even they in the best of times have to

obviously navigate with a lot of civilian traffic that's going through there as well.

And I think what they're saying right now is look, with increased military activity pilots that need to fly through there just need to be a little

more careful especially if the situation continues to eat up. It certainly seems as though that isn't a concern of the FAA and it certainly seems as

though they really want pilots to be aware that there is that tightened tension that's going on right now and just to keep an eye out to see

whether or not the situation escalates as they fly through there, Becky.

[11:15:12] ANDERSON: Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran for you, Nic with me here in Abu Dhabi joining the dots on what is an extremely important story.

Thank you. And later in the show, we'll be taking a deeper look into tensions in the region by examining its complicated history in the region.

That is I'll be speaking with the editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post Yaakov Katz, author of this new book Shadow Strike.

Well, still to come to this half-hour. One half of Manchester is not stopped partying after city won the FA -- the FA Cup to complete a domestic

treble. But celebrations tinged with sadness. Today is captain Kompany boughs out. And it's game over for Game of Thrones. In a few hours, we'll

be saying goodbye to a television show that was so much more. We'll take a look back at what is and was a cultural phenomenon.


ANDERSON: Well, you're looking at the sky-blue side of Manchester feeling like the sky is not the limit after winning their second consecutive

Premier League trophy just days ago. Now Manchester City fans have something else to cheer winning the FA Cup final six-nil on Saturday, their

third domestic trophy of the season unprecedented.

Domestic treble even before achieved -- never before achieved in English football, not even by their neighbors Manchester United during their

decades of dominance. Those extraordinary victories will be tinged sadness today on news that Manchester City's catching giant of the game and one of

the premier league's best and most fearsome leaders Vincent Kompany is leaving the club after 11 years.

The Belgian international soon to be returning home to become player- manager Brussels Club Anderlecht, and he is leaving with quite a record ten major trophies, one with Manchester City. He also scored a screamer in the

penultimate league game of this season, but he's sure that his team are Crown Premier League champions for the second consecutive year.

You think that it be all there is to say about anyone. World sports Kate Riley joining me now from CNN's worldwide headquarters. Not enough

superlatives to describe Mr. Kompany. Give it a go though, Kate.

[11:20:38] KATE RILEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: Oh gosh, you don't ask the easy task do you, Becky. But yes -- and you mentioned that amazing

goal by Kompany. Of course fans and commentators like that day calling for Kompany to have a statue outside of the Etihad. Let's just answer the

question, why is Vincent Kompany returning to Brussels, why is he going back to Anderlecht?

Well, as a six-year-old, that's the club where he started, and later going on to sign his first professional contract. And as they say, well, the

rest is history. But we're to recap it all for you. He returns the club where it all started for this legendary player.

Remember, he's won 10 trophies in 11 years at Manchester City. In an open letter to the fans earlier explaining his departure, he showed real

humility saying he's learned so much from the likes of Pep Guardiola at City, and now wants to get his original Club to play just like City do.

And City of course play in such an impressive way like he touched on there, only yesterday completing the domestic treble never done before in England.

The parade on Monday in Manchester though to celebrate such a feat will no doubt be rather bittersweet as the fans get to say goodbye to Vincent

Kompany as well.

Now, Becky, I want to show you some of the tweets from people that know Vincent really well. He goes out on a high of course. His teammate for

club and country Kevin de Bruyne taking to Twitter and paying tribute by tweeting the following, playing for about ten years this man for club and

country. And what a privilege it's been. Big player, big personality, big leader. I learn a lot from you. Wishing you all the best in the future.

By the way, picking you up at Tempe today so that times already gone. So clearly the two of them are out enjoying themselves, and who can blame them

and when we look back at Kompany City career, he really was part of the revolution here.

And the next generation of City players like the local lad Phil Foden also tweeting looked after me from day one led by example, showed everyone what

it means to be a leader where their heart on their sleeve and give everything for the club. We will miss you, captain.

And also, just listening to sports radio from the U.K. today and sports television networks as well out there talking to the fans, receiving calls

from the fans, plenty of fans expressing their shock. I heard things like he's a legend and they gutted about the news and people also questioning

whether or not Kompany is of course City's best signing of all time. He could well be, can he, Becky?

ANDERSON: Yes. He could well be. He wasn't side by Pep Guardiola who is the current manager and a fantastic manager at that. I mean, again,

superlatives. You run out of them when you -- when you're discussing Pep. What happens next for the club? I mean, you know, very few people can see

anything but success going forward. This is a real new and successful era for this club, isn't it?

RILEY: Yes, very much so. I think city just carry on the way. They are on a huge momentum. Back-to-back wins in the EPL. They're just going to

carry on as normal. What we were discussing in the office here, Vincent's move back to Belgium. Is that now a change of momentum? Is this now a

milestone? Will the Belgian League now be what we discussed when we discuss the top five? Will it now be a discussion of the top six in


So it could well be a monumental moment really. So I guess all will come to fruition in a few years' time but this could well be the start of big,

big things in over in the European leagues.

ANDERSON: Yes, fantastic. All right, well good. Thank you for that. So Vincent Kompany as Kate pointed out joined Manchester City in 2008 at the

beginning of this club's new era and its meteoric rise in English football. The year it was snapped up by this place right here, the emirate of Abu


I spoke to Vincent Kompany about five years back at the end of another Premier League winning season. Have listen.


VINCENT KOMPANY, FOOTBALLER: We've I think played a certain style of football for which we can be recognized for now, I think. And I just feel

as if this season has brought so much to the club as well for its credibility towards becoming actually a big club and not just a trophy

winning team if you understand the difference. I'm just really -- as I said, I'm in a happy place now because I think we've done our job right.

No team goes through a season without having lows. Every season does. And if you don't, you're one of the best teams of all time.


[11:25:21] ANDERSON: Well, that was five years back. Five years on, after an almost perfect domestic football season, many are saying that this

Manchester City side is the best premier league team of all time. So Vincent Kompany quitting while he is on top.

Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now. And Indians cast ballots today in the final face of six-

week national elections. Voters were deciding whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi will stay in power for another five years. The race is

considered the world's biggest exercise in democracy. Official results due on Thursday.

Austria's president says snap elections will be held in September. This, after the country's vice chancellor, resigned on Saturday over a corruption

scandal. Heinz-Christian Strache was caught on video appearing to offer government contracts to a Russian woman.

And Britain's Labour Party leader says there will be no more Brexit talks between his party and the prime minister. (INAUDIBLE) Jeremy Corbin said

we've concluded the talks arguing Theresa May's government still hasn't changed its red lines. Parliament will vote on Mrs. May's latest Brexit

bill next month.

Coming up in unsteady time here in the Middle East as tensions flare, we look back to a military strike in the region over a decade ago. Plus pro-

Palestinian artists ban together to offer an alternative to Eurovision. We'll speak to one of the artists behind this protest performance.


[11:30:36] ANDERSON: Well, now for a quick recap of one of our top stories. Iranian -- the Iranian foreign minister is echoing a declaration

by the country's supreme leader. There will be no war with the United States. Javad Zarif, says no country is under the illusion they could take

on Iran.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has called an emergency summit at the end of the month between Arab leaders in the wake of attacks on Saudi oil facilities.

Well, Israel, of course, watching all of this as closely as you can imagine, it keeps a close eye on its own neighborhood. You all remember

these pictures from 12 years ago, Israeli warplanes seek into Syrian airspace to bomb an apparent Syrian nuclear reactor.

U.S. intelligence suspect it was built with help from North Korean and was just months from completion. You're looking at the images before and after

that strike. The facility obliterated. But if it had been completed, it would have made Syria the first Arab nuclear state.

Well, comparing then and now, the author of this new book, Shadow Strike, examines the 2007 bombing of Syria's nuclear reactor. And offers an

insight into whether Israel might one day need to take action against Iran's nuclear facilities. Its author and editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem

Post, Yaakov Katz, joining me now live from Jerusalem. And really as one reviewer put it like a spy thriller a Newt Gingrich describing your book as

remarkable -- one of the most compelling stories I have read in a long time.

Walk us through how you stack up what happened 12 years ago, and what is going on now? Two very different situations and an attack 12 years ago on

a Syrian facility would be a very different situation, wouldn't it be? Then, to an Israeli attack on, you know, fortified Iran as it were.

YAAKOV KATZ, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE JERUSALEM POST: I think without a doubt, Becky, and that's 100 percent true. What happened 12 years ago is Israel

discovered by chance almost that Syria was building together with the North Koreans this nuclear reactor in the Northeast along the Euphrates River.

And had that small window as you mentioned to take out that reactor before it went hot before it became active.

And then, a strike would have spread radioactive material throughout the region and all across the Euphrates, it would have been horrific. So,

Israel had that window and took it. The difference between then and now is that A, everyone knows about Iran. It's been a challenge and a threat for

the world for, at least, almost two decades with its nuclear program.

Two, is the fact that in Syria, and in 1981, when Israel bombed the Osirak reactor outside of Baghdad, that Saddam Hussein was building, those were

two single facilities both in Iraq and in Syria above ground that weren't heavily defended and heavily fortified.

In Iran, you have facilities spread across the country, and some of them like the Natanz main uranium enrichment facility is deep underground behind

concrete and steel. So, it makes a regular conventional air strike a bit more complicated than what we've seen in the past.

ANDERSON: You have clearly spent an awful long time researching this but the crits I have to say are glowing. How do you then consider what is

going on and in for -- what can you offer so far as sort of intelligence is concerned, as to what is going on today? And how the U.S. and Israel are

trying to work out what happens next with regard to Iran.

KATZ: Well, I think as we saw, and during the work on this book, I spoke with everyone on the Israeli side who was involved, everyone in the U.S.

side where I could get to who was involved. And what I was able to see was just how close the U.S.-Israel Alliance really is.

We often hear about how it's unshakeable, unbreakable, but behind that veil, behind that curtain, you really get to see what was said in those

closed-door meetings between the president and the prime minister, the head of the CIA, or the head of the Mossad. The head of the IDF, the Israeli

army, and the U.S. military, and you see how it really works.

So, two things that I could say about what's happening now. One is that that's even more so today. That relationship has only grown and become

stronger. And even under President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu who both have troubles, let's say domestically, when it comes to their

relationship is extremely close as we all know, and we all see.

And we can imagine just how intimate they're working together on the Iranian challenge. But the second piece of that is, is that Israel I think

would prefer for there to be a new deal. And that seems to be what the Trump administration is trying to get out of the Iranians, and I think

we're seeing that de-escalation right now is to negotiate a new deal that would prevent the Iranians from ever being able to break out to a nuclear


But, the last thing is that Israel has proven not once but twice. In 1981, in Iraq, and in 2007 in Syria. That when needed, it knows how to use

military force to remove a threat that it used to be of an existential nature. That's what it did in shadow strike when it took out the Syrian


And I think that if it comes to it, if one day down the road, and we're not yet there, Becky. But if one day it does come to it, and Israel does fear

that the Iranians are close, they will take military action to prevent them from getting that nuclear weapon.

[11:36:08] ANDERSON: "Pull me," says Trump. I mean, look, we know that, that is not likely. But do you believe it is more likely. But any deal

were a sort of a diplomatic narrative to be carved out at this point. Would be between the U.S. and Iran. For example, leaving the Europeans,

Russians, and the Chinese out this time.

KATZ: Look, I think it's possible. I think one of the problems right now with the 2015 deal is that even though the U.S. pulled out, everyone else

has pretty much stayed in. And that's why the Iranians haven't felt so much pressure. But now with the waivers, and the oil deals and all the

energy sanctions that have also been put in place by the U.S., that start to -- they're starting to feel that on the streets of Tehran and across


And also the European countries are starting to think twice before they start to do business with the Iranians like they were since 2015. So, I

think it's possible that the Iranians would be able to reach a new deal with the -- with the Americans. I don't think anyone has an interest in a

war right now.

Iran in particular, if there's one thing that interests them the most, it's the survival of the regime. And you'll remember, Becky, in 2003, when

America was building up its forces ahead of the invasion of Iraq before that war, Iran suspended its entire nuclear program. Why? At least, in

Israel, and among in the intelligence circles here, there was a feeling and an understanding that the Iranians thought that they might be next in line.

That Bush had gone to the Taliban in Afghanistan. He was taking out Saddam in Iraq, and now, he was going to go off after the Iranians.

And the Iranians thought that. And therefore, they put the brakes on everything. So, you see that wouldn't there's a credible military threat

on the table, the Iranians are rational actors, and that seems to be with the strategies right now.

Build-up those forces. The USS lean can strike force. The B-52 bombers, get them in the region. Show the Iranians that you're not just talking,

you're also holding a big stick that might be enough to get them to come back to the table and renegotiate a deal.

ANDERSON: The U.S. president says he isn't looking for war. We know he is looking for a peace deal within -- between the Israelis and Palestinians,

and we are expecting to the details of Jared Kushner's plan, any time soon.

A few weeks ago, Oman's foreign minister told me that relations with Israel are normalized that he's not alone. Have a listen to the UAE's Minister of

State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, speaking to me just before the weekend.


ANWAR GARGASH, MINISTER OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, UAE: On the one hand, the Israeli-Palestinian issue is long overdue. The Palestinians

deserve an independent state with Jerusalem as East Jerusalem as its capital, the Israelis also deserve their secure state and the region.

I think this is what we have -- we have learned. It is very important to do it because we've seen over the years that our current approach that many

of the Arab states have taken for many, many years has only -- has not worked purely.


ANDERSON: Ahead of the details of this plan as everyone tries to second- guess what Jared Kushner is likely to present. Do you believe the Arabs have changed their tune?

KATZ: Look, I think there is a change. You hear it, you see it, you saw Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit to Oman just a couple of months ago, which

seems historic at the time. We know that there's a lot going on behind the scenes between the Saudis and the other Gulf states with Israel in an

unprecedented way.

It might not be overt above the surface, but it's there. And I think that they would like to take it to the next stage, and the next level, but they

have their public opinion also that they need to worry about. And that's what's holding back a lot of this. The people in the streets of those

countries are not yet ready to see their countries and their governments normalize those ties in an official capacity while this conflict still

seemingly exists.

Although, on the other hand, I'm not going to hold my breath for this deal to come through as they call it. And you know, the deal of the century. I

don't know how they're going to get the Palestinians to come back to the table. That there's a complete disconnect between Ramallah and Washington

at the moment. And unless they have some wild card up their sleeve, it'll be difficult to see how this all comes together.

But definitely, there is a change in the region. And the reason that change is taking place is because I think, the Gulf states understand today

that the real threat -- the real challenge, it's not Israel, it's the Iranians. And they need to work with Israel to counter the Iranians.

Israel is a pillar of stability in the Middle East. They know what Israel did back in 2007 with Syria taking out that reactor. They know what it did

with Saddam's reactor in '81. They know how Israel is fighting against the Iranians and trying to undermine their capabilities. They know they need

to work with the country. And that's why you're seeing this change of tone right now.

[11:41:07] ANDERSON: That's the view of Mr. Katz of The Jerusalem Post. Sir, thank you very much indeed for joining us, elsewhere in the region.

Yemen's ongoing civil war has devastated an already poor country. Sam Kiley, my colleague travels 4,000 kilometers through Northern Yemen to

investigate the world's worst humanitarian crisis. He tries to find out why 10 million people in Yemen are on the verge of famine. Even though,

the U.N. has the resources to feed 12 million people this year. Have a look at this.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He's almost a year old, but he's the weight of a baby at three months. These children are victims

of a vicious circle, they're starving because of the siege of the port that supplies them, and their rebel Houthi who the government's diversion of

what little aid gets in. In the Yemen now, nearly everyone is short of food.

MEKKIYAH AL-ASLAMI, NURSE, HEAD OF THE ASLAM HEALTH UNIT (through translator): Malnutrition isn't only a problem among the displaced and the

host community. We have it too, even us, the employees, our children back home are malnourished.


ANDERSON: Don't want to miss this. It is important to see CNN special coverage of that starts Monday here on CONNECT THE WORLD. That 7:00 p.m.

in Abu Dhabi, 4:00 in the afternoon in London. You can work it out wherever you are watching in the world. Live from Abu Dhabi, of course,

and up next, an alternative for those who say Eurovision should not have been held in Israel.

Pro-Palestinian activists staged a performance of their own. And we're going to speak with one of the performers. And at the prestigious

Preakness Stakes a riderless horse finishes the race. Details on that up next.


[11:45:15] ANDERSON: Well, we take you to Eurovision at the top of this hour, and now we'll take you to what could be called the anti-Eurovision.

That's right. In response to the song competition's controversial setting of Israeldiship, pro-Palestinian activists held a counter-performance

dubbed Globalvision that was streamed from cities across the world.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Free, free Palestinian. Free, free Palestinian. Free, free Palestine


ANDERSON: One of the performers, British Iraqi rapper, Lowkey, join me now from London. Sir, why?

LOWKEY, BRITISH-IRAQI RAPPER AND ACTIVIST: Hi, Becky. How are you doing? Firstly we -- actually, were streaming to 35,000 people worldwide. Now,

that's more than the tickets that were actually sold for the Eurovision. And in the words of the head of the Israeli Broadcasting services, Israel

has been the first country in 64-year history of the Eurovision that was not able to fund itself.

It relied on the broadcasting services to do it, we know that there was not a spike in tourism, and we know that also, the Eurovision village itself

was on the remains of El Manchir, a Palestinian village of Jaffa that was deleted from existence in the Nakba of 1948.

So, we saw that Israel is in a situation where it violates more U.N. resolutions and more international law than any other country, but yet,

seems sanction-proof. So, for that reason, upon inspiration from the BDS campaign in South Africa, upon the advice of former U.S. President Jimmy

Carter, who defines Israel as an apartheid state of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner.


ANDERSON: All right. Yes.

LOWKEY: The boycott and divestment sanctions is a sound nonviolent form of resistance.

ANDERSON: Lowkey, your job was sort of done for you by Madonna, was it not, last night, and the band representing Iceland. I mean, Eurovision say

this isn't about politics, but it was last night.

LOWKEY: Well, we would have preferred that Madonna didn't cross the ticket line. But in fact, the fact that she had to have a Palestinian flag on

stage is a testament to the success of our campaign, and also is a testament to the fact that Israel cannot leave 12.5 million people

worldwide -- which is the Palestinian worldwide population, in a state of ontology, in a state of constant anticipation for more just futures.

Also the fact, that the Icelandic team felt the need to show the Palestinian flag as well. Again, we would have preferred they not cross the

picket line, and these esthetic gestures are limited. But at the same time, I would say they're be a testament to our success.

ANDERSON: Let's talk about the politics for the region. We are promised the details of a peace plan from the U.S. president's son-in-law, Jared

Kushner. We don't have the details as of yet.

There are those who say this plan will simply maneuver out the Palestinians, effectively. And that the many countries from the region

that we are in, in access with the U.S. and Israel are sort of forging ahead, whatever lead in the Palestinians behind. What's your sense?

LOWKEY: Well, paragraph six, Article 49 of a -- the Geneva conventions outlaws the moving of citizens of an occupying power from inside that power

to the state it occupies. Israel has fill up across the peace process illegal settlers in the west bank that number almost 600,000 people.

They have access to over 70 percent of the clean water in the West Bank. We have seen the peace process as a subterfuge for the continued

colonization of Palestinian land and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people from their homeland.

If you look at the law even within Israel, yes, there are 1.5 million Palestinians that have Israeli citizenship that have the right to

participate in elections. As do, I might remind you, the illegal settlers in the West Bank, by the way.

However, those people, those Palestinians within Israel, what they have is Israeli citizenship. They don't have a nationality.


LOWKEY: Their nationality is defined as Arab.


LOWKEY: There is Jewish nationality, there is a Russian nationality. There is a Syrian nationality. Legal rights group, (INAUDIBLE), have

identified over 50 laws within Israel that enshrine inequality between Jews and Arabs. Now, Ehud Barak said it clearly, Israel can either be

nondemocratic or it can be -- it's either racism or democracy, and that's a clear choice for us. It's not a difference between Jews and Palestinians.

[11:50:16] ANDERSON: OK.

LOWKEY: It's the difference between those that believe in the quality of all and those that believe in the supremacy of some.

ANDERSON: Lowkey, thank you.

LOWKEY: Thank you very much.

ANDERSON: And your live stream hype of Bethlehem. Dublin as well, as London last night. Your view will be considered by some. Extremely

controversial, they are your views, good to have you on the show. Thank you.

LOWKEY: I disagree. Thank you.

ANDERSON: Well, there's a lot going on this out. Still to come, goodbye Game of Thrones. Millions of fans worldwide will be tuning in to watch the

final show that airs in just hours. A look back, ahead.


ANDERSON: Well, brace yourself, the end is coming. The final episode of HBO's fantasy drama, Game of Thrones just hours away. Over the past eight

years, millions of viewers have become almost fanatical fans. The epic story about warring kings, buying dragons, and frozen undead monsters

became a cultural phenomenon. And you never knew which character would beat the next to die. Paul Vercammen takes a look back at the show and its



PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: The show that reigned over fantasy drama for nearly a decade is finally laying down at Zoar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The night king is going.

VERCAMMEN: With the last ever episode of HBO's hit series, Game of Thrones, an era of television history closes. Since its debut in 2011,

Game of Thrones has shattered records around the globe with dozens of wins. It is HBO's most awarded show and most watched.

Drawing viewers from over 200 countries, last season was seen by more than 32 million in the U.S. alone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's exciting, it's thrilling, it's dangerous, and you never know what's going to happen.

VERCAMMEN: It's also become the most license program in HBO history. Inspiring countless ads, products, and accessories from companies looking

to cash in on the massive global hit.

BERNADETTE CAULFIELD, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, GAME OF THRONES: You know we're not American, we're not European, we're a world that anybody can belong to.

VERCAMMEN: Over its eight seasons, the show became a cultural phenomenon. Parodied in late-night comedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just need to know, did people hate me?

VERCAMMEN: Referenced by the U.S. president and his former opponent.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Which is closer to reality of life in politics? Which T.V. show?

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Probably Game of Thrones. And in European politics as well.

FRANS TIMMERMANS, LEADER, PARTY OF EUROPEAN SOCIALIST: Today, United Kingdom looks like Game of Thrones on steroids.

VERCAMMEN: From politicians, to pop stars, to the press.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I am obsessed with Game of Thrones.

VERCAMMEN: Game of Thrones fanfare knows no bounds.

[11:55:00] COOPER: I'm Anderson Cooper, winter is coming.

VERCAMMEN: HBO invested heavily in its epic battle scenes, cringe of storytelling and stunning visuals. Reportedly spending an average $15

million per episode in the final season.

The result was a series with a devoted but often outspoken audience. Hundreds of thousands of people have signed a petition demanding a remake

of the final season, claiming the writing and plot twists were subpar.

BRIAN LOWRY, CNN MEDIA CRITIC: This is a franchise people are extremely invested in, they've had a long time to think about. Where they see the

story going, and when it goes in a direction that they don't like, they are not shy about expressing as much.

VERCAMMEN: Well, some may be disappointed, others are downright distraught. One company is offering therapy sessions for those grieving

its end. Although, that may not be necessary. HBO has already confirmed, at least one spin-off series and rumors of others abound. So, the fire,

drama, and fantasy, they continue for years to come.

Paul Vercammen, CNN, Hollywood.


ANDERSON: Right before we leave you tonight, do you sometimes feel a bit redundant at your job? Well, One U.S. jockey probably does. Right about

now, War of Will won the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore yesterday. But this horse, stole the spotlight Bodexpress expressly throwing off his jockey

right out of the gate. That didn't stop him from finishing the race.

In fact, even took a second lap around the track before starting. The jockey not hurt. We doubt he'll give the horse a carrot anytime soon then.

I started for us to (INAUDIBLE) sunset now, was it well? We'll be back tomorrow with a lot more. We've got some great stuff lined up for you


I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD, from the team working with me here, and those around the world. Thank you for watching. See you