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Trump Expects Successful Summit, But Ready to Walk Away; Miguel Diaz-Canel Succeeds Raul Castro as Cub's President; Journalists Were Allowed into Devastated Douma; American Woman Describes Her Experience in Syria; Iran Vowed Retaliation Against Israel After Syria Strike. Aired 11- 12p ET

Aired April 19, 2018 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAMANTHA SALLY, WIDOW OF ISIS FIGHTER: No, no one will ever, ever be able to imagine what it's like to watch their husband rape a 14-year-old girl.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Then she tells CNN she is glad it was her husband raping that child, a slave they bought. We take you inside an ISIS

family this hour. Plus, we hear from the victim herself. What she tells us is nothing short of incredible.

Then pop quiz. Who rules Cuba? Wrong. Not a Castro. At the end of an era we take you to Havana.

And -- ding dong, they are getting hitched in a month. All the details this hour.

Welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. It is 7:00 here.

First up, the arts of the deal, Deal Donald Trump says he is ready to break an historic agreement with North Korea, but he's also ready, he says, to

walk away. The U.S. President projecting confidence that he can succeed where others before him have failed when it comes to winning concessions on

Pyongyang's nuclear program. Yesterday, Ed his Mar-a-Largo resort he stood alongside Japan's Prime Minister and pledge to continue a campaign of

maximum pressure in the lead up to his expected summit with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

Mr. Trump promised he would not repeat the mistakes of the past and revealed some of his strategy.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If I think that it's a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we're not going to go. If the

meeting when I'm there is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting.


ANDERSON: Well, the entire region and indeed the world are watching closely to see if Mr. Trump's high-stakes gamble pays off. We are joined

by senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson, who is with you this evening in Seoul. And White House reporter, Stephen Collinson, a regular

guest on this show out of Washington for you. Ivan, whilst we wait to find out where and when or indeed if at all, this meeting between the leaders of

the U.S. and North Korea will happen, the Japanese Prime Minister leaving Mar-a-Lago with what exactly?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's a good question. He was certainly expressing skepticism about the upcoming talks.

He pointed out in 1994 and in 2005, he argued that there had been agreements made with North Korea to suspend its nuclear weapons program and

he claimed that North Korea then reneged on those agreements and bought time, exploited the situation to further develop its nuclear weapons

program. Take a listen to what he had to say alongside President Trump at Mar-a-Lago.


SHINZO ABE, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Just because North Korea is responding to dialogue there should be no reward. Maximum

pressure should be maintained. An actual implementation of concrete actions towards denuclearization will be demanded.


WATSON: And this is what's so interesting here, Becky, is that President Trump is straddling two key U.S. allies. The Japanese Prime Minister, on

the one hand, who's skeptical about North Korea's intentions. And the South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, who has so instrumental in helping

North Korea begin its several month period of diplomatic overtures towards the rest of the world. And it's Moon Jae-in who is speaking today who

claims that North Korea essentially dropped one of its frequent demands in the past that U.S. reduce its military forces stationed here in South Korea

in exchange for discussions about denuclearization.

That he claims that North Korea has effectively made a concession with dropping this demand and he's also looked back to history, arguing that he

helped set up the last summit between North and South Korea in 2007, that he's experienced with this process and he was also laying out some of his

strategy going into what will be South Korea's summit with North Korea next week.

[11:05:00] Saying that any success there will hinge on the subsequent and as yet to be determined summit between Kim Jong-un and President Trump --


ANDERSON: Let's get you to Stephen. Standby Ivan. Stephen, we've got the ground rules according to Mr. Trump and this strategy of revealing nothing

is the way that he plays his hand. After all, he would have us believe he is this arch negotiator. Let's face it. The fact that we are here looking

at a summit between the North and the South of Koreas. And looking for a date, a time and a place for a meeting between the U.S. and North Korea, is

nothing short of remarkable, right?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right. And it's kind of interesting, a lot of the people who are criticizing the President for

his fire and fury rhetoric and his rather cavalier talk about nuclear weapons a few months ago. Some of those are now skeptical about his

diplomatic approach and holding a summit with Kim Jong-un. I think what this shows is though is that we don't -- it doesn't seem as though there

really is much of a U.S. strategy and they don't really know what the North Koreans are going to come up with. Notwithstanding the CIA chief Mike

Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang.

The President is approaching this almost like a real estate deal in New York. You go in. If you don't get the deal you want, you walk away.

That's a position that's supported by his hawkish national security adviser, John Bolton. But just look at the consequences of that. If

Donald Trump has this summit. He walks out. There is no deal on the table. Where are you then? You're straightaway, you've short circuited

the diplomatic process and you're right there at that position where you say to yourself, so what do I do now? And that's when military option

becomes much more likely.

So, this is I think the talk around the summit the last few days is an illustration not just of how personalize this is for the President and how

he's put his own credibility on the line, but of the consequences of an American President without much preparation sitting down with the leader of

North Korea and that's one of the reasons why previous Presidents have been rather loathed to take this step at the start of a diplomatic process.

ANDERSON: So, Ivan, some concern about concessions then that Donald Trump might offer an exchange for North Korea's denuclearization. Today, a

significant announcement, of course, from Seoul. The President saying that Pyongyang has indeed dropped its long-standing demand that U.S. forces

withdraw from South Korea. That is a sign of relief for U.S. allies in the region. Who do rely on America's military presence to counter any

potential threats. Is it clear why North Korea has been willing to make that concession? How might it affect upcoming talks? Just, just briefly

towards the end of that answer, if you will, the South has been very complimentary about the role the U.S. President has played in all of this.

But is it clear whether the South actually believes the U.S. got a strategy going forward?

COLLINSON: The Moon Jae-in administration has been very complimentary of President Trump and of the Trump administration. And Moon Jae-in has made

it clear he cannot improve relations with Pyongyang without his most important ally, the U.S. also on board. That this Gordian Knot, it ties up

the U.S. It ties up South Korea and frankly it brings in China and Japan as well. So, it's a multifaceted diplomatic process that has to move forward.

And he's made it clear that success for him at the upcoming summit will very much depend also on success for whatever summit comes down the line

with President Trump.

And we do have to point out, we still don't have a location for this what could be an historic meeting between a U.S. President and a North Korean

leader. We don't have a location or a date for it. And they're going to start running up against a different deadline. And that is that the

Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, has said that he's going to go to Pyongyang to meet for a second time with the North Korean leader. And presumably,

President Trump would want to do that before the Chinese leader shows up in Pyongyang.

ANDERSON: Busy times. Busy times. To both of you, thank you.

While we've been speaking, you've probably noticed this on your screen. Advertising the interview with the former FBI director. We want to give

you this programming note. CNN's Jake Tapper, my colleague, will interview James Comey on "THE LEAD," which is Jake's show, later today. Tune in at

midnight here, Abu Dhabi, you'll work out the time for yourself wherever you're watching. An important interview.

[11:10:07] As President Trump moves to roll back Obama's opening with Cuba, an historic change is happening on the island. For the first time in

nearly 60 years, someone named Castro is not at the helm. Instead, the man, this man. First vice President, Miguel Diaz-Canel has been tapped to

lead the nation. He replaces Raul Castro who's been addressing the National Assembly, but this big leadership transition not expected to usher

in sweeping change. These are live pictures coming to you from Havana in Cuba. CNN's Patrick Oppmann is our man in Havana and he joins me now live

covering what is an historic transition -- Patrick.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very much so, Becky. And make no mistake, the man replacing Raul Castro is a Castro loyalist. He is someone

they trust that will continue on down this path. The only communist run country the hemisphere. But you know, the it's taken 60 years for Cubans

to get here. Think of it? Right now, starting today, you have the man who is President of Cuba, whose name is not Castro. As we listen to Raul

Castro, he is laying out that Miguel Diaz-Canel is his man. Because although Raul Castro will stay on as head of the Communist Party for

another three years.

He says that in three years, want to turn over that mantle to Miguel Diaz- Canel. So, making very, very clear that this is his man. And that more power will continue to transfer to him. One title that is not transferring

right away at least, is head of the army. That is the most powerful institution on the island. Raul Castro not surprisingly will stay as head

of army in Cuba. Miguel Diaz-Canel does not have any experience in the military so they're in the putting the military under civilian control. At

least not yet. Miguel Diaz-Canel was born after the revolution. He's 57. Tomorrow is his birthday and as an early present, he's been giving the

leadership of Cuba and all the problems that come with it -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Let's have a look at your report on this.


OPPMANN (voice-over): There are long lines for just about everything in Cuba. But you usually don't see top Cuban officials waiting in them.

Except when Cuban first Vice President, Miguel Diaz-Canel, cued up alongside residents in his hometown of Santa Clara to vote in the single

parliament party elections in March. In his carefully scripted remarks, Diaz-Canel he sounds a lot like Cuba's older generation that has held on to

power for the last six decades.

MIGUEL DIAZ-CANEL, THEN CUBAN FIRST VICE PRESIDENT (through translator): We are defending our process. We are defending our revolution, he says.

Which continues to be threatened, which continues to be attacked.

OPPMANN: After Fidel Castro seized power in 1959, he became not only Cuba's head of state, but also the first secretary of the ruling Communist

Party and top general of Cuba's armed forces. Title that Fidel eventually turned over to his younger brother, Raul after he nearly died from a

mystery illness in 2006.

Now, Raul Castro is 86 and ready to transfer power to a handpicked successor.

Comrade Diaz-Canel isn't enough start or and improvisation, Raul Castro said in 2013. His trajectory has lasted nearly 30 years. During the years

he worked his way up the Communist Party hierarchy in Cuba's provinces. Diaz-Canel earned a reputation as an efficient administrator and not so

interested in the limelight.

(on camera): In the rough and tumble world of Cuban politics, showing any ambitious could be the kiss of death to one's career. Many of Miguel Diaz-

Canel's contemporaries were sidelined after they lost the faith of the Castros. If Diaz-Canel does become the next president of Cuba, it may be

in part simply because he survived longer than the competition.

Still, almost no one expects Diaz-Canel to run the whole show. While Castro is expected to remain head of the Cuban Communist Party until at

least 2021. And it's unlikely that Diaz-Canel who has little military experience will head Cuba's powerful armed forces. Unlike the Castros,

Diaz-Canel could have a harder time imposing his will on various factions within the Cuban government.

CARLOS ALZUGARAY, FORMER CUBAN DIPLOMAT: In my time, when Fidel or Raul said something, I would do it. Even if I had second thoughts. Is that how

the younger generation and Diaz-Canel is going to react to what Diaz-Canel says?

OPPMANN (voice-over): And that could mean another first for Cuba. A President who will need to form alliances to stay in power.


OPPMANN: And Becky, Cubans are still absorbing the fact they have a new president and still trying to figure out what he's going to do to address

Cuba's many problems -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Amazing. All right, Patrick. Thank you for that. Patrick Oppmann is in Havana. I'm in Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD.

[11:15:00] Still to come, from American dream to ISIS nightmare. CNN hears from a U.S. mother who is detained in northern Syria waiting to hear her


Plus, I speak to a journalist who made it into a Syrian town of Douma ten days after a suspected chemical attack. What he saw and heard is up next.


In Syria security fears mean that chemical weapons inspectors still haven't made it into the recapture town of Douma. The scene of a suspected gas

attack nearly 2 weeks ago. The UN now says it must carry out another security check in the formerly rebel held town after an advanced team came

under fire earlier this week. U.S. says the timing of the fact-finding mission is critical.


JAMES MATTIS, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: We are very much aware of the delay that the Regime imposed on that delegation. But we are also very much

aware of how they have operated in the past and see all what they have done using chemical weapons. In other words, using the pause after a strike

like that to try to clean up the evidence.


ANDERSON: One man who did make it into Douma is Stefan Borg. He's an international correspondent with Sweden's TV4 news and one of the few

reporters to have visited the scene of that suspected chemical attack. And we'll take a look, Stefan at some of your reporting in moment. But for

clarity sake, please let our viewers know how you got access to what was until recently BBC's town of Douma, and how free were you to move about and


STEFAN BORG, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, TV4: Well, that was an organized thaw by the ministry of information, so we were some ten vehicles with the

international journalists that were allowed to enter Douma. And we made stops at three different places. The third was quite close to where this

chemical attack happened. We were not stopped to moving around freely and nobody told us what to do. So, I just started asking the locals exactly

where this building was and after some ten minutes, we got there as the first foreign journalist to see that building where the chemical attack

actually happened and talk to people there.

[11:20:04] ANDERSON: Stefan, some journalists said they spoke to residents who said there was no gas attack. Just like the Syrians in the Russians

content. But you did I know speak to a man who says he survived an attack. I want our viewers just to listen to his account. Stand by.


NASSAR AMER HANEN, SAYS HE SURVIVED GAS ATTACK (through translator): We sat in the basement when it happened. The house was hit around 7:00 in the

evening. We ran out and women and children ran into the house. I didn't know the house had been hit from above and was filled with gas. The ones

who ran into the house died immediately. I ran out. Feeling dizzy.


ANDERSON: Stefan, the men running away, the women and children running towards the gas, that's quite a jumbled account. You spoke to several

other witnesses, I know. Who did they blame for the attack?

BORG: Well, this gentleman that we spoke to, who by the way, lost his wife, his pregnant wife pregnant wife, brothers, sisters, only his father

survived because he wasn't there. He blamed the rebel side for doing this. And also, he blamed the white helmets, the emergency service there for not

coming to rescue them when that happened.

ANDERSON: What else did you hear? What else did you witness while you were there?

BORG: Well, first, we spoke to a neighbor who lived just across the street, who told us about what we saw. And then we interviewed this guy

that actually was down in the basement with lots of people. There were tens of people downstairs and they heard a sound something like when a gas

container was opened, and you could hear the gas coming out. That's what he described. And that made them -- that scared them, of course, and

that's why they ran out and then into the building where many of them just collapsed and died almost immediately. And then he told his story that he,

as we said, he collapsed outside the building and then was trying to get some help to get there. But the white helmet, they didn't want to come

there, and he blamed them for not doing what they could to save lives at that time. And also, he blamed the rebels for actually being responsible

for the whole attack.

Now you have to bear in mind this is in an area that is now controlled by the government. So, you cannot expect people to criticize the government

and blame them for doing something like this. So that's something you have to have in mind when you listen to stories like this.

ANDERSON: Sure. Stefan, the chemical weapons inspectors are still not in Douma to conduct their investigation after an advanced team came under fire

earlier this week. The U.S. of course says the timing of the fact-finding mission is critical. You have been on the ground. It is unclear to most

of us what indeed is the methodology that the OPCW will use to try to secure evidence, if indeed there is some. To your mind, how tough will

their job be? And by the way, did you fear for your own safety after this group of weapons inspectors aren't going in because at present they do fear

for their safety?

BORG: Well, I didn't know that was the reason for not letting them go in. I didn't feel any security threat at all where we were. It was quite

friendly. People were friendly to us all the time. And it really surprised me that first of all, that we as journalists could go there

before the inspectors did. And also, that we could go to that building. It was not sealed off in any way. It was open to anybody to enter. And we

could talk to anybody there. So, now it's, of course, it's an enormous challenge for the inspectors to come there to get samples, to do interviews

with people and maybe items have been removed or taken away. So of course, for every day that goes without them coming there, it will be more and more

difficult to get good results from their inspection.

ANDERSON: Stefan Borg, out of Beirut for you this evening. One of a handful of journalists who have been to that seen in Syria. Thank you for

insights, sir

Well meanwhile, the terror group ISIS is almost complete defeated in Syria, or so we're told. But they have left chaos in their wake. Including one

American mother who says she was lure from her middle-class life in the U.S. to one of savagery with ISIS. Sam Sally is in custody now. Recalling

ritual beatings, slavery and abuse at the hands of her fighter husband after he joined the group from northern Syria.

[11:25:05] Nick Payton Walsh has more.


NICK PAYTON WALSH CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The story of how and Indiana family went from a mundane life of sports cars and

a delivery business to joining ISIS and to see their son here the face of ISIS propaganda against America is one of mystery, compassion and animal

savagery that stretches belief.

MATTHEW SALLY, SON OF SAMANTHA SALLY: So, get ready for the fighting that's just begun.

SAMANTHA SALLY, WIDOW OF ISIS FIGHTER: All I saw was a bunch of drug using thugs that came from their countries who had no place.

We meet Sam Sally, 32, with Matthew, 10 and Sarah, aged 5 and her youngest, 2, born in the so-called ISIS caliphate, now in Syrian custody. In limbo,

and whether they go home or not, depends in part on how well Sam explains her innocence in the four-year ordeal behind them. Her story begins with a

vacation to Turkey that led to a border town where she says she was duped into crossing into ISIS' world.

WALSH (on camera): There will be people who simply don't believe you.

SALLY: They can believe whatever they want to believe. But they've never been put in a situation to make a decision like that.

WALSH: At the ISIS border crossing she says she faced an impossible choice. Her husband grabbed little Sarah while she had Matthew.

SALLY: The position I was in was to stay there with my son or watch my daughter leave with my husband and I had to make a decision. I thought

like I said, we could just walk across the border and we could come back again.

WALSH: She chose to keep the family together. But it's hard to believe Sam didn't ever realize what she was getting into. It was also when the

gentle comforts of her marriage ended and her husband Moussa, who never even seemed to bow to America, became an abusive monster.

SALLY: Before he used to spoil me. I love you. This, I mean, we were very much in love. The romance never left. As soon as we came here, it

was completely different. Everything was completely different. I was a dog. I didn't have a choice. It was extremely violent.

WALSH: Moussa traveled a lot to fight. He beat Sam at home, but still had two more children with her and Raqqah. Why part of the stifling twist of a

clearly abusive relationship, may remain locked inside Sam along with exactly watching you and when about Moussa's radicalization. Remarkably,

Moussa suggested they buy slaves. Some of these Edi girls captured by ISIS in 2014. They spend $20,000 on two teenage girls, Soraya (ph) and Badreen

(ph), and a younger boy, Ihan. Done to keep her company, she says, and rescue the slaves to a better life. Yet Moussa repeatedly raped the girls.

SALLY: When I met Soraya, I couldn't think about money. Like I would have spent every dollar I had on her, to bring her.

WALSH (on camera): But it turned out that she was repeatedly raped by your husband.

SALLY: That is true. But in every house that she was in before, that was the same situation, but she didn't have the support of someone like me.

WALSH: Do you know not regret enabling that serial rape?

SALLY: No, because it would have been worse with anybody else. And no, no one will ever, ever be able to imagine what it's like to watch their

husband rape a 14-year-old girl. Ever. And then she comes to you -- comes to me after crying and I hold her and tell her it's going to be OK.

Everything's going to be fine. Just be patient. I would never apologize for bringing those girls to my house. We knew that if we were patient, we

would stick through it together. You understand? I was like their mother.

WALSH (voice-over): Astonishingly Soraya, sent this message from a refugee camp confirming Sam's kindness and how Sam was beaten black and blue as she

tried to protect her from Moussa.

I'm doing well with my family, she says, and I want to see you, even just once more. Let me know what I can do to get you out.

Yet the terror did not stop there. Matthew, born in Texas of Sam's first marriage to an American soldier, was a prized cast member for an ISIS film


(on camera): How did Matthew come to be in that video?

I recognize him from it.

SALLY: It was not by choice. I ended up with two broken ribs over that video. I fought. I fought, I fought.

What do you remember of that day, Matthew.

MATTHEW SALLY: It was hard. I didn't want to do it. He would hit me. He would stress me.

WALSH: Moussa died in a drone strike late last year.

SALLY: And I was able to breathe. It was like, OK, we can start phase two.

WALSH: Tens of thousands fled the Raqqah siege. But Sam said she only felt safe at the very end. Leaving with these last hundreds of ISIS giving

passage out in a deal. The FBI has interviewed them, but they are no charges yet or tickets back home.

SALLY: We want to eat at McDonald's. You know, we want to live a normal life for us again.

[11:30:05] WALSH: Instead, now, she is surely reliving her decisions over and over again. Nick Payton Walsh, CNN, northern Syria.



TRUMP: We have to get it together. We have to end nuclear weapons ideally in all parts of the world. That would be a goal for all of us to hope for

and to cherish.


ANDERSON: Well, you're watching CNN. This is CONNECT THE WORLD with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back.

U.S. President Donald Trump there talking about the ultimate goal of his upcoming meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. And while the

American commander in chief remains largely optimistic, his allies and advisers trying to temper expectations somewhat. A word of warning from

the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.


SHINZO ABE, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): There should be no reward just because North Korea is responding to dialogue. Maximum

pressure should be maintained.


ANDERSON: And sources tell CNN John Bolton, Mr. Trump's new national security adviser, has been raising the prospect of a walkout in the middle

of the talks. Nevertheless, Mr. Trump is confident in his ability to succeed where past presidents have failed. To break this all down I'm

joined by Josh Rogin. He's a CNN political analyst and a columnist for "The Washington Post."

[11:35:00] We've heard the ground rules according to Donald Trump. And he certainly sounds like he's enjoying this will I, won't I, strategy. Giving

absolutely nothing away. Which means are we any clearer about what his strategy is at this point?

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think we are. Actually, if you listen to Secretary of State nominee, Mike Pompeo, during his hearing. And

of course, when he had the hearing we can actually now at that time that he had met with Kim Jong-un. He laid out a lot of specifics about how the

White House is thinking about this upcoming summit. First of all, he sought to keep expectations low. He said there won't be a total deal --

piece deal at the summit. He said they're working to set up a principal -- an agreement on a way forward. A basic agreement that would weigh the

groundwork for a process that would follow Trump/Kim summit.

Secondly, he narrowed the goal of the summit to dealing with the North Korean nuclear threat to the United States. And that's key because as you

heard President Abe say, Japan, South Korea, other countries have other issues with North Korea. But for right now the nuclear threat to the

United States is the first task. And three, you know, the President and his staff have been very open about their willingness to walk away if they

don't think it's going well or they don't think North Korea is negotiating in good faith. So, I think that gives you a general sense of how their

thinking about this going into the planning of the summit.

ANDERSON: And one of the sticking points, of course, ahead of all of this is just exactly where it should take place. The options are as far as we

understand in Seoul, Pyongyang, Mongolia. Josh, if you had to make a wager where do you reckon they'll talk?

ROGIN: I don't think it'll be Pyongyang, because I don't think that the Optus of that for President Trump are good. I don't think it will be

PyeongChang in the demilitarized zone because that's where Moon and Kim are going to meet so that wouldn't be new. I think you're looking at third

country. A place that Kim Jong-un feel safe, feel secure and that doesn't represent an advantage for either side. So that's why I think Sweden and

Switzerland are probably the leading candidates at this moment.

ANDERSON: All right. Well until we find out where, when and indeed, if this meeting is going to happen at all, we'll rest the case just for the

time being. Quote, I don't get confused. That one-line dead pan response from none other than Nikki Haley, America's ambassador to the UN, after a

colleague thought she might be uncertain about whether or not the Trump administration was going to slap Russia with new sanctions. A bit of a

tiff then between Haley and her boss. Well. not so, she says.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ambassador Haley, how's your relationship with President Trump?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To you accept (INAUDIBLE) apology to you?


ANDERSON: Perfect, huh? Josh, should we dare see signs of a division between Haley and the President?

Oh. Just have to leave that question hanging like a chad. And if we get him back, we'll ask him that very question. I'll leave it up to you to

work it out for more on the Trump presidency and all the politics swirling around head on over to our website. Check out this

article by my colleague Manu Raju. Mr. Trump already planning his reelection campaign. One slight problem though many of his same party

aren't ready to back him.

We are learning new details about what was a terrifying midair disaster on board a Southwest Airlines flight in the U.S. I want to get you up-to-date.

Authorities say it appears the woman who died after being nearly sucked out of the window was wearing a seat belt. A hidden crack in the engine is now

the center of the investigation. Just a short time ago, we heard from one of the passengers on the flight, a firefighter who tried to save the

injured woman.


[11:40:00] And the events that took place on that flight are, they are what they are. God created a servant heart in me and I felt the calling to get

up and do something. Stand up and act. I'm no different than any other firefighter in this country. For some reason, whatever reason that is, it

was me that day.


ANDERSON: Live from Abu Dhabi this is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up on the 70t anniversary of Israeli independence. We take a look at the country's

Iron Dome Missile Defense System.


ANDERSON: You are looking at pictures of an Iranian drone that Israel says ended its air space in February armed with explosives before it was shot

down. The tensions between Iran and Israel are threatening to explode and it is all happening as the war in Syria rages next door. Oren Liebermann

joining us now from Jerusalem. And before we take a look at Israel's Iron Dome Defense System which I know you filed an excellent report for us on

it. Just provide some context to all of this and start off with that footage of the drone that we saw ahead of this interview? Just where are

we in what is this roiling region when it comes to what many will describe as the subplot, which is Iran/Israel, at this point.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, let's start even before that drone, because that was when -- or before that I should say, when this was

really just a war of words. It was threats going back and forth between Israel and Iran as well as some of the regional players here. But at its

heart it was essentially the two strongest powers playing out in this region, Israel and Iran. That drone, that drone that Israel says was

Iranian that entered Israeli air space that Israel then shot down was when this went into a different realm. It was no longer words but fire being


[11:45:00] Israel shot down the drone and retaliated against a Syrian military base. Which it says is where Iran was operating that drone from.

Then just a couple of weeks later another strike. The strike that Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Russia say Israel carried out where a number of Iranian

nationals were killed. Iran has vowed to respond to that. And Israel is taking that threat very seriously. But as you pointed out this isn't just

Israel and Iran. It involves Lebanon and Iranian proxy Hezbollah. It's playing out over Syria. It involves Russia, which essentially is the

country that sort of writes the rules in the Middle East. And is the only country that can sort of play some sort of mediating role between Israel

and Iran. So, very much is a subplot to a lot of what's happening the region. Especially with Syria.

ANDERSON: Which is why on the 70th anniversary of Israeli independence, it is perhaps no surprise that a government is keen to highlight the

effectiveness and efficiency of the country's Iron Dome Defense System correct?

LIEBERMANN: You're exactly right. Any anniversary of a country is a reason to celebrate. One of the things that's being celebrated here is

Israel's military technology, it's other technology as well, but it's highlighting its military technology. Part of that is a response to Iran.

Trying to show the region that Israel is ready to handle whatever threats. As I mentioned, there is the threat of Iran and people here are taking that

very seriously. So even on this Independence Day, there is this solemn note to it as the expectation that Iran will find some way to respond.

Israel's job is to figure out how it's going to cope with that.


LIEBERMANN (voice-over): The sea hides one of its biggest treasures here, vast offshore natural gas fields. Some of the rich nest the entire

Mediterranean near the Israel/Lebanon border. A disputed piece of maritime property is the focus of renewed tension between two longtime rivals. Both

sides claim these 860 kilometers of open water and the resources beneath.

But it's the entrance of Lebanese ally, Iran, that has really increased the tension here. Iran has vowed to respond to an airstrike in Syria that

killed Iranian nationals. -- that killed Iran nationals. A strike it blames on Israel. That retaliation could come through Lebanon and

Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy. Earlier this year, Hezbollah produces video threatening Israeli natural gas rigs.

Leader, Hassan Nasrallah, warns if you attack us we will attack you. Israel and Lebanon last fought a month-long land and air war in 2006.

Since then, the border has been tense, but quiet. No more rhetoric flying back and forth and weapons. Israel sees its gas platforms as an asset and

liability. An easy fixed target in open water.

If you're looking around us there an ability in the Gaza, in Lebanon by Hezbollah. They want to do it. They can do it. And they tried to do it.

So, we have to protect against this fact.

LIEBERMANN: The military has adopted its Iron Dome aerial defense system to work at sea fitting it on the back of these American made vessels which

will patrol the nearby gas rigs.

(on camera): It may seem like a simple solution to take the Iron Dome battery and put it directly on a fixed natural gas rig. But to put a

military system on a civilian platform makes that a legitimate military target. On top of that, you don't really want to mix rockets and natural


(voice-over): Israel relies on its natural gas platforms for most of its domestic electricity and it's a valuable export to neighboring countries

worth billions of dollars. A danger to these platforms Israel believes is a national security threat to the entire country. The U.S. is now trying

mediate between Israel and Lebanon over the disputed ocean territory. But with little hope of far reaching diplomatic success in these turbulent



LIEBERMANN: In terms of trying to understand what could happen here between Israel and Iran or Israel and Hezbollah. It's worth looking back

at 2015 when a strike had killed Hezbollah commander, Jihad Mughniyeh. It was a response in which two Israeli soldiers were killed. But then the

situation deescalated. The question, Becky, is amid this current escalation is that even possible? Can it deescalate? Can Russia or

someone else diffuse the situation or does this entire situation get worse and more volatile?

ANDERSON: Yes, big question. And on the 70th anniversary of independence, Donald Trump has said that the U.S. has, and I quote, no better friends

anywhere than Israel. Which begs the next question, should there be an escalation in confrontation between Israel and Iran or its proxies? Does

Donald Trump have a plan?

LIEBERMANN: This I would say is one of Israel's biggest concerns at this point.

[11:50:00] Especially after Trump said he's going to pull the U.S. out of Syria. That U.S. presence in Syria gives the U.S. and to some extent,

Israel, some sort of leverage over the future of the war-torn county. If the U.S. leave it's an open for Russia. More importantly from Israel's

perspective, it's an opening for Iran. That is one of Israel's biggest concerns. Does Trump have a plan? That's a question Israeli leaders would

very much like to know as the situation here, as it so often is, remains incredibly volatile.

ANDERSON: Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem for you. Oren, it's a pleasure. Thank you.

Live from Abu Dhabi in the UAE. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, the return of the silver screen in a comfy right next door to this one. In

fact, it's the first time you can go to the movies there in almost 40 years. Guess where it is? Well, were going to tell you. Up next.


ANDERSON: Well, in just one month's time these two, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be getting married. And there's nothing like a royal

wedding to get people excited. Crowds of people will descend on Windsor. Which is just west of central London. The town being transformed ahead of

the nuptials. And that is where we find Erin McLaughlin with some school kids who couldn't be more excited.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the excitement is growing here in Windsor I had of the Royal wedding. Many of the locals are actually

invited as guests including schoolchildren. They're going to be able to see Meghan and Harry as they arrive on the grounds of the castle and then

as they depart as newlyweds. Joining me now, some of those lucky VIP guests from the Royal School here in Windsor. How excited are you?


MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the excitement is growing here in Windsor I had of what are you most excited about? Yes, you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Them actually getting married.

MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, of course.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seeing what Ms. Markle is going to wear.

MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, so much speculation about the wedding dress. You.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What carriage they're going to ride there.

MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, yes, the carriage is very important.

OK, if you had to give them any advice, what would that be?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That loving is hard, but we choose to do it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To stay positive and never give up.



MCLAUGHLIN: Never give up.

[11:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Believe in your dreams.

MCLAUGHLIN: Believe it in your dreams. So, some excellent advice from their VIP guests. Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Windsor.


ANDERSON: Never give up. Great advice I have to say. Be sure to check out all the stories the team is working on by going to our Facebook page

Never give up in our parting shots. A Saudi film maker share her incredible story. Jumping on a flight to Riyadh just to catch last night's

historic screening of a U.S. blockbuster "Black Panther," which ended a 35- year ban on cinemas in the conservative kingdom. The UAE based company, hopes to tap into the enthusiasm investing -- get this -- over $500 million

-- half a billion dollars to open more than 600 screens over the next five years.


DANYA ALHAMRANI, SAUDI FILMMAKER: On my way to the airport to fly for the first screening. For the reopening of cinemas in Saudi Arabia

I'm running late. So, trying to make my flight. Hoping that I can board on time.

So, I'm in line now waiting to pick up our badges to enter the theatre. So, this is the first cinema experience. I really feel like I'm witnessing

history. I have been wanting to be a filmmaker my whole life. So, I have been making films now for more than a decade to actually see the first film

being shown in a Saudi theatre. This is something I have known in my whole life. I've been a film maker in the industry. I've been wanting this

since I was a child and now to be part of it and see that the theatres are open, it was an amazing moment. And will be able to see our films on the

Saudi screen.


ANDERSON: We've heard about these firsts suddenly out of Saudi. The women driving for the first time. The first cinema is being opened, but it's

when you hear from people that it touches personally, just how empowering these opportunities are on what is this vision 2030. You realize it does

really make sense.

I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. The team working with me here in the UAE and those working with us in Atlanta, Georgia, in the

United States, and those in London. It is a very good evening. I'm going to get this right. For the last two nights I haven't got it right. "QUEST

EXPRESS" follows the show with my colleague, Richard Quest. Do stay with us.