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Sri Lanka Parliament: Will Reconvene on Friday; Ukraine: Massing Million-Strong Force for Offensive in South; Tunisia Struggles as Conflict Strangles Grain Imports; House Select Committee Resumes Hearings Tuesday; Biden will Visit Israeli, West Bank, Saudi Arabia this Week; Twitter Share Sink after Musk Drops $44B Offer to Buy it. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired July 11, 2022 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN, London. This is "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNNI HOST: Well, events are moving swiftly in Sri Lanka the Parliament now saying it will elect a new president one week from this
Wednesday, July the 20th. Officials also confirming that the President and Prime Minister will now step down.
Well, a senior military source telling sin and the President has been taken to a naval vessel for his safety. And this has happened minutes before
thousands of protesters stormed the official residences as they are angry and many are worried about simply being able to feed their families.
Remember, Sri Lanka is bankrupt. The nation can't afford to import food and fuel because it owes creditors more than $50 billion. Let's kick this off
with CNN's Michael Holmes who shows us more of what has been happening on the ground. Take a look at this.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): For many protesters in Sri Lanka, roaming the halls of the presidential residence they've occupied
since Saturday. This is the good life. A chance for many Sri Lankans many who can't afford to buy enough food or fuel to live like a king, at least
for a short while.
Armed security guards stood outside the compound but didn't stop the curious from taking a peek inside the palace. This man says he brought his
family here to enjoy a picnic on the grounds. He says I got a chance with my kids to come and have lunch here adding it's once in a lifetime.
This is after all how their President Gotabaya Rajapaksa lived while the country suffered through an economic meltdown with soaring inflation
shortages of critical supplies and rolling blackouts. Conditions that sparked months of protests that led to Saturday's extraordinary show of
people power when more than 100,000 protesters flooded the streets of Colombo.
A massive public display that finally forced the president to give in to their demands the country's speaker of parliament announcing soon
afterwards, the President will resign on Wednesday, the Prime Minister saying he too will step down. The protesters say promises aren't enough and
they won't leave the residence until both officially resign.
AKUSHLA FERNANDO, PROTESTER: We don't trust him anymore because he has already broken our trust our country's trust and he has already sold our
HOLMES (voice over): The next few days could be a turning point for Sri Lanka if there is a leadership change. But even if that happens, its
economic troubles are far from over and could take years to reverse.
It will be a heavy lift for whoever takes power next, and while the country remains in political limbo, many protesters say they'll continue to enjoy
the luxuries of the house with a warning for the next full time occupant. As this man says politicians should understand the power of people. And
this is the maximum of it. Michael Holmes, CNN.
ANDERSON: Well, a bit of light relief for some. I want to bring in CNN's Vedika Sued in light relief but am the question. You know, there is such a
difficult situation for so many in Sri Lanka at present. Where does this go next?
VEDIKA SUD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's an uncertain future clearly Becky for Sri Lanka, given the leadership crisis they're facing this point. What
we have to understand is on Wednesday, the Prime Minister and the President will be putting in their papers because 48 hours before you get to that
uncertainty looms large because the Rajapaksa has a known for not letting power slip out of the hands ever in the last two decades.
It's either been Mahinda Rajapaksa his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa who has been at the helm of political affairs in that country. But we're hoping on
Wednesday, because of the people's power out there. The two of them will be stepping down in terms of the President and the Prime Minister, after which
there will be an election for the next President of Sri Lanka in seven days after like you, said on the 20th of July.
Someone from within parliament will be representing the country and will be the leader of the country. But this all has come - it's really come down to
this because of the people on the streets. It's been months that they've been protesting and because of that the Rajapaksa have no choice but to
ANDERSON: And that's what's important here because this isn't just a couple of days in the making.
ANDERSON: This has been months and months and months of mismanagement, people are literally dying because they can't afford basic needs. In May
inflation was up over 39 percent from the year before. What's the plan in the short term to get some sort of relief for the average Sri Lankan?
SUD: Well, in terms of having the Rajapaksas out, it's been a success, at least for now, as we can see, things seem to be on a roll in terms of them
stepping down. But what would this really mean for the International Monetary Fund stepping in?
This political crisis out there instability that's not what the IMF wants at this point they have been in talks, remember, this country is bankrupt
like you said. The IMF is not going to willingly give them a bailout package when they don't even know who's going to be heading the country
So clearly, there is going to be no relief in terms of the coming weeks still we know who's going to take over as president, what the promises are
going to be on the ground? Because you've had this leadership says in June that there will be a bailout package from the IMF. Again in July, you're
seeing what's happening.
So there is uncertainty and the IMF will be watching very closely, Becky, but for now they're out of fuel. They're out of food. They're out of power.
And that stays despite what they've done in terms of storming into the palatial grounds of the President and the Prime Minister. That uncertainty
remains that economic crisis remains for now Becky.
ANDERSON: Good to have you in London. Thank you for joining me on "Connect the World" today.
SUD: Thank you.
ANDERSON: Vedika Sud for you. Well, days after his assassination has shocked the nation mourners paid their final respects to Japan's Slain
Former Prime Minister. Private week was held for Shinzo Abe earlier today. His funeral will take place Tuesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, in the wake of Abe's death, a bittersweet election victory Japanese Broadcaster NHK says Abe's Liberal Democratic Party has secured at
least 63 seats in Sunday's parliamentary elections more than half of what was at stake in Japan's - house the current Prime Minister casting the vote
as a defense of democracy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FUMIO KISHIDA, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER: I'm reminded of Former Prime Minister Abe's thoughts for this country that died from despicable violence
and the sense of crisis we feel I'm renewing my resolve to accept the encouragement from the people of Japan to continue working with all our
might to protect Japan and open the way to the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, all of this as we learn new details about the suspect. Police say he admitted to shooting Abe and held a grudge against a group he
believed that Abe belonged to. Kyung Lah is following these developments from Tokyo. And these motivations of the suspect what do we know at this
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're getting a slightly better picture of exactly who 41-year-old Yamagami is at least what motivated him in the days
leading up to this? From what we are learning from the police is that he was someone who had been planning this for some time that he had
constructed these handmade pistols and guns out of videos that he had watched on YouTube, that that's where he learned how to do it?
That he knew when the Former Premier was going to be in Nara, and that he had practiced with the guns that he had made by going to remote areas near
where he lived so in order to be able to fire them. As far as motivations you mentioned this association with a potential group a grudge that he had
with this group that he thought that the Former Premier had some connections with.
Well, there was a news conference that was held today by the Unification - Unification Church, the Japan Branch, and what the President has said was
he believes that his church is indeed the group that he thinks that that's who the police are referring to, and that the association that they had
wasn't with Abe or what the suspect but it was with the suspects mother.
And the church did say that they are aware of financial difficulties that the suspects mother had. But even with all of this, the Church says they
struggled to understand how it could have led to such a horrific crime Becky.
ANDERSON: Shinzo Abe was well known for what some have termed is rigorous diplomacy particularly with the United States. The U.S. Secretary of State
Tony Blinken is in Japan paying his respects. What did we hear from him?
LAH: Well, you know, what the Secretary was really underscoring is what has been the tent pole of Shinzo Abe's philosophy with the United States, is
that the Japan U.S. alliance would not just be economically favorable but to the region but also with keep Japan safe and in of what's happening with
North Korea and a rising China.
LAH: And you really heard it in the words of Secretary Blinken. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: During his time in office Prime Minister Abe really took the relationship between our countries to new
heights. And as I shared with our colleagues, we saw in him something rare a man of vision who's had the ability to realize that vision. But mostly, I
came at the President's behest because more than allies were friends and when a friend is hurting, other friends show up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: So Secretary Blinken there joins in person, the many ordinary members of the public Becky, who have come here to pay their final respects to a
political titan of Japan history and politics Becky.
ANDERSON: And he was stumping, of course, for these elections. These were elections for the Opera House. How would you describe voters' intentions?
And how was this election affected by this assassination? Is it clear?
LAH: It's not entirely clear. It does appear that turnout has slightly improved. The LDP the Liberal Democratic Party did do a bit better than
expected. Japan oftentimes suffers from sluggish turnout, but in this case, the turnout was better than expected.
So if nothing else, what you saw by those turnout numbers by what voters were telling reporters as they headed to the polls, and especially from the
politicians who remained a ground level, shaking hands, talking to people standing eye to eye on the street, which is really something typical that
you see in Japan
There's very little distance between the politicians and the voters, is this determination that the political process will continue that democracy
will not falter. And in that Japan is living up to the wishes of Shinzo Abe Becky.
ANDERSON: It's 10 past midnight in Tokyo. Kyung thank you. It's 10 past here in London. Coming up on "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson,
more bodies have been found in the rubble after Russia targeted residential areas in Donetsk and Kharkiv. What Ukraine is doing now to fight back?
Plus, the impact of this conflict of course reaches far beyond Ukraine's borders. We're going to get you to Tunisia, which is struggling to import
the grain that people there need to survive.
ANDERSON: Heavy fighting is taking place in several areas of Ukraine as Russia pushes to take control of the Donbas region.
ANDERSON: Emergency services are working to pull victims' bodies from the rubble of an apartment building in - and that was struck by Russian rockets
over the weekend killing dozens. Meanwhile, Ukraine says it's making progress in the south Ukrainian forces are going after Russian supply lines
and after ammunition storage sites as they try to take back territory. There's also heavy bombardment in Ukraine's Northeast in the City of
Let's bring in Scott McLean who is in Kyiv for you. Ukrainians focusing on the southern part of the country, Ukraine's Defense Minister they are
massing a fighting force to retake land in Southern Ukraine. And they are talking about a huge army. Just explain how big and where these fighters'
men are coming from?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure Becky yes so this all comes from comments that the Ukrainian Defense Minister made to the British Newspaper
"The Times" where he essentially said, look, man power for Ukraine is not a problem at this moment.
He said that the military of this country numbers about 700,000 or so troops. Plus, once you include the territorial defense, the police, the
border service, all of that together, which are also often sent to the front lines, you have about a million soldiers strong.
And so his point is that manpower is not the issue it's not even Western weapons that's the issue. It's certainly not pledges of Western weapons.
What he says is one of the biggest problems is the speed that those weapons are actually getting to the front lines.
He says for instance, every day that the Ukrainian sit around waiting for howitzers to arrive, they could be losing 100 soldiers in a single day.
That's a lot of people. So now you have the Ukrainians trying to take back on the orders of President Zelenskyy according to the Defense Minister,
large swaths of the southern part of the country trying to get more access to the Black Sea.
Of course, that would have huge implications for the Ukrainian economy. They have really struggled to get products, especially grain out to market
and so they are mounting this offensive where they are using the tools that they have some of the American tools like the high Mars artillery system to
strike deep into Russian territory takeout supply lines, command post, things like that.
And they are also making progress on the front lines as well. They say that they have taken a village very near to Kherson. Of course, Kherson is the
city that has been under Russian occupation since really the early days of war, Becky, this is when the Russians waltzed in there, essentially, and
took that city very easily. And they've managed to hold it ever since.
And so with this new found assault on the southern part of the country, this makes things trickier for the Russians, they have to fight on more
fronts. This is also an area where the Ukrainians feel that it is really worth it for them to stay and to fight. And they think that they have a
chance to really take back land with not only the manpower but also the new equipment they're getting from the west.
ANDERSON: Scott, is it clear what Russian intention is at this point? How long the Russians believe they will continue this and whether there is a
clear sort of end goal at this point?
MCLEAN: Yes. Yes. Honestly, that is really the million dollar question here, Becky. The reality is this, the frontlines in the northern part of
the country haven't really been moving over the last couple of weeks. And so the Russians are instead just resorting to missile strikes, like the
ones that we've seen in the last day or two in Kharkiv.
The Southern part of the country, its similar picture, they're not really able to move the frontline if anything, the Ukrainians are taking back
territory. So again, we're seeing shelling in Mykolaiv live near to Kherson, only about 30 miles or so away.
Really the one area that they are able to make progress is in the Eastern Donbas region. They're trying to take Donetsk region right now, and they're
having some measure of success. But the Ukrainians will tell you that it is costing them a lot of men.
The Russian March westward is slow, but it seems quite sure at this stage, they managed to take a village on the Ukrainian side of the Siversk Donetsk
River, which is significant because that river is really a natural barrier that has hampered their progress in the past and really slow their advance.
So that's their brightest prospect at this stage. But the question, of course, that you pose is look, how much are the - Russians willing to
sacrifice to get you know, minuscule amounts of land? And how long do they figure that this can honestly go on for? President Putin has said in the
past that the longer the Ukrainians hold out for the more difficult the peace process will be but surely the opposite is true as well.
ANDERSON: Scott McLean is in Kyiv. Scott, appreciate it, thank you. Well, this war is ripped apart food supply chains across the globe which were
already under an awful lot of pressure, by the way.
And Russia's assaults in the Southern Kherson region that Scott's just been eluding to one of Ukraine's most important agricultural areas are making
matters worse. That's especially true for North Africa, which relies heavily on wheat and barley from Russia and Ukraine this report from CNN's
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Racing to flee the nation in the closing days of Tunisia's summer harvest Russia's cynical ploy to
hold hostage more than 20 million tons of Ukrainian grain is leading to a food crisis here in Tunisia and much of North Africa.
MCKENZIE (on camera): Are you worried it will have a long term impact on Tunisia?
HABIB MRABET, REGIONAL DELEGATE, TUNISIAN AGRICULTURE MINISTRY: The war has really impacted both the consumer and our agricultural productions. Right
now, every country must become self-reliant. If that's not possible, things are going to get very difficult.
MCKENZIE (voice over): They're scrambling to increase that production and change consumer habits. In sunbaked Tunisia, farmers grow hard wheat to
make pasta and couscous.
MCKENZIE (on camera): But for soft wheat, the wheat that makes bread Tunisia gets around 60 percent of it from Ukraine and Russia. And official
told me that they'll never be able to make up that number here, not in five years, not even in 10.
MCKENZIE (voice over): That spells trouble says Moody. We can only sell what the government gives us, he says. The baguettes are subsidized by a
government heavily in debt; Tunisia can barely afford imported flour from outside of Ukraine. It's about daily survival. When the people are hungry,
they rebel he says.
Here they are just recovering from a crushing COVID pandemic and a decade of political uncertainty. The impact of the war in Ukraine could not have
come at a worst time.
Even retired professionals like Houria Bousad and her husband can only afford a few luxuries.
HOURIA BOUSAD, RETIRED TEACHER: The prices are going up.
MCKENZIE (on camera): And what does that mean for you and your family?
BOUSAD: Young people they cannot marry now. They don't have enough money to live they cannot have a family.
MCKENZIE (voice over): I've sold nothing today says Nasir Tomomi absolutely nothing. This place should be jam packed before the Eid holiday he says,
but nobody can afford meat. On the roadside farmers like Walid are struggling to sell their sheep for Eid celebrations. The sheep don't seem
Animal feed prices are doubled because of Ukraine. It's a chain reaction. That's bad enough now, he says. But the effect of the war is rarely going
to be felt next year.
ANDERSON: That's David McKenzie reporting, joining me live from the Tunisian capital. And I guess the question is are there any options that
haven't been exhausted at this point to provide some relief because its relief in the short term at this point, surely that people are so concerned
MCKENZIE: That's absolutely right, Becky, there's two things happening at once here. One is that short term relief and in the last few days, the
Tennessean government, for its part has gotten $130 million loan from the World Bank for emergency purchasing of that soft wheat for bread, which is
so popular here and essential for daily life. The medium and long term, I think, is even more worrying throughout North Africa, part of the middle -
parts of the Middle East, even Central Asia because you don't just flick a switch and change where you get your products from farmers physically have
to grow the product.
So here in Tunisia, they're working on a strategy to increase the amount of farmland that will be used for weeds. They're also looking to figure out
other ways how to get wheat from other parts of the world.
And as that sheep farmer says though, it all depends on how long the Ukraine war lasts. If the blockade is lifted, then some of these situations
will improve but you can't see that happening anytime soon. So this is a multi-month even year problem that they're facing, Becky.
ANDERSON: Tunisia faces a critical referendum. Could or will that have any impact on the economy? After all, this is a country that was lauded for its
democracy. Its politics have changed significantly in the past, what 18 months to two years.
MCKENZIE: Well, that's right. A year ago, many people called it a constitutional coup that the President Saied dissolved parliament changed
the way that business is done ruled by decree.
And in a few weeks they will be having a critical referendum here in Tunisia where they are going to voting on a draft constitution which gives
the president even broader powers.
MCKENZIE: Critics say that he's trying to consolidate his power and get away from the gains of the Jasmine Revolution. His supporters say they need
stability here for the economy.
Now, people on the street, many of them aren't as worried or necessarily on top of politics because they're literally just trying to afford bread to
eat. And that's scenario helped spark the Arab Spring in the first place.
So I think there's a great deal of worry here about political instability in the coming weeks and months, and it's just not been helped at all by the
war in Ukraine. Becky?
ANDERSON: David McKenzie is on the ground in Tunisia. David, thank you. Coming up former Trump adviser Steve Bannon now says he is willing to
testify before the House Select Committee investigating the January the sixth capital insurrection, why he has changed his mind is just ahead.
And this week Joe Biden will travel to the Middle East for the first time as U.S. President. We'll take a look at why he is defending his decision to
visit Saudi Arabia that is coming up.
ANDERSON: All right. Welcome back. You're watching "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson for you out of London today where the time is just before
half past four in the afternoon.
Let me get you up to speed on some of the other stories aside from our headlines that are on our radar right now. And Chinese police crushed a
protest on Sunday at a bank in Henan province.
Four banks there have frozen millions of dollars' worth of deposits, security officers charged up the stairs and clashed with protesters. You
can see here who threw bottles and other small objects.
Social media videos show officers dragging protesters down the stairs and beating those who resisted. Well, for the first time since February 2020,
Macau has shut down all of its casinos for at least a week.
Authorities there try to contain the worst COVID outbreak yet in the world's largest gambling hub. Other businesses are also closed and people
are being told to stay at home.
Well the death toll in the mass shooting at a bar in the South African township of Soweto has risen to 15. Police say a group of men armed with
rifles and pistols enter the bar early on Sunday and started shooting randomly.
The government is being urged to bolster gun regulations in the country. Well, a supporter of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is accused of
killing a supporter of Brazil's former president at a birthday party over the weekend.
ANDERSON: We have video of that shooting and a warning before I show it. You may find this hard to watch. Our affiliates seen in Brazil reports
Marcelo Arruda, a supporter of the former President Lula da Silva was celebrating his 50th birthday.
When witnesses say a supporter of Mr. Bolsonaro crashed the party and exchanged gunfire with the victim. For more CNN's Shasta Darlington joining
me now from Sao Paulo. The details on this as we understand them, if you will, what do we know about the victim and indeed, the - shot?
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, it's important to point out that the victim Marcelo, who the municipal guard, as you mentioned, he
was celebrating his birthday. And he was also an ardent supporter of the former Left Wing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and that, in fact,
was the theme of the party.
So there were red balloons all around, there were posters with pictures of Lula, and people were singing songs about Lula. So it was very obvious that
this was also a celebration of him.
And of course, Lula is now going to run again for President in October against the incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. So that sets the stage and according
to witnesses, and security videos, the attacker who's a supporter of Bolsonaro pulled up outside the party.
There was a verbal altercation, he showed a gun and said he would be back. Now the witnesses say at that point, Arruda himself gets his gun, the
attacker comes back, he rushes in, and he fires. Arruda is killed, but he also has time to fire back and the attacker is hospitalized.
So what we're seeing is just an extremely violent incident, but that has shocked Brazil, who is condemning it as proof, an increasing political
tension and polarization.
And many are calling out Bolsonaro for his aggressive rhetoric at his speeches, saying that he has inflamed his followers. Bolsonaro is a
supporter of gun rights and has repeatedly suggested that the electoral system is not trustworthy.
Now since the incident Bolsonaro has tweeted, disavowing, "Those who practice violence against opponents" but he's come under fire because he
claimed it's the political left, that's to blame for the violence.
And he never mentions the victim or the family. So again, this is just adding to these tensions that are growing around October elections.
However, I should mention that Lula was also criticized over the weekend for praising one of his supporters who physically attacked someone from the
pro Bolsonaro camp back in 2018.
And that person ended up in the hospital. I mean, in the end, with elections still months away, Brazilians are just bracing for the worst,
ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. Thank you for that. In the U.S., the House committee investigating the January the sixth capital insurrection is set
to take center stage again this week.
Public hearings resume on Tuesday with a focus on the role that extremist groups played in the riot. A former spokesperson for the far right group,
the Oathkeepers is expected to testify.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump's former adviser Steve Bannon says he is now willing to testify publicly. He had previously defied a congressional
subpoena, and was charged with criminal contempt.
Let's unpack this with CNN Capitol Hill Reporter, Melanie Zanona. These hearings begin again. Tomorrow we had an impromptu hearing during a period
a week or so ago, which we didn't expect. Just lay out what we can expect to hear starting tomorrow and from whom?
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, well, the select committee has really been trying to establish a link between Trump and his inner
circle, and these far right extremist militia groups. And so we are expecting tomorrow's hearing to focus on how the violent mob was assembled
and the role of these extremist groups in coordinating the deadly attack on the capital.
Sources tell CNN that there will be at least one that live witness tomorrow and that is Jason Van Tatenhove, he is a former spokesman for the
Oathkeepers. Take a listen to what he told a Denver radio station about his expected testimony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON VAN TATENHOVE, FORMER OATH KEEPERS SPOKESPERSON: Just to give historical precedents to this group and how they've kind of radicalized, I
was the propagandist for the Oathkeepers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZANONA: Now the committee is also expected to focus on a tweet from December 2020, in which Trump encouraged his supporters to come to DC on
January 6, and told them it will be wild.
Committee members have said that tweet was seen as a call to action within these extremist groups and it really helped mobilize them on the mob. And
the committee is also expected to focus on a meeting that occurred right before that tweet where Trump and his allies talked about ways to stop the
certification of Joe Biden's victory including by potentially seizing voting machines.
Now we are expecting at least one more primetime hearing that will focus on Trump's in action on January 6 as the riots unfolded.
ZANONA: But the select committee has not ruled out adding additional hearings to its schedule, especially since they continue to unearth new
information. Just on Friday, they interviewed Pat Cipollone, the former White House Counsel for eight hours behind closed doors, so we likely will
see clips of that testimony played at future hearings.
And then over the weekend, Steve Bannon, a longtime adviser and ally of Trump's said he would publicly testify in front of the committee as part of
this last ditch effort to avoid criminal prosecution for not complying with an earlier subpoena. But it's unclear at this point whether select
committee is going to take them up on offer, Becky.
ANDERSON: Watch this space when those hearings begin. You will see them live here on CNN. Thank you. Well, coming up on "Connect the World" with me
Becky Anderson, the U.S. president about to leave for a controversial trip, what it means for where he is going, that is the region of the Middle East
is coming up.
ANDERSON: On Wednesday, Joe Biden will make his first trip to the Middle East as U.S. President; he is scheduled to visit Israel, the West Bank and
Saudi Arabia. And this comes at a time when his domestic agenda could use a boost.
But the visit to Saudi Arabia is highly controversial partly because of the country's human rights record. In a rare move, Mr. Biden is defending his
trip before he even departs writing an Op-ed in The Washington Post titled "Why I am going to Saudi Arabia"?
In it he says partly as president it is my job to keep our country strong and secure. We have to counter Russia's aggression, put ourselves in the
best possible position to outcompete China and work for greater stability in a consequential region of the world.
To do these things we have to engage directly with countries that can impact those outcomes. Saudi Arabia he said is one of them. The Economist's
Middle East correspondent had this to say about Biden's opinion piece, "Biden is going to Saudi Arabia first and appoint this feud with MBS, its
Mohammed bin Salman the Crown Prince, it's an admission of failure.
He didn't reorient ties with Saudi just delivered some per formative hostility without a fundamental reassessment of the relationship. Gregg
Carlstrom joins me now from Tel Aviv. I want to bring up some sound just before we begin our discussion from President Biden on the campaign trail.
You will remember this as I'm sure most of our viewers will, but just for those who have heard this, let's just have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We were going to in fact, make them pay the price and make them in fact the pariah that they
are. There's very little social redeeming value of the in the president, government in Saudi Arabia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, that was on the campaign trail. We are where we are at this stage. Gregg, I've just read out part of what you wrote in response to The
Washington Post Op-ed, right.
Let's talk about what the White House hopes to achieve with this trip. And then I just want to pick your brains about what you believe the countries
he's visiting want to achieve? Let's start with the White House your thoughts?
GREGG CARLSTROM, MIDDLE EAST CORRESPONDENT, THE ECONOMIST: Well, it's a good question what they want to achieve. And reading over the President's
Op-ed, you get the sense that they're not entirely clear on that either. We've heard shifting rationales for this trip over the past few weeks.
At first, the expectation was that this was about oil. It was announced at a time when oil prices were surging, but the administration has really
tried to downplay that. They've said they're not going to ask the Saudis directly to produce more oil; they've tried to lower expectations that this
might lower gas prices.
We've heard talk, as you said, about great power competition about Israeli Arab normalization. I think a large part of it does have to do with this
idea of building ties between Israel and Arab states.
I think, for this administration, as it was for the previous administration, this is a policy goal. And they see better defense
cooperation in particular between Israel and Arab countries as a way for America to stand down a bit and reduce its military presence in the region.
And so I think that's going to be a big part of what they talk about in his visit both Israel and Saudi Arabia. But what's going to come out of that
what the sort of concrete deliverables are for this trip? The White House, I'm not sure they quite have an answer to that question, honestly.
ANDERSON: Right. So what we're saying is, we shouldn't expect to see normalization between the regional leader in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia
and Israel, but it will be something we believe will be discussed.
So that's the White House and you're saying it's not quite clear what the White House is hoping to achieve. So let's talk about the other countries
specifically, let's start with Saudi Arabia. What's on the list of need to get achieved while Biden is in Jeddah, Gregg?
CARLSTROM: Well, the first thing they're going to achieve will just, of course, be the fact of him coming to Jeddah, after all of these things that
he said on the campaign trail, after refusing for 18 months to meet with the Saudi crown prince.
He is now trekking off to Saudi Arabia in the middle of a sweltering summer. The White House has insisted that he's not going specifically to
meet the Crown Prince, but, you know, if the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia happens to drop by then they'll have a chat.
But for the Saudis, this is going to be a political victory, right? The American president coming to bend the knee almost after 18 months of
hostility directed at MBS.
I think beyond that, one thing they're hoping to get is an agreement on these two islands - fear, which the Egyptian Government ceded to Saudi
Arabia several years ago, it's been held up over a dispute to do with an international military force that's been there since the 1967 Arab Israeli
The Biden Administration has been negotiating that and might clear the way for those islands to formally be transferred to Saudi control. But again, I
really think the main thing for them is just the political and diplomatic victory of Biden coming to Saudi Arabia.
ANDERSON: The White House's right to suggest that this is a meeting of the wider region. This is the GCC countries plus three, those three being
Jordan, Egypt, and Iran.
You and I know, living and working as we do in the region, that there has been a massive effort by the regional leaders, and let's call those Saudi
Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, and others to really work out how they might work better together on a number of files, not least that of regional
So that brings us to the issue of Israel, Israel, potentially wanting to work alongside other Arab states for a more peaceful future. These things
are sort of some distance down the road. What does Israel want to take out of this trip?
CARLSTROM: Well, the timing of the trip, of course, is not great for the Israeli government that comes just weeks after the Knesset dissolve, the
Israeli government collapsed. And they're heading for elections in November for the fifth time since 2019.
So, again, for the Israelis, part of this will be political. Yair Lipid, who just took over days ago as Prime Minister will be the caretaker until
November. He's running again in November and he wants to be the prime minister again.
And so for him, he's going to get a photo op now with Joe Biden and hopefully use that on the Campaign Trail. I think beyond that when it comes
to this idea of security cooperation or defense cooperation you know, the issue there is it's easier said than done right?
CARLSTROM: The Gulf countries have been talking for years, if not decades about integrating their defense systems. And of course, they're all part of
the Gulf Cooperation Council. They're ostensibly allied with each other.
But they haven't done that, they don't yet have integrated air defenses or missile defenses, partly because they don't trust each other. Some of these
countries we saw five years ago this summer, Saudi and the UAE, imposing a blockade on Qatar.
So the sense that I get from Israeli officials from the Israeli security establishment is they would like to see, of course, greater defense
cooperation in the region, but they think that's going to be a very, very long efforts.
And, again, I don't think there's going to be a sort of specific deliverable or outcome on that file from this visit.
ANDERSON: Will Joe Biden be able to avoid Benjamin Netanyahu, by the way, he has just tweeted, if I return on your mission to lead the State of
Israel, I intend to bring about full peace agreements with Saudi Arabia and also with other Arab countries that a tweet by the former prime minister,
who of course is back in play once again with these upcoming fifth elections in the last four years even if Joe Biden wants to avoid him? Can
CARLSTROM: No, the White House said a few days ago that they were trying to set up a meeting between the President and Benjamin Netanyahu. And they
justified this by saying, typically when an American president comes; they meet with an Israeli opposition leader.
So it's, it's a matter of protocol. It's something everyone does. I'm sure it's not high on the list of things that Joe Biden wants to do when he
comes here. When he came here in 2010, as vice president, Netanyahu was the prime minister at that point.
There was a major announcement of new settlement construction in the occupied West Bank shortly before Biden arrived and led to a diplomatic
rift between Biden and Netanyahu on the visit.
So they've had a frosty relationship going back years. But I think at the same time, the White House is aware that there's an election coming up,
there's a decent chance that Netanyahu will be returned to power.
They don't want to antagonize him, let's say by refusing to meet with him on this trip. So the schedule isn't confirmed yet, but it seems likely the
two of them will talk.
ANDERSON: Very briefly, what are the Palestinians get out of this trip if anything?
CARLSTROM: Almost nothing. There will be an announcement of probably about $100 million in American aid to the Palestinians reversing one of Donald
Trump's aid cuts. But that's about it.
There'll be a 45 meeting with 45 minute meeting with the Palestinian president and we don't expect much substance to come out of it.
ANDERSON: Gregg, it's good to have you on. Let's talk again. We will be live from Jeddah this Thursday and Friday, beginning at 6 p.m. in Abu
Dhabi, that's 3 p.m. here in London, we hope viewers that you will join us for that.
Thank you, Gregg. And on the first leg of that Middle East trip Biden will be visiting Israel for the news and analysis on this trip. This is Biden's
first Middle East trip remember, read CNN's newsletter.
Meanwhile in the Middle East, you'll want to subscribe to that when you read it and we will show you how you can do that when you log on. Just
ahead Bernie Eccleston is no stranger to controversy and now the ex-Formula One boss is in trouble here in the UK. Why and how, well I will explain
ANDERSON: Right. More on the developing news that I told you about just before the break on Bernie Eccleston, The Formula One or formula former,
let me start again, I'll get my teeth in.
The former Formula One Chief is facing fraud charges. UK prosecutors say you failed to declare overseas assets worth more than $476 million. Now the
first case, hearing in the case is set for next month in London.
Well, I spoke earlier with PA media's Formula One correspondent, Phil Duncan. And we talked about how this is a man who can and does still caught
an awful lot of controversy.
PHIL DUNCAN, FORMULA 1 CORRESPONDENT, PA MEDIA: The man that we shouldn't forget is turning 92 in October, and he's been asked to Formula One since
the end of 2016. But he's been in the news a lot lately because of his comments about Vladimir Putin saying that, you know, he's a first class
person and that his take a bullet for him obviously comments that were very controversial.
He actually apologized for those at the weekend and, and said he didn't want to cause any offence. But obviously, yes, back again, in the news
today, with his latest with this charge.
ANDERSON: What do you make of his comments that Lewis Hamilton and I quote him here should be happy with an apology from Nelson Piquet after Piquet's
DUNCAN: Yes, again, a very controversial comment from Bernie Eccleston there. I mean, it shouldn't be something that should be scrubbed under the
carpet. So I think that's basically what Hamilton said at the British Grand Prix.
When those comments from Piquet rose, in a podcast that was recorded last year, you know, it's an outdated term, a racist slur that we shouldn't have
to witness in sports and in the world as it is.
So it was a poor statement really, from Bernie Ecclestone to say that he's friendly with Piquet. They've been friends for many years, they go back
decades, but it was I think it was poor form to defend him.
ANDERSON: And it was an interesting response, wasn't it by Lewis Hamilton. You know, haven't we had enough of the, these old voices in the g\
Ehi28ame? Let's move on. I mean, he was making a much wider statement about moving on there.
But I mean, specifically speaking to Piquet, when you consider Bernie Ecclestone and you're right to point out, he's 92 coming up. What's his
DUNCAN: Well, I think his legacy is he's really the man who made Formula One. I mean, we shouldn't forget that, you know, when he was taking over
this sport, it was a you know, it was a decent sport, but it wasn't the high level Formula One that we see now that's all over the world, in many
You know, Bernie Eccleston is a man that took it from sort of a domestic European motor racing series into an absolute series that goes all around
the world to every parts every corner of the earth.
And you know, he's made people like Lewis Hamilton in many ways, the millionaires that they are because of how popular the sport is. So I think
that would really be - legacy to that extent.
But obviously, he's a man who's courted controversy along the way with all the different remarks and controversial comments that he had to say.
ANDERSON: Yes, befriending the likes of Vladimir Putin on the way to making F-1 as big an entertainment sport as it is.
DUNCAN: Yes. Yes. I mean, certainly, it's that that we have to consider that he's taken. We took the sports to places like Russia and other
countries with questionable human rights records.
But we should also remember that, you know, Liberty Media, the American company that have running F1 now still continuing in those countries and
taking them to places like Saudi Arabia, so it's not just Bernie Eccleston who did that, he maybe set the tone, but no one else is changing from that
ANDERSON: My conversation a little earlier. Well, speaking of men who cause controversy, Elon Musk's decision to pull out of his $44 billion offer to
Well, that's caused Twitter shares to sink. This is wiped about $2 billion of the company's market value. Twitter threatening legal action against
Musk. Rahel Solomon is joining us live from New York. I mean, Musk's already been up and at it on Twitter today. What's he'd been saying? I
mean, this is a mess, isn't it?
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is Becky. Yes. So, Elon Musk, yes, active on Twitter already and weighing in on the controversy, posting
a meme saying they said I couldn't buy Twitter, then they wouldn't disclose bot info.
Now they want to force me to buy Twitter in court. Now they have to disclose bot info in court that after the chairman of Twitter posted that
the Twitter board is committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon, adding that we are confident that we will prevail in the
Delaware Court of Chancery.
SOLOMON: Of course, Becky, at the heart of all of this is the bot issue. According to Elon Musk, he has said that the board was not transparent or
honest about how many users are actually bots.
That said this now heads to a Delaware court, as we just heard. And Becky just provide some perspective, this court is considered one of the most
sophisticated courts of its kind in terms of corporate civil litigations, unclear how the Twitter antics are going to be seen by the judge or judges,
and unclear sort of how this plays out.
But you have to really feel for the employees of Twitter who have watched this play out on Twitter now a spectacle for sure for months. And you know,
operationally wondering sort of what happens to the company directionally wondering what happens to the company.
And so unclear sort of how the judges will decide, but we know it's likely going to be a long and drawn out process unclear if there will be any
winners but again, for the employees hard to say sort of what that's like watching this, the saga plays out. Some have said it. It was a soap opera
that has since turned to a nightmare. It is a mess, as you pointed out, Becky.
ANDERSON: Rahel, always a pleasure. Thank you for that. And that's it from us. Zain Asher is up next with "One World" on CNN, stay with us.