Return to Transcripts main page
Connect the World
U.S. Officials: Blinken Postpones China Trip over Balloon; Kherson Perseveres in the Face of Heavy Artillery Strikes; Palestinian Family's Home used in Israeli Military Raid; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Discusses House Vote on Ilhan Omar; Surveys: Many Iranians Dissatisfied with Quality of Life; Adani Group Stocks on Roller Coaster Ride. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired February 03, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: I'm Eleni Giokos. Hello and welcome back to the second half of "Connect the World". Now U.S. Secretary
of State Antony Blinken is postponing a high stakes visit to Beijing according to two U.S. officials.
It comes after suspected Chinese spy balloon was spotted drifting over the Northern U.S. And there it is. The Chinese Foreign Ministry says the
balloon is a research airship which deviated from its planned course. U.S. defense officials say the incident is "Definitely serious". We've got CNN's
Natasha Bertrand, in Washington for us and Oren Liebermann is at the Pentagon. Natasha, I want to start with you.
Antony Blinken postponing his trip we knew there were multiple briefings that were occurring once the U.S. started tracking this balloon and trying
to figure out what exactly it is? What does the postponement of the U.S. Secretary of State's trip mean for overall relations between the two
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well look, it really remains to be seen. But what we know is that the Biden Administration really wanted to
demonstrate some kind of response to this Chinese balloon floating over the continental U.S. without necessarily shooting it down, right?
So some kind of diplomatic middle ground was really necessary here. And what we are told now is that, you know, the Biden Administration has over
the last few days been weighing whether or not to cancel Antony Blinken's trip? Well, now it seems as though it will be postponed.
The Chinese of course, have been trying to walk this back trying to ease tension, saying that this was accidental that this was a weather balloon,
and that it simply went off course. But you know this is likely to just be another big irritant in the U.S. China relationship that was really
starting to kind of get back on track.
Of course, we saw that President Biden did meet with Xi Jinping in November. And that meeting went fairly well according to U.S. officials.
They were optimistic that they could find some kind of a floor to the relationship and put guardrails up around potential conflict and kind of
manage that competition between the U.S. and China.
Well, now obviously, the U.S. is trying to take a very strong position against what at the same time, the administration is saying there's not
necessarily a huge counter intelligence or intelligence risk to the United States, but at the same time does warrant some kind of response.
So it remains to be seen how the Chinese are going to react to this postponement of this trip, because again, they have been trying to cool
down tensions here and trying to deflect blame away from Beijing.
GIOKOS: Oren I want to bring you in here. Pentagon confirming that this balloon has traveled over some sensitive sites. We're trying to understand
what this balloon does? If it is surveillance, the Chinese say it's a weather airship. I want you to give me a sense in terms of what we've
learned, as the U.S. government tracks its movements?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The Pentagon has been scant with details about what sort of intelligence gathering capabilities this
balloon has? But they have been clear, they view this as a spy satellite launched by China with some sort of surveillance or intelligence gathering
They do however, say that it doesn't have any abilities above and beyond what Chinese spy satellites can already do. Which asks the question, and
then what's its purpose? What does it do? There is one official who told us that it can loiter and gather information about a specific area for an
extended period of time, unlike spy satellites which obviously move very quickly, and hit an area once every 90 minutes?
So perhaps that's the explanation. Obviously, the Pentagon is taking this very seriously. They haven't detailed what sensitive sites this balloon
crossed? But we know it was over Montana, where the U.S. has one of its ballistic missile fields. So perhaps that was the sensitive site. And
that's what has raised alarm bells here at the Pentagon and throughout the government.
The Pentagon has been tracking this for several days now, along with Canada and Nora. And the question is where does it go now? Is it drifting with the
wind? We've had U.S. officials tell us it is uncontrollable, and essentially at the mercy of the wind, so the Pentagon is keeping an eye on
this. They've made the decision not to shoot it down for now.
President Joe Biden was given military options but advised not to take any of those options, including from the highest levels of the Pentagon, for
example, General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. But Pentagon officials have said that if they decide the risk has increased
from this balloon, then they may take those military options and perhaps depending on how and where this goes, shoot the balloon down.
GIOKOS: Yes, the next move is going to be vital. Natasha from a political perspective, domestic politics, Republicans are saying that President Biden
has been relatively soft with China. China has also been very vocal about the fact that it is very discontent with the U.S. embarking on more
military bases in the Philippines for example. So you get the sense that there's something simmering under the surface here?
BERTRAND: Yes, Eleni I'm actually just getting some new reporting from my colleague, Kevin Liptak, who is reporting that Secretary of State Antony
Blinken had in fact, been sensitive to the Republican criticism of both him and of President Biden, for not being strong enough on China.
And so while the U.S. does not want to take such a dramatic action as shooting this balloon out of the sky, as I mentioned earlier, they do want
to send some kind of message. And according to this new reporting, this was the track that President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken decided on
that this would be the way essentially to communicate to the Chinese that this is not acceptable.
Because of course, this is not the first time that this kind of balloon has floated over the U.S. Now, it may be the first time that it's happened over
the continental U.S. But as we have reported, it's happened over Guam and Hawaii, and in the past the administrations that had been dealing with this
have kind of just let it float away.
Well, now given all of this criticism by the Republicans on Capitol Hill, it seems like the administration did want to take more of a drastic action
here, and this was the best diplomatic way forward. Now, it is unclear whether this is indicative of greater tensions that simmering below the
Of course, the U.S. China relationship has been far from perfect; however, they have been trying to repair it. So we will wait and see whether or not
Blinken does, in fact, reschedule this trip at a later date after having these diplomatic conversations with the Chinese about the balloon Eleni?
GIOKOS: Alright. We've got news just in from a Senior State Department official Oren saying clear assessment was that under these current
conditions, it would be constructive not be constructive to visit Beijing at this time saying that the presence of the Chinese spy balloon is a clear
violation of our sovereignty as well as international law.
It goes on to say that Blinken actually conveyed the decision to postpone this trip directly to China's top diplomats, and plans to go to Beijing
when things change. It is interesting to see this messaging coming through as they track this balloon, what are you reading into the U.S.'s response
and as we've said, the defense department saying this is very serious.
LIEBERMANN: Well, its part of what is essentially a hardline response here; especially given the other words we've seen back and forth between Beijing
and Washington. It's not - this didn't simply happen in a vacuum you've seen in recent weeks, especially in January. That tension ratchet up,
especially given around the U.S. military presence in the region.
China expressing its displeasure even more than its displeasure with a new marine unit in Okinawa, with new military access to bases in the
Philippines so you've seen them respond angrily to that. And this, perhaps is the U.S. responding in kind pointing out that this will not be taken
lightly that a Chinese balloon, whether it's a spy satellite, whether it's a weather balloon is in U.S. airspace and above the continental United
And the U.S. isn't simply going to look at that and say, alright, well, we're going to turn the other cheek here, and we're going to - we're going
to walk away. The U.S. feels it has to respond and this is part of that response. Shooting it down yet that hasn't been decided upon, as far as we
know, that remains an option.
But right now, the statements you're seeing the decision to postpone Blinken's trip to the region, are part of a very serious response to what
the U.S. views as a very serious incident.
GIOKOS: Yes. They do, absolutely. Oren Liebermann and Natasha Bertrand, thank you very much for that. We've got Marc Stewart standing by for us as
well. Marc, I want to bring you in here and as we unpack the latest commentary coming through from the State Department.
The U.S. official also acknowledges that China's statement came through, but says that the presence of this balloon in our airspace, as we say, is a
clear violation of our sovereignty, and international law. And it is unacceptable that this has occurred.
The Chinese in the meantime, important to note have been very measured, and have given their side of the story, their explanation. How do you think
they're going to take this postponement and the fact that the Defense Department, as we say, is viewing this as a very serious incident?
MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Eleni, if we look at the verbiage that we have seen throughout the day, it's been very guarded very
diplomatic. But in our latest response that we received from Beijing about two hours ago, it used the phrase regret.
It is so rare for the Chinese government to issue an apology for lack of better words or show some contrition. But the fact that they used the
phrase regret referring to this incident shows that there was concern that this was at a very delicate time during U.S. Chinese relations.
And one can safely infer that it perhaps shows that there was concern that this visit would be threatened. I'm looking at the exact phrase that we
were seeing from the Chinese government and the phrase from the spokesperson is.
STEWART: The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship into U.S. airspace due to force majeure that being French term meaning
uncontrolled, unforeseen circumstances. I reached out to one analyst about this just a few hours ago.
And this analyst brought up the point it would be very difficult to see Secretary Blinken having a face to face conversation, a handshake with his
Chinese counterparts at this time when this balloon is in U.S. airspace. As you said before, that's a potential conflict. That's a problem. And it does
not necessarily provide for good optics, Eleni.
GIOKOS: Yes. And frankly, leading up to this meeting between Antony Blinken and officials in Beijing was going to be important, especially after the
conversations that you and I have even had this week with regards to military bases in the Philippines and China's aggressive reaction, frankly,
in terms of the words and the messaging, that it used. What would have been on the agenda to iron out some of these very pertinent issues facing these
two mega economies?
STEWART: Of course. Certainly, we would have had the military issues, which we're talking about most recently. But we would have talked about trade. We
would have talked about tariffs. We would have talked about semiconductor chips, also on the list, human rights, global warming, the climate, as well
as the pandemic.
But all of that for the moment is on hold. But something else to keep in mind it's not that they would necessarily have finished this meeting with
an agreement on all of these issues. It would have created an atmosphere where if there was some potential hotspot in the world, like we are seeing
right now, with this case of the balloon.
It would be easy for both sides to pick up the phone and have a conversation. So it doesn't escalate into something further. That's what
the goal was. And incidents like that only emphasize the importance of this Eleni.
GIOKOS: Yes. And to your point, as we go back to what the State Department just released, they say that they're confident that diplomatic channels
will remain open. It is a story we'll keep watching on CNN today. Marc Stewart, thank you very much for that analysis.
All right, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is calling for more long range weapons and vowing to hold on to the critical City of Bakhmut "For as
long as we can". This as Europe pledges to stay with Ukraine in the face of Russia's war.
European Union leaders met in Kyiv in a summit that takes on added urgency as Ukraine anticipates a new Russian offensive in the weeks ahead. As talks
continue, so does the carnage on the ground. CNN's Sam Kiley brings us more on the situation in the City of Kherson.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): 12 weeks ago Ukrainian celebrated the liberation of Kherson from months of Russian
occupation. This is the scene today.
KILEY (on camera): The Russians continuing to fire with direct fire from tanks across the river which is just a few 100 meters in that direction.
And on top of that locals are telling us that it's being regularly shelled with grads the multiple rocket launching systems completely indiscriminate.
KILEY (voice over): Homes have been blown up, hospitals torn by high explosives in weeks of an ever intensifying bombardment. Local authorities
here talk of scores of artillery attacks from Russian positions just across the Dnieper River every day. Firefighters and emergency workers keep their
base location secret their prime targets for Russia's guns.
Two people were killed around the city overnight. A missile landed very close to here recently adding urgency to this food distribution to people
who are still here because they're trapped by poverty. Grad rockets flew in during the day at half past three right here our guard was standing there
the guard got hit, they said.
KILEY (on camera): Why do you think the Russians are doing this?
KILEY (voice over): Revenge probably she said, probably revenge because they ran away. This underpass is a brief refuge taken by desperate
civilians seeking help and food. Most of the houses are destroyed he said people are staying without electricity, water and gas and there's constant
We're on the contact line we live near the bridge. Anatoly (ph) will take what help he can get from local government. A Russian strike against city
hall five days ago means that this plastic sheeting can be put to better use.
KILEY (on camera): What are you going to do with that?
KILEY (voice over): I'll board up the windows, the windows out no glass. He'll have to walk home. No one will drive to his neighborhood. It looks
out across the river at the Russians. Sam Kiley, CNN in Kherson.
GIOKOS: You're watching "Connect the World" live from Dubai. And still ahead, the terrifying moments a West Bank family injured when Israeli
forces took over their home during the raid and why Israel says what happened is not out of the ordinary stay with CNN?
GIOKOS: Israel's Prime Minister is in France on a trip happening in the wake of deadly Middle East violence. Benjamin Netanyahu met French
President Emmanuel Macron in Paris Thursday for a working dinner. And they focused on ways to deter Iran's nuclear program.
Mr. Macron also stressed solidarity with Israel in fighting terrorism after an attacker killed seven people at a synagogue in East Jerusalem. And he
voiced France's opposition to "The continuation of colonization that undermines the prospect of a future Palestinian state".
I want to bring in Nic Robertson, from Jerusalem. Nic, you visited Jenin, which experienced an Israeli raid and you also met with a family that was
at the coalface of the attack. Could you tell me what you saw while we're seeing so many diplomatic events happening at a time where you've got an
escalation of violence?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, the background, of course, is just a long running discontent with a problem a
two state solution or not for the Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace side by side. And the longer that goes on.
What has happened over the decades is more and more polarization and fear of each other's communities is happening. And right now that's sort of
quite a tense moment because there's a right wing government a far right wing government and that in Mr. Netanyahu's government in Israel at the
And in the Palestinian side, there's a leadership which really doesn't command the respect of its people and is able to sort of lead them in
towards missed opportunities. So what you have in places like Jenin and in the refugee camps there in particular.
You have people who are already sort of living in fear and have had past incursions by Israeli forces and most notably it was a bad peak in 2002 and
now because of the current broader tensions and this group of what the Israelis considered terrorists inside the camp.
ROBERTSON: You have this this confluence of events. It's becoming more often and this family was caught up in a raid to take out this this group
of Palestinian gunmen.
ROBERTSON (on camera): So, the soldiers came on to the roof of your house here.
ROBERTSON (voice over): From the roof of his Jenin apartment, Mohammed Abu Al-Hija shows me where Israeli troops fought a three-hour battle with
Palestinian gunmen just a few feet away.
ROBERTSON (on camera): So, the whole house here was surrounded by Israeli troops.
ROBERTSON (voice over): It was Thursday last week. The raid killed 10 people, seven of them Palestinian gunman. One of the deadliest such West
Bank operations in years, Mohammad thought he and his family might die too, because Israeli troops took over his apartment to fight the gunman. He
shows where he says two soldiers shot from his window.
ROBERTSON (on camera): And you can see all the bullet holes along the wall there.
ROBERTSON (voice over): They've spent bullet casings he says testimony to the ferocity of the firefight. He says the soldiers tied his hands behind
his back, ordered him and his wife to get on the floor cover their two daughter's ears.
ROBERTSON (on camera): This is one of the bullets that came into your room right here.
ROBERTSON (voice over): The gunman began firing back at the Israeli soldiers hitting the wall and the door while he, his wife, and his two-
year-old and one year old daughters lay terrified on the floor. He thinks at least one soldier was hit.
ROBERTSON (on camera): So, they cut this out here. And they're looking right over the house. This is the house that target.
ROBERTSON (voice over): In his bedroom, he shows where he says the soldiers cut the bars off his window.
ROBERTSON (on camera): And they fired the rocket from here on the blast back here.
ROBERTSON (voice over): The whole place shook he says there were three rockets. It was so loud. We were terrified. The Israeli military say it was
an urgent mission that when they arrived here, their troops came under heavy fire that they returned fire. They say the suspects barricaded
themselves in the house here so they fired a shoulder launch anti-tank missile at them.
The buildings so damaged local officials had it bulldozed using apartments like Mohammed's to give covering fire is standard operating procedure and
Israeli military spokesman told CNN so that the action can be more precise. UN officials say the incident breaches international law.
In the ground floor apartment beneath Mohammed's Ziad says he saw the firefight saw an Israeli soldier hide behind his car shoot one of the
gunmen. This is the worst I've seen it much worse than the 2002 raids, he says, there are lots more government on the streets now. It's a younger
They were born into it. Upstairs Mohammed is close to tears, when I asked him how safe he feels. We're not safe, not safe for a moment after what
happened he says if they had killed me no one would hold them accountable.
You have to be very cautious. Despite the battle scars, it might look as if some kind of normality is returning. But in people's hearts here, there is
fear. The worst is yet to come.
ROBERTSON: And there is a real shock in that community. They haven't seen anything on a scale like this for many, many years. And of course, it has
them worried about what happens next. And they're fully aware of that broader context. And as Ziad told us there, there are a lot more gunmen in
Jenin than they used to be.
And that he says, as he said is because the situation just hasn't improved and people are giving up hope. So, it can all conspire to be a very
negative picture going forward. And I think that's part of the reasons why, you know, we found the shot not just in Mohammed's house with him and his
family but out there more broadly on the streets.
GIOKOS: And just through your report, we can see the fear and the pain and as you say people were sharing with you this is some of the worst sorts of
scenarios they've seen play out. But on the diplomatic front, you know, Antony Blinken mentioning you know, two states solution should be on the
table, Macron talking about not supporting colonization and still needing to find a way to have a Palestinian state in existence.
GIOKOS: Is there a huge disconnect, Nic, in terms of realities on the ground and the diplomatic conversations that are happening because Benjamin
Netanyahu seems to still be very much focused on talking about Iran.
ROBERTSON: He is that his number one priority is dealing with Iran. His number two priority, he said is the Palestinian Israeli issue and the
economy of Israel is also one of the big issues on his agenda as well.
He thinks that he can resolve the issue with the Palestinians by really improving his relations with countries in the region. And here, he would
hope that that would be Saudi Arabia, because it's very influential in the region. But what Secretary Blinken said to him is that, that broader
relationship and the region is no substitute for improving relations directly with the Palestinians.
And that message that we heard from President Macron, about no colonization. And what Secretary of State Antony Blinken talked about,
about no expansion of settlements are sort of faces of the same issue.
And the issue that that confronts Israelis and Palestinians at the moment is, if the two state solutions really isn't workable, and a lot of people
on both sides of the divide here, have really given up the hope, given up hope of it, Palestinians cling to it, because they think it gives them into
international legitimacy. But if that's gone, then the solution becomes a one state solution.
And that's a conundrum for Prime Minister Netanyahu. Because, as he's being told by Secretary Blinken, as undoubtedly has been told by French President
Macron if you do that, and you don't give equal rights to Palestinian citizens, and that would be an improvement on their standing right now,
then that would look like apartheid.
And that doesn't put doesn't stand Israel very well in the eyes of the international community. So, these are very, very big issues. But of
course, the problems are historic and deep and the polarization here is not improving.
GIOKOS: Nic Robertson, thank you so very much for that report and your insight as always. Right and you can follow the latest developments from
the region on our website.
CNN's "Meanwhile in the Middle East" Newsletter features a story by Jerusalem Correspondent Hadas Gold on Benjamin Netanyahu's vision for a
two-state solution without Palestinian sovereignty and why he thinks it's unlikely long-term peace with the Palestinians will happen anytime soon.
You can check out our website.
Well, U.S. Democrats say its political revenge. Coming up, House Republicans flex their muscle voting to push and outspoken Democrats off a
key House committee. And Pope Francis arrives in South Sudan as he hopes his trip can foster peace in the region.
GIOKOS: More now on our top story this hour U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will not travel to Beijing next week as planned according to two
U.S. officials. The postponement comes after a suspected Chinese spy balloon was spotted over the northern U.S. The Chinese foreign ministry
says the balloon is a research airship which deviated from its planned course.
The decision to postpone the trip was made after high level talks including President Joe Biden according to U.S. officials. It was decided that
Blinken's visit would not be "constructive given the situation". The Pentagon says the balloon is floating at an altitude above commercial air
traffic and is not believed to pose any threat to anyone on the ground.
A political stance that's how U.S. Democrats are framing the removal of Representative Ilhan Omar, the high profile foreign affairs committee in
the U.S. House of Representatives. The Republican led House voted Thursday to pass a resolution to kick her off, arguing that she should not serve on
the committee because of past comments she made about Israel that have been criticized as anti-Semitic. CNN's Manu Raju has more on the long running
partisan battle over committee assignments.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): House Republicans in one of their first moves in power, ousting Democrat Ilhan
Omar from a seat on the foreign affairs committee over past remarks condemned as anti-Semitic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has brought dishonor to the House of Representatives.
RAJU (voice over): 218 to 211 vote a response to 2021 when Democrats booted Republicans Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene from all of their
committees over their rhetoric. But speaker Kevin McCarthy claims this is different since Omar can serve on other committees, just not foreign
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this the message you want to send to voters as you come into power here?
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): No. And that's the clear part how it's not tit for tat; we're not removing her from other committees. We just do not
believe when it comes to foreign affairs, especially the responsibility of that position around the world with the comments that you make.
RAJU (voice over): Then Speaker Nancy Pelosi set the precedent in 2021. But told CNN at the time, she was not concerned the GOP might retaliate.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (R-CA): We would not walk away from our responsibilities for fear of something they may do in the future.
RAJU (voice over): Now Democrats say the vote was an act of pure political vengeance.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): But what's going to take place on the floor today? It's not a public policy debate. It's not about accountability. It's
about political revenge. It's not justified.
RAJU (voice over): But Omar has apologized, even signing onto a resolution recognizing Israel as a legitimate U.S. ally and today defiant.
REP. ILHAN OMAR (R-MN): I am an immigrant and interestingly, from Africa. Is anyone surprised that I am being targeted.
RAJU (voice over): Even some Republicans uneasy about the vote.
REP. TONY GONZALES (R- TX): I'm not excited about the direction that we've started the direction that we've kind of taken this place is tit for tat.
RAJU (on camera): How you feel about this being one of the first major actions of the new Republican majority to kick Ilhan Omar off the
REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): Well, certainly I'm concerned representing a swing district that we're distracted from the real issues facing Americans who
are struggling talking about inflation.
RAJU: Now those last two Republican members did end up voting to kick Omar off of the committee. Nancy Mason one said she had gotten some assurances
that going forward, there'll be a different process for removing committees members off of committees for bad behavior for conduct that looks
dishonorably among the house.
Kevin McCarthy did indicate that that would be his plan. Also going forward, he plans to have talks with a Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries
about this issue, as the Republicans seem pure eager to put this behind them amid concerns within the ranks. Manu Raju, CNN Capitol Hill.
GIOKOS: New York Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivered a fiery speech on the House floor after the vote. She spoke with CNN's John Berman
later and she said she thinks Republicans were motivated by desire to get even with Democrats.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): I think this was about revenge. This was about petty politics. But also, I think it's also important that to
state that this was not just about Republicans trying to feed a base that they have already primed for years under Donald Trump with racism misogyny,
OCASIO-CORTEZ: But also, it represents a stripping of an important perspective on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, that Ilhan Omar as a
refugee as an immigrant, as the only hijab woman in the United States Congress presents in and that perspective is critical in terms of American
JOHN BERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): So, you brought up race and religion, I want to play a little bit more of what you said on that front,
OCASIO-CORTEZ: As a fellow New Yorker, I think one of the things that we should talk about here is also one of the disgusting legacies after 911 has
been the targeting and racism against Muslim Americans throughout the United States of America. And this is an extension of that legacy
consistency; there is nothing consistent with the Republican Party's continued attack, except for the racism and incitement of violence against
women of color in this body.
BERMAN (on camera): So, you're talking about Representative Omar, who is of course, from Somalia, a minority, but Swalwell and Schiff are both white
guys. So that's not about race, but this is.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, you know, I think when we look at all three of these, first of all, when you look at Swalwell and Schiff, they're targeting and
the Republican Party's targeting of all three of them have always been about campaigning and it has always been about the perspectives that they
It is about political revenge in the case of all three of them political revenge for Adam Schiff for his work on the impeachment of Donald Trump
political revenge with Eric Swalwell in the incisive, his incisive ability to communicate against the Trump Administration and the wrongdoings of the
And in the case of Ilhan Omar, I believe that that hers is absolutely especially amplified with racist targeting, because this is what set her
base. This is the same representative that Donald Trump held rallies around saying send her back to her "Her country", her country is the United States
GIOKOS: Right let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar right now. Israel's Foreign Minister says his country and Sudan
have finalized the text of a peace agreement as signing ceremony is expected to take place in Washington later this year. After a transfer of
power in Sudan to a civilian government, Sudan was part of the original Abraham accords with Israel but the process stalled after a military coup
in October 2021.
Iraq's currency is plunging against the U.S. dollar the value of the Iraqi dinar sinking almost 20 percent this week. This comes after the U.S.
restricted dollar transfers to Iraq to end money laundering and illegal money transfers to Iran and Syria.
Actress Angelina Jolie was in northern Iraq this week visiting with genocide survivors from the minority Yazidi community. She was accompanied
by Yazidi Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. They spoke to women and children who returned to rebuild after surviving the mass killings by ISIS in 2014.
Pope Francis is in South Sudan today where he's meeting with the country's president and other civil society leaders. His visit comes as South Sudan
is battling a humanitarian crisis facing famine, floods and a civil war. CNN's Larry Madowo has more on his historic trip.
LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's not just historic that the Pope is in South Sudan, the world's youngest nation. It's also historic
because of who he's accompanied by. For the first time ever, the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of
the Anglican Church are doing a foreign trip together, and they're also accompanied by the leader of the Church of Scotland.
Why is this important because about 60 percent of the population in South Sudan identifies as Christian, and this country has been rocked by civil
war for most of the last decade? Since it gained independence in 2011, they had two years of peace and then forces allied to President Salva Kiir for
those alleged Vice President Riek Machar, and this country has been destabilized with so much conflict and pain.
Above 100,000 people are believed to have died, about 4 million people are displaced either in the country or beyond its borders. And that is why the
pope held a spiritual retreat for the country's political and religious leaders back in 2019. And he had this incredible moment where he knelt and
kissed their feet, imploring them to find a way to work together to give peace a chance.
And so, his visit to South Sudan is building on that work that he's been doing. He's been meaning to go to South Sudan for as much as possible. And
this window finally came up. So with the other religious leaders, they hope to finally speak to these religious political leaders in the country to
find a way to implement that 2018 peace agreement.
So that finally South Sudan can live to its full potential. And if there's anybody who can do it maybe are three religious leaders. Larry Madowo, CNN
GIOKOS: Just ahead in prison, but not silenced as an award-winning filmmaker speaks out against the Iranian regime. I'll talk to an expert
about the country's transformational protest, stay with us.
GIOKOS: Welcome back, you're watching "Connect the World". Concern over the mounting health of imprisoned Iranian doctor we're about to show you some
disturbing images that will trade the reason for that concern. This is Civil Rights Activists Dr. Farhad Meysami, a letter said to be written by
him says he's on a hunger strike to protest the execution of prisoners to call for the release of several protesters and to stop hijab law
CNN could not verify the authenticity of the letter. His lawyer says he is concerned for his health. And now one of Iran's most influential
filmmakers, Jafar Panahi has just been released from Iran's notorious Evin prison after reportedly going on hunger strike to protest his detention
according to his wife.
Reuters says Iranian authorities decided to reactivate an old sentence against Panahi earlier this year on charges of making anti-government
propaganda. He's among a number of Iranian artists and others who've been speaking out against Iran's regime.
Observers say that even though the daily protests have lost some momentum recently, Iranian people are still demanding change. My next guest has
covered the protests in Iran extensively. Ali Vaez is the Director of the Iran project at the International Crisis Group wrote a deeply personal and
moving account of where the protest movement currently stands in foreign affairs.
And I want to begin by reading a portion of that. A revolution has already happened in the minds of the Iranian people. Iranians now share a broad-
based consensus that something in the regime is broken and cannot be mended. Gone are any illusions of reforms, fantasies of redeemer's hopes
for economic miracles and patients for better days.
What was once an anguished whim or a distant wish, which had turned into ravaging despair, has now turned into an irrevocable demand for fundamental
political change and freedom. Ali I'd like to welcome you to the program. I read your piece, you encapsulate so much of the pain, the trauma, the
resistance that we've seen on the ground experienced by Iranians.
But now that we've seen the protest action losing some of its momentum I want to reflect on just how impactful the streets have been on the Iranian
ALI VAEZ, DIRECTOR, IRAN PROJECT, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: Thank you, it's great to be with you. You know, as I write in the piece, I don't
believe that current protest movement really amounted to a revolution on the streets. But it really marked the revolution in the mindset of the
There wasn't a past hope that maybe the reformers coming to power, the regime could be reformed. There was hope that maybe with more pragmatic
forces of Iranian politics comes into power; relations with the West could improve.
But now there is a widespread sense of hopelessness and a sense of deadlock in the system, which I think has brought the majority of the country to a
point that they're seeking fundamental political changes. And the regime is really worried that unit was in the early 1980s, in the sense, sorry, go
GIOKOS: Yes, I'm sorry, you're breaking up slightly, but I just want to read another portion of what you wrote. Because you wrote about the arrest
of Iranian Americans Siamak Namazi in 2015, as a warning shot to other dual nationals, and you say this, my home country's door was therefore shut to
me when I lost my father to cancer three years later, I could not go back.
The regime's cancerous paranoia about dual nationals deprive me like many others of seeing a parent for his death, being with family and dark times,
and attending a loved one's funeral. It's a way I guess Ali to isolate dual nationals. And this must carry an enormous emotional toll. I want you to
tell me about this and how you feel as a dual national.
VAEZ: Look at those my friend Siamak Namazi is now the longest held American prisoner in Iranian prison. He's been there for seven and a half
years. And there are two additional American hostages in Iran right now. And unfortunately, the Islamic Republic engages in this shameful practice
of hostage diplomacy, which comes at a huge cost for the country as well.
Because there's so much talent in the Iranian diaspora that could be used for Iran's own advancement, which is on unfortunately, being driven away
and alienated. But I don't want to exaggerate the amount of pain that I have gone through when you see the amount of sacrifice that people like
Farhad Meysami that you talked about have done in order to preserve the rights of the Iranian people, or Jafar Panahi or other artists and
activists who have paid a much higher personal price.
GIOKOS: And this is a try to sing, you know, at all costs, people going out on the streets, knowing that they could pay for that with their lives. The
current Supreme Leader 84 years old, there are rumors that his health is not well, what happens after him, what happens, what is the future of Iran?
How are you viewing this?
VAEZ: Look, unfortunately, despite the Iranian people's desire and dream of transitioning to a democracy, the infrastructure for the democratic
transition has been completely destroyed by the regime. And I would say, compounded by the effect of sanctions from the outside. So the Iranian
people are now basically pressed from above by the regime and press from the outside by the West.
And that does not create an opportune context or transition to a kind of Jeffersonian democracy. And if Iran reaches a tipping point, whether that's
the passing of the supreme leader or military confrontation with the United States or Israel, then I think the likeliest scenario is that the
Revolutionary Guards, which was the most powerful entity within the country, could potentially take over.
And the future of Iran would look something between Pakistan and Egypt in the sense that the military will be in charge. And the distinguishing
factor there is whether Iran will have a nuclear weapon --.
GIOKOS: The issue of the nuclear weapons of course, a big one, I think for the U.S. and international community as well, everyone watching on. Thank
you very much Ali Vaez for sharing your story and incredible piece. If you do happen to come across it, I suggest to the audience to try and read
this, Ali, thank you so much.
And still to come $60 billion gone. Now Asia's richest man is dealing with the scandal that has cut his personal fortune in half. And we're talking
GIOKOS: The stock price of the flagship company in the Adani group briefly fell by 35 percent on the Indian stock market, though it rebounded by the
close of business. Adani companies have now shared more than get this half their value over $100 billion in the past 10 days.
The selloff is the result of a U.S. research firm accusing a conglomerate of accounting fraud and stock manipulation found Gautam Adani, Asia's
richest man has personally lost them $60 billion. We've got CNN's Anna Stewart counting all the billions. There were billions Anna, there are a
lot of billions in this scenario. I mean, this is unbelievable the rise and the fall, the ups and the downs all because of one research paper. Take us
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: One research paper by a short seller, though that had such far-ranging allegations of fraud of stock market
manipulation. And despite a huge rebuttal from the Adani group, just less than a week ago, actually some 400 pages that were released, it clearly
hasn't done much to assure investors looking at that share price that we've seen.
And there have been twists and turns of this story now almost every single day. The latest twist, I would say was TotalEnergies, which is one of the
major international partners of the Adani group released in a statement say that it has limited exposure to the group some $3 billion.
But it also said that it welcomes the announcement from Adani that they will be mandating one of the big four accounting firms to do an audit. Now,
this would probably be good news in terms of investor confidence, except for the fact that we have not had that line confirmed by the Adani group
There has been no comment and we have reached out to Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC. All the four big firms, none of them have responded immediately to our
requests. And we've been looking back at Adani enterprises. In their last audit, they used a small Indian firm called Shah Dhandharia & Co, the
website address listed for that is currently invalid.
So, it's hard to know what happens next with the story given we're getting so little information from the Adani group themselves. And this is now not
just a financial fallout but a political fallout as well. I'd like to show you what the Indian finance minister had to say about this as he tries to
reassure both lawmakers I think and investors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIRMALA SITHARAMAN, INDIAN FINANCE MINISTER: India remains as before absolutely well governed stable government and also very well you know,
regulated financial market. And as a result, I think the investor confidence which existed before shall continue even now. Our regulators are
normally very, very stringent about certain governance practices.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: Normally very, very stringent. The central banks also said that the banking sector remains resilient and stable, so message of stability
there. But in Parliament, it hasn't looked particularly stable at all. Gautam Adani, who is the founder of the Adani group, and was until very
recently, Asia's richest man is well known to have links with Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister.
They're meant to be close allies and opposition lawmakers have been pushing parliament to have a special session to debate the Hindenburg research
report look into these allegations. The result of that was a fairly chaotic parliamentary session. And parliament has been essentially paused at this
stage until Monday. So, I'm sure we'll get much more on this story again next week, Eleni.
GIOKOS: You know and it's got me thinking it's about whom exposure to those shares, right has. The institutions, the companies and then also money just
don't disappear, share prices.
GIOKOS: I mean money doesn't disappear; someone made money on the other side of those trades. So those are the kind of things I guess, that will
emerge as the story develops.
STEWART: And possibly over years, Eleni don't forget how long it took, for instance, Wirecard to really follow the money work out what happened, who
did what, perhaps, of course, the Adani group has done nothing wrong. That is what they maintain that these allegations are false and malicious.
GIOKOS: Anna Stewart, thank you so very much. Good to see you. Thank you so very much for joining us on the show. I'm Eleni Giokos in Dubai, and we've
got "One World" up next. Have a fantastic weekend.