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One World with Zain Asher
Israel's War Against Hamas Pushes Farther Into Gaza; U.S. Homeland Security Officials Say Border Authorities Detained Around 6000 Migrants On Tuesday; Fans Mourn The Loss Of South Korean Actor Lee Sung-Yoon; "The New York Times" Sues Microsoft And OpenAI; Criminal Gangs Scam Millions Of Dollars Online From Thousands Of Unsuspecting Americans. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired December 27, 2023 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Israel's war against Hamas pushes farther into Gaza, displacing more Palestinians. "One World" starts right
now. As the war between Israel and Hamas continues in Gaza, U.S. warships are responding to attacks by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea, all of this
leading to fears of a larger war across the Middle East.
And fans in South Korea and around the world are mourning the loss of Lee Sung-Yoon, the latest on the investigation into the actor's sudden death,
ahead. Plus, in Myanmar, criminal charges are -- criminal gangs are engaging in human trafficking and a method of scamming known as pig
butchering to steal millions from unsuspecting Americans.
Hello everyone, live from New York, I'm Bianna Golodryga. Zain is off today. You are watching "One World". Israeli military leaders are making it
clear that the war with Hamas won't end anytime soon. The Chief of Staff for the Israel Defense Forces says the fight will continue for many more
He says Israel is close to its goal of dismantling Hamas in northern Gaza and is now concentrating more on the southern half of the enclave. News
that Israel's offensive will likely go on for longer is not sitting well with some countries. France's foreign ministry says that it is worried
about civilians in Gaza and renewed its call for an immediate truce.
A U.N. human rights expert says Israel is, quote, working to expel Gaza's civilian population. The U.N. estimates that 85 percent of Gaza's
population has been internally displaced since the conflict began. With more on that, here's CNN's Will Ripley.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The terrifying sound of ongoing bombardment, Israeli shells hitting targets.
Closer and closer to this U.N.-run school in central Gaza. For thousands sheltering here, it's time to move, again. Families forced to flee for
their lives, and this is not the first or even second time for many. Once again, they carried the war-torn pieces of their lives in pursuit of
elusive safety. Just days earlier, many here vowed they would never move again. Never. A vow they're now willing to break only because they know
their children's lives are at stake.
OM MOHAMED, GAZA RESIDENT (through translator): There's no safety in the school. We're looking for a safer place. I'm leaving because of the
intensity of the airstrikes and the suffering.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Everywhere else is crowded. There's no guarantee they'll find a spot but what else can they do? Even if they have nowhere
else to go, they can't stay here. They don't want to die here. The scene, a grim reminder of what their parents and grandparents endured in 1948, when
Zionist militias forced them out of their hometowns.
In the cold winter, blankets and mattresses are precious commodities. Cars and the fuel that run them are scarce. Those who can't afford it hire
donkey carts. For the rest, it's a long trek on foot. It's very tough back there, he says. Bombs are falling on people everywhere. People were injured
there. We don't know where we're heading. Everywhere is under threat. We're just moving with the rest of the people.
The destination for many? Relatives' homes. A roof over their heads even if they are in neighborhoods already devastated by Israeli airstrikes. Street
battles raging across Gaza, turning areas north and south of the strip into ghost towns. The scars of battle rock.
YOAV GALLANT, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER: We are in a multi-arena war. We are being attacked from seven different sectors, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Judea
and Samaria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran. Anyone who acts against us is a potential target. There is no immunity for anyone.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Iran's allies in the region engaging in low-level hostilities in response, they say, to Israel's war in Gaza. Yemen's Houthi
attacking ships, ships they claim are Israeli-affiliated, turning the Red Sea into a dangerous route for world trade.
Iran's vow to avenge the killing of an Iranian commander in Syria, sparking renewed concerns of expanding the conflict especially on the Lebanese-
Israeli border, artillery fire with the Iran-backed Hezbollah keeping both countries on edge since October 8th.
In Gaza, a race for survival between a routine of airstrikes rushing to hospitals and burials, and the ongoing search for food and water, and a
pursuit of shelter for close to two million people displaced. Will Ripley, CNN, Tel Aviv.
GOLODRYGA: Meantime, there are growing signs that the fight between Israel and Hamas is spilling elsewhere in the region. The U.S. is taking a more
active role in protecting ships traveling in the Red Sea. The U.S. says it intercepted 17 drones and missiles fired by Houthi forces in Yemen on
This after the Iraqi government condemned a series of American airstrikes that targeted Iranian-backed militants operating inside Iraq. The White
House says the airstrikes were aimed at militants who attacked U.S. forces in the region, but Iraq says civilians were among nearly 20 people injured
in the U.S. airstrikes.
For the latest on all this, let's bring in CNN's Pentagon Correspondent Oren Lieberman. So Oren, the United States sent two ships to the region as
a deterrent, has put together a coalition in the last few days, as well. And yet we continue to see these rather bold attacks by the Houthis,
obviously sponsored by Iran, as U.S. intelligence has linked the two. What more is the U.S. saying about this growing threat?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, the U.S. is now leading and part of what it calls Operation Prosperity Guardian, which is
this multinational coalition of countries, some named, some unnamed, that are in the Red Sea and operating in that area as a response to Houthi
attacks. And this latest barrage was quite stunning in its size and, frankly, its audacity.
Over 10 hours, U.S. Central Command says yesterday Houthis launched 12 one- way attack drones, three anti-ship ballistic missiles and two land attack cruise missiles. Those were intercepted and shot down by a U.S. destroyer
and U.S. fighter jets operating in the region.
So, you see there the threat to commercial shipping. A Houthi spokesman says some of that was fired at a ship that had not responded to Houthi
naval forces, and some of that, the Houthi armed forces spokesman said, was targeted towards Israel and launched in solidarity with the Palestinian
people. We have seen a number of major shipping companies avoid the Red Sea for this very reason, because of the threat of Houthi attacks on what they
see as Israeli-linked ships.
It is worth noting, though, Bianna, that a couple of days ago, Maersk, one of the largest shipping companies in the world, if not the largest shipping
company in the world, said they would once again begin sailing through the Red Sea instead of trying to go all the way around Africa or find some
That is a major vote of confidence in what the U.S. is trying to do here. And we'll see if other countries and other shipping companies follow suit
and continue once again to go through the Red Sea. But that's the goal of the U.S.-- to try to make sure they secure international shipping,
especially through such a critical waterway.
Meanwhile, the U.S. trying to calibrate its responses, its actions in the Middle East to try to send a message to Iran and its proxies without this
war spreading any more than it already has.
GOLODRYGA: And this comes just days after a top IRGC general was taken out in Syria. Israel has not claimed responsibility, though they're likely
believed to be behind this targeted killing. And this comes after repeated warnings from Israeli officials about what's going on in the north of the
country at the border with Lebanon, saying that unless something diplomatically can't be worked out with Iran-backed Hezbollah, then they
may have to act as well.
The United States has warned and deterred Israel from doing that just days after October 7th. What more are we learning about the increasing threat
from Iran-backed proxies, not just in Yemen, but in Lebanon as well?
LIEBERMANN: So, we have seen pretty much since the very beginning of the Gaza war continued fire back and forth between Israel and Hezbollah along
the Lebanese border there. It has, to an extent, been contained at a certain level. It has not led to all-out war, even if these same sorts of
actions would have resulted in all-out war before October 7th.
Still, we haven't seen Hezbollah launch massive attacks, but they are launching enough attacks. Frankly, they have killed enough on the Israeli
side of the border to keep Israeli forces have stationed and occupied in the north there. A strike attributed to Israel, in all likelihood Israel
killed an IRGC commander, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Syria.
Iran vowed to respond, as have a number of other Iranian proxies in the region. It'll be key here to watch how Iran responds, because from Iran's
perspective, there isn't much of a difference between Israel and U.S. forces in the Middle East. Iran sees them pretty much as one and the same
and we've seen that in their rhetoric.
So, it's absolutely worth-keeping an eye on whether Iran chooses to make that response toward the U.S. and not towards Israel.
This, as we've seen, more than 100, I believe, at this point, attacks on U.S. forces from Iranian proxies in the region.
GOLODRYGA: Yeah, things are indeed escalating at an alarming pace in the region. Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon for us, thank you. And later this
hour, I'll be speaking with Yoel Guzansky, a senior fellow at Israel's Institute for National Security Studies. I'll get his perspective on the
developments in Gaza and the possibility of this conflict expanding across the Middle East, now with increased activity and attacks from the Houthis
Well, right now you are looking at new video of Tuesday's attack on a Russian Navy ship in Crimea. The U.K. Defense Secretary says the incident
shows the war is not at a stalemate.
And this is the aftermath of an attack in Odessa, where a Russian drone killed one person. A six-year-old child was among the four other people
injured in that attack. And shelling in the Kherson region killed a police officer at a rail station. People were lining up there to evacuate the area
at the time.
Meanwhile, a Ukrainian commander says eastern Ukraine is coming under increased bombardment from armored vehicles, drones and artillery shelling.
Let's bring in our Fred Pleitgen with the very latest. Fred, what more are we learning?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Bianna. Well, one of the things that we're actually hearing from on the
ground is that the Russians apparently have really upped their game, especially as far as those drones are concerned.
The FPV, very small first person view drones, as they're called loitering munitions as well, and also drones that can be used at night. But also what
we have seen from the Russians is large scale attacks using armored vehicles where a lot of those armored vehicles were apparently destroyed by
So, I think one of the things that we can see, especially along the eastern front in Ukraine, as well, the territorial gains, so far, pretty
incremental, even if you look at towns like Mariinka, which has been almost, which has essentially been completely destroyed and Avdivka, it
still is a very active frontline. And I think that's also what that Ukrainian commander, Alexander Sierski was alluding to as well.
The Ukrainians under pressure in the town of Avdivka near Donetsk, also under pressure on the outskirts of Mariinka, where they apparently still
hold a few places, but not much again. That place has been reduced to rubble. There is literally not a single building that is intact in that
town. So, really not much of the Russians are said to gain in that area.
However, the Ukrainians, of course, are saying at the same time, they're able to still strike the Russians and hurt them pretty badly as far as that
ship was concerned. The Ukrainians are saying that they hit that ship, that landing craft, and that they believe that there was a large amount of
ammunition on board that ship, which is why that explosion was so big. Of course, the Russians so far are only saying the ship was damaged, Bianna.
GOLODRYGA: Notable to hear that U.K. Minister there say that this war is not at a stalemate given the concerns that is exactly where it was but
we've seen increased activity from both sides in just the last few days. Fred Pleitgen, thank you.
Well, in the next hour, a top U.S. delegation is set to meet with Mexico's President to discuss the unprecedented migrant surge at America's southern
border. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is among them, and he is set to arrive in Mexico City at any moment.
It comes as thousands of migrants from Central and South America wait in shelters and camps on the Mexican side of the border, desperate for a
chance to enter the U.S. Others have been crossing over. The mayor of one U.S. border city says it's slamming the White House for how it is handling
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROLANDO SALINAS, JR. EAGLE PASS MAYOR: This is unacceptable. Our city here in Eagle Pass, we've been getting slammed with two to three thousand people
a day, and it's just an unfair, unethical situation. What's going on here in Eagle Pass? We feel ignored by the federal government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Meanwhile, U.S. Homeland Security officials said border authorities detained around 6000 migrants on Tuesday, marking a drop from
previous days. CNN's Priscilla Alvarez joins me now from the White House. Clearly, this is a political vulnerability for this administration going
into an election year. Priscilla, what is the Secretary of State's top objectives going into this meeting with the Mexican President?
PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, primarily to drive down the number of border crossings that have overwhelmed federal resources over
the last several days. And it is clear just how urgent this is by who it is that's attending these meetings.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is there, along with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, meeting with the Mexican President and some
members of his cabinet. And these officials are going down with specific requests. I'm told that includes, for example, moving migrants who are in
the northern part of Mexico, south, decongest that area, controlling railways which migrants often use to quickly get to the U.S. southern
border and also providing incentives like visas for migrants to remain in Mexico and not continue their journey up to the U.S. southern border.
But of course, as you mentioned there, this is not only a logistical challenge for the President. It is also a political one and border towns
have been growing restless as they've been overwhelmed by the sheer number of people arriving on a daily basis.
Now, we have seen that number drop slightly. A Homeland Security official telling me today that yesterday there were 6000 daily encounters. Compare
that to earlier this month when the encounters were surpassing 10,000 a day and that was raising alarm bells. So, there has been some reprieve here.
Officials are chalking it up in part to the holidays.
So they're still bracing for what the next few days could bring. But with the primary goal coming out of the meetings today is going to be for Mexico
to implement a series of measures to try to stem the flow of migration to this U.S. southern border amid just record movement of people across the
GOLODRYGA: And if this wasn't a challenge enough, Priscilla, some of our own reporting from our colleagues Rosa Flores yesterday shows that it's not
just migrants coming in from Central and South America but really from all over the world including Africa.
ALVAREZ: That's right, and that has been one of the key challenges for this administration. There has been movement across the globe, and these
different nationalities and demographics present their own challenges. For example, repatriation flights, also known as deportation flights, there's
only a limited number of them, and it requires diplomacy between the United States and the countries of origin to send people back if they do not have
a claim of asylum.
If you're working with multiple nationalities, it just becomes all the more difficult if you already have limited resources. And in the case of for
example Venezuela not long ago, pretty frosty relations to send people back. Now, we are at a point where we're sending migrants back to Venezuela
but it just goes to show all of the different obstacles that the administration has to overcome here.
GOLODRYGA: Indeed. Priscilla Alvarez reporting from the White House. Thank you. Well now, to a new legal move that could significantly impact the 2024
U.S. election. The State Supreme Court in Michigan has just rejected an effort to remove Donald Trump's name from the state's primary ballot.
Critics have been seeking to disqualify the current Republican frontrunner over his role in the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. This ruling
comes just days after Colorado's Supreme Court ruled the opposite barring Trump, citing the Constitution's insurrection clause.
CNN's Marshall Cohen joins us now from Washington, D.C. with more on the case and its implications. Marshall, correct me if I'm wrong, but it's
important to note that as of now, the Colorado ruling appears to be an outlier, and this decision in Michigan was more in the lines of what was
MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Bianna, you're absolutely right. There have been challenges across the country making this argument based off the 14th
Amendment, which was ratified after the Civil War, and they have almost all been rejected except for Colorado. Colorado was very different. They held a
trial. There were witnesses, cross-examination, evidence, and ultimately a finding that Donald Trump is ineligible for office.
That was Colorado, but this is Michigan. And a decision today from the Michigan Supreme Court was to uphold a lower court decision that dismissed
this case on procedural grounds, essentially finding that there was no role for the courts to settle this type of dispute and no authority for election
officials to even remove Trump's name from a primary ballot.
So, look, the decision from the Michigan court was unsigned and it was very short. But one of the justices did write a brief opinion to explain some of
her rationale, and I'll read it for you because this is a very critical point.
Justice Elizabeth Welch said that "I would affirm the Court of Appeals ruling on this issue, which still allows the appellants," those are the
challengers, "to review their legal efforts as to the Michigan general election later in 2024, should Trump become the Republican nominee for
In other words, yes, he can stay on the primary ballot for now, but if he wins the nomination, this Justice says that they could file their lawsuit
again. And that's what some other states have said, too, Bianna. And it looks like that might be exactly what the game plan is here for the anti-
Let me read for you a quote from one of their lead attorneys that he issued after the ruling. This is Mark Brewer. He said, quote, "The court's
decision is disappointing, but we will continue at a later stage to seek to uphold this critical constitutional provision designed to protect our
So, a big win for Trump today but you've got different opinions in different states begging for a resolution from the U.S. Supreme Court, and
we all think that's where this is headed.
GOLODRYGA: Yeah. And he said that may happen on a different date to bring this back up, but time is not on their side to continue litigating this.
You've got primaries in just a matter of weeks in some of these states. Marshall Cohen, thank you.
Well, coming up, he's been a household name in his native South Korea for years. Now, stunned fans of Lee Sun Kyun are reacting to his sudden death.
More on the star of the Oscar-winning film "Parasite" ahead.
And artificial intelligence may appear to know everything about everything. But "The New York Times" says it knows nothing about copyright
infringement. We'll have more details after the break.
GOLODRYGA: So, a twist here. You now may be able to buy an Apple Watch despite efforts to ban it in the U.S. That's because a U.S. federal appeals
court has temporarily blocked a sweeping import ban on Apple's latest smart watches. This while the patent dispute makes its way through the legal
system. The U.S. International Trade Commission says the devices violate another company's patents.
"The New York Times" says that if you want our content, you have to pay for it. That's why it's suing Microsoft and OpenAI. "The Times" says the
companies illegally copied millions of "Times" articles to train ChatGPT to provide people with information. According to the suit, that amounts to
basically providing "New York Times" content for free without permission. Three companies have not yet commented on the lawsuit.
Claire Duffy covers all things business for us, and she joins us live with the story. Let me get your thoughts on Apple in just a second, but this
lawsuit by "The New York Times" -- really interesting but also not that surprising given that this is what many experts had been warning would
happen with the development of technology like ChatGPT.
CLARE DUFFY, CNN BUSINESS WRITER: Yeah, Bianna, in many ways, this is really sort of setting up this fight over how the future of the internet
will be built. On one hand, you have companies like Microsoft and OpenAI who say that their AI technologies are essential for the future and that
they need to use high quality sources to train them if we want them to be good and to be reliable.
But "The Times" is saying here, we need to figure out a way where you can do that without undermining our business and our future. "The Times" is
claiming that these companies used millions of its copyrighted works to train their tools.
And then because they did that, those tools -- those AI tools can now spit out responses that mimic "Times" journalism, or in some cases repeats
"Times" articles verbatim. The company says that could stop readers from going directly to "The Times" website or paying for a subscription, which
could undermine its business.
Now, we did reach out to Microsoft and OpenAI for comments, and as you said, they did not respond. But the suit claims that Microsoft and OpenAI
consider that their use of "Times" journalism is so-called fair use, that they've transformed it enough to no longer be covered by copyright law. But
"The Times" is saying here, not so fast. You can't use our work to create a product that is essentially a substitute for our product, Bianna.
GOLODRYGA: Fascinating. And I'm sure that lots of other institutions will be paying close attention to what happens with this lawsuit to see if they
will follow suit and follow "The New York Times". Clare Duffy, thank you so much.
Well, we're getting new details about the sudden and shocking death of South Korean Actor Lee Sun Kyung. Although he's been a star in his native
South Korea for years, he's perhaps best known internationally for his role in the Academy Award-winning film "Parasite".
Police say Lee was reported missing by his manager and was later found in his car. Police say he had earlier claimed he was tricked into using drugs
and then blackmailed. CNN's Hanako Montgomery reports.
HANAKO MONTGOMERY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Loved at home and abroad, Lee Sun Kyun's sudden death has shocked his fans around the world. The 48-year-old
actor, who is known globally for starring in the Oscar-winning movie "Parasite" was found dead in his car on Wednesday. South Korean police
believe Lee died by suicide.
We also know that police had been investigating Lee since October for illegal drug use, allegations the actor repeatedly denied. Lee instead
claimed that he was tricked into taking drugs and then blackmailed. He brought a lawsuit against the alleged blackmailer, according to South
Authorities questioned Lee three times over his alleged drug use, most recently on December 23rd, when he was questioned for 19 hours and released
on Christmas Eve. Throughout the investigation, Lee's drug tests repeatedly came back negative.
On social media, fans have been paying tribute to the star, whose career spanned two decades. In the United States, news of his death was a top
trending topic on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
Lee first shot to international fame in 2019 for starring as Park Dong Ik, the father of the wealthy Park family in "Parasite". The film went down in
Hollywood history, becoming the first non-English language film to take home an Oscar for Best Picture. It also won in three other categories.
A funeral for Lee will be held quietly, according to local media, with buried family members and colleagues in attendance. Hanako Montgomery, CNN,
GOLODRYGA: Another bit of sad news to bring you. Comedian Tom Smothers has died after a battle with cancer, according to a family statement. Tom and
his younger brother Dick performed as the singing comedy duo "The Smothers Brothers". Dick Smothers says their relationship was like a good marriage.
The longer they were together, the more they respected and loved each other. Tom Smothers was 86 years old.
Well, coming up for us as Israeli forces drive deeper into Gaza, there are signs the conflict could be growing. I'll speak to a security analyst about
that when we come back.
GOLODRYGA: Welcome back to "One World". I'm Bianna Golodryga. Well, as Israel expands and intensifies its war against Hamas, the country's
military chief warns that the fighting in Gaza will continue for many more months. It comes amid growing concerns the conflict could spread throughout
the region and beyond.
On Tuesday, the U.S. says its Navy intercepted over a dozen drones and missiles in the Red Sea, all coming from the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Elliott Gotkine joins me now from Tel Aviv. And Elliott, while the Houthis have been aiming their missiles at ships in the Red Sea, many not even
attributed to Israel, they continue to send drone and missile attacks into Israel as well, taking credit for it. How is Israel responding to this?
ELLIOTT GOTKINE, CNN JOURNALIST: Israel has said that it is, Bianna, it's ready to act against the Houthis if they continue to fire missiles and
drones towards Israel. And of course, as you say, the U.S. is also very active in the Red Sea area, taking out those drones and missiles.
And this was more than a dozen of them, as you say, over a 10-hour period. And the Houthis, for their part, I mean, they tweeted this out saying that
this is showing their continued support and solidarity with the Palestinian people. But there are dozens of nations that have been affected now.
Many of these ships have nothing at all to do whatsoever with Israel. And we've seen companies like Moller-Maersk, one of the world's biggest
shipping lines, oil giants such as BP, changing the routing of their shipping as a result of these threats.
And it's a very important threat because this Bab al-Mandab Strait, which is between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, accounts for about
10 percent of seaborne trade goes through that. It's also very important for Egypt because the seaborne trade going through there, most of it, is
going through Suez Canal and beyond. And so, it's impacting not just Israel, it's impacting Egypt, it's impacting global trade.
And I suppose the big question here is at what point will Israel, which has also been shooting down some of these drones and missiles, and the United
States and its allies, at what point will they move from defensive positions, i.e. just taking out these missiles and drones, to an offensive
position to take the war to the Houthis, which of course are backed by Iran and based in Yemen, and are threatening global shipping and global trade.
GOLODRYGA: Yeah, that is a big and pressing question at this time. Elliott Gotkine, thank you. For more on this, let's talk in our Exchange and dive
deeper into both the conflict in Gaza as well as the escalation we have seen in recent days elsewhere in the Middle East, most notably the Houthis
and their attacks from Yemen.
Joining me now is Yoel Guzansky, a senior fellow at Israel's Institute for National Security Studies. Yoel, it's good to see you. So, talk to us about
how the Houthis, a relatively small group of militia fighters, went from being a regional nuisance to Israel to now, really, a regional security
threat where you have the United States deflecting missiles and could have a potential real impact on the global economy given their recent actions.
YOEL GUZANSKY, SENIOR FELLOW, INSTITUTE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES: Absolutely. And you see one -- you see now even a global threat to
international shipping and trade, seaborne trade, they began as an internal Yemeni guerrilla force or militia that took over Yemen and began fighting
the Saudis in 2015 or even before that, and now became a regional problem.
They started shooting at Israel a few days after October 7th and since then did not stop even surrounded by this international coalition that the U.S.
has built recently.
GOLODRYGA: Well, there's no love lost from the Houthis towards Israel. I believe it's on their flag where it says, death to Israel, a curse to Jews.
But why specifically did they involve themselves in this war? And is it because of their connections with Iran and possibly, as you've said in
previous interviews, them feeling a bit of obligation to Iran to become this regional nuisance and concern?
GUZANSKY: You're absolutely right. They wanted to show solidarity both with Iran to pay their death to Iran. Iran has supported them for many, many
years. They also wanted to show solidarity with the Palestinians. But I'll tell you more. I think they also want to demonstrate their power vis-a-vis
the Saudis and the Americans to gain better hand, to gain leverage in the negotiation they are now handling with the Saudis on the future of the
ceasefire in the Arabian Peninsula.
GOLODRYGA: Something you had said really caught my attention because of the question of how to fight back most effectively against a militia that
ranges about 100,000 fighters, but has been a real thorn to more sophisticated, more advanced countries like Saudi Arabia, which has been at
war with the Houthis for now seven years.
As you say, it's like fighting with a fog. They're very difficult to isolate and take out as a whole. So what are the options, the best options,
for Israel and perhaps now even the United States as it's trying to deter the situation from becoming an even larger threat?
GUZANSKY: For Israel, there's quite a dilemma here. If you respond, you might contribute to your deterrence because there's one shooting you, and
Israel for the last two, two and a half months is not responding, which is a problem for Israel deterrence in the region. But if you respond
militarily, kinetically, you might put the coalition that U.S. has built and other regional actors at risk.
Remind you that Israel has new neighbors in the region, new friends in the region, the Gulf states -- they have a truce now with the Houthis. If
Israel will unilaterally attack the Houthis, they might respond to those countries and might ignite a regional war.
We -- look, Iran is fighting Israel from many, many fronts -- Lebanon, from Gaza, and now from Yemen. This is an axis that is fighting us. But for the
first time, Israel is also fighting within a coalition. We have the U.S. is here and other regional friends who like to stay quiet. We need to take
their needs into consideration. They have different calculations and different sensitivities.
And I think it will be a mistake to attack unilaterally. Once you attack, you make it your own problem. It will be Israel problem. Now, it's an
international problem. You might not attack militarily. There are other means to retaliate. And I think it's perhaps -- some in Israel think it's
about time that we retaliate against Iran.
Iran sits back in the shadow, fights Israel and others through proxies, and not get wet, and not get any damage to it. Iran is the source of
instability in the region. And I think we might change the paradigm and let Iran feel the heat.
GOLODRYGA: So, is that a real consideration among Israeli government officials and military to really take on Iran directly not even responding
to their proxies at a point where you've got a major war going on in Gaza, continued concerns about the north of the country, and the United States
really pressuring you not to open another front?
GUZANSKY: I think Israel doesn't want to open up our front. We don't want to stretch our capabilities and our attention, but perhaps enough is
enough. The world needs to know who's behind this menace in the region.
And for many, in many ways, this fight between Israel and Iran already started. It started on the seas, it started on the cyber, and it's going on
in Syria for quite a while now.
GOLODRYGA: Yeah, and the top IRGC general had just been taken out a few days ago in Syria, Israel not claiming responsibility, but most would
assume that this was done at the hands of the Israelis.
Another option that you've laid out is something that perhaps would surprise many people around the world. The U.S. has yet to label the
Houthis a terrorist organization. This is in large part out of not deference, but in at least keeping the door open to some kind of
negotiations with Iran.
Already, we have seen the United States' intel link the two, link Iran with providing intelligence and assets and equipment and missiles to the
Houthis. Would it help at this stage if the U.S. came out and also deemed them a terrorist organization?
GUZANSKY: That's a very good question. I thought so in the beginning, now I'm not so sure. Once you label them again, by the way, Biden
administration took them out from the terror list and the Saudis and Emiratis were really angry about that.
Well, once, if you do it now, I'm not so sure it's a good idea. Let me remind you, the Saudis and the Houthis are on the merge, are on the final
steps on perhaps signing a peace agreement between them. It will be increasing stability to the Arabian Peninsula. It will be increasing
stability to Saudi Arabia, which is Israel, perhaps, tacit friend in the region.
And it might erode the Houthi-Iranian connection, which is an Israeli interest, an Iranian interest, a Saudi -- I'm sorry, a U.S. interest, a
Saudi interest. So, I want to see this peace accord being signed. This is the reason I advise people in Israel and Israeli Defense Ministry not to go
unilaterally, you might endanger this negotiation, very delicate negotiation that the Saudis are undertaking now with the Houthis.
GOLODRYGA: Very delicate situation between those two countries, very complicated situation that's increasing in its complexity as the war
between Israel and Hamas continues, as well. Yoel Guzansky, thank you so much for your expertise. Good to see you.
Coming next for us, a CNN investigation shows how criminal gangs are forcing human trafficking victims inside Myanmar to scam Americans out of
millions of dollars.
GOLODRYGA: Financial tech continues to raise the most funding for African start-ups, but there are other sectors now growing at an even faster rate.
Kenyan e-commerce start-up Wasoko is a prime example. The "Financial Times" called it Africa's fastest growing company last year. We profiled that
meteoric rise in today's "Africa Insider".
JOSHUA MURIMA, HEAD OF ENGAGEMENT AND INVESTOR RELATIONS BRITER BRIDGES: Trade in Africa is largely informal. We are starting to see the emergence
of new products within retail tech, the likes of business to business commerce that seek to, you know, shorten the supply chain between
manufacturers and the end consumer.
DANIEL YU, CEO AND FOUNDER, WASOKO: We started Wasoko in order to enable small mom and pop stores across Africa to get what they need as
conveniently, quickly, and affordably as possible. With the Wasoko app, retailers are able to place an order at any time for essential goods such
as rice, soap, toilet paper, and get those products delivered to their store free of charge either the same day or the next day.
With that, Wasoco actually handles all of our operations ourselves, sourcing these products in aggregate at the best price as possible from
manufacturers such as Unilever and Procter and Gamble, but also local companies who make up the majority of our supplier base, as well.
From there, we operate our own distribution centers where last mile delivery fleets of local logistics providers integrate with our technology
as well to make those deliveries to the shops quickly and conveniently to enable those goods to be available for those communities.
Wasoco has been on a very long and often very difficult journey starting our business all the way back in 2016. We've expanded now to six different
countries, not just in Kenya, but also in Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and most recently into the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well.
The biggest challenge for us in growing has definitely been managing and maintaining the adequate levels of products to make sure that we're always
available for our customers across markets. What we see is that as a result of a lot of challenges in the supply chains, that oftentimes goods are not
available from manufacturers, even when there's demand for it in the market.
Our biggest achievement has been building up this customer base of over 200,000 shops across the six countries in which we operate. There are over
10 million of these mom and pop stores across Africa, so there's still long ways for us to grow, but we're very excited about the traction that we've
achieved so far.
GOLODRYGA: Criminal gangs apparently based in war-torn Myanmar near the Thai border are scamming millions of dollars online from thousands of
unsuspecting Americans. CNN's Ivan Watson filed this report from the Thailand border.
CY: Please help me, Jessica. Please help me. It's been a living hell.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Northern California, CY is piecing together his life after losing more than
a million dollars in a crypto scam.
CY: I can never forget or forgive myself losing that kind of money.
WATSON (voice-over): CY is one of tens of thousands of victims of a fast- growing new form of financial fraud called pig butchering. He asks to remain anonymous to protect his family. It started in October 2021 with a
text message from a stranger.
WATSON: What was the name of the person you were communicating with?
CY: She claims her name is Jessica.
WATSON (voice-over): The two quickly became friends. She shared photos and CY talked about the pain of caring for his dying father. After nearly a
month, the conversation turned to money.
CY: She started to introduce me into cryptocurrency -- trading gold using cryptocurrency.
WATSON (voice-over): Jessica showed CY how to invest by installing a trading app on his phone that he says looked legit. Little did he know he
was a victim pumping money into a sophisticated con. For the scammers, a pig fattened up for the slaughter.
CY: I log back in. The counter is gone. What did I do? That's 30 years of my wife and my life building up this wealth.
WATSON (voice-over): Wealth that had suddenly disappeared. Panicking, CY begged Jessica for help.
CY: Please help me. I don't know what else I can do. I don't have any more money. I cannot buy anything else. I lost everything.
WATSON (voice-over): But Jessica disappeared and probably never even existed.
UNKNOWN: This is the professionalization of fraud services.
WATSON (voice-over): The FBI says it's seen exponential growth in losses due to pig butchering scams.
UNKNNOWN: The bad guys are getting good and they're getting better.
WATSON (voice-over): An organization representing scam victims tracked their crypto transfers halfway around the world to this border region in
WATSON: U.S. scam victims say they've been able to trace their money to places like this. This walled compound across the river is just inside the
territory of Myanmar. And that is where we're learning about the conditions inside that some people who worked there. They say that they were forced
against their will to try to scam Americans out of their hard-earned money in conditions that they describe as amounting to modern-day slavery.
WATSON (voice-over): This compound is where an Indian man named Rakesh says he was forced to work for more than 11 months without pay for a Chinese
criminal gang. The guards have spotted us. Until they recently released him back to Thailand.
WATSON: Where was the job supposed to be?
RAKESH: They told for me in Bangkok.
WATSON (voice-over): He, too, was the victim of a scam. Rakesh, who doesn't want to be identified, says he first flew to Thailand for what he thought
was an IT job. Instead, he says he was tricked into crossing the border to Myanmar, where a Chinese gangster told him to work or else.
WATSON: He threatened to kill you.
RAKESH: Yeah. He warned me like that.
WATSON (voice-over): And the job? Spent 16 hours a day on social media targeting Americans with a fake profile.
RAKESH: I got a Russian girl with using a Russian girl fake profile. I need to scam the people.
WATSON (voice-over): Posing as a Salt Lake City-based investor named Clara Simonov, Rakesh flirted online with potential targets. Seventy to eighty
percent fall for fake love.
WATSON (voice-over): Rakesh shows secretly filmed images of what at first glance seems to be an ordinary office. But he says the bosses routinely
punished workers, forcing them to do hundreds of squats and beating them if they didn't produce.
WATSON: And you've helped rescue people who are trapped inside, behind the barbed wire of that very compound.
MECHELLE MOORE, GLOBAL ALMS: Yes.
WATSON (voice-over): Mechelle Moore is one of a group of aid workers based in Thailand who have helped rescue hundreds of victims of trafficking, like
Rakesh, over the last 18 months.
She drives me along the border.
MOORE: There, there's a guard tower just there, green roof.
WATSON (voice-over): Showing compounds, only a stone's throw away where she says trafficked victims are forced to work as online scammers.
MOORE: That's why this is modern slavery and it's right under everybody's nose.
WATSON (voice-over): Satellite images show rapid construction of these compounds on the border territory of Myanmar over just three years.
Thailand's Minister of Justice labels these facilities as hubs for criminal scamming activity.
TAWEE SODSONG, THAI JUSTICE MINISTER (through translator): These scammers have to use telephone signals to communicate. That's why they base
themselves near the Thai border, so they can use Thailand's telephone network.
WATSON (voice-over): But he says Thailand has no jurisdiction to crack down on suspected criminals operating across the border in Myanmar. CNN asked
the military government in Myanmar why it hasn't taken action against alleged criminal gangs operating on its territory and did not receive an
So, for now, it looks like no one is going to stop this poisonous cycle of exploitation. Ivan Watson, CNN on the Thai border with Myanmar.
GOLODRYGA: And that does it for this hour of "One World". Thank you so much for watching. I'm Bianna Golodryga. Amanpour is up next.