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CONNECT THE WORLD
Israeli Prime Minister Expects Palestinian Authority President To Help Bring Back Kidnapped Teenagers; Kurdish Peshmerga Push Back Against ISIS; Will U.S., Iran Work Together in Iraq? Mexico City Turns To Green Roofs To Help Air Quality
Aired June 16, 2014 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM CLANCY, HOST: Iraq in crisis: militants are advancing toward Baghdad as Washington and Tehran weigh their options. We're live in Urbil
in northern Iraq with the latest.
Also ahead, more Palestinians rounded up as the search for three Israeli teenagers goes into a fourth day.
And a gruesome attack in Kenya, gunmen stormed a coastal town torching buildings and cars, killing dozens of people.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World.
CLANCY: Welcome to our report.
First to Iraq where ISIS militants continue what would appear to be a relentless push in the direction of the capital Baghdad. The fighting
threatens to drag Iraq's neighbors and the United States into this crisis.
CNN has learned the U.S. navy is moving another warship into the region. It is entering the Gulf with 550 marines on board to be used to
evacuate Americans from Iraq if that becomes necessary. The move comes as ISIS militants and Iraqi security forces battled for control of some key
Now here's a look at where things stand right now. Iraqi television reporting at least 200 ISIS fighters were killed in an air strike north of
Fallujah near the town of Saqlawiya. Now that isn't confirmed.
But it hasn't stopped the militants advance. To the north, ISIS fighters seized the city of Tal Afar on Sunday. And just to the north of
Baghdad, reports of fighting near al-Khalis. That town lies dangerously close to the capital, a major target for ISIS.
OK, let's get more on these latest moves. Arwa Damon is there. She joins us now from Urbil.
Arwa, put it in perspective, if you can for us.
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michael, ISIS and its various Sunni allies fighting alongside it, not because they believe in
its ideology, but more because they do want to see an end to the Shia dominated government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki are coming across the
resistance as they get closer to Baghdad from the Iraqi security forces and also from countless other Shia volunteers.
They made their way fairly easily, though, up until that point, because they had been traveling through mostly Sunni areas across the
northern part of the country and as they made their way down to Baghdad.
However, in that onslaught, there was one city, the oil rich city of Kirkuk that they were not able to take, that because it was not reliant on
the Iraqi military for security, but instead on the Kurdish Peshmerga.
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, ISIS is located in those buildings that we can barely see beyond the tree line.
Can you see that Raj?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The cars over the over on the road?
DAMON: Yeah. Yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me see.
DAMON: ISIS has a dug in position behind the small dirt berm in the distance, the Peshmerga tell us. And they are ready should ISIS try to
We're about a 15 minute drive from the oil rich city of Kirkuk at what was a small Iraqi army outpost. Reduced to a damaged and burnt out shell
after the Peshmerga fought and drove ISIS out.
The Iraqi army abandoned this and other positions even before ISIS arrived. But ISIS is continuously testing the Peshmerga's resolve all
along Kirkuk's western front.
"They have attacked, and we've pushed them back," the unit's commander General Shirko Fatih Shawani tells us. "Up to 200 fighters at times," he
says, "armed with all the weapons and vehicles the Iraqi army used to have."
At the checkpoint, we try to ask people if they saw ISIS down the road. The first two cars say there is nothing.
Hard to tell if people are afraid. Let me ask them.
(SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
The family in this car says, yes, just five minutes away.
"It was fine. They just asked for our IDs."
The family is from Samarra, leaving home and everything behind, having heard that Kirkuk is, relatively speaking, safe in part because of the
foresight of the local government. Security in the city was never reliant on the Iraqi military.
GOV. NAJMALDIN KARIM, KIRKUK PROVINCE: First of all, the Iraqi army was given vast areas to control. And they were having significant problem
even taking care of themselves. And a lot of them were deserting. We just really didn't trust them that they could do this.
DAMON: And that was even before the ISIS offensive. The governor knew the city needed better defenses.
As terrorist groups regaining and strengthen capacity, the governor felt the need to further fortify the city, ordering this trench dug at the
end of 2013. And there are still plans to build a fence, set up border posts and video surveillance.
The city limits are controlled by the Peshmerga, the only force in the north keeping the brutal ISIS onslaught at bay.
DAMON: And, Jim, there's been a lot of debate as to whether or not the U.S. should use air power when it comes to trying to stop ISIS
(inaudible) collaboration between the U.S. (inaudible). The issue, though, is at the very core of it is of course Iraqi politics and this battle
between Sunni and Shia that is becoming more and more sectarian as this does continue for control over Iraq. And bombing ISIS on its own is not
going to end all of this.
ISIS is not fighting by itself. It does at this point in time have the support of various Sunni insurgent groups that were quite prominent and
also of the Sunni tribes, not because they subscribe to ISIS's ideology, but because they do feel like it is now the time to bring down the
government of Shia Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. But they, at the end of the day, are going to have to somehow be brought back into the political
fold, as difficult as that may seem right now, Jim.
CLANCY: Politics aside, Arwa, you know, when we look at this there's a lot of talk around the world of how strong ISIS is, how daring ISIS is,
but it would appear that the real story here is that the Iraqi military simply cut and run -- and ran before they even arrived, that it was their
weakness, not the strength of ISIS.
DAMON: In the northern parts of the country, Jim, yes that would seem to be the case. In fact, we spoke to one man who did abandon his position.
He was a colonel. He had 600 other men under his command. He said that he received an order from his higher ups to retreat from their base, try to
move towards headquarters. When they got to headquarters, his entire brigade had already abandoned their positions as well.
Now he was saying that his unit was predominately Sunni and they were not going to necessarily stand up and fight against fellow Sunnis for the
name of a Shia-led government.
I asked him if he wasn't, though, more concerned about the weaponry, the ammunition, the tanks ending up in the hands of an organization like
ISIS. And he said, yes, we're concerned. But what real choice did we have at that point in time? Everyone around me was deserting. We don't have
the support of the populations up in these areas.
So while on the one hand, some of these units within the Iraqi security forces are not going to stand up and fight perhaps because of
sectarian reasons, that, too, though Jim, does go back to the politics.
Also, though, drawing into question what kind of an Iraqi military did the U.S. actually spend so much time and money invested in training? Are
they capable of handling this? And clearly at this stage, no they are not.
CLANCY: Arwa Damon -- Arwa Damon there reporting to us live from Urbil on this day as she tracks what is going on there with the defenses,
very important defenses being conducted by the Peshmerga of the Kurds, thank you.
We're going to take a closer look now at what is driving the fighting in Iraq in just a few minutes. We'll show you how ISIS is trying to
capitalize on the religious tensions that have threatened to divide the country more than once.
Plus, the crisis could bring together a pair of very, very unlikely allies. The United States is considering asking Iran for its help. We'll
have a live report. We'll get two, actually, one from Washington and the other from Tehran. What does all of this mean.
Israel desperately trying to find three teenaged boys who are missing from a Jewish settlement on the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu says they were kidnapped by Hamas and he has told Israeli security forces to use all measures at their disposal to find those missing
teens. More than 150 Palestinians have been taken into custody.
Ben Wedeman joins us now live.
Ben, what is the latest progress on this case?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as far as we know actually, Jim, very little. We know that overnight the Israelis conducted
raids in Hebron, in Ramallah where they clashed with some Palestinian youth leaving one 23-year-old Palestinian dead. As you said, they've detained
more than 140 people for questioning, including Aziz Duake (ph), the former head of the now defunct Palestinians parliament and a member of the Hamas
Now about an hour ago, we watched as just behind me down the road where the Israelis had a checkpoint, they stopped a Palestinian dark gray
car with Palestinian plates. They've pulled three men out of it, bound their hands behind their back, put them -- put blindfolds on them. There
was a lot of sort of soldiers and police rushing around. We subsequently learned that they have been released on the political side.
We know that the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu did have a phone conversation with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during
which he urged the Palestinians to do all they could to help win the release of these three teenagers as well as the capture of the kidnappers.
Now shortly after that phone conversation, the Palestinian president's office issued a statement condemning the kidnapping and calling for
restraint on both sides, because obviously with this large Israeli operation ongoing there's a really high tension not just in this part of
the West Bank, but also to the north of here -- Jim.
CLANCY: You know, Israel would appear from the outside looking in to be completely gripped by this crisis. You have everything from right-wing
groups that are putting up Facebook pages calling for Palestinian prisoners to be killed until the boys are returned. You've got -- you know, people
really thinking that this could be a turning point for Israel as it tries to, on one hand, negotiate for the release of its captured citizens and on
the other hand looking at the price that will be paid for that.
WEDEMAN: In fact, just today in the knesset they're discussing a bill which would essentially ban any bargaining for the release of prisoners.
So it's a real sort of political tug of war. And in fact, significantly just a few days ago the head of Mossad, the head of Israeli intelligence
agency had a debate with some members of the knesset saying, look, what happens if we have three 14-year-old girls kidnapped? Are we not going to
negotiate for that -- for their release. So it's a real dilemma for the Israelis whenever this sort of event occurs. It's how do they do it?
And we saw just a few years ago for that Israeli sergeant Gilad Shalit, who in 2006, June 2006 was captured by Hamas and held for six years
in Gaza. He was eventually released through Egyptian intermediation and part of the deal was the release of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
So this debate is really going at full throttle in Israel. In fact, if we can just move the camera around, move the camera around, you can see
just over here there is a group of settlers. They are calling for the immediate release of these three teenagers, so we can only expect the mood
to become ever more emotional as this drama unfolds -- Jim.
CLANCY: Significant there. People getting involved on all levels. Obviously they want to see these teenagers returned and returned safely,
but they worry, too, what will be the price that they pay. Ben Wedeman, there on the West Bank, thank you very much as always, Ben. Great to have
you covering that part of the story.
Now, let's move on to another trouble spot and that's on the east coast of Africa where officials in Kenya have now placed the blame on the
terror group al Shabaab, the guys for a brutal attack in which people were shot, even hacked to death.
The Red Cross says at least 48 people were killed in Sunday's assault on the coastal town of Mpeketoni.
Attackers reportedly started by attacking the town center. They went door to door slashing, shooting their way through a residential area.
We get more now from CNN's Nima Elbagir.
NIMA ELBAGIR: A World Cup viewing party in a Kenyan coastal town that became a blood bath. Eyewitnesses tell CNN that up to 50 men stormed
through Mpeketoni town burning down hotels, cars, houses and hacking anyone they met in their way. The death toll at the moment stands at just under
50, but that is expected to rise as residents attempt to gather some of those bodies still trapped in the burned out hotels.
Lamu's (ph) deputy governor has now been speaking. He's calling them suspected assailants. But others in the government are squarely placing
the blame on the al Qaeda linked militant group al Shabaab.
Mpeketoni is only about three hours from Kenya's border with Somalia, so they do seem to be the obvious suspects.
But given that we're only three months short of the one year anniversary of Westgate, the last terror outrage claimed by al Shabaab,
this latest incident will only add to the questions many Kenyans are asking themselves, just how does this keep happening? And how can the Kenyan
government not seem capable of making it stop.
Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.
CLANCY: All right.
On the opposite side of the continent in Nigeria, two months have now passed since more than 200 girls were taken hostage by the Boko Haram
militant group, which like al Shabaab, wants to create an Islamic state. Two months later, there is no progress in recovering those girls.
Well, still to come tonight, Formula One racing legend Michael Schumacher no longer in a coma. We'll tell you about the next steps in his
recovery from a traumatic skiing accident.
And a country divided, the Sunni extremist campaign to take Iraq marches on. We're going to talk about the country's deep sectarian divide
with and expert in just a moment.
CLANCY: This is CNN and you're watching Connect the World. I'm Jim Clancy. Welcome back everyone.
Iraq's sectarian crisis threatens to spiral into an all-out civil war. And this is worrying not just Iraq's neighbors, but it's worrying the
United States as well.
The U.S. navy now moving one of its warships into the Persian Gulf with hundreds of marines on board. It would be to evacuate Americans from
Iraq if that becomes necessary.
But the conflict boils down to ethnic and religious divisions within Iraq. The country is split between Sunni and Shia Muslims as well as
ethnic Kurds in the north.
ISIS, a Sunni militant group, is trying to capitalize on the resentment Iraqi Sunnis have against the Shia dominated government.
But that divide goes well beyond Iraq's borders. You can see here the majority of Muslims in this part of the world are, indeed, Sunni. The
countries in gold are where they dominate. The few countries that have a majority Shia Muslim population include Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Iran and Iraq.
Well, right now Iraq's biggest ally in the region is, of course, Iran. To discuss this further, I'm joined by Joshau Landis. He's the director of
the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.
Joshua, great to have you with us again.
Let me begin here just by -- just by asking you how you see ISIS as looking to play all of this out.
JOSHUA LANDIS, UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA: Well, the Arab world as writ large was dominated by Sunnis for 400 years -- for a 1,000 years. Under
the Ottomans completely Sunni. That began to change with the Iranian revolution 1979 and the Shiite awakening. Hezbollah in Lebanon. The
Assads came to the fore in Syria, dominating for 40 years. But the big gamechanger was America's invasion, 2003, of Iraq casting the Sunnis, who
dominated society, down to the bottom, catapulting the Shiites to the top. This has caused Sunnis throughout the whole region to wonder what has
happened. This is very wrong from their point of view. They've always been the true Muslims. And the leaders of the Arab world, now Shiites has
taken over with Iranian help and they are confused.
Out of this great dislocation, ISIS has gathered together the tribal forces of Syria, the eastern part of Syria and western part of Iraq. And
that -- and there they're on the march. And that has thrown the whole region for a loop. And I think the Shiite forces in Iraq will mobilize and
they will pound ISIS.
ISIS is only 10,000, 15,000 soldiers. They cannot stand up to an Iraqi army that has helicopters, that has intelligence and Iranian support.
CLANCY: Maybe they can't stand up to them, but they can walk over them when they leave their posts and that's what we have seen largely in
all of this. But you think the counteroffensive is coming. And as we see -- I mean, if you listen to what's going on on the ground in Iraq today,
you hear the call from mosques, Shia Muslim mosques asking young men to join some of these militant groups to defend their country, to defend their
Shia Muslim interests.
LANDIS: Absolutely. And you know the Iraqi army is falling apart. America tried to rebuild it with power sharing, that means Sunnis and
Shiites altogether. This was -- this hasn't worked. What's happened is the Sunni forces that were used in the Sunni territories have decamped,
because they don't want to shoot on their brothers. That means that the Iraqi army has to rebuild itself.
This is what happened in Syria. The Sunni forces split off from the Syrian army when the Sunni revolt started against the Shiite government.
Very quickly, Syria rebuilt on Shiite sectarian lines. That same process is going to take place in Iraq. Already the Qutz (ph) forces, the Islamic
guard from Iran is there training people. Sistani, the chief Ayatollah in Iraq has called for mobilization of Shiites to defend the Shiite shrines.
This is going to take on a much more sectarian color.
And the Iraqi army -- 60 percent of Iraq are Shiites. They're not going to let these Sunnis walk into Baghdad and change the balance of
CLANCY: Joshua, take a step back from all of this. Look at Boko Haram in the west of Africa, al Shabaab in the east of Africa, you've got
the Taliban, you've got other groups, all of them seemingly with one goal, create an Islamic caliphate, create a shelter, a real Islamic state -- you
know, despite all the demands of the west, despite all of the obstacles that they might face. What is driving them? What is holding them
together? How well organized are they? And what kind of major threat do they pose to the rest of the world?
LANDIS: Well, I see this very much as part of the growth of nationalism in this part of the world. We have to remember that after the
second World War about 100 new countries between 1950 and 1970, about 100 countries got independence right across Africa through the Middle East into
Asia. Those countries are sorting themselves out according to ethnic, religious foundations the same way that central Europe did during the
inter-war period where there was great ethnic cleansing, rearranging of peoples in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Ukraine, we're seeing it in
Ukraine now between Russians and Ukrainians.
That process is taking place in this great swath of the third world, which is newly -- new national borders. This uprising of the Arab Spring
has really been about reshaping an identity, getting voice for people who have been oppressed. But as that -- as we throw off those old dictators
who have acted, really, as sort of imperial like sultans of the Ottoman empire, you are -- this ethnic and religious struggle has begun.
It's going to be very bloody. And they are going to be reshaped. These countries are going to be reshaped. And the United States cannot
really adjudicate this kind of ethnic and sectarian tension.
CLANCY: All right. Joshua Landis, I want to thank you as always for joining us there from the University of Oklahoma.
Well, live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World. And coming up straight ahead, rooftop gardens sprouting up in many urban areas around the
world, Mexico City no exception. But easier access to fresh food is not the main reason there.
CLANCY: This is CNN. I'm Jim Clancy. You're with Connect the World. And right now we're going to take you to the Global Exchange where we
introduce you to the people and places that are paving the way forward in the world's emerging economies.
Now in one of the world's biggest and most polluted cities, rooftop gardens are springing up in an effort to battle the smog. Nick Parker
reports from Mexico City on how a green urban infrastructure could help Mexicans breath just a little bit easier.
NICK PARKER: A burst of vegetation and color seven floors up. Roof gardens are springing up around the Mexican capital, part of an initiative
driven by the city's government. The aim, to combat this -- the pollution of nearly 5 million cars.
TANYA MULLER, ENVIRONMENTAL SECRETARY, MEXICO CITY: We know that green roofs are also beneficial to capture heavy metals, particles, which
is an important part for air quality. And obviously there's a reduction in the maintenance cost of the buildings, because you don't have to water
proof the green roofs every two to three years.
PARKER: Mexico City is home to 23 million people, a densely packed megacity.
Urban spaces like this stay hotter than nearby rural areas, a phenomenon known as the heat island effect. Roof gardens absorb heat
building by building, boosting energy efficiency, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The initiative mainly targets schools and hospitals like this one.
DR. ROLF MENERS Y HUENER, DIRECTOR, OBDULIA RODRIGUES RODRIGUEZ HOSPITAL (through translator): The patients can come and enjoy this area,
not only because of the view, but because of the green environment this rooftop has. You could say physically and emotionally it can contribute to
the recuperation of our patients.
PARKER: Last year, the government opened more than 6,000 square meters of roof gardens just like this in and around the city. This year
will see a steep rise in investment with plans to ultimately have 100,000 square meters of roof gardens, or more than 10 full-sized football pitches.
Flat roofs are a characteristic of Mexico City's skyline, a potential asset as the city tries to encourage private cultivation. Tax incentives
are in place. And the government has started classes teach citizens how to grow vegetables in small gardens.
Growing a roof garden does require patience and dedication, which the government says is one challenge. Another issue is, can they really have a
TANYA MULLER, ENVIRONMENTAL SECRETARY, MEXICO CITY: Obviously, green roofs is not the solution to all our air quality problems, but it does
help. And we have to add up all the strategies that we're doing. There's not one big solution for air quality in mega cities.
PARKER: With pollution now linked to heart disease, the World Health Organization hopes other mega cities will adopt a similar approach.
Nick Parker, CNN, Mexico City.
JIM CLANCY, HOST: The latest world news headlines are straight ahead. Plus, as Iraqi forces desperately try to stop the onslaught from ISIS
militants, the fighting threatens to pull in the US and Iran into this crisis.
CLANCY: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Jim Clancy, and these are your headlines. ISIS militants are making advances toward the Iraqi capital.
This map shows areas the militants now control. It includes the city of Tal Afar in the north of the country. We're also getting reports of
fighting in al-Khalis just north of Baghdad. Meantime, Iraqi television reporting at least 200 militants were killed in air strikes in the city of
Shaqlawa by the Iraqi air force.
In Israel, forces are searching trucks, cars, and homes on the West Bank for three teenage boys who went missing from their Jewish settlement
late last week. Israel says the boys were kidnapped by Hamas militants. A spokesman for Hamas says that allegation is baseless.
Russia has cut natural gas shipments to Ukraine because it is owed $4.5 billion. Moscow says it will only deliver natural gas that Kiev pays
for up front, but Ukraine says Russia has unfairly boosted prices. Gazprom hiked the price it charges Ukraine by about 80 percent.
Former F1 driver Michael Schumacher is no longer in a coma. That is according to his manager, who says the seven-time world champion has now
been transferred to a hospital in Switzerland for rehabilitation. Schumacher suffered a severe head injury after a skiing accident in
Don Riddell joins us now for a little bit more on this story. How are we to read this? I know the fans, you and I, would like to read this in a
very positive light.
DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the truth is, we really don't know. Medical analysts would certainly urge caution. They would
also point out that news that Michael Schumacher is no longer in a coma isn't necessarily news, because that had already been hinted at in a
So, we know for a fact that he's left the facility in Grenoble, where he's been treated for more than five months, now, since that devastating
skiing accident in December. We understand that he's in Losone, which is around about twenty miles from the family home on Lake Geneva. But beyond
that, we really don't know. And out of a coma does not mean everything's going to be fine.
CLANCY: It's a very tough -- you're a great sports analyst, but this isn't what's needed right now, it's more of a medical analysis. Why aren't
they releasing more, do you think? Is it for the family? Is it --
RIDDELL: Well, the management team will only release what the family wants to be released, and of course, every patient that's in recovery is
entitled to a certain amount of privacy.
CLANCY: Of course.
RIDDELL: And clearly the family want to keep whatever the situation is with Michael Schumacher under wraps.
But if you would listen to the medical analysts who've dealt with these kind of situations before, who are familiar with this kind of trauma
and this kind of injury, they would say, well, from what we're hearing from the management statements and the press releases, out of a coma could mean
-- could mean -- vegetative state. Could mean he's in a minimally conscious state.
We don't even know if he's breathing spontaneously at the moment. There have been reports in the German media that he has been able to
communicate with his family, but that's not come as an official statement from the management team. So, the truth is that we really just don't know.
CLANCY: We don't know. We can only help. Don Riddell, thank you.
RIDDELL: All right.
CLANCY: All right. Well, the growing crisis and the threat of the Islamic militant group Isis, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has
crossed -- has all of its neighbors in that region concerned these militants are trying to stabilize their entire region.
Iran and the British government have already had a conversation about the crisis, and now it appears the United States may be ready to do the
same. Our Reza Sayah joins us now with perspective from Tehran. Elise Labott has the latest from Washington.
Reza, let's start with you. Where does it rest, in the Iranian view, this notion it could at some point be cooperating with the United States?
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Indeed. And this is a remarkable scenario, remarkable what-if scenario. Iran has made it clear
that they're open to the possibility. Nothing has happened yet, but the fact that we're even talking about it is remarkable and a watershed moment.
If indeed the US and Iran cooperate, it would be the first time in 35 years, of course. During the 35 years, for much of that time, these two
countries have been bitter enemies, no diplomatic relations. In fact, three years ago, the US was suggesting that they may attack Iran in an
effort to curb their controversial nuclear program.
But all of a sudden, when it comes to Iraq, it seems that these two countries have very urgent and compelling common causes and shared
interests. When you look at Washington, obviously, they'd expended a lot of blood and treasure over the past ten years in Iraq. They don't want the
US-backed government in Baghdad to fall.
And then you look at Iran. Much of the violence, the Sunni insurgency, is happening very close to the Iranian border. The Iranian
government, the leadership takes great pride in the security here, the fact that there's no violence.
Remember, this is a region that's plagued by suicide attacks, mass killings, and militant attacks. And remarkably, Iran has kept away from
that, and it wants to keep it that way.
SAYAH: And also, you have the very close ties between the Shia-led government in Iran and the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad. Iran
wants to keep those ties as well. So, some shared interests. That's why a lot of talk about the possibility of Tehran and Washington cooperating.
CLANCY: Elise there in Washington. The perspective from the United States -- they may need Iran in order to effectively take action in one way
or another inside Iraq. What's at stake for Washington?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN WORLD AFFAIRS REPORTER: Well, they really feel, officials tell me, Jim, that they have to tread carefully here, because
clearly they have common interests in terms of wanting to keep Iraq stable. It doesn't serve either the United States or the Iranians for Baghdad or
the government to collapse.
But at the same time, there are -- they do have some divergent interests in terms of the US sees that the Iranians have a lot of
influence, as Reza said, with the government. You also have Iranian military offering cooperation to the Iranian government, the head of the
Iranian Quds Force, Suleimani, was just in Iraq offering some help.
The US doesn't want to see the Iranian military in Iraq. They really want to handle this, I think, themselves, and also with Sunni partners in
the region, but they do want the Iranians to support Nouri al-Maliki politically.
At the same time, they don't want this to get muddied with the ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna right now.
CLANCY: But they're actually going to be talking about this very issue on the sidelines of those talks.
LABOTT: Exactly. Exactly. And that could happen this week. But at the same time, they say these are two separate issues. These negotiations
are reaching a very delicate stage right now. You have a July 20th deadline that everybody's set for a comprehensive deal, and they don't want
any -- divergence of views to complicate or muddy the waters on these talks.
So, they want to have a separate talk on the Iraq issues, go back to the nuclear talks. That's why I think until this nuclear deal is done, if
in fact they're able to get a deal by July 20th, I think they're going to be very circumspect and move very slowly in terms of any kind of
LABOTT: I think we're talking more about a convergence, a conversation, a dialogue, instead of teaming up, Jim.
CLANCY: OK. Looking at this, though: two divergent goals. Reza Sayah, Iran wants to promote the strength of the Shia-led government. The
United States wants to the Shia-led government to share power with the Sunnis and support a military -- a Sunni-Shia military, one that's unified
in Iraq, that would reflect the country and its future. Iran, really, that's not its interest, is it?
SAYAH: Well, I think for Iran, their position is, their interest is a stable Iraq. And this is another example of where Iran can step in and use
its influence and use its sway to create stability in Iraq.
If the concern in Iraq is a Maliki government that's not being inclusive, it could be a case of the United States, other regional powers,
sitting down with Iran and pushing Iran to use its sway to encourage the Maliki government to be inclusive. Because I think all parties involved
here, they do not want a growing insurgency --
SAYAH: -- to topple this government. It would be against the interests of Washington and Tehran. It seems like an opportunity in paper,
but this is a complicated region with complicated alliances, so any talk of cooperation between Tehran and Washington, complicated as well.
CLANCY: All right, let me get in just a very quick one for you, Elise Labott. As you outline it, the US going to be circumspect in all of this,
try to get the nuclear deal done first. But really, can Barack Obama, can the US State Department, afford to sit on the sidelines as all of this
conflict is roiling Iraq, given the history of the US military, given the history of the administration's pull out?
LABOTT: I don't think so. I think that the US does see an urgency here. And you President Obama last week, the US is considering some type
of military action, albeit a very limited one. Possibly some air strikes. Secretary of State John Kerry today in an interview say he wasn't ruling
out drones. This is a very limited discussion in terms of any type of military support.
I think the US does not want the Iranians to get their military in. I think they want to handle it with the Sunni partners. But I do think, as
Reza said, I think that there is a chance here for everybody politically to come together and push the Maliki government to be more inclusive.
I think that there's a real urgency on that. But I think right now, the US main concern, the urgent priority, is to beat back ISIS from taking
the capital, and that's where the US military can possibly help a little bit, Jim.
CLANCY: Elise Labott in Washington, Reza Sayah, there in Tehran. I want to thank you both very much for being with us. Important perspective
Now, as we've been discussing the situation in Iraq, it has wide- ranging regional ramifications. You can go to CNN Arabic's home page and see how the different players in the Middle East are reacting to all this
turmoil. All the latest analysis and opinion is waiting for you at cnnarabic.com.
Well, live from CNN Center you are with CONNECT THE WORLD. Head to head, football giants Germany and Portugal are set to square off at the
World Cup in a matter of hours. We'll be live from Rio with a preview coming up.
CLANCY: Well, if you've been watching the World Cup, I'll tell you, if there's one word to really describe this year, it's "unpredictable."
Shaping up to be one of the best years yet. And here's a round-up of Sunday's matches.
Bosnia-Herzegovina scoring its first-ever World Cup goal, but it wasn't enough to snatch a win against Lionel Messi and Argentina.
Argentina prevailed 2 to 1.
Switzerland celebrated a dramatic come-from-behind win against Ecuador, kicking the winning goal in the final one minute of play.
France seemed to have no trouble with Honduras. It won 3-nil. Took a long time to get the French side started, though.
And in less than 15 minutes, European heavyweights Germany and Portugal are going to be playing their opening matches against each other.
Fred Pleitgen and Isa Soares join us now from the fan zone in Rio de Janeiro. What are we to expect? You've got all the fans there with you, I
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we've got all the fans with us, Jim, and the fans are really pouring in here. And we
have our own little CNN version of Germany versus Portugal because we have the German reporter and the Portuguese reporter kicking it off here at the
fan zone as well.
Fans are arriving. As far as the fans here are concerned, it would be a win for Germany. There's more German fans here at this point, right?
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Definitely, Jim, but you know, the Portuguese tend to arrive pretty late anyway. We're only
starting to see them arrive here. We're hoping that the Brazilians -- we speak the same language -- that they will back us up in support.
I just found out in the last 15 minutes or so that Ronaldo will be part of that lineup. So, I'm sure these fans here will be very, very proud
PLEITGEN: Ronaldo will be part of the team, and we will deal with it, Jim.
CLANCY: And you will deal with -- you hope, Fred. I want to thank both of you. Looks like great fun down there. We look forward to hearing
more of your reports there from the fan zone.
Well, social media is following just about every kick in this tournament, and at the moment, Germany is one of the hottest topics. This
is our CNN Facebook Pulse site, where we're following the topics trending the most. Germany's getting a lot of support online, with just more than
half of those posts expressing love for the team.
Now, come on, Portugal, you've got to get in there! You can join in the conversation at cnn.com/facebookpulse.
Well, despite the festivities, the World Cup also has a darker side. Protests against the amount of money that are being spent on these sporting
events with little to be gained by the poor in the country. Isa visited one of the poorest slums where miserable conditions are a way of life.
SOARES (voice-over): Life in Jacarezinho has changed little over the years. Today, the streets may be decorated in green and yellow, but the
routine, the boredom, and the quality of life remains the same.
No one knows it better than Valeria. This mother of three has lived here for more than 25 years, and from her window, she has yet to witness
SOARES (on camera): Valeria is just saying to me that -- I asked her what the problems that she faces here in Jacarezinho, and she says that
they don't have hospitals, children wake up early to go to school, they get to school, and there are no classes.
And to add to all of this, the water -- the water right by the bank of the river here, you get completely inundated. And she says she has to
change a lot of the house, the furniture pretty much every year. That's a lot of money spent just here in Jacarezinho.
SOARES (voice-over): Despite the complaints reported to me, the more than 100,000 people here have settled into a harsher reality, becoming
almost numb to their precarious condition. It's a reality that Pastor Antonio Costa finds difficult to accept. For years, he's been fighting for
their cause. Recently, his cries have grown louder as Brazil throws more money to hosting the World Cup.
ANTONIO CARLOS COSTA, FOUNDER, RIO DE PAZ: See my country from this place. Shocking. Because we are the seventh economy in the world, but at
the same time, we permit people living in this condition.
SOARES (on camera): Yes.
COSTA: Without a sewage system, children without assets, beautification, people dying in the line of hospitals, a place where people
SOARES: It's easy to understand why the people here of Jacarezinho feel so hard done by and why they're so apprehensive about the World Cup.
Many tell me that the money they have contributed to the World Cup and the gains that may come from it will not go to the people that really need it,
the people right here in one of the poorest slums in Latin America.
SOARES (voice-over): The stains of poverty are hard to ignore here. Children and adults alike cross this stretch of wasteland every day,
fearing for their health and their safety as trains pass them at speed.
SOARES (on camera): Tony, we've heard so much about an economic boom in Brazil. Have you seen a difference in the last five years or so to the
people here of Jacarezinho?
COSTA: There is a real difference, and we should be just. People are not anymore dying by starvation. But people continue to live without
SOARES (voice-over): There may be victories to be won for Brazil in the football field this month, but for the people of Jacarezinho, even
these won't be the game-changer they're seeking.
Isa Sores, CNN, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
CLANCY: All right. Now, we've got World Cup coverage of a different kind coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(MUSIC - "GOLE IRAN" BY AJAM)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CLANCY: Everybody loves a World Cup anthem. Move over J-Lo and Pitbull, we've got some real singing stars, the guys behind Iran's tune of
the tournament, Ajam.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(MUSIC - "GOLE IRAN" BY AJAM)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Messi kept going! It's Lionel Messi! He scores!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CLANCY: All right, that was the moment that Argentina's super star Lionel Messi scored his team's second goal against Bosnia last night.
Argentina's other group proponents, Iran and Nigeria, they're going to face off against each other in a matter of a few hours.
Now, this is the fourth time that Iran has appeared in the World Cup finals. So, for tonight's Parting Shots, my colleague Becky Anderson
caught up with Iranian music band Ajam, who are singing their national team -- well trying to -- all the way to the top.
(MUSIC - "GOLE IRAN" BY AJAM)
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Traditionally, World Cup songs, let's face it, are absolutely awful. This one's not bad, it's got to be
said. How's it going down back home? Because you guys are clearly London- based, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we got a lot of good feedback. The thing went viral so quickly that it got out to our fans on all the satellite
channels, as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think everyone's got the right mindset right now in Iran as well. We're talking to people, everyone is super ready for the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's buzzing and -- yes. They also responded really well to the song.
(MUSIC - "GOLE IRAN" BY AJAM)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The world "gole" obviously in Iran also means, in Iranian, means "goal" as well. But the actual word means "flower" in
Persian. So, we kind of did a little twist on the lyrics, so we're trying to say --
ANDERSON: Ah! Clever!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- we're looking for that Iranian flower that will blossom out of our hopes, as it is.
(MUSIC - "GOLE IRAN" BY AJAM)
ANDERSON: Let's talk about the football. You've clearly got a winning song. We're not clear yet that Iran will be a winning team.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We really hope it can qualify, honestly. I think that's the nation's spirit right now. Of course, we've got Argentina to
beat, which we cannot talk about, and concentrate on winning Nigeria or Bosnia or both.
(MUSIC - "GOLE IRAN" BY AJAM)
ANDERSON: Go on, then, enough of the talking. Let's hear you.
(LIVE MUSIC - "GOLE IRAN" BY AJAM)
CLANCY: There you are. Becky Anderson and Ajam. Be sure to give us your word on what you think about the stories that we cover here on CONNECT
THE WORLD, facebook.com/CNNconnect. Have your say. Join in the conversation.
I'm Jim Clancy and that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank to all of you for spending a part of your day with us.