Return to Transcripts main page
WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
Syrian Forces Occupy All of Aleppo; Trump Taps Tillerson for State Department; ISIS Leaders Hit in Coalition Airstrike; Lawmakers Call for Investigation into Russian Hacking; Geothermal Power Rises in Kenya; Actor Explores London's Hidden Gems; One Boy's Dream Comes True After "The Jungle". Aired 3-4p ET
Aired December 16, 2016 - 15:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news to bring you now. Russia says the Syrian regime has control over the eastern part of Aleppo. No
caveat there. The United Nations Ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, told an emergency meeting of the Security Council that the military operation there
is over. And that it is time in his words for "practical humanitarian initiatives."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VITALY CHURKIN, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Now the most important thing that
counterterrorist operation in Aleppo will conclude in the next few hours. All militants together
with members of their family and the injured currently are going through agreed corridors in directions
that they've chosen themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. This comes after 24 hours of hell. Before this broke, the United
Nations said Syrian government forces had executed men, women and children in their own homes Monday
night, according to reports. Take a look at some of the latest video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: As the regime clawed back Aleppo street by street, there were still activists and
civilians cowering in what little territory remained in rebel hands. A few people have been brave
enough to speak out about atrocities, even while the army was drawing closer to their location.
ISMAIL AL-ABDULLAH, SYRIA CIVIL DEFENCE VOLUNTEER: Assad's forces when they entered --
When they entered this neighborhood, they executed 82 people. And the relatives of the victims who
are now with us told us they were executed including (INAUDIBLE) 13 kids and 7 women. All of them
And what we are now, and what we worry about our, about our (INAUDIBLE) that maybe the
genocide, the genocide will happen in the coming days, and nothing will stop them in the coming
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: That was a Syria civil defence volunteer, one of the White Helmets speaking earlier.
But you have to understand this about Aleppo. Not everyone on the ground is necessarily
unhappy about recent developments. This in western Aleppo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Talk about a city divided. But half of the city long controlled by Bashar al-
Assad's forces you saw among some at least, shouts of joy at the prospect of an end of the battle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
All right, I want to take you straight inside eastern Aleppo. Bilal Abdul Kareem is an
independent journalist. He joins me now. He is inside rebel-held territory.
Bilal, thanks for being with this.
First of all, we're hearing from the Russian Ambassador at the U.N. that the operations are
over, that the regime is in control basically of eastern Aleppo. Is that something that you're
witnessing, that you're seeing. Clearly you're still talking to us here.
BILAL ABDUL KAREEM, INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST IN ALEPPO: No, the regime's not in control of all
of eastern Aleppo. Therefore, that's why the agreement had to be put in place so that they could get
the rest of the control so they could -- they could take control of the rest of eastern Aleppo from
rebel forces without there being any further bloodshed. But to say that they're in control of
eastern Aleppo at the moment is inaccurate. And neither was this a counterterrorism operation.
GORANI: Right, with that coming from, by the way U.N. -- the Russian ambassador to the U.N.
calling it a counterterrorism operation. But let me ask you about what you're hearing, what you're
able to see from your vantage point is what exactly, Bilal, in east Aleppo?
ABDUL KAREEM: Well, eastern Aleppo -- it was just our good fortune that today, it was a
rainy day. And being that it was raining, the planes were not buzzing overhead and dropping bombs
and missiles on the people as it has been doing for quite some time. So that was the plus.
Now that the agreement appears to be for real and it's in place, it's a mixed reaction. Some
of the fighters are very sad because they leave behind five years' worth of fighting, family members
buried under rubble. And so much blood has been spilled.
Some people are happy that the bombings are now officially -- if you want to call it that --
over. And they're happy about that. But what I really say that there's anybody who's happy, the way
things are turning out -- people are happy that they are pretty confident they might be alive
tomorrow. And that's a good thing. But I don't think that anybody here is happy with the way things
have turned out, no.
GORANI: So what's the expectation now? Because there's this agreement. It's not a
situation where the regime is in control of all of eastern Aleppo, as you're telling us. You're on
the ground there. What happens in the next few hours, then?
ABDUL KAREEM: Well, from what I understand, they're trying to organize so that the fighters
and their families and from also what I understand, any civilians that may want to leave -- would be
free to go.
They seem to want to do this sooner rather than later. They're supposed to be organizing for
about 1000 people to leave tonight. But I cannot confirm that.
I know that there are some movements being made. That's what the expectations are. And that
some will be allowed to go in the direction of Jarabulus, and some will be allowed to go in the
direction of Idlib. So this is what I'm seeing here on the ground right now.
GORANI: And lastly we have heard from the U.N. And we'll be speaking to them in a few
minutes about these reports of executions on the spot of some in rebel-held territory. So there has
to be some concern among the activists and relatives of rebels, that if they board buses, where will
they be going? I mean, they have to be, some of them, quite frightened.
ABDUL KAREEM: Certainly. There's no question about it. I mean, what the Syrian-Arab army
has been doing when they take over a territory is that people are executed. It's as simple as that.
But this is not new. This isn't something that began November the 15th, or last year, or in previous
years. This is what the Syrian Arab army has been doing all along.
And when you have on your ledger a half a million countrymen who have been killed, that's a
big deterrent from the civilians wanting to go over to the regime side. And that's why many of the
civilians simply just did not want to go. So --
ABDUL KAREEM: Yes. I'm sorry. Go ahead.
GORANI: Finish your thought.
ABDUL KAREEM: So I think that that's a major problem that's going to have to be addressed in
the next few hours because there are a lot of civilians that are here that don't want to be here.
GORANI: Right. Bilal Abdul Kareem in eastern Aleppo. Thanks very much. An independent
filmmaker there. Joining us while we hope that you're able to stay, to stay safe. Thanks very much.
A very important and defining day for Syria. Let's get the latest from the region.
Fred Pleitgen was recently in Aleppo. He joins me from there. Jomana Karadsheh joins me
live from Amman.
What are you hearing from your sources about this essentially victory -- this what appears to
be a very, in very short order a complete victory for the regime in eastern Aleppo.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well it certainly looks that way.
But I think that one of the things that over the past couple of hours that has been becoming more
clear is that it was only a matter of time before the forces of the pro- government factions there, not just the Syrian government soldiers. But of course, also all of their
allied factions including Hezbollah, including Syrian Palestinian fighters.
Of course, a large Russian presence on the ground and in the air as well. That it was only a
matter of time before they would take back that last rebel enclave. And if they did -- that most
probably it would be in a very bloody way. Especially judging by the amount of fire power that we've
seen unleashed on those eastern districts over the past couple of days that we were there until this
weekend, until Saturday.
So certainly for their perspective, this is probably the best solution because what it does,
it stops the fighting, and at the same time, you will see government control of all of Aleppo very
soon. And I've been Skyping and I've been talking to some people who are in and around Aleppo who
are in the progovernment areas. And there are celebrations on the ground.
There are people who are celebrating this who believe that this is a victory and who look
forward of all of it being under government control once again. Then of course, you have those
people in those eastern districts, many of whom have escaped those besieged areas, who are still
living in very dire conditions, many of them in shelters for displaced people who simply wanted the
fighting to stop and who wanted to get to a place where they were not under threatening (INAUDIBLE).
GORANI: All right. And for others, there may not be joy but at the very least some relief
that perhaps tomorrow they'll get to live another day.
Jomana Karadsheh is in Amman. And you've been speaking to people who are trapped inside
eastern Aleppo. And some of them have posted absolutely heartbreaking messages online. Essentially
saying, "Good-bye, I may not be here tomorrow."
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hala, for months now, for weeks we've been speaking to
people in eastern Aleppo who have been trapped in this living nightmare. And I have to say,
yesterday afternoon, yesterday evening, speaking to these same people, they sounded so different.
You really could hear fear like I've never heard it before in their voices. You could hear despair,
frustration, and anger with the international community.
There was also that realization that this was it, that it was over, and it was going to end.
But they really didn't know how this was going to end. There was that overwhelming fear that it
could end in a bloodbath, that there could be a massacre. And that is why a number of people --
those with access to social media -- started posting these messages and videos with their final
messages and good-byes. Take a listen to some of these messages, Hala.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINA SHAMY, ACTIVIST: To everyone who can hear me. We are here exposed to a genocide in the
besieged city of Aleppo. This may be my last video.
MOHAMMED EDEL: I am going to be killed. So that (INAUDIBLE) is going to happen. I'm going
to be killed.
ABDUL KHAFI: We didn't want anything else but freedom. I hope you can remember us. (I don't
know.) Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARADSHE: And the last person you were listening to is Abdul Khafi of (INAUDIBLE). He is an
activist. He is an English teacher. We've been speaking to him for a few weeks now. He's also the
father of a 9-month-old baby girl and his messages throughout have been that he wants someone to save
his little girl because he just felt that he could no longer protect his child, Hala.
GORANI: And Fred, back to you in Beirut. What is next now? I mean, that's what so many
people are wondering. It's a victory for the regime. There's no more fighting. They're
controlling, now, it seems the entirety of the city. Or they will very soon. I mean, we were
hearing there from an independent filmmaker that there are still pockets where rebels are still
operating from. But what happens in the coming days and weeks?
PLEITGEN: Well first of all, the big thing is going to be to try and get the aid that the
people who have left those eastern districts -- get to them aid to make sure that they survive. The
next couple of days, the next couple of weeks. Because we know, I mean it's the middle of winter in
Aleppo. The weather's very bad. There's very little in the way of food for these people. And
shelter as well. Because so much of those eastern districts was of course destroyed as all of that
fighting was going on.
You know, we're talking about right now evacuating the last small area that the rebels still
held. But in the days before that, there were tens of thousands of people who crossed that front
line and made their way out. And all of them require a lot of attention.
There's so many people who are wounded. There's so many people who are sick. We haven't had
medical attention in weeks and months. Getting them the care they need is of course of the utmost
importance. Making sure that international aid organizations can bring large scale aid and
coordinate it in there as well.
What we saw when we were in some of those displaced shelters, was a valiant effort by smaller
aid groups. But certainly not enough to care for the tens of thousands who are really in very very
And then of course, there's going to be a process where all these neighborhoods need to be
cleared. There's still of course a lot of unexploded munitions there. There's a lot of debris on
the street. All of that is a process that probably will start very quickly. But we also know that
of course, the Syrian government does not have the capacity to rebuild Aleppo anytime soon.
GORANI: Fred Pleitgen is in Beirut. Jomana Karadsheh in Amman. Thanks very much to both of
you for helping us cover this breaking news out of Syria.
Now this is a quote. "It looks like a complete meltdown of humanity in Aleppo." It was from
the U.N.'s view. This is the U.N.'s view of the situation in the Syrian city earlier.
Let's go live to Geneva and speak to Rupert Colville. He's the spokesperson, for the U.N.
High Commissioner for human rights. Thanks for being with us. Thanks for being with us, Mr.
One of the things you were quoted as saying in the press today. There were recurring reports
that there had been some summary executions in Aleppo. How concerned are you about this type of
RUPERT COLVILLE, SPOKESPERSON U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: Extremely concerned.
You know, we heard of 82 individuals. We have the names. These are people who were apparently shot
while they were in the street, trying to escape, or possibly just (INAUDIBLE) in the street. Or even
shot inside their homes or in basements or cellars where they were sheltering across four different
districts. And I think there are some patterns. For example, particular families that were
So that was extremely worrying. We're also very very concerned for the tens of thousands who
have managed to get out of eastern Aleppo. And what happened to them and particularly I would say to
the former fighters or people suspected of being former fighters.
So it's not just the people who are inside and thank goodness it does seem there is an
agreement now. Let's hope it holds for them at least.
GORANI: What's happening in Aleppo is so shocking. Of course, people want to be able to
know who to blame. Because after all world powers have had years to try to sort something out, and
they haven't managed it. The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power - - and I want you to listen to this, Mr. Colville -- had this to say at the Security Council just
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Are you truly incapable of shame? Is there
literally nothing that can shame you? Is there no act of barbarism against civilians, no execution
of a child that gets under your skin, that just creeps you out just a little bit? Is there nothing
you will not lie about?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Samantha Power speaking to the Russian representatives there. I mean I know your
job depends a lot on what some of these diplomats are able to achieve. This is the level of
discourse today, as Aleppo is about to fall. I mean how does that make, how does that affect your
job? Your ability to do your job.
COLVILLE: Well, I think everybody's ability to do anything in Syria has been really shaped
by the total paralysis and failure of the Security Council. For five years they've failed to cope
with the situation. And that's what the council exists for. It's to bring peace and security. And
it's been completely deadlocked ineffective.
So I think that everybody recognizes that. And Samantha Power is putting it into very
powerful words there. And it's, yes, a failure of the major powers. At the end of the day you're
talking really the five main powers in the Security Council that have a veto. And in some cases, to
use that veto to block really anything that's happening in Syria.
GORANI: Certainly that's happening and we've witnessed it time and time again. What is
your biggest concern now in Syria?
COLVILLE: Well, I think, you know, Aleppo has been absolutely ghastly. But one shouldn't
forget other places. That the attention on Aleppo is rather, makes us forget there are many other
parts of the country, many other towns and cities that are also under siege.
We've seen very heavy bombardment in Idlib, which is the (INAUDIBLE) next door to Aleppo, in
recent days. And obviously what I'm concerned that what we've seen in Aleppo may start to happen in
other places as well and deep bombardments have been continuing throughout.
GORANI: Rupert Colville, the Spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Thanks very much for joining us live from Geneva this hour.
Still to come tonight. We now know who Donald Trump has picked to be the face of American
diplomacy around the world. Not a household name internationally unless you follow business news.
He is Rex Tillerson. And see why he could face a tough confirmation fight. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI (Voiceover): Donald Trump is putting the world on notice that change is coming to
U.S. foreign policy. Today he ended weeks of speculation about his pick for Secretary of State and
he appointed ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson.
Tillerson has no government experience whatsoever. But Trump says he knows how to manage a
global enterprise and will help reverse "years of misguided foreign policies and actions."
It's not a done deal, though. Tillerson needs Senate confirmation and could face a tough
fight over close ties to Russia, very close. A Trump spokesperson says Tillerson's business
relations will help him broker good deals for Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON MILLER, SPOKESPERSON, TRUMP TRANSITION TEAM: This guy is a world class businessman. He
is a world class absolute negotiator. And that's the thing. We have to get back to actually winning
for Americans. So we can put together good tough deals.
Rex Tillerson has actually stood up and said, "No," to Vladimir Putin. He's also someone who
has the respect of Putin where he can put together, find ways to work together on common fronts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well we also learned today who Trump wants to serve as Energy Secretary. Sources
tell CNN he's tapped Rick Perry, a familiar face. He's a former Republican governor of Texas. Perry
once ran for president himself. And interestingly, he once called for the abolishment of the
department he's been picked to lead.
Now let's talk about Rex Tillerson some more, and also some of the statements that Donald
Trump has made about China. Gary Locke is a former U.S. Ambassador to China, a former governor of
Washington, a former Congress secretary. He joins us now live from Seattle. Thanks very much, sir,
for being with us. I want to ask you first about --
GARY LOCKE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: My pleasure.
GORANI: -- Rex Tillerson. So the idea that he'd have conflicts of interest, that's he's
been just a businessman, but he doesn't have diplomatic experience. Now some would say that's
precisely what we need. We need someone who's going to bring a fresh outlook to the state
department. What is your reaction?
LOCKE: Well it's not critical that the person have government experience. But that person
must be, I think, skillful in knowledge about world affairs, understands the different cultures, the
different ethnic groups even within a particular country, especially throughout the Middle East. And
the different religious tensions. And religious groups.
But ultimately that person has to be an effective communicator with the leaders of other
countries, has to be a skilled negotiator. And has to really carry the support of the president, the
American people, and know what his or her mission is.
GORANI: Ambassador, those who are fed up with the establishment will say, "What have
diplomats achieved in the last eight years?" Look at Syria. It's been a constant back and forth.
The U.N. Security Council can't stop the bloodshed there. Other issues really haven't been resolved
by career diplomats. So here's a man who can manage a basically mini-state almost. It's such a
large rich corporation.
Are you willing to give him a chance to succeed?
LOCKE: Well first of all. Most Secretaries of State, the past Secretaries of State, have
not been career diplomats. But they have been very knowledgeable about world affairs.
GORANI: But they've had government experience, extensive government experience.
GORANI: Like John Kerry.
GORANI: Or even Hillary Clinton.
LOCKE: But not necessarily, not necessarily a career diplomat. I wouldn't consider a member
of the U.S. Senate, or a person who's worked in the White House as being a career diplomat. But
certainly knowledgeable about world affairs. And knowledgeable about the operations of government.
Mr. Tillerson, as the CEO of a major corporation, I'm sure is familiar with the workings of
government. And has worked with world leaders and people all around the world. So I'll give him
that. And I do very much hope that he can succeed. Because we have so many critical issues that
America is facing around the world. And we need a strong respected, capable, knowledgeable Secretary
Now what's troublesome are his extensive business holdings. And especially in the oil/gas
industry. The business dealings of ExxonMobil. The Secretary of State simply has to divest, sell
off all of his stock, put those proceeds into a blind trust so he has absolutely no knowledge of what
the trustee is holding.
And many members going into the Cabinet have been required to sell off all of their stocks
and holdings, all of their assets, and put them into a blind trust. You just can't -- for instance
-- if you hold lots of Microsoft stock, you can't put Microsoft stock or ExxonMobil stock into --
with a trustee. Because you know that the trustee still has your ExxonMobil stock or your Microsoft
GORANI: Right, and if he didn't do that --
LOCKE: So therefore the trustee --
GORANI: I was going to say, Governor, if he didn't do that --
LOCKE: Well yes, I think that --
GORANI: You'd be quite uncomfortable.
LOCKE: That would be a huge conflict of interest. And that person also has to give up any
or all stock options that he or she may be scheduled to receive from the company that he's going to
be retiring from -- ExxonMobil.
I know that he was planning on retiring. He's subject to mandatory retirement in a few
months anyway. But he's going to have all these stock options that will vest, that he'll be given.
And all kinds of stock that he'll be given in ExxonMobil. Will he sell those all off?
GORANI: And let me ask you, of course, about the statements that Donald Trump has made about
the One China Policy. He took that phone call from the President of Taiwan. China clearly upset
about that. You know China very well, having served as ambassador there.
I guess, again, the devil's advocate position here is what's wrong with shaking things up a
little bit? And just using anything that you can, anything at your disposal, to bargain for a better
deal? This is what Donald Trump is doing.
LOCKE: Well first of all. China, mainland China, views Taiwan as part of China. You know,
China went into a civil war between the nationalists and the communists and it ended up in 1949 the
communists winning and driving the nationalists to the island of Taiwan.
The nationalists on Taiwan still claim to be the legitimate government, not just of Taiwan,
but of the mainland. And of course, the mainland government -- the communists -- view Taiwan as
really a province and as part of the territory of mainland.
So you can only recognize one government, only, you know -- only one entity speaks for the
other or controls everything. You can't have -- recognize two governments who are claiming to be the
sovereignty for the same piece of territory.
GORANI: No, I absolutely understand that. But --
LOCKE: And since 1979, we have recognized --
GORANI: He's clearly wanting to be -- I was going to say, he's clearly wanting to --
LOCKE: I'm sorry, go ahead.
GORANI: -- to be very unconventional and to say, "I don't have to be bound by this. It
doesn't serve necessarily U.S. interests." I mean, his supporters are saying, "This is why we
LOCKE: Well obviously, the people want change. But the question is, do they want change
such that we have massive unemployment because American companies can no longer sell their things
into China? And do they want all the products that they do buy from China -- whether it's at Macy's
or Target or Walmart -- going up by 45/50 percent? Donald Trump has said that day one, he wants to
raise the tariffs on all goods coming from China by almost 45 percent.
That's basically raising the prices of everything coming from China by 45 percent. Whether
it's the microwave ovens that you buy at the appliance store, or your clothes, or tools, or toys. Do
you want those -- or your iPhones -- going up by 45 percent?
Now, he may even say that he's only going to impose tariffs on a few Chinese items. Well,
the Chinese can, you know, can also say, "Then we'll raise tariffs on a few American products." Like
all the soybeans that America ships to China.
Forty-five percent of -- almost 50 percent -- of all the soybeans that American farmers grow
-- are exported to China. Twenty-five percent of all of our cotton that we grow is exported to
China. And almost 25 percent of all those Boeing airplanes -- and Boeing employs of over 200,000
people -- a 25 percent drop in sales of Boeing airplanes would have massive implications on all of
those manufacturing jobs in the United States.
So, are we prepared for that?
GORANI: Exactly. It's always more a complicated --
LOCKE: Is that the type of change we want?
GORANI: It's always a more complicated picture. Thank you very much for joining us. A
really fascinating conversation. Gary Locke joining us from Seattle. My birth city, in fact,
LOCKE: That's right.
GORANI: Thank you for joining us. We really appreciate it.
LOCKE: And the Sounders just won the championship -- the Seattle Sounders.
GORANI: Congratulations. Thank you very much.
Now, the Kremlin appears pleased with Tillerson's nomination. It calls him respectable and
professional. Noting that he has strong ties with Russian officials. Those comments no doubt just
deepening some of those concerns that Tillerson has too close a relationship with Vladimir Putin and
Let's bring in CNN Money's Christina Alesci. So let's first talk about the big question
regarding sanctions against Russia. Is there the expectation that perhaps the appointment of Mr.
Tillerson as Secretary of State would lead to a scenario in which the U.S. would be more willing to
drop some of those sanctions?
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNNMONEY: That's certainly a question that he's going to get in the vetting
process. But we know for a fact, as CEO of Exxon, he was opposed to sanctions. And Hala, there's a
good reason for that. The sanctions cost Exxon a lot of money.
Tillerson orchestrated one of the biggest deals with Russian oil giant, Rosneft, to develop
projects in Siberia, the Black Sea, the Arctic. And that deal was signed in 2011. Three years
later, the EU and the U.S. imposed sanctions. And Exxon ended up taking a billion-dollar loss.
This is why some lawmakers are so concerned about Tillerson. As Secretary of State, he could
push for a relief or a removal of those sanctions, which would be a windfall for Exxon. But is that
in the best interest of America?
[15:30:05] Well, we don't know the answer to that question. But Tillerson owns about 600,000 shares of Exxon, which he'll, of course, have to sell to
avoid the kind of conflict that we just discussed, and he'll have to figure out how to handle the $184 million in Exxon stock he has been promised. So
he still hasn't gotten that amount but he has been promised that amount, and that was all part of a compensation deal while he was CEO, of course.
GORANI: Cristina Alesci, thanks very much, in New York with more on Rex Tillerson's business interests and past.
Next, we'll return to that controversial pick for Secretary of State. His ties to Russia could lead to a major battle over his confirmation on
Capitol Hill. We'll look at that angle.
Plus, the fight against ISIS. The Pentagon is saying three leaders of the terrorist group have been killed. They say they have links to those plots
in Europe and Paris. We'll be right back.
GORANI: A look at our top stories. Russia's Ambassador to the U.N. says that the Syrian government now has control over eastern Aleppo.
Breaking this hour. Government forces have been battling, street by street, to retake the city in its entirety. Vitaly Churkin says the
military operation will end in the next few hours and that it will be time to focus then, he says, on humanitarian issues.
The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, reportedly says his nation welcomes the choice of Rex Tillerson as U.S. Secretary of State and that he
is ready to work with him. According to Russia's Sputnik news agency, Lavrov called both Donald Trump and Tillerson, quote, "pragmatic."
The U.S. says it has killed three ISIS leaders in a coalition airstrike. The Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, told military personnel that the men
who were killed posed a real threat to the West.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASH CARTER, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I can confirm today that we took out three of ISIL's key leaders in the last couple of weeks. It
was one strike. These are guys who were linked to plots right here in Europe, and I can't share all the details with you but, for example, with
the Paris attacks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. Nic Robertson, our diplomatic editor joins me now. More information here on these individuals. I mean, he's saying they have
links to the Paris attacks. In what way?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You know, two of them, we've been told, were linked to the attack last year in Paris in November,
[15:35:00] One of them, Walid Hamman, was also tried in absentia in Belgium for his connection to a plot there that the police disrupted in a house in
Verviers in January last year, and some interesting details about what he had been doing in the meantime. His role in that was to actually be in
Athens, Greece and help get some of the operatives from Syria, help them on their sort of transport to get into Europe. He had also been in
communications with the chief plotter of the Paris attack as well.
So these are men that the U.S. Pentagon say that they wanted to go after because they were a potential danger to Europe and to the United States.
But their role was facilitating and helping those who were actually perpetrating the attacks.
GORANI: So at least one of them was in Europe and then travelled back?
ROBERTSON: Absolutely. And not only that, he had actually been taken for questioning on a couple of occasions by the police in Athens. They didn't
recognize who he was, his background, because he was travelling on false papers and therefore, he was released.
It raises all sorts of questions, the sort of questions that intelligence agencies clearly have put to rest now with this targeting, but he has been
in their crosshairs for a while.
GORANI: And some of these movements of people related to these attacks have always been quite fascinating and remarkable, the near misses, some of
the perpetrators questioned then released, et cetera, or are allowed to go on their way. Why has this airstrike happened now? Is there something in
particular that allowed the coalition to pinpoint certain locations according to what they're saying?
ROBERTSON: Yes, it's kind of interesting. They're saying that this was as a result of intelligence that was gathered through ISIS losing territories,
so clearly, they've gathered up something, computers, phones, papers, that's given them information to know who these men were or where, perhaps,
they were, perhaps what phones they were using without there. We do know it was one drone that took the men out while they were driving a vehicle in
the Raqqa area.
But what does that sort of information does is actionable intelligence. They get on it quickly as what the Pentagon was saying. They get on this
information quickly and then they can use that in an actionable sort of way, and they can put up the surveillance platforms that can loiter over
Raqqa for a while.
GORANI: And what --
ROBERTSON: That's what people do.
GORANI: What impact, though, I wonder, operational impact? I mean it seems like --
ROBERTSON: Well, what they're saying now, 12,000 to --
ROBERTSON: -- 15,000 ISIS foreign operatives inside Syria, they can't get any more in. That would imply that it's hard to get them out. What this
does is breakdown that network for future use.
GORANI: Yes. All right. Nic Robertson, our senior diplomatic editor. Thanks very much. And by the way, Nic, outside of Downing Street today,
we're seeing a solid area with Aleppo protest. And this is not just in London -- these are live images coming to us from Downing Street, just a
few blocks away from where we are -- but in other cities as well. Social media sites like Facebook, there have been events created there, people
have been invited, and we're seeing there individuals, one of them there with the revolution flag.
It doesn't look like the revolution, though, in Syria, has certainly suffered quite the defeat with Aleppo.
Thanks very much to Nic. Let's get back now to Donald Trump's controversial choice to lead the U.S. State Department. Rex Tillerson is
the CEO of ExxonMobil. He's done business with Russian President Vladimir Putin and their relationship is pretty cozy. Matthew Chance has our story
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He's so Kremlin friendly, the Russian President personally pinned the Friendship Medal on
Rex Tillerson's chest, in fact, one of Russia's highest civilian honors. The Exxon CEO has recently agreed one of the biggest ever oil and gas
exploration deals with the Russian state, worth nearly half a trillion dollars. It's certainly a figure within Kremlin appears happy to do
Even before Trump formally announced his choice for Secretary of State, Russian officials were heaping praise on the Texas oil man. President
Putin's spokesman told CNN, "He is very professional and has numerous contacts with our representatives." The head of the Russian Parliamentary
Foreign Affairs Committee, Aleksey Pushkov, went even further. "The selection of Tillerson is a sensation," he tweeted. "The choice confirms
the seriousness of Donald Trump."
It also gives us a sense of what a Trump-Tillerson policy towards Russia might look like. After Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, preventing a brutal
war in eastern Ukraine, Tillerson criticized as ineffective the economic sanctions imposed by Washington. Exxon says it could have lost up to a
billion dollars in profits because of them, and his concern as Secretary of State, Tillerson could advocate easing off. It's' that sympathy to Russia
which has many hardliners questioning Tillerson suitability.
[15:40:03] SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I have, obviously, concerns of reports of his relationship with Vladimir Putin who is a thug and a
CHANCE: But for others, including Donald Trump himself, high-level Kremlin connections make the Exxon chief an ideal pick. If a deal is to be done
with Russia, a Secretary of State Tillerson may be the man to pull it off.
Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.
GORANI: Let's dig a little deeper now on Tillerson's ties to Russia. I'm joined from Washington by Karoun Demirjian. She's "The Washington Post's"
national security reporter, and joins us now from Washington, from D.C. So let's talk a little bit, though, about the intelligence community's
conclusion, the CIA concluding that there was some Russian meddling in the form, perhaps, of hacking during the election campaign. And now, there is
a real split within the GOP emerging about what to do about it.
KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. Well, the CIA assessment that we reported on last week indicates that
Russia got involved with -- alleges that the Russian hacking was for the purpose of getting Trump into the White House. And so that has caused this
split between Republicans and Democrats who are otherwise on board with the idea that Russia was involved somehow.
But now, you've got Democrats saying, see, we told you something was up with this and Republicans are saying, wait a second, wait a second, wait a
second. That's not the whole story, it was, you know, just the CIA's assessment that said that. The FBI maybe doesn't think that too, and we
think we should have a much broader investigation, that, OK, we'll look at the Russian hacking of the election but in the context of much bigger
questions about Russia's involvement in hacking other institutions, also in terms of how would they do in Ukraine and Syria and things like that.
So it's created this political rift in the middle of this investigation that everybody wants to have, to some extent, about what Russia's
GORANI: But is it likely to go through, these calls for a bipartisan probe? I mean, are we, the public, likely to get more answers on this?
DEMIRJIAN: We are likely to see something next year. The question is, what is it going to look like and where is it going to take place? I mean,
you have some senior members of the Republican Party saying, OK, well, let's look at just this through the lens of the intel committees which,
granted, have been getting briefings on Russian hacking for a while now.
You have some Democrats that are calling for a completely independent commission, think like the 9/11 commission sort of thing, which is not even
lawmakers looking at it. It's independent experts that are appointed by congressional leaders that would be then required to release a public
report at the end of their 18-month investigation.
So there are a lot of different proposals out there about how to do this, and we do not know which one will win the day. And then when they decide
how they're going to do this, you know, how deep in they get, how many questions they answer. We already know many Senate committees committed to
doing an investigation, but we don't know what order it's going to happen in or exactly which questions each one will address yet. That's all
remains to be seen probably starting early next year.
GORANI: But, Karoun, also, there's a difference between the intelligence community saying, we believe Russia meddled, that there were cyberattacks,
the goal was to help Donald Trump get elected. There's a difference between saying that and saying that those actions actually helped alter the
outcome of the race.
DEMIRJIAN: Yes. Well, first of all, that seems that there's not total agreement within the intelligence community about whether Russia meddled to
just weaken the American electoral system and confidence in it or to specifically get Trump elected. Then there's the second point which you
were just making, yes, what is the hacking that we're talking about? Is it Russia actually going in and screwing with the way that the voting machines
in Detroit were calibrated? Maybe not. Right?
DEMIRJIAN: But can you quantify then if Russia's hacking was involved in getting the information from the Democratic National Committee or Podesta's
e-mails -- that's Clinton's campaign director -- the ones that were released through WikiLeaks, which the intelligence community seems to think
that Russia was behind? Can you quantify how that changed votes? And if you can't, can you ever answer this question about to what extent it
actually was successful in, maybe, getting helping Trump get elected, if that was the goal?
And so you're going to hear a lot of, I think questions about that but also probably some political flames thrown back and forth about those topics as
they're addressed in these investigations going forward.
GORANI: All right. We'll continue to follow your reporting. Thanks very much, Karoun Demirjian, for joining us from "The Washington Post" in
Washington, D.C. Thank you.
DEMIRJIAN: Thank you.
GORANI: This is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.
He spent more than a year travelling from Afghanistan with many months in the Calais Jungle. Now, for one refugee, there is a happy ending. We'll
have his full story next.
[15:46:17] GORANI: Welcome back. From flower farms to everyday living, there is geothermal energy that has really helped Africa. It's become the
lifeblood for many on that continent. A new power plant is set to begin operations in Kenya very soon. Eleni Giokos has more.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNNMONEY AFRICA CORRESPONDENT: At Oserian farm, every rose grows with a little help from the Earth's steam. Oserian is one of Kenya's
largest flower farms. The 200-hectare farm produces 700,000 flowers per day for export to Europe, Japan, and Australia. Almost all of the farm's
power comes from its own geothermal power plants.
ALASDAIR KEITH, ENGINEERING MANAGER, OSERIAN DEVELOPMENT COMPANY: This is the heating system. It's fairly straightforward. It's just, you know, a
hot water recirculation system coming from a big heat storage tank.
GIOKOS: Kenya's other main energy source, hydroelectricity, can vary during times of draughts and unstable power can be costly for business like
KEITH: Before we had the geothermal power plants, we had to have a lot of backup generators. We were using a lot of diesel when we had power cuts.
In terms of our electrical savings, you know, there's probably $750,000 a year in terms of our savings that we're making on power bills compared to
before we had geothermal.
GIOKOS: Geothermal energy is the source of the volcanic activity that formed Kenya's iconic Great Rift Valley, and it will soon be a bigger
source for Kenya's electricity.
VICTOR OTIENO, GEOLOGIST: We have a program to drill as many wells as we can.
GIOKOS: About an hour outside of Nairobi is the Olkaria field. This is home to Africa's largest geothermal operation. One thousand megawatts of
potential is estimated to exist at this site alone.
OTIENO: We are still actively looking for other wells. There are still areas within the geothermal which have not been fully explored.
GIOKOS: Each exploratory well costs at least $6 million to dig, a costly initial investment.
ALBERT MUGO, CEO, KENYA ELECTRICITY GENERATING COMPANY: The only thing with geothermal is it's very capital intensive because you have to drill
the wells to get the fuel, the steam, but once you connect the wells to the power plant, then you are OK. It's got a very small cost in terms of
GIOKOS: Over the past 15 years, thanks in large part to the growth of this site, KenGen's geothermal output has increased more than elevenfold.
Today, around half of the power used on the Kenyan grid comes from geothermal energy.
MUGO: We expect, in the next five or so years, to develop all that so that we can have the entire field covered. There are about 23 sites where
geothermal could be developed.
GIOKOS: Apparently, Olkaria field consists of four major plants and the fifth is in the works with help from a $480 million-loan from Japan. It
plans to be fully operational by 2018. So it's full steam ahead for geothermal in Kenya and the country is now poised to be a budding star in
Eleni Giokos, CNN.
GORANI: Coming up, he spent months trapped in limbo in the Calais' "Jungle." Now, one refugee's dream has finally come true. We'll have his
story after this.
[15:51:14] GORANI: This week's edition of "AROUND THE WORLD" finds us right here in London, Camden Town, in fact, just a few kilometers north of
our studio. It is one of the capital's most vibrant neighborhoods. In fact, it can get just a bit too vibrant sometimes. Actor Jim Sturgess
gives us a tour. Take a look.
JIM STURGESS, ACTOR: Welcome to Camden Town. We're outside Camden Lock, the Stables Market. And you know, this is really the kind of heart of the
cultural, you know, London scene, very much the place of a lot of British guitar music.
And right behind, as you can see, a place called Dingwalls, which is in the heart of the market there. And Dingwalls is really the focal point for a
lot of British punk music, you know, bands like Sex Pistols, Play Dead, The Clash. It's embedded in a lot of musical history.
Now, well, I'm fortunate enough that I got to travel around the world a lot with the work I do, but the one thing that I always look forward to coming
back to is having a pint in a north London pub and enjoying one of this amazing London scotches. Cheers.
Yes, there really is no better place to finish my sort of London than at the top of Primrose Hill. We can see the whole skyline of London and just
to have a moment and just take in this beautiful city.
GORANI: All right. Check out our Facebook page with our latest content. We'll have the very latest on what's happening in Aleppo, by the way,
Two months ago, we first met a teenager named Muhammad in the Calais migrant camp in France known as "The Jungle." Now, he was travelling alone
from Afghanistan and his big dream was to reach the United Kingdom to reunite with his family. As CNN's Melissa Bell reports, Muhammad's dream
has finally come true.
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Heathrow Airport, every 45 seconds, a plane lands or takes off from the world's third busiest airports. Tens
of thousands of hellos and goodbyes are said here every day. But for Assan Ahmadi (ph) and his nephew, Muhammad, today is no ordinary and there's no
ordinary hello. They haven't seen each other in almost a decade.
MUHAMMAD, REFUGEE: Finally, I'm so happy to come to U.K. and join my uncle.
ASSAN AHMADI (ph), MUHAMMAD'S UNCLE: And I am glad too.
BELL: CNN first met Muhammad in the "Jungle" in Calais just before it was dismantled in October. He showed us around the camp that had been his home
for months, but we couldn't show his face. He, like many thousands of unaccompanied minors, was living in limbo in Europe after leaving
Afghanistan armed with nothing but the dream of reaching his family in England. The walk had been long and lonely.
MUHAMMAD: I want to join to my uncle. I'm so tired here. I have -- I left more than one years ago, but I don't arrive to my uncle yet. I love
football. I want to play football and I want to rest in peace.
BELL: The British Home Office finally approved Muhammad's case and he can now have that peace, living with his uncle, Assan (ph), and his young
family in Yorkshire and going to school.
MUHAMMAD: If the there's -- the weather's cold, I am very warm and hot because I jumped my uncle. I don't feel any cold there now.
[15:55:07] BELL: Muhammad's future is certain to look very different from his past, but he says he will carry with him, wherever he goes, his long,
lonely time on the road and in the "Jungle."
Melissa Bell, CNN, London.
GORANI: All right. Let's bring you up to date on our breaking news this hour. Of course, the situation in Aleppo that we've been following all
hour with many developing strands. Russia says now that the Syrian government has established control over eastern Aleppo. Though we did
speak with an independent filmmaker on the ground in eastern Aleppo who said there are pockets that remain in rebel hands, although a deal is
expected to be implemented soon that would allow for the evacuation of some of them.
Now, the U.N. -- I should say the Russian Ambassador to the U.N. was the one who, at the Security Council, made the statement that eastern Aleppo is
now under regime control. And it comes after the U.N. described the situation on Aleppo as "a complete meltdown of humanity," quote/unquote.
The organization says it has heard reports that 82 civilians, including women and children, were shot on their homes or on the streets, Monday.
So it appears as though this military operations are over for the rebels in that part of eastern Aleppo. This is a major defeat for some in western
Aleppo, though, this is an opportunity to celebrate a city divided and a country still very much with a long fight ahead.
I'm Hala Gorani. This has been THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Thanks for watching. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.