Return to Transcripts main page
CONNECT THE WORLD
Greece's Future in the Eurozone in Question; Myanmar Detainees Activist Monk; Harry Redknapp Next England Manager?; More Deaths Across Syria as Violence Expands to Aleppo, Damascus; US Ambassador Calls Out Russia for Supporting Assad Regime; Expert Says Escalation to Aleppo or Damascus Could End Assad Regime; Argentina Files Formal Protest on Falklands in UN; Oil Cause of Rising Tensions in Falklands; Big Interview With BAFTA Rising Star Nominee Tom Hiddleston; Parting Shots: Prince Harry Supports Mount Everest Expedition
Aired February 10, 2012 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Tonight on CONNECT THE WORLD, anger on the streets of Athens. Police and protesters clash as trade unions begin a two day strike over severe budget cuts.
ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CONNECT THE WORLD.
FOSTER: The violence erupts and a senior minister quits. Tonight, we ask, should Greece be considering a Plan B?
Also ahead, Syrian bloodshed hits the maj -- the major city of Aleppo, as twin blasts rip through government buildings.
And galloping toward the Baxter Awards this weekend -- we speak to rising star, Tom Hiddleston.
Greece's future in the Eurozone remains very much in question tonight, despite the main party leaders reaching a bailout deal. The prime minister says whoever disagrees with it cannot stay in the government.
Six politicians did resign when European ministers demanded further cuts.
On the streets, about 13,000 protesters threw stones and riot police responded with stun grenades and tear gas outside the parliament building. Trade unions began a two day strike protesting the austerity measures the bailout requires. The so-called troika of the European Commission, the central bank and the International Monetary Fund are setting three conditions for the bailout.
Greece's parliament must approve the reforms this weekend, political leaders have to pledge they'll continue implementing the measures after elections this April and Greece must find another $430 million in structure expenditure cuts for 2012.
It all comes to a head in parliament on Sunday, when lawmakers are set to vote on the deal.
Our senior international correspondent, Matthew Chance, is in Athens tonight and he joins us now live -- Matthew.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Max, thank you very much.
Thanks very much.
It is another pivotal moment in Greece's relationship with the European Union, because at the weekend, the parliament, just here behind me, will have to decide on whether to accept these new austerity measures that are being imposed upon it, essentially, by that troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, in order for it to receive the next tranche of its bailout fund to enable the country to pay public sector wages and to continue to function inside the Eurozone.
We saw earlier today thousands of people, as you mentioned, on the streets of Central Athens, essentially voicing their anger. Many Greeks are angry at the fact that they've endured two years of these very deep austerity measures so far, but the recession just seems to get deeper and deeper and deeper.
Within the past few days, there have been new unemployment figures that have been released here in Greece -- 20.1 percent is the national figure. That doesn't tell the whole story, because if you look at figure between -- in the age group of 16 to 24, that goes up to a huge 48 percent.
And those are the people on those streets in Athens. This is a 48 hour strike in force here, protesting against further austerity cups -- cuts.
On the other hand, Lucas Papademos, who is the prime minister of the country, he said very clearly that a default for this country, less austerity measures, is not an option.
Take a listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUCAS PAPADEMOS, GREEK PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The priority is whatever is necessary to approve the new economic program and credit agreement. Any other development would be destructive. It's logical that whoever disagrees and doesn't go with the new program cannot stay within the government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHANCE: Lucas Papademos there, the Greek prime minister, making the point that anybody who did not approve of this bailout package in government has no place in government.
We've already seen the resignation of four senior figures in the coalition. A number of others have also resigned, as well. Also, one of the coalition partners in the Greek parliament has withdrawn its support, as well.
But the expectation, Max, is still very much that these measures, despite the difficult position the government is in, will somehow be pushed through.
FOSTER: Matthew, thank you very much, indeed.
We'll wait to see what happens.
Let's take a closer look at some of the key austerity measures Greek leaders have agreed to spending cuts this year adding up to more than $4 billion. All of the country's civil servants will see their salaries cut, around 20 percent on average. That's on the part of another 20 percent pay cut last year.
Thirty thousand public sector workers will be put on unpaid leave. And after a year, they're likely to lose their jobs. Month pensions for civil servants are also being cut, anywhere from 15 to 40 percent.
And there are a number of tax hikes, including a solidarity tax of 1 to 5 percent of gross income. Greeks will have to pay the tax twice next year.
How is all this affecting everyday Greeks, then?
Well, we spoke with a schoolteacher. Angela Konidari has seen her income cut by 30 percent. Out of the 1,000 or so dollars she earned each month, around $400 of it goes to rent. And while she's got a job, she talked about her students, who aren't so lucky.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA KONIDARI, GREEK TEACHER: Well, you know, that's the worst thing.
What can you tell the children now, when you -- when they see me, who has studied for at least six years and $800 a month?
I don't know whether I'm sure I could tell them, in order to make them happy and find a job and have hopes for the future. They don't anymore.
FOSTER: Are they having to make cutbacks?
KONIDARI: They cut back on everything. As far as the foreign languages, all those (INAUDIBLE) they used to take, they don't spend so much at school. I'm telling you, you can see children fainting at school because they haven't eaten.
FOSTER: When you see the demonstrations in Athens, a lot of people would --
KONIDARI: So I'm -- yes?
FOSTER: -- a lot of people would say that they're -- they've got extreme views.
But do you think people general, in At -- in Greece, look at what politicians and what European politicians are doing and just don't understand it, can't take it anymore?
KONIDARI: I'm sure they can't take it anymore. But they are numb. I think that they're -- like they're numb, like they don't know what to do. but, of course they can't take it. No -- about the pensions. These people have worked all their lives and now they don't have enough money.
No one can understand the situation anymore. I don't know if this -- I don't think (INAUDIBLE) can understand what's going on.
I personally think they don't have a clue.
FOSTER: But do you understand that if Greece doesn't continue making cutbacks on pensions, which is affecting people like you in the future, that the alternative is bankruptcy and potential economic chaos, as opposed to just hardship?
KONIDARI: Yes, but you see, that's the -- the constant chat that we've been churning out into cutback to everything. We don't have anything to eat anymore. We keep paying bills and taxes. And I don't see anything like any efforts to help the country develop, see, because if -- if there were any measurements taken for as matters of development is concerned, I would say OK.
But the only thing that happens is us paying.
And in what interests?
(END VIDEO TAPE)
FOSTER: The view of a Greek schoolteacher.
Well, experts are also questioning whether this package is going to do what it needs to get done.
PIMCO CEO Mohamed El-Erian spoke to CNN a little earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN, CEO, PIMCO: The problem is the (INAUDIBLE) itself will not lead to what you need. And what you need is growth, medium-term debt sustainability and attracting new capital into investments. And that's not going to result from what is being discussed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Well, among the suggestions for resolving the crisis is to have Greece make an orderly exit from the Eurozone.
Oliver Kamm is a columnist for "The Times of London" and joins us now with this thoughts on how it could all be done.
I mean do you -- a lot more people are talking about Greece coming out. But they're concerned about how it would work.
What -- how do you see it working?
OLIVER KAMM, "THE TIMES OF LONDON": If Greece simply unilaterally left the euro, it would be the prelude to a collapse of the Greek banking system, the Greek economy and much of the banking system of Europe, because long before that happened, depositors with assets in Greece would move them out of the country and put them elsewhere in the Eurozone or in London or in Switzerland.
So there has to be a peg under the currency that a Greek government would introduce or reintroduce.
FOSTER: In layman's terms, you're talking about bringing the drachma back, but you've got to protect the value somehow.
KAMM: Yes, that's right. The important point, if Greece is going to reintroduce the drachma or introduce a new -- a new drachma, is to put a floor under it. And the way that I've proposed, on behalf of my newspaper, is that it establishes what's known as a currency board, which is pegging the -- the value of the currency to the price of another currency.
FOSTER: The euro?
KAMM: The euro and the twist in our proposal is to peg it to two reserve currencies, the euro and the dollar. It's a somewhat complicate -- complicated mechanism, but the effect would be that the -- the new drachma would be pegged to whichever is the relatively depreciated currency at any one time.
FOSTER: So what you're saying is a new currency is going to come into effect. It won't be the euro, so the euro can carry on its own way, because it's been weakened by the Greece, I presume. And that can't fall too far down.
But how do you convince spectators, investors, that it's not going to keep going down?
KAMM: The purpose of a currency board is that the central bank would have only one task, and that is to convert, at a fixed price, the domestic currency for foreign currency reserves. It can't create money except insofar as it -- it's backed by foreign exchange reserves.
FOSTER: You can buy drachmas with dollars?
KAMM: Exactly so. Or euros. The key is to convince international spectators that that peg won't be abandoned. And that's the -- that's the big test --
FOSTER: Because otherwise, they're going to drive it down.
KAMM: Exactly. So they're going to short it. They're going to short it, as happened with the Hong Kong dollar pegged to the U.S. dollar in the late 1990s. The key is to convince international spectators that that peg won't be abandoned. And the only way, I think, that that can be done is if the monetary authorities in Greece insinuate -- they can't say it explicitly -- but insinuate that if the currency comes under speculative attack, then they'll simply --
FOSTER: Buy it up.
KAMM: -- adopt the euro de facto without being part of the Eurozone.
FOSTER: Greece doesn't have the money to do this.
FOSTER: So how are they going to buy up the currency when it's required?
KAMM: It's going to be crucial that it has the foreign exchange reserves to back it from the outset. And the way to do that -- the only way to do that is if Eurozone governments, other Eurozone governments and the international lending institutions, particularly the IMF, pledge to support it.
Now why would --
FOSTER: Lender of last resort?
KAMM: Exactly so.
FOSTER: So they're still bailing it out, Greece?
KAMM: Yes, they are. But in -- in -- in this respect, it -- it's different. They are bailing out Greece, but allowing Greece the conditions by which it has a breathing space to make the necessary structural reforms. There's no costless options here.
FOSTER: And, quickly, are you fixing the market?
Are you going against free economics?
Because a lot of economists would argue that you are.
KAMM: No, not at all. There's nothing in pre-market economics that says the currency needs to be floating. It can be fixed. It can be pegged.
FOSTER: OK. Thank you so much for joining us, Oliver Kamm of "The Times".
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London.
Still to come, powerful car bombs rock Aleppo, Syria's most popular city, that had been spared much of the violence.
Then, some accuse Myanmar of taking two steps forward and one step back. More ahead on the activist monk who has been detained again.
And Prince Harry working up a bit of a sweat -- find out what the young royal has been up to, as CONNECT THE WORLD continues.
FOSTER: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN, the world's news leader.
Welcome back to you.
The Syrian government says today's car bombings in Aleppo prove its point, that armed terrorists are responsible for the violent uprising. They say at least 28 people were killed in attacks that targeted security compounds.
Opposition activists say the regime itself carried out the bombings to divert attention from its crackdown in places like Homs.
Activists say Homs is surrounded by tanks, enduring a sixth straight day of shelling and mortar attacks. A resident we're calling "Danny" has been risking his life to film the consequences.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
"DANNY": This is Harabaner (ph) Street in Baba Amr. They just hit us with -- with mortar bombs and tank shells and rockets. You can see the damage up there in the -- in the buildings and also building houses. You can see it on the grounds. You can see how the rockets have damaged here.
There's more than seven people dead just in this street, women, children, men. You can see the whole street. The bodies are in there. There's bodies in that houses, pieces of bodies in that house. This is a civilian house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: We'll have much more in a live report on Syria in around 15 minutes from now.
Now for a look at some other stories connecting our world tonight tonight.
The ousted president of the Maldives calling for fresh elections, a demand the new government calls ridiculous. Mohammed Nasheed says he was deposed in a coup earlier this week by police and army officers. He says hundreds of his party members have been arrested since then, some of them beaten. Nasheed is threatening street protests unless the crackdown stops. His political opponents insist he stepped down voluntarily.
Europe's busiest waterway, the Danube River, is at a near standstill, with at least four countries halting shipping along the ice-choked river. It is the worst freeze seen on the river for 25 years.
Meanwhile, the only ice breaker in Paris has been pressed into service for the first time in years. Officials want to keep the city's canals open during Europe's ongoing cold snap.
Western nations have praised Myanmar for its recent reforms. Pro- democracy activist, Aung San Suu Kyi, is now campaigning for April's election and hundreds of political prisoners have been pardoned. But the government may be taking a step back. Authorities have detained an activist monk who just -- well, just weeks after his release.
CNN's Paula Hancocks reports now from Yangon.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These gates have not been legally opened for four-and-a-half years, ordered closed after an uprising led by monks. State officials in Yangon allow monks recently released from prison back into their monastery, a sign, they say, of improved relations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am very, very happy.
HANCOCKS (on camera): However, it is a bittersweet day for these monks. Even if they are allowed back into their monastery, one of their members has been re-arrested by authorities and they haven't been told why.
(voice-over): Ashin Gambira is well known around the world, as he led activist monks in the 2007 Saffron Revolution against the military junta. He was jailed for four years before being released last month, along with other political prisoners -- a move by the new, nominally civilian government, toward reforms.
After his release, Gambira broke the lock on his monastery so he could move back in.
I asked the official who opened the gate why he was detained again.
He tells me, "I don't know about that yet. Maybe ask someone from a different department."
Ashin Gambira was staying in a neighboring monastery when he was taken. This monk was with him. He says about 10 plainclothes policemen came here in the middle of the night and asked to talk to him.
The monks say damage was done when authorities closed the monastery in 2007, but believe relations are improving with them, although, with Ashin Gambira's \detention, it is a sense of two steps forward, one step back.
Paula Hancocks, CNN, Yangon.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
FOSTER: The Mexican Army reports a huge drug bust in the western part of the country. Troops raided a secret laboratory on a farm in Jalisco State and they seized more than 15 tons of methamphetamines on Tuesday. It is the seventh drug seizure in the region this year.
Well, up next on CONNECT THE WORLD, Harry Redknapp speaks about his chances of becoming England's next football manager.
FOSTER: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London.
I'm Max Foster.
Now, speculation has been ripe that Harry Redknapp will become the next permanent England manager, after Fabio Capello's resignation earlier this week. The Englishman is currently in charge of Tottenham, who sit third in the Barclays Premier League.
Redknapp spoke about the possibility of taking charge of England during a news conference on Friday -- Pedro, did he tell the British nation what they wanted to hear?
PEDRO PINTO, CNN "WORLD SPORT" ANCHOR: Yes and no. He did say that he's interested. We expected him to -- to say that. This is a manager who's 64 years old and he's said before this is the pinnacle of any Englishman, is to lead the national team.
FOSTER: But he's got a job.
PINTO: But he's got a job. And he said -- known we can hear that now -- he said, look, these two jobs, if I were to do them at the same time, it's practically impossible. Let's -- let's check out what -- what Harry had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRY REDKNAPP, MANAGER, TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR: You see, I'm now managing a league club. I'm managing new countries, two -- two very difficult jobs, aren't they?
And I think you've got to focus, really, on -- your focus will have to be one job. I think, you know, you can't be the guy now thinking more who's playing well in this situation and, you know, my focus, really -- I can't take my eye off the ball at Tottenham at the moment, because we're looking to get Champions League football. We're still in the FA Cup. And I owe it to them to continue to complete -- completely focus on the job I'm doing here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you agree with the FA's decision to suspected him?
REDKNAPP: A difficult one. You're going to get me out of the job before I get in it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINTO: Harry Redknapp always has fun with the journalists here in England.
What about Fabio Capello?
Well, he's left London. He's flown to Switzerland. And he was tracked down by an Italian journalist, who got a chance to ask him about the reasons why he decided to leave the post of national manager of the English national side. He said he really couldn't talk about it. He signed a confidentiality agreement with the FA.
He did, though, say that in his opinion, it was down to a misunderstanding.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FABIO CAPELLO, FORMER ENGLISH MANAGER (through translator): I've got to tell you one thing, I left because there was a misunderstanding. But I also have to tell you another thing, I can't talk about it. I was very happy there. I was treated very well by the Football federation and by everyone. But there are times when you have to make a decision. I decided to leave the team and that's it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINTO: And now, Max, we'll have to wait and see who follows in his footsteps.
Two interesting quick things that I have to tell you.
The first is Fabio Capello leaves with the best winning percentage of all time of an England manager, 67 percent.
The second is most people here want an Englishman. But right now, in the Premier League, there's only three English managers out of the 20 clubs.
FOSTER: And under an employment law --
PINTO: And it's not Harry.
FOSTER: -- it's illegal to say you only want to come -- you know, you have to open up to everyone.
PINTO: Yes. And -- and the FA did say that. But the public and the -- the commentators here in the U.K. won't (INAUDIBLE) --
FOSTER: Why -- why was he holding a tape, you know, a statue monument at the time?
PINTO: I could tell you the story. It will take a while --
FOSTER: No, that's alright.
PINTO: He --
FOSTER: There is a reason, though, isn't there?
PINTO: Yes, he is -- that Italian comedian who works for -- for an Italian station, presented him with a prize, a satirical prize --
PINTO: -- that -- that they give out to -- to Italian (INAUDIBLE) --
FOSTER: Well, he got something out of it then.
FOSTER: Thank you very -- oh, no.
FOSTER: We're talking about motorcycling, aren't we?
PINTO: We are. It looks good.
FOSTER: An extreme motorcyclist.
PINTO: Let's do it. Let's do it.
We've got some --
FOSTER: Show us.
PINTO: -- spectacular pictures from Colorado in the United States.
PINTO: This is a guy called Chris McMahon, who --
FOSTER: Mad man.
PINTO: Well, you can govern that right now, if you want. He -- he is pretty crazy. He normally does this on the edge, on the ridge of mountains when there's no snow around.
PINTO: But he decided to up the level of difficulty, I would say, Max, by --
FOSTER: I would say.
PINTO: -- by doing it in -- in the -- in the rough conditions. And he had to add a sheet of -- of nails onto his tires to have some grip. That's just crazy. Though. I mean, I guess --
FOSTER: In the markets you feel quite dizzy.
PINTO: Yes. Some people just need to go that extra mile.
FOSTER: They do.
PINTO: You know, don't try that at home.
FOSTER: A bit of advice from Pedro before we go.
More -- more on "WORLD SPORT," I presume?
PINTO: Yes, and --
PINTO: -- news of an upset in the Davis Cup.
PINTO: Huge. We'll have that.
FOSTER: We'll find out.
Thank you very much -- in an hour.
Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, though, Argentina's foreign minister blasts the U.K. for building what it calls the biggest military power in the South Atlantic, as the war of words over the Falklands gets nastier. We'll go live to the United Nations later in the show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God, I can't. We can't ask him after that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Find out what got this rising star flustered, as Becky chats with "Warhorse" actor Tom Hiddleston. It wasn't Becky.
And royal support -- Prince Harry joins a group of injured servicemen. The British servicemen are planning to take on a huge challenge.
Stay with CNN.
FOSTER: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN. Time now for a look at the world headlines.
A Syrian opposition group says at least 52 people were killed across the country today, including 5 children. They say the army is shelling civilian areas in Homs for the sixth straight day.
Turmoil in Greece as thousands of demonstrators clash with riot police. Labor unions are staging a two-day strike in protest of a new ballot -- bailout plan requiring more austerity measures. Six cabinet ministers have resigned over the deal. Parliament is set to vote on it on Sunday.
The war with Britain ended 30 years ago, but now Argentina is taking the dispute over the Falkland Islands to the United Nations. Foreign minister Hector Timerman has lodged a formal protest at the United Nations, claiming Britain is building the biggest military in the South Atlantic.
An icebreaker clears canals in central Paris as one of the coldest winters to Europe in decades refuses to let up. The icy weather has claimed hundreds of lives across the continent. Several countries are bracing for heavy snow this weekend.
A dramatic development in Syria as the country's commercial hub suffers its first major attack since the uprising began. Two powerful car bombs targeted security compounds in Aleppo, today. The government says at least 28 people were killed, including children, and hundreds of others wounded.
It blames armed terrorist gangs, but opposition activists say the regime staged the attacks to distract from its deadly crackdown elsewhere.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: This amateur footage is said to capture the sounds of a firefight in the Damascus suburbs. Activists say 15 civilians were killed around the capital on Friday, part of a death toll that reached 52 across the country.
The epicenter of the crackdown remains Homs, Syria's third-largest city. Activists say they fear some residents will soon die of starvation, trapped by days of shelling, mortar, and rocket attacks. A resident we're calling "Danny" wants the world to see what he says are crimes against humanity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
"DANNY," HOMS RESIDENT: This is one of the houses at Baba Amr. Look at these children. Is this how the Assad regime is supposed to treat our children?
Now, see why the Assad regime is killing children. What is the UN going to do about this? What is the UN going to do about this? Nothing. They're going to sit and discuss and see -- they want to deal with this peacefully, they want to solve it peacefully with this murderer, after what he did to these children.
They've been hitting us from 6:00 AM until it's 2:00 PM, now.
DANNY: We have over a hundred bodies, over 200 underneath the destruction. We don't even know who they are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Well, also today, tens of thousands of Syrians turned out across the country to protest Russia's support for the regime. CNN's Ivan Watson is following all these developments tonight from Istanbul for us. Ivan?
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And we do have to point out that suicide car bombings -- that's what the Syrian government is saying were the cause of these twin blasts in the city of Aleppo, which has been spared the violence that is literally tearing apart other cities and towns across Syria right now.
Now, as for the protests that are taking place on Friday, the theme of the protests was "Russia is killing our children." Why are Syrian opposition activists blaming Russia for the death of their children?
Well, many of them accuse Russia of providing the Syrian regime with the diplomatic cover to intensify its attacks on Syrian civilians since Russia and China vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution last weekend that would have put more pressure on the Syrian regime.
And let's take a look at this satellite image that the US State Department has released in conjunction with a statement from the US ambassador to Damascus, Robert Ford, who was forced to shutter the doors of the US embassy earlier this week.
It purportedly shows damage caused by the week-long siege of Homs by the Syrian military, which has been raining rockets and mortars and tank shells into what was a neighborhood and a city with about a million inhabitants. Also pointing out columns of armored personnel carriers and tanks in the heart of that city.
Robert Ford going on to make a statement that had pointed criticism, really, against Russia saying, quote, "It's odd to me that anyone would try to equate the actions of the Syrian army and armed opposition groups, since the Syrian government consistently initiates the attacks on civilian areas and it's using its heaviest weapons."
I need to point out, also, that the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights has repeatedly accused the Syrian regime of committing crimes against humanity. Max?
FOSTER: Ivan, thank you very much, indeed.
US Ambassador Robert Ford talked to CNN's Wolf Blitzer a short time ago about those satellite photos posted on his Facebook page. He says they leave no doubt who is the aggressor in Homs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT FORD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SYRIA: I find it completely disingenuous for defenders of the Bashar al-Assad regime to say that they are -- well, they're saying that the armed opposition is shelling Homs.
I mean, we know who's shelling Homs, and it is not the armed opposition groups. It's the government. And that's why I wanted that picture put on our Facebook account, so that people could see, there is the artillery, and that's what's firing at Homs right now.
The armed opposition has rifles, it has machine guns, it even has a few rocket-propelled grenades. But it doesn't have artillery. Only one side in this has artillery, the kind of artillery that we're looking at the films and that are bringing down whole apartment buildings on people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER: Well, some analysts, including our next guest, have said that if the uprising every truly catches on in Aleppo and Damascus, that could be the end of the Assad regime.
We're joined now by Fawaz Gerges. He is here to discuss the significance of the major violence in Aleppo today, but also what's been happening this week. He's director of the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics. And thank you for joining us, Fawaz, as ever.
FAWAZ GERGES, DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST CENTRE, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: A pleasure.
FOSTER: But you think we've reached a turning point, right?
GERGES: Well, absolutely. Violence is escalating, it's spreading to many parts of Syria. We are seeing, Max, the gradual militarization of the uprising. More and more Syrians are taking arms into their own hands. We're seeing more defections.
Really, this is now -- we are -- Syria has reached a critical juncture. And the juncture is, basically, prolonged conflict. This is both sides, basically, going for broke.
FOSTER: So, the uprising has gained in momentum, and it's picking up steam, and it's engulfing wider areas?
GERGES: Actually, the way I look at it, if the uprising -- if the peaceful uprising is militarize,d this would be not only disastrous for Syria, but even for the opposition.
FOSTER: How do they fight, then?
GERGES: Because this could tell you, this would see up Syria all-out civil war. This is really what -- and that's why the international community has been warning the opposition, the opposition outside Syria, keep the uprising peaceful. Don't play into the Assad hands regime.
FOSTER: But they're going to be wiped out, aren't they, at the current rate if they don't respond with force in some way?
GERGES: The question is, really, does it have enough force to challenge the security apparatus of the Assad regime? And what will happen to the various communities?
Max, what we have seen in the last few months is that more and more Syrians are falling back on their provincial loyalties, sectarian loyalties, ideological loyalties.
The country is deeply divided. And the militarization of the uprising, basically, will allow the Assad regime to say, well, look. The country is deeply polarized and this is basically armed gangs trying to destroy the country itself. It will play into the narrative that has been advanced by the Syrian government.
FOSTER: I understand that, but when you have the guy, "Danny," with his kids on the sofa -- not his kids, but that group of kids -- and he's calling for help from the UN, he feels deserted. They're just under relentless attack.
And his feeling is, they're all just going to die if they stay there. They've got nowhere to go, have they, in Homs?
FOSTER: So, people there don't see that as a realistic option, is what I'm saying.
GERGES: Absolutely. And you're absolutely correct. We really have seen the uprising unfold before our eyes. And it's not just about defections from the army. More and Syrians are arming themselves.
In fact, the brutal violence used by the Syrian government has really motivated many Syrians to take arms, and now --
FOSTER: So, you're saying that's the wrong move.
GERGES: Well, unfortunately -- because remember, the whole idea was about the peaceful uprising. The whole idea that this was a peaceful from the bottom up movement. And basically, now the country is deeply divided.
FOSTER: But as soon as they go into the street, they got shot.
FOSTER: They can't -- how do they demonstrate?
GERGES: And the big question -- the big question really is on the table is that is there a light at the end of the tunnel?
What will happen in Syria in the next few months and next, actually, year or so? The reality is, the country is deeply polarized. The reality is that, regardless of what we think of this particular authoritarian regime, it still has a critical base of support.
Millions of Syrians -- millions of Syrians -- still support the Assad regime. Millions of Syrians are still sitting on the fence outside. They have not -- that's why we're saying that Aleppo and Damascus, the two cities, have not joined the uprising.
The big question on the table, really -- and the Americans and the Europeans believe so, they believe that change will come from within. As long as the social balance of forces is not on the opposition's side, there will be no change.
The Americans believe that only when change comes from within, when the major urban centers, when the middle class, when the bourgeoisie join the uprising, that really would be the end of the Assad regime.
All I'm suggesting -- I'm not saying that the Syrians who are caring arms don't really have the right to carry arms. All I'm suggesting --
FOSTER: You don't think it's a great move.
GERGES: Because this is the militarization of the Syrian crisis will basically mean Syria will plunge into all-out civil war, and then, we're not talking about an uprising, we're talking about a bloody, prolonged civil war that might last for years as opposed to a few months or a year.
FOSTER: Fawaz Gerges, thank you very much, as ever.
GERGES: It's a pleasure.
FOSTER: UN Security -- Secretary-General urges Argentina and Britain to resolve their differences over the Falkland Islands peacefully. We'll tell you why Argentina's foreign minister just lodged a formal protest at the UN, next.
FOSTER: Argentina is drawing a line in the sand on the Falkland Islands, filing a formal protest on Friday at the United Nations. Argentinian foreign minister Hector Timerman claims Britain is building what he calls the "biggest military power in the South Atlantic."
Let's get straight to Adriana Hauser, now. She is at the United Nations, where Argentina filed that protest not long ago. So, how significant is this move? What does it mean?
ADRIANA HAUSER, CNN ESPANOL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was a very busy day for Hector Timerman in the sense that he came to the UN to file this official or formal protest against Great Britain for what it calls a "disproportionate militarization" of the area around the Falkland Islands, or Malvinas, how Argentina calls them.
Basically, it's a lot of diplomatic negotiations going on. It's a way for Argentina to raise attention, to bring attention back to this topic.
It is very unlikely that this will end at the Security Council because, as we all know, Great Britain is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, and whatever draft or solution ends up on that table is most likely going to be vetoed by Great Britain.
So, this is a way of Argentina to raise this topic again. On April 2nd is the 30th anniversary of the conflict, 1982, and it's a way also to bring back attention to a conflict.
Now, during the press conference Hector Timerman had today, he showed with graphics and maps a lot of the heavy and increasing military presence that Great Britain is having in the area.
It compared, for example, a warship to the ones that are used in the Persian Gulf. It also said that some of the planes that are in -- overflying the area are comparable to the ones Great Britain used to fight in Libya, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and wondered why is this going on in the area? And that was part of how he expressed his concerns.
The ambassador for Great Britain, Mark Lyall, called all these claims absurd.
FOSTER: OK, Adriana, thank you very much, indeed, for that.
So, with tensions rising, again, decades after the Falklands War, Senior International Correspondent Dan Rivers shows us why there's more at stake than before.
DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The waters that have so isolated these islands and their wildlife are now about to change life here forever. Environmentalists might be fretting about the threat to these pristine beaches, but 225 kilometers away, it's drill, baby, drill.
This is the Ocean Guardian, hired to a British oil exploration firm, Rockhopper, which has hit black gold in an area of ocean called the Falklands Northern Basin, to the fury of the Argentines, who claim the oil and the islands are theirs.
STEPHEN LUXTON, DIRECTOR OF MINERAL RESOURCES: There -- have the North Falkland Basin here, which is the focus --
RIVERS: Stephen Luxton is the director of mineral resources and shows me other drilling sites to the north and south. The oil rush is only just beginning.
LUXTON: I think it will change things. It's how you manage that change and how you control it. The current development model is to keep as much of the engineering work as possible offshore.
RIVERS: In some places, it feels like the celebrations have already begin. The Globe Pub is a lively local nightspot which is only set to get busier with oil workers.
But elsewhere, this sleepy capital of 3,000 people seems only just to be waking up to the fact that business is about to boom.
In one of the two supermarkets here, shoppers browse the expensive imported fruit. Soon, they might be less worried about the prices. The Falkland government will get 9 percent of oil revenue generating tens of millions of Falkland Island pounds, potentially transforming life here.
ANDREZ SHORT, FARMER: If I look back to when I grew up here, it is totally, totally different now to what it ever was then. So, it will change. How it will change, I don't know, but it will change.
RIVERS: Over a very British cuppa at government house, the governor of the islands rejects Argentine claims the oil is theirs.
NIGEL HAYWOOD, GOVERNOR, FALKLAND ISLANDS: It's another Argentine myth that they peddle that Britain is after their oil. It's not Britain. It's the Falkland Islands' resource.
RIVERS (on camera): Most islanders of this windswept place want to spend the first chunk of oil money on improving the terrible roads, most of which are only made of gravel. The reality is, they could probably pave them with gold, such is the amount of money that's going to come into the coffers. They're talking about setting up a sovereign well fund to preserve it for future generations.
RIVERS (voice-over): The Falklands might be remote, but they are about to get very rich, and Argentina is furious that they won't get a cent. The dispute is set to get even more intense.
Dan Rivers, CNN, on the Falkland Islands.
FOSTER: Well, when we come back, from treading the boards to jumping into the saddle, tonight's Big Interview with "War Horse" star and BAFTA nominee Tom Hiddleston, up next.
FOSTER: Well, that time of year when the stars come out to collect their gongs. The Oscars is just weeks away, now, but before that, it's the turn of the BAFTAs, which take place in London this Sunday.
In tonight's Big Interview, Becky speaks with an actor shortlisted for one of the most coveted film awards. Coveted because the winner is decided by the public.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Faces that may be slightly unfamiliar now, but keep watching. They're among the young actors shortlisted for the BAFTA Rising Star award and favored to join Hollywood's A-list.
Arguably, British nominee Tom Hiddleston is already well on his way. The Eaton graduate has made five films in the past 12 months alone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, "WAR HORSE": At war! We are at war!
TOM HIDDLESTON AS CAPTAIN NICHOLLS, "WAR HORSE": I promise you that I'll look after him and, if I can, I'll return him to your care.
ANDERSON: The Spielberg epic "War Horse" among them.
ANDERSON (on camera): I've read that Steven Spielberg has likened you to Errol Flynn. How did that go down with you?
TOM HIDDLESTON, BRITISH ACTOR: Well, Errol Flynn's famous for a number of things, shall we say? But I think he was referring to -- I don't know what he was referring to. I think he was referring to the guy in "The Charge of the Light Brigade" as opposed to the man who was famous for womanizing. I hope.
HIDDLESTON: He was very complimentary about my horse riding and -- horse riding is one thing, but horse riding on film is quite another, because you have to be so dextrous with it.
ANDERSON: You shot all those scenes yourself.
HIDDLESTON: I absolutely did.
HIDDLESTON: Yes. There was -- I had a stunt double, but I never used him. Steven's big thing, when he asked me -- when he gave me the job, he said, "I want you to do this, Tom. I want it to be you, because audiences are so smart now, they can tell when directors cut to a wide and it's a stunt man."
And the film is about the connection of human beings to this extraordinary horse, Joey. And if you're playing the cavalry officer who rides him into battle, then my professional obligation is to do just that.
ANDERSON (voice-over): The first scene that Hiddleston filmed for the movie put that obligation to the test.
HIDDLESTON: Steven calls "Action," and I'm charging at 40 miles an hour at full tilt with the thunder of the hooves in my ears, the sound of 120 stunt men crying hell fury, tears streaming down my face.
If I'd fallen off at that point, it would have been incredibly dangerous. If anyone had fallen off. If the horse had fallen. The only thing that was -- that wasn't real were the bullets in those machine guns.
ANDERSON: Just as "War Horse" was adapted from London stage play, so, too, Hiddleston's first audience was in the theater.
HIDDLESTON AS NICHOLLS: The law is very clear about the proper age for soldiering.
ANDERSON: His popularity has since soared, and the turning point was last year, when he became a villain, Hiddleston winning the role of Loki in the Kenneth Branagh-directed film "Thor."
ANDERSON (on camera): How did you go from treading the boards in Shakespearean roles to playing a villain in a blockbuster?
HIDDLESTON: I don't quite know. And I have to take my hat off to Kenneth Branagh, here, because I knew him. We'd worked together in the theater. And so Ken thought, well, come in and audition for "Thor." And so, I auditioned for the roll of Thor initially, and all the producers watched the tape and said, "This is for Loki, right? This is -- this is for our bad guy."
But the wonderful thing about Loki is he's not all -- he's not all bad. He's not an out-and-out villain. He's a deeply complex, vulnerable, and damaged, abused -- lost soul.
I don't think anybody is completely heroic, I don't think anybody is completely bad. I think there's space for redemption in bad guys, and there's space for flaws in heroes.
ANDERSON: Some quick-fire questions for you. Which role do you relate to more? Villain or hero?
HIDDLESTON: Hero villains and villainous heroes.
ANDERSON: What super power do you wish you had?
HIDDLESTON: Piano playing.
ANDERSON: Which super power of Loki's do you wish you had?
HIDDLESTON: Self duplication.
ANDERSON: If you had to choose, would it be theater or film?
HIDDLESTON: God, that's hard. You can't ask an actor that. Oh -- Both. I can't answer that question.
ANDERSON: Best advice you've ever been given.
HIDDLESTON: Oh, gosh. So many, so many. I'm going to do two. Kenneth Branagh says, "Less doing, more being." And Terrance Davis said, "The camera captures the truth, but it also captures falsity, so if you don't feel it, don't do it."
ANDERSON: If you hadn't been an actor, you'd have been -- ?
HIDDLESTON: A teacher. Or a cowboy.
ANDERSON: Do you see yourself living in Hollywood?
HIDDLESTON: I don't know if I will ever live there. I've -- lots of people have said, "Don't" and "Do" either way. Anthony Hopkins was the first to say, "Oh, get over here, you'll have a great time. I've never looked back. My life is -- " You know, he said, "The day I got my American passport was the best day of my life."
But then, Kenneth Branagh said, "Always keep one foot at home because you don't want to get lost."
FOSTER: In tonight's Parting Shots, praise from a prince. At the start of a week which saw him qualify as a military helicopter pilot, Prince Harry today turns his attentions to those wounded in the heat of battle.
Harry said he was proud to be patron of an expedition which is attempting to send five Indian veterans to the top of Mount Everest. He join one of the volunteers inside this special chamber used to help the climbers cope with extreme altitudes. And did all right.
I'm Max Foster, and that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for watching. The world headlines and "BACKSTORY" are up next after this short break.