Return to Transcripts main page


Iran Tensions Increase; Fighting in Syria; Euro Group Inches Towards Decision on Greece

Aired February 20, 2012 - 16:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Tonight on CONNECT THE WORLD, taking no chances, Iran's streets carry out military drills as the U.S. warns Israel now is not the time to strike.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN London, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: Tonight, while some in the country might have the will, does Israel have the capability to attack it arch enemy? Also tonight, is this the end of democracy in the country that created? (INAUDIBLE) due to hang in the balance in Brussels. And the rumble outside the ring how two boxers face losing much more than just their tempers.

First up tonight, talking peace while preparing for possible war. We begin with new developments involving Iran's controversial nuclear program. Now the Iranian military says that it's conducting drills to improve security around its nuclear sites, as well as general combat readiness. It's promised to retaliate if Israel or any country launches a strike against its nuclear facilities.

Well, adding to the tensions this hour, two Iranian warships have sailed through the Suez Canal and up the Mediterranean coast, docking in Syria. Israel says it's watching them closely to make sure they don't approach Israeli waters. All this comes just as a team of U.N. inspectors arrived in Iran. And they are trying to clarify what they call possible military dimensions for the country's nuclear program. Let's get more now from our Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance.

The IEA say they hope to achieve, and I quote, "some real results over two days of talks in Tehran." Is that realistic?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a process that they're engaged in. This is the second time in a month they've been to Iran to try and get some of the questions answered about the nature of Iran's nuclear program, big questions that they themselves raised about whether it has a military dimension or not. They found evidence that it may have. They want to visit sites where they suspect, for instance, a detonation device may have been tested in Iran at one of its nuclear facilities. They also want to meet the top Iranian scientist to question them about what they've been up to.

Now so far, they haven't been given access. They want to try and get that access. And it's really crucial that they do.

ANDERSON: Access is what it's all about at this point. If they don't get any access over two days, what will they achieve?

CHANCE: Well, not very much. And that's why these are such make or break meetings that they're embarked on at the moment. You know, the outcome of these talks with Iranian officials will very much decide the path of the negotiations between Iran and the West. There is a standup, the standoff that you've referred to, the possibility of conflict between the West, possibly Israel and Iran. But if a space for negotiation can be created, if there can be some, you know, kind of room for maneuver for the West, I think everybody wants to avoid a conflict.

ANDERSON: Matt, stay with me. There is no doubt that the -- there is a ratcheting up of the rhetoric between Iran and indeed the West at the moment. The Iranians have also said in the past 24 hours or so they will stop exporting, for example, oil to Britain and indeed to France.

Now does that matter? Well, have a look at this, for example. This is what is exported by the Iranians to the Europeans, 13.2 percent. Italy's oil coming from Iran. The Spanish, some 16.2 percent of these numbers. Only some six percent to the French. Practically nothing to the United Kingdom, and quite a lot to the Greeks.

Also taking a look at the prices as they've moved recently, I want to show this. This has whether it affects the oil to France or the U.K. or not. The price of Brent is at its highest for some time. So evidently, the oil markets affected by what the Iranians at least are suggesting at present.

Matt, there is an awful lot of talk at this point certainly affecting the markets. Should it be? What is the level of concern at this point do you think?

CHANCE: I think it's quite high. I think it's not the only thing that's affecting the state of the oil price at the moment. The boost in the U.S. economy's also having an impact. It's not just about Iran, but it's certainly a factor. As always, instability in the Middle East as these tensions are ratcheted up between Iran and the West. There's the possibility of a military strike gathers pace on Iran. That would obviously be extremely disruptive to Iran's oil supply. It's the fifth biggest producer in the world. That's been now reflected in this heightening oil price, but as I say, it's not the entire picture.

ANDERSON: But the story is simply that this -- at this point, is Iran readying itself for an attack? And is Israel readying itself to attack at this point? Another story out there today, sort of third string as it were, the Iranians the second time since 1979 using the Suez to sail its ships up towards and dock in Syria. What's the relevance or significance in that move?

CHANCE: I think a couple of things. First of all, it's an attempt by the Iranians to project power in the region. They see themselves very much as a regional power. This is done, as you say, for the second time since 1979 entering the Mediterranean, which is, you know, a huge thing for them. It's a reflection of what the United States did in the Strait of Hormuz. They want to say that they can answer back in some kind of regional way. They've also docked at Tartus, the Syrian port, where Russia, of course, has a base as well. And it may be connected with some of resupplier of the Syrian armed forces. It's not clear about that. But certainly, all of these things, the cutting off of supply of oil to Britain and France included, they all reflect this defiance that Iran is trying to demonstrate, that it won't bend in the face of this U.S. and Western suspicion, or these European sanctions. Going to press at it with this nuclear ambitions.

ANDERSON: Matthew Chance in the studio tonight. Matt, thank you for that.

Israel's biggest ally is trying to talk it way from what potentially is the brink of war. After several rounds of lower level meetings, U.S. Israeli strategy sessions are going all the way to the top at this point.

President Barack Obama will host the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in two weeks at the White House. A top U.S. military officer gave CNN some insight about the ongoing deliberations. This is what he said.


GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: It's not prudent at this point to decide to attack Iran. I mean, that's been our counsel to our allies, the Israelis. Well, no, well documented. And we also know or believe we know that the Iranian regime has not decided that they will embark on the -- or the effort to weaponize their nuclear capability.


ANDERSON: Well, the pressure on Israel to avoid attacking Iran may not have forced a chance of heart, but it may have led to a change of rhetoric. Several Israeli officials are publicly backing off now talk of military action, playing up the idea that sanctions could prove effective. Today, Israeli's deputy prime minister said, and I quote, "Does it deserve a chance? It does deserve a chance and I think there is a chance of success if it is done with determination and leadership."

Well, earlier, my colleague Rani (ph) asked an Israeli government spokesman if Israeli is seriously considering a military strike against Iran. This is what he said.


MARK REGEV, ISRAELI GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: Well, just over the last week, we've seen what Iran has been doing. You saw Iranians on the streets of Bangkok, Thailand with explosives apparently on their way to blow up the Israeli embassy. Before that, we've seen Iranians involved in attacks on Israeli diplomatic positions in India, in Georgia, Iran has a consistent track record of breaking the rules. They've pillaged the British embassy in Tehran. They attacked, as you know, a generation ago the American embassy in Iran. They break all the rules. And we argue that if this regime that has no respect for international convention of normal behavior, a regime that's broken the rules and continues to make the rules. If they get nuclear weapons, that's a threat to both regional peace and to world peace.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that a yes or a no on whether or not Israel is seriously considering right now a military strike on Iranian facilities?

REGEV: It's a yes that the international community can simply not allow Iran to achieve a nuclear weapon. That is a dangerous situation that must be avoided.


ANDERSON: No clear answer. Well, the question tonight perhaps shouldn't be will Israel strike, but can it? Does it have the capability to successfully pull it off? Well, our next guests say former Israeli fighter pilots says it would be almost, and I quote, "impossible" to completely destroy Iran's nuclear facilities.

Reuven Pedatzur is a senior military affairs analyst for the Israeli paper Ha'aretz now. And he joins us live from Tel Aviv.

You say it would be almost impossible for Israel to completely destroy Iran's nuclear facilities. You say it with confidence. Why?

REUVEN PEDATZUR, SENIOR MILITARY AFFAIRS ANALYST: There are a lot of problems for the Israeli air force. First of all, we don't have enough planes. We can carry out only sorties, not enough to destroy this plan. The other problem is that the critical sites are very deep underground. And we cannot destroy them even if we use the bunker buster. And the third problem, which is another one, is the lack of intelligence. We are not sure that we know of all the sites that are relevant to the nuclear program.

ANDERSON: So if this is all bluster, if you don't believe it can happen, why the rhetoric at this point?

PEDATZUR: I think for two reasons. First of all, Israel says hold me, hold me, otherwise I'll attack. The other is there are -- they mean it, I'm afraid. I'm afraid that our prime minister, the Minister of Defense, really intend to attack. At least the thinking (INAUDIBLE).

ANDERSON: On a scale of 1 to 10 at this point, just how things -- how bad are things, given your experience?

PEDATZUR: How was -- I didn't hear you.

ANDERSON: Given your experience in the military with Israel, and now as a military affairs adviser, on a scale of 1 to 10, just how bad are things between Iran and Israel at this point?

PEDATZUR: How bad are?


PEDATZUR: There is no dialogue between Israel and Iran. And of course, the Iranians are continue. I believe at the end, they're gone. It's inevitable. And the point is that Israel has to change its policy and to start thinking on the day after they left the bomb, not to think about bombing Iran, but to think to change the policy.

ANDERSON: Reuven, Israel's certainly being warned by the U.S. to be careful, to take measured steps at this point. Also, being warned by the British, for example, as well. Is it listening?

PEDATZUR: I'm not sure, because Prime Minister Netanyahu will decide this is ethical for Israel, it can decide to attack even if the U.S. says no. I remind you 1981, I remind you 2007, Israel attacked in Iran and Syria. In Iraq, for example, the American wasn't -- weren't so happy about this attack.

ANDERSON: Last question to you tonight. You've suggested on this show that Israeli doesn't really have the capabilities to destroy Iran's nuclear capabilities, whatever they are at this point. There was a big question mark as to what they are. If it were to launch an attack, the ramifications as far as you are concerned?

PEDATZUR: It's -- again, I didn't hear you.

ANDERSON: If Israel were to launch an attack, what do you think the ramifications would be?

PEDATZUR: It will be a disaster pretty soon, because the Iranians are going to launch their missiles. They're going to use the Hezbollah in Hamas. Both of them have more than 50,000 rockets they can cover every point in Israel. It will be a real disaster for Israel after this fact.

ANDERSON: We're going to leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us, Reuven Pedatzur, a senior military affairs analyst for one of Israel's biggest newspapers. They're joining me -- us here on the show tonight.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, course, live from London at 14 minutes past 9:00. Still to come, with opposition groups reporting relentless shelling, there is a new push to bring humanitarian aid to Syria's hot spots.

Then, are Greece's current money woes undermining its ancient democracy? We're going to talk to an expert as we await the bailout decisions there.

And the big thaw. Huge chunks of melting ice are damaging boats in Belgrade. We're going to have a live weather update for you on that with CNN. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, the world's news leader. Welcome back.

Now the Red Cross says it is trying to negotiate a cease fire in Syria, so that it can deliver humanitarian aid. Now this comes as opposition groups report a 17th straight day of shelling in homes killed 13 people.

As CNN's Arwa Damon reports, the residents of this besieged city help cannot arrive soon enough. We warn you, some of the images in this report are disturbing.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This small hall was once filled with laughter and celebrations of marriages. Now it echoes with tragedy. These are some of the families above Muhammad who have nowhere else to go, finding relative safety in this makeshift bunker, but little comfort.

We're not sleeping at night we're not sleeping during the day, Inhab howls. The children are always crying. The bombs are coming down like this.. They huddle in near darkness. Some cover their faces, afraid they'll lose more than they already have.

Her son has been detained since the end of August. Another woman's son has been detained has been detained this one right here, for a month and a half. We just -- we've been swamped, bombarded by these peoples' private stories here.

They survive on basic staples of rice and lentils, taken from a government warehouse in the neighborhood, but supplies are running low. By the wood cutting factory turned bunker nearby, baby Fasimet (ph) is cradled in her grandmother's arms, the image of innocence, through the world she was just brought into is anything but. Her 19 year old mother gave birth to her in this makeshift shelter 24 hours ago.

There are no painkillers. I couldn't sleep all night, she tells us. Still, an excruciating pain. She says her husband left a month ago to get supplies and hasn't been to get back. He doesn't know he's a father. Baby Fasimet (ph) has two great uncles she will never meet, both detained and returned as mutilated corpses.

It was a sight you don't want to see. Facimet's (ph) grandmother's voice trembles as she describes how one of her brother's necks was broken, his skin peeled off.

(on camera): We've just been given a photograph of her second brother, who was detained and the state that she received his corpse in. And it's absolutely horrific.

It's a room filled with endless stories of death and despair. Safat's (ph) brother and husband were killed when a round struck their home 10 days ago, but she can hardly pause to grieve.

I have to keep going, I have to live for my children, she says. Activists gather the children for the camera, leading a song against the regime.

My husband died on the first day of the bombing. They didn't let me see his body. It was shredded to pieces, Endcoda (ph) recalls. His blood is still in the streets, and feel his son, he's sick and there is no medicine. He keeps crying, saying I want daddy, I want daddy. I can't bring his daddy back. What s the world waiting for? For us to die of hunger and fear?

Arwa Damon, CNN, Hatz (ph), Syria.


Stories about connecting our world tonight. And the delegation of U.S. senators is in Egypt, meeting with military leaders there. Along the senators is John McCain. He discussed the detention of 19 U.S. workers who are facing charges in Egypt's crackdown on nongovernmental organizations. He says he didn't try to negotiate their release, but emphasized the strain on U.S. Egyptian relations.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), Arizona: Well, I come away from the conversations not only with the military rulers, but also the Muslim Brotherhood, the speaker of parliament, and other members of parliament and with guarded optimism that we are moving forward on this issue. It is -- I made it very clear to all of them that this is a very important issue to the American people, and has long term effects. So I come away guardedly optimistic that we are moving forward to get this issue resolved.


ANDERSON: The voice there of John McCain, of course.

Well, officials blaming a fierce rivalry between drug cartels for a deadly prison riot. In northern Mexico, 30 inmates escaped and 44 were killed in Sunday's violence. A local official says the president's director and 18 guards are now under investigation. Authorities offering a reward for information leading to the capture of the escapees.

South Korean conducted a live artillery drill on Monday, despite a North Korean warning against provocation. The drill involving Howitzers, mortars, and attack helicopters took place on islands off the west coast. Now tensions have flared there before in 2010, you may remember, North Korean responded to a military exercise in the same area by firing artillery and killing two South Korean marines and two civilians.

Germans outgoing president is reportedly calling for a high turnout in Tuesday's presidential election. Earlier Abdullah Salez (ph) speech comes with the separatists southern movement. Northern Shi'ite rebels vowing to boycott the vote. Mr. Salez (ph), a vice president, is the only candidate running. Now reports of attacks on polling stations and clashes between troops and protesters in Southern Yemen.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

Coming up, just after this break, it was the fight after the fight, (inaudible) reputation takes another hit at this press conference get out of control.

And later, how a revolution crushed in the streets of Budapest is inspired Hungary's Olympic water polo team for more than half a century. This is CNN.


ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live from London. 26 minutes past 9:00 here. Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson. Pedro from (inaudible) Pedro Pinto, my colleague.

Joining us now for a tell about the top sports headlines. And the post town fight, there was perhaps for some, at least, more (inaudible) than the actual boxing matching. This is a remarkable story.

PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS: It's crazy, Becky, because we have the WBC title fight between Italy Pitchko (ph) and Derek Tsora (ph) on one Saturday night in Munich. And a critical one that on point as a boxer can. But that didn't make the headlines.

What made the headlines was that the post boxing match press conference, where Derek Tsora (ph) and David Hay (ph), who was there, obviously not fighting, he was there just being a commentator on television, they got involved in an altercation. As we can see here, in the midst of all the cameras flashing, they clashed. After that as well, Derek Tsora (ph) got involved in another heated argument and shoving contest with Adam Booth, who is David Hays' (ph) manager. It was really chaos that happened.

ANDERSON: Do we know what it was about?

PINTO: Well, it started when Tsora (ph) and Hays (ph) started arguing about who's the better fighter, who's going to fight next. David Hays (ph) said he would like to fight Klitchko (ph), he'd also like to fight Tsora (ph). I think Hay (ph) wanted to get into this press conference and maybe raise his profile a little bit. He's retired and he's thinking about coming back. And he thought it'd be a good idea to be talked about again, but not in this way. And both fighters now are being investigated by the German police, where they're both now facing possible jail sentences if they are charged with causing grievous bodily harm and assault as well.

David Hay (ph) flew back to the U.K., but he's been called back and could be interrogated by the German authorities. Tsora (ph) was arrested after this. He's apologized. It's really the last thing that boxing needed. It doesn't have any high profile fighters at the moment. It really doesn't' have a face that can say it's doing anything for the profile of the sport. And then you have this, that's basically thugs after a press conference getting ...

ANDERSON: It seems absolutely remarkable.

PINTO: -- rough with each other. It's unbelievable.

ANDERSON: And we're 48 hours on from this story and still being talked about. Pedro, thank you for that. I know you're back with sports in just about an hour's time.

PINTO: I am.

ANDERSON: So stick with us for that (inaudible) with Pedro and more on that story and, of course, a myriad of others Monday here in London at the world of sport is full of it.

Still to come, on CONNECT THE WORLD this hour, is debt ravaged Greece getting what it needs? I want to bring you the very latest on the bailout talks. Yes, they are still going on. That is at about five minutes' time.

Also, extraordinary pictures of huge chunks of moving ice, as temperatures rise, get this, in Serbia. Melting snow causing chaos there.

Also, a grudge match in the 1956 Olympics with much more at stake than gold medals, how the most famous water polo match of all time inspires the Hungarian team even today more than 50 years on. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN at just after half past nine in London. Let's check the world headlines for you.

The Red Cross is trying to negotiate a cease-fire in Syria so that food and medical supplies can be delivered there. Now, the effort comes as opposition groups report a 17th straight day of shelling in Homs. They say at least 18 people were killed across the country on Monday.

UN nuclear inspectors arrived in Iran to clarify what they call "possible military dimensions" for the country's nuclear program. Iran denies it's trying to build weapons, saying it wants to fuel civilian power plants.

Traders keeping a close eye on oil prices. Light crude hitting a nine-month high Monday after Iran said it would stop selling oil to France and Britain, amongst other things. This is payback, Iran says, for European sanctions that will come into effect in the summer over Iran's nuclear program.

And eurogroup ministers still talking, deciding whether to give Athens a second bailout of $170 billion. Now, the Greek finance ministry says they are optimistic a deal will be agreed. Greece needs that money by March the 20th to avoid what will be a messy default.

Well, the big question is, who pays for what and how? And there's no rubber stamp tonight in Brussels. They really are inching towards a decision.

Angry Greeks, meanwhile, staged several protests against the austerity measures demanded by EU ministers. CNN's Jim Boulden is with me, now, with more on why this second bailout comes with so many strings attached and why.

Quite frankly, Jim, we've been here before. Let's start with the first question. There are an awful lot of strings attached. They seem to be being added by the day, at this point.

JIM BOULDEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The problem is that Greece was not able to fulfill many of the criteria that they set out for the first bailout back in May 2010. They haven't been able to raise enough taxes, they haven't been able to privatize as they'd promised.

And so, the paymasters, frankly, Germany, is saying, the next round, this now -- you're going to have to follow the rules. And it may actually come with some people actually moving to Athens and watching you very carefully to make sure that when we give you the money -- and they will get this money -- that you will then say and do what you promised.

ANDERSON: You say they'll get this money which, to all intents and purposes, they need before March the 20th. They've got, what, $15 billion worth -- or euros --

BOULDEN: Euros, yes.

ANDERSON: -- of bills literally need to be paid --


ANDERSON: -- on that date. We have been here before. I can't actually remember how many times at this point.

BOULDEN: Let's not say "deadline" anymore, because anytime there's a deadline the last year, it's been pushed on. And we thought there would be an announcement by now in Brussels that there would be a deal. Well, now I'm being told it could be hours and hours and hours of more negotiations.

What's going on is that there still isn't enough money for Greece. There still isn't a good enough deal, and maybe the private sector banks are going to have to do a bit more. So, they are actually negotiating in Brussels right now. They're not rubber-stamping.

ANDERSON: You say tonight on this show they will get the money, though?


ANDERSON: Good. All right, Jim Boulden for you tonight. Going cap in hand means Greece, of course, could lose some of its autonomy, but how much? Keep in mind, this ancient democracy already has an unelected government now.

The Dutch finance minister is demanding that the EU and the IMF take control of Greece's public spending. Get that. On top of that, Germany's finance minister has suggested that Greece postpone its planned April vote -- elections, and opt instead of another technocratic government. It seems the EU would rather that.

Well, the front-runner in April's election, Antonis Samaras, recently had to send a written pledge to the EU, giving assurance that he would not change the bailout's terms if he becomes prime minister.

Richard Parker, former adviser to the ex-prime minister, Papandreou, and his friend for three decades, knows Greece's economic, political turmoil inside out. He joins us, now, live from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts tonight.

You'd probably rather be there than Athens, although I know you're a great fan of the country. 150 years ago or so, US president Abraham Lincoln, of course, defined democracy as government of the people, by the people, for the people. We all know that.

Knowing the Greeks as you do, Richard, how are Wolfgang Schaeuble's notion that elections should be postponed go down in that country?

RICHARD PARKER, FORMER ADVISER TO EX-GREEK PRIME MINISTER PAPENDREOU: Well, look. Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. Abraham Lincoln arrested sympathizers with the Confederacy.

The kinds of things that are going on with Greece, which are essentially about controlling out of control finances, don't seem to me to be an utter loss of democracy. The Greeks lost democracy from 1967 to 1974 when a military coup took over the country, and this is far, far from that.



PARKER: There's still a functioning press --


PARKER: -- people are free to demonstrate. We've got a democracy that still works --

ANDERSON: But the postpone --

PARKER: -- it's just very painful.

ANDERSON: But the postponement of elections would be a great threat to Greek democracy the birthplace of democracy, for goodness sake.

PARKER: Well, Greece was the birthplace of democracy, but then, it didn't have democracy for almost 2,000 -- more than 2,000 years until after the second World War. So, I'm not sure it's that great a threat.

They'll return to democratic functioning. That technocratic government is a coalition of the existing, seated democratic parties, so --

ANDERSON: All right.

PARKER: -- this is a technocratic government that has the support of the elected party officials.

ANDERSON: You worked practically every department and facet of the Greek economy for a couple of years while you were advising the former prime minister. Given the inadequacies of the Greek stewardship either then or before, whatever you think, might Schaeuble and the others have a point at this stage?

What the Europeans are saying is, "Let us, effectively, run this country until you get your house in order." Are they right?

PARKER: Well, look. The prime minister of Greece at the time, George Papandreou, back in July of last year, not only agreed but encouraged the Europeans to come in and help run the ministries at the mid level. So this is not something that in principle is something the Greek government has been opposed to.

It's the arrogance which the Greek government -- which they German government has displayed that I think has set off the kind of reaction you see.

ANDERSON: You can't be surprised by what the Germans are saying. After all, there's been many an economic voice out there for some time, now -- I'm talking about the past year, 18 months, who have effectively said, listen, the northern Europeans want Greece out of this eurozone, they want them out of the euro. Let's allow them a -- fairly mess, if needs be, default, but let's get them out.

PARKER: Well, I am dismayed by the Germans, only in the sense that the Germans were beneficiaries of billions and billions of dollars of United States Marshall Plan Aid and were given the umbrella of US military security throughout the cold war.

And Germany is prosperous enough so that fixing the problem in Greece, along with other European countries, never should have gotten to be this expensive. And it's German reluctance to step forward and solve this problem that has caused this spiral downward in terms of the Greek economy.

ANDERSON: Is the country on its way out of the euro at this point? In a word, yes or no?


ANDERSON: Thank you. One of the men who knows --

PARKER: You're welcome.

ANDERSON: -- the economy inside out. Richard, we thank you very much, indeed, for joining us tonight. So, Greece, some may say, is on its way out, but it's certainly on its way to more emergency cash. There are, though, lingering worries.

Keep in mind, Athens has to keep on whittling away at a mountain of debt, which stands at 160 percent of the country's GDP. The target is for 120 percent by 2020. That's only eight years from now, and Greece has been in a recession for five years, i.e. no growth.

Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD tonight, first comes the snow, then, well, it's a big thaw. Just ahead, the power of melting ice and the chaos that it's causing in some parts of Europe. That, up next.


ANDERSON: Huge chunks of melting ice have broken free in the River Danube in Serbia, causing chaos. Look at this. Dozens of boats in Belgrade's marina are damaged. One of the city's trademark floating night clubs has sunk. Thankfully, there are no reports of any injuries.

Well, the thick ice was caused by a record-breaking cold snap, you'll remember that. But now the problem is rising temperatures. Let's bring in our meteorologist tonight, Jennifer Delgado, who's at the World Weather Center. What is the picture this hour, Jen?

JENNIFER DELGADO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Oh, Becky, you're going to continue to see problems over the next couple of days because temperatures are going to continue to warm up. Even if I show you right now, looking through areas.

Look at Munich, minus 3 degrees. Berlin, 2 degrees. Minus 4 in Warsaw. And you can see for yourself, the temperatures are slowly warming, and we're going to continue to see that trend as we go through Tuesday, as well as into Wednesday. We're going to be pushing that cold air over towards the east.

But as those temperatures start to moderate, and then they eventually start to become above average, we're going to see more problems. As we go to this video, again, and then, this was right, again, telling you how people -- are experiencing problems along the River Danube.

And you're seeing those boats and those barges all crashing along each other. That's because those temperatures have been rising. Now, the problem is, if you remember, just, say, two weeks ago, a week ago, as I take you back over to our graph, think about 90 percent of the River Danube as covered in floating ice.

But now the problem is, it's crashing into each other. And of course, this is so very important to the economy, but as we go through the next couple of days and weeks ahead, we're really going to have to be watching this. Becky?

ANDERSON: And the Danube, of course, flowing through many countries, vital for transport, power, and industry in the region. Could this melting ice be a problem for other nations? What kind of volume of water are we looking at, here?

DELGADO: The problem is, we really are going to have to watch this. It's all going to depend on how quickly those temperatures start to warm up, and we're talking about the amount of snow in different areas all along the Danube.

In addition to that, we're going to have to follow this as it goes downstream. Of course, the Danube, it moves through ten countries and, eventually, empties into the Black Sea.

But say if we get some additional rain out there. That could lead to more problems with flooding, eventually, as we go a little bit farther into the next couple of months. So, this means the ice jams could continue to be a problem. But if the temperatures start to warm back up again, that could freeze the ground once again.

Now -- and you were asking if we could see anymore rainfall out there. What you could do, and how it could affect, say, Serbia and other regions right along the Danube.

As we go through the next couple days, we're not expecting anything significant, but the main goal here is really to try to keep those temperatures moderating over the next couple days. That is really going to be the key to prevent the flooding to become even worse or the ice to become a bigger problem. Back over to you, Becky.

ANDERSON: All right. Keep an eye on that. We thank you for that.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back this half hour, blood in the water. Images from this violent water polo match shocked the world more than 50 years ago, but there was much more tension beneath the surface. I'm going to speak to a filmmaker who uncovered the full story for you. That is up next.


ANDERSON: A very warm welcome back, this is CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, just before 10 to 10:00 out of London. Now, it is a face-off that director Quentin Tarantino once called the "best untold story ever."

An Olympic water polo match between two arch-rivals captured the world's attention more than 50 years ago. Now, as one of those teams looks forward to the Summer Games here in London, they are also reflecting on their past. CNN's Diana Magnay reports.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Water polo is part of Hungary's DNA, its national team for decades a powerhouse of the sport. They've won nine Olympic gold medals, led to victory the last three times by coach Denes Kemeny.


MAGNAY (on camera): OK.

KEMENY: Beijing, and Sydney. We have 39 gold medals, because 13 each.

MAGNAY (voice-over): Kemeny puts the country's water polo strength down to a geological quirk of nature, the myriad thermal springs which lie deep beneath this land-locked country.

KEMENY: Other countries, they have the chance in sea, in lake, in rivers, from May to September. Hungary had 12 months a year, so Hungarian athletes got bored of swimming, they started to play with the ball.

MAGNAY (on camera): What goes on above the water is just half the story. Water polo is a tough and often brutal sport. The blood spilt in the water in a pool in Melbourne in 1956 came to represent the blood that had been spilt on the streets of Budapest, sport reflecting the politics of war.

MAGNAY (voice-over): Hungary then was convulsed by revolution. Thousands had taken to the streets in October to protest Soviet rule. Dezso Gyarimati, who captained the Olympic team at that time, he tells me how he snuck out of the training compound in the hills above Budapest to join the revolution.

DEZSO GYARIMATI, 1956 HUNGARIAN OLYMPIC WATER POLO CAPTAIN (through translator): I had a car, I hadn't even paid the customs yet, with a West German number plate. So, although we will training for the Olympics, I came down to the town on my own and took part in the first days of the revolution.

MAGNAY: But the Olympics were calling. The team left the country shortly after the Soviets withdrew when the possibility of freedom still hung over the streets of Budapest.

But by the time they'd reached Melbourne, all that had changed. The Soviets had sent in their tanks, killing more than 2,000 Hungarians, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee. Then, the team found out they were playing the Soviet Union in the semifinals.

GYARIMATI (through translator): Try to imagine such a situation, that a superpower destroys your country with weapons and tanks, a country that has never asked for that power to be there, and after the revolution is crushed, you have to face the representatives of that Soviet power.

MAGNAY: Gyarimati says the match was tough but disciplined, the Hungarians scoring one, two, three, then four goals. Nothing untoward until the last few moments, when one of the Soviet team rose out of the water and elbowed Hungarian scorer Ervin Zador in the face.

GYARIMATI (through translator): I told him to get out of the pool. Not where he was, but to swim across the pool to the grandstand with 8,000 people. By the time he'd swum over, the blood had trickled down onto his chest, so he looked like he was coming from the butchers, and the audience exploded.

MAGNAY: In the paranoia of the cold war, Zador's image seized the imagination of a world shocked by the crushing of the Hungarian revolution. Hungary's 4-nil victory in Melbourne also some comfort for a traumatized nation.

Gergely Kiss is hoping for a fourth gold medal in London. He grew up with the story of the Blood in the Water, his early years still under Communist rule.

GERGELY KISS, THREE-TIME OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: Beating the best, the big enemy, it was such a great feeling for every Hungarian. It helped so much for the revolution.

MAGNAY: Today's champions as proud of the sport's political heritage as they are of the many medals they've won.


ANDERSON: Well, the Hungarian player may have been the one with his blood on his face, but one of the filmmakers behind the documentary about that match says both teams were really victims.

I sat down with Colin Gray, writer and director of a documentary called "Freedom's Fury" and asked him why he wanted to tell this story 50- odd years on.


COLIN GRAY, DIRECTOR, "FREEDOM'S FURY": I think there's something about the blood. It's a classic revenge story, this little country taking on the big Goliath, Hungary versus Russia.

MARK SPITZ, NARRATOR, "FREEDOM'S FURY": The Hungarian athletes stage a simple protest in the Olympic Village.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, "FREEDOM'S FURY": When we get to Melbourne, the first thing we did was to tear off the Communist flag and replace it with the flag of by then non-existent free Hungary.

ANDERSON: What made it work was the fact that you went back and talked to some of these guys. Just how tough was that?

GRAY: Because it was so weighted and because it was buried, the truth about this event, for so many decades, that we were -- we sought out perspectives from not just students and politicos, but we were looking at people from both side of the political spectrum. I think some people found that a little surprising in Hungary initially.

And then, certainly, we were looking for a Russian and Soviet perspective on the events, as well, which certainly, that definitely drew a little bit of skepticism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, "FREEDOM'S FURY": Such an outcome wasn't foreseen by us or by the Hungarians. And when this happened, the blood, the fighting, correspondents were filming it.

ANDERSON: If you had to pinpoint one or two telling moments in the documentary, what would they be?

GRAY: Having people recount their experiences of the street fighting in Budapest. And a lot of these people who led the uprising were young students and factory workers at the time.

KAROLY NAGY, "FREEDOM'S FURY": If you are so desperate that you don't have an alternative, then you say, "I don't care even if I die. This is it. I have to go."

GRAY: For them to share their stories where there was such hope, and then such despair once the Soviets rolled back in and crushed the revolution, it was a -- it was a real honor and privilege, but also a kind of -- you felt the weight of trying to do the story justice.

ANDERSON: And on the other side, of course, we hear it from those who actually played.

GRAY: One of the moments that was incredibly powerful for us was the reunion in Budapest. We had found all the surviving members of the Hungarian team, and they had agreed to participate in the documentary.

What we weren't sure about was whether any of the Russian players would want to participate, and we invited them to come to this reunion in Budapest, and all but one of the surviving Russian players agreed to come.

And that moment when these players, who had grown up training against each other and knew each other quiet well, and then, because of the circumstances of the political nature of the game and how violent it got, really their lives suddenly were blown apart. They hadn't seen each other, many of them, since that fateful game.

This was the first time they got to sort of reconnect, and it was a -- it was incredibly powerful and emotional to be able to be a part of putting that reunion together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, "FREEDOM'S FURY": When I met them, and I saw them, and I looked at their face, I said, "This is a wonderful chance. This is awesome."

ANDERSON: What do you hope people will take from this film?

GRAY: The film underscores the power of people power. And I think it really shows that individuals can actually impact the course of human history and, collectively, can do incredible things.

And I think that's one of the things that is sort of forgotten about the Hungarian Revolution is that it actually was successful. For two weeks, the Hungarian people kicked out the largest army in the world with its popular uprising, and I think the first cracks in the Iron Curtain were really punched in that wall by the Hungarian Revolution.

I hope that it inspires people to continue to have the courage of their convictions and to stand up for those things that they truly believe in.


ANDERSON: Remarkable stuff, 56 years ago, we're talking. Colin also tells me that he expects the Hungarians to clean up at London's Summer Olympics.

Well, moving on ahead of that, or after that, at least, the torch will be passed to Rio de Janeiro, and if this weekend's Carnival celebration was any indication, the opening ceremonies could be a sight to behold.

Your Parting Shots this evening, some images from the past three days as millions of people packed into the streets to celebrate Brazil's grandest holiday. It's actually four days long, culminating in Fat Tuesday which, of course, kicks off the Catholic season of Lent.

Every year, the festival includes parades with enormous floats, flashy costumes, street parties, and plenty of dancing. And this year, no exception. If you are in the area, you're not too late to join in the fun. I'm sure you're not watching this if you are in the area, I'm sure you're enjoying the fun. But anyway, celebrations, I'll let you know, last until at least dawn.

I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD for you. Thank you for watching. The world news headlines and "BackStory," as ever, up after this short break. Don't go away.