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Election Day in Israel; Washington Reacts to Obama's Inaugural Speech; World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; On the Front Lines in Damascus; Prince Harry Returns from Afghanistan

Aired January 22, 2013 - 12:30   ET


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And there is expected to be a late surge now, with about a half an hour left to go before the polls close.

So, people are coming out. The question is, who are they voting for? And it's important to remember that the last poll on Friday said that 15 percent of voters were still undecided.

So, there's still a few surprises, even if Netanyahu is forecast to still become the next prime minister, it doesn't mean he may not lose some seats and have to rely on some coalition partners to form a government.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Atika, you bring up a very good point and that is, of course, the need to form a coalition government, but you've got these more hard lined religious parties in the parliament.

What does that mean ultimately for the peace process when you are still very much at loggerheads between the Palestinians and the Israelis?

SHUBERT: Yeah, the peace process has been in a deep freeze for years now and what some analysts are saying we could see Netanyahu being pushed further to the right by these elections.

Basically, we've seen the rise of the extreme right parties like Jewish Home led by rising star, Naftali Bennett, and this is a man who has advocated expansion of the settlements and even annexation of most of the West Bank.

That is clearly something that would leave the peace process in tatters and, if they gain more seats, then it may mean that Netanyahu has to rely on them for the coalition.

And that's a frightening prospect, especially for Palestinians. In fact, take a listen to what two voters, very different voters, said to me at the same polling station. One a Palestinian voter with Israeli citizenship, the other was a settler. Take a listen.


MANNA ADEL, VOTER: Things are going from bad to worse and I expect also that the next government will be more to the right wing, not trying, as the previous one, to solve the Palestinian issue, the issue of occupation. That's why I say I'm frightened. As a citizen of Israel, I'm frightened. As a Palestinian living in Jerusalem, I'm frightened.

ELLY GORODETZER, VOTER: If we don't settle the land, then the land is not ours. But I don't trust Benjamin Netanyahu because he can say one thing today and he's done other things in the past.


SHUBERT: So, fears there that Netanyahu will be forced further to the right, even as more pressure is put on him.

MALVEAUX: All right. Atika Shubert, thank you.

The reviews are in. We're in D.C. covering the inauguration and we've got reaction to yesterday's address and, also, we're going to bring my interview with Senator Bernie Sanders, up next.


MALVEAUX: Moving forward with his second term, President Obama laid out his agenda during yesterday's inaugural address. But talking to some heavy hitters here in Washington about the president's message, "Time" magazine's political columnist Joe Klein weighed in.


JOE KLEIN, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, "TIME" MAGAZINE: I thought it was a really good, strong speech, but it was kind of the opposite of the first inaugural address I remember which was John F. Kennedy's in that Kennedy was announcing the beginning of a new era, a new generation of leadership.

The president was talking about the winding down of a terrible 10-year period in the history of the country. The economy is turning around after the crash. The wars are ending and, so, it was a very different sort of speech.

MALVEAUX: Did he strike the right tone?

KLEIN: I thought that he struck a pretty good tone, but there was one thing that was, to my mind, completely missing. He talked an awful lot and passionately and rightfully so, about rights, about civil rights.

He didn't talk at all about civic responsibilities and the thing I remember best about Kennedy's speech is "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

And I think that that's one of the things really missing in our country now and it's gone away over the last 15 years. We're trying to have democracy without citizenship.


MALVEAUX: Also had a chance to talk Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders at the American Legion's inaugural ball. He's the longest-serving independent in congressional history. He's also chair of the Senate veterans affairs committee and he's talking about how concerned he is there are cuts to social program will hurt the military and families.

I asked how does he plan to work with Republicans to bring him closer to his side.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: I think Republicans will be getting -- are beginning to catch on. They're beginning to understand the American people do not think that it makes sense to cut back on programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans' needs and say, oh, yes, we shouldn't ask the wealthiest people, we shouldn't ask billionaires to pay a little bit more in taxes.

The American people have been very clear on that. That's what the American people want. They do not want to see disabled veterans or widows of men who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan cut, they don't want to see those programs cut.


MALVEAUX: Also brand-new member of Congress, Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran, double amputee and served as President Obama's assistant secretary for veterans affairs. I asked her what she thinks the president should do in the second term to help out veterans.


REP. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D), ILLINOIS: It's really tough out there, so I think we bring our troops home from Afghanistan as quickly as possible, but in a way we don't have to send them back.

And then we need to have that good transition from the DOD to the V.A. so that when they leave the military they know where they're going. They just don't go home and sit in their house, that they know, I'm going to go to school or I'm going to go into a job training program or they have a job lined up or maybe they're going to go serve in some other way.

But we need to do a better job of providing that because then what happens, if that's not there, they can spiral into homelessness. They can't find a job. They're unemployed. They run out of money and then it just adds up.


MALVEAUX: There are slippery slopes in the Swiss resort town of Davos and we're not talking about the scenery. Some of the biggest names in business are there to tackle the world's economic problems. A live report, straight ahead.


MALVEAUX: The World Economic Forum happening in Davos, Switzerland. Forget about the one-percent, we are talking about the ultra-ultra- rich who get together for this thing. Toss in a few world leaders and the occasional celebrity, that's what you got in Davos. Just referred to as Davos and, if there's elite, that means our Richard Quest.

Hey, Richard.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL'S "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": Good afternoon, good evening, from the top of the magic mountain here in Davos, where we are just a short while away from the official opening.

About 250,000 delegates, Suzanne, participants, they're not just the rich. This is the biggest mistake, I think, people make about Davos. It has a very broad agenda.

Yes, indeed, it talks about banking and finance, but it also talks about labor reform. It talks industrial relations, poverty, HIV, AIDS, all of the other issues that people come here.

And they come here, Suzanne -- I'm not sort of being an apologist for the place, but they do come here because everybody else is here and the value in that, Suzanne, is that you do get a discussion and dialogue in these very chilly environments.

MALVEAUX: Well, you know, the super-rich, we mean people -- you know, the rich come there and, of course, there are big ideas and a broad base of things and maybe you have a little fun, too, because it is gorgeous out there.

Tell us a little bit what people are focused on because, you know, you've got the economy on the upswing. The euro survived this big crisis. Is there a sense of optimism there?

QUEST: Well, Carl Schwab, the head of the WEF, World Economic Forum, would love us all to be optimistic, smiling. He says that the euro didn't collapse. Europe didn't fall apart. There's economic growth in the United States. There's room for optimism.

But I can tell you, if you talk to the CEOs, and most of the people are CEOs and in business, they are not optimistic. There is a deficit of confidence and that's because you have the budgetary problems in the United States, you still have the eurozone problem, you have China, you have India slowing down.

These other issues are very much on their agenda. So, you and I, as the week will go on, will distill this into what really they're talking. At the moment, the one word to keep in mind, risk and where it lies at the moment.

MALVEAUX: And if they think that it's risky -- I mean, these are business people and they're trying to get a sense of where we are with the economy -- if they think it's risky, how is that impacting us?

Everyday folks here who are looking at their, you know, paychecks and their homes and wondering if it's going to change, if it's going to get better? QUEST: Well, this is a fascinating part because the PWC, the consulting company, brought out a survey which talks about these risks and the crucial parties, the businesses, are brilliant at adapting and being diverse.

They are used now to these so-called black swan risks that come out. And, to answer your blunt question, what happens? Companies don't invest. They don't take on extra employees. They don't put more into capital expenditure.

And what they do is what we see exactly at the moment. There are trillions of dollars sitting on balance sheets waiting to find a home somewhere. And that's what people will be talking about here. When is it time to turn the tables and start investing?

MALVEAUX: All right, good discussion. Let us know what comes of it, Richard. And have a good time, too. It looks gorgeous. You can get a little skiing, as well, if you can.

Thank you, Richard.

It is rare that we actually get to see reports inside Syria; the media are restricted there. But one reporter is actually on the front lines of the civil war.


BILL NEELY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: War for control of Damascus hinges on a few battlegrounds like this one, where the rebels in one stronghold -- and they are just around that corner - are trying to link up with others just a mile away. If they break through, then the battle is taken to the very center --


MALVEAUX: Russians who left Syria might actually be coming home today. Two planes sent by Moscow have landed in Beirut, Lebanon, to evacuate about 100 Russians who escaped from the civil war in Syria.

See that happy face there? Tens of thousands of Russians live in Syria. But not everyone can leave. Many Syrians are caught in the middle of the fighting in Damascus. Women and children risk their lives just to get food.

Bill Neely, he is there with a firsthand account of the battle in the Syrian capital.


NEELY (voice-over): They are about to risk their lives, to run a gauntlet of gunfire. They're at a front line in Syria's capital and they're ready to cross it.

Coming the other way, a group that's taken the same gamble. They all live in a rebel-held district where food is scarce. So they run back and forth to get some. They wait for gaps in the gunfire. But you can feel their fear. And they are weary. They've endured this every day for six weeks.

Then it's time to go. They head for the dead ground hugging the wall, clutching their bread. Once they cross, the battle begins again, the regime's men and rebels at close quarters, very close.

War for control of Damascus hinges on a few crucial battlegrounds like this one where the rebels in one stronghold -- and they are just around that corner -- are trying to link up with others just a mile away. If they break through, the then battle is taken to the very center of this city.

But these men are not regular soldiers. They're locals, trained for a month and given weapons by the army. Some are students living through history, if they're lucky. This is deadly. It's a war across wasteland for an entire suburb. Hundreds of thousands used to live here, but backstreets are deserted now, exodus again in the Middle East.

We're taken to another front line position, through holes, smashed-in walls, to a war of snipers and single shots. Rebels are just across the street. From the regime's sniper position, they see a rebel gunman use a mirror to spot his enemy.

It's a fight for survival. At the bakery, the demand is intense. People fear flour may run out soon.

Then back they go to brave the gunfire again to feed their families.

Do you believe it will end soon?

"We pray it will," he says, "God willing."

But on the streets of Damascus, people are dying every day in a war that has now claimed close to 70,000 lives. These men believe they're fighting terrorists; rebels, a brutal dictator. And in the middle, caught in the cross fire, Syrians are running for their lives.



MALVEAUX: Britain's Prince Harry just left Afghanistan. The British Ministry of Defense revealed he had been there on a four-month deployment. He acted as a helicopter gunner in Helmand province. Harry served in Afghanistan before in 2006. But that tour was cut short after his position in the country was revealed publicly while he was still there.

Our Max Foster visited Harry at the base at Camp Bastion.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Combat ready, Captain Wales of the British army making final checks to his helicopter before a mission.

This is Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, serving his country in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan.

FOSTER: This is the flight line; it's where the aircraft operate from, including the Apache attack helicopter. This is what Captain Wales has been flying.

PRINCE HENRY OF WALES: Our job out here is to make sure guys are safe on the ground. And if that means shooting someone that's shooting at them, then we'll do it.

FOSTER (voice-over): No one's saying how many insurgents Harry might have killed during his 19-week deployment. But sitting in the front seat means it was Harry who was in charge of the Apache weapon system.

PRINCE HARRY: The (INAUDIBLE) up here so we know exactly what's going on. (INAUDIBLE), which is here, which basically my targeting system.

FOSTER (voice-over): Other bits of kit meant more basic requirements.

WALES: In our bag we have travel jugs which are (inaudible). And if you're in the aircraft for like 31/2, 4 hours, I try not -- if I can hold on, I will. But once you've been out here for two, three weeks you master the art of basically peeing while basically sitting down like this.

FOSTER (voice-over): Away from his helicopter, Captain Wales mixed freely on base, eating in the canteen like anyone else.

LT. COL. TOM DE LA RUE, BRITISH ARMY: He's not treated any differently. My interaction with him is exactly the same as with any of my other officers.

FOSTER (voice-over): On down time between missions, video games with the crew.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, there it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's mainly sport and banter that happens, you know. That's the way he likes to be treated when he's in work, essentially.

FOSTER (voice-over): Back on the flight line, it was all about the job and the wider, strategic aim, building the role of the Afghan national army, the ANA, so it can eventually take over.

PRINCE HARRY: It's great to see the ANA taking more of a lead in things as well, and the professionalism is definitely showing through.

FOSTER (voice-over): That's something his superiors in the army might say of the prince himself -- Max Foster, CNN, Camp Bastion, Afghanistan.


MALVEAUX: It was an act of heroism. It is the video that you have got to see.