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Egyptian Military Gives Ultimatum to Morsi Government; European Countries Demanding Answers For Latest U.S. Spy Leak; U.S. President Barack Obama Talks Economics In Tanzania

Aired July 1, 2013 - 16:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Flying in to show their support, Egypt's military gives the government an ultimatum to meet the demands of the people.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It just is unbearable I know for many of you, but it is unbearable also for me.


ANDERSON: Mourning the loss of 19 firefighters, how a blaze in Arizona turned so deadly.

And reunited after a harrowing ordeal, a story of courage and hope coming up.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: Critical hours ahead for Egypt's fragile democracy as the military there warns it could step in to resolve a political crisis.

President Mohamed Morsi met with top military leaders a short time ago. We don't yet know what happened in that meeting, but we are expecting to hear very soon from a presidential spokesperson.

Well, a military demanding the government and all political forces respect the will of the people. Now these are pictures of Tahrir Square where protesters once again are demanding President Morsi step down. The crowds earlier cheered this ultimatum by the military.


ABDEL FATTAH AL-SISI, HEAD OF EGYPTIAN ARMED FORCES (through translator): The armed forces repeat their call for the people's demand to be met and gives everyone 48 hours as a final chance to shoulder the burden of a historic moment in our country which will not forgive any party that will be negligent in bearing their responsibility.


ANDERSON: Well, let's go to Cairo now for the very latest for you. Senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman joining us live.

Huge, huge crowds in Tahrir Square. Much smaller, but significant demonstrations also for the government, of course, outside their offices in a different part of Cairo.

Ben, we heard from the military today. We heard what they say. What is their intent at this point?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, their intent really is to lay down the law, to read the riot act, so to speak, to the opposition. But more clearly, to President Mohamed Morsi that the people of Egypt have made their voice clear. We've seen three nights in a row now of huge demonstrations not just in Cairo, but in Alexandria and other Egyptian cities. The message to President Morsi is you've got to make moves to end this current crisis.

Analysts will tell you that there's really three things that he needs to do. And he needs to reshuffle his cabinet to bring in members of the opposition and to reduce the level of participation in the government by the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies. He needs to call for early presidential and parliamentary elections.

These are some serious demands on a president who just a year ago won in Egypt's first ever free and fair presidential election. So they're really throwing down the gauntlet to Mohamed Morsi.

The Muslim Brotherhood, to which the group that he belongs to has said that they will consider the army's statements. The army is probably expecting a somewhat more forthright response to their demand. The opposition is meeting this evening to consider it as well.

But if they cannot come to some sort of agreement, then we very well could see within now less than 48 hours, the army taking over Egypt again - - Becky.

ANDERSON: We are talking about a military takeover, effectively, within 48 hours, right? Are we correct in saying that? Because they didn't make it clear themselves, did they?

WEDEMAN: Well, no. In fact, in the military statement that was issued today, they stressed that the military wants to stay out of politics and conduct its normal role to defend the nation. But they also said that if the politicians within 48 hours can't come up with some sort of consensus in how to run this country, they have -- the military has a long- term roadmap for the country.

Does that mean a permanent military takeover? No. But it probably means a blueprint for brief sort -- military control of the country leading to elections somewhere down the line.

But definitely it does feel like we're going back to the 12th of February, 2011 when Egypt woke up and found the military, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, was running the country.

ANDERSON: Ben, I know that there was huge support from the crowd in Tahrir Square earlier today when the military made this announcement. Should we, then, expect that most Egyptians, particularly those who are anti-Morsi, would support a military takeover despite what they've been through in the past?

WEDEMAN: Well, really it depends who you speak with. For many Egyptians who aren't so interested in democracy as much as law and order, a functioning economy, a fuel that's not in short supply, and are tired of long and frequent power cuts, they want a government -- doesn't matter whether they wear military uniforms or not -- that can get the country back on its feet, get the economy running again, encourage tourists to return to this country, because at the moment there are so many loose ends that democracy and freedom for many Egyptians isn't as important as a salary -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Important times, extremely important times in Egypt today this hour.

Ben Wedeman above Tahrir Square. And as you can see, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people there in the square tonight.

We have to add that there have been smaller, pro-President Morsi demonstrations today as well.

Ben, thank you for that.

All right, this hour we're going to hear from a prominent blogger and a protester who says President Morsi must step aside. Right now, though, we're joined by Mohamad Elmasry who is a professor at the American University in Cairo.

I know that you have made statements in the past which would be deemed to be supportive of the Morsi government. Tonight, do you expect President Morsi to heed the words of the military, or are we looking at effectively a coup within 48 hours?

MOHAMAD ELMASRY, PROESSOR, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF CAIRO: Well, what I have been writing about for the last seven months is my support for institutional democracy, which I think is the way forward for Egypt. We'll have to wait and see what's going to happen over the next day or two, but it does look like this is a military coup of a democratically elected government and we should be clear that this is the product of 12 months of very hard work by various forces -- Mubarak regime remnants, corrupt elements within the state structure, and importantly elements of Egypt's liberal secular opposition, which as Ben Wedeman was just saying many of them don't particularly care about democracy.

ANDERSON: Hang on a minute, let's be clear, because we've got hundreds of thousands, as far as we can tell, people in Tahrir Square tonight. You're well aware that these anti-government demonstrators for some time now have said a constitution has been written which is simply unfair. It wasn't what people have voted for. They want to see the end of this president. They want to see parliamentary elections, presidential elections. They want to see the end of this president.

That's -- whoever is agitating for their own benefit, it is clear that millions of Egyptians do not agree with the way that this constitution is written, correct?

ELMASRY: Well, let me just say a couple of things. First of all, the (inaudible) that the secular liberal opposition, many of them, many of the elements within it are anti-democratic and exclusionist is overwhelming. This is an opposition that was cheerleading when the first democratically elected parliament in Egypt's modern history was disbanded. These are the same people that after the presidential elections last year refused to accept the results essentially. Two of the candidates -- and interestingly two of the leaders of the...

ANDERSON: Who are you talking about? Name them?

ELMASRY: Hamdi Selblahy (ph) and Amr Moussa in June of 2012, right after the first round results came in, they said we want -- we call upon -- or we call for early presidential elections. They wanted a do over. And this -- I cite this in my article that I just published in Jadaliyya, and you can go look it up, and I have sources, and you can link to the news stories that talk about this. And they've admitted it. I mean, it's not secret.

Mohamed ElBaradei has said as recently as a couple of months ago on CBC that he would rather see a military -- the military rule the country than a democratically elected islamist government.

Most recently -- and to me, most damning -- I just want to get this in, this -- the liberal secular -- and this is to me is almost laughable, they have allied themselves with elements of the Mubarak regime. This has been known for months, but now recently they've come out and acknowledged it and admitted it. So this could be the first time in history, I'm not a historian, but where a regime is ousted, a dictatorship is removed from power via mass popular protests and then so-called revolutionaries ally themselves with this regime to oust a democratically elected president.

ANDERSON: OK. You've made your point. Let me just get our viewers aligned from Reuters, which is just crossed as you were speaking. The army, the Egyptian army rejecting the idea that they are staging a coup. Obviously eluding to the fact that they've given the president 48 hours at this point to get his house in order. A number of points that they want a new presidential elections, new parliamentary elections, et cetera. But at this point, certainly the army suggesting that there is no coup in the works.

But listen, you know, you've made your point. You've made your point about what you call this secular liberal opposition. There is a problem with an opposition which is fractured, isn't there, in Egypt. But you also have to admit that there is a huge opposition to the president and the way that the Muslim Brotherhood is running the country. You have to accept that.

ELMASRY: Absolutely.

Look, if you want to have a few minutes on the mistakes that President Morsi has made, we can do that. I've criticized his policies that he's implemented...

ANDERSON: So what's the answer. Let's move it on, what's the answer here?

ELMASRY: Well, the -- well, this is going to be a -- it's a very difficult scenario, because you have an anti-democratic military coup in operation regardless of what this...

ANDERSON: Well, the army says that that's not true.

ELMASRY: Well, well -- I mean, I read the statement it's pretty clear.

I mean, when you -- imagine if the shoe were on the other foot. Imagine if a liberal president had come to power in Egypt and for 12 months the Muslim Brotherhood had organized mass protests. There were 7,000 protests last year. There were strikes in almost every industry. The police went on strike, which is illegal. If that -- imagine if the Brotherhood had gone around burning down offices. We have 36 -- excuse me 32 Muslim Brotherhood offices burned down. We have mass casualties in the Brotherhood camp. If the shoe were on the other foot, everyone would be screaming terrorism, anti-democracy.

I think we need to call a spade a spade. The Muslim Brotherhood has made plenty of mistakes, but in medicine they talk about triaging. When you go -- if somebody goes into the emergency room with a gunshot wound to the chest and a broken arm, the doctors treat the gunshot wound to the chest, not the broken arm. The Brotherhood might be a broken arm with their mistakes, but the secular liberal opposition and Mubarak regime supporters and the anti-democrats within Egyptian society -- and many of the -- and I have to point out that some of the opposition is legitimately upset with things that Morsi and the Brotherhood have done.

But to me, this anti-democratic -- anti-democratic tendency within these circles, that is the gunshot wound to the democratic chest, if you will, of Egypt. And that's the major concern, because there's no way forward for Egypt without institutional democracy, at least in my estimation.

ANDERSON: On Skype for you tonight, Mohamad ElMasry, the first of one of many voices this hour discussing what is a critical time for Egypt today following Egypt's army giving the country's rival parties 48 hours to resolve a deadly political crisis.

Thank you very much indeed for joining us. As we move through this hour, you will see live pictures of Tahrir Square on your screens as we get them.

We are just hearing that the Muslim Brotherhood itself has said that they will delay until tomorrow, now, a press conference, a news conference that we were anticipating within the hour.

What we do believe is happened is that President Morsi and the military have spoken in the past couple of hours following Egypt's army decision to give just 48 hours to rival factions there to resolve this crisis.

On the wires tonight at least, the Reuters flash that the army has denied that that would be, effectively, a military coup. But that is the speculation this hour.

Our top story, huge crowds in Tahrir Square as anti-government protesters welcomed that decision earlier Monday by Egypt's army to give rival political parties 48 hours. What is an escalating crisis we are staying on this hour, voices from all sides of the divide. And analysis with our regular contributor Fawaz Gerges at the bottom of this hour.

We have to take a very short break at this point, though.

You're watching Connect the World live from London. 16 minutes past 9:00. Tonight, after a week of laying low, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden makes his next move. And Russia's president responds.

Outrage in Europe of reports U.S. surveillance programs may have targeted EU allies.

And the U.S. president and the first lady land in Tanzania. More on what is a whirlwind African tour right here on CNN. You're 90 seconds away. Taking a very short break. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson for you in London.

Now despite high level denials by Moscow, Russia's state run news agency says U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden had applied for asylum. News agency is quoting a consular official. He says Snowden is being helped by WikiLeaks.

Now the former NSA security contractor charged with espionage is still believed to be holed up in the transit area of a Moscow airport. Earlier, Russia's president said he has no intention of extraditing Snowden to the U.S., but he also laid out conditions for his stay.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): If Snowden wants to stay in Russia he must stop his work aimed at harming our American partners.


ANDERSON: Well, new claims by Snowden that Washington has bugged EU embassies is causing a major diplomatic riff between the U.S. and its European allies. European Union has begun a full security sweep of its offices worldwide. And as Frederik Pleitgen reports, the scandal is threatening to derail at least one major Transatlantic agreement. Have a look at this.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As more and more details about what was going on here at the secretive NSA come out, European politicians want to know why the U.S. targeted them, supposed allies, with wiretapping and internet surveillance.

French President Hollande's diplomatic language did little to conceal his anger demanding eavesdropping stop immediately or else.

FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): Then, that we cannot have any negotiations, transactions on any matter if we do not obtain these guarantees.

PLEITGEN: The angry complaints came after the German magazine Der Spiegel reported more from leaker Edward Snowden showing the NSA bugged European Union offices in the U.S. and Europe and monitored the EU's internet communication.

According to the report, the NSA monitored some 500 million phone and internet records every month from Germany alone. That produced a stinging rebuke from the German government spokesman.

STEFFEN SEIBERT, GERMAN GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN (through translator): It has to be cleared up. And if it turned out to be true, then it would be unacceptable. We are no longer in the Cold War.

PLEITGEN: Visiting Tanzania, the president said the U.S. is working through diplomatic channels to ease tensions, pointing out Europe benefits from intelligence gathered by the NSA to fight terror.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Europeans are some of the closest allies that we have in the world. And we work with them on everything. And we share intelligence constantly. And our primary concerns are the various security threats that may have an impact on both our countries.

PLEITGEN: At the recent G8 summit in Northern Ireland, the Obama administration and Europe agreed to start talks for a new Transatlantic free trade agreement. Projects like that could be in jeopardy if relations sour any further says Josef Braml from the German Council on Foreign Relations.

JOSEF BRAML, GERMAN COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: If we find out more, for example, that it is not only German citizens that are of interest, but maybe banks or industries, this could have a bigger impact, because that would be industrial espionage.

PLEITGEN: With each new revelation, public anger over eavesdropping and internet hacking ratchet up a notch with a growing sense of betrayal and this underlying message to the U.S. Hey, we thought we were friends.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.


ANDERSON: All right. Well, the U.S. Secretary of State said he was caught off guard by the European Union's spying allegations. Speaking in Brunei, John Kerry said he has been so busy working on Middle East negotiations the past few days that he wasn't aware of the situation. And he needed to get more details.

But then he added that surveillance is a normal part of many national security programs.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I will say that every country in the world that is engaged in international affairs of national security undertakes lots of activities to protect its national security and all kinds of information contributes to that. And all I know is that that is not unusual for lots of nations.


ANDERSON: Well, earlier I spoke to Elmar Brok, the chair of the European parliament's foreign affairs committee. And I think I might ask if the Obama administration had confirmed or denied the details of these recent reports to its European counterparts as the EU had asked Washington specifically that when these reports came out. This is what he said.


ELMAR BROK, EU PARLIAMENT FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: It has not confirmed, but it has said that it's a normal relationship between international politics and that it has not denied it. Therefore, I feel that's always true.

ANDERSON: Well, the U.S. effectively calling this a storm in a teacup. Every nation, they say, conducts surveillance on others. Are EU nations spying on Washington?

BROK: I have said it very clearly that this is out of dimension. And I do not believe that Europeans tried to pluck the White House. And if that things would happen. And if you would tap the American embassy in Brussels, then I think it would be an outcry in the United States. And that is the clear answer that has nothing to do with fighting terrorism.

ANDERSON: Well, you haven't answered my question. Are you telling me that despite the U.S. saying all nations spy on each other, you say that is frankly not true?

BROK: I think you compare things which are not comparable, that everyone has intelligence service.

Let me answer please. Let me answer please. And that means that this is the normal work of intelligence service. But not 500 lines per month alone in Germany. That is a question of plucking representation embassy of allies. That is something different than normal intelligent work. It's dimension. It's out of control.

I think it's better to have this solved, because then the confidence in negotiations is not so far developed. If you see that our negotiators are taped, as when you tape our representation in Washington, then I think it's very difficult to have confidence between allies in negotiations. And therefore I think it will be better for the result of such negotiations is we stop such behavior.


ANDERSON: Elmar Brok speaking to me earlier.

Live from London, this is Connect the World. Coming up, after the tragic loss of 19 firefighters in Arizona, the state continues its battle to control the growing inferno. That after this.


ANDERSON: We're going to get you up to date in our top story, the political crisis in Egypt. And there was celebration in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Live pictures for you. The Egyptian army has said in a statement in the past few minutes that it rejects accusations that it has or will mount a military coup despite the fact that it gave the government 48 hours to sort itself out earlier today.

The Egyptian armed forces says, responding to the -- they are responding to the pulse of the Egyptian street.

Live pictures for you of Tahrir Square this evening.

Certainly those who were there, anti-government protesters supporting the Egyptian military this evening. But they say themselves, Egyptian army says, it rejects accusations it has mounted a military coup.

We'll get back to this story for you in a couple of minutes time.

First, the director and every director of the Vatican bank have resigned three days after Italian police arrested this man, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano. He's a senior cleric with close ties to the bank who is accused of plotting to smuggle $26 million into Italy from Switzerland. The Vatican says the resignations are in the best interest of the institute and the Holy See.

The U.S. state of Arizona is mourning the loss of 19 elite firefighters who died trying to put out raging wildfires on Sunday. The team was on the front lines of an ongoing blaze in central Arizona. Officials say they tried to deploy fire shelters and survival blankets as last ditch efforts to save themselves. It's the greatest loss of firefighters' lives in the U.S. in more than a decade.

Earlier, the governor Jan Brewer gave an emotional press conference and said all state flags would be flying at half staff to honor the victims.

Later this hour we'll be live with our team on the ground in Arizona. We're going to cross to our weather team as well for you this evening who have more details on why these fires were so deadly.

U.S. President Barack Obama called the men who lost their lives heroes. He reacted to the devastating news earlier today.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The news is heartbreaking and you know our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the brave firefighters who were out there.


ANDERSON: President Obama is in Tanzania as part of a six day trip to Africa. He's there to discuss trade in the region. Tomorrow, Mr. Obama is meeting with his predecessor George W. Bush to attend a memorial for a U.S. embassy attack.

Well, earlier, the U.S. president was welcomed by crowds of excited locals. Drums, trombones and dancing greeting Mr. Obama and the first lady as they got off their plane.

CNN's Nima Elbagir is in Dar es Salaam. And she joins us live.

Tanzania, a strategically important country for the U.S. as it has key ports, of course, in the Indian Ocean. Is this part of a competition for business with China? What -- I guess the ultimate question is why is the U.S. president there at this time?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely, Becky. This is very much all being done with one eye on China. Three years ago, China overtook the US as Africa's single largest individual trading partner. Only the European Union as a whole trading bloc competes with China, and the US clearly wants to make up that space between them.

And he's always said that this is the part of the trip where he's going to be talking money, and he seems to be making good on that promise, Becky. He announced a new phase in US-African relationships. Take a listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are looking at a new model that's based not just on aid and assistance, but on trade and partnership. And increasingly, what we want to do is use whatever monies that we're providing to build capacity.


ELBAGIR: Now, to make that happen, he's announcing two new initiatives. One, Power Africa, that's hopefully going to be expanding access across sub-Saharan Africa to the electricity grid by some 22 million homes over the next five years. And also Trade Africa. He's hoping that that's going to bolster US trade with this region by about 40 percent.

And undercutting all of this -- it was really interesting to hear him say this, Becky -- he's made it very clear that although there is assistance in this package, this package is as much about -- sorry, excuse me -- is as much about US interest as it is about African interest, that Africa is this incredible, untapped consumer growth market, and the US has to get in there.

And he's hoping that by the time he gets on that plane home tomorrow, Becky, he's going to started to bridge that gap with China. Of course, that will remain to be seen. So, we'll watch and wait, Becky.

ANDERSON: Nima, thank you for that. Well, South Africans continue their daily vigil for Nelson Mandela. Police on Monday offering a special tribute.




ANDERSON: After 24 days, the crowds have not thinned outside the Pretoria hospital where the 94-year-old Apartheid icon remains in critical but stable condition with a lung infection.

Well, among those reflecting on Nelson Mandela's legacy is former US president George W. Bush. He and his wife, Laura, as I said, are in Africa right now. They are in Zambia working on a cancer-fighting initiative. Robyn Curnow sat down with the former president for this exclusive interview.


ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As Nelson Mandela begins his fourth week in this hospital, I spoke to former President George W. Bush and Mrs. Bush and asked them to reflect on what he means to them.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sometimes there are leaders who come and go. He -- his legacy will last for a long time.

LAURA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: He is, I think, really an inspiration to people around the world and to a lot of Americans. A figure that we watched from afar from the United States, and I have a lot of respect for, of course.

CURNOW: He was quite tough on you, though. He criticized you publicly about the Iraq War.

G.W. BUSH: Yes. He wasn't the only guy.


G.W. BUSH: It's OK. I mean, I didn't look at him any differently because he didn't agree with me on an issue.

CURNOW: Comfortable in retirement, President Bush and Mrs. Bush opened up a clinic in Zambia today, which helps to diagnose and treat cervical cancer. They hope it'll save thousands of lives.

Robyn Curnow, CNN, Pretoria.



ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. The top stories for you this hour.

Crowds in Tahrir Square cheer military helicopters after Egypt's armed forces earlier today deliver an ultimatum. They're giving the government and all political forces 48 hours to meet the people's demands, or else, they say, they will intervene. Well, according to Reuters news agency, the military says it's not staging a coup, but wants to promote political consensus.

We've been expecting a response from a presidential spokesperson. That news conference has, we are now told, been delayed. As and when we hear from the government, we will, of course, bring that to you.

Russia's state-run news agency reports that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has requested asylum, but the head of Russia's immigration agency says no request has been made. Earlier Monday, Russian president Vladimir Putin said Snowden could only remain if he stops, and I quote, "hurting American interests."

Well, there's growing outrage in Europe at revelations originating with Snowden that the US bugged European Union offices. Some European leaders warn free trade talks could be in jeopardy. French president Francois Hollande is calling on the US to stop any spying immediately.

Nineteen firefighters are being mourned in the US state of Arizona. They were killed Sunday while battling this blaze north of Phoenix. It was the nation's deadliest wildfire tragedy in 80 years.

Returning now to the political crisis in Egypt. The next 48 hours could very well decide the fate of the country's first-ever democratically- elected leader. We're joined now by a blogger who's been taking part in the anti-government protests. Bassem Sabry is on the phone from Cairo.

I know, sir, that you are not currently at the demonstrations, but there are what look to be tens if not hundreds of thousands of people in Tahrir Square. Our viewers also need to know there are smaller demonstrations in support, as it were, of the government in another area in Cairo tonight. Just give me a sense of the atmosphere as these demonstrations grow.

BASSEM SABRY, EGYPTIAN WRITER, BLOGGER, AND PROTESTER: Well, first, thank you for having me. The atmosphere is incredible, and I'm trying to say this as objectively as possible, not to let my biases weigh in.

But basically speaking, ever since the army's statement, I have seen, perhaps for the first time since February of 2011 when Mubarak was toppled, I can see people waving flags in the street, of all ages. People are hanging their flags from their buildings. Cars are honking across the street. Everyone is talking as if Morsi is officially out of power and the Brotherhood is officially out of power --


ANDERSON: OK, let me ask --

SABRY: -- and everyone is celebrating.

ANDERSON: Let me ask you this question. What is it, specifically, that they are celebrating? The idea that the military might take over? Certainly tonight they've said that this is no coup, but they've said that they will, at least, establish a road map for Egypt's future going forward. How do you read that, and how did others read that when they cheered this military statement in Egypt earlier?

SABRY: Well, semantics -- semantics are a little bit of an issue here, but generally speaking, the military remains the only popular institution in Cairo, and the most popular institution, according to several polls. And basically, whether or not the military takes power or creates a road map, the general idea is everyone is depending -- or seems to be getting that the military will be the one to pull the plug on Morsi, at least. And --

ANDERSON: I'm -- I'm fascinated to hear you talk about the military as a popular institution. That -- I've got a sort of wry smile on my face. When was the last time that Egypt's military were popular with the masses?

SABRY: Actually -- and this is something -- I am one of the people who have been -- who were chanting against the military when they were in power, but the fact on the ground and according to most polls, the military has always been extremely popular in Egypt.

And -- it has remained popular even though the popularity did, toward the end of the last time the military was in power in 2011, 2012. But the military has been staggeringly powerful. The latest Zogby poll in Egypt put the popularity of the military at 94 percent, that was just about a month ago.

ANDERSON: Ninety-four percent. I think many of our viewers who are not watching from Egypt tonight may be absolutely fascinated to hear this. I want to bring in -- Bassem, don't go. Stay on the line with me. I want to bring in Fawaz Gerges, who is a regular guest on this show, just back --

SABRY: Thank you.

ANDERSON: -- from Egypt, of course, to run the Middle East School at the LSE. How do you read what's happened in the past few hours in Egypt today?

FAWAZ GERGES, PROFESSOR OF MIDDLE EASTERN POLITICS AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: My fear, Becky, is that the opposition is over-reading into the military's statement. Yes, the military is the wild card, the most powerful institution.

ANDERSON: And popular, apparently.

GERGES: Well, yes, among Egyptians, even though, as your guest has just suggested, in fact, most of the revolutionaries chanted against the military, and the military had the -- just a taste after the took power from Mubarak, as you know, for about a year or so.

The military is trying to pressure both President Morsi and the opposition to compromise. This is the strategy of the military. I doubt it very much, Becky, if the military will wage -- will carry out a coup, especially given the bitter experience that it had after the removal of Mubarak.

They are -- what the military is trying to do is to establish checks and balances on Morsi, to fetter his hands. So, three elements. The road map, they talked about the road map. What does the road map involve?

A new government? A new prime minister led by a competent member of the opposition? A new prosecutor general that meets the opposition's demands? And of course, revisiting the constitution and some of the amendments in which the opposition basically --

ANDERSON: Is this a democratic Egypt going forward, or an Egypt forced by this kind of loose coalition of opposition groups? And by the way, is there any one obviously leader of Egypt, if it wasn't President Morsi at the moment and the Muslim Brotherhood?

GERGES: Well, you know, Becky, Egypt today is as polarized as it was during, basically, the Mubarak regime. What you're really seeing is that the -- some of the revolutionaries are calling on the army to return to politics is testament to how polarized Egypt is a year after the election of Morsi.

Think of the millions of people who cheered Morsi after his election. Think of the millions of Egyptians who pinned their hopes on Morsi. A year later, now, Egyptians, the millions of Egyptians who cheered for Morsi are saying he must go, who were less than a year ago.

It's a testament to where Egypt is today, how far Egypt has traveled, the polarization between the Islamists on the one hand, and not only the secular-leaning opposition, millions of Egyptians, poor and middle class, who voted for Morsi have been disenchanted by the mismanagement of the economy and his authoritarian ways.

ANDERSON: Bassem, do you buy this, the analysis here, and I'm assuming that you can hear that the army as described by one member of the Muslim Brotherhood tonight earlier, playing the role of an honest broker, it was described, trying to get these rival factions together, no sense that they're looking to take over. Too much of a bitter taste for many Egyptians. Do you buy all of that?

SABRY: It's only half correct, in my opinion. The thing is, the military has, indeed, been trying to act as a broker for the past while, and I do agree also that the military did not want to go back to power, it does not want to go back to power.

But I don't think that it expects that a compromise could still happen. No one expects that a compromise of the sort that might even retain Morsi in power could still happen. They -- I think the general sentiment is that Morsi is gone.

However, what I do expect and what many do expect is that if a new transition does, indeed, take place, the military will not try to position itself officially at the forefront. We expect some sort of either a judicial or a civilian entity to be at the forefront of this transition, whereas the military will try to, perhaps, be the real power center from the back.

ANDERSON: All right. Thank you for that. I'm going to let you go. Live pictures of Tahrir Square as you get the final word, Fawaz, this evening.

GERGES: Well, the reality is, the removal or Morsi will create a major power vacuum. What do you do? A democratically-elected president. An incompetent president. A president who is his own, basically, worst enemy, who basically managed to polarize Egypt.

You have to have a compromise, because the reality is, the compromise is there. The opposition has certain just demands about a new government, about the constitution, about the prosecutor general. It intensified these demands about the removal of Morsi, and that would very much, whether the military will come gamble and basically force Morsi out.

Because basically, this such a move would plunge Egypt into a greater, basically a legal, political, and institutional crisis.

ANDERSON: The army making its statement -- what? -- about six or seven hours ago, giving the government 48 hours to get its house and order and get these rival factions together. Are you looking at an increasingly volatile situation over the next two days?

GERGES: Absolutely. Highly volatile. Egypt is deeply polarized. Morsi can rise up to the challenge and offer a compromise with the opposition.

ANDERSON: Interesting take. Thank you as ever. Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Becky Anderson. Flags fly at half- staff this evening in Arizona in the States as that state mourns the death of 19 firefighters. We'll be live with more on what has been devastating, deadly wildfires there. Back after this.


ANDERSON: I'm going to return to that tragedy in the United -- in the US state of Arizona, now, for you. A wildfire has killed 19 members of an elite firefighting unit. It is the greatest loss of firefighters' lives in the US since the 9/11 terror attacks. CNN's Stephanie Elam is in Prescott, Arizona near Phoenix. Steph, just describe the atmosphere, if you will.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, I have to first tell you why we're standing inside of a high school gym, and that's because this is where the governor of Arizona came here to this small, quaint town where everyone sort of knows their name, to just express her condolences for the town and to let them know the resources that they're putting in to work on this fire.

One thing I should point out, as well, that at this point, the fire is still zero percent contained, that led to the death of these 19 firefighters. Let's just take a quick listen to what she had to say.


JAN BREWER, GOVERNOR OF ARIZONA: While we mourn the firefighters lost yesterday, I want to be mindful of the hundreds who remain in harm's way as they continue to battle the Yarnell Fire. In this tragedy, there will be many unanswered question, and there will be time to find the answers that I know each and every one of us seek.


ELAM: Now, those firefighters, they are very, very well-trained. They are trained to go in and get as close to the fire line as possible to dig a containment line around it. So, there's a lot of discussion of what could have gone wrong to threaten the lives of these 19 men and then for them to perish.

They're still investigating. They're not sure of it now. I can tell you that they have recovered the bodies of these men.

But overall, this entire community very devastated by a fire that just raged bigger over the last couple of nights and taking the lives of these very, very well-trained people who, as you talk to people here in the community, you can see that they still just can't really get their hands around the fact -- their minds around the fact that all 19 have died.

These groups worked in groups of 20, and there was one firefighter of that group who was fighting in a different location, so he was not with them. He is alive. We have not been able to make contact with him just yet. But young men who've been putting their lives on the line, Becky.

ANDERSON: Remarkable stuff. All right, Steph, thank you for that. Let's get more on why these fires are just so bad in that area. Jennifer Delgado is at the CNN International Weather Center. It does seem remarkable. At this time of year, you tend to get fires in that sort of region, but quite this bad? Why?

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's actually so bad because -- now, keep in mind, for parts of the fall months, it was rather dry there. And what we're dealing with is a deficit, and really just a widespread drought across parts of the southwest. They just didn't get that moisture out there that they need.

But the problem is, as we take you back in time and we talk about the fire, now, we do know that the firefighters were working in the area, what you can see, in Yarnell. And again, they are from the region of Prescott.

But what we saw were the firefighters were on the tail end of this fire. Now, the winds before it, they were coming out of the southwest, so they're blowing the smoke as well as the flames up towards the northeast.

But the wind shifted. Once we got this squall line coming through, and it produced some very strong winds. And when we get these storms and we get these downdrafts and we saw some of these winds up to about 70 KPH, it shifted the fire directly toward the firefighters, were they were battling, in the southern edge right in Yarnell.

And again, when you have these storms, of course, and you see them lining up like that, it doesn't take much to shift those winds. So, the firefighters really just didn't have a chance.

Now, we do know that they had their fire shelters. Let's go over to some of the video that we have. And when the firefighters are out there battling, and they are called the hotshot firefighters, and I think we have video, maybe we can pull this up for you and maybe we don't, but of the fire shelters. They carry those along with them.

And so, they have that as a last-ditch resort to protect them when these fires shift, like what we saw coming out of Yarnell. Well, unfortunately, these things are only designed to withstand temperatures up to about 260 degrees Celsius.

So, they're designed, as I take you back over to our graphic, to actually withstand the radiant heat as well as the fire. But when you have all these fires out there and they're moving so quickly, it doesn't take much, of course, to lose control, and we're seeing something that like that.

But unfortunately, when you see something like this with these fire shelters, they only protect for so long, because once they get so hot, the glue breaks down, and then eventually, the fire shelters break down as well. But unfortunately, it's just a change in the wind and the firefighters happened to be on the wrong side when that storm developed.

ANDERSON: Jennifer Delgado with the analysis. Jen, thank you for that.

DELGADO: You're welcome.

ANDERSON: Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, the last time they saw each other, a Taliban gunman had opened fire on them. Malala Yousufzai and her Pakistani school friend reunite in the United Kingdom.


ANDERSON: I want to kick off a new series here on CNN, which we are calling A Girl's World. Over the next few months, we're going to be following a group of teenagers, all girls, all from different parts of the world. Equipped with handheld cameras, they'll be taking us into their lives, providing an insight to their education, their culture, and their families.

Well, tonight, we meet three of these young ladies hailing from South Africa, the United States, and Argentina.


NOOBILE HADILE, 15, SOWETTO, SOUTH AFRICA: Welcome to my house. This is where I live. I'm Noobile Hadile (ph), I'm a South African girl. I'm Christian and Zulu, and I'm 15 years old. I'm a dancer. I go to the National School of the Arts.

EUGENIA SILVAVOTO, 15, BUENES AIRES, ARGENTINA (through translator): My name is Eugenia Silvavoto. I'm 15 years old. I was born in Buenos Aires, the capital, and I live here in Beligrano in Buenos Aires.

ZIGGY OVI (ph), 16, ATLANTA, GEORGIA: I'm Ziggy Ovi. I'm 16 years old. I go to Grady High School in Atlanta, Georgia.

It's a mutual thing today, so come on!

SILVAVOTO (through translator): In my family, there's my sister, who's ten years old. Her name is Mariana. My mom is a preschool teacher and my dad is a merchant marine.

OVI: My family life is pretty simple. I'm an only child, and my mom is a single mother, so it's just my mom and I pretty much all the time.

HADILE: My mum is my best friend. I feel like when I need somebody to talk to, she's always there, both her and my sister. My sister is one of my friends. We've just got this close connection, and I really -- I love my family for that. It's special.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey! What are you doing? Cooking?

HADILE: I know, for the first time.



OVI: I would say that most of my role models are women. My mommy is my role model, because she does so much and she still stays strong. She has persistence.

SILVAVOTO (through translator): I'm a person who likes to do things differently from everyone else and not always do what everyone else is doing. Not the same things that everyone or the majority of people are doing. I like different things.

OVI: I'm just not like into all of the things that other people are into. On Friday nights, I love to just curl up in my bed and watch black and white movies.

HABILE: Growing up in Soweto has just like been an experience, because you get to learn a lot, you get to see a lot. I am very excited about the future. I feel -- I know that I'm going to be a successful person.



ANDERSON: All right. Well, A Girl's World is what you're looking at there, and it was a series inspired -- is a inspired by Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by a Taliban gunman in October simply for wanting an education.

Well, I'm sure you know, she survived the attack and has spent the past nine months recovering and studying here in the United Kingdom. But Malala wasn't the only victim of the Taliban that day. Two of her friends were also shot.

Now, one of them, Shazia Ramzan, has also arrived in the UK to complete her education. Earlier today I met the schoolgirl and one of her main benefactors, former British prime minister Gordon Brown.


ANDERSON: I know that you saw Malala for the first time recently. How was that?

SHAZIA RAMZAN, PAKISTANI STUDENT: I am really happy just seeing Malala because she is very well and fine.

ANDERSON: You were instrumental, of course, in getting treatment for Malala here and instrumental in helping Shazia.

GORDON BROWN, UN SPECIAL ENVOY FOR GLOBAL EDUCATION: Yes, I was in Islamabad last November, and I talked to Shazia on the phone because she was in hospital for a month, and she was very severely wounded as well. She was treated in Pakistan, tried to go back to school, had to have armed guards helping her go to school.

And I said to her, look, if things got too difficult, we will help you, and we will help you get a visa and then get a scholarship in the United Kingdom. And that's what we've done. It's been extreme pressure. There has been intimidation and threats. She is an incredibly courageous and brave girl, and we're very proud of her.

And we want to help her, because she wants to be a doctor, and she's going to make a huge contribution by being a doctor and by studying as a medical student.

ANDERSON: You went back to school very soon after you were shot. Was that frightening for you?

RAMZAN (through translator): I was very scared because I was in hospital for one month. But when I went back, I felt very strange, but at the same time, I was very happy that I'm back. But there was always that feeling that I wish Malala was with me.

ANDERSON: What do you remember of the day that you were shot?

RAMZAN (through translator): I get very scared when I remember that day. I will never forget that day. I remember the guy coming and shooting us and being in hospital for one month. It's very scary, but I'm never going to forget that.

ANDERSON: Do you worry about the girls at home getting an education?

RAMZAN (through translator): I know every girl in Pakistan wants to have an education, and hopefully, the situation there will change and they will -- every girl will have education and will go to school.


ANDERSON: Shazia Ramzan, who has arrived here in the UK as security as she tried to go to school, really not what you would expect in Pakistan, so she's here.

In tonight's Parting Shots, we return to our top story, the protest over whether Egypt's president should remain in power. Our iReporters have been sending in their photos and videos from across the globe.

An Egyptian-born iReporter who goes by the name "Masrman" shot this video of demonstrators outside the Egyptian consulate in Los Angeles in California. He told us that the, quote, "atmosphere was surprisingly festive and optimistic."

And there were similar scenes outside the United Nations in New York, iReporter Michael Abdelmalek joined the protesters there who were chanting, "Morsi, we're tired of your games," and "Egypt and Morsi don't mix."

The majority of our iReports have come from inside Egypt, and tonight we leave you with some of the best. From the team here in London, it is a very good evening.