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Syrian Beheading Executions; Zawahiri Calls for More Attacks on U.S.; Syrian-Americans Humanize Effects of War; Royals Make First Post-Baby Appearance

Aired September 13, 2013 - 12:30   ET


BOBBY GHOSH, INTERNATIONAL EDITOR, "TIME" MAGAZINE: For the past two years, the Internet is full of cell phone videos of fighters on both sides, whether they're Assad's side or the rebel side doing the most horrific things to each other and then posting those atrocities as propaganda, executing captives, eating their flesh.

The value of these pictures, we felt, was that this was photojournalism. This was done by somebody, we can't name him for his own security, but somebody who is not Syrian who is a legitimate photojournalist.

What we're seeing here is rebels. Now, there are rebels and then there are rebels. We believe these are Islamists.

We believe that -- we have reporting from the location, it's a small village near Aleppo from someone who was at the execution who said that these are al Qaeda rebels.

They are -- that day on the 31st of August, they conducted four executions, beheadings of people.

We're less clear about the nature, the motivation for these beheadings. We're not 100 percent certain about who it is that is being beheaded.

But it is clear that some -- that the war has brought -- every war is vicious, but this one is plumbing new depths in brutality and these pictures capture that.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CO-ANCHOR: Obviously, very distressing stuff there, that was one of three beheadings carried out that day according to the photojournalist.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CO-ANCHOR: And it's pretty rare you have a group of fighters from either side really giving a professional like that the kind of access as this unfolds. I mean, this is something that's important -- it's important to see.

HOLMES: Yeah, that there is those elements out there. That's true.

All right, we'll move on now.

The attack on 9/11, of course, was remembered and, as it was, al Qaeda made new threats against the U.S.

MALVEAUX: The group's leader wants terrorists to commit violent acts inside the United States. We're going to have that right after the break.

You're watching AROUND THE WORLD.


MALVEAUX: The leader of al Qaeda used this week, when Americans observed the 9/11 anniversary, to make more threats against the United States. And they were pretty specific, as well.

HOLMES: Yeah, Ayman al-Zawahiri took over al Qaeda, of course, after Osama bin laden was killed.

Now he posted a new message on the Internet that cheers on his followers and tells them to keep attacking all things American.

MALVEAUX: Nic Robertson is live in Beirut right now, and give us a sense of specifically, what was he threatening? What was he talking about?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what he was saying was that an al Qaeda supporter should land a large strike against the United States or on the United States and they should be patient if it takes many years in planning. He said they should be patient and allow that to happen.

It's almost, for those of you who watch al Qaeda closely, it's sort of no surprise they will try to put out a message around about September 11th. This was an audio message, not a video message.

Ayman al-Zawahiri believed to be hiding out somewhere in Pakistan/Afghan border region, no one really knows for sure.

But the fact that he got this message out so close to September 11th, an indication their communication channels are relatively working well for them. This would be they're arranged to get that out as close as possible.

But what he really wants to do and what is exalting the al Qaeda members to do is this large scale attack. He says the Boston bombing is a good example of that.

And what he wants to do is bleed is the United States economically, is what he's saying. If you continue with the attacks and the threats of attacks, the United States will have to spend more money on security and, in these tough economic times he says, that will hurt the United States.

So that's the thrust of his message.

MALVEAUX: All right. Nic Robertson, thank you so much, reporting from Beirut.

And coming up, you're going to hear from two Syrian-Americans. One is a college student who has friends and families living there.

HOLMES: Yeah, the other is a musician who is expressing his love for his homeland with a song for Syria.

We're going to be talking with them about their thoughts on the crisis, plus what it's like to love two countries on verge of military confrontation.


HOLMES: Welcome back.

With the world focused on Syria's chemical weapons talks, it's easy to forget that innocent people, real people, are dying every day, every front yard a potential frontline and every family directly or indirectly impacted.

For our next guests, this war does hit home quite literally. They are Syrian-Americans. They both have family members who are still inside the war-ravaged country.

Dena Yazji was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. Malek Jandali is an award winning Syrian American composer and pianist.

Dena, you're 21-years-old. We've been looking at pictures of you in Syria, typical young lady. You go there every summer or have been going every summer. What are your memories of Syria and how you now see the country?

DENA YAZJI, SYRIAN-AMERICAN STUDENT: Ever since I was born -- I was born in Jacksonville, Florida, but ever since I was born, I've gone to Syria every summer of my life.

It's literally home, another home for me, not just Jacksonville, so I have lived two lives, one here and one in Syria. The memories, I will never forget in my life.

HOLMES: What is that like, the two lives? You go there and now you see what parts of your country are like, and yet, you're living this nice American lifestyle.

You have family in Syria. How do you feel? What does it make you feel?

YAZJI: It's heartbreaking. It's traumatizing. It's frightening. Knowing that your family and friends can be attacked at any moment is the most heartbreaking thing you can think of.

And to think that, you know, it might come from my second home, America, might cause more heartbreak to my country, that's even more traumatizing.

HOLMES: You know, I want to start -- I want to ask Malek this.

Do you think that people forget, lose sight of the fact that these are people? We were talking about this with Sanjay earlier. I've covered wars for 25 years, and the big battle is always to personalize it for people because otherwise it's just numbers.

MALEK JANDALI, SYRIAN MUSICIAN: Absolutely. Michael, this is not a civil war or a war. This is the revolution that was started by the Syrian children who demanded peacefully to get rid of dictatorship so they can have free elected government to live in peace. That's what it is.

And I think no one will disagree and everyone been agree that gassing children to death and having a massacre on civilians is a war crime against humanity.

HOLMES: I think that's a political discussion that we've had. I'm more -- I'm interested in how you feel about your family members. You've had your parents beaten up --

JANDALI: Absolutely.

HOLMES: -- during this war and, the politics aside, what are you seeing happen to Syrians?

JANDALI: You know, it's a war launched by a dictator on the Syrian people and the children. I cross the borders and met all those children, those innocent, beautiful Syrian children.

And remember, you are talking to a Syrian who was raised in Syria, not just visited every year. And I witnessed firsthand the genocide of 1982 in Hama, which was committed by the dictator's father.

So the simple truth is this is a vicious war launched by a brutal dictator on the Syrian civilians. That's what it is.

And we need to be clear about it and we need to bring him to justice. We need to bring this dictator to justice.

HOLMES: Dena, you tell me from your perspective, when you look at Syria and the Syria you knew and the Syria you see now, unfortunately, on the television because you can't probably go there now.

YAZJI: Right.

HOLMES: Do you worry that that old Syria will ever come back? A lot of people are starting to talk about whether it's too late for Syria in terms of the way that societies and families and communities have been absolutely torn apart.

YAZJI: I think it's when you see your country at ground zero, completely to ruins, you see the Syrian community come together in such a way that we've never been united this strongly before in a way that I think we will go back it to Syria one day and we will be the ones that will bring it back.

We are the ones to make this national unity and bring it back to how it used to be and even better. HOLMES: Do you agree, Malek, do you think it can survive this?

JANDALI: Absolutely, we are all united against oppression and dictatorship for freedom, human rights and justice. The Syrian Americans are united against it.

HOLMES: How are your parents, by the way? And briefly tell that story.

JANDALI: They were brutally attacked after my performance at the White House simply for performing a piece of music on my piano.

And you know, let me tell you, the Syrian people are the peaceful people who invented the alphabet and the musical notes (inaudible). I invite everyone for a free concert for a free Syria.

HOLMES: And I know that you've been visiting refugees, I think, and giving out musical instruments and the like, which is good because they need all the help they can get.

Malek Jandali and Dena Yazji, thanks so much for coming in.

YAZJI: Thank you for having us.

HOLMES: Lovely to talk to you.

YAZJI: Thank you.

JANDALI: Thank you.

HOLMES: All right, coming up, Prince William and Duchess Catherine make their first public appearance together since taking time off to focus on the new baby boy, George. And the prince actually opens up about fatherhood to CNN. We'll have that when we come back.


MALVEAUX: Welcome back.

It was a big night for the royal couple in London. Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge stepping out last night for their first public appearance since the birth of their son, Prince George, back in July.

HOLMES: You've got to get out at some point, don't you? This was actually a charitable event to protect wildlife and also battle poverty in Africa. Prince William addressed the audience and, of course, did speak about little George.


PRINCE WILLIAM: As you might have gathered, Catherine and I have recently become proud parents of a baby who has a voice to match any lion's roar.


MALVEAUX: All right, joining us from London, Max Foster.

You've been spending a lot of time with the royal couple here for your Sunday special. So he says it's a lion's roar, the cry of George. How's it been?


HOLMES: Yes, Max and the royal couple, they're best buds, aren't you? Come on.

FOSTER: Oh, I know. I'm some sort of stalker, aren't I, at the moment. I mean it was a really glamorous affair. And she looked stunning in this dress. But, you know, you get this -- these little moments at the moment where they're just sort of being ordinary parents. So William was talking about how, you know, he's got his phone next to him the whole time because it was the first night they were out without Prince George. They're really nervous about it. Waiting to see if they got any calls from the palace. And they left George at home with a nanny. So they are, you know, moving on. Initially they were saying, we weren't going to have a nanny, but now they have a nanny. They're relenting a bit.

HOLMES: Yes. And also, I mean, you left out the headline. The nanny was his nanny when he was a kid. I - yes, now 70 years old or something. What would have been the biggest change in their lives did they say?

FOSTER: Well, it's interesting because actually yesterday he talked about leaving the military. But they're not very clear about exactly what he's going to do next. He's going - basic -- some people suggesting he's having another gap year. But actually he's going to spend more time on his causes. I don't think he really knows what he's going to do next. He's going to take up another job at some point.

But in the documentary, he talks about conservation in particular because that's the thing he's really focusing on at the moment. Let's have a listen.


PRINCE WILLIAM: I think the last few weeks for me have been just a very different emotional experience. Something I never thought I would feel myself. And I find, again it's only been a short period, but a lot of things affect me differently now.


FOSTER: And there is actually a couple of moments in the documentary where he gets really, really emotional. And, you know, you sort of say, you know, this cause is obviously really close to your heart, and then he just sort of says, well, actually, no, I'm just really tired. I haven't slept for a couple of weeks.

MALVEAUX: I remember last time, Max, you said he was changing many nappies. I guess that's diapers, right? London in there, how they speak. FOSTER: Diapers.

MALVEAUX: Yes. Any other little nuggets or tidbits?

HOLMES: I'm having to reeducate her on all of this, Max, the nappies and it's a pram, not a stroller, and it's a cot (ph) not a crib. Yes, but, anyway, we digress. What else is in the special?

FOSTER: Well, you know, there were some interesting little bits where he talks how his memories of Diana, you remember those very iconic images of Diana with land mine and with young kids with HIV/AIDS, she was really pioneering. And he talked about, you know, his memories of that. Why he chose to get engaged in Africa.

But so often with William, I mean, we read so much into what he does, but when he got engaged in Africa, he actually said, well, you know, it just felt like a good place to do it. So we read a lot into these decisions. But you get a real sense of him in the documentary. And he's really good fun in places, very serious in other places. But actually he comes across as a really authentic guy. I think he'll be quite - you know, he'll feel it's an honest reflection of him as well when he sees it.

MALVEAUX: All right, beautiful pictures, as well. Max, thanks.

HOLMES: Yes. Yes.

MALVEAUX: We really appreciate that. And, of course, we're going to be looking forward to the special.

HOLMES: A rare insight.

MALVEAUX: This interview.



HOLMES: A rare insight.

And it's going to be this Sunday, 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

Nappies. Nappies.

MALVEAUX: Nappies.


MALVEAUX: Coming up, Anthony Bourdain visit a refugee camp, this is in Bethlehem. We're going to talk to him as well about his latest trip.

HOLMES: Yes, you got to do that.


ANTHONY BOURDAIN: First impressions of the camp, there's a remarkable number of kids.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now it's about 6,000 people. And two-thirds are under 18 years old. So it's a very young population. Unfortunately, with the continuous degradation of political and economic situation, we are in a situation where we have no playgrounds or green spaces anymore.



MALVEAUX: So you remember this. We all held our breath yesterday when we watched a man being rescued from what was probably certainly a very dangerous, dangerous situation. We happened to see this live here on CNN. Watch this.


HOLMES: Riveting pictures. And you're going to hear from that man himself. He's going to be speaking in just a few minutes and we will be bringing that to you.

MALVEAUX: But first, this. Food, culture and traditions. Of course we are talking about celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain back, season 2, of the Emmy nominated "Parts Unknown," premiering Sunday, CNN.

HOLMES: Very excited. We love it. Once again, he's going to be traveling all over the world. And this season he's going to be doing things like checking out bull fighting in Spain. He looks at a lot of the newsy stuff when he's out there. Now he's also going to look at the dark side of Japanese culture in Tokyo.

MALVEAUX: He's also making a stop in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're old cities divided into four quarts. There is Muslim quarter, there's a Jewish quarter, there is a Christian quarter and there's an Armenian quarter. Each one functions independently, but people that live in the certain areas are all from that religion.



MALVEAUX: So Bourdain describes the situation in the region as extraordinarily complex. And I asked him, what did he learn from his stop.


ANTHONY BOURDAIN, HOST, "PARTS UNKNOWN": I don't know that I ever come out of places any smarter than I went in, but I -- look, I think there's just - there's always value in, you know, going to places where there are often hard news stories and asking simple questions about how people live. And I think we -- you know, there's a basic humanity that I think is denied people sometimes in hard stories. And I think I -- I like to think that we showed a side of the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank that's been missing from a lot of reporting.

I had a good time. A very deeply confusing time. It's easily one of the most contentious areas of the world. But I find there's real value in asking those simple questions. I'm always surprised by the answers I get.

MALVEAUX: And, Anthony, one of the unique things you did, you spent time with an Arab and Israeli married couple, I believe, who own a restaurant. And you actually had an experience with the cuisine that seems to be a fusion of the two cultures, yes?

BOURDAIN: Well, the cuisines are very, very similar. And, in fact, it's a -- you know, this is a part of the world where even - even a question like, you know, who invented falafel or who makes the best hummus, those are -- that's already fighting words. So it's interesting to see, going back and forth, the similarities between the two cuisines and how extraordinarily neatly they fit together in a restaurant and, in this case, in a marriage.


MALVEAUX: And you can watch Bourdain's visit to Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank this Sunday night at 9:00 right here on CNN. It was really fascinating talk to him about all his travels. He's back on.

HOLMES: I'm jealous. You did that when I wasn't here. You snuck in and stole the Bourdain. Love that guy. Really good stuff.

We do want to end the program with this. Life just got a little bit sweeter for people living in Moscow.

MALVEAUX: We're talking about the very first Krispy Kreme doughnut shop just a few blocks from the Kremlin. We are told 200 people, they were lined up when the shop open for business yesterday morning. Krispy Kreme eventually planning to open 40 doughnut shops just in Moscow alone. God, we love them.

HOLMES: That's how you bring down the Russians. They're at a premium, though. Of course, one sugary piece of America will set you back about $2 and goodness knows how many calories.

MALVEAUX: Two hundred calories, maybe, I don't know.


HOLMES: Something like that.

Well, you're watching AROUND THE WORLD. CNN NEWSROOM starts now. Have a great weekend.