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U.S. in Deep Freeze; Infighting between Syrian Rebel Groups; Dennis Rodman to North Korea for Fifth Time; Tracking the Ivory Trade; Iraq Violence; Art of Movement: Pinarello Bicycles; Football Great Eusebio Laid to Rest; Eusebio Remembered; Parting Shots: UK Storm

Aired January 6, 2014 - 15:00:00   ET


FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, I'm Fionnuala Sweeney with a check of the day's top stories.


SWEENEY (voice-over): Nearly half the U.S. is in the grip of an arctic freeze that's making life difficult and dangerous outside. Temperatures in the Midwest region aren't expected to warm past 0 Fahrenheit or -18 Celsius.

Schools, businesses and government offices are closed and transportation is severely disrupted. No relief is expected until Wednesday at the earliest.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered army troops to avoid striking residential neighborhoods in Fallujah. Dozens of people have died there and in Ramadi as the army tries to clear out what it calls an insurgency led by Al Qaeda-linked fighters. Some reports say those fighters hold a part of Fallujah.

A ski accident will sideline the German Chancellor Angela Merkel for a few works. The 59-year old fell and fractured her pelvis while she was cross- country skiing in Switzerland. A spokesman said Ms. Merkel is expected to fully recover. She will, however, need help walking and will need to stay off her feet for a while.

Portugal today buried legendary footballer Eusebio, considered one of the game's all-time greats. He was Europe's Player of the Year in 1965 and scored nine goals in the 1966 World Cup. He died Sunday of a heart attack at the age of 71.


SWEENEY: You're watching CNN, the world's news leader. I'm Fionnuala Sweeney, and "CONNECT THE WORLD" starts right now.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: And tonight, the deep freeze as arctic temperatures settle across parts of North America. We're going to take a closer look at the icy weather system that's causing travel chaos.

Also ahead:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): We've all gone forward, trying to chase down what seems to be a poacher who at least most definitely is armed.

ANDERSON (voice-over): CNN goes deep into the jungle on the front lines of the fight against poaching.

And as Portugal bids farewell to its footballing legend, where ufig (ph) Eusebio ranks amongst the greats of all time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from CNN London, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: Well, America looks more like the Arctic this Monday, as plunging temperatures are bringing the coldest weather in more than 20 years. Temperatures are around 20-30 degrees Celsius lower than usual. But the icy winds do make that feel even colder.

The record-breaking weather, I'm told, is due to a fierce arctic chill called a polar vortex. It's making its way across two-thirds of the country. We're going to find out more about that shortly.

This was the scene, though, in Indianapolis in the Midwest where tens of thousands went without power last night, leaving people at serious risk of hypothermia.

A similar picture in Chicago, where schools are shut, like many parts of the country; people are being advised to stay indoors. And as you can imagine, it is a nightmare for people traveling as well.

Get this: 3,200 flights have been canceled so far this Monday. We'll have reporter Stephanie Elam, is in the Minneapolis, Minnesota, where it is about -26 degrees Celsius. She braved the sub-zero temperatures to send us this report.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's so cold here in Minneapolis that schools are closed, not because of snow, just because the cold. They say that they don't want to take the chance, because it was too cold for kids to be standing at the bus stop. They even went ahead and closed the zoo because they didn't want families to think that that was a good alternative for a day that this brutal cold has set in on the city.

So what they're doing now, police are out; they're making sure that anyone who needs to get shelter finds shelter. They were taking people to hospitals if necessary. They say crime is very low. They're also saying transportation seems to be fine right now. But they are concerned about black ice. And they're saying anyone who is venturing out today; make sure you have gas in your car and antifreeze because getting stuck out there for just a few minutes could be too long.

And just five minutes in these temperatures, your skin could start to freeze without any sort of protection. So it's very, very serious, very brutal. But when you think about how cold it is here, that the wind chill making it so much colder, then you see just how crazy cold it is.

This is boiling hot water. We're going to try an experiment here. Let's see if it's turned into snow. Let's go.

Kind of worked.

Back to you.


ANDERSON: Amazing.

Let cross to our meteorologist, Tom Sater, now.

Tom, Atlanta where you are, is currently colder than Moscow, I'm told. In words of one syllable, can you explain to us what is going on?



SATER: If I could --

ANDERSON: (INAUDIBLE) syllables --

SATER: -- yes, if I could, I wouldn't be able to spend the next two interesting minutes with you.

Becky, this is something else. I mean, it is actually colder in parts of the middle of the U.S. than it is in the middle of the North Pole. And let's take a look at Europe.

Look at these numbers, Berlin 7, Stockholm is 4, OK, Oslo, you're at the freezing mark, zero. Moscow is at 1. Kiev is at 2. They've been enjoying a little bit of a warm-up now. Let's go to the U.S. where you're OK, you're at -3 in Atlanta with a wind chill of -22. That's a live picture; doesn't really look cold, I mean, you -- the little Ferris wheel's even turning, almost looks like a county fair.

That is not the case. This is just brutal to man and beast. I mean, all mammals feel this wind chill. These are the air temperatures, though. When we talk about this, again, this is record-setting in some cases. Here where it's the worst in two decades, but in some case, take a look at this, high temperature in Minneapolis, this is known as the icebox of the U.S., and we have -27 degrees; the record 1909, -25 degrees; Chicago, -23. This is going to tie the record back in 1994. There are other cities, too, that have only had a handful of days where the temperature was below -17 and today's going to be one of those days. So all-time record.

Yes, OK, we call it the polar vortex, very interesting; sounds ominous. But in the North Pole, high pressure really kind of keeps all of that real polar cold air in place. Every once in a while those high-level winds, just like a rubber band, kind of ebbs and flows, can give at times. We see it dipping down now in the U.S.

Remember two years ago in Europe, it was deadly cold. I remember that. We lost a lot of lives in that cold. But every once in a while it does spill southward.

Take a look at high temperatures expected in some different cities here, in North America and into Europe, Washington, D.C., -7; Moscow, 2 degrees, when their average high is -8. Atlanta will be colder than Anchorage, Alaska. This is Yukon cold, heading into the deep Dixie South of the U.S.

Tallahassee, Florida, a low temperature of -4 and Oslo's low will be 3, where they should be -7. So they haven't had that polar vortex. But again, it's only the beginning of January. You can see the cold air all the way down to the south, no big concerns just yet for the citrus crops in the Sunshine State. We're not going to see four long days of the cold. So they can keep temperatures with heaters in some of the orchards above where they need to be critical.

This is out of here in a couple of days. By Friday, most of the lower 48 states will be either at or above temperatures. So that's great news, especially for all the -- you know, the mothers and fathers had to stay home because there are so many schools that are closed. There are 32 states that have warnings right now for advisories, for extreme winds and the wind chills.

But just to give you an idea, the departure from normal, it's a 21 degree difference in Nashville. It's all the way into the South, Becky, as you mentioned. So we're hanging in there, man and beast. We'll make it through just another couple of days.

ANDERSON: Yes, right, mate. Thank you, Tom.

Our iReporters certainly feeling the chill of the polar vortex, as it's known.

Adam Reed (ph) captured this skier on the beach in Ocean City, New Jersey. Here's a frosty fact for you. When you ski, it's on a layer of liquid, not ice. Ice melts at a lower temperature under pressure. So the weight of your body melts a thin layer of water just beneath those skis.

It was a cool -41 degrees Celsius in South Porcupine, Canada, last Thursday, just look at this guy, firing boiling water from his water gun and as Steph showed you, just a little earlier, it instantly freezes. It's like having your very own snow machine.

Down in Maine, a CNN iReporter photographed this snowflake on her porch. Each snowflake, of course you know, is unique, tiny differences in atmospheric condition means that every single one will be just slightly different.

Our iReporters have shown us some seriously cold weather, but there are much colder places. Last month scientists pinpointed the coldest spot on Earth, the temperature near the Vostok Antarctic Research Station, falls as low as -93 degrees Celsius, the coldest ever reported.

Well, let us know what it is like wherever you are. You can send us your pictures or videos via our iReports page at or just #CNNWeather on your Instagram photos.

Still to come this hour, a war within a war in Syria. The battle between rebel groups intensifies as fighters lay siege to an Al Qaeda stronghold.

Also ahead, former basketball star Dennis Rodman heads back to North Korea. We'll tell you why.

Plus hunting the hunters, an exclusive chase through Congolese jungle in pursuit of elephant poachers. All that and much more after this.




ANDERSON: Welcome back. You are back with us here on CONNECT THE WORLD. This is CNN, 11 minutes past 8:00 in London now.

The United Nations has begun sending out official invitations to what they're calling the Geneva 2 press conference for Syria later this month. One key Syrian ally was left off that list: Iran. The U.N. says the United States and Russia will meet next week to decide whether Iran should attend.

Well, efforts to end the Syrian war could be complicated by fierce infighting between rebel groups.

CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom is following that part of the story for you from Beirut this evening.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rebels of Syria have turned their guns against one another and the fighting is only getting worse. Opposition activists reporting that over the weekend clashes have intensified between more moderate FSA rebels inside Syria as they are taking the fight to the ISIS, which is the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, an Al Qaeda-affiliated group.

The tension between these groups has been bubbling up for months, but in the past few days, the FSA and other brigades affiliated with the rebel Free Syrian Army have laid down the law against the ISIS. They are tired of the fact that this Al Qaeda-affiliated group has taken over more territory inside Syria.

They are tired of the extreme Islamist jihadist ideology that they are bringing into Syria. So they, according to opposition activists, have begun arrested hundreds of this -- of these ISIS fighters and they have been taking them on in different towns.

The fighting began in the last few days in the northern part of Syria and has spread now to the eastern part of Syria, places like Raqqa, which close to the border between Syria and Turkey. Now there are videos that have emerged, purporting to show some of the fighting that's going on. We heard reports that there was one base that was commanded by the ISIS in al-Raqqa that has been taken over now and liberated by the FSA and groups affiliated with the FSA.

There are also reports from activists that dozens of detainees that have been held for months now by the ISIS because they were deemed not Muslim enough, including journalists, including academics and other FSA fighters, that they have been freed by the FSA in different parts of the country.

Meanwhile, the fighting is still intensifying between different groups. And at the same time as this what some activists are calling war within a war has erupted, you still have the fighting going on between the rebels and the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad. All goes to show just how complex and dangerous the situation is on the ground in Syria and how that Syrian civil war is spiraling more out of control by the day -- Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, Beirut.


ANDERSON: Well, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is leaving the Middle East empty-handed, but he says he did make some progress in laying the groundwork for upcoming peace talks.

Kerry met separately with Israeli and Palestinian leaders and also briefly visited Jordan and Saudi. He was traveling to establish a framework to guide negotiations that would lead to a two-state solution.

Now in Israel, doctors say the condition of the former prime minister Ariel Sharon likely will continue to worsen by the day unless there is a, quote, "miracle." The 85-year old has been in a coma since he suffered a stroke in 2006. Doctors say they have stabilized his blood pressure but his organ function is still deteriorating.

Peace talks aimed at ending weeks of fighting the world's newest nation have wrapped up for the day. Representatives of South Sudan's president and his former vice president have been meeting in Addis Ababa and plan to meet again tomorrow. Peace negotiations were supposed to have begun last week, but were delayed.

Meanwhile the Sudanese president Omer al-Bashir is in Juba for talks with the president of South Sudan. The two countries have agreed to consider deploying a joint force to secure the strategic oil fields.

Well, eccentric basketball star Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea on Monday in his fourth visit to the reclusive state. But this time he brought some of his basketball buddies along the group, former NBA players, are in North Korea to take part in a basketball game on Kim Jong-un's birthday.

Karl Penhaul has more.


KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Party time for North Korean strongman Kim Jong-un. He turns 31 Wednesday and basketball bad boy Dennis Rodman and his team of NBA all-timers headed there to help him celebrate.


PENHAUL (voice-over): Rodman is describing this trip as basketball diplomacy.

But prior to takeoff, he ruled out specifically pushing for the release of American missionary Kenneth Bae, who's doing hard time in a North Korean labor camp.

DENNIS RODMAN, BASKETBALL PLAYER: I'm not trying to save the world. I'm not trying to save Kenneth Bae or his people. That's not my job. My job? My job is (INAUDIBLE). I'm going there, doing what they -- trying to interact with him on that (INAUDIBLE) sports. He loves sports. I like the guy. The guy's awesome to me.

PENHAUL (voice-over): Rodman and his NBA buddies are scheduled to shoot hoops with the North Korean national squad. It's a birthday treat for Kim, who's an avid basketball fan. On his last trip in December, Rodman spent a few days coaching the North Koreans.

As they waited for their plane to Pyongyang, players insisted the focus was on the game, not politics.

But shooting guard Doug Christie is hopeful they can build bridges.

DOUG CHRISTIE, BASKETBALL PLAYER: The sport is what we're going for. Sport is something that cancels and conquers all borders, all lines. And it's an exciting feeling.

PENHAUL (voice-over): Power forward Charles D. Smith also seemed optimistic.

CHARLES D. SMITH, BASKETBALL PLAYER: Well, the (INAUDIBLE) views on North Korea come about because most people have not been there. And because people have a sense of fear of the unknown --

PENHAUL (voice-over): Critics see the trip as a publicity stunt and highlight North Korea's record of human rights abuses. But the NBA all- stars just want to play ball.

VIN BAKER, BASKETBALL PLAYER: I'm looking forward to playing and putting on a show here in North Korea.

ERIC FLOYD, BASKETBALL PLAYER: We don't really get into the political aspects of it. But we all enjoy the game, love the game. We just try to spread all the great qualities that the game brings

PENHAUL (voice-over): Only last month, Kim Jong-un sent his own uncle to the firing squad on charges of corruption and treason.

That kind of controversy prompted Rodman's Irish sponsors to pull out, but he remains unfazed.

RODMAN: (INAUDIBLE) showing people that we could actually go on. (INAUDIBLE). (INAUDIBLE).

PENHAUL: Some people are describing this trip as basketball's version of the movie, "The Expendables," where a group of has-been action heroes come together for one last mission. We must now just wait and see whether Rodman's main mission is simply to party with a dictator or whether he's hoping to score a diplomatic slam dunk -- Karl Penhaul, CNN, Beijing Airport.


ANDERSON: The German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be working from home for the next few weeks. The 59-year old fractured her pelvis after falling while she was cross-country skiing in Switzerland, something she enjoys immensely, we are told. Spokesmen for the chancellor said her injuries are not thought to be serious and Ms. Merkel is expected to fully recover. She will, however, need help walking and is expected to cancel some of her work commitments.

You're live from London. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson.

For you coming up, tracking the deadly ivory trade, an exclusive look behind the scenes on the trail of elephant poachers.

Also ahead, Iraq's prime minister orders the residents of Fallujah to expel terrorists within the city, warning the government is ready to attack.

Those stories coming up.



ANDERSON: All this week here on CNN, we're taking a closer look at one of the most lucrative and destructive trades in the world. I'm talking about ivory smuggling. It's threatening to wipe out Africa's elephants. But places like Odzala National Park in the Republic of the Congo have found a way to fight back.

CNN's Arwa Damon, along with photographer Pete Rudden and producer Brent Swails got to join the hunt for poachers inside the park. I'm going to warn you: some of the images you are about to see are disturbing.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been eight grueling hot hours on this river chasing poachers in the Republic of Congo's largest national park. For these eco-guards, disappointment follows disappointment.

DAMON (on camera): When you put your hand inside, it's actually still quite warm, which means that they probably left early in the morning.

DAMON (voice-over): Finally, around a bend, signs of activity. Smoke rising along the bank. They rush ashore and fan out into the jungle. Within seconds, a gunshot. And the pursuit begins. The terrain is dense and disorienting. The men force their way through the undergrowth and slosh through knee-deep water. Our CNN team can barely keep up.

DAMON (on camera): They've all gone forward, trying to chase down what seems to be a poacher who, at least most definitely, is armed. They appear to have caught him completely by surprise.

DAMON (voice-over): Mathieu Eckel, head of the park's anti-poaching division, brandishes the weapon captured by one of his men.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy in front of him tried to shoot him.

DAMON: Hooked on adrenaline, Brice Moupele describes what happened.

"He tried to shoot me, like this," he says. Moupele then tackled the poacher, grabbing the gun, but the poacher got away.

DAMON (on camera): There's elephant meat in the boat.

DAMON (voice-over): The men find the poacher's canoe, weighed down with fresh elephant meat, still dripping blood. Even more hangs off the sides.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is to take off the tusk.

DAMON: It's a sickening image of a trade that has decimated the park's elephants. The nonprofit group African Parks, which runs Odzala, estimates that Central Africa has lost 62 percent of its forest elephants in the last decade.

In this park alone, thousands have been killed in the last five years. In the week we spent here, we only saw one alive.

The park, about the size of Connecticut, is patrolled by just 76 eco- guards, not nearly enough. But some 40 percent of them are former poachers themselves, which helps big-time.

MATHIEU ECKEL, ANTI-POACHING AGENT: They know how poacher work. So it's easy for them to think like them.

DAMON: It's part of a program created by Eckel in the last year, where poachers are given amnesty if they hand over their weapons and confess. Eckel says this raid is proof his program works.

But the unit's successes come at a price. This is a country where corruption is routine, and where poaching with impunity has been a way of life. All these eco-guards have been threatened.

Frank Bolangonga tells us three men attacked his wife.

"They tried to rape her, but she was strong. She pulled back and her dress ripped off and she ran away," he says.

The same men who Bolangonga says are part of his village's poaching ring tried to attack him. He stabbed one of them.

The unit doesn't find any elephant ivory, but does end up with four guns, ammunition and a cell phone, a potential lead to the poachers.

The eco-guards torch the camp to send a message. These men often find themselves pursuing people they once worked with, friends, neighbors and even family members. In the ever-evolving fight against the ivory trade, out here, it's now personal.


ANDERSON: All right. Well, Arwa joins me now here in the studio.

Arwa, just how frequent are these type of busts?

DAMON: They're actually incredibly rare. Mathieu Eckel, the head of the anti-poaching division here at Odzala was telling us that he believes that they only actually seize about 1 percent -- 1 percent only -- of what is being poached.

What was especially significant about this, though, was not necessarily that they busted up the poachers' camp or that they found the canoe with elephant meat. For them, what was significant about it was just shows you how important these small things are, was the fact that they found four guns. That's four guns that aren't out there killing elephants anymore.

So the victories are very small.

ANDERSON: (INAUDIBLE) money, it's what we always say on stories like this.

And this is a very, very lucrative trade. We can feel very sorry that the elephants might be dying out. But if our viewers aren't empathetic or sympathetic to that story, they ought to understand just how big and frightening a trade this is.

DAMON: It is incredibly. And you just look at the fact that, you know, this eco-guard unit has been threatened; they've had to move their families away to Seymergrande (ph). Then you look at the actual finances of it. The poachers maybe get paid a few hundred dollars, if that. But by the time the money's reaching the end of market in Asia, it is worth so much more. And all those people in between are the ones that are really making the big bucks off of all of this.

And then, of course, you have the issue of corruption, which is rampant in the Congo and exists at every single level.

ANDERSON: And how -- I mean, again, that may be all-pervasive. That must make going off to these guys more difficult, surely.

DAMON: It is phenomenally difficult. And we'll be going into more detail in our stories that are coming up throughout the week. But they will try to put people behind bars, suspected poachers behind bars. They'll be able to bribe their way out of it. They'll try to go and get support from the authorities. It rarely actually comes their way.

The guns that they're finding with the poachers, the vast majority of them are military issue. Does that mean that the military's directly involved in this? Well, the government says no. But are there elements within the military that are perhaps facilitating the trade? They are.

ANDERSON: If you had to put a round figure on what this -- what we call lucrative trade is worth, just the obvious (INAUDIBLE) get a sense, what we -- what's a ballpark figure?

DAMON: The estimates are all over the place. Estimated up to perhaps $10 billion a year, perhaps significantly more. You know, you look at the end market in Asia, and demand there has actually increasing. It's been increasing in all of the year. Go by, yes, there's more arrests; they're finding more stockpiles. But at the same time, the demand is increased, not just in China, as China's middle class is emerging and becoming wealthier, but also with China's investment in Africa. That is linking the two continents even great together.

And then you have other Asian nations, where the market is growing, such as Vietnam and Thailand.

ANDERSON: All of this coming up this week. Thank you.

Our exclusive series, "Tracking the Ivory Trade" continues, of course, tomorrow with a dramatic chase, so following an ambush in the poachers' camp. And there is much more on the website. You can read all about the investigation and Arwa's own experience of searching for poachers. Find out at And of course you know where to go for that. Thank you, Arwa.

The latest world news headlines just ahead, plus the Iraqi government says it's ready to fight terrorists in Fallujah. But Al Qaeda militants aren't the only group taking up arms.

Also ahead, they are the bikes of champions. But is it the bike or the man that leads to victory? Find out in the art of movement coming up.

Plus sport talk says goodbye to one of its greatest footballers. We remember Eusebio just ahead.



ANDERSON: A very warm welcome back. It is half past 8:00 in London. Wherever you are watching in the world, welcome. The top stories this hour.

Nearly half the US is in the grip of an arctic freeze that is making life difficult and dangerous outside. Schools, businesses, and government offices are closed in many parts, and transportation is severely disrupted. No relief expected until Wednesday at the earliest.

Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki is calling on the people of Beluga to, quote, "expel terrorists." He's dealing with his most serious challenge yet, an armed uprising by Sunni tribesmen and al Qaeda-linked militants in Anbar province.

In Israel, doctors say the condition of the former president Ariel Sharon likely will continue to worsen by the day unless there is a miracle. The 86-year-old has been in a coma since he suffered a stroke in 2006.

And German chancellor Angela Merkel has been injured in a skiing accident. The 59-year-old fractured her pelvis after falling while she was cross- country skiing in Switzerland. A spokesman for the chancellor said Mrs. Merkel is expected to fully recover.

Well, more now on the Iraqi government's critical fight in Anbar province. The prime minister says it is a battle against al Qaeda militants, but Sunni tribesmen have also taken up arms against the Shia-led government. Nic Robertson looks at conflicting reports about who's really fueling this insurgency.





ROBERTSON: A soldier in the dirt, wounded at the roadside.


ROBERTSON: Amid the chaos, there's a call for backup. Just half an hour's drive west of Iraq's capital in al-Anbar province, Sunnis are turning on the Shia-dominated government. "We will fight all those connected to this sectarian government," this tribesman shouts.


ROBERTSON: Over the weekend, fighting flared in the two main cities, Ramadi and Fallujah. Iraq's government responded with troops and airstrikes against what it calls al Qaeda terrorists. And US Secretary of State John Kerry promised support, but no troops.

JOHN KERRY, US SECRETARY OF STATE: We are not contemplating putting boots on the ground. This is their fight. But we're going to help them in their fight.


ROBERTSON: But how much of this fight is political conflict -- the country's Sunni minority, marginalized by the Shia majority -- and how much is resurgent al Qaeda is unclear. For sure, al Qaeda is exploiting Sunni anger.

Under the name ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, formerly al Qaeda in Iraq, they've been boasting their success in al-Anbar recently with propaganda videos like this, not to mention making significant territorial games in neighboring Syria, attracting thousands of foreign fighters.

Whatever the causes, Iraq's prime minister is accusing al-Anbar Sunnis of siding with al Qaeda, issuing an ultimatum: put down your guns or face the army.

NURI AL-MALIKI, PRIME MINISTER OF IRAQ (through translator): I'm calling on those who are deluding themselves to reconsider. They have been involved, without knowing, in supporting al Qaeda projects.


ROBERTSON: Fallujah has a history of resistance.


ROBERTSON: In a massive offensive in 2004, US forces tried unsuccessfully to completely crush the city's insurgents. The group reemerged and al Qaeda got a hold. It was only in 2007, when al-Anbar's tribes joined US forces, that al Qaeda were finally pushed out.

Today, as families flee al-Anbar and the government seems poised for a major offensive, the stakes for stability and potential for civil war seem as high as they've ever been.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Jerusalem.


ANDERSON: Well, more than 20 million Shia Muslims live in Iraq. That is about two thirds of the population. Take a look at this map, this may help out. Shiites, shown here in purple, live mainly in the southern part of the country. Sunnis populate the west, and Kurds in the north.

But central Iraq is a mix of Shia and Sunni Muslims, the purple and orange- shaded area. There's also a mix of Sunnis and Kurds to the north shown here in yellow and orange.

As Nic Robertson mentioned just a moment ago, Sunni tribesmen turned against al Qaeda during the US-led war, and that support proved critical. Some footage here of US troops battling insurgents in Fallujah back in 2004.

Our next guest is all-too familiar with that fight. Retired Major General James Williams was deputy commanding general of the First Marine Expeditionary Force in Fallujah from 2004 to 2005, joining us now. Sir, how do you assess what is going on on the ground today?

JAMES WILLIAMS, MAJOR GENERAL, RETIRED, US MARINE CORPS: Well, I would assess that the situation right now is very similar when the US and coalition forces were there. And ultimately, the biggest challenge, I think, and what many have possibly missed, is the fact that the fight between the Shias and the Sunnis are really based along different philosophical lines.

The Shia, the way I've always viewed them, is they're philosophically they're very aligned with the Iranian philosophy, where the Sunnis are aligned very much with the Arabic philosophy.

And subsequently, because the Shia are the majority at this point, and I'm sure that there's some revenge here because of the period when Saddam Hussein, being a Sunni, was in charge, the Shia have pushed back, and of course, they're the government in control.

But ultimately, I think our challenge that we probably need to understand worldwide is that philosophically, these two groups will stay along what I call the fault line. And geographically, if you wanted to look at the fault line, it falls along the Euphrates River.

And so the challenge, I think, you have right now is, how do you divide up the freedoms that everybody's looking for wherever they happen to be, and in this case, in Iraq, how do you divide the oil revenues and how are they distributed evenly among the various factions? And I think that's part of the issue.

ANDERSON: All right. No, you make a very good point there. "Dangerous but not desperate," says one former US ambassador to us here on CNN today. He says the country -- the bulk of the country, at least -- is not going to fall into the hands of a Sunni Arab extremist group.

But we can see a significant uptick in fighting, and one that isn't necessarily contained to Iraq itself. Just how complicated is this region, do you think, at present?

WILLIAMS: Well, I think it's always complicated. It's been complicated for quite a long time. And because you have different tribal factions that have different interests, it will always make it complicated. And until those issues are resolved, I don't think you can separate their individual issues from the complexity of fighting each other --



WILLIAMS: -- until everybody feels like they're treated equally.

ANDERSON: Let me take you back to Anbar province post the war in 2003. Some two thirds of US casualties, as far as I understand, were in Anbar province. This is an area that the Americans couldn't pacify post the war in 2003. There have been calls by some to get the Americans back involved. This is what Jay Carney had to say about that earlier on today.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is something for the Iraqis to take the lead on and handle themselves, but that doesn't mean that we cannot assist them, and we have.

We're working closely with the Iraqis to develop a holistic strategy to isolate the al Qaeda-affiliated groups, and we have seen some early successes in Ramadi, as you know, where tribal forces and police, with the Iraqi army providing support, appear to have isolated ISIL in pockets of the city.


ANDERSON: You're a military man, but I'm sure you understand political rhetoric better than, perhaps, I do out of the US. What does he mean by "developing an holistic strategy?" Certainly, John Kerry has said the Americans aren't going to put boots on the ground again.

There's a certain sense from some quarters that Maliki is looking for support here, given that it's all about, as far as he concerned, al Qaeda elements, and warnings from the Iraqi government that this could spill out regionally. What do the Americans mean by "developing an holistic strategy?"

WILLIAMS: Well, I think when you think about a holistic strategy, you're talking about the diplomatic, the intelligence part of it, the military part of it, and the economic parts of the strategies that need to all fit together, because not one strategy stands alone.

Unfortunately, many people think that if you use the strength of the military, that that will in some way solve all the security problems, but it really doesn't. It may enable and facilitate.

ANDERSON: All right. Sir, we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. Fascinating insight, thank you.

Live from CNN, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. We'll have more on this story, of course, as it develops here on CNN. Coming up though tonight, a machine built for speed: we look at the bikes behind the last two Tour de France wins. Quite remarkable stuff.

And Eusebio will be forever remembered as, well, not just one of Portugal's best-ever players, probably the best-ever player. How will other football greats live up to his legacy? My interview with a football expert just ahead.


ANDERSON: Well, in the world of pro cycling, Pinarello makes some of the best racing bikes in the business. In fact, the last two Tour de France winners rode their bikes. Nick Glass, then, went to Italy to find out what gives the ultra-light speed machines their edge.


NICK GLASS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a cycling industry dominated by big brands, Pinarello is the little guy that everyone knows and respects. Founded in 1952 by Giovanni Pinarello, it's still family-owned and highly specialized. Its core business is racing bikes.

FAUSTO PINARELLO, PRESIDENT, CICLI PINARELLO: I think that I am the best tester of my bike. I take my bike and I go out, and one hour's enough. I prefer three or four, but just one hour and I just think about everything, anything. I prefer alone.

GLASS (on camera): Do you like it?

PINARELLO: Oh, I love it. I love riding with a good bike. I love the bike, I love my job.

GLASS (voice-over): Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, the last two winners of the Tour de France, rode these bikes.

GLASS (on camera): How important is it to win the Tour de France?

PINARELLO: Tour de France is something like -- it's a dream, I think, for every brand of bicycle. We want -- sometimes we have seven different riders. This is very important. Not only with one rider, we will with English, with the Germans, with the Spanish, this is good.

GLASS (voice-over): Burning rubber on his Segway, Fausto Pinarello is very hands-on around the factory floor. He took over from his father at 25. That's 26 years ago. These days, Pinarello frames are manufactured in Taiwan using the finest Japanese carbon fiber, renowned for its strength- to-weight ratio. But they're still hand-finished in Italy.

The regulations require the frame to keep to a basic geometry of two triangles. But the Pinarello designers played with the idea, made the tubing asymmetric to adjust for the greater pressure on the right-hand chain side of the bike.

MASSIMO POLONUITO, CICLI PINARELLO: Our bike is fully asymmetrical. It means that the right side of the bike is as bit bigger than the left side of the bike. For example, the right leg of the fork is thicker than the left one. The rear stage on the right side is thicker than the left-hand side.

GLASS: Racing bikes have never been lighter. A Dogma frame is just over 900 grams, the equivalent of a couple of bags of sugar or two hard-backed books. But the size of the frame is determined by the height and shape of a cyclist.

Elvio Bolgetto (ph) still has framed drawings of the five-times winner of the Tour de France Miguel Indurain.

ELVIO BOLGETTO, CICLI PINARELLO (through translator): Hew was very different from other cyclists because he was very tall. He had a very developed chest. His femur muscle was quite large. So we had to build a steering handle that was wide enough so he could get into position.

GLASS: Of course, it's all about racing. In the Tour de France, the pelican or pack generally cruises along at about 30 miles an hour. Downhill, they can go over 60. In the quest for speed, everything is about minutia, squeezing the most out of man and machine. Every muscle in one, every carbon fiber in the other.


ANDERSON: Amazing stuff. Coming up after this very short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, he was one of the greatest football players to ever grace the field. Up next, we look at how Portugal said good-bye to Eusebio.


ANDERSON: Well, football star Eusebio, one of Portugal's greatest heroes, was laid to rest in Lisbon today. The 71-year-old, who was a top scorer during the mid-1960s, died of a heart attack, sadly, on Sunday. CNN's Al Goodman looked at how a football legend affectionately nicknamed the Black Panther back then, will be remembered.



AL GOODMAN, CNN MADRID BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): A last wish fulfilled. Eusebio da Silva Ferreira, the legendary Portuguese football player, making a final lap around the stadium of his club, Benfica, as he had often said publicly was his desire.

Thousands gathered at the stadium to pay their last respects. And across Portugal, too, a nation watching, remembering his 733 career goals, almost one for every professional game he played, especially at this restaurant, where Eusebio was a client. Owner Emilio Andrade takes us to the table where Eusebio would dine, recalling a man he knew for decades.

"Eusebio left a famous name," he says, "because he was one of the first big international football stars in this country. He showed his football in the World Cup. And as a human being," he says, "I can only tell you this: his stature as a player didn't damage his character. Eusebio," he says, "preferred fish over meat."

Outside the church, his fans call Eusebio simply "our king."

GOODMAN (on camera): What many people here remember the most, the World Cup of 1966, when Eusebio, just 24, was the top scorer, helping to defeat the reigning champs, Brazil, then North Korea and very nearly the hosts, England.

GOODMAN (voice-over): A long way to come after being born in Mozambique in 1942, then still a Portuguese colony. Outside the church, they waited hours in the rain for a last glimpse.

GONCALO CORDEIRO, ECONOMICS STUDENT: Even though I didn't watch him play in the stadium, because I'm only 20 years old, my father taught me well. And so, here I am, standing because he can't. He's working, so that's why I'm here. It's my duty.

GOODMAN: As a football legend is laid to rest, new generations seem ready to keep his name alive.

Al Goodman, CNN, Lisbon, Portugal.


ANDERSON: People across the world -- across the footballing world and elsewhere -- are paying tribute to Eusebio. Pele, a football legend, of course, in his own right, said on Twitter, "Mourning the death of Eusebio, a brother to me."

Well, a present-day Portugal star, Cristiano Ronaldo, simply wrote, "Always eternal. Eusebio, rest in peace."

And FIFA's president Sepp Blatter, also paid tribute, saying, "Football has lost a legend, but Eusebio's place among the greats will never be taken away.

Well, earlier, I spoke with European football expert Begona Perez about Eusebio's legacy. She is Portuguese, so she understands why the country thinks of him as the guy in that last report suggested, a king. She told me that Eusebio was not only a great footballer, but a hero to the Portuguese.


BEGONA PEREZ, FOOTBALL EXPERT: He was an ambassador of Portugal. He was not just a football icon, he was a national icon. He embraced many things - - values of Portugal. He was humble, he was a hard worker. And he made the country great in football terms.

And you shouldn't forget that Portugal is a great football nation, because from Eusebio, we have seen a few great names in Portuguese football. Ronaldo now, Mourinho as a coach, Figo before. And in a way, Mourinho embraced -- sorry, Eusebio embraced that.

And also, you can see how people in Portugal have been mourning him. They are a very emotional country in the way they mourn their icons. And not always you can see a president of a nation addressing the nation because of the death of an icon.


PEREZ: And you saw that yesterday with Cavaco Silva, the Portuguese president.

ANDERSON: That is remarkable. For Ronaldo and Messi today, read Eusebio and Pele in the past in the 1960s. Would they be greats today if they were playing, do you think?

PEREZ: They did. Eusebio did, because if you see how Messi and Ronaldo play, Eusebio had the best of both. The technique of Messi and the strength and the speed of Ronaldo. So, in a way, he was hugely influential. That was the starting point, let's say, of those great football icons nowadays. He started that, in a way, and Pele and Maradona, obviously they would be one of the greatest, yes.

ANDERSON: Well, Eusebio was certainly one of the best footballers the game has ever seen, but was he, viewers, the greatest? Well, that's what I've been asking on Facebook and Twitter today, and the majority of those who responded, it has to be said, opted for this man: Brazilian football star Pele. So, what did our "World Sport" team think? Did they agree? Have a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lionel Messi for his masterful technique, supreme spacial awareness, and phenomenal goal-scoring record.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has to be Diego Maradona, a controversial figure, but an incredible footballer who helped Argentines of the 1986 World Cup.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say one of the greatest footballers of all time is Zinedine Zidane. He had hands for feet and nearly won the World Cup twice, so he's an absolute legend.


ANDERSON: The majority of people believe that Pele is the ultimate great, but we've got Maradona, we've got Messi, and we've got Zinedine Zidane in there. I would offer Johan Cruyff, 1970s total football, the Dutch team, wonderful, wonderful exhibitionism. What do you think?

PEREZ: I would pick Zidane. I would pick Zidane because of --

ANDERSON: Ahead of Eusebio?

PEREZ: Yes, because of the elegance and his manners and everything. I think he is one of the greatest, but because he's still there and he was quite recent. But if we move forward about 20 years, we could take Zidane between those big names, like Pele and Maradona and Eusebio for sure.

ANDERSON: So, let's just bring it back to Portugal, because you're right to say that Eusebio, he was the ambassador of Portuguese football. Because the Portuguese didn't win as many big tournaments as the Brazilians have one, perhaps Pele stands sort of front and center of the era. Who's the Eusebio of today in Portuguese football?

PEREZ: Ronaldo --

ANDERSON: Is it Ronaldo?

PEREZ: Cristiano Ronaldo.

ANDERSON: Is there anybody else? Someone?

PEREZ: He's the biggest candidate to win the Ballon d'Or. No.


PEREZ: Today, yes. I mean, Figo in the past, but I think Ronaldo, in a way, got bigger than Figo --


ANDERSON: He's a different character, though. Because he's very different, isn't he? You were recalling that Eusebio was a humble, very basic man. Ronaldo is not that.


PEREZ: He is more than people think.


ANDERSON: More than people think. There you go. Who are your favorite football legends? And if you're a football fan headed to this year's Brazil World Cup, I want to hear from you. CNN will of course be there, and we are eager to hear about your plans. So do get in touch via Facebook, that's That's the site for the show.

You can always tweet me, as you know, @BeckyCNN. That's @BeckyCNN. As I said, Johan Cruyff, as far as I'm concerned, probably outsmarts almost everybody else on the footballing field over the past 30 or 40 years, but that's just my personal opinion. You tell me what you think.

You can search for us as well on Instagram, just search Becky and CNN. You can get a preview of the show around about 7:00 London time every day. Get involved in what you want to see on the show, what you think about the show, whether you think we need to do more or less on certain subjects. It's yours. We're here for you.

In tonight's Parting Shots, incredible pictures out of the United Kingdom. As high winds battered parts of the country, enormous waves have come crashing down on coastlines. Some seafront villages have been evacuated, and many beachfronts have been left devastated by the power of the water.

There were reports about high waves knocking one man off his feet and carrying him towards the sea. He, though, did walk away unharmed.

I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD, thank you for watching. The headlines follow this.