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CONNECT THE WORLD

President Putin Arrives in Sochi; The Growing Martyrdom Cult in Dagestan; Microsoft Names Satya Nadella CEO; Man Claims To Have Drifted Over 6,500 Miles In Pacific; Syria's Chemical Weapons; Barrel Bomb Attacks; Expert Says More Regional Involvement Needed to End Syrian Civil War

Aired February 4, 2014 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: And tonight, Vladimir's time to shine, the Russian president arrives in Sochi to welcome VIPs ahead of this year's Winter Olympics.

Well, we'll explore a rising cult of martyrdom in neighboring Dagestan that's threatening the presidential pet project.

Also ahead, barrel bombs and rebel in fighting. As Syria's civil war enters another bloody phase, we'll ask what regional countries can do to pave the way for peace.

And the Facebook decade, how the social media giant has shaped our digital lives 10 years after its humble beginnings.

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

ANDERSON: And a very good evening from Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson for you. Our top story this evening, Russian president Vladimir Putin has arrived in the Black Sea resort of Sochi ahead of Friday's opening ceremony.

Now he shrugged off criticism that some hotel rooms hadn't been finished, insisting Russia's first Winter Olympics will be a grant affair.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): The Olympic Games in Sochi will be a clearly grandiose project, not just in terms of external image of the city and making it more beautiful, more comfortable, but also in terms of the assistance of the social and economic and cultural ecological aspects.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, however security concerns continue to overshadow the event. Militants from the volatile northern Caucuses region have threatened the games. And as our Nick Paton Walsh reports, the allure of becoming a so-called martyr continues to attract many of Dagestan's Black Widows.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Medina Alyeva (ph) wanted to die the way both of her husbands had: in jihad.

"This is jihad. It's the highest thing in the world," she said in this address before she died, "who fulfilled promises better than Allah. So many men are just talk and spend their time in cinemas or playing video games."

Medina (ph) blew herself up in May last year near the police headquarters in Dagestan with over a dozen injured, ending her embrace of radicalism.

Both her husbands were killed by special forces in sieges like this, the first when she was just 21.

This similar siege her second husband and several other militants were also shot dead. Here she is, filmed by police coming out of the house.

Medina (ph), experts worry, is part of a new kind of so-called Black Widow female suicide bomber in Russia who don't, like in the past, decide to die out of grief and vengeance for a loved one.

<15:05:00>

Instead, these women in the past few years married jihadis and seek martyrdom on their own, these women in the past few years married jihadis and seek martyrdom on their own as it seems fashionable.

KATYA SOKIRIANSKAYA, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: It is a trend also. They have their own slang. These young women, they oftentimes want to die because they want to die. I have seen these women after their husband had been just killed or there were funerals and they don't mourn them. They congratulate each other.

WALSH: Medina's (ph) mother Patoum (ph) in her first interview with Medina's (ph) sister and orphan by her side says police had ordered her daughter to see a psychologist and three days before she died Medina (ph) vanished.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): She's probably in heaven. I saw her in my sleep. She was there with my grandparents. They were all together in beautiful white clothes smiling. She told me how great it was there.

WALSH: Medina's (ph) son thinks mom is coming home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): He's always picking up photos of her saying mother is coming soon.

WALSH: But she isn't.

And, with police putting up these wanted posters we saw across the region. It's clear they think Medina (ph) is not alone in seeking a nihilistic end to her life that takes many others with her.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, Nick joins me now from Sochi.

Nick, what are the authorities doing to combat this problem?

WALSH: Well they certainly, according to some experts, see these future suicide bombers, the wives of militants, as a way in fact of tracking the militants down themselves. One tactic, apparently, is to observe these women who often meet up with the insurgents who are in hiding and then often the houses are surrounded, the women and children are offered by Russian special forces a chance to get out. But more troublingly in recent years, they've in fact not chosen that exit.

And you saw in the video there, Medina (ph) coming out, but quite often they do choose to stay and die with their husband.

There's been a broad crackdown in the past few months ahead of the Sochi games. Instances like that siege you saw in the report much more common. It's about trying to put pressure upon the insurgency, but obviously as you heard there, there's less of a hierarchy, less of a structure, these are often separate groups working often without knowledge of the other, very small numbers of people, very devout, very focused, quite scarily addicted to the ideology that they've chosen to follow.

So it's been a tough task for Russian special forces and security services. And of course they're criticized because of the blunt instruments they use, the heavy-handedness often in fact foments the violence in this region rather than calms it down and actually removes it as a threat -- Becky.

ANDERSON: You have been reporting from Dagestan. It is not just there that the threats are coming from, though, it seems. Just today, the Austrian team was sent a threatening letter. What do we know about that?

WALSH: Well, we don't have large amount of details. We do know that it was either in Russian or Germany, that it was physically a letter itself that arrived in a mailbox. It appears to have been addressed to two Austrian athletes, or certainly directed towards them, both female. One suggestion that they may, in fact, have been kidnapped if they come here.

Now we've heard from the Austrian interior ministry who talked about that particular threat said that they're comfortable with their security put in here. If they investigate further and find there's real substance in the threat, they may beef that up a little. And that one of the athletes is here, the other is currently en route.

But let's bear in mind, we've heard threats in the past through email in previous couple of weeks. Sending somebody a letter or an email quite different to actually staging something inside the ring of steel behind me.

But what this does three days ahead of the event is continue the narrative of security. That's exactly what Vladimir Putin arriving just today and trying to be seen entirely on camera with just leopard cubs trying to soften his image here, that's exactly what he doesn't want people to be talking about. He's assured safety at these games.

Oddly Barack Obama, hardly often talking off the same script as the Kremlin says also too he think Americans and tourists will be safe here. But still, day by day, that security, anxiety continues to beat as a drum in the background, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yeah. All right, Nick, thank you for that.

Well, weather Putin likes it or not, the focus so far has been on issues like security. But in three days time, attention will turn to the games.

6,000 athletes from around the world are expected to compete in some 89 events in Sochi in what's set to be the most expensive event to date. CNN's Amanda Davies takes a look back at some of the other cities Sochi will have to live up to.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Like the summer games, but a little colder -- the Winter Olympics takes place every four years.

They started in Chamonix in France back in 1924.

The U.S. has hosted the games four times, while Sochi is the first time a Russian city has been chosen.

1936 in Germany was the last time the Summer and Winter Olympics were held in the same country in the same year.

<15:10:00>

In 1948, the Swiss city of St. Moritz became the first to host the Olympics for the second time. The Germans and Japanese weren't invited.

The Austrian army had to transport snow and ice to venues in 1964 when warm weather at Innsbruck resulted in a lack of both.

Despite being selected, the people of Colorado voted against Denver hosting the games in 1976. And Innsbruck was given another chance. There were no problems with the snow and ice this time.

The 1992 games in France was the last time the Winter Olympics were held in the same year as the summer games.

There were more than 2000 athletes in Nagano when the Japanese hosted the event in 1998.

The last games were held in Vancouver in 2010, the second time on Canadian soil.

Unlike the summer games, no city of its size, around 2.5 million, had hosted the Winter Games before.

Which brings us up to date. Sochi will host the next Winter Olympics.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, many of the Olympic contests are going to be decided by fractions of a second, but those are only some of the numbers that go into the upcoming games. A special section of the website breaks them down for you, the eye watering costs that made these the most expensive Olympics ever. To the liters of borscht that is expected to be served, it is all part of our aiming for gold coverage, CNN.com/Sochi.

Still to come this evening here on Connect the World. Facebook's first decade as the social networking giant turns 10. Facebook insiders tell us how they plan to stay relevant for another decade.

Plus, as he sets foot on dry land after a year adrift in the Pacific Ocean, we get this man's extraordinary tale of survival.

And Raffaele Sollecito puts up a fight. We found out where the man accused of Meredith Kercher's murder refuses to accept the court's verdict.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: A very warm welcome back to Abu Dhabi. It is after midnight here. That is the cornish (ph) with the flag flying there. A little sandy tonight. So a little misty out there.

You are watching CNN. As I say, this is Connect the World with me Becky Anderson.

Let's get you some news headlines now.

And at least nine people are dead after a suicide attack in northwest Pakistan. The explosion happened in a hotel restaurant in Peshawar. More than 30 people were injured in that blast. The Pakistani Taliban has denied any connection to the attack.

At least 12 people have died in a collision between a minibus and a train in northeast Ukraine. The crash took place at a railway crossing near a small village not far from the country's border with Russia.

President Viktor Yanukovych expressed his condolences to the victim's families and friends. Officials still investigating the cause.

Well, big change is coming to Microsoft. The tech giant's finding father Bill Gates has announced that he is stepping down as chairman of the company, but will continue to serve as an adviser. And in a more anticipated move, the company officially announced that Satya Nadella is going to be its new CEO.

For more on what this shakeup means for Microsoft, let's bring in Mr. Quest. Richard Quest from New York.

<15:15:00>

Now it's not a name that is particularly familiar to me, Mr. Nadella, what about you?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No -- well, since we've been looking at the possible contenders for the job, yes, Satya Nadella's name has always been mentioned pretty much from the start.

He is currently -- or was just currently in charge of the cloud computing division, which of course tells you something about the enormous importance that he has held within the company.

He's been with Microsoft for 22 years, joined them in the early 90s.

Now that is not a lifelonger by Microsoft standards. Before that he was with Sun Microsystems.

Born in India in 1967, and we are told that his hobbies and passions are cricket and poetry.

But here's an important part about Satya Nadella, with Microsoft, the temptation was to bring in an outsider, but because of the culture of the company, the way the internal fiefdoms operate, the absolute -- the way the whole company operates, they've clearly decided the best way forward is to have somebody who knows how to pull the levers. And looking back at his job so far, Becky, Satya Nadella is very firmly ensconced in the heart of Microsoft.

ANDERSON: What do they need to do next? I'm thinking back to I think you and I were both at a conference back in 1999 when Microsoft famously sort of announced to the crowd that they didn't ever think that the internet would be ubiquitous. It was the first time I can remember in many years the organization getting something wrong like that.

Of course they got on board and the rest is history.

They were, of course, ubiquitous across personal computing, but as we've moved into this new era of devices and clouds and social media and the rest of it, what does the company need to do next to get back to its sort of heyday as it were, its ownership of the consumer?

QUEST: That may never happen, but certainly what it needs to do is perform with the sort of strength that it does with Windows 8 and Office 365 and all the other bits, perform at that sort of level and strength in things like mobile.

Now of course it's got Windows -- well, 8. It's got Windows 8. It's bought Nokia. It's bought -- it bought Skype. It has moved into many areas. It has XBox.

The talk of Microsoft being the failing giant is vastly overdone. This thing still -- their software still powers more than 90 percent of the world's computer. It's still go vast resources. It's still a licensed to print money.

And if you look at the way it has developed its own cloud computing division -- Skydrive -- and you look at the way it has divided and developed its information business through Office 365 an anywhere program, you get an idea of where they are going.

Whether they're going fast enough and nimble enough, well that really comes down to whether you can teach the giant to dance. And Satya Nadella is being brought in to do just that.

ANDERSON: Richard, briefly, we haven't heard the last of Bill Gates have we? He's saying he's staying on as a technical adviser. I mean, he won't be going anywhere -- the door will still be open, I guess, is what I'm saying at Microsoft's headquarters?

QUEST: Oh, absolutely. When you own as much of the stock as he does of course -- where does Bill Gates sits? Sit wherever he wants to.

But Bill Gates' life now is philanthropy. It's the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. That's where he spends most of his time. That is why he is now a world renowned authority upon.

So, yes, very much one eye and involved in Microsoft, but his time and passion and love in many ways is now the philanthropy.

ANDERSON: Yes. Yes.

And the very best of luck to him on that. He is super successful for that and for all the right reasons. We should wish him the best.

All right, Richard, thank you.

Amanda Knox's former boyfriend says that he will fight his conviction for the murder of Meredith Kercher. Last week, an Italian court found Raffaele Sollecito and Knox guilty during a retrial.

Now Kercher, you'll remember, was stabbed to death in 2007 in a house that she shared with Knox in Italy where they were both exchange students.

Sollecito spoke with CNN's Anderson Cooper.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SOLLECITO: You all know that the focus was only through Amanda to her behavior, to her peculiar behavior. But whatever it is, I'm not guilty for it. Why do they convict me? Why do put me on the corner and say that I'm guilty just because in their mind I have to be guilty because I was her boyfriend? It's -- it doesn't make any sense to me.

COOPER: Do you hold Amanda Knox responsible for the situation you're in now?

<15:20:00>

SOLLECITO: Actually, they focused all their attention on her, and I don't -- I don't -- I cannot understand really why. But on the other side, I'm not responsible for that. So I'm not saying that Amanda is responsible for all this situation. But they focus on her and they accuse her all the time. But I have nothing to do with these circumstances and all these accusations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, Sollecito has been sentenced to 25 years in prison, Knox to 28-and-a-half. They are both planning to appeal.

CNN's Freedom Project is -- if you're a regular viewer you'll know this -- been helping in the fight against modern-day slavery around the world now for a number of years. This next story comes from the United States where authorities have made a major bust in their crackdown on child sex trafficking surrounding the Super Bowl.

CNN's Evan Perez briefed us on that just a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EVAN PEREZ, CNN CORESPONDENT: This morning, the FBI is saying that they've arrested about 45 people surrounding the Super Bowl who were involved in some kind of -- in some kind of way with child sex trafficking rings. They've rescued 16 kids ages 13 to 17. Some of them were in high school, or high school aged. And again, this is all related to the Super Bowl.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: The FBI says those young people are now receiving medical attention and will be reunited with their families.

Well, CNN is committed to shining a light on all types of modern-day slavery everywhere. I want to get you a sense of where you can find more about this.

From America, to Asia, to Africa about the project on our website CNN.com/freedomproject. You can find out how you get involved and I hope help make a difference.

Well, coming up on the show, this man survived at sea for over a year. And CNN has the exclusive interview. Stay with us as we hear his incredible survival story.

Also, Syrian opposition activists report a mass exodus of civilians from parts of Aleppo amid a relentless wave of barrel bomb attacks.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: On a slightly windy, but very nice evening here in Abu Dhabi you are very welcome back to Connect the World. I'm Becky for you.

Now faith, fresh fish and rain water, that is the formula that one man says kept him alive for more than a year adrift in the Pacific Ocean. Authorities are now trying to verify Jose Alvarenga's incredible story.

He says he became lost at sea after setting off from Mexico. Well, 13 months later he washed up on the Marshall Islands halfway between Australia and Hawaii.

Rafael Romo spoke exclusively with the man about his ordeal.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: He speaks slowly and makes long pauses between words.

He's visibly weak and complains of constant headaches.

<15:25:00>

Speaking exclusively to CNN in the Marshall Islands, 37-year-old Jose Salvador Alvarenga says he was lose at sea for 13 months after he and a companion were caught in a violent storm on a small fishing boat off the Mexican Pacific coast.

They got lost, he says, just before Christmas 2012.

JOSE SALVADOR ALVARENGA, CASTAWAY (via translator): I didn't think I was going to die. I always thought I was going to make it out alive. I told myself, I had to remain strong.

ROMO: The castaway says he survived by eating fish and turtles he caught while his teenage companion, who he says, refused to eat, died four weeks into the drift .

Weeks turned into months and his initial resolve, he says, quickly started to fade.

ALVARENGA (via translator): Twice, I thought a couple times about killing myself. I grabbed the knife. When food and water ran out, I got depressed and I would contemplate killing myself.

ROMO: Authorities in the Marshall Islands are trying to determine if the story is true.

The trip from the west coast of Mexico across the Pacific to the Marshall Islands is roughly 5,600 miles or 9,000 kilometers of open ocean, although such an amazing ordeal isn't unheard.

Three Mexican fishermen survived a similar journey in 2006.

In an interview in Alvarenga's hometown in El Salvador, his parents said they never lost hope.

JULIA ALVARENGA, CASTAWAY'S MOTHER (via translator): My heart would tell me that my son was not dead.

But I would think about it so much, that I had started to lose faith.

ROMO: Alvarenga's father says he felt all along that his son was alive.

RICARDO ALVARENGA, CASTAWAY'S FATHER (via translator): God willing, my son is not dead. God willing, my son is alive and we're going to see him again one day.

I'm very happy after learning that he's alive and that we will have him back home soon.

ROMO: He hasn't seen his family since he left to work in Mexico eight years ago. The last time he saw his daughter, she was 4-years-old.

There are still many questions about how a man could survive by himself for more than a year in the open sea.

When asked about what kept him alive, Alvarenga raises his right hand, points up and says, "It was my faith in God."

Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Remarkable stuff.

The latest world news headlines are just ahead here on CNN. And this is the biggest wave ever surfed? We speak to the British (inaudible) about his extreme ride off the coast of Portugal.

Also as Facebook celebrates 10 years, we ask users whether the social networking site is still relevant.

And a weapon of war that is cheap to make and easy to use and designed to inflict maximum death and destruction. I'm going to look at the devastating impact of barrel bombs in Syria.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

<15:30:30>

ANDERSON: This is CONNECT THE WORLD. The top stories for you this hour. Russian president Vladimir Putin has arrived in Sochi, but with just two days to go until the start of the Winter Olympics, security remains a key concern. The spokesman from the Austrian Olympic Committee confirmed that they have received a threatening letter this Tuesday.

Pakistan's first attempt to hold talks with the Taliban didn't materialize. The Taliban negotiating team turned up for the meeting in Islamabad. They say government negotiators did not. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has made talks with the Taliban a priority in the hope of securing a truce.

The World Health Organization is predicting a spike in cancer cases. It says 22 million cases will be diagnosed annually by 2030. That is a 57 percent increase from the current rate. The report says more emphasis needs to be placed on prevention.

And landmark war crimes trials started today in France. A wheelchair- bound former Rwandan army captain is charged with complicity in the 1994 genocide. Critics say France tried to stall these proceedings for decades to avoid highlighting its failure to stop a hundred-day killing spree.

We are in Abu Dhabi for you tonight on CONNECT THE WORLD, I'm Becky Anderson. One of Syria's main allies is trying to pressure the world -- or sorry -- reassure the world about Bashar al-Assad's commitment to a chemical weapons deal. Russia says Syria plans to ship out another batch of weapons this month for destruction in international waters. Now, it says Syria intends to finish the process by March the 1st.

Meantime, the Syrian regime appears to be intensifying what is a punishing assault in the city of Aleppo. An opposition group says army helicopters dropped more barrel bombs today, killing eight people, including five children.

Many civilians are reportedly packing up and fleeing rebel-held neighborhoods to escape the barrage, and activists say that is exactly what the regime wants. Mohammad Jamjoom explains why barrel bombs are a particularly cruel and indiscriminate weapon. And we warn you, his report contains some very disturbing images.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MOHAMMAD JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dread and helplessness in the terrifying aftermath of a bombing. A little girl's body is pulled from the rubble. Scenes like this, too shocking to comprehend, too agonizing to process, have become almost common in Aleppo, the result of barrel bombs, activists and medics tell CNN, though there's no way to independently verify their claims.

(PEOPLE SHOUTING)

JAMJOOM: In the video her, traumatized residents scramble to find survivors. One young girl's legs stick out from the rubble. No one knows if she's alive or dead. Then, a sign of hope -- she moves her feet. They dig her out alive. Tragically, activists say, she died later at the hospital.

They say this sickening documentation proves yet again how war crimes are committed by the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and that barrel bombs are one of his cruelest weapons.

Drums packed with explosives and shrapnel, delivering death and destruction from above. They can level entire buildings with one hit, as activists say they did here in Daraya. The regime maintains that it is only targeting terrorists and rejects war crime allegations.

In Aleppo, since Saturday, activists and medics say the bombardment has been constant. Amid the chaos of this scene, the panic, as thick as the smoke. Alarms and explosions continue to go off. Flames engulf a building as rage engulfs the crowd.

"Let that son of a bitch Walid al-Moualem come over here and see what he did!" screams this man about Syria's foreign minister. "Let them come see how women and children are being killed."

And then this man, so overcome with anger, he's shaking. "Is this your political solution?" he asks. "Is this the political solution you talk about while Syria is being destroyed?" With death all around him, he references a deadlock in diplomacy, peace talks that yielded nothing for his people. As delegations met in Geneva condemning the use of barrel bombs, activists say the killings continue.

<15:35:00>

Here, the lifeless body of one child is being carried off as another child watches. Women wail in agony and survivors search for cover, armed only with the knowledge that nothing here can shield them from the hell raining down upon them.

Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, Beirut.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, in a statement just released, the US secretary of state John Kerry says, and I quote, "Each and every barrel bomb filled with metal, shrapnel, and fuel, launched against innocent Syrians underscores the barbarity of a regime that has turned its country into a super magnet for terror. Given its horrific legacy, the Syrian people would never accept as legitimate a government including Assad."

Well, the United Nations hopes to restart peace talks for Syria next week in Geneva. Our next guest doesn't have much faith in these talks, believing there must be a great effort to involve regional players in any negotiated solution.

Now, Abdulkhaleq Abdulla is a professor of political science at the United Arab Emirates University in Dubai, just up the road from here in Abu Dhabi, and he's joining me tonight from Dubai. Sir, thank you for that.

This Syrian war, just savage. Barrel bombs, just wrong. This regime says it is targeting terrorists, as they call the rebels. The region here is intrinsically caught up in the impact on neighboring countries is clear. And regional players are providing support for both sides. You say they need to be more involved, that being the region. How?

ABDULKHALEQ ABDULLA, PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, UAE UNIVERSITY: I think there is room for two important regional powers to come in and try to help settle this crisis, this ongoing crisis in Syria. Without Iran and Saudi Arabia sitting together, working this thing through, I don't see an end to this crisis in Syria. There has to be a meeting of minds between these two regional powers. Without it, this fighting is going to continue throughout 2014, Becky.

ANDERSON: Now, the problem is that this is an age-old dispute between two countries, not the Syria story, but a number of age-old stories just part these two countries. Is it realistic, the idea of them sitting down at the table and talking at this point?

ABDULLA: I don't see that happening anytime soon, so I think that's why, regardless of Geneva, which we should lower our expectations. The regime, which we should not trust one bit, the regime has always lied. All it wanted from Geneva is buying more time. All it wanted from Geneva is a little bit of international legitimacy. So give up on the regime. It's not going to deliver.

The opposition there are too weak, too divided, too polarized. Russia and America, there's a limit to what these two can do. I think the only two parties credible enough to deliver is if Tehran and Riyadh finally sit together and see that this is draining everybody. It's a black hole. It is tiring everybody to death. We need these two to sit together and work through some kind of a deal to stop the killing machines and the --

(CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON: And yet, you --

ABDULLA: -- the daily death we've been seeing.

ANDERSON: Yes. And yet, you suggest it is hardly realistic that anytime soon we will see these two warring parties, as it were, sitting down at the same table and trying to hammer out a deal. So longterm, things look pretty grim for Syria.

There are other rivalries, regionally, not least the rivalry between Qatar and Saudi Arabia in support of different rebel factions acting on the ground in Syria. What are the consequences of that?

ABDULLA: No, that's no longer true. There use to be -- at the initial stages of this Syrian problem, there was two regional players on the ground, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but I think they settled their differences.

Nowadays, Saudi Arabia is firmly in command, is taking the lead. The other Gulf states have taken a back seat. They're letting Saudi Arabia to speak for them, to do things for them.

So it is really not Qatar-Saudi Arabia that matters, it is at the moment, it is Saudi Arabia-Iran. These two have to work it through and sit together, and without it, I think we're going to have another tragic 2014 for Syria.

ANDERSON: Which is -- it is a terrible forecast on your part. But sir, we do appreciate your time in what has been a fascinating analysis tonight. Thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

<15:40:00>

Live from Abu Dhabi, you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Still ahead, Goldman Sachs executive vice president Edith Cooper shares the lessons that she has learned so far in her global banking career. The latest in our Leading Women series up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: The wind has now dropped for what is a very pleasant evening in Abu Dhabi. Welcome back. Edith Cooper says it took determination to both survive and thrive at Goldman Sachs. For Cooper, an executive vice president with the investment giant, weathering the challenges of the global financial crisis was no easy task. But now, as CNN's Poppy Harlow found out, Cooper has her eyes set on the top job.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Edith Cooper is one of the top-ranking women at investment banking firm Goldman Sachs.

EDITH COOPER, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, GOLDMAN SACHS: I just want to make sure that we're connecting all of those dots.

If you had asked me 30 years ago, would I be on the manage committee at Goldman Sachs and be the influence of our success of our people, oh, no way. I think that I've come to expect the unexpected.

It's just business.

HARLOW: As Goldman's head of human capital management, Cooper isn't just one of the top women, she's one of the top executives in the 30,000- member firm.

COOPER: When asked the question at an event earlier, do you want to be a CEO? Of course. Of course. I'm young.

My career path is not necessarily a clear straight line.

HARLOW: She's one of just four women on Goldman's 29-member executive committee.

HARLOW (on camera): Does that number need to go up?

COOPER: Of course it does. I believe that we can't be the great firm that we need to be to be relevant to our clients if we don't have diversity at every level.

HARLOW: You are a rare woman in this position, and even more rare because you're African-American.

COOPER: At times, it's been difficult. It is different for me as an African-American woman than it would be for a white male. That's just a fact. There's difficulty with respect to the subconscious bias that exists in life.

HARLOW (voice-over): It was a move to London, Cooper says, that was critical for her rise at the firm.

COOPER: I think in today's economy, operating outside of your comfort zone is really, really important. When I arrived in Europe, I realized it wasn't the difference of being African-American, it was the difference of being an American. An American.

And the tools that I use to lead and to manage in the United States really were not as effective operating with people from all over the world. It was quite an extraordinary experience.

HARLOW: But Cooper returned to New York with one of her greatest challenges ahead during the most recent financial crisis.

HARLOW (on camera): Reputationally --

COOPER: Reputationally, Goldman Sachs was really targeted as a company that was at the center of gravity of a lot of the difficulties that existed in the financial markets, and it was --

HARLOW: Critic were saying you were betting against your clients, they were questioning the size bonuses being handed out. How did you deal with that criticism?

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: The most difficult thing at the time was that what people thought about Goldman Sachs was not in synch with who we knew we were.

<15:45:00>

HARLOW: What do you think people would be most surprised to learn about you?

COOPER: I'm very tough. I'm very resilient. And the minute I think that someone believes that I can't, I do. If you think I can't, I do.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: And you can find more inspiring Leading Women on our website. That is -- read about them making waves in fields from space exploration to the arts. Past profiles there, much more about Hollywood's female movers and shakers, cnn.com/leadingwomen. That will open, eventually, I'm sure. Otherwise, you can just -- apologies for our graphics there.

Coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, are you unfriending Facebook? Research shows that young people are abandoning the social networking giant. We're going to hear from Facebook lovers and haters alike as the website turns ten.

Plus, could this be the biggest wave ever surfed on? We speak to the man who braved this off the coast of Portugal.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: It is just after quarter to 1:00 in the morning here. That is the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in the UAE. Well, it's been ten years since Facebook's humble debut in a Harvard dorm room. Since then, the social networking site has amassed well over a billion users. But it faces a lot more competition today than it did when it kicked off.

CNN's money -- I'll start that again. CNN Money's Laurie Segall talks to Facebook insiders about where the company has been and where it is heading next.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS COX, VICE PRESIDENT OF PRODUCT, FACEBOOK: And the big question was is this something that could work outside of college.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY TECH CORRESPONDENT: Right.

COX: And everybody said, no, it's probably not going to work outside of college.

SEGALL: In honor of Facebook's ten-year anniversary, we decided to take a walk down memory lane.

You have some of those stories where you just thought, oh my God, I can't believe we got through that?

COX: The newsfeed launch was pretty crazy. I spent -- with a bunch of people, we worked really hard on making the newsfeed. It took us almost a year to build. And we were pretty naive around how it would be received. Obviously, people were like, whoa, this is a lot of change.

SEGALL: Yes.

COX: And then there was a protest organizing outside, so we had to go out the back entrance.

SEGALL: You had to go out the back?

COX: Yes.

SEGALL: OK.

COX: And it was just one of those things I look back on right now, and it's just hard to believe.

SEGALL (voice-over): Since then, there have been a lot of landmarks that are hard to believe: 6 billion likes per day, 7.8 trillion message sent using Facebook, and 1.2 billion monthly active users. It's a far cry from the early days.

MEREDITH CHIN, FACEBOOK EMPLOYEE SINCE 2005: There were no chairs, no tables. They had to find a beanbag chair, and the kid interviewing me, who's now a good friend, but he had bare feet on. It was just -- I was like, what am I getting myself into.

SEGALL (on camera): Over the past ten years, Facebook moved from this small office, to here. And here. And now to this sprawling campus here in Menlo Park.

When we talk about the future of Facebook, the word we just keep hearing is "mobile."

COX: Yes.

SEGALL: When did you guys know mobile was going to be so big, and what does the future look like when it comes to mobile on Facebook?

COX: It really happened a couple years ago, we sort of instituted all of these rules in the company, like whenever we show our products to each other, we need to start with a mobile version.

SEGALL (voice-over): But the future of Facebook might look a little different. Alongside the traditional app on your phone, you might start seeing a variety of apps created by the company.

COX: We already have Facebook, we have Instagram, Messenger. We just announced Paper, which is a more immersive way of looking at your newsfeed.

SEGALL: Paper, Facebook's latest app, creates your newsfeed based on your interests. But a challenge for the company will be continuing to grow at such a rapid pace. They're starting to saturate the internet-connected world.

<15:50:00>

COX: When you just look out over the next three years, there's going to be a lot more people with their first computer and their first phone and their first access to the internet. And one of the things we're really excited about is making the access to the internet in general a lot more affordable.

SEGALL: It'll be a challenge, and not Facebook's only challenge. The company now competes with an onslaught of apps, like Snapchat and Twitter.

SEGALL (on camera): What do you look forward to for the company?

CHIN: I think it's the next billion.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Laurie Segall reporting there for you. Well, despite its decade of growth, Facebook is increasingly getting the cold shoulder from a younger audience. We spoke to some students in London to get a sense of why the site's appeal may be fading.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The effect has just worn off a little bit, you know? There's only so much fun that you can have posting photos and talking to people through a screen. I think people are trying -- starting to miss commuting out for a coffee or something like that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think there's a few problems with people getting a little bit addicted to it.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like I know that I get -- for one year, I was just like, OK, let's see if I can go this long without it, and it was really difficult.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's also a lot of people now are very hesitant about using it because they don't know how it might affect employability and all those things, and they might have social repercussions later on. I think that's also become an issue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I use Facebook way too often, I think, probably five times a day, always to procrastinate in the library.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Well, for more, I'm joined by Mohammed Alawi. He is a duty manager at Etihad Airways here in Abu Dhabi. He is a regular user of Facebook and other social media platforms to keep in touch with friends, I believe, overseas. How long have you been using the social media sites?

MOHAMMED ALAWI, FACEBOOK USER: Since 2007. Before I traveled to Australia to study abroad, I had this scholarship, and Facebook was the best choice to use through -- when I was in Australia.

ANDERSON: The figures these days -- forgive me -- and with an awful lot of respect, you're getting a little old, because you're 28, and most Facebook users who are much younger than us -- much younger than you, much, much younger than me -- say that it's a bit passe these days. You think it's still a good tool, do you?

ALAWI: I really believe on Facebook because it's the way which connects the world. And I really like to use Facebook because I am every time in contact with my friends in Australia, because of the horses. I like horse riding.

ANDERSON: That's right. This young man is a -- or older man these days, at 28 years on --

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: -- is an endurance horse rider, you tell me.

ALAWI: Yes.

ANDERSON: Which is an amazing sport out here in the Gulf. Do you, Mohammed, have a problem with privacy? With your privacy on Facebook?

ALAWI: Before I used to have a problem because sometimes people just tag you on pictures and you can't take out this tag, but now Facebook provides settings which you can untag yourself, which I don't see any problems.

ANDERSON: So, do you use it uniquely, or do you use it alongside other social media sites? I know that when you talk to 13, 14, 15-year- olds these days, they say, "I use sites like Snapchat and What's Up -- WhatsApp, for example, short message systems.

Many of the kids will tell me that they don't want to use Facebook anymore because, quite frankly, it is an invasion of their privacy. Do you use other social media sites?

ALAWI: I use Instagram. But Instagram is joined with Facebook, so it's all the same thing. But Facebook, I use it more because I've got more in contact with friends. I can send them private message, I can talk to them smoothly.

ANDERSON: How many friends have you got on Facebook?

ALAWI: Almost 3,000.

ANDERSON: Three thousand? How many real friends have you got?

ALAWI: A thousand.

ANDERSON: A thousand real friends?

(LAUGHTER)

ALAWI: Yes.

ANDERSON: That's like 900 more than I've got. But it's a very good point, isn't it?

ALAWI: Yes.

ANDERSON: Because people ofttimes have felt like they've got an awful lot of friends on Facebook when really they're not actually people that they would spend any time with. They wouldn't call them, they wouldn't have a drink with them.

ALAWI: Yes. Some of the people through Facebook, they just want to see your updates, understand? And some of them, they are really friends.

ANDERSON: Let me ask you: do your parents use Facebook?

ALAWI: Yes.

ANDERSON: They do?

ALAWI: Yes.

ANDERSON: See, that's the problem for a lot of kids as well, that their parents use Facebook, and therefore, they say, this is passe.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: You don't feel like that yet, though?

ALAWI: No, no.

ANDERSON: You're a bit more respectful of your parents, right.

ALAWI: Yes, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDERSON: Mohammed, it's a pleasure having you on. Thank you very much, indeed.

(CROSSTALK)

ALAWI: Thank you, Becky, very much.

ANDERSON: And watch out for this guy, by the way. Endurance racing. What's it called, the endurance horse racing?

ALAWI: Endurance horse racing.

ANDERSON: Well, it's called endurance horse racing.

ALAWI: Yes.

ANDERSON: Like I said, amazing sport out here, 160 --

ALAWI: A hundred and sixty kilometers. We have a race next Thursday.

ANDERSON: Yes?

ALAWI: One hundred and twenty kilometers.

ANDERSON: Wow. Across the terrain out here is not easy. This guy is fantastic at it. Watch --

<15:55:00>

ALAWI: thank you very much.

ANDERSON: Watch for his name. All right, there's much more on Facebook's first decade on our website on cnn.com, including this look at the social networking site by the numbers. You can find out which photos were most liked of all time, and how much revenue Facebook users in different countries are worth to the company.

Because that is what it's all about at the end of the day. If this company is going to be successful going forward, it has to monetize its wares. For a period of time, that was a problem. Going forward, Facebook say, they can do it. Well, that's all at cnn.com/international.

Now, for tonight's Parting Shots, watch up. A surfer has caught what could be the biggest wave ever ridden. At 80 feet high, it was roughly the same as an eight-story building. The wall of water crashed to the coast in Nazare in Portugal on Sunday after heavy storms. Riding it was the British surfer Andrew Cotton, and we spoke to him earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREW COTTON, BRITISH SURFER: You see an image with one surfer going down a wave, there's a bigger picture. And when you surf Nazare, because it is so big and it's so dangerous that we have radios and communication on the cliff and take the safety ski as well as the ski we use to tow each other into the waves.

It was definitely big, but it was very -- actually, it was almost like it was still a little bit windy and choppy and it was bordering on almost like unsurfable, I suppose. It looked big, but you can never be 100 percent sure how they're going to break.

It put me into its path, and I started going down, and I was going really fast. And usually, as a surfer, you surf to get to the bottom and then you bottom turn, and I was going down and down and down, and I was going faster and faster.

And I -- as I could hear the crashing of the wave behind me and the realization was actually I'm not going to get the bottom before the wave hits me, and so I'm not going to be able to get off the wave.

And then, as I was thinking that, my rail -- I was going so fast, I sort of hit a bump at a bad angle and sort of flipped me off. And as it flipped me off, I didn't even get time to sort of hear. The water just sort of came rushing over me and the impact was full on. And then it's just -- right up, so I turned left, right, left, and right, and inside out. But surfers, they picked me up really quick.

I think surfing is about wanting it. You've really got to want it, because if you start hesitating or you're unsure that it's not -- it's not the deal, then things aren't going to go well.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: He's got to be mad. Mohammed, you were watching that with me. Have you ever surfed?

ALAWI: I really -- when I was in Australia, because it's really nice to surf over there --

ANDERSON: Yes?

ALAWI: -- I was trained to be surf, but they told me that there is a lot of sharks --

(LAUGHTER)

ALAWI: -- and I didn't.

ANDERSON: No more. No more for Mohammed. You didn't get on with it. I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Good night.

END