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Hundreds Killed in Baghdad Bombings; Populism in Europe; Interview with Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi; Tribute to Nobel Peace Prize Winner Elie Wiesel. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired July 4, 2016 - 14:00:00   ET


[14:00:10] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, looking for loved ones, bodies are still being pulled from the rabble in Baghdad. Two days

after ISIS killed more than 200 people and Iraq's government faces the people's fury. I speak live to the Deputy Prime Minister Hoshiyar Zebari.

Plus, the wave of populism sweeping Europe. Will Italy be next to take back control from Brussels? I'm joined by Rome's insurgent new mayor,

Virginia Raggi.


VIRGINIA RAGGI, ROME NEW MAYOR (Through Translator): In Italy, parties with experience have destroyed cities such as Rome. If that's what

experience means we would rather not have that sort of experience.


AMANPOUR: Plus, he survived Auschwitz and won a Nobel Peace Prize for assuring that the world never forget the horror of the Holocaust. Our

tribute to Elie Wiesel who is dead, age 87.

Good evening, everyone and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. Horror in Iraq after Istanbul and Dhaka, Bangladesh and Saudi

Arabia, where dozens have been killed this past week alone.

In Baghdad over the weekend, authorities are still struggling to identify charred remains after an ISIS suicide bomber detonated a massive truck bomb

outside a busy shopping center. It killed at least 215 people, and wounded 175. It's the deadliest single attack in the country since the American

invasion more than 13 years ago.

President Haider al-Abadi visited the scene yesterday, but he was shouted down by angry protestors and mourners. They hurled stones and shoes at his

convoy. The attack comes a week after Iraqi forces claimed victory retaking Fallujah from ISIS.

And in the waning days of Ramadan, the holy month during which ISIS called for attacks around the world. Ben Wedeman is in Baghdad and he's been

covering the Iraqi military offensives against ISIS. Ben, thanks for joining us. What is going on now? Is it quiet since this terrible

bombing, or is there more activity?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's more activity within the last 25 minutes. We heard some, many distant thuds coming from

the west of Baghdad. It would appear from initial reports that this was a mortar barrage on an Iraqi military base not far from Baghdad International


However, I understand that flights continued to land there. We don't have anymore details than that, but certainly the situation, very tense after

this bombing on Saturday night. The worst since 2003. And, of course, we're quoting the figure from the Iraqi police of 215 dead, but it's likely that

that number is going to increase.

The problem, of course, is that so many bodies were burned so far beyond recognition and others torn to pieces, that it's almost impossible at this

point to determine how many people actually died. We were at the site of the bombing today for about 5.5 hours, and saw one group after another

coming, looking desperately for information for traces of relatives who appeared to have disappeared off the face of the earth Saturday night.

One young man found his brother's worry beads. He broke into tears, sobbing uncontrollably, and then he had the very difficult task of calling

his mother to tell her, her son was dead.

AMANPOUR: Ben it is truly awful to think that this is the worst since the really bad old days of 2003, and so much has happened in the interim and

you've been there covering all of these offenses, trying to stabilize the country. The Iraqi forces have been saying for a long time that going

after ISIS in Fallujah particularly would protect Baghdad itself. The capital. And yet this seems to be a direct response to that offensive

against Fallujah?

WEDEMAN: It would appear to be the case, and in a sense, the Iraqi government and the military have perhaps overstated their ability to crush

ISIS's willingness and ability to conduct this sort of form of urban warfare. They are fighting a different kind of is. Not the ISIS that has

sleeper cells in Baghdad.

[14:05:05] They're fighting the ISIS that holds territory, controls cities, like Fallujah, like Ramadi, like Tikrit. So it's a whole different beast

that they've defeated or are in the process of defeating in places like Fallujah, because, ISIS, of course, is a multi-headed beast and you might

be able to knock their head off in a military showdown in Fallujah, but when it comes to stopping the soar of bombing that we saw Saturday night,

clearly, the Iraqi government is not at the moment completely up to the task, and, of course, many people have criticized it for simply not being

able to maintain the kind of security people are demanding after all of these years. There really is an exhaustion with just year after year of

this carnage that doesn't seem to end. Christiane?

AMANPOUR: It is awful. Ben, thank you. Thank you for being with us tonight.

And so we're going to turn now to Hoshiyar Zebari. He's Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister as well and he joins me live on the

phone now from Baghdad.

Mr. Deputy prime minister, welcome to the program. You heard what we've just been talking about. Iraq, the government, cannot defend and cannot

keep the capital secure. Is this a direct result of the offensive against fallujah, or is there a whole other load of is cells in the city?

HOSHIYAR ZEBARI, IRAQ FINANCE MINISTER: Well, Christiane, first, I'm the finance minister, and Saturday night bombing, really, was a devastating

attack, both in human and material objects, your footage have shown, but this was a direct result of ISIS achieved in Fallujah. Fallujah was the

hotbed of ISIS fighters, suicide bombers, recruiters, who are penetrating Baghdad, but all along, our military, our government have maintained that

the key goal for deny the Islamic State of its territory, or of the [speaking in foreign language] of its territory and authority, and we've

been making successes repeatedly.

Now, the focus is on Mosul to drive them out, but, really, this has been a very deadly attack, and the timing, also, the intensity of the explosives

have caused many, many lives. Many people are still missing, and there is a great deal of anger about the failure of security arrangements to protect

Baghdad. Baghdad is a large city, Christiane, as you know, large city over 7 million people, and it's extremely difficult to control all -- all the --

all the roads to the city, but, believe me, this will not demoralize the security forces or the people to move on.

As you said, you follow the Iraq story from the beginning. This has been the most deadly attack, but as we see today and in Saudi Arabia, the other

guy, the Istanbul, in Dhaka, there is this global call for ISIS or the jihadist to move on to push their evil scheme.



AMANPOUR: Mr. Zebari, Exactly. And I was going to ask you, is this the price of going after them, whether it's in Raqqah, whether it's in Ramadi,

whether it's Fallujah or Mosul? Because some are saying that hitting them there, they are, you know -- then targeting soft civilian targets in your

cities. I mean, do you expect more of this?

ZEBARI: Well, I believe this is a battle, really. This is a sensational battle against evil forces. So, we have no choices but to move on and to

push and to flush them out and defeat them, and to deny them any -- any territory, or control over any territorial gains in Iraq. That the capital

in Raqqah or in Mosul must be defeated and toppled, otherwise they will be there for generations to come.

And this organization really is not a military organization. It's an underground, a terrorist ideological and fundamentalist one, another aim of

this attack is really to spur sectarian tension, and used to be done in Iraq, Al Zarqawi before, I think they are the follower of the same creed.

[14:10:02] AMANPOUR: Mr. Zabari, we just going to show a map that we have here which shows since 2014 ISIS appears to have been denied at least half

the territory its use to hold. The green is what its loss, the red is what it still controls. But the problem is that it seems to, you know, keep

rising and keep attacking. Do you think that you are right to go off to Fallujah. Apparently, the Americans suggested that you don't go off to

Fallujah, that you wait to go to Mosul. Do you have the military ability to go off to all these strongholds of ISIS?

ZEBARI: Well, the Americans, the coalition has been most helpful and supportive of our campaign and that instills coordination. I think our

military command decided that Fallujah is very close to Baghdad and therefore we cannot live with this tension next -- next to the capital. So

that's why a decision was taken to go after Fallujah. But the goal, the main goal is Mosul.


ZEBARI: Mosul symbolically is the capital of ISIS. It's there where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his caliphate of hatred. And it's there where

Iraqi security forces were beaten .


ZEBARI: . or defeated. So, therefore, now, most of the military assets, Iraqi and international and Kurdish forces are also focused on Mosul.

Before the end of the year, we hope to see an end of ISIS caliphate in Iraq, at least.

AMANPOUR: All right. Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari against all odds, this battle, you say, is going to continue. Thank you for joining us


ZEBARI: Thank you. Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And when we come back, as the Brexit fallout continues, insurgent politics on the rise around Europe. We turn to Italy to meet one

of the Five Star Movement's brightest hopes. Virginia Raggi, the new mayor of Rome. That's next.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. Brexit shockwaves still reverberating around Europe triggering a banking stock collapse that sunk

Italy into crisis. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is on a coalition course with the E.U. because he wants to defy the bloc's new banking rules by

pumping his own government money into Italy's tanking banks.

It all adds to the feverish atmosphere across Europe these days. Recent poll show 48 percent of Italians would like to leave the E.U. On the far

right, the Lega Nord are calling for a U.K. style referendum. And on the far left, Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement says it wants a vote on leaving

the Euro currency. They hold more than 100 seats in parliament and currently, a polling ahead of the ruling Democratic party.

I asked one of the movement's shining stars, the new Mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, whether she sees Italy heading for the exit too. Mayor

Raggi, welcome to the program.

RAGGI: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you a question about Brexit which just happened here in Great Britain.

[14:15:05] Nigel Farage who is the father of the Brexit movement and has been lobbying for this for, as he says, 17 years, believes that your

victory in Rome plus the Brexit will lead to the end of the E.U. The disintegration of Europe.

RAGGI (Through Translator): No, absolutely not. We believe that Europe must change. However, it can't be a Europe of banks and large lobby groups

but rather Europe's citizens and its people. We would simply like to see Europe's attention shifted on to people's rights.

We would like it not to be so focused on fulfilling interests of large lobby groups. We don't want to leave Europe. In fact, a few years ago, we

already gathered signatures for a referendum on the Euro, simply on the Euro currency because this never took place in Italy. We became part of

the Eurozone without any consultation of the people. In doing so, we sought to give citizens back a right that we believe was denied to them.

Now, obviously, the currency is one thing and Europe quite another.

AMANPOUR: Mayor Raggi, the Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi wants to have a constitutional referendum in October to streamline the legislative process,

which many on the outside think would be a good idea because we see there's a lot of chaos when it comes to elections in Italy. Do you support him?

RAGGI (Through Translator): First and foremost, I would say that Matteo Renzi is not an elected Prime Minister. His government's main mandate was

to write new electoral reform. He, in fact, started to carry out constitutional reform, which is an extraordinary reform and it is not in

line with establishing greater parliamentary efficiency. Our parliament is in fact very efficient.

Constitutional reform seeks to take power away from one chamber, the senate, and in so doing, make it a group of second-level members. We've

got our regional counselors who have been elected to do a particular job as regional counselors and they would then be appointed to carry out another

job as a senator, but without really any reason for doing so.

So, this reform is not what we need. Especially if it's carried out by a government that wasn't elected and it certainly wasn't elected to do this.

Also, it was elected through a law that was defined anti-constitutional.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you a question about the rise of these populist parties, such as yours, Five Star, and across Europe and even in Great

Britain. We've seen left and right populist parties. Many people say these are protest movements. Do you in your heart of hearts believe that

these protest movements can actually govern and do a better job?

RAGGI (Through Translator): I believe that, yes, they can. There we where we govern we have already balanced budgets. We've governed in 15, 16

cities. We've now won in another 20 or so. We have rebalanced the budgets of city that had terrifying debts. In some of these cities we have

introduced the base income. We've improved tax and quality of life and citizens are recognizing this.

We're accused Italy of being inexperienced. Now we have been in the opposition for three years. So we have gained experience in our

administration procedures. Furthermore, in Italy, parties with experience have destroyed cities such as Rome. So if that's what experience means we

would rather not have that sort of experience.

AMANPOUR: And finally, let me ask you, you are the youngest and the first female Mayor of Rome. What do you believe you were elected to do for the

City of Rome, and what do you believe will be your biggest challenge?

RAGGI (Through Translator): Well, I think my biggest challenge will undoubtedly be that of rebuilding a city in ruins. And we can do that not

only because we have significant popular mandate, over 67 percent of Romans voted for us and expressed their support. We can also do that because we

are free. We don't have to do any favors to any lobby groups, to any interest groups only to Romans. We want a city that we are just live in.

[14:20:03] Free from traffic with efficient public transport services. A city that is beautiful to live in. Free of waste and rubbish accumulated

on the corners of the streets. A city with transparent administration, and with a bountiful (ph) spending review in place.

For years, we've been fighting for these things ever since we were in the opposition. We sought to push these issues forward, but they were never

taken onboard by what was the then majority. Undoubtedly now, they were become priority issues on which we can focus on working government.

AMANPOUR: Mayor Virginia Raggi, thank you very much for joining us from Rome tonight.

RAGGI: Grazie, grazie voi.

AMANPOUR: European unity rose from the ashes of World War II more than 70 years ago, and the E.U. has brought peace to the continent. Up next, we

remember a man who dedicated his life to ensuring the atrocities committed by the Nazis would never be forgotten. Nobel Laureate and Holocaust

Survivor Elie Wiesel.

In 1993, he challenged newly elected President Bill Clinton to do more to stop the bloodshed in the former Yugoslavia in Bosnia, at the opening of

the U.S Holocaust Museum in Washington.


ELIE WIESEL, A HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR AND NOBEL LAUREATE: And we have learned that when people suffer, we cannot remain indifferent, and, Mr. President,

I cannot not tell you something. I have been in the former Yugoslavia last fall. I cannot sleep since what I have seen. As a Jew, I am saying that

we must do something to stop the bloodshed in that country.



AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, we imagine the world without one of our loudest and clearest moral voices. The Holocaust Survivor and Nobel Peace

Prize Laureate, Elie Wiesel who died peacefully after a long illness. He was 87. But his life took place in war and he survived the most

unspeakable crime of the past century.

A Romanian Jew, he was sent age 15 to the Nazi death camps ant Auschwitz and Buchenwald with his family in 1944. His mother and sister were killed

and his father died shortly before the liberation by the allies.

Elie Wiesel devoted the rest of his life to making sure people would never forget those horrors and he called on American presidents to prevent them

from happening again. He urged President Bill Clinton in 1993 to intervene against the atrocities in Bosnia. And in 2012, he called on President

Obama to act in Syria.

He wrote more than 60 books, many of them about the holocaust, most famously "Night" based on his experience in the concentration camps.

[14:25:06] I spoke to Elie Wiesel about the catastrophic failure of the world to stop the holocaust. From his own perspective as a young teen,

just trying to survive the young camps.


AMANPOUR: Elie Wiesel was number A7713.

WIESEL: I was young, frightened.

AMANPOUR: The Nazis killed his mother and his younger sister.

WIESEL: The question of the killers has obsessed me for years and years. How could they kill children? I don't know. How could they?

AMANPOUR: As Wiesel suffered in the camps, word of the slaughter reached America, but it seemed of little interest to the press and the politicians.

Raphael Lemkin was outraged.

RAPHAEL LEMKIN, POLISH-JEWISH JURIST: The impression of a tremendous conspiracy of silence poisoned the air. A double murder was taking place.

It was the murder of the truth.

AMANPOUR: Jewish groups pressed Washington to bomb the camps, or at least the rail lines. The allies refused, even though their planes were scouting

targets nearby. 26,000 feet below, Elie Wiesel, seen here in a barracks, was clinging to life.

They knew what was happening.

WIESEL: They knew.

AMANPOUR: And they had a direct shot at stopping it?

WIESEL: They knew from 10,000 to 12,000 men and women and children were killed every single day. The planes were running, running, running.

AMANPOUR: But the U.S. didn't want to divert military resources from winning the war.

WIESEL: The truth, it wasn't a priority.


AMANPOUR: A great keeper of memories, a great loss for humanity. That is it for our program tonight and remember, you can listen to our podcast at

anytime. You can always see us online at and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching, and good bye from London.