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Major Offensive Underway in Mosul; Humanitarian Crisis Looming in Mosul; Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in "No Man's Land"; Dylan Leaves Nobel Prize Blowin' in the Wind. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired October 18, 2016 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:10] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, Iraqi forces backed by U.S. airpower push on towards the ISIS stronghold of Mosul, but is there

adequate planning for the day after?

We get a live report from the ground. And we speak to the head of one of the world's major humanitarian agencies.

Plus, this incredible duo on their stage and screen careers past and present.


PATRICK STEWART, ACTOR: Yours has been more distinguished than mine.

IAN MCKELLEN, ACTOR: No, I think yours was distinguished from the start.

STEWART: You were distinguished when you were a student here. People were writing in the national papers --

MCKELLEN: Get him off.



AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York. And the United States says that the

battle to retake Mosul is moving faster than expected. President Barack Obama has just declared that he's confident ISIS will be defeated there,

but that success will depend on whether Iraq and his coalition allies can win the peace.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it perhaps hasn't been publicized enough, at least in the American press, the degree of

planning and assets and resources that we're devoting to this very important problem, because if we aren't successful in helping ordinary

people as they're fleeing from ISIL, then that makes us vulnerable to seeing ISIL return and feeding on the resentments in the aftermath of Mosul

being liberated.


AMANPOUR: And right now on the battlefield, a coalition of Iraqi, Kurdish, Peshmerga and allied forces is swiftly pushing towards the city's urban

center. They've already recaptured a series of villages on the outskirts inflicting heavy losses on ISIS fighters and on their equipment. But ISIS

is putting up resistance, setting oil trenches on fire to screen themselves from air strikes and unleashing suicide car bombs.

Just watch as this vehicle packed with explosives crashes into a Peshmerga position.

Our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman is following all these developments from the Iraqi-Kurdish capital of Erbil and he joins us live.

Ben, is it surprising the speed with which the forces are moving towards actual Mosul itself?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not particularly, Christiane, because you have to realize that the areas they're moving in

are largely uninhabited.

For instance, yesterday, the Kurds say they took 200 square kilometers in nine villages, but there was nobody in the villages. Today, the focus is

on the Iraqi forces. We're approaching Mosul from the south and from the east. To the east and they're fighting on the outskirts of a traditionally

Christian town called Qaraqosh, but there they are running into a lot of resistance.

And what we haven't seen so far is a lot of people fleeing from Mosul at this point. It's not altogether clear. We heard from the Pentagon that

they believe that people are being kept where they are, essentially as human shields, something we also saw last June in Fallujah.


AMANPOUR: You mentioned Fallujah. You were there when ISIS was defeated there. And you know what everybody is talking about now. What happens

after ISIS is defeated in Mosul? What can one expect? And has there been any better planning for post-ISIS/Mosul than happened in Fallujah?

WEDEMAN: Well, there's been a lot of attention to the humanitarian effort that's required. And certainly listening to U.N. officials and people from

NGOs, they saw what happened in Fallujah, which was chaos.

People out in the desert in the middle of the summer sandstorms, hardly any toilet facilities, water, food available and the Iraqis really had to

scramble along with the U.N. and others to respond to this urgent need. They hadn't really anticipated that as many as 80,000 people would flood

out of the city.

So they know that that is a serious challenge almost as serious as the military effort itself. However, it's not clear. Are a lot of people

going to leave or not? So resources have been mustered, but if you look at the worst case scenario that U.N. officials are talking about, as many as

700,000 to a million people fleeing Mosul. They are not ready, Christiane.

[14:05:00] AMANPOUR: All right, Ben. Well, we are going to dig deeper into that because Iraq's Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi has said that safe

exit routes out of Mosul have been secured. But, as Ben was saying, the U.N. has been warning of dire humanitarian consequences.

The former British foreign secretary David Miliband is president of the New York-based International Rescue Committee and he joins me from New York

right now.

You just heard, David, what Ben was saying about the potential humanitarian fallout.

Are you as concerned that it could be a catastrophe because President Obama has said and you heard him say that quite a lot of planning has been made?

DAVID MILIBAND, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE: There has been a lot of planning, Christiane, but I think Ben Wedeman is absolutely right

to say that in the worst case scenario, which the outstanding U.N. coordinator on the ground, Lise Grande, has said could involve up to a

million people in that worst case scenario.

There's no question that the provision that's been made so far by the humanitarian community is going to be overwhelmed. We have people north,

east and south of Mosul receiving people who are fleeing the city. About 160,000 had fled before the latest round of fighting started. And as Ben

said few have come out since then. Those trapped inside the city face a desperate choice about how and when to try to get out, and that has to be

part of the equation as well.

AMANPOUR: So what actually needs to be done right now to pre-position for humanitarian disaster? I mean, look, you probably remember Kosovo in 1999

when the allied bombing to dislodge Slobodan Milosevic cause nearly a million Kosovos to flee across into Albania and Macedonia, where there were

massive tent camps pre-positioned or they basically try to cope with them.

What needs to happen in Mosul, and can it?

MILIBAND: I think there are three things that are absolutely vital now. First of all, one of the things that makes Mosul different is the need for

screening centers when people leave, all men and boys over the age of 14 will be screened. It's imperative that there is confidence in the Sunni

population inside Mosul, that those screening centers are not going to be the basis for persecution or attacks.

Independent monitoring of those screening centers is essential. We'll be there. The international rescue community will be there giving extra help

to women, to kids, but independent monitoring of those screenings is important.

Secondly, however, many camp places are provided and I think 60,000 tents have so far been set aside, which could accommodate families of up to

250,000, once you get beyond those numbers, we're quickly going to see large numbers of people in urban areas outside camp settings.

For them they'll have used up their savings on transport to get out of the city. They need cash help and they need it fast. The third priority will

be if indeed the military victory is one, that the peace needs to be won as well as President Obama has said, and that speaks to the situation of those

civilians who remain in the city during the battle and then need to be helped afterwards.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you about that because that is a worry. You've mentioned already the plethora of different ethnicities and groups and

potential, you know, struggle for supremacy in Mosul after the battle.

What do you think, because there is going to be a meeting to discuss this stuff in Paris this week on Thursday, what do you think can -- and I will

speak as a politician and a humanitarian -- can be put into place to make sure that Mosul doesn't degenerate into the scene of competition?

MILIBAND: I think that the lessons of history are clear and they're easy to say, but very hard to do. The first is that when there is massive

humanitarian need that is unmet, that creates a boiling cauldron of resentment and trouble. And so meeting the humanitarian need is both a

strategic imperative as well as a moral imperative.

The second is that the political structures need to be legitimate and credible to all local communities. And that is something that has been

desperately difficult in Iraq over the last five or six years, and speaks to the bargain that's struck between Baghdad and the decentralized

government arrangements in cities like Mosul, but also to the city council arrangements within the city of Mosul. What comes after ISIS is,

therefore, absolutely critical to the stability of the situation.

We also don't know whether or not ISIS will leave land mines and other matters that need to be cleared up. So the humanitarian and the political

go together inside Mosul if, indeed, this military victory is won.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you -- first I need to ask you a question. As a humanitarian, would you agree that despite the risks, it is right to

dislodge ISIS and to have that military campaign to dislodge this great violator of human rights and basic human dignity, that's one question.

The second question is, could there be an international administrator for Mosul? It's happened in other places post war for a period of time.

[14:10:05] MILIBAND: I think it's very important. We have to take our guidance as a humanitarian organization from what we're being told by the

victims of the terror. They speak of an unspeakable two years of terror under ISIS rule over the last two years.

Humanitarian catastrophe and itself, those who do manage to escape show the scars of Isis rule. And I think it's very, very important that the

humanitarian and the political side of this go hand-in-hand. The U.N. high commissioner for refugees was in Baghdad yesterday speaking very powerfully

about the interaction of the humanitarian and the political situation.

Secondly in respect of the government's arrangements inside Mosul, I think it's very important to recognize that there is a legitimate government in

Baghdad and those of us who are outsiders have got to have a high degree of humility in imposing arrangements inside.

You're right that, historically, there's a whole range of different factors, but we all know that the key is local legitimacy and credibility

and that's something across Iraq including in Mosul that is absolutely vital for the future of the country.

AMANPOUR: All right. Well, we will continue to monitor this as this fight for Mosul continues.

David Miliband, president of the IRC, thank you very much indeed for joining us today here in New York.

MILIBAND: Thank you very much, Christiane.


AMANPOUR: And after a break, we go back to London to talk to two brilliant Brits, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart.

We talked about their new West End play, "The Power of Theater," and their very special friendship. That is all next.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart, two knights of the realm and the stage, not so shabby on the silver screen either. McKellen is known to

millions as the wizard Gandalf in "Lord of the Rings" and he's also appeared alongside Stewart in "X-men" where they are enemies.

These blockbuster movies and many others have made them household names around the world. While between them, on stage, they've tackled all the

great Shakespeare roles and many, many more.

After winning rave reviews here on Broadway for some of the most complex and challenging material the stage can offer, Harold Pinter's "No Man's

Land," they are now performing the same play to packed houses in London's West End, which is where I met these two great friends for a master class

in theater.


AMANPOUR: May I welcome you to our program.

MCKELLEN: Thank you very much.

AMANPOUR: Sir Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, you're doing "No Man's Land" by Harold Pinter.

How do you see this role?

STEWART: There are a variety of different subjects that you can attach to this play. Youth, age, birth, dying, optimism and so on. All of those

contradictions. But it is also about the truth. And the truth, it seems to be increasingly in this world becomes a variable and gray area.

MCKELLEN: Three accused politicians are lying. I think it's because we all lie actually. We all select what we're going to say. Isn't that


You don't tell your mother you've just fallen down or you got some serious disease because it will upset her. Is that lying?

STEWART: It's often been said that the role of the actor is to tell beautiful lies. Because what we do eight times a week, on this stage here,

is not real life.


MCKELLEN: You've done rather well.

STEWART: Oh, quite well, yes. Past my best now.


[14:15:15] AMANPOUR: You've been touring with this play and you've brought it home to London. And you are going to broadcast it basically around the

world, 55 different countries, I think, which is kind of a big deal.

MCKELLEN: I first discovered the theater outside London, although London is the center of all things in this country including theater. Most people

live outside London.

And not to make any comparisons, but if it hadn't been for the touring companies that went through Stratford-on-Avon, where William Shakespeare

was a little boy, we might never have had his plays because that's how he discovered the theater.

And when you play "Hamlet," let's say in Aberdeen in Scotland, where there hasn't been a Hamlet for the last 40 years, as is the case when I played it

there, it is a lot more exciting than playing it in London, where the critics come and see me because there have been ten other "Hamlets" that

year in London.

AMANPOUR: So tell me about that because he wrote these plays at a time, I guess, when there were these, you know, stomping, thumping audiences. I

mean, there was a different kind of relationship between the players and the audience.

STEWART: I believe he was non-political in an activist sense because I think to have been political in the 16th and 17th century would have been

very dangerous especially to have been radical in your views, but there is, nevertheless, an underlying humanism in the plays that you cannot overlook.

People accuse "Merchant of Venice" of being anti-Semitic, it's not. It has anti-Semitic characters in it, vile characters.

MCKELLEN: Anti-gay characters.

STEWART: Anti-gay characters, exactly.

MCKELLEN: Anti-black characters.

And the same with fellow (INAUDIBLE), Shakespeare was absolutely fascinated about people's private lives. So when he's writing about great public

figures, which he usually is -- kings, generals, emperors, queens, yes, he'll give you the facade, but what is really interesting about this is the

reality behind the mask. He's writing about the type of person who likes power, and their failings and their virtues. So it's in that sense, that's

his humanity comes through and you can apply that to current politics.

AMANPOUR: You've noted that occasionally you have written acceptance speeches for Oscars, but have never won one and you would have written

about, you know, gay rights and gay empowerment. Tell me a little bit about Hollywood and gay.

MCKELLEN: Oh, dear -- I mean, much as we all love Hollywood and the idea of Hollywood, people of our generation, we have to admit that you don't

look to Hollywood for advancing, precisely advance, rather late to discover that there are black people in the world that had to be taken seriously and

gay people.

AMANPOUR: You mentioned eight times a week, you're doing this play. I often wonder how -- I mean, I know that everybody and their brother is

asking you this question, but how do you pull it out every time? How do you make it special, new, how do you feel it eight times a week?

MCKELLEN: It's live theater. It's not dead. And it's live because you are doing it for a group of people who have invested their time and money

to come and hear what's going on.

And they are not the people who came last night. And they are not going to come tomorrow night. They are now. It's the now. It's for now. Every

performance is unique.

STEWART: We -- a lot of actors have this game we played here moments before the audience see us. We have a tiny improvisation. And before our

little few words of improvisation is over, the audience are aware that the two of us are on stage.

Where it is helpful for me and I suspect for you, though we've never discussed it, beyond that improvisation, I know nothing. I know who my man

is, but I have no idea what the next moment will bring.

You have to somehow erase the future of the play from your head so that you are simply cliche in the moment each time that we're on stage. And it is

that process of being in the moment that makes it unique every night, makes it admittedly very interesting for us because we are not simply in the

world of repetition.

It is being re-created every night. And I often wish that audiences would know you are part of this one-off experience never to be repeated.

MCKELLEN: When you see a film, you can laugh, you can shout at the screen as much as you want, but they're just going to go on doing what they did

last time it was screened.

The first time I stepped on the stage in the big part as an undergraduate at Cambridge, I stepped on to the stage and (INAUDIBLE), he must have been

drunk, get him off. Get him -- remove him from the stage.

[14:20:13] AMANPOUR: We don't often see these long-standing, old professional friendships and you've quite sort of open about it on Twitter.

You've got this Twitter friendship or social media friendship that's going, where you post photos of each other when you officiated his wedding, and on

and on it goes. Speechless.

MCKELLEN: I'm always friendly with everybody I work, or I try to be. It would be dreadful to meet someone night after night you couldn't get on

with. It does sometimes happen.

The trouble is we're practically the same person, and then it gets rather dodgy. Because the person you are liking so much is actually a reflection

back on yourself.

Don't you think? I mean, our careers have been very similar really.

STEWART: Yes, yes.

MCKELLEN: You think yours has been more distinguished than mine?

STEWART: No. I'm thinking that yours was distinguished from the start.

MCKELLEN: You were distinguished when you were a student, Ian. People were writing in the national papers -- get him off.


I've often thought if it were to happen, if Armageddon were any moment, going to hit this planet, I would like to be in a rehearsal room with a

group of actors. It's much more than sentiment. It is the sense that all of us have been in our careers struggling to represent humanity to other

people, to communicate the best and the worst of what people are. And I think it means that actors for all the bad press that we have got and we

get, the lovey (ph) syndrome, which is a term that I think all of us hate, that there is something actually quite substantial about the people who

work in this business of make believe.

AMANPOUR: Very nicely said. You certainly give a lot of joy to millions of people out there.

STEWART: We're lucky.

AMANPOUR: Thank you very much indeed.

Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen, thank you.

MCKELLEN: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And when we come back, we imagine a world of art for art's sake. Bob Dylan plays coy on winning the biggest award there is, that Nobel

Prize. We'll explain next.


AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, it wasn't so long ago that a Nobel Prize drew a response of joy and gratitude from a recipient, but today we imagine

a world where the times, they are changing because despite multiple attempts to contact the singer/songwriter Bob Dylan, this year's winner of

the Nobel Prize for Literature, hasn't responded to the news of his victory at all.

He hasn't said he wants it. He hasn't said he doesn't want it. Even though several novelists have spoken up and they've criticized his winning

it. Now the Prize committee has given up hope of contacting the elusive troubadour saying "We have stop trying. We said everything indeed to his

manager and friend. He knows about us being eager to have confirmation from him, but we haven't heard anything back."

Clearly, Dylan is a man who marches to the beat of his own tambourine, but he isn't the only one to have an unorthodox response to a much wanted

award. The British novelist Doris Lessing had this blunt response to her unexpected victory in 2007.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you heard the news?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've won the Nobel Prize for Literature.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you feel?

LESSING: This has been going on now for 30 years. I've won all the prizes.


AMANPOUR: Well, and Barack Obama recently poked fun at his own controversial, some say premature, win on "The Stephen Colbert Show."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any awards or commendations?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I have almost 30 honorary degrees and I did get the Nobel Peace Prize.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, really? What was that for?

OBAMA: To be honest, I still don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you did. All right.


AMANPOUR: So maybe the Nobels have had their day. No, surely not. But maybe the good and the great should also chill out. In the words of Bob

Dylan, "Don't think twice. It's all right."

And that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at and, of course, follow me on

facebook and twitter. Thanks for watching and good-bye from New York.