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The Battle for Mosul; Anti-ISIS Fight Brings Heavy Toll in the Philippines; The Book that Cast a Spell Over the World

Aired June 30, 2017 - 14:00:00   ET



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, we follow the war on ISIS on two fronts. In Iraq, where the government launched one final push to crush the

caliphate and retake Mosul, and in the Philippines, we get a first hand look at the toll the fight against ISIS is having on its people.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the special weekend edition of our program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

After intense fighting in Mosul, the Iraqi government is declaring an end to the ISIS state. But are rumors of ISIS demise exaggerated?

We do know that this week's intense fighting in Mosul should soon liberate that city three years after ISIS captured it and stunned the world. ISIS

hold out are still reportedly using civilians trapped in the city as human shield. And it's estimated that thousands of civilians have been killed in

Mosul so far. But almost a million have fled the city.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh was in Mosul with Iraqi troops on their final offensive.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Morning here come only with dust and ruin. This was the day Iraqi's

Special Forces were meant to take back the symbolic al-Nuri Mosque of Mosul's old city. But it ended up the day their leaders declared victory,

while they are still bitterly fighting.

Just literally, to the side of the mosque, is where ISIS has been.

The aim was to encircle the sacred monument ISIS themselves destroyed.

Yet they've lost so many to ISIS. They move carefully against the enemy even with high-tech help they rarely see.

When an ISIS fighter is spotted, the artillery reins down throughout the day.

(INAUDIBLE) this fight to be over in the afternoon. News report cited Iraq the officials elsewhere are saying the mosque could be retaken. The

bizarre scene, given how lethally, painstakingly they were advancing.

Huge political stakes here for Iraq, yet this fight is spearheaded by a few dozen men and two bulldozers. They borrow a drone. Theirs had been shot


WALSH (on camera): ISIS have been relatively quiet during the day, but it seem a drone put up in the sky to work out more about the defensive

positions sent some incoming rounds towards us here.

(voice-over): More gunfire exchanges, and, as they grind slowly towards the edge of the mosque, more Iraqi officials announce they have retaken it.

But that's just politics, and here is the ghastly reality.


WALSH: Civilians held as human shields by ISIS, risking death to flee from its certainty.


[14:05:00] WALSH: They're held back, feared as possible suicide bombers. But the agony becomes too much. There is nothing really to say when hell

is behind you and just dust before you.

We've been shelled in the rubble, he says. The injured piggybacked out. The fear so strong, it led this woman to walk out with pins in her leg to

get her family out. A mortar landed on their home. It's the only word little Tuka (ph) can say.

"There's been no liquids for days. My little ones were dying of hunger. We didn't see anybody. No ISIS. Only the military."

This day perhaps prematurely Iraq declared ISIS vanquished, yet their three years have likely consumed all of hers. And the ruins from which she fled

and in which ISIS lie will take more than declarations of victory to rebuild.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Mosul, Iraq.


AMANPOUR: Now ISIS thrives on Iraq's political dysfunction and the sectarian divide. The Iraqi vice president Ayad Allawi joined me in the

studio warning that unless Iraq can have real political inclusion, it will never defeat the extremist.

And he also warned that ISIS may be down, but not out as evidence mount of a major collaboration with al Qaeda.


AMANPOUR: Mr. Vice President, welcome back to the program.

AYAD ALLAWI, IRAQI VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you for having me.

AMANPOUR: Your prime minister has twitted that now the al-Nuri mosque is in Iraqi hands and this signifies the defeat of ISIS in Mosul at least.


AMANPOUR: Can you confirm that?

ALLAWI: Yes. We indeed can confirm this. I think we are mopping up now. A process of mopping in Mosul. And I think in a few weeks, I think we will

come to an end to the story of this chapter. But there are a lot to follow.

AMANPOUR: And where are the ISIS fighters who have been holding out in Mosul?

ALLAWI: They are in the old city. They are with the snipers fighting. They are in covert cells.

AMANPOUR: So they are still there?

ALLAWI: They are still there.

AMANPOUR: So what does mopping up mean?

ALLAWI: Mopping up is clearing them from the overt presence. The covert is still there. And the sleeping cells are still there. But we are

talking about the chapter of getting rid of them as they have occupied Mosul. I think this will be achieved soon. But we will have to live with

the rest for times to come.

AMANPOUR: And what is the rest? And how long do you think?

ALLAWI: I can't put a date on, or a specified date. But I think it's going to be (INAUDIBLE) the war with ISIS especially now we have

information that they are getting closer to al Qaeda.


ALLAWI: And trying to forge an alliance with al Qaeda.

AMANPOUR: So much more formal joining up of these two forces.

ALLAWI: Yes. And this is fairly new. Recent.


ALLAWI: Not only in Iraq, but the discussions are taking place in Iraq, in Syria and elsewhere.

And we have a group who have left al Qaeda, but never joined ISIS. And now they are playing the role of in between.

AMANPOUR: So do you consider that a major threat or is it desperation moves of two groups who are on the run?

ALLAWI: It is the unification of the evil forces to get against the moderate forces. I think we need to look at changing the political

landscape. And I worry that it will be hostile to the extremist.

AMANPOUR: Well, you know, a few years ago, actually in 2014 when ISIS took Mosul and you were very angry when you came here and talked to me. You

said, you know, the reason the Iraqi forces turned around is because they have no country to fight for. They have no government to fight for. No

identity. Has that changed?

ALLAWI: It hasn't really, but the ones who are fighting, the ones who retained their identity, the anti-terror group and the army like I have for


They are doing and putting the first, if you like, the fight against ISIS. And this is to me is very important because this would signal really to the

rest of the components of the armed forces. And the other fighting forces that Iraq is Iraq and it should be defended. And these people like in ISIS

and al Qaeda are trying to damage the country and there is the coherence of the country.

AMANPOUR: I mean, as you know, and as everybody says, this is not just a military battle. It is one thing to break ISIS or al Qaeda, but it's

another thing to rebuild the country. And it takes political commitment. And Iraq has not yet been able to bridge its sectarian differences.

[14:10:00] ALLAWI: Exactly. This is what I always say that we may achieve and we hope to achieve victory in the military field. But we need to win

the war politically also. And we are still far away from this.

AMANPOUR: I mean, what is it going to take, Mr. Allawi? It's like, you know, it was 2003, the invasion.

ALLAWI: It will take any goodwill.


AMANPOUR: But where is it going to come from after all these years?

ALLAWI: To really embark on a course of reconciliation. A course of getting a way and outside the terrain of sectarianism. And really creating

citizenship state of Iraq. And not for the Iraq -- for the components of Iraq.

AMANPOUR: Do you believe there is still a one state Iraq possible?

ALLAWI: Of course I do believe.

AMANPOUR: I mean, I know you want that. You fought for it, but is it possible?

ALLAWI: It is possible, yes.

AMANPOUR: President Obama, of course, you remember, pulled out American troops at the end of 2011.


AMANPOUR: Within two years or several years, we saw ISIS rise and take over Mosul. Now that President Trump talks about an America first policy,

and you see how he has aligned himself in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia against Qatar, against Iran -- I mean, do you know what is going on?

ALLAWI: Not in the states, no. Not yet.

AMANPOUR: You don't know?


AMANPOUR: You know there's policy for your country.

ALLAWI: What I know is that really policies are being formulated. But there is no clear-cut policies where to go and what to do.

AMANPOUR: Even for your own country, do you have any idea?

ALLAWI: No, no, even for Iraq, still premature. I think they are still celebrating on a kind of strategy for Iraq. Nothing yet has materialized -

- have materialized yet. But I think this will be coming.

When, I don't know, really. But to me, there is no international strategy. No strategy for the alliance. Alliances are fighting and how they will

help us in this part of the fight. And there are different, you know, Arab strategies to fight extremism.

We don't have any strategies. We hope that these strategies will be developed soon. And especially the political side of these strategies.

Whereby the landscape, political landscape should rectified in a way and the real representative and inclusive of the Iraqi people.

AMANPOUR: How do all these different countries in the region jockeying now for power and control of the region affect Iraq whether it's Saudi Arabia,

whether it's Iran, Qatar.

ALLAWI: Let me tell you, I think there is a vacuum in the overall leadership in the world. And the Americans needs to -- the Americans need

to speed up to get back to their role as an international power.

The vacuum that have been created and the rise again of the Soviet, the Russian federation and China and the problems in the heart of the world,

which is in the Middle East, cannot run forever. And I guess that one of the absent important factors in getting the stability addressed and the

whole world globally is what the Americans had been indulged in without clear-cut policies where to go and what to do.

AMANPOUR: Did you ever think that this was going to be the result after the 2003 invasion?

ALLAWI: Not really. Not at all. And I pointed this out by the way early on in 2003 and 2004 in an op-ed in the "Washington Post" and "New York

Times" that this could result in the gross deterioration of the region. And this is what is happening. This is what you are paying for 2003.

AMANPOUR: And there's very little light at the end of the tunnel.

ALLAWI: Yes. Yes.

AMANPOUR: Ayad Allawi, Iraqi vice president, thank you for joining us.

ALLAWI: Thank you. Thank you very much.


AMANPOUR: Meantime, the ISIS tentacles have reached the Philippines. Where that country's troops and its people are now bloodied and broken from

a battle they were not expecting. We look at the toll on the Philippines in their fight against the terrorist group, next.


[14:16:12] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

Half a world away from Iraq and Syria, ISIS is battling the government, street to street in the Philippines.

In Marawi, a city of 200,000, which they captured last month. American forces are on the ground helping in that fight. And President Duterte has

declared martial law.

Their leader is the elusive Isnilon Hapilon. And our Ivan Watson has spoken to a former Jihadi who fought alongside him.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): Do you think he enjoys killing people?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. When I spoke to him many years ago, he always think that killing non-Muslims satisfies Allah, makes Allah happy. And I

was shocked.


AMANPOUR: Ivan just returned from the area and I spoke to him from his base in Hong Kong. And I asked him if the militants really were ISIS or

another group claiming its mantel.


AMANPOUR: Ivan, you've been doing some pretty groundbreaking reporting there about this ISIS upsurge.

What have you been finding out? How deep is it? I mean, is it really ISIS or is it masquerading as some other group there?

WATSON: It looks and sounds like ISIS, Christiane. What the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines has had for decades where an

assortment of different Islamist insurgent groups. The most famous of them probably Abu Sayyaf which was allied with al-Qaeda.

What we've seen new here is under the leadership of this man, Hapilon, who came from the Abu Sayyaf group, he's managed to for the very first time

organize a coalition of these diverse insurgent groups under the black banner of ISIS, and they mounted this audacious attack on a city and

captured it and have succeeded in fighting the Philippines' military to a standstill there for more than a month.


WATSON (voice-over): The ambulances arrive in a torrential downpour. Unloading the most recent casualties from the Philippines' month-long fight

against ISIS militants hold up in the besieged city of Marawi.

(on-camera): In almost four weeks of fighting, this hospital has treated some 340 casualties and more wounded soldiers keep coming every day.

(voice-over): Among those treating the wounded, Lieutenant Colonel Jonna Dalaguit, who runs this military hospital. She's been an army doctor for

20 years.

(on-camera): Have you ever seen casualties on a scale like this before?

LT. COL. JONNA DALAGUIT, CAMP EVANGELISTA HOSPITAL: No, it's the first time. It's the first time that I've seen this huge number of casualties.

WATSON (voice-over): Among the wounded, this sergeant who we've been asked not to identify.

Sprayed with shrapnel from a mortar round, he gets help from his 65-year- old mother Teresita.

(on-camera): What do you think about ISIS right now?


WATSON: You hate them?


WATSON (voice-over): The sergeant is a 17-year veteran of many other counterinsurgency operations, but he tells me the ISIS militants entrenched

in Marawi includes skilled foreign fighters ready to die in battle.

The military says they've rescued hundreds of civilians from the war zone. But in their struggle to save the city, they've also been bombing the city.

In a recent visit to the region, Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte apologized for the extreme measures.

[14:20:00] RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES: You will find in your heart to forgive my soldiers and government and me for declaring

martial law. I have no choice. They are destroying Marawi. I have to drive them out, but I am very sorry.

WATSON: The government is struggling to cope with the many people now suddenly made homeless.

(on-camera): This is what happens when the conflict comes to this corner of the Philippines.

More than 200 families, more than 1,000 civilians, packed into this school gymnasium, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

(voice-over): In fact, more than 340,000 people have fled their homes in the last month. Among them, Tarhata Musari (ph) and her infant son.

What's your baby's name?


WATSON: You named your child Martial Law?


WATSON: She gave birth in Marawi on May 23rd, the day ISIS invaded the city, amid explosions and gunfire. Just one hour later, they fled on foot.

The baby may be safe, but Murasi (ph) lost her father in the panic. She says she has not seen him since.


AMANPOUR: Ivan, that's extraordinary. That young woman, who said that she called her baby, Martial Law, I wonder whether that's a sign of hope that

the president can actually defeat this, or what?

I mean, you heard him apologize for that. It's an unusual scene to see President Duterte apologizing. He's known as the punisher. Put this into

the bigger context of his harsh crackdowns?

WATSON: Well, this has come as an immense shock to the Philippines -- government, the armed forces, the intelligence. The sudden appearance of

these tenacious fighters, armed to the teeth with stocks of ammunition, enough that they could hold out to this very day, in parts of that city of

Marawi against the might of the Philippines' armed forces.

It also comes as a surprise, because for the past year, President Rodrigo Duterte has been presenting illegal narcotics as virtually an existential

threat to the Philippines. And somehow overlooked the tipping -- ticking Jihadi time bomb that was growing on his home island of Mindanao.

It's even more surprising, because he is the first president ever in the Philippines to come from the island of Mindanao, and there were

intelligence failures, security failures that failed to see this threat coming.

I was surprised in listening to his speech, to hear how conciliatory he was. He clearly wants to make peace with the ethnic and religious minority

on Mindanao, the Moro people, the Moro Muslims, who have had insurgent groups fighting the government for decades. And there are some leaders

from within that community that sound much more harsh against these ISIS militants than Duterte himself did sound.

I was surprised at how restrained Duterte sounded when he was talking about the fighters just up the road who had succeeded in driving some 300,000

people away from their homes.


AMANPOUR: when we come back, a break from this relentless reality, to imagine a fictional boy wonder who's transformed the world.

Yes, Harry Potter celebrated his 20th birthday this week. We look at his global impact -- next.


[14:25:10] AMANPOUR: And finally, tonight, imagine emerging from a long battle against depression with a children's story where light conquers the


20 years ago this week that is just what one J.K. Rowling did, as she imagined the wizarding world of Harry Potter. The hero who lived in a

cupboard under the stairs grew year by year with an audience who read his adventures in 68 languages.

Rowling's universe saw epic battles between good and evil, as her protagonists, Harry, Ron and Hermione fought intolerance and hatred with

openness, selling hundreds and millions of books and seating millions of behinds in theaters to watch a wildly successful Potter film franchise.

There are Potter universe spin-offs, of course. A play, theme parks and more. All making the once-destitute single mother the world's first

billionaire author.

Speaking to a BBC children's show when the first book, "The Philosopher's Stone" hit the shelves back in 1997, Rowling was sitting in that same

Edinburgh Cafe where she had conjured Harry up.


J.K. ROWLING, "HARRY POTTER" AUTHOR: The way I arrived at writing a book was that, I had been writing for years and years and years. I was very

young. I was outside school. And I think you need to practice. You need to practice and work out what worked and what didn't work. I kept going

and probably start by writing about things you know about.


AMANPOUR: And that is a lesson for a lifetime practice can make perfect. And in just over a week, tune in to our show for a special edition. My

exclusive interview with J.K. Rowling. How she conjured Harry Potter's magic spell "Lumos" into her children's charity of the same name.

That's it for our program tonight. And remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online anytime at, and follow me on

Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for watching and good-bye from London.