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Violence Escalates after U.S. Jerusalem Decision; Trump Presidency; California Wildfires; Bitcoin's Big Boost; Battle against ISIS; Anti-Nuclear Weapons Group to Receive Nobel Peace Prize. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired December 10, 2017 - 05:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Happening now. Security forces and protesters clashing near the U.S. embassy in Beirut, just one of a series of demonstrations in the region against the U.S. president's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): In the meantime, Mr. Trump pays a controversial visit to a civil rights museum in the U.S. state of Mississippi. African American leaders though decide not to attend.

ALLEN (voice-over): Also ahead this hour, is there a bitcoin bubble?

As prices soar, we look at the online currency phenomenon.

HOWELL (voice-over): Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, we want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN (voice-over): I'm Natalie Allen and NEWSROOM starts right now.


ALLEN: Outrage is spreading across the Middle East days after the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

HOWELL: You see these live images taking place on the streets of Northern Beirut, Lebanon, near the U.S. embassy, violent protests that we continue to monitor. Protesters set fire, they threw rocks and clashed with security forces. Authorities had responded with a great deal of tear gas. More demonstrations are planned in Jerusalem and the West Bank in the coming hours.

ALLEN: CNN's Ben Wedeman has been there at this protest, reporting on it for us. He was with us last hour.

What's going on right now, Ben?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Now by and large (INAUDIBLE) and there's been an attempt by organizers to stop the (INAUDIBLE) rocks, bottles and (INAUDIBLE) at the Lebanese security forces. And it's important to stress at this point (INAUDIBLE) they are gathered outside, several hundred, I think; actually, well over 1,000 demonstrators are gathered at a roundabout on the road leading to the American embassy.

The American embassy is actually several hundred meters up the hill from here. It's not even visible. So they did, at some point, some of the demonstrators earlier in the day, manage to tear down a gate leading to the road that goes to the American embassy.

But at this point, as I said, there's a lot of people waving Palestinian Lebanese flags, (INAUDIBLE) flags. They're chanting, they're clapping. But it's peaceful at the moment and the violence seems to be the exception rather than the rule today.

But yet earlier there was (INAUDIBLE) that the (INAUDIBLE) bottles and (INAUDIBLE) at security forces. But now (INAUDIBLE). (INAUDIBLE) -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Yes, and you've been telling us that they're not just protesting the move by President Trump but also the lack of leadership that many see in the Arab world on this issue right now.

WEDEMAN: Yes. These demonstrations have been sparked (INAUDIBLE) Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But (INAUDIBLE) people feel that Arab leaders for one (INAUDIBLE) public their people and behind the scenes, under the table, however you want to put it, are sending a different message to the U.S. administration.

So there is a lot of anger at Arab leaders for essentially being (INAUDIBLE) the United States. But ironically one of the people who was giving a speech said something he heard that (INAUDIBLE) already (INAUDIBLE) uproar began and that is a thank you to President Trump for reuniting Arabs and Muslims on the issue they all agree with, said they all agree upon, which is the status of Jerusalem and the (INAUDIBLE) it's important to keep in mind that over the last seven or eight years, people (INAUDIBLE) have been very divided. (INAUDIBLE) uprisings throughout the Arab world, wars (INAUDIBLE) Libya. And this is one issue that almost everybody (INAUDIBLE) certainly has managed to do that (INAUDIBLE) Arabs and Muslims the one thing they can agree upon.

ALLEN: Ben Wedeman, covering for us there as people, up to 1,000, Ben says, taking to the streets there in Northern Beirut. Ben, thank you. We'll be back in touch with you if anything happens.

HOWELL: And that violence, Natalie, that violence we're seeing in Beirut, it is the latest among reaction to the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. You've seen protests, clashes for days now, with Israeli forces --


HOWELL: -- in Jerusalem and the West Bank. And the Arab League has called on the United States to cancel its Jerusalem decision.

ALLEN: Some groups are also lashing out at U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. He is set to visit the region this month. There are reports Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas will not meet with him. State media in Egypt say the Coptic Church will not, either.

HOWELL: Back here in the U.S., President Donald Trump on Saturday honored U.S. civil rights heroes of the past but he's also getting slammed by civil rights activists of the present.

ALLEN: Mr. Trump attended the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. He toured the building and spoke to those gathered there.

HOWELL: Several prominent civil rights leaders did not attend that opening. They say the president's policies insult the people honored by the museum.



CHOKWE LUMUMBA, JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI, MAYOR: It is my appreciation for the Mississippi martyrs that are not here, the names both known and unknown, that will not allow me, that will not allow many of us standing today to share a stage with the president.


ALLEN: The head of the civil rights organization, the NAACP, slammed Mr. Trump's appearance, calling it a photo opportunity.

HOWELL: CNN Athena Jones was at that museum event and has details for us.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hi, there. President Trump spent about 40 minutes here at the museum, touring the facility. He saw an exhibit on the Freedom Riders, who helped desegregate the interstate bus system.

He also saw an exhibit on Medgar Evers, the civil rights activist who was assassinated right here in Jackson in 1963. And then he delivered brief remarks, lasting about 10 minutes, to a small group that accompanied him in the museum.

We're talking about civil rights veterans, museum patrons and elected officials. Listen to some of what he had to say.

TRUMP: The civil rights museum records the oppression, cruelty and injustice inflicted on the African American community to fight to end slavery, to break down Jim Crow, to end segregation, to gain the right to vote and to achieve the sacred birthright of equality. Here --


TRUMP: That's big stuff. That's big stuff. Those are very big phrases, very big words. Here we memorialize the brave men and women who struggled to sacrifice and sacrificed so much so that others might live in freedom.


JONES: So there you heard the president honoring a civil rights activist, honoring those who fought to end slavery, fought for their right to vote, people he called American heroes.

But one of the big criticisms that we're hearing from folks who decided to skip this event, including the head of the NAACP and U.S. congressman Bennie Thompson from right here in Mississippi, and John Lewis, the Georgia representative who is a civil rights icon, they say that Trump's inclusion in today's event is an insult to the very people being honored in this museum.

They have a long list of grievances. Overall, they say the president hasn't been a defender of civil rights and he's been criticized in the past for racial insensitivity. Some activists have pointed out the fact that he questioned the legitimacy of America's first black president.

They also mentioned that he has endorsed the Alabama Senate candidate, Roy Moore, who, when asked when America was last great, talked about the era of slavery. He said families were more united, even though there was slavery.

John Lewis and Bennie Thompson, in their statement, highlighted the fact that the president has been bashing NFL players, mostly black football players, who have been kneeling to protest racial inequality.

And several folks also brought up the Voter Integrity Commission the president has set up, they believe is a veiled effort to suppress votes.

So those are some of the criticisms that face the president here, along with about 100 protesters who turned their backs on the motorcade -- Athena Jones, CNN, Jackson, Mississippi.


HOWELL: On Tuesday, voters in the U.S. state of Alabama will choose their next senator. But it's not that simple, though. Republican candidate Roy Moore has been accused of sexual misconduct and worse, accused by several women.

On Friday the U.S. President Donald Trump through his support behind Roy Moore and then today Moore campaigned, he began calling people with a recorded message from the president himself. That message, that Roy Moore will uphold conservative values.

ALLEN: On the other side, Moore's Democratic rival, Doug Jones, is courting the African American vote. Senator Cory Booker and former Massachusetts governor, Deval Patrick campaigned with Jones Saturday.

Both men are prominent figures in the African American community.

HOWELL: A lot of moving -- [05:10:00]

HOWELL: -- parts to this race that's set to take place again Tuesday. Let's bring in Leslie Vinjamuri to talk more about this, live in London. She's an associate professor of international relations at the University of London.

Always good to have you with us to talk about what's happening. So with this particular race, the U.S. president, you know, he, of course, didn't go to that state but he has attended the opening of a civil rights museum just next to the state in Mississippi.

Several civil rights leaders boycotted the opening, suggesting that Mr. Trump's presence there was an insult, they say, and the president largely ignored that backlash, but let's talk about the reasons that those icons decided not to attend.

LESLIE VINJAMURI, SOAS UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: Well, this president as we know has been seen as incredible divisive on issues of race and identity. And so it's unsurprising I think, especially in the aftermath, if we go back to Charlottesville in August and the president's response, which was not unequivocal in terms of condemning the violence that was -- that came out of neo-Nazi movement.

And so I think that back-and-forth that we saw surrounding August in Charlottesville has continued to dominate perceptions of this particular president, along with a series of other statements and practices and the endorsement, of course, of Roy Moore is very significant.

So it was not surprising. The president kept his visit very short. Remember, he didn't attend the public ceremony of the opening of the museum. He attended a much smaller meeting.

And several of the people who boycotted said they hope to schedule another opening in which they can more fully participate. So it's not good but it's not tremendously surprising in light of the last several months and the rhetoric that's been coming out of the White House.

HOWELL: But was this a double-edged sword for the U.S. president, so he attended but had he not attended, would he have received just as much criticism?

VINJAMURI: Absolutely. There's no doubt that to not attend the opening of a civil rights museum of this kind in this location would be tremendously difficult. Arguably he did the best thing he could do, which was to keep his visit very short, very brief and for most part to stick to the script.

The timing is difficult, given that we're right up against this election, which is very deeply contentious, in the neighboring state. But nonetheless it was a difficult -- difficult thing to manage. And I think all parties sort of did what they needed to do and I suspect there will be much greater celebration of the museum subsequently.

HOWELL: Let's cross the border into the U.S. state of Alabama. That election set for Tuesday. The controversial Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of relationships with teenagers, allegedly molesting a 14-year old and also sexually assaulting allegedly a 16- year old while he was in his 30s.

He now has the full endorsement of the U.S. president, who also has allegations from women against him. It's looking to be a tight race.

But if Mr. Moore were to win, how would that effect the brand, the Republican brand, moving forward?

VINJAMURI: I think this is very difficult. Remember Roy Moore was not a popular candidate even before these sexual allegations came out. He lost his job twice in the state as a chief of the supreme court for not following federal orders on a number of very important issues.

So he didn't have a tremendous following and now, in the context of the broader, the #MeToo movement, if Roy Moore is elected into the Senate, it makes it very difficult I think for the Republican Party.

There will be an ethics investigation ongoing, which will cast a shadow over his role in the Senate and create a lot of very difficult problems. So there's been an effort by many in the Senate to distance themselves from him.

But once the president -- once President Trump came out and really so strongly endorsed him, it's made it much more difficult for them to balance their reactions.

HOWELL: So, as far as Doug Jones is concerned, we're seeing these high-profile endorsements, the U.S. president not going to Alabama but certainly endorsing this Alabama Senate candidate. Not seeing the same high-profile endorsements from Democrats.

Why do you think that is the case?

VINJAMURI: I think that there's probably a desire to hold back a little bit from this race because it's so potentially controversial and to perhaps avoid a backlash. If they come in too strong it might -- the state is a very strong Republican state. And perhaps there's a sense to wait and see how it plays out.

Again, Roy Moore is not a strong candidate within the state, hasn't been tremendously popular. He was down in the polls --


VINJAMURI: -- before Trump endorsed him. So there might be some sense that restraint could be actually more effective strategy for influencing what happens on Tuesday in that state.

HOWELL: Leslie Vinjamuri, live for us in London, Leslie, thanks for the insight today. We'll stay in touch with you.

VINJAMURI: Thank you.

ALLEN: Firefighters have turned a corner, we're happy to say, on those aggressive fires in Southern California.

But could the forecast impact their progress?

We'll have details for you right after this.

HOWELL: Plus one of the world most mysterious currencies gets a big boost in value this week. We're talking about bitcoin and, if you own any, you might be smiling today. We'll be back after this.




HOWELL: The firefighters are making some progress against six fires in Southern California. The smallest fire to tell you about, the Liberty Fire, is now 100 percent contained. But with strong winds expected, the flames could then again take off.

ALLEN: Those fires have already scorched more than 73,000 hectares or more than 183,000 acres. Almost 200,000 people have been forced to leave their homes. Some are now returning, finally, to find rubble where their neighborhoods used to stand.



HOWELL: You may have heard a lot about bitcoin. The cryptocurrency has been on a wild ride since $7,000 in value just last week.

ALLEN: That's an extreme short-term price swing for any currency. Bitcoin is digital money, bought, sold and kept in so-called wallets online. It's encrypted, so you can buy and use it anonymously.

HOWELL: But still traditional markets are taking renewed interest in it and bitcoin's value has exploded. Just take a look at how its dollar value has shot up just this year alone. It started at less than $800 in January before topping $17,000 this week.

And some of those traditional markets are hoping to cash in on the big business of bitcoin by opening their own futures exchanges.

ALLEN: In just a few hours, the Chicago Board Options Exchange will open its bitcoin futures market and it will be joined by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange later this month. And Nasdaq may follow next year.

HOWELL: Let's get all the details from Miles Johnson, capital markets editor for the "Financial Times," joining us now live in London.

A pleasure to have you with us, Miles, to talk about this.

MILES JOHNSON, "FINANCIAL TIMES." Hi. HOWELL: Let's start with the big picture here. You've described this in your own writing as a faith-based financial asset for the populist era. Explain to our viewers what you mean by that.

JOHNSON: What I mean is that bitcoin is not an asset which can be valued by any traditional financial metrics. And basically financial bubbles occur throughout history. And really the interesting thing is really what they tell us about the societies at the time they occur.

And with bitcoin, I really think it chimes with a sort of collapse in confidence in traditional forms of authority and the traditional financial system.

HOWELL: OK. So we're seeing the currency on the rise. It started, as we said, this year worth less than $1,000 and a few days ago it hit 17,000. Critics say it's a bubble. The bitcoin faithful say this is something that can't be analyzed by these traditional means. They say mainstream experts they just don't get it.

Your thoughts on that?

Is this something that can be understood by people who follow traditional means?

JOHNSON: I think it very much is sort of -- shows many, many different elements of what could be seen as a speculative bubble because it effectively uses a faith-based means of evaluation.

So, as you say, supporters say you can't understand this. The only way of understanding this is by adopting a new way of thinking. And I think it very much means it's impervious to normal fact-based financial analysis.

HOWELL: Some of our viewers may ask the simple question, for those who are not familiar with it, where can you use bitcoin?

JOHNSON: Well, there are vendors who accept bitcoin as a means of payment but there's still a lot of friction in the bitcoin system. It's an expensive thing to transact with and, most importantly, it's extremely volatile.

So it would be as if you went to the grocery store to buy something and the value of the dollars in your pocket moved by 50 percent by the time you left your house to buying your groceries. So it's very difficult to have a store of value which is so volatile and also a currency at the same time.

HOWELL: Let's talk about the people who actually led to this rise. We know that this is useful, it's being used on the dark market.

But what about its legitimate purposes and uses?

JOHNSON: Yes. There are -- its supporters will argue that it's effectively creating a decentralized digital currency which is not dependent on the backing of governments or central banks. So that gives it a use and a sort of stability which people who

support it argue, normal currencies don't have because they're dependent on central banks and governments.

HOWELL: OK. And the last question I'd like to ask you, just about bitcoin mining.

Can you explain that please?

JOHNSON: Bitcoin mining is effectively a means of producing more bitcoin. And in the most simplistic terms, it requires those who are mining to solve complex mathematical --


JOHNSON: -- puzzles to then eventually create a new bitcoin, of which there are a limited supply. The issue is that bitcoin mining requires a large amount of power to do this. And so it has a sort of cost.

And so eventually there will be some sort of reconciliation between the cost in power terms and the actual amount of bitcoin and the price of bitcoin.

HOWELL: Miles Johnson, live for us in London, thank you for the explanation on what's happening.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

ALLEN: And coming up here, the latest on tensions over the U.S. Jerusalem decision. We'll have a live report from the region.

HOWELL: Plus, (INAUDIBLE) in Iraq. Celebrations there but these are not protests. We'll explain as CNN NEWSROOM pushes on.




HOWELL: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: And I'm Natalie Allen. Here are the headlines.



ALLEN: We're talking more about the Jerusalem decision made by U.S. President Trump. He has been criticized for his decision but he's also been praised.

HOWELL: This is a clear break with the past administrations. But the status quo never led to long-term peace. Here's CNN Nic Robertson on whether Mr. Trump's gamble might pay off. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Clashes like these in the past few days, stone-throwing Palestinian youths goading well-armed Israeli security forces, a part of what world leaders openly worried might happen following President Trump's announcement, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Their fears weren't misplaced. There have been casualties.

ROBERTSON: Yet this is only a partial picture. Many of the Palestinian protests have been relatively peaceful and, overall, have lacked the scale and zeal of past Palestinian actions.

But although it is way too soon to know how all of this is going to turn out, it raises the question: can President Trump capitalize on his announcement?

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: We're profoundly grateful for the president, for his courageous and just decision to recognize Jerusalem...

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Israelis from the prime minister on down have been gushing in their praise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a good step forward toward peace.

TRUMP: When I came into office...

ROBERTSON (voice-over): On lawmaker suggested Trump's name should be carved into Judaism's sacred Western Wall. Another said he'd name a park after Trump.

ROBERTSON: Of course there has been much speculation about why Trump made the announcement. His critics say it was just to fulfill a campaign promise. Yet the careful framing by the White House and the positive Israeli response perhaps gives Trump leverage other U.S. presidents lacked.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Throughout the region, pro-Palestinian protesters have united to say Trump is biased towards Israel and the U.S. can't be a fair peace talks negotiator.

The Palestinians' chief negotiator told CNN, Trump had effectively shut down talks for a two-state solution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump made the biggest mistake of his life.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): At the Palestinian protests, I talked to people who said this, too. But they also told me they aren't happy with their own leadership.

GEORGE ASSAD, CHRISTIAN CONSULTANT: I think the leadership has had many opportunities in terms of a wake-up call and they haven't listened to the street. I hope that it is a wake-up call for them to pursue a different course of action.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Frustrations hang in part on Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas. His post-Trump statement was seen as weak.

But also with regional leaders...

AHMAD TIBI, PALESTINIAN MP: Some of the Arab states are not -- are acting in a very vigorous and obvious way. The statement was dangerous. The reaction should be strong.

ROBERTSON: Helping Israelis and Palestinians find peace has been one of the bigger challenges for recent American presidents. It's bedeviled the best minds and negotiators, the U.S. has been able to muster. Too soon to say if Trump's gamble, against advice and orthodoxy, will pay off -- Nic Robertson, CNN, Jerusalem.


ALLEN: Interesting perspective there from Nic.

More demonstrations are expected in this day and Israel's prime minister is set to meet with French president Emmanuel Macron. Mr. Macron is stepping up into this situation somewhat. CNN's Ian Lee is monitoring things for us thee in Jerusalem.

And Nic's report there certainly did ask a lot of questions about how long these protests will go and what's really on the minds of people that are not just angry at Donald Trump, they're angry at some of their own leaders.

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Natalie. When we saw in the beginning of Nic's piece, we saw the intensity of the clashes between protesters and the army and the police on Thursday, Friday.

Today there's calls for more protests, although we haven't seen them materialize in the street and that raises the question of, does this story -- or does this protest movement for the Palestinians, does it have legs?

Will it continue?

Can they keep this momentum up?


LEE: Or will they eventually go home and just accept this decision by the United States?

We also heard, though, the frustration from the Palestinian leadership about there's really no way forward. We still haven't heard what way forward the Palestinian Authority is going to take. And so that vacuum we have seen protesters on the street but right now it is quiet in Jerusalem. ALLEN: We know that to the vice president to the United States, Mike Pence, will be visiting the region soon but he's not exactly getting a warm welcome or he's not expected to, is he?

LEE: Yes. The Palestinian Authority and especially the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas said he's not going to meet with the vice president, Mike Pence. We were in Jerusalem and there's, on the wall, a painting of President Trump and below it says that Mike Pence isn't welcome.

And that really is the sentiment with all Palestinians right now. They don't want to have anything to do with the United States. They're very angry with the United States. There's a sense of -- not really betrayal but the fact that the United States has always tried to portray itself as this neutral mediator between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Now the Palestinians say that the United States is showing its true colors and it's more with Israel and that's why they broke off talks with the United States and, essentially, told the United States, take a backseat in this peace process.

But there is that vacuum there that we'll have to see what can possibly fill it when it comes to the peace process. But right now, it doesn't look like the United States is going to be welcomed in Bethlehem, in Ramallah, in anywhere in the Palestinian territories anytime soon.

ALLEN: Ian Lee there for us in Jerusalem, Ian, thank you.

HOWELL: The streets of Baghdad there are celebrations and it's all about who is not in Iraq any more. We'll explain.






HOWELL (voice-over): Fireworks in the air, flags flying. There are celebrations on the streets of Baghdad. This after the announcement that ISIS has been driven out of that country. The Iraqi military says it has fully liberated Iraq from what it called ISIS terrorist gangs and has retaken full control of the Iraqi-Syrian border.

ALLEN (voice-over): Iraq's prime minister said the dream of liberation is now reality and ISIS' dream has come to an end.

HAIDER AL-ABADI, PRIME MINISTER OF IRAQ (through translator): We announce to our people and to the whole world that our heroes have reached the final strongholds of daish and purified it, raising the Iraqi flags over areas of Western Anbar, which were the last Iraqi usurped territories.

The Iraqi flag flies high today over all Iraqi lands and over the remotest border areas.


HOWELL: Jomana Karadsheh is across this story, live for us in Amman, Jordan.

Jomana, you can tell from the images there, the celebrations, there is a great deal of pride here. Explain the significance of the fact that ISIS is no longer in Iraq.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a day that the Iraqis are now calling victory day. They are taking this day to celebrate, that finally ISIS no longer controls any significant territory in Iraq.

More than three years ago, this moment would have seemed impossible. If you look at how much territory the group controlled then, you're talking about major cities, whether it's in Western Iraq like Ramadi and Fallujah and to the north, cities like Tikrit and Iraq's second largest city, Mosul.

So finally now, after so much sacrifice -- and you talk to Iraqis, they're not just celebrating this moment, they're also taking a moment to remember the lives lost.

We're talking about thousands of fighters, of civilians who sacrificed their lives in the battles and the bloodshed that we saw over the past three years to make this moment a reality.

So this is a very significant moment for Iraq. But there's also this realization that this is not the end. This might be the end of military operations and the battles as we have seen them over the past three years but there's still a lot of hard work ahead for Iraqis.

HOWELL: To that point, let's talk about the terror group as it stands now. Surely, ISIS has been broken down.

But how and where are they still viable?

KARADSHEH: Well, if you talk to officials, they would tell you that the group no longer controls significant territory, whether in Iraq or in Syria. So that so-called caliphate that ISIS declared no longer really exists.

But that does not mean an end to a terror group. They might no longer control territory but they still possess the capability and ability to carry out attack and that is one of the concerns here, George.

And when it comes to Iraq, we need to keep in mind, Iraq has been here before. Before ISIS, you had Al Qaeda in Iraq and Iraqis, at one point, marked the end of that group. And it reemerged.

So when you look at the conditions that led to the rise of ISIS a few years ago, whether it is the divisions within the sectarian and ethnic divisions or the feelings among the Sunni community, that they were being neglected and marginalized, and other factors, that really hasn't been dealt with.

And that is why you're hearing these reminders from officials, for example, the United Nations' top official to Iraq when he addressed the Security Council last month, saying that military victory is just one component of a very complex battle and that Iraq needs to address these issues to make sure that we don't see a rise of another group after ISIS.

But again, George, at this point in time, Iraqis are just taking this moment to celebrate the end of ISIS' reign of terror.

HOWELL: Jomana Karadsheh, thank you for the reporting.

ALLEN: As Iraqis celebrate what they hope will be peace in their country, we're going to talk peace in a moment. The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony is just a couple of hours away. We'll tell you how this year's winner, a group, hopes to make the world a safer place.





ALLEN: In just a few hours, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons or ICAN will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in a ceremony in Oslo, Norway.

HOWELL: It's receiving the honor for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons. It was a driving force behind the U.N. treaty on the prohibition of nuclear arms; 122 U.N. member states adopted the treaty in July.

It prohibits countries from developing, from testing and stockpiling nuclear weapons.

ALLEN: Fifty U.N. Member states must ratify the treaty for it to become binding under international law. ICAN's executive director is hopeful that will happen.


BEATRICE FINN (PH), ICAN: It is the only rational choice and eliminating them begins with this treaty. Let us force our leaders to reshape a new foreign policy that does not rely on these illegal weapons of mass destruction. Let us make them sign this treaty.


ALLEN: Another woman speaking out against nuclear weapons is a survivor of a nuclear explosion. She was just 13 when an atomic bomb shattered the Japanese city of Hiroshima.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No matter what happened, never the use of nuclear weapons.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to think of millions of people who surround those leaders.


ALLEN: Joining me now from London is Dr. Martin Navias. He's a former Kings College lecturer on war studies and is currently an international finance lawyer based in London.

Dr. Navias, thanks for joining us.


ALLEN: So ICAN is about to be given the Nobel Peace Prize.

Do you think this will help their cause, for this treaty to become binding under international law?

NAVIAS: Well, you know, sometimes when the Nobel Peace Prize Committee awards a prize, they want to send a message and the message is clear that, over the past few years -- it's become increasingly noticeable that we're entering a very difficult period in terms of the likelihood of further proliferation of nuclear weapons and even the likelihood of war.

So by giving this prize to ICAN the committee is underlining the importance of abolishing nuclear weapons. It's not going to happen overnight but it is aspirational. It's a laudable and it's a noble goal and the committee wants to reinforce that point.

ALLEN: Yes. Hopefully it will help them achieve what they want to achieve. Let's talk about the fact that, all of a sudden, nuclear war is something in just not the back of peoples' minds but a little more forward.

Who do you point the finger to?

North Korea?

The United States?

For backing away from the Iran nuclear deal?

How did we get here in 2017?

NAVIAS: Well, the fact is that, when the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty came into force a few decades ago, people believed it would be what they call a gallery rush to nuclear weapons, that many states would rush toward acquiring them.

This did not happen. After the first phase, only three states acquired nuclear weapons, India, Pakistan and possibly Israel. And then more recently North Korea has acquired nuclear weapons.

But if the North Korean issue is not resolved and if the states in Asia do not believe that North Korea is going to be contained then others may feel pressurized to acquire nuclear weapons; South Korea, for example, even Japan. The same is true in the Middle East.

If states in the Gulf do not believe that Iran is actually being constrained in acquiring nuclear weapons, we will see pressures amongst those states, too, to acquire nuclear weapons.

So there is an increasing danger over the next few years that the breakout that was feared in the 1960s and '70s will actually start taking place now.

ALLEN: Right. We're going the wrong way on this certainly. I want to ask you, too, what do you make, though, of major nuclear powers, the U.S., the U.K. and France, not sending a delegation to the ceremony, just deputies?

Israel has an ambassador there and Russia a top diplomat. But others kind of looking the other way on this one.

NAVIAS: ICAN has two main points as far as I can determine. One is they focus on the terrible consequences of nuclear war and that is indisputable. They are absolutely correct.

They have another theory as well and that is nuclear weapons, when push comes to shove, does not aid the security of states; that the damage that's entailed, if they are used, would not really reinforce security.

Now that is a theory that is contested. Many states believe that nuclear weapons are integral part of their security. States have given up nuclear weapons. I'll give you an example.

South Africa gave up nuclear weapons some time ago but that was because the South African government did not believe that nuclear weapons aided their security.

And I think they were absolutely correct. But others have given up nuclear weapons, such as Ukraine, for example, gave up the nuclear weapons on its territory. And now they are at war.

Colonel Gadhafi gave up his weapons of mass destruction. And he was attacked. So many other countries believe that not only is nuclear weapons relevant to their security but, if they gave them up, their security will be degraded.

ALLEN: Interesting that you pointed that out and thank you for letting us know that.

As far as curtailing those who want to have nuclear weapons, since you're here, what is your answer as far as the North Korea situation?

NAVIAS: Well, I cannot believe that North Korea will, in the near future, give up its nuclear weapons. The North Korean regime believes that those weapons are integral to its defense against American and South Korean advances.

So while we may aim to constrain nuclear weapons -- and I think there is some room for the North Koreans to curtail their programs -- they aren't --


NAVIAS: -- going to be giving up nuclear weapons readily, not in the short-term.

ICAN has a laudable objective and it's aspirational. But in the near term, in the short term, I cannot see any nuclear weapons state surrendering its nuclear weapons, no matter what the political pressures are, no matter what the legality of them are, according to the United Nations.

ALLEN: Yes, a somber thought indeed. We'll be thinking of ICAN as they get this Nobel Peace Prize and see what they can do with it. Thank you so much for your analysis, Dr. Martin Navias, joining us there.

NAVIAS: Thank you.

HOWELL: That is sobering.

ALLEN: It is.

HOWELL: Turning now to Egypt, where archeologists have unveiled artifacts found in two tombs over the past six months. Among the finds, a linen-wrapped mummy, funeral masks and shrouds, some of them layered in gold.

ALLEN: Officials say some of the artifacts date back to Egypt's 17th dynasty, around 1580 B.C. The tombs are located near Luxor and were discovered in the 1990s but have been kept sealed until recently.

HOWELL: It's been two long years since "Star Wars" fans were left wondering what's next for Luke Skywalker and his pals in galaxy far, far away.

ALLEN: The wait is over. "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" premiered Saturday night in Los Angeles. There they are, on the red carpet, the stars themselves, both human and droid. Actress Daisy Ridley (ph) hinted the films plot involves women becoming more powerful and demanding respect.

That would be not unlike what's happening in Hollywood and Washington lately. Go see that one.

Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. For our viewers here in the United States, "NEW DAY" is next. Stay with us.