Michael Ware


AAM: More on the Baghdad embed

Click photo to play
Length: 3:13

MILES O'BRIEN: In Iraq, the U.S. military claiming it has captured a high ranking al-Qaeda operator, but no end in sight for the violence. Thirteen killed today in Baghdad, including two American soldiers. In one attack, Iraqi police were lured to the scene of a roadside bombing, only to be hit by another bomber in a car.

CNN's Michael Ware is in Baghdad now. He is embedded with U.S. troops -- Michael.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Miles, amidst all of that violence, the U.S. military has stepped up in what has become known as the Battle of Baghdad. The long-running operation known as Operation Together Forward to reclaim this city from insurgents, militias and death squads went to a new level today.

In the past, the operations have targeted areas contested by the sectarian groups, or where largely Shia death squads have operated against the Sunni sect. But today, for the first time, the target was a Shia domain, one of the strongholds of the most dominant Shia militias, Jaish al-Mahdi, loyal to the rebel anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Today, Stryker vehicles just like these behind me and thousands of American and Iraqi troops entered the Shahab (ph) district, clearing it of death squads, searching for weapons, and taking control of the streets, in the course of which there was one sniper attack on U.S. forces, an American soldier was wounded. We understand it was only lightly, however, and we're waiting for an update on his condition.

And we've just learned that one of these vehicles has just been hit by an IED back in the Shahab district -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Michael, you've been -- you were just embedded recently to the west of Baghdad, and now you're in Baghdad for, as you say, the Battle of Baghdad. To what extent do you get the sense that the focus on Baghdad saps resources which could be used outside in the Sunni Triangle?

WARE: Miles, you're very much touching the main point here in Iraq. I mean, the focus for the coalition forces right now is Baghdad. As a very senior U.S. military intelligence source said to me recently, "In terms of our priorities, it's Baghdad, Baghdad, Baghdad."

There's a belief among some of the core leadership that this battle will be won or lost here in Baghdad. It's about trying to prop up a relatively weak prime minister who does not have a popular base of his own, nor does he have his own militia, which is currently the currency of political power in Iraq. So they need to secure Baghdad to give him that support he needs.

In the meantime, however, while more and more resources are sucked into Baghdad, while reserves are called from Kuwait to go to Baghdad, that leaves Anbar, I'm afraid to say, hanging out there to dry. As we heard from the Marine general who controls Anbar province, he has enough troops to train the Iraqi forces, but he does not have enough troops to win the war against the al-Qaeda-led insurgency out there -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Michael Ware embedded with U.S. troops in Baghdad.

Thank you -- Soledad.