Michael Ware


TSR: "Held together by some string and some sticky tape."

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Length: 2:55

WOLF BLITZER: There are new American casualties in what's now the fourth deadliest month on record for U.S. forces in Iraq. At the same time, there's been an Iraqi government turnaround on the question of timelines for increasing security.

And joining us now from Baghdad, our correspondent, Michael Ware. In light of this joint statement that was released just a few hours ago, Michael, by the U.S. ambassador in Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, and the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, the question that jumps up at me is how much pressure can the U.S. exert on the Iraqi government without going too far and seeing that fragile government simply collapse?

Because I have been told by officials here in Washington that the chaos we see now in Iraq would be small potatoes compared to what happens if this government simply collapses.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, if this government collapses, then there will be a horror here of, you know, historic proportions. But the point that your sources are telling you, Wolf, is well made.

I mean this government, essentially, for what it is, is held together by some string and some sticky tape, more or less.

You know, who are the American partners in this government?

Beyond the office of the prime minister and the national security adviser, that's close to pretty much it. Otherwise, you know, the fundamental building blocks of this government and of political power here are the various militias.

Now, America holds very little, if any, sway, with those. The same with Maliki. So any promise that you hear from the Iraqi government, one has to wonder is this coming from the heart of the government?

And that essentially is the militias. So if the U.S. puts too much pressure on what it calls the government, this apparition at the front of it, at the face of it, then, yes, it will fall apart.

BLITZER: And the chaos would really escalate in a major, major way.

WARE: Wolf, it would be like Dante's Inferno, honestly. It would come apart in so many different places, in so many different ways. I mean, already we have a number of different wars being fought here. And people are trying to keep the lid on the pot. We have the insurgency war. We have the anti-terror war with al Qaeda. We have the sectarian war, the civil war, and we also have the on again, off again sort of conflict or rivalry between America and Iran.

So already we see, you know, where the problems lie.

Can you imagine if the only thing that's keeping the lid on it for now was removed?

It would be on a terrible scale.

BLITZER: Michael Ware in Baghdad for us.

Michael, thanks very much.

WARE: Thank you, Wolf.