Michael Ware


SUN: " '...we will have him either dead or in chains.' "

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Length: 2:20

RICK SANCHEZ: Another new videotape. This one allegedly shows the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq and a claim by Iraqi officials that they're close to killing or capturing Abu Ayyub al-Masri. But some major new developments this morning from Baghdad on this.

And let's bring in our Michael Ware, who's been following some of the details.

Michael, what do you have for us this morning?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we have is Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie has just finished a press conference, where what he's essentially doing is, this is a counter punch to al Qaeda in Iraq's own propaganda campaign during this holy month of Ramadan offensive. We saw a few days ago al-Masri released an audio statement where he announces the launching of a military campaign during Ramadan, part of which he said includes targeting Westerners, Christians to be kidnapped, and hopefully traded for the blind Islamic cleric being held in New York in relation to the World Trade Center bombings.

What we have here is Iraq's national security adviser. He's akin to Ambassador Negroponte in the U.S., the head of the national intelligence directorate. He's saying, "We are hunting al-Masri, we are close to him." He has promised the Iraqi people that, "During this holy month, we will have him for you, either dead or in chains."

He then shows a videotape of al-Masri. It's essentially a lesson. It's teaching young jihadis how to put a car bomb together. However, from the banner that we see in this tape, it's clearly very dated.

The national security adviser says al-Masri is responsible for as many as 2,000 car bombs here in Iraq. However, we already knew this.

We already knew that al-Masri was one of the veterans of this campaign, and had been leading it from almost the beginning. So the threat that "we are close to capturing him" -- we heard this time and time again, which was Zarqawi, the previous leader, and until his actual death, these were promises unfulfilled.

So this is clearly the national security adviser of Iraq trying to counter al Qaeda's propaganda campaign -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: And it goes on and on.

Michael Ware, thanks so much for that comprehensive report. We certainly appreciate it. Betty, over to you.