Michael Ware


PZN: Can the Iraqi government stem the violence?

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Length: 2:52

PAULA ZAHN: Let's go straight to Michael Ware in Baghdad for more on this disturbingly violent month.

Michael, you have got an average of just about four Americans being killed every day this month.

I know you have told us that -- that you attribute that upswing in violence to the holy month of Ramadan. Does anybody expect those numbers to come down?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's certainly no sign of any easing up, Paula.

In fact, since those numbers came in, we have been alerted to the death of another American soldier, meaning it's the loss of 11 service personnel in 48 hours, bringing this month's total to 68.

There's simply no sign of any letup in the insurgents' offensive here. The coalition-led Operation Together Forward -- or the so-called Battle of Baghdad to reclaim the city from insurgents, militias, and death squads -- continues. So, the pressure is on. There's no indication at all, Paula, that either side is going to be backing off, so, there's no expectation for the casualty rates to change at this point -- Paula.

ZAHN: So, are you basically saying the Iraqi government is completely stymied here; there's absolutely nothing it can do to take this pressure off?

WARE: Well, it is trying to do some things, if you listen to its American liaisons and its coalition partners, the multinational force. We have seen them take national police commando units offline, replace two of the top units of the national police.

So, we are seeing some steps. But, honestly, Paula, by and large, this government does not have the power to effect the kind of authority that America is looking for from it. It can't rule against the militias, who have essentially carved up the power within this administration.

Indeed, we saw the prime minister, according to a U.S. newspaper report, tell the U.S. forces they could not enter Sadr City, the heartland of the anti-American Jaish al-Mahdi militia -- Paula.

ZAHN: And, against this backdrop of this resurgence of violence, you have some 54,000 Iraqi families displaced. What is the impact of that on day-to-day life there?

WARE: Well, I mean, that -- it's very hard to measure, but you can imagine what it's like.

The -- according to the Iraqi Red Crescent, there's at least half-a-million people, out of a population of only 20-odd million, who have been displaced since February --the explosion in the Golden Dome Mosque and, really, the unleashing of this sectarian violence here in Iraq. To a society like this, that is real upheaval, not to mention others who have left the country completely -- Paula.

ZAHN: Michael Ware, thank you so much.