TSR: "...they should be waking up in the middle of the night screaming at the mere thought of it."
Wolf talks to Michael about the treaty currently being negotiated between Washington and Baghdad (and Tehran...) that will set the boundaries for keeping American troops in Iraq beyond the end of 2008... possibly well beyond.
WOLF BLITZER: Amidst all of this and perhaps fueling some of those price increases, the growing tensions between the U.S. and Iraq over the long-term role of U.S. forces in Iraq. Iraq reportedly wants U.S. forces confined to bases. Iran, meanwhile, is pressuring its neighbor, Iraq, to send all foreign troops, including all U.S. troops, out of the country.
CNN's Michael Ware is joining us now live from Baghdad with more on what's going on.
We see the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Al Maliki, he shows up once again in Tehran -- hugs and kisses for the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
What is going on as far as U.S. long-term military bases, troop levels in Iraq, are concerned?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, what's happening right now is that the clock is ticking down on the U.N. mandate for the troop presence here in Iraq. Essentially, Washington's got until the end of December to come up with an agreement between Washington and Baghdad that will set the framework for any ongoing U.S. troop presence -- the levels, what they can and cannot do.
Now, Tehran is dead against this. They've long stated that their policy is the occupation is not justified, it should have ended, it's long overdue for Americans to leave.
What's at stake here, Wolf, is almost the entire U.S. mission. In many ways, the way this agreement eventually shakes out between Baghdad and Washington is going to be a barometer of whether America is winning or losing the true war in Iraq -- and that's the one of influence with Tehran -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Several members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Democrats and Republicans, they're concerned about this deal because they want to know more about it. They want to have a say in its negotiation.
How concerned should Senator Obama and Senator McCain be about what the outgoing Bush administration might be doing as far as tying their hands down the road?
WARE: Well, on one level, they should be waking up in the middle of the night screaming at the mere thought of it. But on another level, they ain't got much choice. This agreement needs to be struck. From the time that the U.N. mandate expires to the inauguration of the U.S. president in January, would effectively amount to an illegal occupation of the sovereign nation of Iraq. Now perhaps there can be some sort of bridging agreement made, if it came to that. But the situation now is so unsettled, simply because the negotiations are underway and because they're in such difficult territory, that if you drag it out waiting for the next administration, you could almost kiss Iraq goodbye -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Michael Ware in Baghdad for us.
Michael, thank you.