TSR: "al Qaeda in Iraq makes up probably about 1 percent."
WOLF BLITZER: Al Qaeda in Iraq: behind the bloodiest, most spectacular attacks, the mass slaughter of civilians. President Bush today went all out to boost his case that the war in Iraq is part of the broader war against Osama bin Laden's terror network.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Iraqi people know they are al Qaeda. People across the Muslim world know they are al Qaeda. And there's a good reason they are called al Qaeda in Iraq -- they are al Qaeda in Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: In fact, as we mentioned, the president used the name al Qaeda some 95 times today in that speech, and it was probably no coincidence. He spoke in Charleston, South Carolina, where an underlying theme of last night's Democratic presidential debate was a troop pullout from Iraq.
Did the president make his case?
And joining us now from Baghdad, our correspondent, Michael Ware -- Michael, you spoke earlier and suggested that President Bush's speech on al Qaeda in Iraq, in your word, was rudimentary.
What did you mean?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the president's speech, to me, was breathtaking in the fact he was giving us an ancient history lesson, so to speak. What the president was highlighting and emphasizing over and over again is clearly well established, an unequivocal fact. That al Qaeda in Iraq is a part of the broader al Qaeda network has never been in question. That Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the man who created it, and his successors, have aspirations beyond Iraq, particularly targeting America, have never been in doubt. They spelled it out from the beginning. And that it's a foreign-run organization with foreign leadership and foreign suicide bombers, again, is common knowledge.
That it really makes one wonder why the president is hammering this point home when he just glosses over the fact that this war is creating more al Qaeda jihadis rather than reducing the number, and the only success America has had in blunting al Qaeda is by unleashing the Baathist insurgents in a crude alliance.
BLITZER: What's a bigger problem, the al Qaeda operation in Iraq or the sectarian violence?
WARE: Well, it's much of a muchness. They both feed on each other. Now, what you need to bear in mind, that in terms of the total fighters in combat against U.S. forces and government troops, al Qaeda makes up probably about 1 percent. And the foreign fighters probably make up about half of 1 percent of the total fighters in this country. Yet they're spectacular in the dimensions of their attacks, and particularly inflammatory.
They go out and slaughter Shia civilians, principally to provoke rage. And it feeds on each other. And Iran, at the same time, is manipulating the situation from its side, as well.
It's two enemies -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Iran met with the U.S. in Baghdad for some seven hours today.
Is Iran part of the solution or part of the problem?
WARE: Look, it's safe to say that Iran has legitimate national interests in this country, Iraq. Yet their interests not only do not align with America's, but are opposed to America's. Iran sees an opportunity to hammer America and they've been doing that. We had two historic meetings between U.S. and Iranian diplomats. In the two months since the first meeting, the attacks have gone up by Iranian- sponsored surrogates. And while the American ambassador is sitting there talking about Iranian special forces units helping Iraqis to kill Americans, he's talking to an Iranian ambassador who is a member of that Iranian special forces unit, according to Western intelligence.
It's quite a conundrum -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Michael Ware watching all of this unfold for us.
WARE: Thank you, Wolf.