AC: “A great catastrophe of U.S. policy.”

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Length: 3:24

ANDERSON COOPER: Well, it appears Iran is not just building up its nuclear program and its military muscle as we just talked about in the last segment.

One British military commander now says that Iran is also playing a major role behind the scenes in the sectarian violence in Iraq, supplying some of the weapons that are being used against security forces in Iraq and killing Americans.

CNN's Michael Ware joins us live from Baghdad.

Michael, good to see you. So, British Lieutenant General Sir Robert Fry said today that there is a quote, "very clear Iranian role in stoking up violence inside Iraq." Where is that most evident, Michael?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I mean, really, this is not a new development. I mean, U.S. military intelligence has been talking about this for well over a year and a half. I mean, this very much is a competition in Baghdad for influence between the United States and Iran. I mean, this is where the rivalry that you see played out in the security council over nuclear weapons comes down to the ground.

I mean, Iranian training, Iranian weaponry, and technology has been killing British and American troops here for almost two years. In fact, it was Iranian Revolutionary Guard that helped develop a relationship between Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and very particular Shia militia groups here in Iraq, to introduce the most sophisticated IED or roadside bomb to Iraq. This is the shaped-charge bomb that punches through the American tanks.

So we've also seen the Iranians, according to Western intelligence, play a hand in the sectarian violence, adding weapons, fueling some of the violence directed against the Sunnis. Don't forget, too, we see Iranian intelligence here trying to compete with American intelligence here. For quite some time there has been parallel Iraqi intelligence agencies in operation, one U.S.-backed, and one Iranian-backed.

We now see the Americans through some of its allies within the Iraqi government, trying to dampen the Iranian influence in the intelligence field. I mean, this is the front line in the rivalry in the great contest, the power play between America and Iran -- Anderson.

COOPER: You know, it's interesting, you've been there really from the beginning of all of this. How are things now, today, this week, this month, compared to last year, two years ago, three years ago? Is it -- you know, from the pictures, from all the reports, it just seems like it's getting worse. Is that a fair assessment?

WARE: Well, yes, it is. I mean, there are increasing levels of violence and there's increasing pressures on the ordinary Iraqi who is trying to eek out a life. But also, a lot of this, a lot of these patterns have been under way for a long time. It's only now that we're hearing it from the Bush administration, or that we're only now hearing it from some of the top generals. They're just elucidating what a lot of their field commanders have been saying for a long time.

Essentially, Anderson, we are seeing a great catastrophe of U.S. foreign policy unfolding.

COOPER: Michael Ware, appreciate you joining us, stay safe. Michael, Thanks.

The war in Iraq, the war on terror, both political parties trying to frame these important issues to their own advantage.