TWAW: "They're fighting for their own concept of success."

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Length: 4:41

TOM FOREMAN: We'll go to CNN's Michael Ware in Baghdad and look at the deteriorating state of politics there. What, if anything, are Iraqi leaders doing to bring peace?

FOREMAN: Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, was quoted in The New York Times on Thursday as saying: "If 20 people killed a day is good news, that tells you how bad things were previously. The challenges here at just every level remain just huge." That is the current situation in Iraq. Things are a bit better, but we are far, far from a real solution by every account.

Even with thousands more U.S. troops, are the Iraqi politicians capable of rebuilding their shattered country? That's the question. Michael Ware is in our Baghdad bureau and he joins us right now.

Michael, is there yet any real progress from the politicians there?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it depends on how one defines progress. I mean, if you're using an American frame of reference or, say, the congressional benchmarks, then, no, it's not even an issue. They really don't have their hearts in it, and even if they did, I doubt that they'd actually have the capability to meet many of those things.

The other thing, or the other way of looking at it perhaps, is that what is it that the Iraqis want? What are the Iraqi benchmarks? And I can tell you that the Iraqi government right now is very keen on establishing its own sense of sovereignty with regards to the United States. So are they making progress on American benchmarks and American ideas of success? Not so much. Meanwhile, they're fighting for their own concept of success.

FOREMAN: Michael, I want you to listen to something that Kimberly Kagan wrote in The Wall Street Journal, an opinion article this week. She said: "Provincial and local government is growing stronger. Local and tribal leaders in Anbar, Diyala, Salah ad-Din, and North Babil and even Baghdad have agreed to fight insurgents and terrorists as U.S. forces have moved in to secure the population alongside their Iraqi partners."

Now that speaks to a local response, people locally wanting to protect their neighborhoods. But is there yet a national sense among Iraqi politicians that they are a nation?

WARE: Oh, absolutely not. There's not even a real pretense except from the mouth of the prime minister. I mean, it's very clear, you don't have to scratch the surface too hard with any of the major Iraqi political figures or their blocs that they're really not that interested in pursuing the interests of other factions or other sections of the community.

And, indeed, let's have a look at this glorious success with the provinces and local counsels and groups defending their homes. You're talking about one of two things here. Either you're talking about the homogenous control of an area by probably an Iranian-backed militia force that either the Brits in the south or the Americans here in Baghdad or the center of the country either can't or don't want to confront militarily; or we're talking about in the Sunni areas essentially the Baath resistance, and the tribal leaders who are the social fabric of that resistance...

FOREMAN: Michael, I want to go to a map...

WARE: ... cutting a deal with the U.S.

FOREMAN: I want to show people on a map what you're talking about in particular. This area down here we've talked about before, largely the Shia area. This is largely the Sunni area. This is largely the Kurdish area up here. But look at this. These little drops indicate also one of the big issues that has not been resolved at all.

That's where the oil is and most of the oil is not in the Sunni area, does that remain a serious issue there, because people talk about it here, the idea that the Sunnis, if they agree to peace now without a deal to share the oil, are agreeing to poverty.

WARE: Yeah, there's no way they're going to make any sort of compact with the central government -- a central government they regard as Shia-dominated, Iranian-influenced, and hostile to them anyway -- without any kind of guarantees about the oil.

And honestly there's no guarantees to begin and there's no real guarantees on offer. The Kurds are claiming 17 percent of the national oil and the government's prepared to give them that. The question then is about distribution elsewhere, particularly to the Sunni. And it's to be based on a formula that really hasn't been buttoned down with the details, and certainly won't go to the interests of the Sunni.

FOREMAN: Michael, very quickly...

WARE: So, no. The Sunnis aren't going to buy into this at all.

FOREMAN: One last point quickly here, Michael, is there any sense from Iraqi politicians that they appreciate the fact that American lives are being lost to give them time to sort out their affairs?

WARE: By and large, no. No, beyond lip service, not really. Not at all.

FOREMAN: Thanks so much, Michael Ware, for that assessment.