AC: "Yet we still call that a victory."

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ANDERSON COOPER: Why do insurgents fight? The question is being explored in the new film called "Meeting Resistance". It's also something CNN's Michael Ware has risked his life to do. We spoke to him earlier.


COOPER: Michael, what we see in these interviews with early insurgents is clearly that the presence of U.S. forces was a motivating factor in getting a lot of these people to fight against the U.S. How much of the insurgency now is being driven by just the mere presence of U.S. forces?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, from day one, Anderson, that's been one of the primary motivations. Certainly for the nationalist insurgency, if that's what you'd like to call it, both on the Sunni side and the Shia side.

Sure, there's lots of agendas and factions within factions. But at the end of the day, what was grossly underestimated from the very beginning was the sense of Iraqi nationalism, the sense of Iraqi national pride.

I remember in 2003 meeting so many professional military officers -- Iraq's equivalent to West Pointers -- who were simply aggrieved at the dishonor of, firstly, having a foreign force, be it western or any other kind, occupying their country: tanks in their streets, invading their homes, searching their cupboards, touching their women, be it just for the purposes of an ordinary military search.

Then you add to that the egregious shame of the disbanding of the Iraqi military and everything that stood for and the status that went with it for these men -- which most in the administration now admit was a terrible blunder -- and that goes a long way to explaining the heart of the Sunni and even the Shia insurgency in Iraq.

COOPER: This month we've seen suicide attacks down some 50 percent since January, I believe it is. Civilian death toll down -- although still some 800, I think, last month, killed Iraqis. The U.S. military death toll down, as well.

Who is still fighting? I mean, if al Qaeda is badly damaged -- al Qaeda in Iraq is badly damaged, as some in the U.S. are saying, "The Washington Post" reporting that's a belief many commanders have -- if the Sunnis have awoken and have turned against al Qaeda in al Anbar and elsewhere, who is it now who's still fighting?

WARE: Well, the real enemy America has had since the moment it invaded, ignored for years and only woke up to perhaps a year or so ago. And it's the real winner of all the wars since 9/11. And that's Iran, Anderson.

Al Qaeda is under pressure. But it was never going to be the big winner of the Iraq theater. It was never welcome. It was only ever tolerated. And the way that al Qaeda has been put under the pressure it's under is because America finally accepted the deal that the Sunni former military officers offered them four or five years ago.

And think about it: "al Qaeda is crippled." We herald this in headlines, because it's only down to 30 bomb attacks a month. Can you imagine if there was 30 attacks in Israel every month or America or Australia? Yet we still call that a victory.

So al Qaeda is far from gone. It will always persist. But the great enemy, the one that's fermenting most of the violence and owns the political stage, continues to be Iran, Anderson.

COOPER: Michael Ware, appreciate the reporting. Thanks, Michael.

WARE: Thank you, mate.