AAM: "Let's hear from the campaigns on this."
Two clips regarding how the presidential race is viewed from Iraq and the pending visit to the country by Senator Obama.
Note: The audio on the first clip is lagging several seconds at the start, but it locks in when the image shifts to a fullscreen of the Baghdad feed.
KIRAN CHETRY: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING.
Barack Obama says he'll visit Iraq and Afghanistan before Election Day, but Obama and his opponent John McCain have some big differences over just how they would wage the war in Iraq and how they would end it. McCain says Obama is wrong for opposing the surge, and Obama says McCain's judgment is flawed.
So we're going to go to the war zone to get some answers. Our Michael Ware, live in Baghdad for us. And you know, Barack Obama spoke with Iraq's foreign minister. One of the things he talked about was reiterating this plan to pull out. Is there concern on the ground, Michael, about a possible Obama presidency?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, not in the sense, perhaps, people in America might think. Certainly within the Iraqi government, the general mood is that, yes, they would like American troops to leave but in a gradual way. Essentially the Iraqis want to get their hands on this war.
They want to take over their own country. Now, some in the current administration believes the threat of withdrawal is a stick with which to motivate the Iraqi government. That just isn't so. So while officially there's very little support for an immediate American withdrawal, many of the Iraqis certainly would like to see the Americans start going home, though they'd like to have continued support.
But bottom line, you know, people here on the ground are far too worried about getting sewage off their streets, hoping for some trickle of electricity, and literally manning the barricades around their communities here in Baghdad to really have much of a concern about the change in presidency. Most Iraqis think it will be much of a much, they'll just see a continuation of what they think is ongoing American policy -- Kiran.
CHETRY: The foreign minister also saying this morning that there is a security agreement within reach to be hammered out with Americans. What are still the biggest points of contention?
WARE: Well, obviously from -- you know, this is happening on several levels, there's the nature of U.S. bases, the rights to Iraqi air space, that kind of thing. But really what's at stake here is will America be able to continue fighting its war here in Iraq.
What the Iraqis want, according to an aide to the prime minister, is for Americans to be set on certain bases and to be forced to remain there. And if they want to leave those bases they have to ask the Iraqis' permission. That will impede any bid to curb Iranian influence or indeed to attack al Qaeda.
But more greatly, beyond the conduct of war is the victory or defeat of the U.S. mission. And that's going to be seen in things about who's going to control the intelligence services here in Iraq.
Right now, the CIA runs one of them. An Iranian-based faction runs another. Under this agreement that Baghdad has to strike with Washington if it decides it wants to continue that kind of relationship, what becomes of the intelligence agencies?
America doesn't want to see Iran running the show. But if that's the Iraqis choice, they're technically free to make it -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Very interesting. Sounds like there is still a lot to be hammered out. Michael Ware for us in Baghdad today, thanks -- John.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Speaking of Barack Obama, he says he'll be visiting Iraq and Afghanistan before Election Day. But Obama and his opponent, John McCain have some critical differences over how to wage the war in Iraq and how to end it.
McCain says Obama is wrong for opposing the surge, and Obama says that McCain's judgment is flawed, so we're going to the war zone now for some answers.
Our Michael Ware is live in Baghdad.
And Barack Obama spoke by phone with Iraq's foreign minister and talked once again, reiterating his plan for withdrawal. How is that being received and what would it be like with an Obama presidency when it comes to Iraq?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kiran, honestly, I really think it's time for Senator Obama to come clean. Now, it's fine for Senator Obama to have his strategy to pull American troops home. I mean, who back in the States doesn't want that? Who doesn't want to see this war end? And that's a fine policy to have.
But Senator Obama, let's hear your real analysis of what the nature of this war is. Who America's really fighting and who's really winning and who's really losing. Then let's hear for once from Senator Obama what the implications will be of his plan.
Tell us what will be the consequences to America's interests, to the price of oil and let's hear that you're prepared to bear those costs for your plan to withdraw American troops.
Now, talking to the Iraqi foreign minister is a fine thing to do, and he must be commended for it. But I've heard the foreign minister talk for hours in his well-polished diplomatic way and never say a word. You're not going to be getting the real picture out of the foreign minister of Iraq -- Kiran.
CHETRY: And give us your perspective. What is that real picture?
WARE: Well, basically, this is a war against Iran or a war of conflict or contest for influence between Washington and Tehran. This war is not about al Qaeda, if indeed it ever was. This war has been about Iran from the beginning, and it's only taken the last year and a half for the military to wake up to that. And I'd like to hear the campaigns address that. And in that contest for influence in this country, America is currently losing. The president of Iraq -- according to America's war commander, General David Petraeus -- it's just a reality of life that he's an agent of influence for Iran.
That all the major factions of this government were actually created inside Iran or received weapons and funding from Iran or at least have long-standing ties to Iran. So that's the real situation on the ground. You might have something looking good on paper with the numbers of civilian and military deaths down, and that's welcome. But there's a big price to pay for this and there's a big winner. And right now, it's not America. Let's hear from the campaigns on this -- Kiran.
CHETRY: Michael Ware for us in Baghdad this morning. Thank you.