TSR: "This country is being held together by sticky tape."
June 24, 2009
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Domestic finally gets Michael on the air, with Wolf Blitzer asking about today's bombings and next week's implementation of the SOFA. Jack Cafferty has his own comment at the end of the piece.
WOLF BLITZER: There's other breaking news that's happening right now not far away from Iran. A packed outdoor market in Baghdad the target of a deadly bombing attack today. At least 62 people were killed. The attack comes only days before U.S. troops are due to withdraw from all major Iraqi cities.
Let's go to Baghdad.
CNN's Michael Ware is back on the scene for us -- Michael, 60-odd people killed, more than 100 injured. A deadly clash -- a deadly bombing only days before U.S. troops are supposed to leave Baghdad.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, but, Wolf, this is just one of several. That's only a fragment of the picture.
I mean, despite the historic and tumultuous events happening just across the border in Iran, Iraq doesn't look like a war zone, it is a war zone. Women aren't being beaten in the streets here, they're being blown apart by the dozens.
Just a few hours ago, we had the bombing in the densely populated Shia neighborhood of Sadr City. A motor bike laden with explosives detonated in that marketplace at 7:00 p.m. when it's most packed with -- guess who -- women and children. Many among the 62 dead reported and the more than 150 wounded, we're being told by government officials, are women and children.
And this is just event. There was two other bombings here this evening -- much, much smaller.
But what I can tell you, in the past five days alone, Wolf, more than 180 Iraqi civilians have lost their lives in bombings and assassinations and other violent attacks.
All of this as the clock is ticking down -- six days left until the American-led war in Iraq comes to an end and the Iraqi war in Iraq begins. This is going to be a very tense time. A lot is hanging in the balance here in Iraq right now and it's all but happening in a public vacuum -- Wolf.
BLITZER: I know a lot of officials here in Washington, Michael, are really worried. June 30th is the deadline for U.S. military forces to leave major Iraqi cities and they're really worried that the violence is about to escalate.
WARE: Well, the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Al-Maliki, has long been warning about a rising tide of violence leading up to June 30. We're certainly seeing some evidence of that.
But I've got to tell you, these past five days have been bloody, but they haven't been extraordinary. We don't have the levels of violence we had a year or certainly two years ago. But the blood just doesn't stop flowing here.
Now, the extremists on both sides of the sectarian divide here still seem intent on provoking instability. Al Qaeda, on one hand, keeps repeatedly, almost endlessly attacking and slaughtering the Shia community, hoping to provoke a violent response and a return to civil war.
Meanwhile, you have Shia extremists who continue to fire missiles and rockets on the U.S. embassy and the seat of the Iraqi government power here.
Fortunately enough, most of the major players -- the great actors in this country, for now, are holding their fire. But this country is being held together by sticky tape. And as of next Tuesday, America can no longer wage the war it may want to here in this country.
Iraq, from that point on, has the whip hand and American troops can only enter Iraqi cities at the invitation of this government -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Michael, we'll be staying in close touch with you.
Good to know you're back in Baghdad for us.
As I always tell you, be careful over there.
Thank you, Michael Ware.
We're not going to ignore what's happening in Iraq, even as we continue to follow the breaking news in Iran. We won't ignore the war in Afghanistan, either.
Let's go to Jack Cafferty right now. He's got "The Cafferty File."
It's amazing. It's almost breathtaking to see what's happening in the world right now. And you can't ignore what North Korea says it's up to -- getting ready to launch some sort of missile around July 4th.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: It makes you wonder why anybody would want to be president of the United States.
Is Michael Ware any good?
BLITZER: Yeah, he's pretty good.
CAFFERTY: Man. He's got it nailed down -- 'this country being held together by sticky tape.' What a line.