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Snipers Becoming Major Threat to U.S. Forces in Iraq; President Bush Sees Possible Parallel Between Iraq, Tet Offensive; U.S. Military Takes Another Look at Iraq Strategy

Aired October 19, 2006 - 12:00   ET


HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Taking aim. Iraqi snipers have U.S. soldiers in their sights as a deadly October marches on.
JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Learning lessons. President Bush acknowledging similarities between the tactics of jihadists in Iraq and the Vietcong.

GORANI: Haunting memories. Portuguese women relive the horrors of their illegal abortions ahead of a crucial vote.

CLANCY: And a public spat. The divorce of a former Beatle and his activist wife taking an ugly turn.

Hello, everyone. And welcome to our report broadcast around the globe.

I'm Jim Clancy.

GORANI: I'm Hala Gorani.

From Iraq to Portugal, wherever you are watching, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.

Our lead story, Iraq. The turning point has come, but in Washington, it seems, not Baghdad.

CLANCY: President Bush agrees the current situation compares to the Tet Offensive that stunned the U.S. during the Vietnam War.

GORANI: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld now publicly suggesting that an amnesty for the insurgents may be the best course.

CLANCY: And a U.S. election year that finds the American people increasingly critical of the notion of staying a course that obviously isn't working.

GORANI: Isn't working, and is costing so many lives. Bombings, shootings and the random deadly blasts from improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, have become part of a soldier's everyday life there.

CLANCY: There's also another tactic that troops on the front lines have to face, the threat of death by a single shot from a sniper's gun. GORANI: Now, the incidents contained in this report were videotaped by the insurgents and made available to CNN. It is disturbing to watch for some. The decision to run it is not taken lightly.

CLANCY: This story, as shocking as you may find it, is one that we believe needs to be told.

CNN's Michael Ware brings it to us.


MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A sniper is watching these American soldiers. You are looking at the unobstructed view from the sniper team's vehicle. And they are waiting for their moment as the soldiers mingle with Iraqi civilians.

"People are around them," warns the sniper's spotter, who seems to be operating the video camera. "Want me to find another place?" "No, no," comes the reply. "Give me a moment."

And then the soldier falls forward. You hear the sniper's vehicle start. And they slip away.

American casualties this month are tracking at near-record numbers. This video is a glimpse to an enduring feature of this war. Ground commanders say it is a growing and deadly tactic, insurgent sniper teams.

U.S. military intelligence tells CNN it suspects some of these teams are trained abroad. They make an intimidating weapon.

GEN. DAVID GRANGE, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Am I next? What about my buddy? You are looking constantly. Your head is on a swivel they say, you know, in windows, doors, looking in cars, rooftops.

It's a very effective weapon. And that's why our own military uses them extensively. The best counter of a sniper is another sniper team on your own side.

WARE: CNN obtained the graphic tape through the intermediaries from the Islamic Army of Iraq, one of the most active insurgent organizations in the country. It is titled "Latest Sniper Operations in Baghdad."

Accents, license plates and street signs seem to indicate the sniper attacks, in fact, occurred here in the capital. A careful review of the entire video by CNN technicians found no evidence the images had been electronically manipulated.

The tape documents 10 incidents, all of which appear recent. But there's no way to confirm precisely when or where the attacks took place or which U.S. units were involved or what happened to the targeted soldiers. The tape comes as the Islamic army calls to renew talks with the United States, and as Islamist Internet postings caller for a PR campaign aimed at influencing the American public. The images are markedly different from insurgent sniper videos on the Internet. On this one, we hear the voices the snipers selecting American targets.

Here, the spotter warns the shooter he only sees Iraqis until he's sure he's identified an American. "I'll read you his name."

We wanted to ask the U.S. military about the insurgent sniper tactics but no one was made available to CNN in Washington or Baghdad. Officials refused to discuss the sniper operations and related casualties, citing the safety of U.S. troops. Though they acknowledge the menace is real.

MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM CALDWELL, SPOKESMAN, MULTINATIONAL FORCE, IRAQ: That's something we always stay very vigilant about. We take extreme precautions against that, and we watch it very closely.

It's always a real threat. No matter where you go, any kind of combat operation you are going to be on, you are always looking for IEDs. You are looking for VBIDs (ph). You're looking for snipers.

WARE: As to a recent increase of the threat...

CALDWELL: I would not talk about that for operational reasons.

WARE: The insurgents' methods vary. The Islamic army video follows a team firing from a vehicle. Precisely the kind of team Lieutenant Richardson's men encountered in the city of Ramadi.

(on camera): So the insurgents do have accurate sniper fire.

1ST. LIEUTENANT JASON RICHARDSON, U.S. ARMY: Roger. Yes, to what I've observed, two very good shots that were definitely more than 300 meters away. And aimed to kill.

WARE: So that's a trained sniper?


WARE: Probably working in a team with an observer.

RICHARDSON: Yes. One of the attacks -- you know, the locals, they talk to us about what they see. And they said that a car pull up, a guy get out of the back seat -- get out of the front seat, climb into the back seat, and move a panel from off his car, and aim from the car to our rooftop position, which unfortunately resulted in the death of one Marine who was on the rooftop.

WARE (voice over): Retired Brigadier General David Grange served as a Ranger and a Green Beret before joining CNN as a military analyst.

GRANGE: Well, you learn the tactics and techniques and procedures that the enemy snipers use. And then you come up with your own techniques to counter that to negate their effect. And then how you move in the field, dispersal, and then, again, alertness and number of people in different -- different patrols, there's ways that you work on this.

WARE: And the implication in this insurgent video is that the deaths will continue.

GRANGE: You only need a few guys to have a tremendous effect. Just like the improvised explosive device, the same thing. Or a suicide bomber. You get a lot of payback for just deploying a few resources. So it's very effective.

WARE: "Wait, wait. He fell down. God is great," says one of the teams as they disappear -- until it's time for the next strike in Iraq's sniper war.

Michael Ware, CNN, Baghdad.


GORANI: Later this hour, we are going to take a closer look at the Islamic Army of Iraq, the insurgent group that sent Michael Ware those sniper tapes -- Jim.

CLANCY: Well, even as a U.S. president he is now sounding what could be described as a more sober tone about what's going on in Iraq, less optimistic than he's been in the past. For the first time in response to a question Mr. Bush didn't dispute the comparisons to the Tet Offensive in Vietnam. That offensive considered a turning point in the war there.

We get more from Elaine Quijano.


ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Until now, the Bush White House has forcefully resisted any comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam. Yet in an ABC interview broadcast tonight, President Bush allowed this...

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Tom Friedman wrote in "The New York Times" this morning that what we might be seeing now is the Iraqi equivalent of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam in 1968.

Tony Snow this morning said he may be right. Do you agree?

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He could be right. There's certainly a stepped up level of violence, and we're heading into an election.

QUIJANO: During the Tet Offensive, Vietcong and North Vietnamese forces launched a series of attacks on American troops. Even though it was a stunning military defeat for the guerrillas, Americans were shocked by the intense images of war.

And historians view Tet as the turning point, when public support for the conflict in Vietnam and President Johnson began to wane.

Nearly 40 years later, that history is not lost on President Bush.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But what's your gut tell you?

BUSH: George, my gut tells me that they have all along being trying to inflict enough damage that we leave. And the leaders of al Qaeda have made that very clear.

QUIJANO: President Bush regularly acknowledges the effect of the war on the American psyche. This from a news conference last week.

BUSH: I fully understand the American people are seeing unspeakable violence on their TV screens. These are tough times in Iraq.

QUIJANO: In his recent comments, the president has argued that the violence there is being stoked by al Qaeda. Yet Mr. Bush rejected the notion that American troops are getting caught in a civil war. Civil acknowledging the bloodshed in sobering terms.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But whatever you call it, aren't American men and women now dying to prevent Sunnis and Shiites to kill one another?

BUSH: No, George, it's dangerous. You're right. No matter what you call it. The fundamental question is, are we on our way to achieving a goal, which is an Iraq that can defend itself, sustain itself and govern itself and be an ally in the war on terror in the heart of the Middle East?

QUIJANO (on camera): President Bush, of course, believes the answer to that is yes. Tonight, the president said he would be patient as Iraq's new government works to establish order. But without giving a time frame, he also made clear his patience has limits.

Elaine Quijano, CNN, the White House.


GORANI: All right. Insurgent attacks. And we've been seeing it over the last few weeks and months and years, even. Sectarian violence taking a toll now on Iraqi civilians daily. Hundreds of bodies -- and many showing signs of torture -- are found.

The number of U.S. troops killed this month has risen dramatically as well. This scenario is forcing the U.S. to take another look at its strategy in Iraq.

Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr joins us now with more details.

And some interesting things said by Major General William Caldwell there, Barbara. What was the headline.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, General Caldwell perhaps surprising a few people at a press briefing earlier today in Baghdad when he made it very clear that the Baghdad security plan is under review.

Now, let's be very clear. For the last two months, the U.S. has pretty much been saying this security effort in Baghdad to go through the neighborhoods and try and get a handle on the violence, the militias, the sectarian killings, that has been a critical lynchpin of U.S. strategy.

Now today General Caldwell saying that they are disheartened, in his words, by the continuing high levels of violence. And saying very bluntly that now the entire, the whole security plan in Baghdad is under review.

Have a listen.


CALDWELL: We are obviously very concerned about what we are seeing in the city. We are taking a lot of time to go back and look at the whole Baghdad security plan. We are asking ourselves if the conditions under which it was first devised and planned still exists today, or have the conditions changed and, therefore, a modification to that plan needs to be made.


STARR: Another U.S. military official in Baghdad saying it's been about in the last week or so that they have really stepped up this effort to look and see if the security situation is working clearly. It is not, according to General Caldwell.

As you say, Hala, casualties, fatalities are up on all fronts. Iraqi civilians certainly taking the brunt of the violence in Baghdad, and across Iraq. But also, U.S. troops, 73 killed in action so far this month in Iraq, on track now tragically to become one of the bloodiest months for U.S. forces in this war.

General Caldwell saying that basically they are trying to figure out now what has changed and what they need to do about it -- Hala.

GORANI: Also, Caldwell there commenting on the release by the U.S. military of an aide to a radical Shiite cleric. What was said about that?

STARR: Ah, yes, Hala. General Caldwell acknowledging that a couple of days ago U.S. troops, risking their lives, staged a raid and captured a Shia cleric that they believe is strongly associated with Muqtada al-Sadr, the Mehdi Army militia, and a man that the U.S. believes is involved in death squad activity.

They captured him, but now they have had to let him go because Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has called the U.S. and said that he wants that man released from U.S. custody. So you see that here Maliki and Sadr together. That cleric that they captured, affiliated with Muqtada al-Sadr, now released by U.S. troops because the Iraqi government asked for it. A bit of concern about -- now another indicator of concern about Maliki and what his intentions are regarding Sadr, according to military sources.

GORANI: All right. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

Thanks very much.

CLANCY: Well, still to come, Portugal looks to legalize abortion.

GORANI: Women there face prison time for terminating an unwanted pregnancy. A referendum could soon change all that, but not if the Catholic Church gets its way.

CLANCY: Also, Hala, we'll be taking a look at U.S. elections. What's really on voters' minds as they prepare to decide who is going to hold the reins of power up on Capitol Hill?


CLANCY: Hello and welcome back to our viewers around the globe.

GORANI: And in the United States. This is YOUR WORLD TODAY on CNN International.

North Korea's nuclear ambitions have drawn more tough talk from U.S. President Bush. Mr. Bush, of course, is chief among those who want Pyongyang out of the nuclear weapons business, especially since it's October 9th test blast.

The U.S. president's latest comments came in an interview with the United States TV network ABC News.



STEPHANOPOULOS: If North Korea sold nukes to Iran, or al Qaeda...

BUSH: They would be held to account.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What does that mean?

BUSH: Well, it's time to find out, George. One of the thing that's important for these world leaders to hear is -- is, you know, we use means necessary to hold them to account.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So if you got intelligence that they were about to have that kind of...

BUSH: Well, if they get -- if we get intelligence that they're about to transfer a nuclear weapon, we would stop the transfer and we would deal with the ships that were taking the -- or the airplane that was dealing with taking the material to somebody. STEPHANOPOULOS: And if it happened you would retaliate?

BUSH: You know, it's a grave consequence.


CLANCY: America's top diplomat is in Seoul telling South Koreans the U.S. is committed to safeguarding the region's security. The U.N. sanctions already in place. And with that, Condoleezza Rice wants to urge the international community to use all the leverage it's got to try to convince North Korea to change its ways.

She had a similar message for officials in Tokyo Wednesday. Her next stop, Beijing.

Of course there's a lot of diplomacy at work on that front. It includes an important message from China, hand delivered in Pyongyang to the North Korean himself.

Jaime FlorCruz has details of that from our Beijing bureau.


JAIME FLORCRUZ, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF (voice over): Kim Jong- il opening the door, if even just a crack, to dialog. The Chinese confirming that special envoy Tang Jiaxuan is in Pyongyang meeting with the North Korean leader, the first known meeting between Kim and a foreign diplomat since last week's nuclear test.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's a very significant visit against the backdrop of the nuclear situation.

FLORCRUZ: The Chinese envoy's visit comes on the eve of the U.S. secretary of state's meeting in Beijing. It's her third stop in Asia in three days, and it may be her toughest yet. China is standing firm with the U.S. in condemning North Korea's nuclear test, and it even voted in favor of a U.N. resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea.

But that's where China and the U.S. start to differ. China says it takes the U.N. resolution "very serious," but it refuses to take part in inspections which use military forces to board and check ships carrying North Korean cargo, calling them provocative.

DAVID ZWEIG, POLITICAL ANALYST: The resolution very clearly says that it authorizes the nations of the world to interdict the ships. It does not specify that that is a strategy that must be used. So therefore, China, by not interdicting ships, is not going against the resolution.

FLORCRUZ: And they don't see eye to eye on the issue of regime change. The U.S. would like nothing more than a North Korea without its leader, Kim Jong-il. For China, it's a different story.

ZWEIG: China very much wants to keep Kim Jong-il in power and have stability on the Korean Peninsula. That's in its long-term economic interests, and so they will continue to do that. And the problem is that the North Koreans know that. And as long as they've known that, they've known that China would never turn off the tap. Therefore, they never really had to stop building the weapon.

FLORCRUZ: For its part, China is stepping up inspections of cargo in trucks going to and from North Korea. But will that be good enough for the U.S.?

(on camera): Secretary Rice wants a swift and effective implementation of the U.N. resolution. And China is key to achieving that. But China has its own delicate balancing act to do, and keeping China fully on board will be her toughest challenge.

Jaime FlorCruz, CNN, Beijing.



TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Tony Harris at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

More of YOUR WORLD TODAY in just a few minutes. But first, a check of stories making headlines in the United States.

Sources say former congressman Mark Foley has identified the priest who he says sexually molested him as Father Anthony Mercieca. Mercieca now lives o the island of Gozo near Italy. One source says the priest worked at Sacred Heart Church in Florida during the '60s.

CNN National Correspondent Susan Candiotti is on the phone with us now with the latest -- Susan.


Producers from the "PAULA ZAHN NOW" show have now contacted Father Mercieca at his home on this island. And he acknowledges that he was friends -- he was friends with the family of Mark Foley, that he went to the movies with them, attended Christmas dinner with them.

And a direct quote from him about the controversy now. He says, "I don't know what it is that made him so mad after 40 years." When the priest, Father Mercieca, was asked about Mark Foley's allegation that he was molested by the priest between the aged of 13 and 15 years old, the priest said -- told the "PAULA ZAHN NOW" show that, in his words, "Everything is sexual to some degree or another."

He acknowledged to the broadcast that swimming -- they went swimming naked in the park, went to a sauna. But in his words, "Everybody does it."

He told the show that, "Molestation can be many things. It depends on how you take it." That's a direct quote.

He added to "PAULA ZAHN NOW" producers, "I am sorry that he is so offended," referring to Mr. Foley, "by whatever our relationship did to him." When asked specifically about comments that this priest is reported to have made to a newspaper called "The Herald Tribune" as to whether anything sexual in nature happened, he said that he didn't quite remember. That at one point, he said that he had taken some tranquilizers and alcohol, he told the newspaper, and that he doesn't clearly quite remember what happened that particular occasion.

But he told producers of "PAULA ZAHN NOW" that "My memory is drugged" about that incident.

So, we are left now with the Archdiocese of Miami waiting to officially receive the name from the Palm Beach State Attorney's Office so that the Catholic Church can now further investigate these allegations -- Tony.

HARRIS: Susan, any indication from the producers on "PAULA ZAHN NOW" that -- that the priest appeared contrite or apologetic about his actions all those years ago?

CANDIOTTI: Well, certainly by this direct quote when he said, "I am sorry that he is so offended by whatever our relationship did." That would seem to indicate something.

Clearly, we need to know more about precisely what happened. Remember, we have yet to hear from Mr. Foley, who is in a rehab center and will be for at least a month's time. He says he is being treated for alcoholism and also receiving psychological counseling.

HARRIS: CNN's Susan Candiotti. Susan, appreciate it, thank you.


HARRIS: A racy race on the campaign trail. A Republican congressman beset by a scandal involving a mistress and a 911 call will get some help from President Bush. Get the whole story at the top of the hour. Join Kyra Phillips (AUDIO GAP).


GORANI: Welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Hala Gorani.

CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy, and these are the stories that are making headlines around the world.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reassuring South Koreans that the U.S. will protect their security. At the same time, she's urging regional allies do everything they can to get North Korea to drop its nuclear weapons program. Meantime, China sending a special envoy straight to Pyongyang to meet face to face with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

GORANI: Two suicide bombings in northern Iraq have killed at least 22 people today and wounded dozens more. Police in Mosul say a fuel truck exploded outside police headquarters, killing 11 people. Many of the victims were motorists at a nearby gasoline station. Eleven people were also killed in Kirkuk when a car bomb targeted Iraqi soldiers waiting outside a bank.

CLANCY: Now earlier, we showed you a disturbing tactic of the insurgents, isolating targets through the scope of a rifle and killing them, unsuspecting victims with sniper fire.

In Michael Ware's report, he mentioned that the same insurgent group which supplied that graphic videotape also had a message for U.S. forces.

Let's bring in Michael Ware again with more on the Islamic army of Iraq, as it calls itself.


WARE (voice-over): The men who say they blew this American ammunition dump in Baghdad, shaking the capital, who claim a hand in the killings of four American security contractors in Fallujah in 2004, the men who provided this sniper video to CNN, are from the Islamic Army of Iraq, a part of one of Iraq's most powerful insurgent factions.

Drawn from Sunnis and former members of Saddam Hussein's security apparatus, some of their leaders were American allies in the 1980s, and hint they may be willing to be so again, bringing with them a key element of the insurgency.

Using Islamic Army intermediaries, CNN passed written questions to the organization's leaders, and received back the sniper footage, and this, a professionally produced video featuring what is said to be the group's spokesman, Ibrahim al-Shimary, his face digitally masked by the insurgents, answering CNN's questions, and speaking to the Western media for the first time. It's a unique insight into what a large chunk of the insurgency wants, including a renewed willingness to talk with the U.S. military.

IBRAHIM AL-SHIMARY, SPOKESMAN, ISLAMIC ARMY OF IRAQ (through translator): We, in the Islamic Army, as we have announced many times, do not reject negotiations, but only if the Americans are serious.

WARE: This faction has engaged in unsuccessful discussions with the U.S. several times over the last 18 months, according to U.S. government sources and Iraqi politicians.

Their conditions to restart the talks? A timetable for troop withdrawal approved by Congress, formal recognition of the insurgents as interlocutors, and a third-country broker.

Even the White House is leaving the door open.

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There have been a number of conversations with people who have said that they are willing to negotiate, and talk about a peaceful path. And we're willing to do that. But, again, the -- the lead player in all this is the government of Prime Minister Maliki.

WARE: But the insurgents don't want that, believing the Iraqi government to be under the influence of Iran.

AL-SHIMARY (through translator): Iraq is suffering from double occupation, American and Iranian, because Bush's war, fought with taxpayers' money and the blood of Americans, has handed Iraq to Iran as an easy bite on a plate of gold.

WARE: Despite common interests in overthrowing the U.S. occupation, al-Shimary still draws a line between his group and al Qaeda.

AL-SHIMARY (through translator): We are different to them, because our agenda is local. Theirs is international.

WARE: As for the prospects of civil war, he says his group believes in religious freedom for Shia to practice their faith freely.

AL-SHIMARY (through translator): We don't attack Shiites who don't attack us. But we tire of what is happening to our sons. And you should not count on our patience.

WARE: In its attention to U.S. domestic politics and public mood, this is perhaps the Iraq insurgency's most finely tuned P.R. maneuver, a crafted and direct message to the American people, making an offer for talks, but, with the sniper video, also making a threat.

Michael Ware, CNN, Baghdad.


GORANI: As concerns grow in Washington over the war in Iraq, the Bush administration is throwing its support behind an amnesty for some insurgents. The White House sees it as a way to convince fighters to drop their arms and rejoin civilian life. The Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld publicly endorsed the idea, but not for all militants.


DONALD RUMSFELD, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: There's going to end up being an amnesty program of some kind. And not people with a lot of blood on their hands, but people who are against the government. And it's going to be a combination of political and economic and security, and it has to be increasingly the Iraqis and not the coalition forces that are taking responsibility for what's taking place in that country.


GORANI: Well, a State Department spokesman denies a report that the U.S. is pressuring Iraq's government to grant a broad amnesty. He says the U.S. has very specific views, but the decision is up to Iraqis -- Jim.

CLANCY: All right. Let's pause for a couple of minutes, get some perspective on how this insurgency was able to grow so strong, and what really has changed, how the U.S. wants to deal with it, how Iraqi security forces will be able to -- and some of the regional players.

Kalev Sepp is a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in California. He also serves on the Iraq Study Group, a panel that was created by the U.S. Congress.

I want to begin just by asking the switch here. Everyone, we hear it from the generals now, we hear it from politicians within the Bush administration. People are saying it's time to do a rethink of our strategy, and it certainly is. But does anyone have a solution out there?

KALEV SEPP, NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL: Jim, nobody's got a solution yet. As has been evidenced in open source reporting and a number of newspapers, the Baker-Hamilton Commission is working on presenting a number of options to the administration in Congress, but those aren't defined yet. And I think it's very correct for them to wait until after the November elections before they present their final decisions.

CLANCY: Is this an obvious conclusion to come to? I mean, Iraqis look at the situation, they cannot believe that the U.S. is incapable of not providing them electricity. Their electricity is down to somewhere between two and four hours a day. It was eight during the conflict with the U.S.

SEPP: This is -- there is no obvious outcome in this. Otherwise that course of action would have been taken already. But it's settled into a couple of major options that include on the one hand, a complete immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces and engagement in Iraq, vice a different kind of engagement, that probably involves a drawing down of American forces, but repurposing them to build up the Iraqi security forces into larger numbers, into a better capability.

CLANCY: Well, William Caldwell, the general that speaks out from Baghdad for the United States, had some comments a little bit earlier about the rethink that's going. Let's listen to that for a second.


MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM CALDWELL, SPOKESMAN, MULTINATIONAL FORCE IRAQ: Operation Together Forward has made a difference in the focus areas, but is not met our overall expectations of sustaining a reduction in the levels of violence. We are working very closely with the government of Iraq to determine how to best refocus our efforts.


CLANCY: Well, the fact of the matter is, and General Caldwell didn't have to bring it up there, they've had to pull a whole unit, Iraqi unit, off the front lines, because it was so riddled with their loyalty to factions, to Muqtada Al-Sadr, to the Badr Brigade, you name it.

SEPP: Well, this is what has been raised before by Tom Donnelly, the defense analyst, that about where does loyalty lie in the Iraqi security forces? Normally you would think that that wouldn't come back to the idea of defending Iraq. But what Iraq is there to defend. There's a brand new government. It hasn't taken shape yet. It's not certain that it's going to continue in its present form, and so loyalties devolve to more local folks.

CLANCY: All right. If the U.S., as some wanted to do, pull back in any way, shape or form, you know, the Sunni insurgents will declare a victory. But more importantly, what it's going to mean for Iran, the regional player, so many think has a real finger in the violence?

SEPP: You know, this could be very ironic. Because at one time, it was thought that the best possible outcome for Iran was to see -- for them to see the Americans completely withdraw. But given the current level of violence inside Iraq, the Iranians may actually find themselves drawn into the same civil war that we are helping contain right now, and find themselves caught between the Sunni and Shia warring factions just as we are.

CLANCY: You know, finally there's a sense that even though the U.S. can avoid a defeat in Iraq, it's never going to be the victory that the neoconservatives that push this war really had hoped for, that is a democracy, women's rights, recognition of Israel. Some of those things appear well out of sight.

SEPP: These were exceedingly ambitious objectives that were laid out without probably a proper cognition of the -- of how complex and chaotic any war. And to have imagined that you could begin a war and you would achieve -- the neoconservatives laid out eight particular objectives that would be met as if this was some sort of business venture was -- exceeded belief, in my opinion.

CLANCY: OK. Kalev Sepp, I want to thank you very much for sharing your experiences with us here.

SEPP: Thank you, Jim.

CLANCY: I appreciate it a lot.

VERJEE: OK. A break here on YOUR WORLD TODAY. When we come back, a small but vocal group of Palestinians demand end to factional fighting in Gaza.

CLANCY: Just ahead, the divisions between Hamas and Gaza spilling out in the streets. Some say the price that Palestinian are paying is simply too high.


GORANI: Welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY. seen live in more than 200 countries across the globe. You are with CNN international.

Now this story -- Human Rights Watch says in a new report that Hezbollah guerrillas fired cluster bombs into civilian parts of northern Israel in the recent war. Israel itself has been condemned by the rights group for its use of cluster bombs in the conflict. Cluster bombs burst into smaller bombs which spread out over a large area. Since many don't immediately explode, they become land mines essentially that can later kill or maim people.

International humanitarian law bars their use near civilian populations -- Jim.

CLANCY: A barely-functioning government, a severe economic crisis, bullets flying between rivaled factions, and children still being caught right dead center in the fight. Palestinians say they have had enough.

Ben Wedeman reports on how they plan to pressure their own politicians to end their deadly feud.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is not your usual Gaza demonstration. No weapons here. No calls for vengeance. Just a simple demand.

"We want," says Ahmad Atwa (ph), "the protest organizer, the government and the factions to solve their problems, stop fighting, and stop endangering the lives of ordinary people."

Since Hamas came to power in elections last January, dozens of Palestinians, many of them innocent bystanders have died in factional fighting. These people say enough is enough, but their voice is barely audible.

(on camera): Armed factions like Hamas and Fatah have the resources to mobilize tens of thousands of their supporters, but this ad hoc group calling for an end to violence and anarchy can barely assemble a crow.

(voice-over): Gaza hit a new low at the beginning of the month, when clashes broke out between militiamen under the commander of the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry and gunmen loyal to Fatah.

The fighting raged in Gaza's City main square, leaving at least 10 people dead. Among them, Mahad Abu Hatah's (ph) 14-year-old son, Hasan (ph), shot through the head. Hasan, who was on his way home from school, died instantly. Mahad shows me Hasan's blood-soaked school bag and torn pants. "The people who were supposed to protect my son and keep him safe," says Mahad, "are the ones who killed him in cold blood."

This small group of protesters ended up outside the Palestinian Parliament, where they waited to meet with an official. Among them is Kamal Avrani (ph), whose 22-year-old son, Mohammed (ph), an electrician, was killed the same day as Hasan, shot through the heart. "Every day, every other day, there's killing," Kamal tells me. "I'm afraid every time my children go out."

Eventually, the deputy speaker of Parliament did come out, expressed his condolences and promised the killers would be found and punished. But in the end, promises were all the protesters got. In Gaza today, if you don't have a gun, such talk is cheap.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Gaza City.


GORANI: A lot more ahead on YOUR WORLD TODAY. You thought the Beatles break-up was ugly.

CLANCY: Lennon versus McCartney has nothing on McCartney versus McCartney. Sir Paul's estranged wife making shocking allegations in their high-profile, high-stakes divorce case.


CLANCY: She says he treated her badly.

GORANI: He says the best place to respond would be during the divorce proceedings.

CLANCY: Now, the break-up of the Paul McCartney, Heather Mills marriage has taken a very nasty turn.

GORANI: Very nasty. Paula Hancocks has the story.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every twist and turn of their love story was played out in the public arena. Unfortunately for Paul McCartney and estranged wife Heather Mills, the same now applies to their divorce. It's bitter, it's acrimonious and it's everywhere.

British tabloid the "Daily Mail" published alleged leaked court papers from Mills, where she accused McCartney of serious mistreatment. The law firm for Mills says she stands by accusations filed in court, but would not confirm if those allegations tallied with the "Daily Mail" story.

As for McCartney, his lawyers say he would like to respond in public and in detail, but has decided the best forum is within current divorce proceedings. Other British media quote a McCartney ally as saying McCartney is furious, and the gloves are off.

MARK STEPHENS, MEDIA LAWYER: It's almost inevitable that Sir Paul McCartney is going to have to impose a gag order. That doesn't mean that this came from Heather Mills, but I think he realizes the reputational damage that can be done if marital secrets are spread all over the media.

HANCOCKS: When the couple separated in May, both camps suggested the split would remain amicable for the sake of their young daughter, Beatrice. That clearly hasn't happened.

With a court date yet to be set, this divorce is currently being fought in the media.

(on camera): There's a lot at stake financially for both Mills and McCartney. McCartney's fortune is estimated at some $1.5 billion. There are some reports that back in September, Sir Paul McCartney offered Heather Mills a quick divorce settlement of $60 million. It's reported she rejected that.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, London.


GORANI: $60 million, not nearly enough. Anyway, that's it for this hour of YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Hala Gorani.

CLANCY: And, no still loving him when he's 64. I'm Jim Clancy. This is CNN.



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