By Mick Krever, CNN
Iraq’s security forces are taking on their biggest fight since U.S. troops withdrew from the country at the end of 2011, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, who was national security adviser in Iraq for the five years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
Violence in Iraq is the worst in years, and part of the city of Falluja may have already fallen into the control of an al-Qaeda affiliated group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
“It is a big challenge, but I am pretty sure – and there is no shadow of doubt in my mind – that Iraqi security forces will prevail,” al-Rubaie said.
There are conflicting reports about who is fighting whom in Falluja, with government forces, tribal groups, and the al-Qaeda affiliates all involved.
“Most of the Western media has got this wrong,” he said.
It is not about Sunni versus Shiite, or about the Shiite government “killing the Sunni communities.”
“This is a fight between Iraq and al-Qaeda terrorists,” he said. “This is a fight between a constitutionally elected government in Baghdad and the outlaws, the terrorists of al-Qaeda in the desert.”
He also however called on the U.S. to put pressure on the Gulf Arab countries “to reduce the sectarian polarization between Shiite and Sunnis, because that is what is translated into blood on the street of Baghdad.”
Al-Rubaie called on all Iraqis, no matter their affiliation, to stand behind the Maliki government.
“They should unite behind the Iraqi security forces to get them to win this fight and then we after that we will argue who was right, who was wrong in the economic policy, in the social policies, in security policy, and so on and so forth.”