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Iraqi National Security Adviser "Iraq is not on Brink of Civil War" - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Iraqi National Security Adviser Dr Muwaffaq al-Rubaie has denied that Iraq is on the brink of a civil war, He admitted though that “the country is facing difficult security circumstances due to the acts of terror being carried out by the Al-Qaeda along with Saddam’s followers who seek to foment sectarian sedition.”

Al-Rubaie disclosed that “certain insurgent groups have contacted the Iraqi government and put forward some working papers for dialogue with the Iraqi authorities.” He added: “There are nearly no dividing lines between the political and field objectives of Al-Qaeda, of which the Arab nationals constitute 20 percent, and Saddam’s followers who target government officials, politicians, Iraqi army forces, as well as security forces.”

In a telephone interview with Asharq al-Awsat from his office in Baghdad, Al-Rubaie said: “I do not agree with those who say that Iraq is on the verge of civil war. True, we are going though difficulties with regard to the security situation, and domestic unity has been beset by some cracks as a result of acts of terror by Al-Qaeda in the past few months, notably the bombing of he holy shrines in Samarra. These acts of terror are aimed at kindling sectarian sedition among the Iraqi people.”

Al-Rubaie pointed out that “Al-Qaeda’s attempts to stir up sectarian sedition have failed, but it has only succeeded in causing cracks in domestic unity and in provoking sectarian disputes in certain areas in Iraq and in Baghdad.” He said: ‘ I answer those who say that there is civil war in Iraq, that killing on the basis of sectarian or denominational identity takes place in some, not all areas of Baghdad. Seventeen Iraqi governorates are free of such acts.” He said that “the acts of terror peaked in the middle of July, but since then the execution of victims, (that is tying their hands and killing them by firing bullets), decreased to about 45 percent.”

Al-Rubaie denied that sectarian strife is taking place throughout Iraq, noting that “for six weeks now, acts of terror have steadily decreased.” He attributed the decrease to two factors: First the success of the second phase of “Operation Forward Together,” a plan for securing Baghdad, and, second, the national dialogue and reconciliation plan proposed by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Elaborating on Al-Maliki’s reconciliation plan, Al-Rubaie said: “There are no red lines for holding dialogue with any party as long as this does not contravene the constitutional principles. This is the basis and core of this plan for reconciliation. We use the big carrots and the small stick because the big stick, which we used during the past three years, antagonized a segment of our people toward the political process.”

Al-Rubaie disclosed that “a number of insurgent groups has contacted the government and put forward some working papers and some proposals that must be met to rejoin the national ranks. The groups expressed readiness to renounce violence and to have faith in the peaceful political process.” He noted that “the government is prepared to reconsider the files of the insurgent groups that are ready to join the political process to secure their return to the national ranks according to Constitutional, not governmental, conditions. The most important condition is to renounce violence and abandon the use of force.”

Al-Rubaie said that “20 percent of the Al-Qaeda members in Iraq are Arab and foreign nationals, but Iraqi nationals constitute the majority. They prepare the political atmosphere and the battlefield and carry out acts of terror. They seek to stir up sectarian sedition as they target Shiite residential areas. There are also the Saddam followers who target government officials, politicians, and the army and security forces.”

Al-Rubaie pointed out that “there are no longer clear political and military dividing lines between Al-Qaeda and Saddam’s followers. Both groups are close in numerous areas and issues, and there is great cooperation between them.” He added: “We have no evidence that Iran supports Al-Qaeda or the terrorists in Iraq.”

Al-Rubaie stressed that “our war against terrorism and terrorists is a war of intelligence and information rather than a war of soldiers, tanks, and guns. We are in the process of developing our intelligence and security agencies and there is coordination among all our intelligence organs. The more we develop these agencies, the better our capabilities of fighting terrorists.”