In the wake of the Hawija and subsequent massacres in which over 260 were killed, most Sunnis say they are ready to join JRTN to fight a Maleki government they regard as a Safawi dictatorship.
In its statements, JRTN says once-peaceful protesters have "joined our army and are fighting" under JRTN's banner and has vowed to march on Baghdad.
JRTN has made major in-roads in Anbar, where Sunni Arab tribal leaders have recently vowed to form armies to fight both Maleki's forces and AQM.
Provincial police chief Major General Jamal Taher Bakr agreed that the JRTN were now "the big threat," surpassing even Qaeda despite its continued mounting of spectacular, mass-casualty bombings.
Assadourian said that overcoming the JRTN threat would take time and would need a political approach as much as a military one to woo former rank-and-file Baathists away from the diehards of the ousted regime.