By Mustafa Saadoun, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Head of Fallujah liberation offers views on upcoming Mosul battle
On the outskirts of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, stood, smiling, the commander of the Fallujah liberation operations, Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, surrounded by troops from the Counterterrorism Service. He talked to them about the city, long touted as impregnable to any outside force. His men laughed heartily and shared stories of the storming of the city.
He exchanged bits of conversation with them, agreeing with some and disagreeing with others. He joked with them all, as they stood by him taking pictures. Since the Fallujah offensive was launched, social networking sites have been awash with smiling selfies showing Iraqi army soldiers and members of the Federal Police and Counterterrorism Service standing next to Saadi.
Saadi was in a positive mood this day as he patted his soldiers on the back, praised their efforts in the battle to liberate Fallujah and spoke to them about the importance of maintaining absolute readiness to fight the battle for Mosul in a few days.
As he stood on the outskirts of Fallujah, Saadi told his troops: “Iraq is more important than anything else, and your role in combating terrorism must rise to the level of your, and our, great responsibility toward this country and its need to banish terrorism.”
Saadi led the three most prominent Iraqi offensives of the last two years: the battle to liberate Tikrit in 2014-2015, the battle to liberate the Beiji refinery from the Islamic State (IS) and the battle to liberate Fallujah, which was concluded a few days ago. Saadi, in addition to his post as commander of the Fallujah liberation operations, is also the deputy commander of the Counterterrorism Service.
As the offensive to liberate Fallujah came to an end, Saadi set up temporary headquarters at the Tareq base and the headquarters of the Iraqi army’s 1st Division on the outskirts of Fallujah. Al-Monitor’s reporter arrived at the encampment June 30 and conducted the following interview.