Al-Monitor: Was Fallujah really a purely Iraqi operation?
Saadi: The battle to liberate Fallujah was a tough battle fought by Iraqi security forces and other affiliated factions to purge the city from the terrorist scourge that spread through it for years. But the hard and effective efforts of our heroic security forces to eradicate terrorism succeeded in surrounding Fallujah and subsequently storming it within days.
We received aerial support from the international coalition and Iraqi army aviation units, but the battle on the ground was fought by Iraqi forces composed of Iraqis. We did not receive any American or Iranian counsel with regard to the ground battle, and I personally did not meet with non-Iraqis during this battle.
Al-Monitor: What role did American and Iranian advisers play in the operations to liberate Fallujah?
Saadi: The plan to liberate Fallujah was drawn by Iraqi military commanders, and it was perfectly executed, leading to the liberation of a city that [IS] long thought would be impossible for Iraqi military units to approach and penetrate. But we surprised this terrorist organization, reached Fallujah, and liberated it thanks to a purely Iraqi plan.
Neither American nor Iranian advisers had any role to play in the planning of the operation to liberate Fallujah. Only troops from the Iraqi joint forces and the Counterterrorism Service took part in the storming and liberation of Fallujah.
Al-Monitor: What was the contribution and effect of formations that supported Iraqi security forces in the battle for Fallujah?
Saadi: Naturally, the Counterterrorism Service is considered to be the most experienced, knowledgeable and best trained to wage urban battles. Other military units that took part in the operation to liberate Fallujah lacked such experience and were assigned tasks commensurate with their abilities. Though, on a positive note, we found out that the Ramadi police special contingent had gained experience in the battles that they fought alongside our forces in the Ramadi and Heet sectors of Anbar province. In truth, when it comes to urban warfare and combat skills, these contingents possess experience that surpasses that of some Iraqi army units.