Al-Monitor: What are your expectations for the Mosul battle? Will it differ from those of Tikrit and Fallujah? And who will take part in it?
Saadi: The battles underway in southern Mosul’s Sharqat and Qayyarah are progressing positively. But the battle for Mosul is peculiar, in that the city is home to a large number of civilians. Our aim is to kill all the terrorists in one stroke, but we are worried about, and concerned for, the lives of civilians there.
I think that the battle for Fallujah determined the identity of forces that will participate in liberating Mosul. These decisions shall be made by the commander in chief of the armed forces, and we, in the Counterterrorism Service, stand ready to wage the battle, achieve victory and exterminate [IS] from the city.
Al-Monitor: Are political disputes and statements concerning the progress of battle affecting your task?
Saadi: I leave politics to the politicians. With regard to military matters, I have not, nor will I allow any politician to meddle in our affairs. We pay no regard to political disputes because our task is to cleanse Iraq from terrorism and terrorists, while refraining from interfering in other matters.
Al-Monitor: Will you lead the operations to liberate Mosul?
Saadi: It would be good to command operations aimed at liberating the two largest [IS] controlled cities. I hope to be tasked with leading the liberation of Mosul, and it would be wonderful if I did so, but the final decision will be taken by the commander in chief of the armed forces, Haider al-Abadi.
(Mosul image via Shutterstock)