Bergen: It wasn't Trump but this general's elite soldiers who defeated ISIS

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Media Outlet: CNN

Peter Bergen wrote for CNN about the role Iraqi Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi and his Golden Division troops had in defeating ISIS:

Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi is virtually unknown outside Iraq, but he is a hero in his own country. When the three-star general walks into the lobby of a guesthouse in Baghdad he is quickly surrounded by well-wishers who want to take selfies with him. Iraqis know that the taciturn general was key to the long, grinding campaign that defeated ISIS.

Last week the Iraqi military released a statement saying Iraq was "fully liberated" from ISIS' reign of terror. Three years earlier, ISIS had controlled 40% of the country, according to Iraqi officials.

It was the storied "Golden Division" of Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Service, the Iraqi version of US Special Operations Forces, that did much of the fighting and dying to defeat ISIS.

Saadi leads the Golden Division. A tall, thin man with deep, dark circles under his eyes that are a testament to his fight against ISIS for the past three years, Saadi, 54, was dressed in a black leather jacket, black shirt and black trousers when he sat down to discuss the campaign against ISIS over a cup of tea in Baghdad.

 

Author:

Peter Bergen is a journalist, documentary producer, vice president at New America, CNN national security analyst, professor of practice at Arizona State University, and the author or editor of seven books, three of which were New York Times bestsellers and four of which were named among the best non-fiction books of the year by The Washington Post.