Dec. 16, 2017
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.