In the spring of 2014, Iraq was looking to the unknown, and the organization «Daash» controlled one-third of the state, while the army was in a state of collapse. There was only one force capable of fighting and confronting a "preacher," an elite force known as the "Golden Division" that played the spearhead in the attack, which aimed to restore villages, towns, and cities from " In the end of the recovery of the bastion «Daash» in the city of Mosul.
But this victory came at a high cost. When it became the regular infantry force instead of the special attacks it trained, half of its fighters lost either dead or wounded during the battle in Mosul.
In these days, though, he was defeated, but he was working to rebuild his forces. This is what the "Golden Band" is doing, and its efforts in the coming years will be crucial to determining whether it can "push" back to threaten the world.
The man in charge of rebuilding the force is its commander, General Talib Shagati Kanani. A veteran warrior from the days of the Iran-Iraq War and the Gulf War, and became a familiar face during the campaign on «Da'ash», because of the frequent appearance on television stations to explain to the public what has resulted in battles with the terrorist organization.
A logical step
There may be few institutions that can claim to have a greater role in eliminating terrorist groups and preventing their return. Speaking to the British Independent newspaper at the command headquarters of the Green Zone in Baghdad, General Kanani said the decision to send 10,000 fighters to fight "Dahesh" was a logical step. "He is not a traditional enemy," he said. The police and army were not trained to deal with him. And (Golden Band) dedicated to fighting terrorism ».
The Golden Band achieved a number of quick victories as it advanced from Baghdad, backed by the US-led coalition of advisers on the ground and planes in the sky. They fought in civilian areas like Tikrit, Ramadi and Falluja until they reached Mosul. They were supported by the then-formed popular mobilization forces, an umbrella group of up to 60,000 armed Shiite militias.
The counter-terrorism force was established by the US military shortly after its occupation of Iraq. The participating fighters were selected from the best security services and were subjected to a thorough liquidation operation overseen by US Special Forces. From the outset, they were specialized in carrying out counter-terrorism intelligence operations, which they carried out effectively.
Things are getting worse
But when the United States began withdrawing its troops from Iraq in 2007, things got worse. Counterterrorism forces became involved in corruption, not to mention the mismanagement they suffered, like the rest of the other security forces. Faced with sectarian tensions, Nuri al-Maliki, who is responsible for the emergence and occupation of Mosul, is accused of using these forces to crush his political opponents. "The counterterrorism forces were seen as Maliki's special guard," said Col. David Witty, a retired US special forces officer who served as a former adviser to the anti-terrorist forces. "They were thinking of his opponents, even when there were American advisers with these forces. "But Witty, who served as an adviser to General Kanani, confirmed that the situation had changed when Daash arrived." The anti-terrorist force became more popular than US astronauts in the 1960s, "says Witty.
Counter-terrorism forces were seen as the only institution in Iraq free of sectarian fanaticism, with fighters, Sunni, Shia and Kurdish leaders. Because sectarianism had torn Iraq apart, they were considered a breathing space for many Iraqis. The fighters of these forces have long described extraordinary tales of courage, until it is normal. "He broke them after he extended his beard and dressed like them and after a few days he managed to blow up the place where they were working," Kanani said, recalling one of the tasks assigned to a soldier from the Golden Band.
Counterterrorism forces remained silent about the loss of their troops, but the Pentagon says 40 percent of its soldiers were killed and wounded. Some analysts say the number of dead and wounded could be about 60 percent.
Two years after the liberation of Mosul from the «Daqash», General Kanani says that the «Golden Band» will recruit new soldiers instead of those who died in the war with «urging», back to its previous strength as it was in 2014. He said: «In the beginning We requested the recruitment of 1000 fighters and 312 thousand people applied for membership. This is because they loved the anti-terrorist forces and they know that they are capable of defeating the terrorist organization. "
The US military feels the same thing, seeing these forces as the main weapon to fight "dashing." Washington is said to want to double the gold division to 20,000 now. "After a defeat in Mosul, intelligence gathered that he was preparing to return, so we will work to eliminate him completely," he said.
Counterterrorism forces now play a supporting role in the main operation across Iraq, aimed at catching sleeper cells to organize a "da'ash". There are reports that hundreds of members of the Da'ash organization cross the border into Iraq, coming from Syria, to join militia cells in Anbar province.
When Anbar was liberated in 2017, and following the fall of the last place of the Daqash organization in the city of Baguz in eastern Syria, few military planners felt that the "da'ash" had been completely liquidated. The Da'ash organization was prepared to lose the areas it had controlled for some time. His fighters then fight in several battles to regroup in remote parts of the Iraqi desert, starting to take off from there in a new campaign to seize towns and villages.
Back to the playoffs
As the organization did in its heyday in 2014, it is now carrying out numerous assassinations of local politicians, tribal leaders, and anyone they believe is cooperating with the Iraqi government.
According to a report on the capabilities of the organization «Daqash» published by the American Institute for the Study of War, in June, he has «called» about 148 cases of assassination in Diyala, Anbar, Salahuddin, Baghdad, in the first ten months of 2018. The authors of the report The current "preacher" is "more powerful than his predecessors in Iraq in 2011 when US forces withdraw from Iraq and his next appearance will be more devastating than in 2014." " "He has the ability to seize major civilian centers in Iraq and Syria."
But the Kenyan general seems skeptical about this. He believes that the key to the success of the Da'sh organization in 2014 is the support he has received from large numbers of Sunnis who are disgruntled about the situation in Iraq. But today they certainly will not get such support. "They have no support. The Iraqi citizens do not like them, they hide in the desert, and they are unable to do anything," the general said.
"The biggest threat to secure the defeat of the Da'ash organization is political instability, which could pave the way for conditions similar to those that allowed the emergence of a first-time preacher," Kanani said. "He benefited and flourished from political and economic turmoil and sectarian fanaticism. The more these conditions become available, the more secure it will be. The members of this organization do not like progress and democracy, and they prefer chaos to that. It is a fertile environment for them. "
Richard Hall Correspondent «The Independent»
The Golden Band achieved a number of quick victories during its advance from Baghdad, backed by the US-led coalition.
The fighters participating in the division were selected from the best security services and were subjected to a thorough liquidation operation overseen by US Special Forces. From the outset, they were specialized in conducting counter-terrorism intelligence operations, which they carried out effectively.