The decision of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to move Lieutenant General Abdulwahab al-Saadi, commander of the Iraqi CTS (Counter-Terrorism Service), to the Ministry of Defense has sparked various reactions.
While some saw it as a normal procedure that falls under a military context, other politicians and experts said that it came in the wake of deep disputes inside the CTS – led by General Talib Shaghati al-Kinani.
A security source announced Friday that Abdul Mahdi referred Saadi to the ministry of defense. Saadi is a prominent leader who participated in the latest liberation operation in some provinces, also he was in charge of several important posts in the Iraqi Special Operations Forces and the CTS.
He had a major role in the operations against ISIS since the Battle of Ramadi – Anbar province in 2014 until liberating Mosul in 2017. He is seen as the most popular leader who fought against ISIS in Iraq.
Further, his name surfaced as a prime minister candidate last year.
In a press statement on Friday, Saadi described this decision as an embarrassment for him as an officer and a fighter. Yet, he said he had no clue why it had been taken.
Saadi inquired about the motive behind this decision through a phone call with the Iraqi PM – who in his turn praised his skills.
He continued that he rejected an offer by Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi to lead the ministry of defense because the battles against ISIS were ongoing. Regarding leaks on disputes with Shaghati, he stated that it was Shaghati who asked the PM to distance him without knowing the reasons.
In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, former head of parliament's security and defense committee Hakim al-Zamili described the PM’s decision as a regular matter that falls under military contexts.
Zamili said that officers were regularly transferred inside the military institution, and that was necessary to ensure reforms in the security system.
However, security expert Dr. Hisham al-Hashemi told the newspaper that the fight against ISIS was still ongoing and therefore holding onto the figures of victory in the meantime would lift the enemy's spirits.